Poor and uneducated, Mohammed bin Laden emigrated to Tihamah before World War I, initially working as a porter in Jeddah. In 1930, he started his own construction business and after coming to the attention of Abdul Aziz Ibn Saud, first monarch of Saudi Arabia, he eventually achieved such success that his family became known as "the wealthiest non-royal family in the kingdom."
Mohammed bin Laden's enormous financial success was ascribed to a shrewd business sense, fealty to Saudi Arabia's rulers, reliability and a willingness to offer the lowest bid on construction contracts.
As the "royal builder," Mohammed bin Laden forged close relationships with the royal family, particularly Prince Faisal of Saudi Arabia. In 1964, Prince Faisal deposed his half-brother, King Saud, and began rebuilding the kingdom after the wasteful excesses of the Saud era. Despite rising oil wealth, the kingdom was fiscally insolvent. King Faisal accepted Mohammed bin Laden's offer of financial assistance to support the national economy and as a reward, King Faisal issued a royal decree awarding all future construction projects to bin Laden's construction company. As a result, bin Laden's company eventually amassed assets in excess of US$5 billion.
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