Top 5 Most Self-Made Billionaires in GCC

Published April 30th, 2018 - 10:00 GMT
Dubai has enjoyed the fastest growth of any city in the region over the past 20 years, on the back of urbanisation and building a financial system. (Shutterstock)
Dubai has enjoyed the fastest growth of any city in the region over the past 20 years, on the back of urbanisation and building a financial system. (Shutterstock)

The UAE leads the Gulf region in the list of self-made billionaires, housing 22 out of 36 billionaires, according to a new report.

The UAE saw an addition of 6 new billionaires in Hurun Gulf Self-Made Billionaires 2018 ranking. Saudi Arabia comes second with 9 followed by 3 from Oman.

By city, Dubai leads with 16 billionaires, followed by Riyadh and Abu Dhabi with 5 billionaires each, and 3 each in Muscat and Jeddah.

With $11 billion, Majid Al Futtaim is the richest self-made billionaires in the Gulf region, on the back of revenues of $8.7 billion and profits of $1.14 billion last year. MAF Holding is the largest shopping mall operator and Middle East operator of French retailer Carrefour Majid Al Futtaim.

From the UAE, this year's new addition includes Rizwan Sajan of Danube Group, Khalifa bin Butti Al Muhairi of NMC Healthcare, Philip Day of Edinburgh Woollen Mills, Saeed bin Butti Al Qebaisi of NMC Healthcare, Suhail Bahwan of Suhail Bahwan Group and Adani Vinodbhai Shantilal of Adani Enterprises.

Rupert Hoogewerf, chairman and chief researcher, Hurun Report, said Dubai has enjoyed the fastest growth of any city in the region over the past 20 years, on the back of urbanisation, and building a financial system. This has driven Dubai to become perhaps the hub for the retail in the Gulf, on the back of an advantageous tax system.

"Dubai is perhaps the most transparent ecosystem for self-made entrepreneurs in the region. I am sure there are plenty of other good reasons, but that is the one that stands out when talking to some of the local entrepreneurs, a high percentage of whom come from India," Hoogewerf added.

Andrew Amoils, head of research at New World Wealth, believes that "UAE is home to more billionaires than other regional countries because of the low crime rate, first world economy, first-class healthcare system, low tax rates and the country's status as an international business hub."

He said all these factors encourage wealthy people to stay in the UAE.

According to Hurun report, Micky Jagtiani with $5.5 billion is the second richest man in the UAE followed by Lulu Group's Yusuffali MA with $5 billion, Hussain Sajwani with $4.3 billion, BR Shetty with $3.6 billion, Ravi Pillai with $3.5 billion, Khalifa Al Habtoor & family with $3.4 billion, Abdullah Al Futtaim with $3.1 billion and Adani Vinodbhai Shantilal with $2.9 billion.

Other self-made rich men who made it to the list are Sunny Varkey ($2.8 billion), Saeed bin Butti Al Qebaisi ($2.6 billion), Sunil Vaswani ($2 billion), Feroz Allana ($1.9 billion), Divyank Turakhia ($1.8 billion), Philip Day ($1.8 billion), Shamsheer Vayalil ($1.7 billion), Saif Al Ghurair & family ($1.6 billion), Abdulla Ahmed Al Ghurair & family ($1.3 billion), Khalifa bin Butti Al Muhairi ($1.3 billion), Azad Moopen ($1 billion), Raghuvinder Kataria ($1 billion) and Rizwan Sajan ($1 billion).

According to Hurun, BR Shetty is the biggest gainer as his wealth rose 125 per cent to $3.6 billion backed by 88 per cent increase in the UK listed NMC Healthcare. Sunny Varkey of Gem Education is the second biggest gainer of this year with a rise of 87 per cent change in wealth. Since 2013 Gems Education invested $1 billion to build 16 new schools and upgrade infrastructure which helped the company to achieve $1 billion revenue in 2017.

Rupert Hoogewerf revealed in the report that 19 per cent of Gulf billionaires were self-made without parental financial support while 81 per cent self-made but with a helping from parents.

The top performing sector is retail, healthcare and financial services with 5 billionaires each followed by real estate and investments.

By Waheed Abbas

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