InPicture: The GCC’s 100 Most Powerful Indians 2014 - Energy and Industry

We present the most influential men and women of Indian origin who are making a difference in the GCC’s business and industry today.
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15. Yogesh Mehta
\nPetrochem Middle East
\nEnergy
\nManaging director

\nDriven by passion and a need to succeed, Yogesh Mehta established Petrochem Middle East in 1995 with friend and business partner David Lubbock.

\nMehta graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry from National College Bandra in Mumbai, India, and his first job was at his father’s chemical manufacturing factory in western India, where he honed his innate leadership skills and gained valuable hands-on business experience. Mehta then went on to open his own chemical trading business, which enjoyed fair success. In a bold move, he relocated to Dubai in 1990.

\nWithin five years, he managed to establish a business by opening a state-of-the-art storage terminal for bulk and drum chemicals. Petrochem Middle East has since grown from strength-to-strength to become one of the largest independent petrochemical distributors in the Middle East.

\nMehta became a Harvard Business School Alumnus when he obtained his Executive MBA in 2003; his success story has been widely documented, and in 2010 he was ranked seventh in the Arabian Business Indian Power List. Mehta strongly believes that Petrochem Middle East’s success has been as a result of forecasting and anticipating market and customer needs, he is an enthusiast of “the people”, constantly asserting that his employees are the business’ greatest assets.

\nPetrochem is having a good 2014 so far, and has just finished constructing its new tank terminal at a cost of $13m. “This will give us more storage capacity and grow our business in the region,” Mehta told us. He added that the firm has restructured its chemicals business to suit the current landscape and meet growing demand in the Middle East.

\nEntrepreneurialism runs in the family, it seems. Raging Tiger, the events company managed by Mehta’s son, Rohan, is also doing well and has quickly acquired a reputation for putting on top-drawer events in the UAE. 

\nMehta’s greatest attributes are mentoring and leading by example. His grasp on the dynamics of the chemicals industry, and on building a strong reputation with buyers and sellers in the fraternity, has contributed to making the “Petrochem Brand” and raising the company to new heights.
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23. Shaji Ul Mulk
\nMulk Holdings
\nIndustry
\nChairman

\nMulk Holdings is a multinational conglomerate with a diversified business interests spanning primarily three sectors — construction materials, renewable energy and healthcare. It has ten different divisions in the UAE, plus interests in Europe, Oman, the USA and India. According to Mulk himself: “Our goal is not just to be the largest manufacturer of metal composite panel in the world.” So far he is well on the way to achieving that with the company already worth close to $1bn.
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32. Asgar Shakoor Patel
\nHouse of Patels
\nDiversified
\nGroup chairman

\nHalf a century ago, a Mumbai-based salesman borrowed enough money to buy a lorry and enter the trucking business. That man was Asgar Shakoor Patel, and the company swiftly turned into Patel Roadways, one of India’s biggest transport and logistics names. Patel has used his business acumen to grab massive slices out of other global markets, including cargo, finance and remittances, through Wall Street Exchange Centre. He is now in the process of setting up a venture capital fund in Dubai.
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41. Dawood Bin Ozair
\nElectronics, Engineering and \nTechnologies, Al Futtaim Group
\nIndustry
\nSenior managing director

\nAfter having worked for the TATA Group, Dawood came to Dubai in 1980 to join Al Futtaim Group. He spent his career at Al Futtaim working in various businesses demonstrating his ability to develop the businesses he was tasked with over his 34-year career with the company. Starting as a sales manager in the scaffolding business in 1980 he helped turn around the engineering business and electronics business and developed a brand portfolio containing some of the world’s leading players in the electronics and engineering world. Known as a team developer and a leader of people, Dawood has led the Al Futtaim Engineering, Electronics and Technologies business with the vision that success comes when people are motivated to go beyond their regular call of duty.
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43. Faizal Kottikollon
\nKEF Holdings
\nIndustry
\nFounder

\nThe founder and chairman of UAE-based KEF Holdings, Faizal Kottikollon, set up Emirates Techno Casting (ETC), a fully integrated valve casting foundry, in 1997, turning it into one of the top three most technologically advanced foundries in the world in just a decade. In 2008, Dubai International Capital (DIC), the investment arm of Dubai Holding, acquired a 45 percent stake in KEF Holdings. In 2012, Tyco International acquired KEF Holdings for $400m. Pentair, the industrial giant that later acquired Tyco, renamed the ETC Community Centre which was built by Kottikollon and his wife Shabana for the welfare of the ETC employees, as the Shabana & Faizal Community Centre in the Hamriyah Free Zone in recognition of the founders’ success and dedication to the community.
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61. Mohan Valrani
\nAl Shirawi Group
\nIndustry
\nVice chairman

\nBorn in Sind in 1940, Mohan Valrani came from a family of entrepreneurs and from an early age those close to him observed that he has a unique ability for making money.

\nIn 1966, Valrani set up a partnership with influential Emirati businessman Abdulla Al Shirawi and the two have remained partners ever since.

\nUnder his leadership, the Al Shirawi Group was set up in 1971 and from a modest beginning of trading in steel and cement has grown into a multi – dimensional company with interest spanning 29 firms and with around 6,000 employees.

\nThe businessman has also been an active philanthropist, and announced earlier this year that he would be investing AED500m to build four new British schools in Dubai between 2016 and 2019.\nValrani served as chairman of the Indian High School between 2008 and 2012.
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66. Surinder Singh Kandhari
\nAl Dobowi Group
\nIndustry
\nFounder

\nThe Al Dobowi Group was formed in 1976 to address the needs of a growing tyre management and service industry in the Middle East.

\nIt has grown to become a leading global player in the industry providing clients with superior services and unique solutions to their problems across three continents.

\nIt has grown beyond tyre management into providing our clients with all the solutions they need with regards to motion. This includes batteries for motive power, lubricants, conveyor belt systems and technical rubber products.
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85. Dr Birbal Singh Dana
\nDana Group
\nIndustry
\nChairman

\nA general surgeon by profession, Dr Birbal Singh Dana served in the University Hospital of Libya for 15 years before coming to Dubai in 1991 to set up the Dana Group of Companies. The group is active in steel processing, cable management systems, hospitals, heaters and water coolers. It has its corporate office and showrooms in Dubai, trading companies in India and Dubai, associate offices in Libya, Iraq, West Africa and South Africa, as well as manufacturing units in the UAE.