Arab Companies That Go Decades Back
By: Pamela Dimitrova/ Arab America Contributing Writer
Not many companies can say they survived social changes, consumer attitude changes, and political storms. Well, at least not many outside the Arab world. Long before Souq (now Amazon) and Yahoo’s Maktoob were founded, a number of pioneers in the business industry kicked off in the Middle East and North Africa marking a major change in the way the business industry operates and the life of citizens. Today, these companies have maintained operations and continue growing.
Binzagr (est. 1881)
Binzagr Company is amongst the largest and leading distributors in Saudi Arabia and the GCC that recently completed a unique milestone of over 130 years of continued service.
The distribution business forms the foundation of Binzagr Company, and one that traces the company’s history from trading on the ancient route between Europe and The East, since the year 1881.
They provide complete and comprehensive distribution solutions, supported by a solid infrastructure that is a pre-requisite for effective market coverage in the consumer product category, within the large Saudi Arabian market. Today, they are undoubtedly among the leading and well-reputed distribution companies in Saudi Arabia, specializing in the distribution and logistics of a wide range of consumer products, spanning from but not limited to: food, drink, personal & beauty care, home care and automotive tires.
Bonjus (est. 1962)
Founded in the 1960s with the production of an extensive juice line, ice cream was introduced in the late 60’s and a dairy line in the 70’s. In 2016, Bonjus Dairy has been given a new identity, ranging from product taste to packaging and branding.
Bonjus is a brand that stirs up emotional and nostalgic sentiments and is particularly recognized for its delicious variety of ice cream, sticks, cones, tubs, sandwiches and family packs, including a wide range of sorbets & diet selections render the Bonjus ice cream portfolio versatile and fun.
One may probably recognize Bonjus’ infamous three-sided pyramid juice box. It is one of the most recognized brands in Lebanon, making its mark following the release of its extensive juice line in the ’60s.
Bhatia Brothers (est. 1957)
The history of Bhatia Brothers Group starts in 1957 with the founder, the late Mr. B.V. Bhatia – a leading entrepreneur of his generation. The Group was primarily handling agencies of well-known manufacturers of automobile parts, accessories, and auxiliaries. Their roots go back five generations when they were one of the first few Merchant families that bridged and expanded business relations between India and the Gulf region.
Presently the Group has a focus on distribution, construction, services, manufacturing, cold storage operations and hospitality sectors.
Due to the foresight and vision of the Founder, the diversification of Group’s activities contributed to the development of UAE economy. Today, with its various activities, Bhatia Brothers as a conglomerate stands as one of the leading business houses in UAE in particular and the Gulf region in general. They also have a presence across different parts of the world including Oman, Qatar, Kuwait, India, Iraq, Yemen, Nigeria and the UK.
El Rashidi El Mizan (est. 1889)
Their story begins in the year 1889 during the reign of “Abbass II Hilmi” Bey, the last Khedive of Egypt and Sudan. There were tumultuous times but nevertheless Mohamed Hussein El Rashidi Effendi was determined to make his new family business, a confiserie (confectionary shop) in the popular Cairo neighborhood of Sayeda Zeinab specializing in Halawa. It wasn’t long before the shop’s reputation was established. Grocers would flock from all over the capital to stock Halawa and Tehina made from the purest sesame seeds.
The brand, named El Rashidi El Mizan, was so much in demand due to its consistent quality so that it became a staple of every Egyptian table.
Today, this company proudly stands as the leading Confectionary producer in the Middle East and North Africa and is among the strongest brands in Egypt with very high consumer loyalty and awareness exceeding 90% according to market research.
Americana Group (est. 1964)
In 1970, Americana first opened Wimpy in Kuwait. During the 1970s, Americana Meat was introduced in the market which included chicken nuggets, hamburgers, chicken fillets and more.
Americana Group’s main lines of business and operating food and beverage outlets, and manufacturing of food products. It has a network of over 1,200 outlets. The group’s network encompasses ten brands in the quick service, casual dining and fine dining categories, including KFC, Pizza Hut, Hardee’s, T.G.I. Friday’s, Costa Coffee, Baskin Robbins, Krispy Kreme, Olive Garden, Red Lobster, LongHorn Steakhouse along with a few other homegrown and regional brands such as Chicken Tikka and Signor Sassi.
Today Americana Group is the largest integrated food company in the Middle East.
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