- Middle East Business News
Wednesday, 30 September 2020 10:41 UAE time
8#  The Olayan Family  - picture not available
8# The Olayan Family

Net Worth: US$ 6.9 Billion
Country of Residence: Saudi Arabia
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The Olayan Group began as a trucking concern in 1947. In 1954 its founder, Suleiman Olayan, launched General Trading Company (GTC), the group's food and consumer distribution business and was instrumental in bringing commercial insurance to Saudi, founding Arab Commercial Enterprises - which went on to become the region's largest insurance and reinsurance broker.

In the 1960s, Suleiman turned to international equity investing, an activity which would eventually establish the group as an influential participant in global capital markets. He was also developing business alliances, pioneering in Saudi Arabia the concept of strategic partnerships and strengthening his relationship with US engineering and construction giant Bechtel.

Moreover, through GTC he acquired exclusive distributorships for Kimberly-Clark, General Foods, Pillsbury, Hunt Wesson, Cummins Engine, Kenworth and Atlas Copco.

In 1969, the Group obtained a licence from Kimberly-Clark to construct the first paper tissue converting plant in Saudi Arabia. The same year, GTC established one of the first cold storage and meat processing plants in the Kingdom, and the group played a leading role with other Saudi and foreign investors to establish a large factory for manufacturing plastic pipe and fittings.

Today, the group owns more than 50 companies, with hefty stakes in MetLife, First Boston and American International Group. Alongside Suleiman's widow Mary, the four children - Khaled, Hayat, Hutham and Lubna - share the group's multibillion dollar fortune. The family is also a long-time investor in Credit Suisse, last October upping its stake to 3.6 percent of registered shares and 3.4 percent of mandatory convertible notes.

Initially it looked like a bad bet, as the shares had slipped to less than half their purchase price by early March 2009. Today, however, the financial powerhouse has bounced back and the Olayan family's stake is worth more than they paid for it.

Such smart moves will give the group confidence as the Olayan Financing Company continues to assess opportunities in Egypt via the $200m investment firm it set up with Majid Al Futtaim Holding (MAF), the Dubai-based diversified business house, Oasis Capital Egypt and Orascom Telecom.

MAF and Olayan each have a 30 percent stake in the company, with the rest held by Orascom Telecom. This is the first time that an alliance between three such dominant corporations has been formed in Egypt.



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