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