KSA to widen foreign investment access again in 2017

Saudi authorities aim to list around 5 percent of Aramco by the end of 2018 on both the Tadawul and one or more international markets. (Reuters)
Updated 30 September 2017
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KSA to widen foreign investment access again in 2017

LONDON: Saudi Arabia plans to further open up its stock market to foreign investors later this year as it seeks to become an international capital markets hub, Mohammed Abdullah Elkuwaiz, chairman of the Capital Market Authority (CMA) told Reuters on Friday.
Qualified foreign institutions (QFIs) were allowed to begin investing directly in Saudi stocks in 2015 and qualification requirements were eased late last year.
“We are likely to follow up with a version three (of the QFI program) and maybe a version four shortly thereafter by continuing to deregulate foreign investor access,” said Elkuwaiz, who became chairman of the body in August.
“Our expectation is we continue the same cycle. Thereabouts every year we would expect a re-release.”
As part of Vision 2030, an ambitious reform plan to diversify the Saudi economy beyond oil, Saudi Arabia is trying to develop, open up and grow its capital markets.
The CMA has been revising rules to help the Saudi market enter international equity indexes, which would bring more foreign money.
New listing rules to be announced in the next month or two alongside new M&A rules will have an emphasis on driving debt issuance.
“It is part of the re-review of the issuing and listing rules of Saudi was both oriented toward making it easier to issue and list securities in general and specifically to make it much easier to issue and list debt securities,” he said.
Elkuwaiz said lot of the disclosure and offering requirements will be waived for publicly-traded companies which have already gone through much of the process for their equity listings.
Regulation on the creation of special purpose entities (SPE) to house assets for debt will allow the CMA to approve and license SPEs to stimulate debt activity.
Around five or six companies from a range of sectors have pending applications with the CMA to join the main equity market and the NOMU market, a parallel market Saudi Arabia recently launched for small and medium enterprises, Elkuwaiz said, and there are 25-30 mandates with banks for listings further down the line, all from Saudi companies.
“We are having very early discussions with non-Saudi issuers who would like to tap into Saudi investors,” Elkuwaiz said.
He said it was reasonable to expect foreign company listings from mid-2018.
Elkuwaiz said Riyadh’s Tadawul exchange was ready for any size of listing of state oil giant Saudi Aramco, and the only outstanding issue is the alignment of the exchange with any others where Aramco securities may be listed.
Saudi authorities aim to list around 5 percent of Aramco by the end of 2018 on both the Tadawul and one or more international markets, with London, New York and Hong Kong in the running.
The initial public offering (IPO) is the centerpiece of the Vision 2030, championed by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman who is expected to take the final decision about Aramco’s listing venue.
— REUTERS


Saudi teams shine in Schneider Electric’s competition

Updated 48 sec ago
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Saudi teams shine in Schneider Electric’s competition

Schneider Electric, a global leader in digital transformation of energy management and automation operating in more than 100 countries, has announced the qualification of four teams from Saudi Arabia out of 10 teams from the Middle East and Africa for the final round of the 2018 Go Green in the City competition, which brings together college students from all corners of the world.
Marketing Excellence Director of the Middle East and Africa at Schneider Electric, Nora Al-Shiha, said that the achievement of the qualified teams from Saudi Arabia and the Middle East represents an advancement in the perceptions of college graduates toward environmental sustainability. She said it confirms the interactive ability of female Saudi graduates to work in teams that care about environmental safety and implement creative projects that promote the value of green initiatives in developed communities.
Al-Shiha noted that the participation of the Saudi teams is consistent with Schneider Electric’s objectives, as the Go Green in the City competition supports the use of creative ideas and the utilization of human resources to find solutions for smart cities and the economics of a green, sustainable environment.
According to Al-Shiha, the qualified teams will acquire training, guidance and early career counseling, which will shed light on young national talents and give them the opportunity to prove their abilities. The competition will grant the winners a variety of sponsorship, networking, and travel prospects, as well as job opportunities at Schneider Electric.
She added that in its eighth year, the global competition has become a major event for many educational institutions and college students around the world. Go Green in the City comes within the framework of Schneider Electric’s efforts to raise the levels of innovation and creativity among young men and women around the world, revolutionize new methods for handling different challenges, and reach solutions that make our planet more vital and sustainable.
The competition also aims to activate Schneider Electric’s contribution to the development boom sought by the Kingdom’s leadership, in addition to fulfilling the objectives of the National Transformation Program in accordance with the ambitious Vision 2030.
Raghad Al-Sulami, who is a member of the “Touk” team, praised Schneider Electric for giving her the chance to become a part of this global event, and for encouraging the four teams to showcase their creative skills. She pointed out that the chance of her team winning the grand prize is promising as they currently hold second place in the Middle East and North Africa.
Schneider Electric’s approach is in line with the aspirations of the Kingdom’s leadership to support Saudi women and empower them in all fields. The Saudi woman has become an active component alongside the Saudi man, now contributing to all types of businesses and events in the Kingdom.