World's richest Arabs in retail
Kuwaiti family conglomerate the Kharafi Group is looking to Asia as its next target for investment.
7. The Kharafi family $8.5bn ($8.6bn) Kuwait
\nKuwaiti family conglomerate the Kharafi Group, which has an annual turnover of around $5bn and is already active in 25 countries, is looking to Asia as its next target for investment, a senior family member told Arabian Business this year. “Asia is a growing market but it is high risk... We are looking at a couple of opportunities there,” Bader Al Kharafi, a member of the executive council, told Arabian Business in an interview in the company’s headquarters in Kuwait City. “You can be an investor or run and manage the company. We are looking at investments, maybe some private equity funds, those types of products where they have a good team... Transport, renewable energy and with what is happening in China we would definitely look at renewable energy. These are the sectors we think we could [invest].” The Kharafi Group has operations in 25 countries around the world, from Senegal to Botswana to Kazakhstan and The Maldives, and has more than 120,000 employees. The family business has always had strong connections with Egypt, from power stations along the Nile Delta to contracts at Marsa Alam International Airport and the Red Sea’s Port Ghalib, one of the biggest marina resorts in the Middle East.
14. Majid Al Futtaim $6.1bn ($5.8bn) UAE
\nAn attempt to buy Egypt’s biggest supermarket chain Mansour Group fell through last month — but that hasn’t dented Al Futtaim’s empire and finances. The man who introduced shopping malls and hypermarkets to the region, Majid Al Futtaim has built an empire that is growing in line with the current boom in Gulf retail. Having established his company in 1992, Al Futtaim is most famous for building some of the emirate’s largest shopping malls, which have acted as a magnet for both consumers and retail businesses, and attract over 120 million visitors each year. Al Futtaim opened his first shopping mall in 1995, City Centre in Dubai, and in September 2005 he opened the jewel in the company’s crown, the Mall of the Emirates (above). One of the largest shopping resorts outside North America, it is home to the five-star Kempinski and one of the world’s first indoor ski resorts.
24. Adel Aujan $3.56bn ($3.42bn) Saudi Arabia
\nIn 2011 Aujan announced a colossal deal to sell a minority stake in his firm to Coca Cola for a sliver under $1bn. Not content with leading the Gulf’s biggest privately owned beverage company, Aujan Industries, the chairman of the firm has been aggressively growing his offerings to different markets. Aujan’s juice brand, Rani, is Iran’s best-selling beverage and is planning to add to its three factories by putting a facility in Iraq, politics permitting. In 2008, Aujan Industries nailed a target to deliver $500m in revenue 12 months ahead of its five-year schedule. The firm has tripled its sales since 2004 and is on track to double them again by 2014. Vimto, just one of its brands, has been a leading fixture on Gulf dining tables.
32. The Hayek family $3.2bn ($3.4bn) Switzerland (Lebanon)
\nIf you’re a fan of ultra-expansive watches, then your hobby is likely to be lining the pockets of the Hayek family, who run by far the world’s largest watchmaking company. Sales at Swatch are predicted to come in at over $9bn for the first time this year. The firm is led by chairwoman Nayla and CEO Nick (pictured), who took over the publicly traded firm after the recent death of their father, Nicolas. And, if their latest move pays off, it looks like the group’s revenues could be about to get even larger. Aside from sales of its own brands, which include Longines, Tissot, Omega and Breguet, Swatch also devotes significant investment to mechanical movements and components, which it has until now sold off to rival manufacturers. This year, Swatch spent $1bn buying the Harry Winston brand, which it plans to use to get even greater access into markets like the US and China.
46. Miloud Chaabi $2.1bn ($2.4bn) Morocco
\n84-year-old Miloud Chaabi is Morocco’s richest man, beating out the likes of Othman Benjelloun and Anas Sefrioui to take the top spot. He is the founder of Ynna Holding and the owner of Ryad Mogador hotel chain and group of supermarkets Aswak Assalam. He might be one of Morocco’s wealthiest businessmen today but Chaabi’s career started in very modest surroundings. At just 15 years old he taught in a mosque and worked as a goat herder before saving up enough money to move to Kenitra where he started his first construction company. Chaabi established his own ceramic company in 1964 and started to look for investment opportunities. He acquired the Yeyeena Group, which became one of the most powerful groups in Morocco. Chaabi is renowned for his philanthropic and charity work. He is the operator of one of the largest charity organisations in Morocco, the Miloud Chaabi Foundation, and donated 10 percent of his fortune to build the first American university in Morocco in conjunction with the University of Maryland.