To say Ziad Manasir has made a name for himself in Russia — not a traditional destination for Arab expatriates — is something of an understatement. Jordanian-born Manasir travelled to Russia on a student exchange programme at just 19 years old before deciding to make the country his home. In 1996 he established Stroygazconsulting, which has grown from a small firm erecting single buildings and structures, to one of Russia’s largest construction holding companies.
The firm employs over 63,000 people and operates around 30 production units that span the former Soviet countries, the Middle East and the Gulf. The firm has close ties with Russian energy giant Gazprom and has expanded into pipelines, roads and other infrastructure construction. Manasir, who tends to shun the limelight, was awarded the Order For Merit to the Fatherland this year by Russia, for his career achievements and work on the Eastern Siberia-Pacific Ocean oil pipeline.
Wafic Said may be a few millions worse off after the wedding of his daughter in Paris’ Palace of Versailles last year, but it’s unlikely that the nuptials will have made too much of a dent in the Syrian-born billionaire’ s pocket. Said, who has Saudi nationality but lives in London – is still best-known for Al Yamamah — the colossal Saudi fighter jets contract that is Britain’s biggest ever export deal.
Said is the chairman of Said Holding Limited, a Bermuda-based holding company with investments in Europe, North America and the Far East. The firm has a diverse portfolio of investments including fixed income, quoted equities, hedge funds, private equity and real estate.
Said, who now splits his time between the UK, Paris and Monaco, started his career at UBS in 1963 before establishing a project development and construction management business in Saudi Arabia in 1969. Over the next two decades his group took on some of the largest public sector projects in the kingdom and he became a billionaire through his connections with Saudi’s royal family, acting as an advisor and consultant on many major infrastructure projects. In 1996, he donated £23m ($35.85m) to help establish the Said Business School at the University of Oxford.