Revealed: The 50 World's Richest Arabs 2016
Welcome to the 12th edition of the Arabian Business Rich List, our annual countdown of the 50 wealthiest Arabs.
1. HRH Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Al Saud
\nBanking and finance
\nNow aged 60, the career of Saudi Arabia’s most famous businessman, Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Al Saud, has been built on making money — plenty of it. But last year, he made global headlines for very different reasons. In July, at a press conference in Kingdom Tower in Riyadh, the prince told reporters that he would be giving his entire fortune to charity. “It is a commitment without boundaries. A commitment to all mankind,” he said. The sum will go to the Alwaleed Foundation over an indefinite period of time. Meanwhile, the prince has said that he now has an added incentive to get back to doing what he does best — racking up the profits.
\nThat being said, it hasn’t been the easiest year for the world’s richest people, with six out of the top ten losing money during the course of 2015. Prince Alwaleed has seen the value of his wealth decline over the last 12 months, to $25.1bn. As ever, our assessment of Prince Alwaleed’s net worth has been verified by his private office.
\nBut he is certainly been busy. Earlier this month, Prince Alwaleed invested $100m in US ride-sharing app Lyft, just the latest in a series of investments in the technology sphere that include stakes in Apple. And in December, the prince exchanged a stake in Fairmont Hotels for a 5.8 percent slice of French hotel \ngiant Accor.
\nThe majority of the prince’s wealth comes from his 95 percent stake in Kingdom Holding Company (KHC), which is valued at $12.79bn as per January 11. KHC’s investments include stakes in American lender Citigroup, Canary Wharf London developer Songbird Estates, Jeddah Economic Company (which is developing the 1km tower in Jeddah that will be the tallest in the world), Mövenpick Hotels and Resorts, New York’s The Plaza Hotel, London’s Savoy Hotel, Paris’ Four Seasons George V Hotel, Saudi carrier flynas, Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp and Disneyland Paris.
\nHowever, he also has other sources of wealth, including his media arm (which includes Rotana), as well as his many private investments and privately held assets. His real estate portfolio has also increased in value over the course of the last year.
2. Joseph Safra
\nBanking and finance
\nWidely regarded as the world’s richest banker, 77-year-old Joseph Safra’s appetite for deal-making remains undiminished. Recent purchases include 'The Gherkin’ tower in the City of London and fruit giant Chiquita. The former adds to the impressive real estate portfolio held by Safra’s eponymously titled group, which includes the 660 Madison Avenue building in New York, prime locations in SoHo and about 100 other prime locations around the planet. The Lebanese-born banker runs the Brazilian banking and investment empire, Safra Group. Born into a wealthy banking family, the Safra history originated with the camel trade between Aleppo, Alexandria and Istanbul during the days of the Ottoman empire. The Beirut family decided to move to Brazil in 1952, and in 1955, Joseph’s brother and father began financing assets in Sao Paulo. Joseph Safra founded Banco Safra in 1955, and it remains one of the largest private banks in Brazil, with nearly $60bn in assets. He also oversees Switzerland-based J Safra Sarasin, which oversees $141bn in assets.
3. The Olayan family
\nDropping down a spot this year is the Olayan family, which runs the huge Saudi conglomerate Olayan Group. One of the largest shareholders in Credit Suisse, the group has cut its holdings in the Swiss investment banking giant over the course of the last year to 4.95 percent. It also has stakes in the UK’s National Grid and an estimated $700m property portfolio in Paris. But its overseas interests only form part of the family’s colossal portfolio — much of which is based back home in Saudi Arabia. Olayan Group oversees about 50 affiliated companies, with offices on three continents and a workforce of 15,000, and it also manages over $4bn in Saudi equities. The firm has a joint venture with the Weir Group to manufacture oilfield equipment, and it also has the franchise rights for Burger King in the Middle East and North Africa region. Olayan Group was founded by Suleiman Olayan in 1947. Suleiman is survived by son Khaled and his three daughters, Lubna (pictured), Hutham and Hayat.
4. The Sawiris family
\nIt has been another busy year for Egypt’s richest family. Naguib Sawiris, in particular, hit the headlines due to his efforts to create a local investment bank able to match the might of EFG-Hermes, the largest in the Middle East. Along with his firm Orascom, Sawiris bought Beltone Financial and is in the process of making a $127m bid to acquire CI Capital from Commercial International Bank. Not to be outdone, Nassef is also hard at work driving change at companies he invests in, with rumours suggesting a possible takeover of German sportswear giant Adidas (in which he already holds a 6 percent stake). As the CEO of Orascom Construction Industries (OCI), Nassef also announced a plan in February to dual-list the firm in Dubai and Cairo. Ever since Onsi, the patriarch of the Sawiris family, handed over the reins to Naguib (above), his eldest son, and two brothers Nassef and Samih, their fortunes have expanded rapidly. They expanded the Orascom conglomerate into a telecoms, construction, hotel and development business. Naguib launched Egypt’s first mobile operator, Mobinil, back in 1998.
