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Who’s richest of them all?
Arabian Business has just released its list of the 50 richest Arabs in the world. We look at the names and numbers.
December 14, 2008 1:33 by Aarti Nagraj
But if the Arabian Business 2008 Rich List is to be believed, a huge chunk of that has already gone from wealthy pockets; the 50 richest Arabs in world have lost $25 billion between them in the last year, thanks to the economic slowdown.
The list shows that the average fortune of the top 50 has slipped to $3.99 billion. In total, the top 50 now hold between them $199.48 billion – a fall of 12 percent on last year. The report blames the collapse in the value of property and banking shares as the biggest reason for the decline.
We decided to compare the list with the top ten richest Arabs from the Forbes World’s Billionaires list, which was released in March this year.
The top spot remains the same- Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, the boss of Kingdom Holding Company, and the owner of a new A380, dubbed the “Flying Palace”.
Arabian Business (AB) claims to have had access to his private financial accounts, and calculated his wealth as $17.08 billion. The Forbes list had estimated it to be $21 billion.
Kuwait’s Nasser al-Kharafi bagged the second place on both lists. He is the chairman of Al Kharafi group, one of the largest and most diversified conglomerates in the region. According to AB, his current fortune stands at $9.6 billion, around $4.4 billion less than the Forbes’ estimate.
But while Saudi Arabia’s Maan Al Sanea, who bought a 3.1 percent stake in HSBC worth $6.58 billion last year, occupies the third place in AB’s list with $9.3 billion, he only came ninth on the Forbes list with $8.1 billion.
Meanwhile Egypt’s Sawiris family, who manage the Orascom group of businesses, occupied third, fourth and fifth positions on the Forbes list, but none of them were mentioned on the AB list.
On AB’s list, Mohammed bin Issa al-Jaber, who heads the MBI International group of companies, occupies the fourth spot with $8.8 billion, while he only managed the tenth place on Forbes’ list with $5.3 billion.
Saudi Arabia’s Mohammed al-Amoudi, whose businesses include oil, gas and construction, came fifth on AB’s list and sixth on Forbes’ list. While Forbes estimated his wealth at $9 billion, AB valued it at $8.8 billion.
Similarly, Abdul Aziz al-Ghurair, the CEO of UAE’s Mashreq Bank who came in the sixth position on AB’s list with $7.8 billion, came seventh according on the Forbes with $8.9 billion.
The Bin Laden family in Saudi Arabia, which owns businesses in the construction sector, occupies seventh position on AB’s list with a net worth of $7.2 billion. The Bin Ladens are followed by the Olayan family in eighth place (although they are also worth $7.2 billion), and the Kanoo family in ninth place, worth $6.1 billion.
However, none of these families made it to Forbes top ten list. The Al Rajhi family business empire in Saudi Arabia, which did make it, doesn’t appear on the AB list.
Said Khoury, who is ranked 10 on AB’s list, co-established the Consolidated Contractors Company and holds several positions in Palestine. His wealth is valued at $6 billion. Khoury also failed to make a presence among the top ten richest Arabs on the Forbes list.