Sunday, June 8, 2014

2014 Middle East Richest Billionaires (by Country)

Alwaleed Bin Talal Alsaud

 1.   ALWALEED BIN TALAL ALSAUD, 59 years old, $21.1 billion, Investment (Saudi Arabia)

One of the world's most high-profile investors, Prince Alwaleed bin Talal owns a broad swath of stakes in private and public companies in the U.S., Europe and the Middle East, mostly through Kingdom Holding Co., 5% of which is listed on the Saudi Stock Exchange. Because of the small float, the lack of any analyst coverage and the relatively thin trading of Kingdom Holding, Forbes estimated Alwaleed's net worth by calculating the value of the assets owned by Kingdom Holding rather than using its share price. Holdings include stakes in News Corp, Citigroup, hotel management companies Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts, Movenpick Hotels & Resorts and Fairmont Raffles Holding, as well as hotel real estate such as the swanky Hotel George V in Paris and a stake in the Savoy Hotel in London. In 2012, the Prince and his investment company bought $300 million worth of Twitter shares; they're now worth upwards of $1 billion. Kingdom Holding could also benefit from a $125 million investment it made in Chinese e-commerce company, which filed to raise $1.5 billion in an IPO in January. He also owns extensive Saudi real estate and other assets outside of Kingdom Holding.

Eyal Ofer
2.   EYAL OFER, 64 years old, $7 billion, Real Estate, Shipping (Israel)

Eyal Ofer's business interests are concentrated in shipping and global real estate. He is the principal of Zodiac Group, based in Monaco, and chairman of Zodiac Maritime Agencies, a privately-held London-based shipping corporation with a fleet of more than 130 vessels. His other shipping interests include privately held OMNI Offshore Terminals and a stake in NYSE-listed Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, where he has been a director for more than 15 years. His real estate holdings include the Altria Building and 15 Central Park West in New York and he is redeveloping the historic St. Vincent's Hospital, in Greenwich Village. He also has a stake in Mizrahi Tefahot bank in Israel. He and his younger brother Idan are the sons of late shipping magnate Sammy Ofer, who was once Israel's richest man and died in June 2011. Eyal has built up a significant trove of contemporary and modern art and inherited half of his father's vast collection, said to be one of the world's most magnificent.

3.   ABDULLA BIN AHMAD AL GHURAIR, $5.4 billion, Diversified (United Arab Emirates)

Abdulla Al Ghurair and his billionaire brother, Saif, are scions of a prominent UAE business family. In 1967 Abdulla founded Mashreqbank, now one of the country's leading banks. He remains chairman and his son Abdul Aziz is CEO. The bank's stock shot up 80% in the past year, valuing Abdulla's stake at nearly $1.5 billion. The family holding company is run by a Stanford MBA who's applying Western-style corporate governance, with the help of Abdulla's sons, who oversee various divisions including food, construction, and real estate. Abdul Aziz heads the newly-founded Family Business Network Gulf Cooperation Council, which aims to modernize family businesses, while ensuring they remain in family hands.

Murat Ulker
4.   MURAT ULKER, 55 years old, $4.3 billion, Food Manufacturing (Turkey)

Murat Ulker has become Turkey's richest man. His fortune increased in the past year by more than half a billion dollars while other billionaire Turkish families, like the Sahenks and the Kocs, saw their net worth decline as the Turkish banking sector took a hit and most of the companies on the Istanbul Stock Exchange declined in value. By contrast Yildiz Holding, which Ulker chairs, prospered. It is Turkey's largest food producer. Shares in its largest publicly traded company, Ulker Biscuit, rose by nearly a third in 2013, due in part to a restructuring. Yildiz also has interests in finance, venture funds, packaging, real estate, wholesale trade and personal grooming. In 2007 it bought Godiva from Campbell Soup for $850 million. In 2013 it acquired Stamford, CT-based DeMet's Candy Company, which makes chocolate and caramel Turtles, for $221 million.

Najib Mikati
5.   NAJIB and TAHA MIKATI, 58 and 69 years old, $3.5 billion each, Telecom (Lebanon)

After two years as prime minister of Lebanon, Najib Mikati resigned in March 2013 amid increasing tension in the country over the war in neighboring Syria. A political moderate, he struggled to keep Lebanon, deeply divided along sectarian lines, out of the Syrian conflict. In December 2013 a car bomb exploded in front of a Mikati-owned building complex in downtown Beirut, killing a former government minister and bystanders. Before his foray into politics, he and his brother Taha were telecom operators in Africa and Syria through their company Investcom. They sold it to MTN Group of South Africa in 2006 for $3.6 billion in cash and stock.

Bulat Utemuratov
6.   BULAT UTEMURATOV, 56 years old, $2.2 billion, Mining, Banking, Hotels (Kazakhstan)

Kazahk banker and investor Bulat Utemuratov has been growing his bank and real estate portfolio after his 2013 sale of mining assets to Glencore Xstrata and the Kazakh sovereign wealth fund. He is building twin $300 million high rises in the Kazakh capital of Astana which reportedly will serve as an office for Glencore Xstrata and headquarters for his asset management company, Verniy Capital. He opened a luxury resort on Lake Shuckie in northern Kazakhstan in high style with the Pet Shop Boys and the Kazakh national synchronized swimming team performing. He owns Ritz Carltons in Vienna and Moscow. He is also a partner in KaR-Tel, the Kazakh subsidiary of Russia's Vimpelcom, controlled by billionaire Mikhail Fridman. He made his first fortune in 2007 when he sold his ATF Bank to Italian bank UniCredit for $2.1 billion.

Jassim Al-Kharafi
7.   JASSIM, FAWZI and MOHANNAD AL-KHARAFI, $1.4 billion each, Diversified (Kuwait)

Jassim Al Kharafi is the eldest brother of Nasser Al Kharafi, who died of a heart attack while on a visit to Cairo in 2011. Jassim, Nasser and six other siblings inherited the Kharafi Group from their father Mohammed. Jassim is chairman of the group, one of the Middle East's biggest holding companies. While Nasser ran the business, Jassim pursued his passion for politics and served for 13 years, until 2011, as speaker of the National Assembly. His brothers Fawzi and Mohannad are also billionaires. The Al-Kharafi owns a total of 730 fast-food franchises and restaurants across the Middle East, with brands including KFC, Pizza Hut and TGI Friday’s.

8.   MOHAMMED AL BARWANI, 62 years old, $1.3 billion, Oil (Oman)

Mohammed Al Barwani joins the Forbes Billionaires ranks for the first time this year. He founded energy conglomerate MB Holding as MB Trading in 1982. In 1986 the company started providing oil field services, soon expanding into exploration and production of oil and gas, which remains the most valuable part of the business. MG Holding also mines minerals and provides engineering services. His five children are all active in the company, which had 2012 revenues of $1.3 billion. In 2010 he bought luxury yacht manufacturer Oceanco, which builds custom 280-foot boats for the world's super-rich.

Source: Forbes

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