Qatari companies continue to rise rapidly in the most valuable global company rankings, according to a QNB Capital analysis of the Financial Times (FT) Global 500. Three Qatari companies - QNB, Industries Qatar and Ezdan - feature on the latest FT global 500 listing, as on September 30. Last year, only Ezdan featured on the Global 500 list, the Qatari daily (Gulf Times) reported Sunday. Only seven MENA companies made the list this year. They include three Saudi companies (Saudi Basic Industries Corporation, Al Rajhi Bank and Saudi Telecom) and one UAE company (Emirates Telecom). The FT compiles an annual and quarterly list of the top 500 companies in the world by market capitalization, wherein the larger the stock market valuation of a company, the higher its ranking. The "most valuable" MENA company on the list is Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC), with a market capitalization of $73.2 billion, followed by Al Rajhi Bank and QNB. Among the MENA companies, QNB has made one of the fastest gains in the global rankings, reaching 285 as on September 30, from a ranking of 380 on June 30, and 500 on March 31 this year. QNB s market capitalization has been boosted by an 11.1% increase in QNB s share price, despite the collapse in global equity markets. The strong performance of QNB s share price has been driven by rising profitability as net income at the bank has risen by 30.4% in the year to September 2011 to $1.5 billion for the first three quarters of this year. The increase in QNB s share price from March to September accounts for $2.5 billion of the $7 billion increase in its market capitalization. The remaining $4.5 billion increase in market capitalization was the result of a rights issue in April, which increased the number of listed shares by 25%. "Other Qatari companies have also performed well in the FT rankings over the last six months. The Qatari economy is well insulated from the economic difficulties facing other regions, presenting Qatari companies with good opportunities for growth and high profitability," QNB Capital said. Apple overtook ExxonMobil to become the most valuable company in the world as on September 30 with a market capitalization of $353.5 billion. The total market capitalization of the top global 500 companies declined by 17% during the third quarter of 2011 to total $21.5 trillion compared with $26 trillion in the second quarter of this year. The MSCI World index for large cap companies fell by 17.5% over the same period in dollar terms. The decline was a result of the eurozone debt crisis, coupled with a faltering global economy. A breakdown of the top global 500 companies by sectors show that banking is the largest sector, accounting for 15% of overall market capitalization and including 74 companies, followed by oil and gas producers with a 13% share and including 41 companies. The US dominates the top global 500 list, with a total of its 168 companies accounting for 39% of overall market capitalization. Japan comes in a distant second, with 38 companies.