Bloomberg Billionaires Index – Abdullah Al Ghurair

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Abdullah Ahmad Al Ghurair was born in Dubai around the 1930s. His father, Ahmed, was a diver and pearl trader in Dubai, at the time a fishing village with a thriving port and a population of around 20,000, including a quarter were expatriates. After World War II, the invention of cultured pearls decimated local commerce, and with support from the ruling Al Maktoum family in Dubai, the Al Ghurairs branched out into industrial pursuits. The ruling clan further enriched them and other leading Dubai business families by leveraging their business skills while modernizing the local economy after the discovery of oil in 1953.

In the 1960s, Abdullah founded Al Ghurair Group, a holding company for the family’s growing industrial businesses, establishing one of the region’s first cement factories and an aluminum smelter. Together with his brother Saif, he helped develop the family business in real estate, finance and food. The family founded the UAE’s first flour processor, National Flour Mills, now part of Al Ghurair Food, in 1976. Saif and Abdullah split the family business into two separate companies in the 1990s, with Saif as head of Al Ghurair Group and Abdullah as head of Al Ghurair Investments, later renamed Al Ghurair.

Abdullah is not involved in the day-to-day running of his family’s holding group. His son Abdul Aziz, born in 1954, is Chairman and Chairman of Al Ghurair as well as Managing Director of Mashreq, a Dubai bank majority owned by the two branches of the Al Ghurair family and chaired by Abdullah. His son Essa, born in 1956, is vice-president of Al Ghurair and also runs its food manufacturing company, Al Ghurair Food, and its agricultural commodities trading subsidiary, Al Ghurair Resources. His other sons, Sultan and Mohammed, are also involved in the family business. Sultan sits on the board of Mashreq and is director of business development for Al Ghurair Energy, which owns a stake in Libya’s Ras Lanuf oil refinery. Mohammed is managing director of National Cement Company in Dubai and Essa is the head of Al Ghurair Resources.

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