10 Titans of Pakistani Business

No discussion of a country’s economy can make sense without referring to the top ten corporate entities that drive the domestic economy and contribute to exports.

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blankMr. Mian Muhammad Yahya Mansha

Founder & CEO

Nishat Group
Est group worth: $6 billion

Nishat Group is Pakistan’s leading conglomerate with diversified investments across the national economy with an estimated worth of $6 billion. Founder Mian Muhammad Mansha, a prominent businessman, is often described as the country’s richest man. The family of Mian Mansha (as he is commonly known) hails from Chiniot, but the original family business was based in Calcutta (now Kolkata) – which then shifted to Faisalabad after independence.

The group has over 30, listed and non-listed, companies under its umbrella. The flagship business of Nishat Group – Nishat Textile Mills, established in 1951 near Lahore – is now the most modern textile production facility with exports in 2019 valued at $353 million. The business group has diverse ownerships including MCB bank, DG Khan Cement, AdamJee life insurance, Nishat Textiles, Nishat Power, Nishat Properties, Nishat Hotels, Hyundai Nishat Motors and Nishat Emporium.

blankMr. Anwar Pervez

Founder & Chairman

Bestway Group
Est group worth: $4.5 billion

The journey of Bestway Group started with the owner, Sir. Anwar Pervez, establishing his first convenience store “Kashmir” in London’s Earls Court in 1963. Mr Anwar went to the UK as a student, but his entrepreneurial inclinations took him to lay the foundation of Bestway Wholesale, the first venture of the Bestway Group, started back in 1976, with its first cash and carry warehouse in London. Bestway Wholesale is now the UK’s second-largest wholesaler with a market share of 18%, has 62 warehouses, a product line of over 25,000 items and a network of over 160,000 independent retailers.

Read more: Pakistan’s Exports – Unexpected surge amidst new opportunities

Bestway Group has a worth of $4.50 billion. The group arrived in Pakistan in 1995 and set up its first cement plant in Hattar, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, under Bestway Cement Limited. The company is now one of Pakistan’s largest cement producers. In 2002 it took a share in United Bank Limited – the second largest bank of Pakistan. It also owns MAP Rice Mills, Well Pharmacy and Bestway Wholesale.

blankMr. Sadruddin Hashwani

Founder & Chairman

Hashoo Group
Est group worth: $3.8 billion

The Hashoo Group is owned by Mr. Sadruddin Hashwani. Mr Hashwami is a Karachi based businessman with roots tracing back to Persia (modern-day Iran), from where the tribe of his ancestors – the Khojas – migrated to present-day Pakistan in the 1900s. Hashoo Group was initially established as Ali Hassan & Company as a cotton trading company in 1960. In 1972, the PPP government under Bhutto’s nationalization drive, nationalized cotton and rice exports and that led Hashoo Group to venture in the hoteling industry.

The group established its first hotel – The Holiday Inn – in Islamabad and later in Karachi in 1978 and 1981. These were later converted to the Marriotts. Further notable assets of the group included buying the InterContinental Hotels in 1985 that were rebranded to Pearl Continental Hotels, which are scattered all across Pakistan. The Hashoo group has a net worth of $3.8 billion. It is among the largest groups in the country with a diverse portfolio ranging from Real Estate, Oil & Gas, Hospitality, IT, Ceramics to Pharmaceuticals.

blankMr. Malik Riaz Hussain

Founder

Bahria Town
Est group worth: $3.4 billion

Bahria Town Group, with a worth of $3.4 Billion, was founded by Malik Riaz Hussain – Mr. Riaz, following the collapse of his father’s business started his career at an early age as a clerk, in Military Engineering Service (MES). He moved on to become a contractor and founded his own company – Hussain Global – in the mid-90s’. As its first project, the company developed a gated community for the Pakistan Navy.

Read more: Pakistan crosses $2 billion fourth month in a row

The group – now with over 30,000 employees – has been in the real estate business across the country for over three decades, with the aim to provide clean and safe residential areas for the middle class to buy their plot of land on installments. The only competitor to the hitherto market leaders, are the DHAs. It turned out to be a very successful entrepreneurial model given the lack of mortgages in the country. Mr. Malik is now one of the richest men in the country, owner of the largest privately held real estate developer in Pakistan -and perhaps the best known “self-made man”.

blankMr. Hussain Dawood

Chairman

Dawood Hercules Group
Est group worth: $2 billion

Mr Hussain Dawood is the chairman of Dawood Hercules Group. The Group was formed by his father Ahmed Dawood, in 1948 and like Pakistan has weathered much hardship. It lost close to 60% of its group activities, which were based in East Pakistan in 1971, and then in 1974, it lost its flagship – Dawood Petroleum, due to Bhutto’s nationalization. Despite these travails, it recovered and currently has a wide array of businesses with an estimated worth of $2 billion.

