Five big names in construction have made this year’s Arabian Business Rich List, and a total of 17 made it into the overall top 50 rankings in a show of strength for the industry in the region.
Saudi Arabia’s HRH Prince Alwaleed bin Talal has topped the roster for the ninth year in succession, with his current wealth now standing at $25.9bn.
The first construction industry player on the list, Egypt’s Sawiris Family, which weighs in at fourth in the rankings with a fortune of $11.2bn, a massive increase from the estimated $4.20bn last year.
The wealth of the Coptic Sawiris family has surged in recent years since the family’s three brothers, headed by Naguib Sawiri, expanded Orascom into construction, property and communications.
Next up in fifth, with $11bn, is Issam Al Zahid, chairman of Saudi’s Alzahid group of companies, which got its start in 1951 as Alzahid Construction with a hand in the planning of the Kingdom’s roads, and later its first coast guard stations.
By 1958 the company was in full swing, building bridges, tunnels, flyovers and much of the basic transport infrastructure upon which the kingdom still relies. The group saw a total domestic turnover rise of 14% even in 2009.
In seventh, with $8.10bn, is the The Binladin Family, almost eponymous with high-level construction in Saudi Arabia. As the Kingdom spend keeps rising, so do the fortunes of this group, which is now contracted for both the Kingdom Tower and King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah.
Between them those two contracts are worth over $20bn, and added to these was a bumper contract to help build the first phase of the Haramain railway link.
Ninth in the rankings is the Palestinian Said Khoury of the Consolidated Contractors Company (CCC), who has amassed a fortune of $7.2bn over the last 60 years.
Now based in Athens, the company sees sales of $4bn a year and manages projects in 40 countries, with a focus on Middle East and North Africa.
Finally rounding up the top 10 is Mohammed Al Jaber with $7bn. Now of French nationality, but born in Jeddah, Al Jaber founded Jadawel International Construction & Development in 1982.
The group now also comprises the JJW Hotels & Resorts, established in Portugal in 1989, and now the owner-operator of more than 60 hotel and leisure resorts in Europe and the Middle East.