A collaborative research project between New York University Abu Dhabi and Tharawat Family Business Forum


Suhail Bahwan Group

Information last updated on 20 July 2023



Family Name:


Founder’s Name:

Suhail Salem Bahwan [1]

Earliest Documented Business Name:


Founding Year:

1965 [2]

Founding Location:

Muscat [3]


Current Operating Status:


Family Business Name:

Suhail Bahwan Group

Headquarters Location:

Muscat, Oman[4]

Key Industries:

Lifestyle, Engineering and Infrastructure, Energy and Power, IT and Telecom, Chemicals and Fertilizers, Healthcare, Logistics[5]

Number of Employees:


About the Founder and Founding Story


Suhail Bahwan was born in Sur, Oman, a small coastal town located near the Strait of Hormuz and strategically important as a stopover for ships traveling between Iraq, India, and Zanzibar. Coming from a large family, Suhail and his brother, Saud, accompanied their father on sailing trips to sell dried dates and fish in exchange for essential goods like rice and sugar. He completed his primary schooling in India, dropping out after the sixth grade. His father put him in charge of managing dhows, through which he gained valuable experience in negotiating with merchants from different parts of the world.[7]


Looking to increase his profits, Suhail took loans from Indian merchants to buy gold that he would then sell around Oman. But after paying back his creditors, his profit margins remained slim.[8] During the 1960s, Suhail traveled by sea from Sur to Muscat, where he found more opportunities to sell his goods. In 1965, he and Saud moved to Muscat permanently, where they opened a shop in the labyrinthine Muttrah Souq, first selling fishing nets and later building materials and tools as well. This marked the inception of the Suhail Bahwan Group.[9]

Growth Phase


The Bahwan brothers integrated themselves into Muscat’s small business community by attending social events, making acquaintances with government officials, and reaching out to other shop owners to explore mutual business opportunities. In 1968, their efforts paid off as they secured licenses from Japanese companies Seiko and Toshiba, expanding their business into multiple new product lines.[10]


With Sultan Qaboos’s ascent to power in 1970, Oman underwent significant modernization, increasing the demand for consumer goods and industrial products alike. During this transformative period, Toyota was seeking partners in the Gulf and the Bahwan brothers seized the chance to bid on the Oman dealership contract, but faced competition from the Al Futtaims, a UAE merchant family. To secure the bid, the Bahwans needed to demonstrate their financial capability; in 1974, they partnered with local businessman Omar Zawawi to create Amiantit Oman, a pipe manufacturing company. Within a year, they had raised the necessary capital for a dealership. Al Futtaim was nonetheless preferred over the Bahwans, until Sultan Qaboos intervened, desirous of having an Omani company handle such a prestigious brand in his country. The royal intervention helped the Bahwans win the Toyota license in 1975, and within three years they were the automotive market leaders in Oman, with brand-new Toyotas arriving on the quays of Muscat. In 1977, the company expanded into infrastructure projects in construction, oil, and gas.[11]


Over the next decade, the company ventured into yet more diverse industries, in 1984, purchasing a firm that developed desalination and power plants across Oman. By the end of the 1980s, the business employed over 4,000 workers in various sectors such as telecommunications, logistics, shipping, electronics, and food.[12]


In 1990, a dispute arose between the two brothers, leading to a period of stagnation in the company’s growth.[13] In 1998, amid the internal discord, Amal Bahwan, Suhail’s daughter, joined the family business and played a vital role in righting the ship. Starting in the services department without any title or salary, Amal began auditing operations and introducing new systems and policies. Impressed by her work and potential, her father gradually gave her more and more authority.[14]


In 2002, the two brothers decided to part ways, with the Saud Bahwan Group taking over the Toyota license and the Suhail Bahwan Group keeping the Seiko and Toshiba licenses, among other business lines. After Saud’s death in 2008, his son Mohammed assumed leadership of the Saud Bahwan Group.[15] In 2016, Suhail Bahwan delegated the majority of his group’s management responsibilities to his daughter, Amal.[16]



Today, the Suhail Bahwan Group is still led by its first-generation founder, with close support from the second generation. Suhail’s daughter Amal holds the position of vice-chairperson, and his sons Ahmed, Omar, and Othman serve as board members.[17]  Meanwhile, the Saud Bahwan Group is still under the leadership of Mohammed Saud Bahwan. The group operates in the automotive, heavy vehicles, industrial equipment, and travel and tourism sectors, among others[18].


