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.


Thomas Cook warns on profit as hot summer hits demand

Updated 24 September 2018
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Thomas Cook warns on profit as hot summer hits demand

  • Thomas Cook makes all its profit in the summer when its customers in northern Europe go on holiday
  • But ‘unprecedented months of hot weather’ reduced demand for late bookings

LONDON: British travel company Thomas Cook cut its 2018 profit outlook by about 13 percent, blaming a heatwave in northern Europe for more discounting and tougher competition in the most profitable later part of the summer holiday season.
Thomas Cook makes all its profit in the summer when its customers in northern Europe, including Britain, Germany and Scandinavia go on holiday, mainly to warmer destinations in southern Europe such as Spain, Turkey and Greece.
But what the company described as “unprecedented months of hot weather” reduced demand for late bookings, adding to pressure after it had already warned in July that profit would be at the lower end of expectations.
“The slowdown in customer bookings during June and July extended into August, leading to higher than normal levels of promotional activity,” Thomas Cook said in a statement on Monday.
Thomas Cook’s bigger rival TUI Group in August stuck to its forecasts but said that the heatwave would prevent it from beating them.
For the 12 months to Sept. 30 2018, Thomas Cook guided that underlying operating profit (EBIT) would come in at around £280 million ($366 million), below a previous £323 million to £355 million range.
The company also said the hot summer was affecting demand for winter holidays, saying that it would provide more detailed guidance in November when it reports its annual results.
In a separate statement, Thomas Cook said its chief financial officer Bill Scott would leave the company on November 30, and be replaced on an interim basis by Sten Daugaard, a board member of Thomas Cook’s German business.
A search for a permanent successor would be started immediately, the company added.