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


Mezzan Holding Co

Information last updated on 18 September 2023



Family Name:

Al Wazzan

Founder’s Name:

Jassim Mohammad Ali Al Wazzan [1]

Earliest Documented Business Name:

Al Wazzan

Founding Year:


Founding Location:



Current Operating Status:


Family Business Name:

Mezzan Holding Co

Headquarters Location:

Kuwait City, Kuwait[2]

Key Industries:

Food, Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG), Catering, Industrial, Customer Services[3]

Number of Employees:


About the Founder


Jassim Mohammad Ali Al Wazzan was born in 1929 in the Eastern District of Kuwait City.[5] His father, Mohammed Ali Al Wazzan, worked in the food trade and owned a small retail shop built in 1898. He introduced Jassim to the world of trade and taught him crucial skills such as sales, purchasing, importing, and how to deal with consumers.[6]


Other members of the Al Wazzan family worked in food manufacturing and the Kuwait ports, responsible for weighing international import and export cargo (“Al Wazzan” is Arabic for “the weigher”).[7] The family received a fee reduction from the Kuwaiti authorities in honor of their ancestor Najim Al Wazzan, who died as a martyr in the battle of Elreka Elbahrya in 1783.


Jassim attended Al-Mubarakiya School, leaving before his final year of high school to work for a food merchant. After two years in that position, he took a job at a mill owned by his father’s business partner that served customers in the Eastern District and Al-Midan.[8]


In 1950, Jassim married his cousin Oud Yacoub Al Wazzan. Between 1951 and 1966 the couple had ten children: four daughters — Maliha, Nawal, Khalida, and Sharifa — and six sons — Khalid, Abdul Rahman, Mu’tamid, Mohammad, Mutassim, and Muntasir.[9]

Founding Story


Using the experience and knowledge he gained working at the Abbas Ali Agha mill for a year, Jassim Al Wazzan launched his first grocery store at the age of 19.[10] Founded in Altararih Souk, Kuwait, the store sold basic household products and afforded Jassim the opportunity to establish valuable connections with foreign manufacturers.[11]


After the first oil shipment left Kuwait in 1946, the country experienced a major economic boom leading to the arrival of an increasing number of expatriates seeking work and livelihood. The shifts in consumption patterns and labor fueled Jassim’s ambition to expand his business.[12]


In the early 1950s, as Kuwait’s commercial focus shifted to Europe, Jassim Al Wazzan began traveling to European countries to explore new products and secure exclusive dealership rights.[13] Building on his success in the food market, he started investing in areas such as construction materials and supplies. In 1959, he partnered with Mousa Abdul Hussein Ali Al-Naqi and Abdul Al-Wahab Hussein Ali Al-Naqi to establish the Al-Naqi & Al-Wazzan Company with 150,000 Kuwaiti dinars in founding capital.[14]


Jassim Al Wazzan formed another pivotal partnership with businessman Bludfarag Oberoi, who managed a grocery store in Kuwait; in 1962, they established the Kuwaiti-Indian Trading Company.[15] In the 1960s, Al Wazzan added food manufacturing to his business lines, establishing the first factory in the GCC that produced minced, blended, and sharia-compliant meat products; the operation is now known as Khazan.[16]


He subsequently acquired a majority interest in KITCO, one of the pioneering potato chip factories in the region, which attracted globally recognized brands such as Johnson & Johnson, Kimberly Clark, Reckitt Benckiser, General Mills, and GlaxoSmithKlein.[17] Al Wazzan and Oberoi, through their partnership in the Kuwaiti-Indian Trading Company, entered the potato chip market in Kuwait by importing Pufak products from Iran. In response to shipment disruptions, Oberoi proposed establishing a local factory for chips, which Al Wazzan supported; with machinery imported from Holland, they opened the factory in 1976, using potatoes from Al Wazzan’s farm.[18]


In the 1980s, Jassim, with the help of his brother, Abdul Wahab, entered the plastics industry, which was booming globally due to declining oil prices and the growth of plastic manufacturing.[19] In 1989, Jassim Al Wazzan passed away.[20] Members of the second generation joined the company in the 1980s, with Khalid, the founder’s son, becoming board chairman of the family business, now known as Mezzan, in 1989.[21] Ten years later, the company was incorporated under the current holding structure with paid-up capital of 31.13 million Kuwaiti dinars.[22]


