A new wealth survey by Arabian Business places retail king Micky Jagtiani on $2.65 billion, nearly $1 billion ahead of second placed BR Shetty, founder of the NMC Group. See the full list here.
1. Micky Jagtiani, Landmark Group
Billionaire ‘Micky’ Jagtiani is head of the conglomerate Landmark Group, and one of the most powerful figures in the Middle East retail industry.
Launched in 1973 with a single Bahrain store, Landmark Group has grown into one of the Gulf’s largest retail empires. Today, its brands span from children’s fashion, footwear and cosmetics, with additional interests in leisure, hotels and electronics. With 900 stores in 15 countries, Jagtiani’s operations now turnover $3.2 billion a year and employ 31,000 staff.
And this seems to be just the beginning, with plans to increase turnover to $5.2 billion and operate 1200 stores by 2015.
Jagtiani was named highest-ranking Indian expatriate, in the 2009 Arabian Business Expat Power list.
2. BR Shetty, NMC Group
Entrepreneur B R Shetty is managing director and CEO of the Abu Dhabi-based New Medical Centre (NMC) Group of companies. With initial interests in hospitals and hospitality, Karnataka-born Shetty has since diversified into sectors including pharmaceuticals, financial services, retail, real estate and IT.
Shetty’s contributions to the fields of trade and industry have not gone unnoticed back home in India. In 2009, the President of India awarded him one of the country’s highest civilian honours, the ‘Padma Shri’.
3. Chhabria family, Jumbo Group
From his humble beginnings as a radio-parts trader in Mumbai, to his final role at the helm of electronics conglomerate Jumbo Group, the late Manohar ‘Manu’ Chhabria was a business force to be reckoned with.
His aggressive acquisitions of brands including Shaw Wallace, Mather & Platt and Dunlop India, to name just a few, earned him the nickname ‘takeover tycoon’.
Following Chhabria’s death in 2002, aged 56, his wife, Vidya, and three daughters, Komal, Bhavika and Kiran, took over the running of his business empire. Today, despite legal wrangling over Manu’s estate, and the impact of the global recession on a number of the firm’s brands, the Chhabrias remain one of Dubai’s most prominent expatriate success stories.
4. Yusuff Ali MA, Emke
For any UAE resident, the Lulu chain of hypermarkets is a familiar sight – but it’s just one of the many brands held by the Emke Group.
The group boasts an annual turnover of $3.5bn globally, and is one of the largest Indian-owned conglomerates in the Gulf, employing more than 22,000 people from over 29 countries.
Heading it is ‘Padma Shri’ Yusuff Ali MA, named by The Wall Street Journal as one of the twenty most influential people in the UAE.
Yusuff Ali has served as board member of the Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce & Industries (ADCCI) and been conferred with the prestigious ‘Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award’; the highest Indian government award given to non-resident Indians.
5. PNC Menon, Sobha Developers
‘PNC Menon takes Oman into Forbes richest list,’ splashed a headline in Vijay Times, a Bangalore-based newspaper on March 10, 2007. It was a proud moment for the Indian city, as one of its residents, Omani citizen PNC Menon, took the No. 754 spot in Forbes’ 2007 list of the world’s top billionaires.
Born in Kerala, Menon migrated to Oman in 1976 to launch an interior decorating business with a partner. In 1995, spotting a gap in the real estate market back home in India, he founded Sobha Developers, named after his wife in Bangalore.
Today Sobha is one of the largest companies in Oman’s construction industry. Menon remains chairman of the firm.
6. Ramesh Prabhakar, Rivoli
Ramesh Prabhakar is the managing partner, of the UAE-based Rivoli Group. In 1988, Rivoli Group sold just one watch brand as the company fought to establish itself in the Middle East. Today, it is one of the region’s largest importers and retailers of luxury brands. The company’s stores now offer products ranging from watches and menswear, to accessories, gift items and eyewear. The group’s brand portfolio includes names such as Montblanc, Longines, Dunhill, Links of London, Kenzo and Vertu. In 2007, Dubai International Capital acquired a “significant” stake in the group.
7. Rajen Kilachand, Dosdal Group
Founded more than six decades ago in Mumbai, the Dodsal Group has grown into a multinational conglomerate with interests in engineering, mining, trading and hospitality. And its chairman and president Rajen Kilachand has no plans to stop there.
“My aim is to have the company build on its existing strengths in the EPC sector and develop into a group which becomes a knowledge-based conglomerate and a manufacturer of high technology products for nuclear, space and defence,” Kilachand says in a note on his group’s website.
“The post Second World War period was dominated by Western and Japanese companies in these sectors. The next five years will see the emergence of my group as the first Middle East-based company with the same expertise combining technology, manpower and knowledge of Asia, Middle East and the Orient to compete in the global arena.”
8. Tony Jashanmal, Jashanmal Group
With roots dating back to 1919, ‘Jashanmal’ is a household name across the Middle East. The group began trading in Basra, Iraq, with a single store. Today, executive director Tony Jashanmal leads a UAE-based corporation with multi-channel activities across the GCC and India.
The retail arm of the firm operates more than 100 stores across five countries, while Jashanmal’s distribution and wholesale division supplies a network covering some 1,000 points of sale. Its interests range from logistics to travel retail, with a diverse product group that includes home appliances, luggage and print media.
9. Dr P. Mohamed Ali, Galfar
As the founder of Galfar Engineering and Contracting Co, Dr P Mohamed Ali has earned his stripes as one of the Gulf’s leading entrepreneurs. From its start in 1972, the firm has grown into the single largest private sector employer in Oman, with an annual turnover of more than $1bn and more than 27,000 staff.
Outside of his business interests, Dr Ali is the founder of the Oman Petroleum Alliance and the former vice chairman of the state-backed Omanisation Joint Committee. His charitable works include founding the PM Foundation, which promotes education in rural Indian communities, and being chief patron of the Talikulam Vikas Trust.
Dr Ali has been awarded the Oman Civil Order for his services to the sultanate and, in 2004, received the coveted Outstanding Non-Resident Indian Award.
10. Sunny Varkey, GEMS
Millionaire Sunny Varkey is the epitome of a self-made man. His education group, GEMS, has morphed from a single Indian primary school to the biggest provider of K12 education in the world. Under Varkey’s steer, Global Education Management Systems (GEMS) today teaches 100,000 students in 100 schools across 11 countries.
Varkey’s interests don’t end with education. The Dubai-based entrepreneur has fingers in a number of pies, including construction and healthcare.
Varkey was rated the most powerful expatriate in the Gulf’s education sector. He also ranked No.36 in the 2009 Arabian Business Expat Power list.
Varkey has been equally lauded in India for his achievements. In 2009, he was awarded the ‘Padma Shri’ in recognition of his contribution to education and social services.