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#366 Abdullah Al Ghurair $5.12B

Random fact: Abdul Aziz advocates for stricter governance of family businesses.


Al Ghurair is founder and owner of Al Ghurair, a United Arab Emirates-based family-owned conglomerate. Assets include the U.A.E.'s largest flour mill, an agricultural commodities trader and a mineral water company as well as apartments, hotels and a shopping mall in Dubai. It also owns a stake in publicly traded Mashreq Bank and half of a Libyan oil refinery.

As of Oct. 17, 2017:
Last change +$94.9M (+1.9%)
YTD change +$359M (+7.5%)
Industry Diversified
Biggest asset Al Ghurair Properties
Citizenship United Arab Emirates
Age 85
Wealth Self-made
View net worth over:   Max 1 year 1 quarter 1 month 1 week

Relative Value

Abdullah Al Ghurair's net worth of $5.12B can buy ...

troy ounces of gold
barrels of crude oil

... and is equivalent to ...

of the GDP of the United States
of the total wealth of the 500 richest people in the world
of the top 100 U.S. college endowments
of the top 200 U.S. executives’ total awarded compensation
of U.S. existing home sales
times the median U.S. household income

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Net Worth Summary

Private asset
Public asset
Misc. liabilities
Confidence rating:

The majority of Al Ghurair's fortune is derived from Al Ghurair, a family holding company that owns more than 14 businesses operating in eight industries. 

The group's assets include a 51 percent stake in Dubai-based contractor ETA Star Group, as well as agricultural commodities-trading company Al Ghurair Resources, food manufacturing division Al Ghurair Foods and building materials division Al Ghurair Construction. His family also owns mineral water company Masafi outside of the holding company. The valuations of these assets are based on the company's calculated financial results and the average enterprise value-to-sales and enterprise value-to-Ebitda multiples of comparable publicly traded companies.

Al Ghurair also owns residential, office, retail and hotel properties in Dubai, which are valued using Jones Lang Lasalle data to determine rental rates, hotel revenue-per-room and appropriate yields. The value of his 50 percent stake of Libyan oil refinery Ras Lanuf is based on the cost to build Gujarat, India-based Reliance Jamnagar Refinery, a comparable asset that was completed in 2008. A 30 percent discount is applied to account for the more basic equipment of Ras Lanuf, half of which is owned by the Libyan government. A 25 percent discount for political risk is also applied. He also controls 31 percent of Dubai-based Mashreq Bank along with his son, Abdul Aziz, and 29 percent of Dubai-based National Cement Co., both of which are publicly traded.

Al Ghurair owns a printing and publishing business, a university and a private school, and franchise rights to three fashion brands, which were not included in this analysis due to a lack of financial information. In July 2015, he announced a third of his assets had been transferred to a charitable foundation. He's attributed with full ownership of Al Ghurair companies.

Sameera Fernandes, communications manager for Al Ghurair, did not reply to calls and emails requesting comment on Al Ghurair's net worth.


Family: Married, 4 children

Abdullah Ahmad Al Ghurair was born in Dubai around the 1930s. His father, Ahmed, was a pearl diver and trader in Dubai, at the time a fishing village with a thriving port and a population of about 20,000, a quarter of whom were expatriates. After World War II, the invention of cultured pearls decimated the local trade and, with support from Dubai's ruling Al Maktoum family, the Al Ghurairs diversified into industrial activities. The ruling clan further enriched them and Dubai's other prominent business families by leveraging their trading skills as they modernized the local economy after oil was discovered in 1953.

In the 1960s, Abdullah founded Al Ghurair Group, a holding company for the family's growing industrial concerns, creating one of the region's first cement factories and an aluminum smelter. With his brother Saif he helped expand the family business into property, finance and food. The family founded the United Arab Emirates' first flour processor, National Flour Mills, which is now part of Al Ghurair Food, in 1976. Saif and Abdullah split the family business into two separate companies in the 1990s, with Saif heading Al Ghurair Group and Abdullah heading Al Ghurair Investments, later renamed Al Ghurair.

Abdullah is not involved in day-to-day management at his family's holding group. His son Abdul Aziz, born in 1954, is chairman and president at Al Ghurair as well as chief executive at Mashreq, a Dubai bank that is majority owned by both branches of the Al Ghurair family and chaired by Abdullah. His son Essa, born in 1956, is Al Ghurair's vice chairman and also heads its food manufacturing business, Al Ghurair Food, and its agricultural commodites trading offshoot, Al Ghurair Resources. His other sons, Sultan and Mohammed, are also involved in the family business. Sultan serves on the board of directors at Mashreq and is director of business development at Al Ghurair Energy, which owns a stake in Libya's Ras Lanuf oil refinery. Mohammed is a managing director at National Cement Company in Dubai and Essa is head of Al Ghurair Resources.

  • 1930 Father, Ahmed, starts working as a pearl trader in Dubai.
  • 1960 Ahmed Al Ghurair founds Al Ghurair Group trading conglomerate.
  • 1967 Abdullah helps start commercial bank, Mashreq, in Dubai.
  • 1976 National Flour Mills, U.A.E.'s first flour processor, is founded.
  • 1990 Al Ghurair Group divides into two separate companies.
  • 1991 Abdullah heads Al Ghurair, brother Saif heads Al Ghurair Group.
  • 2008 Acquires 50 percent stake in Ras Lanuf oil refinery in Libya.
  • 2009 Takes out $347 million loan to renovate Dubai shopping complex.
  • 2011 Family restructures Al Ghurair into eight distinct divisions.
  • 2012 Al Ghurair appoints a non-family member as first group CEO.