Throughout the 2000s, Mezzan Holding expanded regionally following its success in the Kuwaiti market, entering the food and broader FMCG (fast-moving consumer goods) sectors in multiple Gulf countries.[23] The founding of Mezzan Saudi Trading & Distribution, the opening of manufacturing plants in Qatar and Jordan, and Mezzan’s 2014 acquisition of a UA distribution company, Unitra Mets Group (UMG), supported the company’s growth beyond its local market.[24] Mezzan Holding went public on the Kuwait Stock Exchange in 2015, and just before the turn of  the decade, it acquired a majority stake in Kuwait’s only manufacturing pharmaceutical company, KSPICO, marking the company’s diversification into the healthcare manufacturing industry.[25]



Mezzan Holding Co. today has 29 subsidiary companies with operations spanning the Gulf in the sectors of food, healthcare, and consumer services.[26] The family business is under the management of the second and third generations, with Mutassim as chairman and Mohammad as vice chairman.[27]  Ali Abdulrahman Al Wazzan, from the family’s third generation, is executive director of investments.[28]



Photo Credit: Al-Wazzan commercial published in Al-Arabi magazine, July 1970 - Issue 140. Image Source: Jassim Mohammed Al-Ali Al -Wazzan Quality Maker (1929 – 1989) - A biography by: Talal Al –Wazzan.


[1] “About Us | Pharmaceutical Distribution.” Mezzan Holding, https://www.mezzan.com/our-company/our-history/. Accessed 5 May 2023.

[2] “MEZZAN HOLDING COMPANY Company Profile | Kuwait City, Kuwait | Competitors, Financials & Contacts.” Dun & Bradstreet, https://www.dnb.com/business-directory/company-profiles.mezzan_holding_company.d1bf36de7c71dc14d880d27d0f4fb93c.html. Accessed 7 June 2023.

[3] Refinitiv

[4] “Investor Relations.” Mezzan Holding, https://www.mezzan.com/investor-relations/investor-overview/. Accessed 5 May 2023.

[5] Al –Wazzan, Talal. Jassim Mohammed Al-Ali Al -Wazzan Quality Maker (1929 – 1989). March 2017, https://mezzan.wpenginepowered.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/The-Late-Jassim-Al-Wazzan-Book-English-Version.pdf.

[6] Ibid.

[7] Ibid.

[8] Ibid.

[9] Ibid.


[11] “About Us | Pharmaceutical Distribution | Mezzan Holding Co..”

[12] Khouja, M.W., Sadler, P.G. “The Economy of Kuwait.” Springer, https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-1-349-03500-7_3.

Al –Wazzan, Talal. Jassim Mohammed Al-Ali Al -Wazzan Quality Maker (1929 – 1989).

[13] Al –Wazzan, Talal. Jassim Mohammed Al-Ali Al -Wazzan Quality Maker (1929 – 1989).

[14] Ibid.

[15] Ibid.

[16] “About Us | Pharmaceutical Distribution | Mezzan Holding Co..”

[17] Ibid.

[18] Al –Wazzan, Talal. Jassim Mohammed Al-Ali Al -Wazzan Quality Maker (1929 – 1989).

[19] Ibid.

[20] Ibid.

[21] “About Us | Pharmaceutical Distribution | Mezzan Holding Co..”

Al –Wazzan, Talal. Jassim Mohammed Al-Ali Al -Wazzan Quality Maker (1929 – 1989). March 2017, https://mezzan.wpenginepowered.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/The-Late-Jassim-Al-Wazzan-Book-English-Version.pdf.

[22] “Investor Relations.” Mezzan Holding.

[23] “About Us | Pharmaceutical Distribution.”

[24] Ibid.

[25] Ibid. .

[26] Food Product Supplier | Retail Company in UAE | Kuwait | Qatar | Saudi Arabia |, https://www.mezzan.com/. Accessed 5 May 2023.

“Investor Relations.” Mezzan Holding.

[27] “Mezzan Holding Holds 21st Annual General Meeting – Mezzan Holding Co.” Mezzan Holding, 22 May 2022, https://www.mezzan.com/news/mezzan-2021-agm-e/. Accessed 5 May 2023.

[28] “Management Team – Mezzan Holding Co.” Mezzan Holding, https://www.mezzan.com/our-company/management-team/. Accessed 5 May 2023.

To cite this article please use:

“Mezzan Holding Co” Family Business Histories Research Project, New York University Abu Dhabi and Tharawat Family Business Forum, 29 Jan. 2024, familybusinesshistories.org/spotlights/Mezzan-holding