The group is headquartered in Muscat and operates more than 15 business lines in industries spanning lifestyle, engineering and infrastructure, energy and power, IT and telecom, chemicals and fertilizers, healthcare, and logistics.[19] The business primarily operates in Oman, with a presence in several other countries, including the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Libya, and Iraq.[20]



Photo Credit: Suhail Bahwan and daughter Amal Bahwan. Image Credit: Suhail Bahwan Group. Image Source: Suhail Bahwan Group


[1] “Board of Directors – Suhail Bahwan Group Holding LLC.” https://www.suhailbahwangroup.com/corporate-profile/board-of-directors. Accessed 19 Jul. 2023.

[2] “From Humble Beginnings, Suhail Bahwan Became A Billionaire In Oman.” Suhail Bahwan Group, 11 April 2017, https://www.suhailbahwangroup.com/media/press-release/from-humble-beginnings-suhail-bahwan-became-a-billionaire-in-oman. Accessed 19 Jul. 2023.

[3] Ibid.

[4] “Head Office Contact – Suhail Bahwan Group.” https://www.suhailbahwangroup.com/contact-us/head-office-contact. Accessed 19 Jul. 2023.

[5] “Suhail Bahwan Group Holding LLC | Home.” https://www.suhailbahwangroup.com/. Accessed 19 Jul. 2023.

[6] “Suhail Bahwan Group – The Top 100 Arab Family Businesses.” 7 Sep. 2022, https://www.forbesmiddleeast.com/lists/the-top-100-arab-family-businesses/suhail-bahwan-group/. Accessed 19 Jul. 2023.

[7] “From Humble Beginnings, Suhail Bahwan Became A Billionaire In Oman.” Suhail Bahwan Group.

[8]  Ibid.

[9]  Ibid.

[10] Ibid.

[11] Ibid.

[12] Ibid.

[13] Ibid.

[14] Ibid.

[15] Ibid.

[16] “Suhail Salim Bahwan – Gulf Business.” https://gulfbusiness.com/lists/top-100-most-powerful-arabs-2018/suhail-salim-bahwan/. Accessed 20 Jul. 2023.

“Vice Chairperson’s Message – Suhail Bahwan Group.” https://www.suhailbahwangroup.com/corporate-profile/vice-chairpersons-message. Accessed 20 Jul. 2023.

[17] “Board of Directors – Suhail Bahwan Group Holding LLC.”

[18] Mughal, Waqar. “Saud Bahwan Group – Top 100 Arab Family Businesses 2023- Forbes Lists.” Forbes Middle East, 1 August 2023, https://www.forbesmiddleeast.com/lists/top-100-arab-family-businesses-2023/saud-bahwan-group/. Accessed 20 September 2023.

[19] For Bahwan headquarters see “Head Office Contact.” Suhail Bahwan Group Holding LLC, https://www.suhailbahwangroup.com/contact-us/head-office-contact.

For Bahwan’s business lines see  “Suhail Bahwan Group – The Top 100 Arab Family Businesses.” 7 Sep. 2022, https://www.forbesmiddleeast.com/lists/the-top-100-arab-family-businesses/suhail-bahwan-group/. Accessed 19 Jul. 2023.

For Bahwan’s operations see “Suhail Bahwan Group Holding LLC | Home.” https://www.suhailbahwangroup.com/. Accessed 19 Jul. 2023.

[20] “Bahwan International Group Holding LLC – LinkedIn.” https://www.linkedin.com/company/bahwan-internation-group-holding-llc. Accessed 20 Jul. 2023.


To cite this article please use:

“Suhail Bahwan Group” Family Business Histories Research Project, New York University Abu Dhabi and Tharawat Family Business Forum, 29 Jan. 2024, familybusinesshistories.org/spotlights/suhail-bahwan-group