Saudi fund ‘to take over Riyadh financial district’

The first phase of the King Abdullah Financial District is due to launch next year. (Reuters)
Updated 23 November 2017
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Saudi fund ‘to take over Riyadh financial district’

LONDON: Riyadh’s $10 billion business hub, which has been under construction since 2006, will be given a fresh lease of life under the management of the Kingdom’s sovereign wealth fund, according to reports.
The Public Investment Fund (PIF) has finalized a deal to take over the management of the King Abdullah Financial District from the Public Pension Agency, Bloomberg reported, citing unnamed sources.
While details of the deal have yet to emerge, Hilmi Ghosheh, who acts as an adviser for PIF’s real estate projects, is reportedly set to manage the completion of the development.
The Saudi Vision 2030 economic reform plan outlines details for the rehabilitation of the capital’s financial district, which is to be an economic free zone with visa exemptions and a direct connection to the airport.
The first phase of the project is due to launch next year with plans to host the G-20 meeting there in 2020.
The government is now exploring new incentive options to attract financial institutions to occupy space in the district, Bloomberg reported. Decade-long tax breaks for banks are among the ideas circulating to help populate the 73-building development, which has been restructured to reduce office space and increase the number of residential units.
PwC and local regulator Capital Market Authority are among the companies due to take space in the area.


Microsoft beats Wall Street targets on cloud services revenue

A Microsoft logo is seen in Los Angeles, California US, in this November 7, 2017 photo. (REUTERS)
Updated 20 July 2018
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Microsoft beats Wall Street targets on cloud services revenue

  • Revenue for the company’s LinkedIn business and job network grew 37 percent from the year-ago quarter, while its Dynamics 365 online business application suite posted a 61 percent increase
  • Net income rose to $8.87 billion, or $1.14 per share, from $8.07 billion, or $1.03 per share, in the year-ago fourth quarter

NEW YORK: Microsoft Corp. on Thursday posted quarterly profit and revenue that beat analysts’ estimates, as more businesses signed up for its Azure cloud computing services and Office 365 productivity suite.
The company’s flagship Azure cloud product recorded revenue growth of 89 percent in the fourth quarter ended June 30. Its shares rose nearly 4 percent in after-hours trading.
Much of Microsoft’s recent growth has been fueled by its cloud computing business, which has benefited from companies rushing to shift their workloads to the cloud to cut data storage and software costs.
“The combination of the cloud, which is a megatrend that’s going to last for years to come, and the execution, this is company that knows how to sell and be innovative — it’s hard to argue with anything here,” said Tom Taulli, InvestorPlace.com analyst.
Microsoft shares have risen 180 percent since Satya Nadella took over as chief executive in 2014, refocusing the company on cloud computing rather than PC software. Its market cap edged above $800 billion for the first time earlier this month.
Azure has a 16 percent share of the global cloud infrastructure market, making it the second-biggest provider of cloud services after Amazon.com Inc’s Amazon Web Services, according to April estimates by research firm Canalys.
Revenue at Microsoft’s productivity and business processes unit, which includes Office 365, rose 13.1 percent to $9.67 billion, topping analysts’ average expectation of $9.65 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
“This was another gem of a quarter from Microsoft as Nadella’s cloud vision is coming to fruit on the heels of massive Azure growth and secular tailwinds,” said Daniel Ives at research firm GBH Insights.
Revenue for the company’s LinkedIn business and job network grew 37 percent from the year-ago quarter, while its Dynamics 365 online business application suite posted a 61 percent increase.
The combination of those two services highlights Microsoft’s rise as an alternative to Salesforce.com Inc, which dominates the customer relationship management market, said Johnny Won, founder of Hyperstop, a tech consultancy firm.
“It seems like this is actually a formidable threat to Salesforce,” Won said.
Overall, the Redmond, Washington-based software maker’s revenue rose 17.5 percent to $30.09 billion, above expectations of $29.21 billion.
Net income rose to $8.87 billion, or $1.14 per share, from $8.07 billion, or $1.03 per share, in the year-ago fourth quarter. https://bit.ly/2uOF9W1
Excluding certain items, Microsoft earned $1.13 per share, while analysts had expected $1.08.