By Anil Bhoyrul
Mashreq's Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair is highest ranked UAE national with US$6.4bn
The UAE accounted for just three places in the 2012 Arabian Business Rich List, which ranks the world’s top 50 wealthiest Arabs.
Top of the tree is Mashreq boss Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair, ranked in 12 place with an estimated wealth of US$6.4bn. The other UAE entrants are Majid Al Futtaim (US$5.8bn) and the Gargash family (US$3.9bn).
Saudi-based billionaires have dominated this year’s Rich List, with 23 entrants based in the country. The top three in the list – HRH Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, the Olayan family and Mohammed Al Amoudi – all operate out of Saudi Arabia, which accounts for five of the top ten slots.
UK-based billionaires also make a strong showing, accounting for five of the top 50, while the UAE takes just three slots, led by Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair, ranked in 12 place with US$6.4bn.
Saudi Arabia’s Prince Alwaleed topped the Arabian Business Rich List for the ninth year in succession, with his total current wealth now US$25.9bn.
The figure – verified by his private office – is a staggering US$4.6bn higher than compared to 12 months ago. A large part of the increase is put down to the remarkable rise in the share price of Kingdom Holding, the investment vehicle in which he owns a 95 percent stake. By early December, Kingdom shares were trading 147 percent up on the previous 12 months.
In an interview with Arabian Business, Prince Alwaleed – referring to his wealth – said: “I know I am up but I didn’t know by this much - but it’s a very pleasant number and we welcome it as it shows that my shareholders at Kingdom have benefited too. “
He added: “For any chairman or CEO of a company, the main yardstick of the success comes from the strength of his balance sheet, the growth in income and the performance of his share price. These are the three indicators of success at the end of the year. In all these three, I say thanks to Kingdom Holding members – I never use the word employees. They number 24 people. That’s it. This is to the credit of all the members who contributed to this success. The share-price movement reflects the performance of the company.”
The fact that UAE has only 3 entries in the top 50 Arab rich list can also be interpreted in a way that UAE has fairly equitable distribution of wealth in comparison to other participant countries in this list.