6. Mohammed Al Amoudi
\nFrom Sweden to Ethiopia, Mohammed Al Amoudi’s collection of industrial assets is considerable. Al Amoudi emigrated to Saudi Arabia in 1965 and became a Saudi citizen. He made his first fortune in construction and real estate before branching out into buying oil refineries in Morocco and Sweden and his native Ethiopia. His holding and operating companies, Corral Group and the MIDROC Group, employ more than 760,000 people. Corral Group has an investment portfolio in Europe and the Middle East that includes Preem Petroleum, the largest integrated petroleum firm in Sweden, Svenska Petroleum & Exploration, SAMIR, Naft Services Company (Saudi Arabia) and Fortuna Holdings (Lebanon).
7. Mohamed Bin Issa Al Jaber
\nUK (Saudi Arabia)
\nMohamed bin Issa Al Jaber’s net worth could have doubled in December, if the result of a $10bn suit against the UK’s Barclays Bank had gone his way. Instead, a British judge ruled that a claim by Jadawel, one of Al Jaber’s firms, about the lender’s allegedly fraudulent attempts to gain a Saudi banking licence was out of date. Still, Al Jaber remains one of the richest men in Britain thanks to a 35-year track record building the MBI International Holding Group into an established collection of major international companies. Those include: JJW Hotels & Resorts, which owns and operates luxury hotels in Europe, the Middle East and North Africa; Jadawel, a Middle Eastern property development outfit; and Continentoil, an oilfield services company. Al Jaber is also a shareholder in Ajwa Group for Food Industries, an agricultural and food processing firm. A well-known philanthropist, Al Jaber’s MBI Al Jaber Foundation funds scholarship programmes at some of the world’s top schools.
8. The Binladin family
\nIt’s been a difficult year for the Binladin family, which runs the Gulf’s most famous construction unit. Saudi Binladin Group (SBG) may work on some of Saudi Arabia’s top projects, including King Abdullah Economic City, the Haramain rail link and work on the Grand Mosque in Makkah, but a disaster at the latter last year has left it in a difficult position. In September, a crane collapse at the Grand Mosque killed 107 people, leading the government to suspend the company from taking new contracts. Later reports suggested the firm was planning to slice 15,000 staff from its mammoth 200,000 strong workforce. The group will be hoping for a more prosperous 2016. 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. Thirteen of Mohammed’s sons sit on the board of the family’s firm — the most prominent being Bakr, Hassan, Islam and Yehya.
9. The Al Ghurair family
\nBanking and finance
\nThe highest entry in the UAE comes in the form of the Al Ghurair family, which has seen its fortunes rise alongside the growth of Dubai. Abdulla Al Ghurair, the founder/owner of Mashreq Bank and the head of the family firm, announced last year that he will be donating $1bn over the next five years to an educational fund set up in his name. The family legacy can be traced back to Ahmad Al Ghurair who founded Al Ghurair Group in 1960. Ahmad passed on his legacy to his sons Saif, Abdulla, Majid, Marwan and Jomaa. Until the 1990s Al Ghurair Group was led by Saif Ahmad Al Ghurair. This corporation was formed in 1960. In the 1990s, Saif Ahmad Al Ghurair and Abdulla Al Ghurair embarked upon creating two unique yet complementing diversified industrial groups. This decision led to the creation of Saif Ahmad Al Ghurair Group (now the Al Ghurair Group) and Abdulla Al Ghurair Group. Perhaps the most prominent family member today is Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair (pictured), the CEO of Mashreq Bank, which was started from scratch with $1.6m of capital during the oil boom in the 1960s, and which is the country’s fourth-largest by assets. Mashreq has a strong hold in its home market of the UAE (where one in every two households bank with the lender) but it also operates in a number of other countries in the region, including Egypt, Qatar, Kuwait and Bahrain. Abdul Aziz is also chairman of the UAE Banking Federation.
10. The Al Kharafi family
\nThe passing away of Jassem Al Kharafi, the Kharafi Group’s chairman, means there is a new man at the helm of one of the Gulf’s largest family concerns. Brother Fawzi Al Kharafi now runs the firm, which has an annual turnover of around $5bn and is already active in 25 countries. The group has been in the news recently over the potential sale of Americana, one of its most high-profile assets. The family is believed to be interested in selling off two thirds of the fast food giant, which has a market value of around $4bn, although the deal fell through in early 2015. The Kharafi Group has operations in 25 countries around the world, from Senegal to Botswana to Kazakhstan and the Maldives, and has more than 120,000 employees. The family business has always had strong connections with Egypt, from power stations along the Nile Delta to contracts at Marsa Alam International Airport. Run by Fawzi, Marzouk, Badr (pictured) and Faisal Al Kharafi, the company also has investments in a series of major Gulf blue-chips, including Zain.
11. The Bukhamseen family
\nIn 1957, Jawad Ahmed Bukhamseen established Bukhamseen Holding in Kuwait and began what would become a multifaceted conglomerate. Initially involved in trade, real estate and construction, the family has spread into financial investment and banking, hospitality, travel and tourism, industrial production, media, and consultancy services in urban planning, civil engineering and major development projects in the country. It also has holdings in Kuwait International Bank, First Gulf Bank and Egyptian Gulf Bank.