Under the leadership of Mr. Hussain Dawood since 2002, the Group has put in a sizeable amount, estimated around $7 billion, into different sectors including energy & related infrastructure, foods & agriculture, petrochemicals, chemical storage & handling, renewables, industrial IoT and digital solutions. The Group has a number of subsidiaries and associated companies.

Mr Dawood is also the chairman of Engro Corporation, under whose leadership Engro has risen through the ranks to be one of Pakistan’s largest industrial corporates. Hussain Dawood is not only a businessman but also an educationalist and philanthropist. He has set up Karachi School of Business and Leadership (KSBL) – a collaboration with the Cambridge University’s Judge Business School.

blankMr. Syed Nasir Hussain Schon

CEO

Schon Group
Est group worth: $2 billion

Nasir Schon is a prominent business leader of Pakistan and chairman of the Schon Group of Companies. The group with a global portfolio of $2 billion is now being run by Danial Schon, nephew of Nasir Schon. The company, established in 1971 in Singapore, has over 45 years of business experience. The group has its presence in Pakistan, UAE, Germany and Singapore through its well-diversified arms. Schon Group ventured into the real estate business, only after the mid-90s’ when the group moved its headquarters to Dubai, as Schon Properties and has delivered over 1.6 million square feet of office and business space in Dubai – as of 2016.

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Prior to that, they had interests in Airlines, Banking, Fiber Production, and Fintech. For a brief period, the group also owned the ‘Multan Sultans’ franchise of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) in a bid to diversify beyond its usual forte of operations. One of Schon’s ongoing real estate projects includes Dubai Lagoon, comprising of 442 apartments and over 500,000 square feet of built-up area. It is estimated to be over $800 million in worth.

blankMr. Salman Iqbal

CEO

ARY Group
Est group worth: $1.4 billion

ARY Group was founded by Late Mr Abdul Razzak Yaqoob. Yaqoob was born in Surat, India, and later migrated to Karachi, Pakistan, with his parents. Mr Yaqoob went to Dubai from Pakistan in the 60s’ and ventured into the gold business through his own outlet. Today ARY Group has material holdings from media to property with an estimated worth of around $1.40 billion. After Razzak Yaqoob’s demise, the group’s ownership went to his dynamic nephew Mr Salman Iqbal. Apart from media and gold, the group also owns desirable property assets in Karachi, Islamabad and Dubai, worth over $200m.

titans of pakistani businessMr. Rafi Q Habib

Chairman

House of Habib Group
Est group worth: $1.2 billion

Habib Bank Ltd. and Habib Insurance were set up in 1941 in Bombay, and later the family moved to Pakistan on request of Quaid-e-Azam. It was the House of Habib, which helped Pakistan in 1947 when the newly independent state was in dire need of funds, it is said, by presenting a blank Lloyds Bank cheque to Muhammad Ali Jinnah. Rafi q Habib is the current Chairman of the group and many of its subsidiary companies.

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The company’s portfolio can be categorized into 5 primary verticals, i.e. banks, auto parts, building material, packaging, energy and property. The group employs over 12,000 people and own stakes in the education sector from schools to universities. They have one of Pakistan’s most famous car companies, Indus motor company, Habib Metropolitan Bank, Habib Bank AG Zurich, as well as running the Habib University Foundation. The group’s total worth is $1.24 Billion.

titans of pakistani businessMr. Mian Mohammad Abdullah

Founder & Chairman

Sapphire Group
Est group worth: $850 million

Sapphire Group is one of the country’s largest textile manufacturers with an estimated worth of $850 million; annual turnover of $800 million and an asset base valued over $500 million. The group is owned by veteran businessman and philanthropist Mr Mian Mohammad Abdullah. The journey of Sapphire Group started from Calcutta, from where, post-1947, it moved to Lahore.

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The group has continued its growth, spanned on decades, to vertically integrate itself in the textile industry. Today, it is the most modern textile facility with products reaching 35 destinations worldwide and a workforce of more than 15,000 people. The group has also ventured into the energy sector with a power generation plant, at Muridke near Lahore, with a capacity of 234 MW.

titans of pakistani businessMr. Syed Babar Ali

Founder & Chairman

Packages Group
Est group worth: $870 million

Packages group started its journey in 1956 as a joint venture between the Wazir Ali Group and Swedish companies Akerlund and Rausing. The group is headed by Syed Babar Ali, a prominent businessman and philanthropist known for being the founder of LUMS – one of Pakistan’s top business schools.

Packages Group with a worth of $870 million owns numerous Coca Cola plants in Pakistan. The group has notable brands under its umbrella such as Nestle, Mitchells, Treet, IGI Insurance, IGI Investment bank and Tri-Pack Films. The group also runs the Babar Ali Foundation for education.

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