Arabian Business magazines annual survey of the Arab worlds top 50 billionaires for 2009 included four persons from Lebanon on its list.
The survey ranked Prime Minister Saad Hariri in 18th place, up from 31st place last year, with an estimated fortune of $4.3bn.
It said he is the head of Saudi Oger, the familys $9bn construction company and has stakes in the company as well investments in banking, real estate, tourism, telecommunications and media. Mr. Ayman Hariri ranked in 34th place, up two places from the previous survey, with an estimated fortune of $2.4bn, and is involved with Saudi Oger as well as in media and technology. He is followed by his brother Bahaa Hariri in 36th place, down three spots from 2008, with $2.3bn, who is involved in real estate and private banking. Arabian Business ranked former Deputy Prime Minister Issam Fares as the 37th wealthiest person in the region, down 5 places from the previous year, with an estimated fortune of $2.3bn. The magazine said Mr. Fares established companies in engineering, aviation, oil and gas, real estate development, investment and finance, among others, adding that he has a wide network of contacts with world leaders. The aggregate fortunes of the four Lebanese on the list accounted for 5.4% of the total net worth of the top 50. Saudi Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal topped the list with $18bn, up $1bn from 2008. The survey estimated the aggregate wealth of the 50 wealthiest Arab families or individuals at $207bn in 2009, up nearly 4% from the previous year. It said the average fortune of the top 50 rose to $4.14bn this year. But it added that this figures is due to the performance of a few names on the list, as of the 35 names that remain on the list from last year, 20 are actually worse off than they were 12 months ago. It noted that the collapse in the value of property and banking shares, the main source of Arab wealth for much of the past decade, is cited as the biggest reason for the troubles of some of the Arab worlds leading business empires.
Byblos Bank Lebanon This Week