HSBC gets license to buy Saudi stocks directly

Updated 15 June 2015
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HSBC gets license to buy Saudi stocks directly

DUBAI: HSBC Holdings has received a qualified foreign investor license in Saudi Arabia and traded shares on the bourse on Monday, the first day that direct foreign investment was allowed, the bank told Reuters.
Saudi Arabia's Capital Market Authority has not yet announced any license awards, but stock exchange Chief Executive Adel Al-Ghamdi told Reuters in London that the first transaction by a qualified foreign investor was due to take place on Monday. He did not name the investor.
"Today marks one of the most important moments in the history of Saudi financial markets and HSBC is pleased to have played a role in supporting their development," HSBC said in a written response to Reuters questions.
Previously, foreigners could only buy stocks in the $564 billion market, the largest in the Arab world, indirectly through channels such as swaps. Riyadh is opening the market as a way to expose companies to market discipline and diversify its economy beyond oil.
Two sources familiar with the matter said HSBC was the first institution to get a foreign investor licence and was trading with the identity code of 0001, supporting the idea it had received the first licence.
One of the sources added it had traded in blue-chip stocks, without detailing which ones or the size of the trades.
Al-Ghamdi also said regulators were processing six applications from "very large institutions" and "there might be a spike of involvement from foreign investors over the next two or three months".


Amazon strengthens ties with French food retailer Casino

Updated 23 April 2019
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Amazon strengthens ties with French food retailer Casino

  • The move could re-ignite speculation of a bigger deal later on
  • The extended partnership comes as Casino is selling assets and cutting debt to try to allay investor concerns

PARIS: E-commerce giant Amazon and French retailer Casino are expanding their partnership, with Amazon installing pick-up lockers in Casino stores and more of the French company’s products to be available on Amazon.
The move, which follows an initial co-operation between Casino’s upmarket Monoprix supermarket chain and Amazon in Paris, could re-ignite speculation of a bigger deal later on.
An Amazon spokeswoman said it had a policy of not commenting on market speculation. Amazon’s purchase of bricks-and-mortar US food retailer Whole Foods Market last year has raised speculation it could seek to buy a European food retailer.
The extended partnership comes as Casino is selling assets and cutting debt to try to allay investor concerns over its finances and those of parent company Rallye.
The deal, unveiled on Tuesday, will see Amazon lockers installed in 1,000 locations across France in nine of Casino’s brands, including Monoprix, Monop, Geant, Hyper Casino, Casino Supermarche, Leaderprice, Viva and Spar by the end of the year. The lockers store Amazon products to be picked up by customers.
More Casino-branded products will also be available on Amazon, while Amazon and Monoprix will extend their partnership on Amazon’s Prime Now grocery delivery service outside Paris and into new cities in the next twelve months.
“This announcement represents a new step in strengthening Casino’s omnichannel strategy to always be a little more in the heart of consumers’ lives,” said Casino’s chief executive Jean-Charles Naouri in a statement.
Monoprix, seen by analysts as similar to Whole Foods, started filling orders for subscribers to Amazon’s Prime loyalty program in parts of Paris last September.
This partnership has been closely watched as Monoprix was the first French retailer to agree in March 2018 to sell products via Amazon, causing a stir in the fiercely competitive domestic market.
France is Amazon’s third largest market in Europe, after Britain and Germany. Amazon is the e-commerce leader in France with a market share of 17.3 percent, but its grocery market share stands at just 2 percent, according to Kantar data.
The US group, which has run its Amazon Prime express delivery service in Paris since 2016, has made no secret of its desire to launch a grocery delivery service in France as part of its ambitions to expand in food retail.
But the French supermarket sector has powerful incumbents such as Carrefour and Leclerc, operating at low margins and with a dense network of stores.
Earlier this week, Casino said it would sell 12 Casino hypermarkets and 20 supermarkets to Apollo Global Management in a deal worth up to €470 million ($529 million).