REVEALED: Gulf's 50 Richest Indians
This year's top entry surged to the top of the list with a $4.4bn fortune
1. Feroz Allana
\nFrom bagels to ketchup and from cake mix to margarine, Feroz Allana’s IFFCO is one of the largest and most successful food manufacturing and distribution houses in the Gulf. Established in 1975, IFFCO operates under the following business segments: fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG), commodities, oils, frozen foods, and institutional services. IFFCO also manufactures related derivatives and intermediates associated with these business segments. IFFCO brands include London Dairy, Tiffany, Noor, Rahma, Igloo and Al Baker.
\nBut IFFCO is only one part of the Allana success story. Back in India, Allana Sons Ltd is a truly global giant, with interests in food production, marine products, retail and pet foods, as well as distribution of a series of products.
\nHis brother Irfan Allana is the chairman of the Allana Group, but Feroz runs the firm’s Gulf operations. His vision and business acumen not only drives his business, but also ensures that his expertise is liberally employed by the federal government and various state governments of India, in the development of long-term plans for exports from India in general and agri-based products in particular.
2. Raghuvinder Kataria
\nReal Estate and telecoms
\nRagu Kataria is still making money, and is still proud to be the most influential non-resident Indian that you probably won’t have heard of. The billionaire businessman keeps a low profile, working out of his home in Emirates Hills. But that doesn’t mean he isn’t doing big deals. Back in June 2009, he quietly acquired two buildings in Emaar Square — including Building 5, which houses the Dubai headquarters of HSBC, and Building 3 — for a total purchase value of approximately AED750m ($204.15m). The value of that AED750m investment has increased by at least 70 percent in the past four years.
\nEarly in his professional career, he led the formation of JT Telecom — a joint venture between Telia of Sweden and Thailand-based Jasmine Telecom — that pioneered mobile telephony in India. That JV company later merged with Sunil Mittal’s Bharti Enterprises to provide coverage across the world’s second-most populous nation. Today, Bharti Airtel is the number one provider in India and the third-largest in-country mobile operator in the world. As the driving force behind the launch and subsequent privatisation of mobile services in the country, Kataria remains a founding shareholder in that company — which now serves nearly 250 million subscribers across the globe.
\nIn addition to property investments in Dubai, Kataria also owns a wide range of real estate assets in both India and Europe. He is also a major investor in the financial services sector, with strategic stakes in firms such as Dhanalaxmi Bank and Destimoney, a brokerage firm in India.
3. Yusuffali MA
\nFood and clothes have made Yusuffali one of the richest Indians on the planet with a fortune of $2.6bn. Not bad for a virtually penniless man who made his way to the UAE in 1973 on a small boat to work in his uncle’s tiny distribution company.
\nMake no mistake: 40 years on, Yusuffali has definitely hit the big time. The numbers are impressive: 104 stores in the Middle East, 500,000 shoppers a day, and a whopping 32 percent share of the grocery retail sector. The company also has interests in manufacturing and food processing, food imports and exports, cold stores and warehousing as well as logistics and trade. LuLu International Exchange is one of the biggest exchanges in the world, carrying out roughly 6 percent of all global remittances.
\nThrough Line Investment & Properties LLC it has also moved into shopping malls and real estate projects, opening up 12 malls in five years with plans for seven more, as well as mixed-use projects in the UAE, Oman, Bahrain, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and India. EMKE opened India’s biggest shopping mall, in Kochi, in March last year. With $400m of investment planned for the sub-continent — “a huge market” — it includes a five-star Marriott Hotel, adjacent to the Lulu Shopping Mall, as well as India’s biggest convention centre and a five-star Hyatt hotel in Bolghati, Kochi, and another convention centre in Calicut.
5. BR Shetty
\nBR Shetty’s fortune just keeps on growing, boosted by the hugely successful listing of his integrated healthcare company in the UK.
