Saudi Rich List
Wed 26 Aug 2009 07:24 AM
The Olayan Family

The Olayan Family

Industry: Banking & Finance

Company: Olayan Group

Country: Saudi Arabia

Wealth: 6.9 Billion

The Olayan Group began as a trucking concern in 1947. In 1954 its founder, Suleiman Olayan, launched General Trading Company, the group’s food and consumer distribution business and was instrumental in bringing commercial insurance to Saudi Arabia, founding Arab Commercial Enterprises — which went on to become the region’s largest insurance and reinsurance broker.

Today, the group owns more than 50 companies, with hefty stakes in MetLife, First Boston and American International Group. Alongside Suleiman’s widow Mary, the four children — Khaled, Hayat, Hutham and Lubna — share the group’s multibillion-dollar fortune.

The family is also a long-time investor in Credit Suisse, last October upping its stake to 3.6 percent of registered shares and 3.4 percent of mandatory convertible notes. Initially it looked like a bad bet, as the shares had slipped to less than half their purchase price by early March 2009. Today, however, the financial powerhouse has bounced back and the Olayan family’s stake is worth more than they paid for it.

Such smart moves will give the group confidence as the
Olayan Financing Company

continues to assess opportunities in Egypt via the $200m investment firm it set up with
Majid Al Futtaim Holding (MAF)

, the Dubai-based diversified business house, Oasis Capital Egypt and Orascom Telecom.


each have a 30 percent stake in the company, with the rest held by Orascom Telecom. This is the first time that an alliance between three such dominant corporations has been formed in Egypt.