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Arab billionaires' wealth down 35pc to $115bn

Dubai, April 1, 2009

The combined wealth of Arab billionaires has fallen 35 per cent to around $115.8 billion from last year’s $177.6 billion, according to the Forbes Arabia Magazine.

The magazine’s “Arab Billionaires List for 2009” names 34 Arab billionaires.      

Saudi Arabia retained its leadership on the list with 14 billionaires. Their combined wealth is estimated at $60.5 billion.

Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Alsaud topped the regional roll with a personal wealth of $13.3 billion and ranking 22nd on the “World’s Billionaires List.” He dropped three positions from 2008, when he was ranked 19th with a net worth of $21 billion.

Mohammed Al Amoudi, owner of Svenska Petroleum, came second on the Arab list and 43rd at the global level with a net worth of $9 billion.

Saudi businessmen Mohamed Bin Issa Al Jaber and Maan Al-Sanea both ranked fifth regionally and 62nd internationally, with their individual wealth of $7 billion.

Prolific entrepreneur Sulaiman Al Rajhi placed 74 in the “World’s Billionaires List” occupied seventh place in the Arab list with a net worth of $6.2 billion. On the other hand, Sheikh Saleh Kamel came ninth regionally and 164th internationally with a wealth of $3.5 billion. Saleh Al Rajhi was ranked 10th regionally and 183rd globally.

Khuloud Al Omian, managing editor of Forbes Arabia magazine, explained that the assessment of Arab wealth reflects the direction of investments and financial conditions in the Arab world.

The UAE ranked second regionally after Saudi Arabia with six billionaires after the entry of Sheikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan with a personal wealth of $4.9 billion and the exclusion of Mahdi Al Tajir from the list. Kuwait retained third spot with four billionaires.

Lebanon dropped from second to fourth place this year after the exclusion of four of its billionaires (Nazik Hariri, Hind Hariri, Said Khoury and Hasib Sabbagh), retaining only three billionaires in the latest list. Lebanon is followed by Egypt, which also has three billionaires after local magnate Samih Sawiris was excluded from the list.

Al Omian said: “The high number of Arab billionaires indicates a state of relative stability in the Arab economies. The presence of 34 individuals with a net worth of more that $100 billion is impressive given the geopolitical and economic volatility experienced throughout the region over the past years. It reflects the possibility of further investments which can help overcome the financial crisis. The 35 per cent decline in Arab wealth is still acceptable in light of the economic downturn. Other countries such as Russia, India and Turkey, fared worse; these three were the most affected in the list due to the crisis, losing around half of their billionaires in just a year.”

Al Omian emphasized the importance of reading more closely through the figures included in the list, explaining that they provide insights on the change in rankings and the composition of personal wealth.

Forbes magazine published its 2009 “World’s Billionaires” list in its March issue, which came after the announcement that the global credit crunch had resulted in the exclusion of 332 billionaires from the world ranking since March of 2008. The total number of billionaires went down from 1,125 in 2008 to 793 in 2009.  - TradeArabia News Service




Tags: Prince Alwaleed | Forbes | Arab billionaire |

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