Total wealth of the UAE billionaires plummeted in the past one year due to fall in property prices, impact of coronavirus and due to financial scandal at the troubled NMC Healthcare.
Out of the UAE's 13 richest people, wealth of the eight billionaires fell nearly 30 per cent to $18.9 billion in 2020 as compared to $27.1 billion in the previous year while the remaining five dropped out of the billionaires' list.
With combined wealth of $ 10.5 billion, the four Emirati billionaires Abdulla Al Ghurair, Majid Al Futtaim, Abdullah Al Futtaim and Hussain Sajwani, control $3.7 billion, $3.3 billion, $2.1 billion and $1.4 billion, respectively, worth of assets. Their wealth plummeted by over a quarter - 28 per cent - from $14.6 billion when compared to 2019, according to Forbes data.
Four expat billionaires - MA Yusuff Ali, Micky Jagtiani, Sunny Varkey, Dr. Shamsheer Vayalil - managed to stay in the billionaires list but their wealth dropped by one-third from $12.5 billion to $8.4 billion.
Saif Al Ghurair, Khalifa bin Butti Al Muhairi, Saeed bin Butti Al Qebaisi, PNC Menon and BR Shetty dropped out of the 2020 billionaires list.
Earlier this year, investigators found $2.7 billion of undisclosed debt, more than double of what NMC had announced earlier. Its shares had lost more than 60 per cent of their value by the time trading was halted.
In addition, the outbreak of coronavirus has severally impacted businesses worldwide, including the UAE. In addition, property tycoons' wealth also shrank due to continued price drop in 2019.
According to Forbes, as many as 21 Arabs made it to the list of world's richest in 2020 - including those in the UAE - with combined wealth of $47.3 billion (Dh173.6 billion).
In total, six billionaires each from Egypt and Lebanon made it to the list followed by four from the UAE and one each from Algeria, Oman, Kuwait, Qatar and Morocco,
Globally, there are 2,095 billionaires on the 2020 ranking, down from 2,153 in 2019. The total combined net worth of billionaires is $8 trillion, down from $8.7 trillion. As many as 267 people dropped off this year's list and a record 1,062 individuals have seen a drop in their fortunes, both reflective of the turbulent markets and the coronavirus pandemic.
"The world's richest are not immune to the devastating impact of the coronavirus. The drop in the number of billionaires this year reflects the economic impact the pandemic is already having," said Kerry Dolan, assistant managing editor of Wealth at Forbes.
Amazon's founder and CEO Jeff Bezos maintained the top spot on this year's ranking, for the third consecutive year, despite his net worth plunging by $18 billion. His wealth is valued at $113 billion. The decrease in his net worth is primarily due to his recent divorce.
Bill Gates remained in the No. 2 position with a fortune of $98 billion, up $1.5 billion from last year.
Bernard Arnault of LVMH moves up on this year's ranking and debuts in the top three, as the third-wealthiest person in the world, after Warren Buffett's fortune fell by $15 billion. Buffett (No. 4) is valued at $67.5 billion, down from $82.5 from last year.