Saudi-British joint business council unveils new initiatives

Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May and Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman hold a meeting with other members of the British government and Saudi ministers and delegates inside number 10 Downing Street. The visit aims to strengthen business ties between the two countries. (Pool)
Updated 07 March 2018
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Saudi-British joint business council unveils new initiatives

LONDON: The Saudi-British Joint Business Council (SBJBC) on Wednesday unveiled a number of initiatives to develop two-way trade with the UK.
The disclosures, following a special meeting in London, were designed to coincide with the visit to Britain by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
Developments included a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the Council of Saudi Chambers, British Chambers of Commerce and SAGIA (Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority) to facilitate trade and investment; an MoU between SBJBC UK and Institutional Investor to promote deal flow and knowledge exchange in the technology sector and further action to support SME development including SBJBC’s third SME Partnership Forum in London on April 24.
That event aims to bring together innovative Saudi and British SMEs in sectors spanning smart cities, fintech, cybersecurity and e-commerce.
Also, support was expressed for conferences in London on April 9 to promote opportunities under Saudi Aramco’s IKTVA local content program, and on April 16 to present opportunities under Saudi Arabia’s renewable energy program.
Majed Al-Qasabi, minister of commerce, Mohammed Al-Tuwaijri, minister of economy & planning and Ibrahim Al-Omar, governor of SAGIA, attended the meeting and updated members on recent reforms.
Members expressed their determination to build on the Crown Prince’s visit to increase business-to business cooperation in support both of Saudi Vision 2030 implementation, and the UK’s post-Brexit trade relations.
SBJBC is a not for profit and private sector membership association with over 150 Saudi and British members dedicated to the development of business relations at all levels between Saudi Arabia and the UK.


UAE’s Network International shrugs off Brexit to list shares in London

Updated 8 min 44 sec ago
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UAE’s Network International shrugs off Brexit to list shares in London

  • The planned share sale comes at an uncertain time in the UK
  • The company, which operates hospitals in the Middle East, was said to be also considering listing in the US or Singapore

DUBAI: Network International, the UAE payments processor, has committed to a London IPO next month in what would be the UK’s first big share sale of the year.
The company intends to have a free float of at least 25 percent and admission to the London Stock Exchange is expected to take place in April, Network International said in a regulatory filing on Thursday.
The planned share sale comes at an uncertain time in the UK where there is still no clarity around whether Britain will leave the EU or not at the end of the month.
VPS Healthcare, the Abu Dhabi-based hospital operator, is reconsidering plans to list in London due to uncertainty surrounding Brexit, Bloomberg reported on Thursday citing a person familiar with the matter.
The company, which operates hospitals in the Middle East, was said to be also considering listing in the US or Singapore.
Emirates NBD, Dubai’s biggest bank, owns 51 percent of Network International while Warburg Pincus and General Atlantic jointly own the rest.
The share sale will be a key test of investor demand for new listings in London after a subdued 2018 across most European markets.
“Volatility has continued in recent months, driven by the uncertainty around trade between the US and China, the wider geopolitical climate and the potential end of the current bull run,” said Peter Whelan, partner and UK IPO Lead at PwC in a recent report.
“We are seeing a healthy number of companies preparing for an IPO in 2019 despite the ongoing Brexit negotiations which have clearly impacted IPO activity on the London market.”
The payment processor reported earnings of $298 million last year according to its website, up from $262 million a year earlier. It does not disclose net income figures.
The company handles digital payments across the Middle East, which generate three quarters of its total earnings.
Last year it processed some $40 billion in payments for more than 65,000 merchants.
Its key markets in the region include the UAE and Jordan it says that Saudi Arabia offers “significant opportunities.” It also offers services in 40 African countries with Egypt, Nigeria and South Africa being its most important segments on the continent.