Saudi Arabia’s plutocrats always feature heavily on the Arabian Business Rich List, but this year there are more than ever before.
The kingdom’s wealthiest figureheads take six of the top 10 places alone and, collectively, represent a cash pile of $169.68bn spread across 32 entries.
The top ten highest-placed Saudi business people alone - including moguls Mohamed bin Issa Al Jaber of MBI International and Mohammad Al Amoudi - have a combined wealth of $71.1bn.
Top of the Saudi contingent is Kingdom Holding chairman Prince Alwaleed, with an epic $20.4bn.
A quick look at the portfolio’s of Saudi Arabia’s biggest players reveals the key to their success – diversification, diversification, and yet more diversification.
Hardly any of the individuals or families here have made their fortunes from just one sector, and most of them have a hand in five or more key areas.
It’s a model that Saudi Arabia itself is striving to match, as it looks towards a future that is not dependent on oil revenues.
Another key point is that of the 24 new entries, fully 20 of them come from Saudi Arabia. There’s no doubt that the kingdom’s vast reserves are helping to fund this largesse.
The country has performed relatively well throughout the downturn, pushed especially by massive government spending on both physical and social infrastructure.
With billions of dollars of projects on offer, local companies are generally at the top of the contract list, leaving the money to be reinvested back into many of the companies on this list.
As these spending plans are set to continue well into the second half of the next decade, the wealth of Saudi individuals and firms can only be expected to grow still further.
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