Gulf construction elite hit hardest in last year

Construction titans see combined wealth fall from $102bn to $73bn over last twelve months, Rich List shows
CONSTRUCTION LEADS: Construction was still the leading form of employment for Arab plutocrats in 2010, Arabian Business Rich List has revealed (Getty Images)
By Staff writer
Sun 19 Dec 2010 07:45 AM

Super rich Arabs working in the construction sector were hardest hit by the economic crisis, figures revealed in the Arabian Business Rich List 2010 show.

Last year the construction titans on the list had a combined wealth of $102bn. This year that figure has fallen to $73bn.

Construction was still the leading form of employment for Arab plutocrats in 2010. Fourteen billionaires on the list made their first fortune in the sector, down from 24 last year.

Unsurprisingly given the global spending downturn, retail was also hard hit. Last year the fortunes of retail magnates on the list totaled some $83bn. This year that figure was $69bn.

Banking and Finance was the best performing sector this year, led by HRH Prince Alwaleed, who for the seventh consecutive year was the richest Arab in the world with a personal fortune of $20.8bn, compared to $18bn last year. The sector contributed some $85bn to the list, compared with $72bn last year.

Saudi Arabia’s insulation from the global financial crisis is emphasized by the list – 32 of the billionaires listed come from the Kingdom, compared to 28 last year.  The UAE is home to only four of the magnates on the list - the Al Ghurair family, Abdullah Al Futtaim, Majid Al Futtaim and the Gargash family - compared to five last year.

Qatar, which is forecast to see GDP growth of more than 16 percent in 2011, had only one billionaire on the Rich List, Omar Hamad Almana.

To read the full Arabian Business Rich List 2010, click here

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