\nThe company has overcome a recession in the early 1980s, the 1990-91 Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, calls to go public, the 2008-09 financial crisis and the current period of low oil prices to still remain private and a significant contributor to the Kuwaiti economy, as the third largest conglomerate. It has also expanded to several new countries such as the UAE, Egypt, Syria and Lebanon.
\nToday, Jawad’s four sons and daughter — Emad (above), Osama, Anwar and Raed — each occupy senior management positions within the company. CEO Emad Bukhamseen once said the company had been built on experience rather than education and the family prided itself on perseverance and honest business.
12. The Mansour family
\nGrowth and risk have been at the heart of the Mansour Group’s ability to build a $6bn international conglomerate in two generations. Founded by Loutfy Mansour in the 1950s, the company is largely responsible for Egypt’s reputation for cotton, but it was decisions to move into some of the harshest and least obvious locations globally that have really brought exponential growth.
\nUnder the leadership of middle son Mohamed (above), Mansour Group now has operations from the smallest of islands to one of the greatest expanses on Earth. As Egypt’s second largest company by revenues, its operations span 120 countries, with 60,000 staff, and revenues are growing at 10-20 percent annually.
\nThe company is the fifth-largest distributor of Caterpillar products worldwide and the largest GM Motors dealer. It also has lucrative contracts in Egypt for McDonald’s, Chevrolet, Red Bull, UBS and Imperial Tobacco. The group also created Egypt’s largest supermarket chain, Metro, in 1998, and has in recent years built up its own private equity firm, Man Capital. Using the family’s cash dividends, the firm invests in sectors such as real estate development, hotels, banks, education, health, logistics, oil and gas, and telecommunications. Mohamed Mansour told Arabian Business last year that he would expand further into Africa, where he sees the greatest economic potential in the world right now.
18. The Juffali family
\nUK (Saudi Arabia)
\nFounded in 1946, Ebrahim A. Juffali and Brothers has been one of the largest conglomerates in Saudi Arabia since the 1970s. The company brought widespread electricity and telecommunications to the kingdom, and has since entered sectors including construction, insurance, television and vehicle manufacturing and distribution.
\nThe company has joint venture partnerships with Daimler AG, Bosch, Dow Chemical, Fluor Corp, Carrier, DuPont, Ericsson, IBM, Liebherr, Michelin, Massey Ferguson, Siemens AG, Nabors Industries. Since the deaths of Ebrahim and his brother Ali in the 1990s, the company has been run by their sons Khaled and Walid Al Juffali, the later of whom is the most high profile of the family. Sixty-year-old Walid Al Juffali has become as well known for his personal flamboyancy, including marrying a 25-year-old Lebanese model and TV presenter in a lavish grand ball ceremony in Venice in 2012, while he was still married to a former Pirelli calendar model, who is now suing him for his three UK mansions.
\nHe also attracted headlines last year for his appointment as a diplomat representing the island nation of St Lucia, despite not holding citizenship. The role affords him illegal immunity in the UK. He also possesses two Knighthoods, including from the Vatican, where he is a member of the Papal Order of St Sylvester.
19. The Al Hokair family
\nRetail, tourism, entertainment
\nWith many of the world’s top international brands as partners, the Al Hokair family has become a leader in Saudi Arabia’s tourism, entertainment and retail sectors. The Al Hokair Group, founded in 1978 by Abd Al Mohsen Al Hokair, has 52 recreational centres and 32 hotels across the kingdom and in the UAE. Hotel partners include Hilton, International Hotels Group (IHG), Carlson Rezidor, Accor Hotels Group and Marriott, while the firm has exclusive rights in the kingdom for recreational offerings such as Sky Zone’s trampoline concept, edutainment brand Minopolis and games manufacturers Cheer Entertainment and I.E Park.
\nIn 1989, three brothers started the Fawaz Abdulaziz Alhokair Group. Initially with two menswear stores, the company is now Saudi Arabia’s most valuable retail and real estate firm with 11 shopping centres and the franchise rights to global brands including Zara, Banana Republic, Gap, Nine West and Topshop.\nThe company listed on the Saudi stock exchange last year and reported sales of more than $1.1bn in the first six months. In May last year, 50-year-old Fawaz Al Hokair reportedly bought a $95m Manhattan penthouse that is the highest residence in New York City, in what was believed to be the second largest ever real estate transaction in the city.
20. Mohammed Abdallah Sharbatly
\nThe Sharbatly family has been supplying Saudi Arabia with fresh fruit and vegetables from across the world for more than a century. From his ancestors’ humble beginnings importing bananas, Mohammed Abdallah Sharbatly has in recent decades transformed the family business into an international empire, with contracts as widespread as Africa, South America and Europe.
\nHe relaunched in 2004 as Mohammed Abdullah Sharbatly Company. The firm owns farms in Chile and South Africa, a citrus packaging plant in Egypt and numerous cold storage facilities across Saudi Arabia. It also has expanded to include branches in Bahrain and Dubai, with 1,000 employees in total, and now imports frozen products such as poultry, meat and vegetables.
\nThe company has announced it intends to relocate its headquarters to the new King Abdullah Economic City near Jeddah, with a 160,000 sq m site that would include the kingdom’s largest refrigerated warehousing facility. Sharbatly’s experience also has seen him help build other prominent Saudi companies, such as the Savola Group, a major regional supplier of edible oils, sugar and dairy products, as well as owner of the Azizia Panda supermarket chain.
