Forbes magazine's annual survey of the world's billionaires for 2013 included six persons from Lebanon, unchanged from 2012, consisting of four family members of the late Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri and two members of the Mikati family.
The survey ranked Prime Minister Najib Mikati and his brother Taha Mikati in 384th place, down from 377th place, but their net worth improved to $3.5bn each from $3bn each in 2012. They were followed by Mr. Bahaa Hariri in 613th place with a fortune of $2.4bn, down from 491st place and $2.5bn in 2012. Former Prime Minister Saad Hariri ranked in 792nd place with an estimated fortune of $1.9bn. His ranking regressed from 764th place on the 2012 list, but his net worth improved by $200m from $1.7bn.
Also, Mr. Ayman Hariri and his brother Mr. Fahd Hariri came in 1,088th place, down from 960th place, but their net worth improved to $1.35bn each from $1.3bn each last year. Forbes said the Mikati brothers founded the telecommunications firm Investcom in 1982 and sold most of their stake to South Africa's MTN Group in 2006, but they remain MTN's single largest shareholder through their holding company M1 Group. The Beirut-based M1 Group has also investments in real estate, jet leasing, retail, industry, and a stake in the U.K. supermarket chain J Sainsbury, among others.
The magazine said the Hariri family's wealth is derived from investments in Saudi Arabia and other countries in Europe, Africa and the Middle East in banking, investments, real estate, tourism, telecommunications and media. It added that former PM Saad Hariri bought his brother Bahaa's share in Saudi Oger in January 2008 and currently owns 50% of the company. It said that Mr. Bahaa Hariri derives the bulk of his fortune from investments and real estate, and has expanded into logistics.
The aggregate fortune of the six Lebanese included on the 2013 Forbes list rose by 9.4% to $14bn in 2013. The wealthiest man in the Middle East is Saudi Prince al-Waleed bin-Talal who ranked in 26th place globally with an estimated net worth of $20bn, up from $18bn in 2012. The richest man in the world is a Mexican national of Lebanese descent Mr. Carlos Slim Helu with an estimated fortune of $73bn. The number of billionaires in the world grew to an all-time high in 2012 as they reached 1,426 individuals from 1,226 in 2012, while their aggregate net worth reached a record high $5.4 trillion, up from $4.6 trillion last year. Also, the average net worth of each billionaire rose to $3.78bn in the 2013 list from $3.75bn last year.
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