Saudi investment authority awards licenses to 10 UK firms

AstraZeneca was one of 10 companies granted Saudi investment licenses by SAGIA. (Reuters)
Updated 09 March 2018
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Saudi investment authority awards licenses to 10 UK firms

DUBAI: The Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA) on Friday announced that 10 UK businesses have been granted Saudi investment licenses — enabling them to establish operations in the Kingdom or expand their existing presence.
The 10 companies include AstraZeneca, Unipart Rail, ARC Middle East, Dudley College of Technology, Mott MacDonald Middle East, Standard & Poor’s Credit Market and MEMF REPL Cable Accessories.
Ibrahim Al-Omar, governor of SAGIA, said: “The unprecedented program of reforms being implemented in Saudi Arabia is unlocking an exciting range of opportunities for investors in the Middle East’s largest economy.”
He added: “One of SAGIA’s strategic goals is to act as an advocate for investors and enable them to invest and establish their businesses in Saudi Arabia and in its efforts to ease licenses procedures, SAGIA has extended the license period for foreign investment from one year to a period of up to five years, renewable.
AstraZeneca said: “Since 1980, AstraZeneca Saudi Arabia has been committed to improve patients’ access to innovative medicines across the Kingdom, and we believe that the Kingdom’s medical needs and increasing openness to international investment mean there are considerable opportunities in the sector.”
The announcement was made as the visit to the UK by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman drew to a close.
Britain and Saudi Arabia earlier set out an ambition to build £65 billion ($90.29 billion) of trade and investment ties in coming years, Prime Minister Theresa May’s office said on Wednesday, calling the agreement a vote of confidence in the British economy ahead of Brexit.


Walmart, Microsoft team up to take on Amazon

Updated 18 min 48 sec ago
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Walmart, Microsoft team up to take on Amazon

  • The move is aimed at helping Walmart compete better against Amazon
  • Walmart is already using Microsoft services for some applications

WASHINGTON: Walmart said Tuesday it was entering into a strategic partnership with Microsoft on “digital transformation” for the onetime retail industry leader.
The move is aimed at helping Walmart compete better against Amazon, which is taking a growing share of retail sales in the United States and globally.
The two firms said the partnership was focused on using artificial intelligence and other technology tools to help manage costs, expand operations and innovate faster.
“Walmart’s commitment to technology is centered around creating incredibly convenient ways for customers to shop and empowering associates to do their best work,” said Walmart chief executive Doug McMillon, Walmart CEO.
Microsoft’s business cloud computing platform known as Azure will help Walmart manage operations ranging from refrigeration and air conditioning to improving its supply chain and transportation.
“The world’s leading companies run on our cloud, and I’m thrilled to partner with Walmart to accelerate their digital transformation with Microsoft Azure and Microsoft 365,” said Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft.
Walmart is already using Microsoft services for some applications and will expand that to tap into Microsoft’s machine learning, artificial intelligence, and data platform, according to the statement.
Earlier this month, the research firm eMarketer said Amazon’s surging growth would enable it to capture 49.1 percent of US online retail sales this year, up from 43.5 percent.
Amazon is far ahead of online rivals like eBay, with 6.6 percent of ecommerce, and Apple, at 3.9 percent, according to eMarketer, which estimated Walmart’s share at 3.7 percent.
According to the research, Amazon now controls nearly five of the total US retail market, including online and offline.