RIYADH: GHAZANFAR ALI KHAN | Arab News staff
Published — Tuesday 23 April 2013
Last update 23 April 2013 4:25 am
Mexico's business tycoon Carlos Slim, the world's richest man with a net worth of $73 billion, is planning to invest billions of dollars in a range of projects in Saudi Arabia. Slim is considering plans to invest in lucrative petrochemical projects in Jubail, the industrial city in the east of the Kingdom, as well as in other projects in undisclosed sectors, according to Saudi and Mexican sources.
"The visit of Slim to Riyadh comes within the framework of the commercial relations between the Kingdom and Mexico," said Saudi Ambassador to Mexico Hussein Al-Arisi, who was accompanying the Mexican billionaire in his business mission here. Slim, who has been ranked by Forbes as the world’s richest man for four years in a row, visited Jubail with Al-Asiri to check the feasibility of plans and projects in which he evinced keen interest.
Asked about the talks between Slim and senior Saudi officials and businessmen, Mexican Ambassador Arturo Trejo said: "Slim visited the Kingdom in response to an invitation from Minister of Finance Ibrahim Al-Assaf. "The Mexican business tycoon was received by Crown Prince Salman, deputy premier and minister of defense; and Prince Muqrin, second deputy premier, during his stay in Riyadh," Trejo told Arab News here yesterday.
Slim, who also visited Janadariyah festival, plans to "invest billions to build new manufacturing plants," said a report published in an Arabic daily newspaper. The Mexican billionaire also met with Mosleh Al-Otaibi, chief executive of the Royal Commission for Jubail and Yanbu. The Mexican billionaire, who is also known for his philanthropy, has a family wealth estimated at $ 73 billion, around $4 billion more than in 2012.
Slim's net worth increased from $ 69 billion last year to $ 73 billion after he expanded his empire into Europe through an acquisition of a Dutch telecom company and a majority stake in Spanish soccer club Real Oviedo. He made much of his fortune in telecoms, and also has interests in mining, real estate and infrastructure. Slim, who has benefited from the left-wing governments of South American nations, also visited Kuwait during this maiden leg of his Gulf trip.
Slim was accompanied by a high-ranking delegation, including Carlos Peralta, Mexico's largest industrial conglomerate, during his visit to the Kingdom. Referring to the visit of Slim, which indicates the progressively growing ties between Riyadh and Mexico City, Ambassador Trejo said the visit of the Mexican delegation was aimed at "strengthening commercial partnership" between the two nations.
"Slim came here as a friend of Saudi Arabia," said Trejo, adding that the Kingdom, as one of the most dynamic and competitive markets in the world, is extremely interesting for us. "We need to define a more aggressive commercial policy to increase our presence in the Saudi market," he added. The two-way trade between the Kingdom and Mexico has been in the region of $ 1 billion.