21. Mubarak Al Suweiket
\nAl Suweiket and his Trading and Contracting Company have become a leading force in Saudi Arabia’s construction industry, as well as other sectors. With its vast experience in the building industry, Al Suweiket has been credited with a number of high-profile projects in the kingdom. The last decade has seen the company broaden its business base, namely the establishing of the oil, gas and pipelines services division, educational services, legal consultations and the establishment of many industrial ventures.
\nThe family company made headlines in the kingdom in 2012 when it unveiled Dhahran Tower, the tallest tower in the Eastern Province. The conglomerate has offices in Al Khobar, Riyadh, Jeddah, across the Middle East region and in Europe. Its expansion outside the kingdom has seen it undertake international interests in different sectors such as education, energy, general trading, travel and transportation, catering and life support, agriculture, family and labour.
\nA sign of Al Suweiket’s success and wealth is his interest in superyachts and his bid to introduce the concept fractional ownership to the Gulf. He told the recent Shared Ownership Fractional Summit Middle East he believed the idea “is a concept which has significant potential for the region.”
22. Issad Rebrab
\nAself-made man, Issad Rebrab started his professional life teaching accounting and commercial law, before kickstarting his industrial career in the 1970s. After stints in construction and steel sector, he went on to run Cevital, Algeria’s biggest conglomerate. The conglomerate manages not only one of the world’s largest sugar refineries, but also has interest in steel, cars, agriculture and refining. In 1998, Rebrab launched the project to create an industrial/ energy complex, Cap 2015, about 60km east of Algiers, together with a small town of 250,000 inhabitants with the ambition of generating 100,000 direct jobs and a further million indirect jobs.
\nHis involvement in Cevital comes after a challenging professional period when his operations in Algeria were attacked by terrorists in 1995. In recent years, Rebrab has begun looking outside Algeria and has been targeting distressed assets in Europe. He acquired French appliance manufacturer Groupe Brandt in 2014 and saved it from bankruptcy. Cevital has invested $200m building a Brandt plant in Algeria and Rebrab believes the country can compete on a global scale by targeting low-cost labour. “We have huge potential; we can make up for lost time very quickly,” he was quoted as saying by Forbes in early 2015.
23. Najib Mikati
\nNajib Mikati, who entered Lebanon’s fractious political scene in 1998 as minister of public works and transport, before then becoming a member of parliament representing his native northern port city of Tripoli, later served as a caretaker premier once in 2005 in the aftermath of the assassination of former premier Rafiq Hariri. He helped steer the country towards parliamentary elections in the wake of the killing before returning in 2011 to serve as premier after the government of Saad Hariri was toppled by Hezbollah and its allies. Mikati helped co-found Investcom along with his brother Taha in 1982 and was later listed on both the London and Dubai stock exchanges in 2006, in what was at the time the largest international listing of a Middle Eastern company.\nInvestcom was sold in 2006 to South Africa’s MTN Group for $5.5bn and Najib is regularly described as the richest man in Lebanon.
\nHis wealth made headlines in April last year with the staging of an extravagant $25m wedding for his son Malick. The wedding took place over three days at the lavish El Badi Palace in Marrakech. Sources said over 1,000 guests attended, including famous Lebanese fashion designer Elie Saab and Egyptian singer Amr Diab.
26. The Alghanim family
\nAlghanim Industries was launched in its modern format by Yusuf Ahmed Alghanim, who returned to Kuwait in 1932 after studying overseas. Yusuf completely revitalised the firm, signing a deal with General Motors to bring the brand into Kuwait. The company now employs over 14,000 people across 30 businesses and is present in 40 countries across the Middle East, Eastern Europe and Asia. It is a market leader in a variety of sectors, including engineering, retail, automotive sales and service, insulation and pre-engineered steel building structures, logistics and warehousing, fast moving consumer goods, food and beverage, oil and gas, office automation, advertising, insurance, consumer credit and travel. Its list of partnerships includes more than 300 global brands, including household names such as AC Delco, American Express, Avis, British Airways, British Petroleum, Cathay Pacific, Daewoo, Honda, Saint-Gobain, Toshiba and Whirlpool.
\nLast year, it struck a deal with the Wendy’s Company to expand the fast food chain brand across the Middle East. The deal is part of its aim to develop more strategic partnerships with international food and beverage franchises and build on the company's previous successful acquisition of Costa Coffee (Kuwait) in 2013.
27. Hussain Sajwani
\nHussain Sajwani is both the founder and CEO of Damac Group, the Middle East’s largest private sector luxury property developer. Sajwani started his career in the oil and gas industry, but in his heart, he was an entrepreneur. He left his job after two years, and founded a conglomerate whose activities encompass property development, insurance, manufacturing, education, securities, investment and commercial trading. You may know Damac from its luxury property portfolio. The firm regularly makes headlines across the UAE and beyond, especially for its deal with brands such as Versace, Fendi and Bugatti.\nThis year will also see one of its partnerships come to fruition with the opening of the movie-themed real estate project Damac Towers by Paramount in the fourth quarter of 2016.
