Apple, Google see reputation of corporate brands tumble in survey

Google and Apple's brand reputations have dropped. (Shutterstock)
Updated 13 March 2018
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Apple, Google see reputation of corporate brands tumble in survey

SAN FRANCISCO: Apple Inc. and Alphabet Inc’s Google corporate brands dropped in an annual survey while Amazon.com Inc. maintained the top spot for the third consecutive year, and electric carmaker Telsa Inc. rocketed higher after sending a red Roadster into space.
IPhone maker Apple dropped to 29th from its previous position of No. 5, and Google dropped from 8th to No. 28. Apple had ranked No. 2 as recently as 2016, according to the annual Harris Poll Reputation Quotient poll released on Tuesday.
The poll, conducted since 1999, surveyed 25,800 US adults from Dec. 11 to Jan. 12 on the reputations the “most visible” corporate brands.
John Gerzema, CEO of the Harris Poll, told Reuters in an interview that the likely reason Apple and Google fell was that they have not introduced as many attention-grabbing products as they did in past years, such as when Google rolled out free offerings like its Google Docs word processor or Google Maps and Apple’s then-CEO Steve Jobs introduced the iPod, iPhone and iPad.
“Google and Apple, at this moment, are sort of in valleys,” Gerzema said. “We’re not quite to self-driving cars yet. We’re not yet seeing all the things in artificial intelligence they’re going to do.”
Meanwhile, Amazon.com held on to the No. 1 spot, which it has held for five years with the exception of 2015, when it slipped to No. 2. Gerzema attributed Amazon’s ranking to its expanding footprint in consumers’ lives into areas like groceries via its Whole Foods acquisition.
Elon Musk’s Tesla climbed from No. 9 to No. 3 on the strength of sending Tesla Roadster into space aboard a SpaceX rocket — despite fleeting success delivering cars on time on earth, Gerzema said.
“He’s a modern-day carnival barker — it’s incredible,” Gerzema said of Musk. “This ‘The Right Stuff’ attitude is able to capture the public’s imagination when every news headline is incredibly negative. They’re filling a void of optimism.”
For its part, Facebook Inc’s reputation improved in the 2018 study, despite being the target of questions from US lawmakers about the role of social media in Russia’s efforts to influence the US presidential election in 2016. Facebook ranked 51st, its best showing since 2014 when it ranked 38th, the highest the firm ever ranked in the poll.
This year, film production company The Weinstein Co. made its debut at 99th out of 100 on the list after more than 70 women accused co-founder Harvey Weinstein of sexual misconduct, including rape. Weinstein has denied having non-consensual sex with anyone.
Last place went to Japanese auto parts supplier Takata Corp. , whose air bags can explode with too much force and have been linked to at least 22 deaths and hundreds of injuries, prompting the largest recall in automotive history and forcing Takata and its US unit, TK Holdings Inc, into bankruptcy.
1. Amazon.com 2. Wegmans Food Markets Inc. 3. Tesla Motors 4. Chick-fil-A 5. The Walt Disney Co. 6. HEB Grocery Company LP 7. United Parcel Service Inc. 8. Publix Super Markets 9. Patagonia Inc. 10. Aldi Inc


Saudi Real Estate Refinance Co. plans up to $1.07bn sukuk sale this year

Updated 23 April 2019
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Saudi Real Estate Refinance Co. plans up to $1.07bn sukuk sale this year

  • The plan by SRC, a subsidiary of Saudi Arabia’s sovereign Public Investment Fund, comes as it prepares to purchase more home loan portfolios
  • SRC, formed in 2017, is also keen to tap foreign institutional investors for its debt sale this year

RIYADH: Saudi Real Estate Refinance Co. (SRC), modelled on US mortgage finance firm Fannie Mae, aims to issue up to 4 billion riyals ($1.07 billion) of long-term sukuk this year, its chief executive said on Tuesday.

The plan by SRC, a subsidiary of Saudi Arabia’s sovereign Public Investment Fund, comes as it prepares to purchase more home loan portfolios from mortgage financing companies and banks to boost the Kingdom’s secondary mortgage market.

SRC, formed in 2017, is also keen to tap foreign institutional investors for its debt sale this year, Fabrice Susini told Reuters in an interview.

“Our strategy is clearly to tap the market twice this year,” he said. “We are really looking at probably issuing something between ... 2 and 4 billion riyal that we may be issuing in two tranches.

He said SRC was looking at sukuk in the 10 to 15-year range, to help minimize refinancing risks. “Generally speaking we are trying to issue as long as possible,” Susini said.

He said the company was assessing whether it could also issue bonds in currencies other than the local riyal.

In March, SRC completed a 750 million riyal sukuk issue with multiple tenors, under a program that allows it to issue up to 11 billion riyals of local currency denominated Islamic bonds.

“The rule of the game for us is, like many projects across the Kingdom, attract liquidity from foreign investors,” Susini said.

He said SRC had spent 1.2 billion riyals from its balance sheet buying mortgages from local mortgage financing companies and provided liquidity to these firms.

It has also signed initial accords with several commercial banks to acquire housing mortgage portfolios.

Saudi Arabia’s housing ministry is targeting the mortgage market to reach a total value of 502 billion riyals by 2020 from around 300 billion riyals now.

The government wants to increase activity in the real estate market as it moves to revitalize the economy and is taking steps to reform the sector as part of its 2030 reform plan.

It has been working with developers and local banks to counter a shortage of affordable housing — one of the country’s biggest social and economic problems. Saudi Arabia wants 60 percent of its nationals to own homes by 2020, up from 47 percent in 2016.

The size of real estate financing relative to its gross domestic product is 5 percent in Saudi Arabia compared to 69 percent in the United States, 74 percent in the United Kingdom and 43 pct in Canada, the housing ministry has said.

“The goal of SRC in this market was to make sure that we will be able to refinance at least around 10 percent of the market in 2020, and 20 percent of the market by 2028,” Susini told Reuters.