Global business tycoon to invest billions in KSA

Updated 23 April 2013
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Global business tycoon to invest billions in KSA

Mexico's business tycoon Carlos Slim, the world's richest man with a net worth of $73 billion, is planning to invest billions of dollars in a range of projects in Saudi Arabia. Slim is considering plans to invest in lucrative petrochemical projects in Jubail, the industrial city in the east of the Kingdom, as well as in other projects in undisclosed sectors, according to Saudi and Mexican sources.
"The visit of Slim to Riyadh comes within the framework of the commercial relations between the Kingdom and Mexico," said Saudi Ambassador to Mexico Hussein Al-Arisi, who was accompanying the Mexican billionaire in his business mission here. Slim, who has been ranked by Forbes as the world’s richest man for four years in a row, visited Jubail with Al-Asiri to check the feasibility of plans and projects in which he evinced keen interest.
Asked about the talks between Slim and senior Saudi officials and businessmen, Mexican Ambassador Arturo Trejo said: "Slim visited the Kingdom in response to an invitation from Minister of Finance Ibrahim Al-Assaf. "The Mexican business tycoon was received by Crown Prince Salman, deputy premier and minister of defense; and Prince Muqrin, second deputy premier, during his stay in Riyadh," Trejo told Arab News here yesterday.
Slim, who also visited Janadariyah festival, plans to "invest billions to build new manufacturing plants," said a report published in an Arabic daily newspaper. The Mexican billionaire also met with Mosleh Al-Otaibi, chief executive of the Royal Commission for Jubail and Yanbu. The Mexican billionaire, who is also known for his philanthropy, has a family wealth estimated at $ 73 billion, around $4 billion more than in 2012.
Slim's net worth increased from $ 69 billion last year to $ 73 billion after he expanded his empire into Europe through an acquisition of a Dutch telecom company and a majority stake in Spanish soccer club Real Oviedo. He made much of his fortune in telecoms, and also has interests in mining, real estate and infrastructure. Slim, who has benefited from the left-wing governments of South American nations, also visited Kuwait during this maiden leg of his Gulf trip.
Slim was accompanied by a high-ranking delegation, including Carlos Peralta, Mexico's largest industrial conglomerate, during his visit to the Kingdom. Referring to the visit of Slim, which indicates the progressively growing ties between Riyadh and Mexico City, Ambassador Trejo said the visit of the Mexican delegation was aimed at "strengthening commercial partnership" between the two nations.
"Slim came here as a friend of Saudi Arabia," said Trejo, adding that the Kingdom, as one of the most dynamic and competitive markets in the world, is extremely interesting for us. "We need to define a more aggressive commercial policy to increase our presence in the Saudi market," he added. The two-way trade between the Kingdom and Mexico has been in the region of $ 1 billion.


Saudi Arabia’s Jabal Omar Development Company returns to profit

Updated 26 min 12 sec ago
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Saudi Arabia’s Jabal Omar Development Company returns to profit

  • Developer launches roadshow to promote 'Address' brand
  • Taps into rising occupancy rates in holy city

LONDON: The Saudi developer behind the transformation of the center of Makkah — Jabal Omar Development Company — has returned to profit in the third quarter after a string of losses over the last year.
The change in fortune will be welcomed by the Tadawul-listed company as it pushes forward with its luxury hotel, residential and retail developments being built to meet the anticipated growth in demand from visitors and pilgrims to the holy city.
Net profit — minus Zakat and tax — reached SR469.62 million ($125.13 million) for the three months ending Sept. 30 in a Saudi exchange filing on Tuesday. This compared to a loss of SR593.97 million recorded in the same quarter last year.
Jabal Omar said the improved profits were due to increased revenue from sales of residential units.
Third-quarter revenue reached SR1.32 billion compared to revenue of SR45.52 million in the same time period the previous year.
The developer also cited a “positive performance” within its commercial sector as well as a reduction in some of the company’s financial burdens.
The results come in the same month Jabal Omar launched a three-day roadshow on Oct. 8 to market its new “Address“-branded Makkah luxury hotel development.
It is a project being managed by Dubai-based Emaar Hospitality Group — the company behind the high-end “Address” hotel brand. Jabal Omar said is looking to sell 741 freehold units.
The project marks the first time Emaar’s ‘Address Hotels and Resorts’ brand has expanded into Saudi Arabia. It is scheduled to open in 2019 and it will be just a few steps away from the Grand Mosque.
Market commentators say they expect demand for luxury hotels and other residential projects in Makkah to continue to be “strong” in the coming year — something Jabal Omar Development Co. will be keen to capitalize on.
“Makkah is a unique market and there is strong demand for luxury hotels throughout the year. A large proportion of demand for luxury hotels come from wealthy GCC travelers, who are largely repeat visitors to the Holy City,” said Rashid Aboobacker, director at the Dubai-based tourism consultancy, TRI Consulting.
“There has always been high demand for luxury residences in Makkah close to the Haram, driven by the prestige and special status of the location as well as the limited supply,” he said.
“Once the ongoing expansion works are complete, the visitor numbers are set to increase substantially. Consequently, we do not foresee any risk of overcapacity in Makkah in the foreseeable future,” he added.
He added that alongside the growth in luxury developments, there is also a “growing need” for midscale and economy hotels and apartments.
“We believe that there is also need for upgrade of the existing stock as a large proportion of them do not fully conform to international quality standards and guest requirements,” he said.
Christopher Lund, head of hotels, Mena, at the consultancy Colliers International, noted that the luxury sector tends to perform better than other parts of the Makkah hospitality market.
“The 5-star upper-upscale and luxury hotels in Makkah have outperformed the overall market, achieving a 12 percent higher occupancy level year-to-date September 2018, which is primarily due to the fact that the 5-star hotels are located in the most prime locations in the central area,” he said.
“So far in 2018, hotels in the central area have achieved a 49 percent higher RevPar (revenue per available room than the overall Makkah quality hotel market.”