\nHis NMC Group is considering opening up hospitals in Saudi Arabia and Qatar, with further expansion across the MENA region once political stability returns. In an interview with Arabian Business, Shetty said the company could use cash generated from the business.
\n“In about three years’ time, we plan to open one hospital in Doha and one in Saudi. In Saudi they give the land but also give some money. We have been approached by so many people, but we don’t have anything planned yet. When the political situation improves we might look at the MENA region,” he said.
\nTwo years ago, Dr Shetty decided to float 30 percent of the healthcare side of the business on the London Stock Exchange (LSE) in a bid to finance its ambitious $330m expansion plans. It raised $187m from the IPO. That decision has been vindicated, with the firm’s stock soaring. It was the fifth-best performing stock on the LSE last year, as international investors sought to buy into the fast-growing UAE healthcare story.
6. LT Pagarani
\nThe Choithrams supermarket brand was originally set up in West Africa in 1944 by Thakurdas Choithram Pagarani.
\nThe elder Pagarani opened the first grocery in Sierra Leone and over the last seven decades Choithram & Sons has developed into an international company spanning Europe, North America, Africa as well as the Gulf.
\nThree decades ago Choithrams established its first UAE store and now has a total of 25 across the emirates as well as the GCC.
\nToday, the firm is led by LT Pagarani, who continues to expand the brand across the region. In 2010, Pagarani confirmed that Choithrams planned to almost double the number of shops across the UAE and open smaller convenience stores.
\nAside from retail, the company also has interests in food services, hospitality, garments and household appliances, and logistics and distribution.
7. Tony Jashanmal
\nFrom humble beginnings with just one store in Iraq in 1919, the Jashanmal Group has grown into one of the most successful retail conglomerates in the region. Headed by Tony Jashanmal, the firm oversees the retail and wholesale trading of high-end luxury and consumer goods and services.
\nIn the last year, the group has rolled out new franchise deals, including with British clothier LKBennett and Kate Spade, a jewellery and accessories brand from New York.
9. Dr Azad Moopen
\nAster DM Healthcare
\nDr Azad Moopen’s spacious office in Dubai’s Business Bay district is laden with achievements, accolades and awards collected since he arrived in the UAE from his native Kerala more than 25 years ago.
\nSince founding DM Healthcare in 1987, chairman Moopen has overseen the company’s expansion from a few small clinics to an empire of hospitals, medical centres and pharmacies across not only most of the GCC countries, but India too.
\nThe Dubai-based firm is now one of the region’s largest private healthcare providers.
\nUnder the corporate brand Aster, the group now employs more than 5,000 people and anticipated revenues of $500m for the 2012 financial year, about 30 percent to 40 percent growth compared to 2011. Moopen, who recently turned 60 years old, says that DM Healthcare is looking to expand aggressively not only in the immediate region, but possibly worldwide in the coming years.
\nThis year, Arabian Business has been granted access to detailed statements from Dr Moopen’s company. As a result, our valuation of his worth is significantly higher than our estimate last year. His 57 percent stake in his company, which has an enterprise value of around $1.8bn, forms by far the biggest portion of his wealth.
\nHe also has a 90 percent stake in an educational institute in India, as well as personal immovable assets of $50m.
13. PNC Menon
\nPNC Menon didn’t mince his words when he told us about his involvement in Dubai’s Mohammed bin Rashid City project last year. Almost three decades after his entrepreneurial journey began, and at the age of 65, the founder of the Sobha Group of companies says it is “the most exciting thing to have happened in my life”. Menon says in terms of land size, the 4.2 million sq m District One, which is being built in a joint venture with Dubai developer Meydan as the first phase of the overall city, was the biggest single project the company had ever embarked on.
\n“It’s a dream project for me,” he says. “Both of us, we are so committed to this project and we are making sure this is one of the best projects on earth.”
\nFor Menon to be as enthusiastic today about the company’s projects says much about the man whose rags-to-riches tale is the stuff of business legend.