\nHowever, it was images of Sajwani with Donald Trump that really landed the businessman in the press. Damac is building two Trump-branded golf courses in Dubai and when the Republican presidential frontrunner made controversial remarks that Muslims should be banned from travelling to the US, Damac, unlike some of Trump’s other Arab partners, decided to stick by their colourful partner. “We would not comment further on Mr Trump’s personal or political agenda, nor comment on the internal American political debate scene,” a Damac spokesperson said.
29. The Gargash family
\nThe Gargash family is one of Dubai’s most prominent trading families. In the automobile sector, it is the sole agent for Mercedes Benz in Dubai through Gargash Enterprises, while it also holds the franchise rights for Alfa Romeo and Saab. The fast-selling Mercedes brand, in particular, has been lucrative for the family. Elsewhere, it is also involved in electronics, real estate, insurance, industrial development and construction. Founded in the last decade of the 19th century, the firm, which was built on the back of Abdul Gafour and his nephews, quickly emerged from a small body led by the late Ali Haji Abdulla Awazi Gargash, to one of the region’s leading trading houses today. Shehab Gargash (pictured) has been particularly successful running Daman Investments, founded in 2000. Brother Dr Anwar Gargash is the UAE’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, while sister Maha is an established author.
30. The Hayek family
\nThe Swatch Group is the world’s biggest watchmaking player, with a market capitalisation of $17.22bn. It employs over 35,600 people in 50 countries and controls a portfolio of popular brands, such as Harry Winston, Blancpain, Omega, Longines and Tissot. The firm is led by chairwoman Nayla and CEO Nick (below), who took over the publicly traded firm after the death of their father, Nicolas.
\nAccording to its half year results in July 2015, the group’s net sales were up 3.6 percent to $4.252bn. Significantly, its watches and jewellery segment grew by 3.4 percent, while the Swiss watch industry as a whole saw a decline of 1.1 percent overall.
\nAnother headline move last year was also the fact that its $400m legal battle against US jeweller Tiffany & Co, over their failed joint venture to produce and market watches, was set aside by an Amsterdam court. However, the group plans to appeal the decision.
\nOn a more positive note, in November Swatch announced plans to partner with Visa to develop a smartwatch which can be used to pay for goods. The ‘pay-by-the-wrist’ Swatch Bellamy is slated to launch in early 2016.But this is only the start as Bloomberg reported that the watchmaker has 173 patents ready to roll out over the next few years.
31. Saleh Kamel
\nSaleh Kamel is the founder and chairman of Dallah Albaraka Group, a conglomerate with interests in Islamic banking, real estate development and food production. Despite a humble start to life, Kamel’s astute business style has seen him become one of the pioneers of Islamic finance. Dallah Albaraka Group now has operations in 40 countries around the world.
\nBorn in Taif, Saudi Arabia, Kamel grew up in Makkah and attended Riyadh University and went on to work at the kingdom’s Ministry of Finance. He left public office to start Dallah Establishment in the early 1960s. By the early 1980s he established the AI Baraka Investment & Development conglomerate, a holding company for many Islamic banks and financial Institutions operating according to Islamic principles in various diversified business activities all over the world.
\nOver the course of the last half-century, Kamel has helped set up some of the Arab world’s most influential Islamic banks, including Faisal Islamic Bank in Egypt and Sudan, Dubai Islamic Bank and Jordan Islamic Bank. Kamel took subsidiary Dallah Health public in late 2012, keeping a 52 percent stake. The company raised $143m to fund its expansion plans.
32. Adel Aujan
\nAdel Aujan’s story is one of home-grown success. Not content with leading the Gulf’s biggest beverage company, Aujan Industries, the chairman of the firm has been aggressively growing his offerings to different sectors, such as hospitality, real estate and packaging materials. Aujan Industries is the Middle East’s largest beverage company, with sales in 70 countries, and more than 70 percent of its revenue coming from the Gulf, Iran and Iraq.
\nIn 2011, the company announced a colossal deal to sell a minority stake in his firm to Coca-Cola for just under $1bn. In February last year, Aujan Group Holding formed two new beverage companies, the Aujan Coca-Cola Beverages Company (ACCBC) and Rani Refreshments, following investment by The Coca-Cola Company into approximately half of Aujan’s beverage business. Aujan’s juice brand, Rani, is Iran’s best-selling beverage and along with Barbican, a non-alcoholic malt beverage, which are distributed across the region through Rani Refreshments.
\nACCBC is also the licensed manufacturer in the Middle East for Vimto, a fruity, non-alcoholic drink that is hugely popular during Ramadan. About half of Vimto’s annual sales are generated during the holy month. In July last year, the ACCBC announced plans to invest $500m into the beverage industry over the following three years.
\nAujan also has a number of investments the hospitality and tourism sector, including The Oberoi Hotel in Dubai, and in a joint venture with the hotel owner, operator and investor Minor Group, Aujan owns two hotels, two resorts and a game reserve in Mozambique.Late last year, Rani Investment, the hospitality and real estate business arm of Aujan Group Holding, completed the iconic residential and office towers, Torres Rani, which is built along the oceanfront of Mozambique’s capital, Maputo. A twin tower development, Torres Rani comprises over 71,000 square metres of floor space, with 181 fully furnished and equipped apartments and 22,000 square metres of offices.
