Company: Al Futtaim Group
Country: United Arab Emirates
Wealth: 5.06 Billion
Abdullah Al Futtaim has easily earned the title as the ‘king of the road’ in the Gulf, with Toyota, Lexus, Honda, Dodge, Volvo, Jeep and Chrysler among the brand names in the Al Futtaim stable. And having built his fortune in the automobile business in the region, Abdullah Al Futtaim has since steered his investment company into real estate on a massive scale.
With vehicle recalls and the downturn in the real estate and retail sectors, the group, which now operates through 65 companies, has had a tough few years.
“Overall, the UAE luxury automotive market in 2010 recorded a cautious but positive performance against the backdrop of the global economic fallout,” the group said earlier this year. However, it now claims that things are slowly beginning to recover.
“Our core trading activity is up double-digit year-to- date,” John Wartig, the group’s director of finance, said in November. The rebound is led by the automotive and retail businesses, Wartig said, adding that Al Futtaim may seek a credit rating and may tap the debt markets this year.
As well as the automobile sector, Abdullah’s interests include retail and real estate. The company has spent more than $2bn to build Dubai’s Festival City, which includes hotels, offices, homes, retail outlets and a golf course.