Dubai: UAE billionaires Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair, Shaikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Majid Al Futtaim, Saif Al Ghurair, Abdullah Al Futtaim and Khalaf Al Habtoor have found prominent mention on a list of 34 richest Arabs published by Forbes Arabia.
"The Arab Billionaires List for 2009 line-up includes 34 Arabs with a combined wealth of around $115.8 billion [Dh425.4 billion], 35 per cent lower than last year's $177.6 billion," the publication said in a report.
In terms of cumulative wealth based on nationality, the six UAE billionaires ranked second behind only Saudi Arabia, with a combined wealth of $21.4 billion.
The new entrant to the billionaire list from the UAE is Shaikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan who, with a personal wealth of $4.9 billion, ranks second in the UAE, eighth among Arab billionaires and 104th globally. The notable absentee from the UAE on the 2009 list was Mahdi Al Tajir.
"Shaikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Minister for UAE Presidential Affairs, is the newest billionaire in the Gulf region. Shaikh Mansour is the first person from the ruling family in Abu Dhabi to run an investment business under his own name," the report said.
Shaikh Mansour emerged as a major international investor in September 2008 when he acquired the English football club Manchester City in a $300 million deal. His investments expanded in the UK when he played a major role in bailing out Barclays Bank when the British Government sought to nationalise it.
Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair, CEO of Mashreq Bank, one of the largest retail banks in the UAE, is ranked first in the UAE, fourth in the Arab World and 57th globally, with an estimated wealth of $7.8 billion.
This is seen as a noteworthy achievement since the economic downturn has affected the banking sector and has led to an 18 per cent decline in the value of Mashreq Bank's shares since June 2008.
The report placed Majid Al Futtaim, founder and president of the Majid Al Futtaim Group, in third place with wealth valued at $3 billion. He ranks 12th in the Arab world and 205th globally. Al Futtaim invests mainly in real estate and retail sectors.
The report put the Saif Al Ghurair family fourth in the UAE, with a total wealth of $2.8 billion coming in 16th in the Arab world and 224th globally.
Abdullah Al Futtaim with wealth of $1.8 billion, has been ranked fifth in the UAE, resulting in a ranking of 22 in the Arab World and 397 globally. Abdullah Al Futtaim's group represents some of the most prominent electronics and automobile brands in the country.
Khalaf Al Habtoor, chairman of the Al Habtoor Group, has been ranked sixth in the UAE with wealth of $1.1 billion. He comes in at 29 in the Arab world and 647 globally.
Khuloud Al Omian, managing editor of Forbes Arabia, said, "The high number of Arab billionaires indicates a state of relative stability in the Arab economies. The presence of 34 individuals with a net worth of more that $100 billion is impressive given the geopolitical and economic volatility experienced throughout the region over the past years."
Kuwait retained third spot on the list behind Saudi Arabia and the UAE with four billionaires.
Lebanon dropped from second to fourth place this year after the exclusion of four of its billionaires (Nazik Hariri, Hind Hariri, Said Khoury and Hasib Sabbagh), retaining only three billionaires in the latest list.
Lebanon is followed by Egypt, which also ended up with three billionaires after local magnate Samih Sawiris was excluded.