Emaar wants to do more business in Saudi Arabia

Mohamed Alabbar (left), Emaar Properties Chairman, at the Future Investment Initiative conference in Riyadh. (Reuters)
Updated 26 October 2017
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Emaar wants to do more business in Saudi Arabia

RIYADH: Mohamed Alabbar, the Emaar Properties chairman, is keen to do further business with Saudi Arabia, and would like to help the Kingdom to develop the $500 billion Neom project announced at the opening day of the Future Investment Initiative in Riyadh.
Speaking on the sidelines of the conference, Alabbar, who already has significant business partnerships with Saudi Arabia via the Noon e-commerce platform and the King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC), said of the Neom project: “It’s a big, exciting thing. If they call on us (Emaar), we would look on that positively. The Middle East as a whole is very short on infrastructure, and the project is a very significant addition. If we’re invited to participate, we would be honored.”
His company is the developer of the KAEC project, listed on the Tadawul as Emaar The Economic City, which has been in development since 2005. He said: “There have been challenges. We all got very excited about it but it needed support during the financial crisis in terms of facilitation. But it is still well on the path. It is a long-term project. I would imagine in five or six years we will see a lot more progress. We have to watch the cashflow and the finances according to market conditions.”
He is a joint investor with the Saudi Public Investment Fund in Noon, the e-commerce company set up last year to rival big firms such as Amazon in the online retail space.
He said that the Noon initiative was also a long-term project. “I’m very happy with it, but it’s still a baby.” He said the firm was already doing deliveries in the Kingdom, and had already had an effect on the Saudi market.
“Amazon is now dropping its prices. Any competition is beneficial to the country and its society. I will not allow any company to come in to a market and dominate the price of milk you give to your child. We don’t come to destroy your business, we will not kill local business.”
He added that he would like to do more business with PIF. “We’re on the phone to them all the time. We are dedicated to supporting the opening up of Saudi Arabia,” but did not elaborate on specific further projects with PIF.
He said that Saudi Arabia faced challenges in implementing its economic transformation strategy, but added: “Every country has challenges and I would not criticize another country because I am a foreigner here. If you are a true businessman you want to look into the future, and that is what the young leadership is doing here. The policy changes in the country are like a businessman restructuring his company.”


Saudi Arabia, South Korea reach agreement on visas

King Salman chairs the Cabinet session in Riyadh on Tuesday. (SPA)
Updated 16 January 2019
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Saudi Arabia, South Korea reach agreement on visas

  • Cabinet OKs air transport pact with Indonesia

JEDDAH: The Saudi Cabinet met to discuss a series of national and global developments on Tuesday, in a session chaired by King Salman.

At the forefront of the agenda was the escalation in tensions between Israel and Hamas along the Gaza border, and the continuing encroachment on Palestinian land by Israeli settlers in the West Bank. The Cabinet responded by demanding that the UN Security Council intervene. King Salman also relayed to ministers the outcome of his talks with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, which covered many regional issues.

The minister of media, Turki bin Abdullah Al-Shabanah, announced that after reviewing proposals from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and a decision from the Shoura Council, a memorandum of understanding between the government and the Republic of Korea on granting visit visas had been agreed upon.

The Cabinet approved the amendment of the air agreement on regular air transport between Saudi Arabia and Indonesia.

The Cabinet, meanwhile, praised the progress of the 2025 Sustainable Agricultural and Rural Development Program, aimed at enhancing farming techniques by promoting sustainable water and renewable energy sources.

They also discussed the framework in Vision 2030 and the National Transformation Program 2020 for building a sustainable renewable energy sector, reiterating aims to lead global renewable energy developments over the next decade, and create projects such as the wind-powered plant at Dumat Al-Jandal, as part of the King Salman Renewable Energy Initiative.

In a statement, though, Al-Shabanah said: “The Cabinet discussed the announcement made by the minister of energy, industry and mineral resources about the Kingdom’s oil and gas reserves, which highlighted the importance of Saudi Arabia as a secure source of oil supplies in the long term.”

He added, in closing, the Cabinet’s praise for the efforts of Saudi security forces in the tracking and arrest of seven people in Qatif, which foiled a planned terrorist attack.