August 3, 2021

Lebanese billionaires still do not know the crisis

From left to right: Najib and Taha Mikati; Bahaa Hariri; Robert Mouawad; Ayman and Fahd Hariri. Forbes Middle East

For the third consecutive year, Lebanon has six billionaires listed in the ranking of Forbes Middle East magazine for 2021. Identical since 2019, their cumulative fortune this year amounts to 10.8 billion dollars, or 600 million more than in 2020.

Leading the local ranking and 6e Tied in the Middle East are the brothers Najib and Taha Mikati, who run the M1 Group investment fund, with $ 2.5 billion each. The former managed to increase his fortune by $ 400 million in one year, while that of his brother increased by $ 300 million over the same period. Increases that allow them to gain respectively one and three places at the regional level and to camp both at 1249e rank globally.

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The remaining four Lebanese billionaires are still ranked in the same order at the local level despite the changes registered in their positioning at the global level. With $ 2 billion, a heritage unchanged compared to 2020, Bahaa Hariri, elder brother of Prime Minister designate Saad Hariri and who is mainly invested in real estate, retains his third place at the local level and his 12e place at the regional level. It is positioned 1580e in the world ranking. Jeweler Robert Mouawad, the only Lebanese whose fortune has declined in a year, retains his fourth place with an estimated fortune of $ 1.4 billion in 2021. Having lost $ 100 million compared to 2020, he loses three steps in the regional ranking (17e in 2021, compared to 14e in 2020) and occupies 2141e place globally.

Finally, Ayman and Fahd Hariri, half-brothers of the Prime Minister-designate and also accustomed to this ranking, occupy the last two places of Lebanese billionaires. Their respective assets, estimated at 1.3 billion and 1.1 billion dollars, remain unchanged compared to last year. However, they each lose one place in the regional ranking and respectively occupy the 18e and 21e places (2263e and 2524e in the world ranking).

Read also: Three Lebanese in the top 100 CEOs in the Middle East, according to Forbes

In all, Forbes Middle East lists 22 Arab billionaires in its 2021 ranking, one more than in 2020. With an estimated fortune of 8.3 billion dollars, 3.3 billion more than last year, it is is the Egyptian Nassef Sawiris who finds himself at the top of this year’s ranking. With six members each, Lebanon and Egypt are the most represented countries in this edition, a place they were already deciding in 2020. The United Arab Emirates, with 4 billionaires, complete the podium of Middle Eastern countries .

Note, however, that since 2018, this ranking does not take into account Saudi billionaires, a decision taken by the magazine in the wake of the arrest at the end of 2017 of several billionaires from the kingdom by Crown Prince Mohammad ben Salman.

Read also: Five Lebanese women among the most influential businesswomen in the region, according to Forbes

Among the personalities of Lebanese origin not listed as such in the international ranking of Forbes, the Mexican Carlos Slim Helu remains the first billionaire to appear there, losing four places in one year (16e), despite the increase in his personal fortune from 52.1 billion to 62.8 billion dollars over the same period. He is followed by the Franco-Lebanese Rodolphe Saadé (and family), CEO of the third world carrier CMA CGM, which gains five places and occupies the 203e ranking place with an estimated fortune of $ 10.9 billion, up $ 3.9 billion. The Lebanese-Brazilian Joseph Safra, used to this ranking and occupying the rank of first banker last year (39e world rank), died in December 2020. His descendants, having “inherited less than half of his fortune”, or $ 7.1 billion, according to Forbes, occupies this year the 358e place.