In second place this year is the Olayan family, which runs the huge Saudi conglomerate, the Olayan Group. It has been a particularly active year for the company, which has acquired significant real estate assets in Europe and the US. Those include eight pieces of property in Paris and nine separate apartment communities in Maryland. In addition, the Olayan Group also bought a majority stake in Gulf Union Foods Company, a fruit juice maker. Elsewhere, the firm confirmed that it would also be taking a lead role in the development of King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC) as a smart city.
Now in its 67th year of operations, the Olayan Group has come a long way since the summer of 1947 when Suleiman S Olayan launched his first business in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia. While still private and closely held, the group he founded has blossomed over the decades into a multinational enterprise with offices on three continents, and 15, 000 people employed by 50 affiliated companies. Its main investment portfolio covers public and private equities, real estate, fixed income securities and other specialised assets. Suleiman is survived by his son Khaled and his three daughters — Hayat, Hutham and Lubna (pictured).