35. Othman Benjelloun
\nBanking and finance
\nBusinessman Othman Benjelloun, who made much of his wealth from his banking enterprise, is CEO of BMCE Bank or Banque Marocaine du Commerce Extérieur, which has over 500 branches in Morocco and an active presence in 20 African countries. Benjelloun received an education in engineering at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne in Switzerland. During the 1960s and 1970s, Othman would make strategic alliances with global automobile manufacturers Volvo and General Motors.
\nBenjelloun’s father was a large shareholder in an insurance company that he would take over in 1988, turning it into RMA Watanya. After purchasing the insurance company, Benjelloun expanded the business venture into the banking industry. Through his holding company FinanceCom, Benjelloun also the majority shareholder of insurance company RMA Watanya, and has a minority stake in Meditelecom, Morocco's second largest mobile phone operator.
\nHis FinanceCom Asset Management firm has invested in companies in Nigeria, South Africa, and Ghana, among other countries. BMCE’s planned new headquarters in Casablanca Financial City is a 33-storey tower shaped like a rocket at a reported cost of $150m. Not only is Benjelloun his country’s richest person, but he is also Africa’s 12th richest.
36. Fayez Sarofim
\n$2.1bn (New entry)
\nBanking and finance
\nOctogenarian Sarofim is still very active in his role as the chairman and CEO of his money management firm, Fayez Sarofim & Co. The son of a wealthy Egyptian cotton grower, Sarofim earned his degrees from the University of California and Harvard (MBA). At the age of 30 he founded Fayez Sarofim & Co investment bank in 1958, with $1m capital from his father.
\nKnown as the ‘The Sphinx’ - reportedly for his quiet demeanour – he has said there’s a strict policy when it comes to amassing his $2.1bn fortune: buy stock in large companies and hold onto them through the good times and the bad. He believes that the top three companies in an industry will make the most money, therefore provide the best return. Sarofim bets on stocks of companies with long-term track records and solid visions for future growth. He made his fortune with long-term investments in Philip Morris, Coca-Cola, and Procter & Gamble.
\nToday the company manages investment portfolios for a wide range of clients including pension plans, foundations, endowments and individuals, with $30bn in assets under management. Sarofim is also known for his philanthropy, pledging $70m toward a $450m redevelopment of the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, as well as a number of health institutions in the Texan city. He also reportedly a supporter of US presidential candidate Jeb Bush. He got married in January 2015, at age of 85, to Susan Krohn.
37. Wafic Said
\n$2.2bn (New entry)
\nBanking and finance
\nSyrian-born Wafic Said arrived in London to help his brother run a kebab shop. His life was to change after he befriended two young Saudi princes, Bandar and Khalid, and later helped manage their financial affairs. He had started his financial career at UBS in 1963, before establishing a project development and construction management business in Saudi Arabia in 1969.
\nOver the next two decades his group took on some of the largest public sector projects in the kingdom and he became a billionaire through his connections with Saudi’s royal family, acting as an advisor and consultant on many major infrastructure projects.Said, who has Saudi nationality but lives in London, is still best-known for Al Yamamah — the colossal Saudi fighter jets contract that is Britain’s biggest ever export deal worth an estimated $60bn.
\nSaid, who now splits his time between the UK, Paris and Monaco, is the chairman of Said Holding Limited, a Bermuda-based holding company with investments in Europe, North America and the Far East. The firm has a diverse portfolio of investments including fixed income, quoted equities, hedge funds, private equity and real estate. In 1996, he donated £23m ($35m) to help establish the Said Business School at the University of Oxford and a further £50m ($73m) of support has followed since.
\nHe has also established Said Foundation in memory of his son Karim. It offers scholarships and training opportunities for talented young Syrians, Jordanians, Lebanese and Palestinians, mainly to study in the UK.
40. The Chalhoub family
\n$2bn (New entry)
\nA new entry to the Arabian Business Rich List, the Chalhoub family’s net worth has risen along with the growth of its luxury goods business. Their Dubai-based Chalhoub Group operates 280 fashion and cosmetics lines across the Middle East, including Chanel, Louis Vuitton and Christian Louboutin, and acts as a franchise partner for other international brands including Louis Vuitton, Michael Kors, Lacoste, Sephora, Fendi and CH. The group also operates 600 stores for its own retail brands across the region, including Wojooh, Tanagra and Level, and has around 11,000 employees working across 14 countries. Last summer, it announced plans to relocate its head office operations to Dubai Design District, the new fashion and design free zone in the emirate. In 2014 it opened the region’s largest department store, covering 200,000 sq ft, at Abu Dhabi’s Yas Mall.
\nFounded in Damascus, Syria in 1955 with Michel Chalhoub at the helm, the firm began with the rights to sell three French brands, Baccarat, Christofle and Jean Patou. Sons Anthony and Patrick (pictured) took over as co-CEOs in 2011. At the age of 42, Patrick was awarded the prestigious French Medal of Knight of the Order of Merit. He lives in Dubai with his wife and children.
