In 1935, Sheikh Ismail Ali Abudawood founded a small wholesale business in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

Originally known as the Ismail Ali Abudawood Trading Company Limited (IATCO), the company has grown into one of the world's most respected brand partners.

Abudawood began by wholesaling a variety of consumer goods to retailers throughout Saudi Arabia. The company's success with distributing products imported from Procter & Gamble, the highly respected U.S. consumer goods company, contributed to Abudawood's development. In the 1940s, Abudawood became the exclusive distributor of Procter & Gamble (P&G) brands throughout Saudi Arabia.

In 1956, Abudawood and P&G established a joint-venture factory in Saudi Arabia (called Modern Industries Inc.) to produce P&G brands for the region and neighbouring countries. With Abudawood as the exclusive distributor, the arrangement enabled P&G to establish a competitive advantage, reliable supply and market-leading distribution throughout the Gulf region – a position that remains to this day. While Abudawood has continued to distribute P&G products, it also added single brands from other leading organizations, such as Quaker Oats and United Riceland.

During the 1970s, when the Saudi economy was growing at an exponential rate, Sheikh Ismail engaged his family in the operation and expansion of the family business. As his sons grew to manage Abudawood, they added other business ventures, including the ownership of real estate (domestically and internationally) and investment in financial instruments. The company's growth prompted the formation of The Abudawood Group, an umbrella organization to hold and manage all interests.

With the continued growth of Abudawood through the 1980s and 1990s, the company engaged the services of world-class, professional executive managers to run day-to-day operations, a practice that continues today.

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