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Mall of the Emirates is just one of the assets that has helped Majid Al Futtaim earn the title of the UAE's richest businessman. Pawan Singh / The National
Mall of the Emirates is just one of the assets that has helped Majid Al Futtaim earn the title of the UAE's richest businessman. Pawan Singh / The National

Majid Al Futtaim, with $3.6bn, named richest UAE businessman

Majid Al Futtaim has been named as the UAE's richest businessman by the latest Forbes magazine's listing of the world's wealthiest Arabs.

Majid Al Futtaim has been named as the UAE's richest businessman by Forbes magazine's latest listing of the world's wealthiest Arabs.

The list is topped by Saudi Arabia's Prince Al Waleed bin Talal, the billionaire who has publicly clashed with Forbes over estimations of his personal wealth.

The top 100 listing of the wealthiest Arabs is dominated by Saudis, who make up 41 of the entrants.

Mr Al Futtaim is listed as the seventh-richest Arab by Forbes Middle East, with a fortune estimated at US$3.6bn (Dh13.22bn). The Dubai-based entrepreneur is the head of Majid Al Futtaim Group, which holds a diverse portfolio including retail, property and hospitality.

The group owns Mall of the Emirates in Dubai, a 223,000 square metre outlet with more than 500 shops, and runs several franchises including Carrefour. It operates 11 hotels in the UAE and Bahrain, as well as malls in Egypt, Oman and Bahrain.

Forbes takes into account only assets that are made transparent through listings on exchanges.

The magazine does not reflect closely held fortunes other than those that may be visible through equity or debt listings. "In the interest of accuracy and given that personal wealth across the Arab world remains closely guarded, net worth for the purpose of this ranking was calculated based only on shares held in companies listed on stock markets across the Arab world," said Forbes Middle East in a release.

While the Majid Al Futtaim Group is not traded in the stock markets, its debt is listed on the Nasdaq Dubai, requiring the conglomerate to publish its financial details.

Forbes put Prince Al Waleed's Kingdom Holding net worth at $20bn, being unconvinced by its share price on the Saudi stock exchange, which the magazine believes to be open to market manipulation.

The prince claims his net worth is close to $30bn. At $20bn, his fortune as estimated by Forbes is not sufficient to catapult him into the top 10 of the global rich list that the magazine published last month.

For the first time, the Forbes rich list takes into the account the wealth of entire families, rather than focusing on individuals only. This has allowed Abdulla bin Ahmad Al Ghurair and his immediate family to come in at 10th place with a combined fortune of $3.1bn.

With assets worth $1.65bn, Abdullah Al Futtaim's is listed as the 28th richest Arab. Abdullah has focused on car retailing.

The most affluent Emirati outside Dubai is Sheikh Tahnoon bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, who holds a banking portfolio worth almost $600m, according to Forbes.

The magazine said the second-richest Arab is the Lebanese banker Joseph Safra, whose personal wealth marginally trails Prince Al Waleed's, at $19.5bn.

 

fneuhof@thenational.ae

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