Perhaps the most famous project the Binladin Group is working on now is the construction of Prince Alwaleed’s Kingdom Tower in Jeddah. At a height of well over a kilometre, it is set to pip Dubai’s Burj Khalifa as the world’s tallest tower. Elsewhere, the company is also heavily involved in the expansion of the King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah. Between them, the contracts are worth over $20bn. Adding to those deals is a bumper contract to help build the first phase of the Haramain railway link.
The family fortune is based on a construction business that paid immense dividends when decades ago it was awarded contracts for major renovations in Makkah and other religious buildings in Saudi Arabia and abroad. Founded by Mohammed Binladin, the family also built several palaces in Riyadh and Jeddah for the royal family and carried out restoration work following an arson attack on Jerusalem’s Al Aqsa Mosque in 1969. Salem, Mohammed’s eldest son, ran the empire left behind by his father upon his death in 1968 until he died when his private plane crashed in Texas in 1988.