Saudi Arabia considers selling stake in utility Saudi Electricity to SoftBank Vision Fund

A man looks at the logo of SoftBank Group Corp at the company's headquarters in Tokyo, in this June 30, 2016 file photo. (REUTERS)
Updated 25 October 2017
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Saudi Arabia considers selling stake in utility Saudi Electricity to SoftBank Vision Fund

KHOBAR: Saudi Arabia will consider selling a large stake in Saudi Electricity to SoftBank Vision Fund, but the Saudi government would retain a controlling shareholding, the utility said on Tuesday.
Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, which holds a 74 percent stake in Saudi Electricity, signed a memorandum of understanding with SoftBank Vision Fund, the world’s largest private equity fund, for SEC to develop 3 gigawatts of solar energy in 2018, SEC said.
No financial details of the agreement were made public.
The statement said “the parties” would also evaluate the possibility of SoftBank Vision Fund, which is backed by Japan’s SoftBank Group and Saudi Arabia’s main sovereign wealth fund, acquiring a big stake in Saudi Electricity.
The Saudi government would retain a controlling stake, it said.
SEC’s assets are estimated to be $100 billion. The Saudi government has been considering privatizing the company for years. It is not clear how the possible transaction will affect those plans.
Oil giant Saudi Aramco currently owns nearly 7 percent of Saudi Electricity, while the rest is held by the public.
The Public Investment Fund and SoftBank Vision Fund will also build manufacturing and storage solar facilities and create jobs in the Kingdom.
Due diligence will be completed by the end of February next year, the company said.
SoftBank Vision Fund has raised more than $93 billion to invest in technology sectors such as artificial intelligence and robotics.
— Reuters


National Day events to explore Saudi heritage, civilization

Updated 10 min 39 sec ago
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National Day events to explore Saudi heritage, civilization

  • General Authority for Culture (GAC) organizing folk festivals, music concerts, arts exhibitions, during the Kingdom's 88th National Day celebrations

JEDDAH: Poets, authors, artists and folk musicians are gearing up for a host of cultural events organized by the General Authority for Culture (GAC) to mark celebration of the 88th Saudi National Day around the Kingdom.

These activities, in which citizens and residents participate, include folk festivals, poetry evenings, music concerts, arts shows, film events, and interactive activities.

GAC has organized the “Adwaa wa Atyaf” (lights and spectra) event in Riyadh, which includes a range of activities such as falling green balloons, 3D visual shows, horse shows, sand painting shows, and many others.

The Culture Authority celebrates aviation in Riyadh by playing live national music for the passengers. It has also organized an arts exhibition in Riyadh and a pavilion for cultural heritage.

Between Sep. 19 and 27 a variety of cultural events will run in the provinces of Al-Kharj, Al-Majma’ah, Al-Aflaj, and Thadig, including theatrical performances, poetry evenings, poetry recital competitions, children-only events, women-only events, events for the Ensan Organization for orphans, and cultural seminars.

In Jeddah, GAC has organized the “Naghmet Watan,” a traditional Saudi music event, on Sep. 22. It aims to explore the evolution of the Saudi folklore as well as the Kingdom’s civilization and its heritage, cultural and artistic development through folk music concerts performed by emerging young singers.

In Tabuk, cultural events will take place between Sep. 23 and 25. The program includes a poetry evening, a folk night, and a contest for the best poem, picture, tweet, and article.

The “Lilwatan Maw’ed” (the day of the homeland) event will be held in Al-Ahsa between Sep. 23 and 27. It includes a performance of the Saudi traditional Ardha dance, cultural seminars, and a show about the founder of Saudi Arabia, the late King Abdul Aziz Al Saud.

GAC has organized the “Ya Dar Nestahlak” (we deserve our homeland) event to be held in Buraidah on Sep. 24. This event includes performances by a folk arts band, a photography exhibition, theatrical performances, poetry evenings, and cultural seminars.

In Taif on Sep. 25, the Omsiyat Watan or Saudi evening event will be held, accompanied by a lecture about Taif, an art exhibition, and live poetry recitals.

The Laylat Aflam or movie night event is to be held in Jizan. It will feature the national film “Joud,” which discusses the status of the Kingdom in the Islamic world as well as its cultural and heritage status.

GAC has organized the “Qalo Aan Al-Watan” (they said about Saudi) event in Najran for poets and authors. The event also features a documentary film.

In Al-Jawf, the “Ihtifaliyat Watan” to be held between Sep. 23 and 25 will include poetry and writing competition as well as interactive activities for children.