14. The Khimji Family
\nKhimji Ramdas Group of Companies
\nThe Khimji family is the driving force behind the Omani business conglomerate Khimji Ramdas, which operates across a wide range of sectors including consumer, infrastructure and industrial sectors. The connection between Oman and the family began over 140 years ago, when Ramdas Thackersay relocated from Mandvi to Muscat, following in the footsteps of dhow merchants who had plied their trade between India and Sur in the early 19th century.
\nSince then, the Khimjis have become mainstays of the Omani community, with 77-year-old Kanaksi Khimji taking on Omani citizenship and the coveted title of sheikh from the Sultan of Oman. Currently there are six main partner-directors who run the company. These are: Kanaksi Gokaldas Khimji, the most senior director; Anil Mathradas Khimji, responsible for global brands; Ajay Mathradas Khimji, who handles the Nutro biscuit brand, for a sister firm of KR, based in the UAE; Pankaj Kanaksi Khimji (above); Nailesh Kanaksi Khimji, responsible for Roto Packaging and SFIC, both sister firms in the UAE; and Hritik Ajay Khimji.
15. Paras Shahdadpuri
\n quarter of a century since setting up shop in the UAE, Paras Shahdadpuri is still going strong. A former diplomat who quit his job with India’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and started his own business in 1988, Shahdadpuri is no stranger to taking risks. Currently chairing the 12 companies of the Nikai Group, he has built up a formidable brand that competes with major Japanese and Korean rivals. Nikai now has a range of around 400 products with over 15 million consumers in about 60 countries. It has become a household name and it has earned Shahdadpuri the nickname ‘Mr Reliable’. Shahdadpuri is also president of the Indian Business & Professional Council, a role he relishes by promoting Indian companies and investment abroad.
\nHe was awarded the prestigious Bharat Shiromani award in 2005 in recognition of his many achievements.
16. Rizwan Sajan
\nAnother self-made man, Rizwan Sajan’s company is heading for turnover of nearly $700m this year, and a target of $1bn by 2015. It’s a tall order, but don’t bet against the man who staked his life savings on a building materials company he founded in 1991 called the Danube Group.
\nTwo decades later and testament to Sajan’s determination sits his Bentley, parked proudly in front of the firm’s Jebel Ali headquarters, a vast property portfolio and a company that has 38 offices across the Gulf, India and China, and employs over 1,800 people. Next up for Sajan is the launch of a property development arm; he told local media earlier this month that Danube’s first project would be a mid-tier residential project in Dubai, worth as much as $136m.
17. JR Gangaramani
\nAl Fara’a Group
\nAs co-founder of the privately-held Al Fara’a Group in 1980, Dr JR Gangaramani has been involved in numerous projects across the UAE and beyond. Under his building arm — Al Fara’a General Contracting — he is currently associated with government and private projects worth more than AED1bn ($272m). His appetite for being at the forefront of development in the UAE and further afield remains undiminished. Gangaramani’s love affair with the UAE began when he arrived from India in 1974, after completing an engineering degree at Mumbai University three years earlier. He started his industry career as a project engineer on the Dubai World Trade Centre, at the time the tallest “hi-tech” building in the Middle East and a signal of things to come.
\nThe firm is renowned for its vast range of services, comprising construction, ready mix, electro mechanical services and interiors. Its project portfolio has come to include hospitals, bridges, towers, malls and villas, and has 18,000 employees in the UAE and India. In 2009, he founded the Al Fara’a Foundation, which aims to harness the collective capacity of the Al Fara’a Group of Companies in a focused manner and efficiently meet stakeholder needs with a deliberate and value seeking approach. The approach is based on an integrated model comprising the five pillars of care, empowerment, growth, challenge and nurture.
18. Kabir Mulchandani
\nIndian business tycoon Kabir Mulchandani is the ultimate Dubai comeback kid. Arrested in 2009 on accusations of real estate fraud, he was eventually cleared of all charges by a Dubai court in December 2010 and despite the Dubai property market being on its knees, he set up a new property venture, SKA1. He claimed he was going to come back bigger and better and strike some major multibillion-dollar deals.
