Thu 29 Nov 2007 01:22 PM
The Hariri Family

The Hariri Family

Industry: Banking & Finance

Company: Consolidated Contractors International Company

Country: Lebanon

Wealth: 17 Billion

The extended family of the former prime minister of Lebanon, Rafik Hariri who was assassinated on February 14, 2005, includes six children (Ayman, Fahad, Hind, Joumana, Saad, Bahaa) and widow Nazik Hariri. The untimely demise means they sit on a behemoth empire that has vested interests all over the world, stretching from Saudi Arabia to Africa and Europe.

Hariri was a self-made billionaire who amassed his fortune in Saudi Arabia when he successfully completed in record time, a conference centre in Taif in 1977. That ultimately led to a long, trusting and very lucrative relationship with the ruling family of Saudi Arabia and specifically the late King Fahad.

Hariri then employed much of the wealth he generated from his contracting activities into financial holdings, investing not only in two leading French banks, and joined one of the world's largest construction firms, Consolidated Contractors International Company (CCC), founded by Palestinians and Lebanese businessmen (Hassib Sabbagh, Said Khoury and Kamel Abdul-Rahman).

He subsequently set up Saudi Oger Group in 1978 (after merging his company Sekonest, with Oger, a French firm). The company today is a diversified construction company that is now run by Saad and Bahaa Hariri, the eldest sons of the former premier. In addition to being engaged in building, construction and maintenance, the group is also heavily vested in telecoms services and has interests in Turkey, South Africa as well having printing and publishing operations.

In 2003, Saudi Oger acquired 11% of the Jordanian based Arab Bank for an estimated US$375m. That stake is now nearly 15%. The bank is one of the Middle East's largest with over US$29.32bn in assets and has a global presence. The Hariri family is now Jordan's largest real estate property investors and rank among the top foreign investors with a diversified portfolio.

The family is currently involved in a US$600m Saraya luxury real estate project in Jordan, developed by the families' group of companies led by Saudi Oger. Oger's first real estate project in Jordan, Al Abdali, is a US$1bn joint venture partnership with the government, which is now under construction to develop the capital's downtown area.

Aside from Saudi Oger, Hariri's other legacy as a statesman and businessman was that he played a pivotal role in ending the 15-year Lebanese civil war and spearheaded the reconstruction of the country. He helped set up Solidere, the property company that revived the commercial centre of Beirut.

That company is today one of the largest public shareholding companies in the Middle East and at his death, Hariri's personal stake was said to be about 7%. The company's profit for the second quarter of 2006 has more than doubled to US$47.3m. This year it paid US$100m in cash dividends to its shareholders after reporting a profit of US$108.5m in 2005. The family also owns the Future TV station Lebanon and has interests in a number of Saudi banks and media groups.