The family fortune is based on a construction business that paid immense dividends when decades ago it was awarded contracts for major renovations at Mecca and other religious buildings in Saudi Arabia and abroad. Founded by Mohammed Bin Ladin, the family also built several palaces in Riyadh and Jeddah for the royal family. Salem, Mohammed’s eldest son, ran the empire left behind by his father upon his death in 1968, until Salem died when his private plane crashed in Texas in 1988.
Mohammed left 54 sons and daughters from several marriages. Thirteen of his sons sit on the board of the family’s firm — the most prominent being Baker (pictured), Hassan, Islam and Yehya. Baker, Mohammed’s second son, succeeded Salem as the head of the firm, which employs tens of thousands of people across the region.
Today, the Saudi Bin Ladin Group (SBG) is a titan of the Middle East construction industry and is pressing ahead with a series of high-profile projects.
Construction in the Gulf is picking up again following the credit crunch, as the oil price has gained strength and if the Bin Ladin Group can get in on the tenders for Qatar’s World Cup in 2022, as analysts predict is likely, then the group’s fortunes in the region look sure to flourish in the short term. Qatar has recently earmarked some $57bn for football related projects, a figure that is widely predicted to rise to closer to $100bn as the 2022 deadline approaches.