Prince Alwaleed, Vivendi chairman promote strategic partnership

Updated 27 February 2016
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Prince Alwaleed, Vivendi chairman promote strategic partnership

RIYADH: Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, chairman of Kingdom Holding Company (KHC) and chairman of Rotana Group, met Vincent Bollore, chairman of Vivendi at George V, Hotel in Paris.
The meeting was also attended by Fahad Alsukait, CEO of Rotana Group, Hassna Alturki, executive manager for international relations to the chairman and Kacy Grine, adviser to KHC.
During their meeting, Prince Alwaleed and Bollore discussed general, business and economic issues and future potential of a strategic partnership.
Furthermore, Prince Alwaleed and Bollore discussed the deal of acquiring KHC’s shares with a minimum amount of $150 million (SR563 million) that took place in 2015.
Moreover, the two discussed economic, cultural matters and topics related to media.
They also discussed the bi-lateral relations between Saudi Arabia and France, and the strong relations between the prince and France, especially KHC’s investments in France that are considered to be the largest Saudi Arabian presence in France.
In June 2015, French President François Hollande and Prince Alwaleed held a meeting at the French presidential Palace, The Elysee.
In a strategic alliance between France and KHC.
A consortium of France’s big companies led by the CDCIC International Capital, the International investment arm of Caisse des Depots, France’s Sovereign Wealth Fund, announced that they have approved an investment in KHC.
The deal constitutes the acquisition of KHC’s shares with a minimum amount of $150 million (SR563 million) subject to increase. Moreover, Prince Alwaleed retained all the 95 percent stake in KHC.


Gulf defense spending ‘to top $110bn by 2023’

Updated 15 February 2019
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Gulf defense spending ‘to top $110bn by 2023’

  • Saudi Arabia and UAE initiatives ‘driving forward industrial defense capabilities’
  • Budgets are increasing as countries pursue modernization of equipment and expansion of their current capabilities

LONDON: Defense spending by Gulf Arab states is expected to rise to more than $110 billion by 2023, driven partly by localized military initiatives by Saudi Arabia and the UAE, a report has found.

Budgets are increasing as countries pursue the modernization of equipment and expansion of their current capabilities, according to a report by analytics firm Jane’s by IHS Markit.

Military expenditure in the Gulf will increase from $82.33 billion in 2013 to an estimated $103.01 billion in 2019, and is forecast to continue trending upward to $110.86 billion in 2023.

“Falling energy revenues between 2014 and 2016 led to some major procurement projects being delayed as governments reigned in budget deficits,” said Charles Forrester, senior defense industry analyst at Jane’s.

“However, defense was generally protected from the worst of the spending cuts due to regional security concerns and budgets are now growing again.”

Major deals in the region have included Eurofighter Typhoon purchases by countries including Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.

Saudi Arabia is also looking to “localize” 50 percent of total government military spending in the Kingdom by 2030, and in 2017 announced the launch of the state-owned military industrial company Saudi Arabia Military Industries.

Forrester said such moves will boost the ability for Gulf countries to start exporting, rather than purely importing defense equipment.

“Within the defense sector, the establishment of Saudi Arabia Military Industries (SAMI) in 2017 and consolidation of the UAE’s defense industrial base through the creation of Emirates Defense Industries Company (EDIC) in 2014 have helped consolidate and drive forward industrial defense capabilities,” he said.

“This has happened as the countries focus on improving the quality of the defense technological work packages they undertake through offset, as well as increasing their ability to begin exporting defense equipment.”

Regional countries are also considering the use of “disruptive technologies” such as artificial intelligence in defense, Forrester said.

Meanwhile, it emerged on Friday that worldwide outlays on weapons and defense rose 1.8 percent to more than $1.67 trillion in 2018.

The US was responsible for almost half that increase, according to “The Military Balance” report released at the Munich Security Conference and quoted by Reuters.

Western powers were concerned about Russia’s upgrades of air bases and air defense systems in Crimea, the report said, but added that “China perhaps represents even more of a challenge, as it introduces yet more advanced military systems and is engaged in a strategy to improve its forces’ ability to operate at distance from the homeland.”