41. Mohammed Al Fayed
\nThe Egyptian-born tycoon made his name through a series of high-profile acquisitions, including of the Ritz Hotel in Paris and the UK’s House of Fraser group, which at the time owned luxury department store Harrods. After selling Harrods to Qatar Holding in 2010 for a reported $2.4bn, 86-year-old Al Fayed moved into online retailing by taking over discount fashion website Cocosa and a stake in designer brand Issa, which is now managed by his daughter Camilla. In 2013 he sold Fulham Football Club for $300m, shortly after the sale of his lease on 75 Rockefeller in New York City. He still owns the Ritz Hotel in Paris, while his children — daughters Camilla and Jasmine, and sons Omar and Karim — are starting to take over other aspects of the family business.
42. Nadmi Auchi
\nBritish-Iraqi businessman Nadmi Auchi is chairman of the Anglo-Arab Organisation and founder and chairman of Luxembourg-based General Mediterranean Holding (GMH), a conglomerate of 120 companies with global interests spanning banking and finance, real estate, construction, hotels, industrial, pharmaceuticals, communications, aviation and IT. The group’s consolidated assets now exceed $4bn, it says, and include hotel holdings in Luxembourg, Amman, Beirut, Tangier and Tunis. It has around 11,000 staff across the world.
\nAuchi was once a middleman for oil companies in the Gulf, but settled in Britain after fleeing Saddam Hussein’s Iraq in the 1980s. He owns Team Lebanon of the A1 Grand Prix Race series, and a stake in Egyptian billionaire Naguib Sawiri’s Orascom Telecom. He has been honoured for his services to the business community by the British Queen Elizabeth II, and Pope John Paul II, among others.
43. Saad Hariri
\nSaad Hariri is a Lebanese-Saudi billionaire who served as the prime minister of Lebanon from 2009 until 2011. He is the second son of Rafic Hariri, the former Lebanese prime minister who was assassinated in 2005. Raised in Saudi Arabia, Hariri graduated from the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University in Washington DC and managed part of his father’s business until he moved into politics. He is now general manager of Saudi Oger, the family’s $9bn construction company headquartered in Riyadh and continues to build up the business.
\nHe also holds stakes in other large firms including Solidere, the contractor that has rebuilt much of Beirut. The Oger Telecommunications subsidiary provides telecoms services across Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Turkey, Jordan and South Africa but it was sold to Saudi Telecom Company (STC) for a reported $2.56bn in 2008. Hariri is married with three children and has lived between Paris and Jeddah since 2011. He is reportedly friends with former French president Jacques Chirac and lives in a Paris apartment owned by the Hariri family.
44. Mohammed Al Barwani
\nOil and gas, diversified
\nOmani national Mohammed Al Barwani is the founder and chairman of MB Group, which he launched as MB Trading in 1982. A qualified petroleum engineer, Al Barwani started MB Holding by providing products to companies such as state-owned Petroleum Development Oman (PDO) and US giant Occidental Petroleum. He was then asked to acquire an oil rig for PDO and later secured a contract for three more rigs. From then on, his company went from strength to strength. It is operational in 20 countries and has more than 6,000 staff. Energy remains the dominant part of its business and its subsidiaries have interests in oilfield services, oil and gas exploration and production, engineering, mining and trading.
\nHowever, the group also owns stakes in various Omani firms representing sectors such as banking, risk management, insurance, hospitality and mining. MB Holding had revenues of $1.2bn in 2013, according to Forbes. Al Barwani also runs Musstir, a real estate developer with stakes in hotels in Oman, and owns Dutch luxury yacht manufacturer Oceanco. He has sat on the board of companies including National Bank of Oman, Taageer Investment & Leasing and Shell Oman Marketing. His five children are all active in MB Holding.
45. Fouad Makhzoumi
\n$1.6bn (new entry)
\nFouad Makhzoumi has been executive chairman of UAE-based pipe manufacturing and trading business Future Pipe Industries Group since 2003. He is also the executive chairman of parent company Future Group Holdings since 1982. The Lebanese-born billionaire was educated at the International College in Beirut and obtained degrees in chemical engineering from Michigan Technological University in the US. Under his leadership, the Future Pipe Industries Group has grown into one of the world’s largest producers of composite pipe systems with subsidiaries in four continents.
\nThrough Future Group Holdings, Makhzoumi also oversees a diverse portfolio of investments in sectors spanning engineering, industrial, research, real estate, security, information, multimedia and publishing. Together, these companies employ more than 5,000 people across the world. He was appointed a Commander of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Italy in 2013, and received the Socrates Oxford Annual Award for 2014 by the European Business Assembly in Vienna, among other accolades. In 1997, he founded the Makhzoumi Foundation, a not-for-profit organisation that provides vocational training, healthcare and micro-credit to disadvantaged people in Lebanon.
46. Robert Mouawad
\n$1.5bn (new entry)
\nThe third generation boss of luxury jewellery retailer Mouawad, Robert Mouawad handed over the reins of the family business to his sons Fred and Pascal in 2010. As CEO, the Lebanese diamond dealer took the decision in the early 1970s to expand the business from a firm of luxury watchmakers, established in Beirut by his grandfather in 1890, to fine jewellery.