\nLast year, Mulchandani’s claims turned into reality via the launch of his new $1bn Viceroy Dubai Palm Jumeirah project, which will have 481 hotel rooms and suites, 221 apartments, ten top-notch restaurants and a prime location as plot number one on the iconic man-made island.\n“It has been tough. It hasn’t been a walk in the park, but if you believe in what you are doing and do good things, people will see it,” Mulchandani told us last year. “At the end of the day, I have always been completely transparent. I open the books and show people all the legal documents and people like that approach.”
\nFrom languishing in a Dubai jail to launching a new property company in the midst of the real estate downturn, Mulchandani is now one of a host of private developers back riding the latest Dubai property wave, which has seen more than a dozen megaprojects announced in the space of a couple of months. His new project arguably makes him the hottest ticket in town.
19. Amit Dhamani
\nhere are no shortage of jewellery tycoons in this list, and one of the biggest is Amit Dhamani. The family business has long been one of the most successful in the industry, and famed for its “Loose Stones” range. The company also controls the sourcing and polishing of all its jewels, and has successfully expanded into a Men’s Collection. This includes a range of watches featuring white diamonds, and a huge range of bold rings and accessories for men. Dhamani’s passion is clear; his innovative work has earned him a BAREEQ Award for following Good Jewellery and Trade Practices by the Government of Dubai. In addition, Dhamani is also the youngest person to sit on the board of governors for the GIA, is the president of The Harvard OPM 39 Alumni, on the board of directors of the GIA Alumni chapter in the Gulf and a member of the board of directors of the NCDIA; he also served on the board of directors of Dubai Gold and Jewellery Group from 2006 till 2010.
20. Dhananjay Datar
\nAl Adil Trading
\nrom struggling to put food on the table to feed his family to driving a custom-made Rolls-Royce, Dhananjay Datar, managing director of the import-export firm the Al Adil Group, is the protagonist in a major business success story. Datar is responsible for turning Al Adil Trading, a small grocery store established by his father in 1984, into a major spice company that enjoys a presence across the GCC and beyond. Products are largely sourced from his Mumbai-based firm, Masala King Exports. He received the Best Enterprise Award from the Europe Business Assembly at the Oxford Summit of Leaders this year and has prestigious customers such as Dubai Duty Free and five-star hotels.
21. Yogesh Mehta
\nYogesh Mehta does a very good job of hiding just how successful he is. Calm, laid-back, attentive, the Petrochem boss, has a fair amount on his plate.
\n“You know we are now the fastest-growing chemical company in the Middle East? We are also the largest chemical distributors in the Middle East, and the twelfth biggest in the world?” he told us last year.
\nMost people in the industry already know that, and they know Mehta pretty well: the company he started from scratch raked in $1.1bn in revenues last year, with his profit margin in excess of 3 percent — not bad for an industry that is still feeling the winds of recession, and where doing anything over 2.5 percent is a sizeable achievement. But despite the good figures, revenues slipped by 7 percent with Mehta telling us 2013 was a “challenging” year and not to expect a real bounce back until 2015. The company has offices in Dubai, Mumbai, Egypt, Antwerp and London, plus an office and distribution facility in Singapore and China — with a new office just opened in Taiwan.
\nMehta’s US-educated, 25-year-old son Rohan also joined the family business last year and is being groomed to eventually take over. Never one to sit back, Mehta is also due to launch his own events company “Raging Tigers” in April.
22. Asgar Shakoor Patel
\nHouse of Patels
\nBanking and Finance
\nHaving made his money setting up one of India’s biggest transport and logistics conglomerates, Asgar Shakoor Patel travelled to Dubai with the cash needed to kick-start his own ventures, ironically benefitting from the earnings of his fellow Asian expats who typically worked as low-paid labourers. Wall St Exchange Centre became the UAE’s largest and oldest foreign exchange and money transfer company and was a lifeline for many who came to rely on Dubai to support their families back home.
