Revealed: The World's Richest Arabs 2016 - Energy
Welcome to the 12th edition of the Arabian Business Rich List, our annual countdown of the 50 wealthiest Arabs.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.