\nSince then, he has collected and designed jewellery that has been worn by celebrities from Angelina Jolie to Gisele Bundchen. The company’s first store in the Gulf opened in Dubai Mall in November 2010 and it has a total of 20 stores across the Middle East, Asia, Switzerland and Los Angeles. Many in the industry claim the Mouawad gem collection is one of the finest in the world — it includes the L’Incomparable diamond necklace, which contains a $55m flawless centerpiece diamond.
\nMouawad left the company to focus on his real estate group, the Robert Mouawad Foundation, and his museum. He owns an extensive property portfolio that includes the Hôtel de Vendôme in Paris, the Grand Hotel du Cap Ferrat on France’s Cote d’Azur, and the Roumieh Palace in Lebanon. He is currently developing luxury homes on Reef Island in Bahrain, where he resides.
47. Aziz Akkhannouch
\n$1.4bn (new entry)
\nAziz Akhannouch is the majority owner of Moroccan conglomerate Akwa Group, formerly Groupe Afriquia, headquartered in Casablanca. Through its public-listed subsidiaries Afriquia Gas and Maghreb Oxygene it has interests in oil, gas and chemicals, and has other businesses spanning real estate, telecoms, media and hotels — the latter through Accor Group, which owns Ibis and Ibis Budget. Of the petrochemicals subsidiaries, Afriquia SMDC is Morocco’s main filling station operator with more than 400 AfriquiaGaz stations. Afrilub manufactures motor oil while Petrolog and Petrosud import and sell petroleum.
\nAkwa Group was founded by Akhannouch’s father. He took on a business partner, Ahmed Wakrim, whose son now oversees the day-to-day management of the group while Akhannouch serves as Morocco’s Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries. Akhannouch’s wife, Salwa Idrissi, is the granddaughter of Haj Ahmed Belfiqih, a Moroccan businessman who made his fortune in the Moroccan tea trade in the 1960s. She runs her own company, Aksal Group, a mall developer and owner of the Moroccan franchises for Gap, Zara, and Galeries Lafayette, among other fashion brands.
48. Miloud Chaabi
\n$1.4bn (new entry)
\nMiloud Chaabi is the founder of Ynna Holding and owner of the Riad Mogador hotel chain and Aswak Assalam supermarkets in Morocco. He began working life as a goat herder aged 15, until he had saved enough money to start his first construction company in 1948. Fifteen years later he launched a ceramics company and later bought the Yeyeena Group, which became one of the most powerful groups in Morocco. From there he continued to diversify into electronics, retail and petrochemicals, and eventually bought the Riad Mogador hotel chain in 1999. He is also the majority owner of Moroccan chemicals manufacturer SNEP.
\nChaabi is active in politics, serving as MP for Essaouira in 2007, while his daughter Asma was mayor of Essaouira from 2003 to 2009. His son Mohcine is a parliamentary delegate within the Environmental and Durable Development political party, along with his father. Chaabi’s charity, the Miloud Chaabi Foundation, is one of the largest philanthropic organisations in Morocco. Ynna Holding is reportedly embroiled in a legal battle over alleged breach of contract. In 2014 a Moroccan court ruled in favour of the claimant, a French cement company, but Chaabi disputes the ruling, according to Moroccan media.
49. Ayman Asfari
\nyrian-born businessman Ayman Asfari is CEO of British oil services giant Petrofac. He bought the company in 2001, floated it in 2005 and it is now one of the fastest growing FTSE 100 businesses, with more than 17,000 employees worldwide and offices in the UK, Sharjah, India and Malaysia. The company provides a range of services to oil groups, including constructing rigs, processing plants and other oilfield facilities, as well as training staff.
\nAt the end of 2014 the company issued a profits warning and saw its shares plunge 26 percent as a result. However, shares in Petrofac jumped more than 5 percent in December 2015 after the company said it had more orders than ever before, despite the falling oil price. Asfari took his first role in construction in Oman in his early 20s to fund an MBA at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. This turned out to be unnecessary as he progressed to become managing director and a millionaire within his own firm.
\nAs well as heading up Petrofac, he is a member of the board of trustees of the American University of Beirut, founder and chairman of the Asfari Foundation and a member of the Senior Panel of Advisors of Chatham House in London. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering in 2014.
50. Mohammed Ibrahim
\nTelecoms entrepreneur and philanthropist Mo Ibrahim founded Celtel, which operated in several sub-Saharan African countries until its sale to Mobile Telecommunications Company (MTC), now Kuwait’s Zain Group, in 2005 for $3.4bn. Although Ibrahim remained on the board of Celtel, he set up the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, which monitors the quality of governance in Africa, and the Mo Ibrahim Index, designed to evaluate nations’ performance. He is a member of the Africa Regional Advisory Board of the London Business School.
\nIbrahim was born in North Sudan and started out working at the country’s postal service. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from the University of Alexandria but moved to the UK to get a master’s degree from the University of Bradford and a PhD in mobile communications from the University of Birmingham. While working as an academic at the University of Greenwich, he was asked to join BT as a technical director and engineer advising on the launch of the company’s first mobile service. In 1989 he formed his own company, MSI, with $50,000 in savings, and sold it a few years later for about $1bn. He lives in Monaco.