\nPatel says he could sniff the money-making opportunities in the Middle East from 2,000km away. “I established the exchange centre to help the increasing number of Indians remitting money from Dubai to India,” he told us last year. “Dubai was just building up so labourers had to send the money back to India. Being in the roadways business I didn’t see any difference to transporting money. One thing went by wire and one thing went by truck.”
\nPatel spread the firm to the UK and Hong Kong, as well as other UAE emirates and used the profits to branch into real estate, amassing a large portfolio and creating property advisor group House of Patels.
23. Vasu Shroff
\nFounded by Vasu Shroff in 1952, Regal Traders was set up on the banks of the Dubai creek, to deal in wholesaling and indenting of fine fabrics from Japan and India. A pioneer in the region, it soon grew to become the flagship company of the Regal Group, setting up its first retail chain outlet in Dubai. Best known as one of the UAE’s largest fabric retail chains, Regal offers an extensive range of fashionable fabrics from the world over and is the preferred source of quality fabrics to the UAE’s leading couture houses.
25. Surender Singh Kandhari
\nAl Dobowi Group
\nSurender Singh Kandhari’s significant cash pile is thanks to his ownership of the huge Al Dobowi Group, one of the largest tyre distribution companies in the world. The company was formed in 1976 and has since branched out into batteries, lubricants, conveyor belt systems and technical rubber products. Also renowned for his philanthropy, he contributed nearly $20m to build the first ‘legal’ gurdwara in the United Arab Emirates. It is built on land donated by the ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum. The structure is over 100,000 sq ft and has served over 40,000 worshippers in a single day. The gurdwara had its opening ceremony in 2012.
26. Nilesh Ved
\nFrom a long line of successful entrepreneurs, Nilesh Ved’s family has run the largest gold bullion trading firm in Dubai since 1904. He became intrigued by the American retail environment after graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration degree at Boston University.
\nVed now heads up the UAE’s Apparel Group, which has over 620 stores and more than 50 international brands under its umbrella.
\nVed was instrumental in 1999 in bringing the US clothing brand Ninewest from America, and launched the first stores in Lamcy Plaza in Dubai. He is also the man behind the launch of the Tim Hortons restaurant chain, which has taken the Gulf by storm over the last couple of years.
\nSo what’s next? Quite a lot, apparently. In November, Ved signed a deal with a division of LuLu International to open up 40 new stores in Abu Dhabi malls.
27. Joy Alukkas
\nThe owner of the well-known and award-winning jewellery firm Joyalukkas Group, Joy Alukkas has certainly earned himself a solid reputation as a successful entrepreneur.
\nAlukkas, who set up the $1bn global conglomerate almost a quarter of a century ago, has grown the business to become a key player in the Middle East jewellery market, with as many as 80 stores across the region, and 5,000 staff. Founded in 1987, the company has over 10 million customers and Joyalukkas has the distinction of being awarded the Dubai Quality Awards Certification by HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Ruler of Dubai. Significantly, the jewellery retail chain is the only jeweller to have been awarded the Superbrand status in the UAE for four consecutive years, from 2010 to 2013.
\nFrom building homes to helping flood victims, blood donations or helping expats with financial assistance to return home, the group also believes in being there when needed the most.
28. Manohar Lahori
\nManohar Lahori first set up his company in Mumbai in 1974 before moving its operations to Dubai in 1985. What a good move that turned out to be. Now based in Jebel Ali, the group oversees a vast number of companies in luxury kitchens, office solutions, interiors and facilities management. It has moved from a single operation to over 20 companies. Back in 1985 he set up the first manufacturing plant in JAFZA with just 100 machines, and two years later repeated this in Fujairah with 400 machines. He and the company have never looked back.
