The Middle East is home to many major investors whose investments are making a difference across the world. Traditionally, Middle Eastern investors have put their money in mature markets such as Europe and North America, but in recent years they have extended their investments to emerging markets such as Latin America and Asia.
When many economies were struggling and short of cash, Middle Eastern investors such as the Qatari royals were able to offer significant amounts of money to companies around the world. The Qataris were able to use their wealth to invest in business and real estate, and this also brought them political influence across the Middle East. The Qatari economy was one of the fastest growing economies between 2005 and 2013, and the Qatar Investment Fund was created to achieve long-term capital growth. The Qataris have invested in the London financial district, including the Shard and Harrods. Despite the recent drop in oil prices, the Qataris remain committed to investments at home in education, health and infrastructure. There is also a continuing commitment to investing abroad. The Qatar Investment Authority is estimated to manage a $256 billion fund.
Another major Middle Eastern investor is the Olayan Group, which was founded by Suliman S. Olayan in 1947. Since then, it has grown into a multinational enterprise with offices located on three continents, 50 affiliated companies and 15,000 employees. The companies that it oversees are engaged in services, manufacturing and product distribution. The company owns real estate in Paris, France and the US in Maryland and Virginia.
The Mikati brothers, who made their fortune in construction, founded the M1 GROUP. The bothers then went on to found the telecom operator Investcom and expanded into African countries before selling their stake. The M1 Group has various investments around the world, including Sainsbury’s supermarket, real estate assets in the US, Europe and the Middle East, and M1 commercial jets, who lease commercial aircraft. Recently, the M1 Group has ventured into the fashion industry when the M1 Group acquired Faconnable, a menswear fashion company based in France.
Mohammed Al Amoudi is one of the most successful businessmen in the Arab world. He is rumoured to be the largest foreign investor in Ethiopia and Sweden. He made his fortune in real estate and construction before he moved into buying oil refineries in Sweden and Morocco. His operating and holding companies Coral Group and the Midroc Group employ over 40,000 people.
Abdul-Aziz Al Ghurair is the chief executive of Mashreq Bank. He is estimated to be the 420th richest person in the world, and his family have diverse holdings in cement, real estate, publishing, contracting, petrochemicals and others.
The Dubai Group is one of the world’s leading diversified financial services company. Part of Dubai Holding, it focuses on insurance, banking and investments both in the United Arab Emirates and abroad. It holds a stake in Bank Muscat and EFG Hermes.
Middle Eastern investors are major players in both their home countries and internationally, and whilst they may not be household names, their influence is considerable.