Two Omani tycoons have broken into the big league of billionaires this year, according to the annual Forbes Middle East: The World’s Richest Arabs 2016 list.
While the past year has been “unkind” to billionaires the world over, Forbes says Arab billionaires “saw their net worth drop by 23.8 per cent from a year ago”.
According to Forbes, Sheikh Suhail Bahwan started out as a small trader in Muscat before diversifying into several industries, such as automotive, construction and oil and gas services. He is ranked seventh out of 32 on the Forbes list of the World’s Richest Arabs with a net worth of more than US$3.4 billion (RO1.3bn).
Mohammed Saud Bahwan’s late father, Sheikh Saud Salim Bahwan, became Oman’s first Toyota agent in 1975. Mohammed took over the company in 2008.
The Saud Bahwan Group focuses on industrial equipment, real estate and automobiles. He is ranked 28th with a net worth of US$1.3bn (RO500 million). In total, the Sultanate has three billionaires, whose combined net worth is valued at US$6.2bn (RO2.38bn).
Indian-Omani businessman and real-estate tycoon P N C Menon; who is the founder of Sobha Ltd, was ranked 23rd with fortune of US$1.5 bn (RO577m).
But holding the number one position in the Middle East is Prince Alwaleed of Saudi Arabia, with a total of more than US$17.3bn (RO6.6bn) despite a 20 per cent fall in his net worth from 2015.
By country, Saudi Arabia has six billionaires with a combined net worth of US$34.6bn (RO13.3bn), while the UAE is home to six billionaires worth $19.7bn (RO7.5bn); Egypt has six billionaires, worth $14.2bn (RO5.4bn) ; Lebanon has seven billionaires worth $12.5bn (RO4.8bn); Morocco has two with a net worth of $3.2bn (RO1.2bn); and Algeria and Qatar have one billionaire each.