Company: Bin Ladin Group
Country: Saudi Arabia
Wealth: 9.8 Billion
The Bin Ladin family is famous throughout the world for helping to build much of the Gulf, in fact it is a name steeped in a tradition of construction excellence.
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 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.
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, Hassan, Islam and Yehya. Baker, Mohammed’s second son, succeeded Salem at 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. Already the emirate is embarked on $80bn of non-football related infrastructure spending.
Outside of the region, China is an appealing market for the Bin Ladin Group. In recent months, firm steps have been made to establish ties with key Chinese companies and government initiatives — moves that are likely to boost the group’s bottom line in the medium and long-term.
Current projects being undertaken by the Bin Ladin Group in Saudi include a special purpose built five level bridge with a total surface area of 385,000 square metres designed to facilitate the progress of Haj pilgrims, and much of the Jizan Economic City megaproject, which will cover 40,000 sq km, and eventually be home to 1.2m people.