x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Four Emirati billionaires make it on to latest annual list of super-rich

Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair, the chief executive of Mashreq, has been named the richest businessman in the UAE, according to Forbes Magazine.

Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair, Speaker of the House of the Federal National Council, ranks 401 on the Forbes annual list of the world's richest billionaires. Rich-Joseph Facun / The National
Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair, Speaker of the House of the Federal National Council, ranks 401 on the Forbes annual list of the world's richest billionaires. Rich-Joseph Facun / The National

Four UAE businessmen have been named in an annual list of the world's billionaires, joining wealthy entrepreneurs, property tycoons and famous investors.

Forbes magazine's list of global billionaires is made up this year of 1,226 people and headed by Carlos Slim, a telecommunications mogul from Mexico worth a cool US$69 billion (Dh253.44bn).

From the UAE, Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair, the speaker of the Federal National Council and the chief executive of Mashreq, ranks 401, worth an estimated $2.9bn.

Mr Al Ghurair is part of a wealthy dynasty of businessmen and is joined on the list by his uncle Saif Al Ghurair, worth $2bn, and the chairman of the Al Ghurair Group, a retail, property and manufacturing conglomerate based in Dubai.

The Al Ghurairs are joined by members of an equally well known family in the UAE, the brothers Abdulla and Majid Al Futtaim, worth $1.6bn and $1.1bn, respectively.

Abdulla owns the retail and automotive conglomerate Al Futtaim, which is the franchise holder for Ikea, Marks & Spencer and the dealer for Toyota, Honda, Lexus, Jeep and other car brands.

Majid Al Futtaim owns the eponymous retail conglomerate that owns and operates major malls throughout the Middle East and runs the Carrefour franchise.

Forbes began compiling its list of billionaires in 1987 with 140 names and this year's figure of 1,226 is an all time high, worth a total $4.6 trillion.

More than 50 reporters in 16 countries worked on compiling the Forbes 25th anniversary list, examining billionaires' net worth via assets such as stakes in public and private companies, property, yachts, art and cash, and accounting for levels of debt.

When looking at individuals owning privately held companies, such as those in the UAE, Forbes used estimates of revenues or profits and compared them with prevailing price-to-revenues or price-to-earnings ratios for similar public companies to estimate an overall worth.

Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft, took the second spot again this year in the global ranking, worth $61bn, while the so-called "Sage of Omaha" Warren Buffett, the head of Berkshire Hathaway, is third on the list, worth $44bn. The list has the same top three as last year.

rjones@thenational.ae