Revealed: The World's Richest Arabs 2016 - Construction and Property
Welcome to the 12th edition of the Arabian Business Rich List, our annual countdown of the 50 wealthiest Arabs.
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Jadawel, one of Al Jaber’s firms, about the lender’s allegedly fraudulent attempts to gain a Saudi banking licence was out of date.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.
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.
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.