14. The Khimji Family \nKhimji Ramdas Group of Companies \nIndustry \n$760m ($750m)
\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.
16. Rizwan Sajan \nChairman \nDanube Group \nIndustry \n$720m ($520m)
\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.
21. Yogesh Mehta \nManaging Director \nPetrochem ME \nIndustry \n$600m ($720m)
\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.
\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.
28. Manohar Lahori \nFounder \nPalmon Group \nIndustry \n$455m (New)
\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.
30.Madhu Koneru \nGroup Executive Director \nTrimex International \nIndustry \n$410m (New)
\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.
\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 \nChairman \nGiant Group \nIndustry \n$305m ($330m)
\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.
46.Dr Birbal Singh \nChairman \nDana Group \nIndustry \n290 (New)
\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.