The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has the second largest economy in the Arab world. One third of the nation’s GDP is from oil revenue. Petroleum and natural gas exports play an important in the economy. This nation has some of richest Arab families in the world.
Here is a brief overview of billionaires in UAE according to their Forbes ranking net worth:
Physician Azad Moopen founded and chairs Dubai-based Aster DM Healthcare, a leading health care provider in the Middle East and India. He was a professor at a government-owned medical college in Calicut in south India before he immigrated to Dubai in 1987, where he set up his medical practice,” his profile says.
“Moopen went on to build a healthcare empire that today treats more than 8 million patients annually, employs over 1,000 doctors and covers the spectrum of hospitals, medical clinics, diagnostic centers, pharmacies and a health care consultancy. He’s reportedly planning to list Aster in India. Passionate about reversing the brain drain from India, he has built hospitals and a medical college in his native Kerala state.Sets aside one-fifth of his income for philanthropy every year.
Saif Al Ghurair is the former chairman of family holding company Al Ghurair Group, which has interests in steel, banking and plastics for food packaging.
Education czar Sunny Varney is ranked at No. 8 in the UAE and #949 globally (#988 last year). The net worth of the founder of the world’s largest KG-to-Grade 12 school operator is estimated by Forbes at $2bn (Dh7.4bn), up from $1.8bn (Dh6.6bn) last year.
Son of expat teachers, Sunny Varkey created Gems Education, the largest operator of private kindergarten- to-grade-12 schools in the world, with 50 schools and 140,000 students across the Middle East, Africa, Europe, Asia and North America. In October, he sold a 20 per cent stake for an estimated $350 million in its emerging markets business, covering the Middle East, North Africa and East Asia to a consortium of investors which included Blackstone and Bahrain’s sovereign investment arm,” notes his profile.
Varkey stepped down as chairman, ceding spot to Sir Michael Peat, a former private secretary to Prince Charles. While Gems’ first school in the US has opened in Chicago, a plan to start a school in New York has been stalled by a lawsuit by a property developer who alleged that Gems breached a tenancy contract. Passionate about fitness, Varkey works out daily. Dotes on his four grandkids.
Former pharma salesman B.R. Shetty immigrated to Abu Dhabi in 1972. He made a big splash last May with the acquisition of UK foreign exchange group Travelex Holdings for an estimated $1.6 billion together with Centurion, the investment arm of Saeed Bin Butti Al Qabaisi, his longtime business partner,” lists his profile.
“Shetty already owns the UAE Exchange, which handles over 10 per cent of all inward foreign remittances into India. His London-listed NMC Health is the UAE’s largest private health care firm. Other interests include generics firm Neopharma which is a contract manufacturer for Pfizer and Merck Serono. Shetty also owns prized real estate such as an apartment on the 100th floor of Dubai’s Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building. He offered jobs at NMC to 46 Indian nurses who were stranded in Iraq’s Tikrit after militants seized it.
India-born, Middle East construction tycoon Ravi Pillai controls the $3.5 billion RP Group whose flagship is Nasser Al-Hajri Corp., a construction heavyweight in Saudi Arabia. He owns a 50 per cent stake in the privately held firm, which is named after his local partner,” says his profile.
“Pillai is bullish on Dubai, where he’s lined up real estate projects worth $1.5 billion. These include a Crowne Plaza hotel due to open in 2016 and a 110-story tower that will be Dubai’s second tallest. His fortune is up partly on new information on his Indian assets, which include stakes in banks, hotels, property. He visits the Guruvayur temple in his native Kerala state every month because, he tells Forbes, ‘When you’re doing so much you need blessings.
Abdulla Al Futtaim is the owner of the Al Futtaim Group, which is the exclusive distributor of Toyota and Honda vehicles in the UAE. The company is run by his son Omar.
Indian-born retail king of Abu Dhabi, MA Yusuff Ali controls the $5.8 billion (revenues) LuLu Group, which has 114 hypermarkets, supermarkets and grocery outlets, mostly in the Middle East. It has lately expanded into Malaysia and Indonesia where its ‘halal’ products are popular,” says his profile.
“Yusuff Ali, who hails from a village in the southern Indian state of Kerala, is pumping investments back home. He already has a LuLu mall and two Marriott hotels in the southern Indian city of Cochin where he maintains a 60,000-square- foot waterfront home. He’s now building a technology park called the Lulu Tech Park and a Grand Hyatt hotel,” it adds.
“Recently he announced that he will invest $435 million in the southern state of Telangana which will include a mall, hypermarket, food and meat processing unit and a convention centre. New toys include an Embraer Legacy 500 jet.
Middle East retailing juggernaut, the Dubai-headquartered Landmark Group, was founded by Micky Jagtiani in 1973 with one store in Bahrain after his father and brother died. It generates $5 billion revenues annually from more than 1,900 stores across the Middle East, Africa and India,” Forbes states in Jagtiani’s profile.
“Landmark is stepping up expansion in fast food and restaurants through its food and beverage unit Foodmark, which has the Middle East franchise for Jamba Juice and Sweden’s Max Burger, among much else. After ending a 2-year alliance with France’s Groupe Auchan that operated 13 hypermarkets in India, Landmark teamed with Dutch retailer Spar. The privately held group, which wife Renuka helps him run, also has interests in hotels, healthcare, fitness gyms and confectionery,” it adds.
This Dubai-based billionaire is the estranged brother of billionaire Abdulla Al Futtaim. Non-family members run his eponymous holding company, which operates malls and Carrefour hypermarkets across the Middle East, North Africa and Central Asia.
Abdulla bin Ahmad Al Ghurair and his brother Saif Al Ghurair (who is also a billionaire) are scions of a prominent UAE business family. He founded the Mashreqbank in 1967. Today it is one of the nation’s top banks. Abdulla is the chairman of the bank and his son Abdul Aziz is the CEO.