\nGroup Executive Director
\nadhu Koneru leads Trimex International, a global minerals and metals conglomerate in UAE. Among his notable achievements are the setting up of Trimex International FZE’s first overseas mineral processing plant at Jebel Ali in 1998. His expertise is regularly sought by the Dubai and Ras Al Khaimah governments in developing initiatives between India and the UAE and he is instrumental in forging corporate relationships with leading industrial giants in the region. As Trimex’s executive director, his entrepreneurialism and assertive leadership were instrumental in developing the strategic partnerships and cogent blueprint that ultimately led to the launch of MEC Holdings, which includes MEC Coal, MEC Infrastructure, MEC Agriculture, and the MEC Foundation.
31. Thumbay Moideen
\nBy 1997, Thumbay Moideen had been travelling to the UAE on business for five years. A third-generation businessman, he was well aware of the Gulf state’s growing acumen for fuelling money-making opportunities.
\nBut it was not until a chance meeting with the ruler of Ajman, Sheikh Humaid Bin Rashid Al Nuaimi, that the middle-aged father of two decided it was time to move.
\n“It was an accidental meeting with His Highness,” Moideen told Arabian Business last year. “Back home my family is into hospitals and education — these two industries are very important for a country. So during one of my discussions with His Highness I was highlighting that you need these few things, they’re very important for a country.
\n“And I said my family is into schools and hospitals, so he said ‘why don’t you do something like this [in Ajman]’.
\n“I got a shock, really. He said ‘I’ll support you and encourage you’, so I jumped at it.
\nThumbay Group, owned entirely by Thumbay, now has three GMC Hospitals, one each in Ajman, Dubai and Fujairah, as well as the GMC Medical & Dental Specialty Centre in Sharjah. Further hospitals in Dubai, Ajman and Ras al Khaimah are under construction and Thumbay says a large hospital being built in Bangalore will become a teaching hub in India.
32. Khurshid Vakil
\nMarina Exotic Home Interiors
\nNot content with taking the Gulf by storm, Khurshid Vakil has set his sites on his native India. The founder of the Marina Exotic Home Interiors brand said last month that he would be investing just shy of $100m on opening 50 stores in some of the biggest cities on the subcontinent.
\nConceptualised in the UAE in 1998 following extensive research, Marina Home Interiors fills a niche within the market. Sourced from over 20 countries in four continents, Vakil says the success of the brand is his understanding of the trends, likes and dislikes of his customers.
\n“We have gone from being a furniture retailer to a leader in home and lifestyle fashion,” Vakil said recently. “The company has not changed in recent years, but has remained in sync with the changing environment.”
37. Maghanmal Pancholia
\nArabian Trading Agency
\nMost of our entries have been present in the Gulf for a long time, but few have built up the respect from all parts of the community enjoyed by Maghanmal Pancholia.
\nHaving resided in Dubai for more than seven decades, he has achieved an admirable number of accolades and senior appointments.
\nIt began for Pancholia in 1957, when he recognised the need for electricity in the emirate and decided to set up a firm to buy a generator and supply electricity to the markets around Dubai Creek. This made him the first man to bring electricity to the emirate, and he was later appointed the director of Dubai Electricity by the late Ruler of Dubai, HH Sheikh Rashid Bin Saeed Al Maktoum. He has also had roles with the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Al Maktoum Hospital.
38. Lachmandas Pagarani
\nAl Maya Group
\nLachmandas Pagarani took ownership of a standalone grocery store in Ajman in 1982. That store marked the beginning of the Al Maya Group’s operations. Today, the firm has 33 outlets in the UAE and another four in Muscat, Oman, all of which are reported to account for up to 70 percent of the group’s overall business. The rest is covered by wholesale operations and franchises like the UK retailer Bhs and Borders bookstore. As chairman, Pagarani has less of a role in the company’s day-to-day running, but that doesn’t mean he has any less influence.
39. Ramesh Ramakrishnan
\nRamesh Ramakrishnan runs a firm that boast three quarters of a billion dollars in turnover every year. The Transworld Group has been growing at a 20-25 percent rate in recent years — despite the downturn — as clients take advantage of its multi-faceted shipping and logistics solutions.
Headquartered in the Jebel Ali Free Zone, Transworld also has offices in the US, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Kuwait, Sri Lanka and Pakistan, alongside 28 Indian offices. Ramakrishnan took on the role of chairman after his father, who founded the company in 1977, passed away. It now has 15 subsidiary companies, 1,700 employees, and a fleet of 27 ships. So what’s next? Ramakrishnan told local media in January that he was planning to set up two new subsidiaries: bulk carriers and project logistics management.
40. Jayant Ganwani
\nAnother retail tycoon, Jayant Ganwani has helped redefine shopping in the UAE. He took over responsibility of The Lal’s Group of Companies from his father, Lal Ganwani, in 1986, and has pushed into every Gulf market. Aside from retail, the firm also has interests in mall management, health and leisure, and distribution, as well as a series of joint ventures. Lal’s Group owns and operates Lamcy Plaza, one of the UAE’s most popular shopping destinations.
42. Hitesh Bodani
\nBond Investment Group Holdings
\nBanking and Finance
\nr Hitesh Bodani studied and then practised medicine in the UK until 1997. He then chose to move to Dubai, where he set up Mercantile International Ltd. He is also the founder, general partner and chairman of the board at Bond Investment Group Holdings, his reach has stretched across a number of sectors, including hotel and resort developments, private equity, shopping malls, real estate, medical technology, mining and oil and gas. The firm also operates the Buddha Bar chain internationally. In the past, Bodani served as a board member at the Fortune Group, a Dubai-based property development company with a series of luxury projects in Jumeirah Lake Towers and Business Bay. Four years ago, he was appointed to the advisory board of HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, vice president and prime minister of the UAE, and ruler of Dubai.
43. Faizal Kottikollon
\nhe 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.
\nPentair, the industrial giant that later acquired Tyco, renamed the ETC Community Centre which was built by Faizal 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 at large. Kottikollon’s latest venture, KEF Company Ltd, is based in the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) with eight business verticals: infrastructure, healthcare, agriculture, education, hospitality, metals, sports and investments — with a focus on India and the UAE.
44. Sudesh Aggarwal
\nA successful businessman, Sudesh K Aggarwal’s hard work means he holds the record of being the first Indian in Sharjah to own a Rolls Royce. Born in a middle class family in 1952, Aggarwal completed his MBA in 1973 from HP University, Shimla.
\nHe moved to the UAE in November 1975 to work for the Dubai office of Talal Abu Ghazaleh & Co, an associate of Price Waterhouse International. In 1979 he decided to go it alone.
\nWhile his first effort was not a success, he persisted and by 1989 had set up Giant Reinforced Plastic (GRP) Industries Ltd.
\nThe business has gone from strength to strength and in 2000 he took charge of the Indian Business and Professional Council (IBPC) in Sharjah, where he has served as president.
45. Deepak Arora
\nAs the managing director of the DRA Group of companies, Arora’s industry experience has helped his firms land a series of lucrative contracts during an otherwise quiet period for the regional construction industry.\nArora’s companies include City Diamond Contracting, MEPTech, Giant Star Trading, DRA Product Design, DRA Group, DRA Logistics and DRA International. With offices on Dubai’s Sheikh Zayed Road, the company was established in 1983, and taken over in 1999 by the present management. Since then, the company has expanded from residential complexes to construction of offices, warehouses, logistics and industrial buildings.
46.Dr Birbal Singh Dana
\nA general surgeon by profession, Birbal Singh 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, and Libya.
\nRocky Real Estate
\nRocky Real Estate is a family business founded and run by the Uttamchandani family. It started out as a team of just three but now has close to 300 staff. Ashok Uttamchandani originally worked in the banking and textile sectors, followed by a tailoring shop, a restaurant and a recruitment firm. But it was the move to real estate that sowed the seeds of his considerable fortune, allowing him to make his first-ever appearance in our rich list.