ECA addresses concept of sustainability in smart cities

The forum was attended by global experts, decision makers and local market specialists.
Updated 21 May 2018
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ECA addresses concept of sustainability in smart cities

The Economic Cities Authority (ECA) participated in the Sustainable Housing Forum recently held at the King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center in Riyadh. The forum was attended by Prince Abdul Aziz bin Salman bin Abdul Aziz, state minister for energy affairs and chairman of the executive committee of the Saudi Energy Efficiency Center; Essam H. Al-Mubarak, governor of the Real Estate General Authority; and other officials. The forum, which aims to review the best global sustainability practices in relation to the local market, also witnessed the participation of global experts, decision-makers and local market specialists.
Representing ECA, Ahmad Al-Sharif, director of municipalities and urban planning, delivered a presentation titled “Towards Sustainable Modern Cities,” addressing the PPP-based business model applied in the economic cities and the responsibility of the ECA on the one hand and the master developers on the other hand. The presentation aimed at contributing to sustainable development and the localization of the national capital by attracting quality investments that are in line with the objectives of Vision 2030.
“ECA contributes to social development in the Kingdom by providing a favorable living environment that guarantees residents, visitors and workers of the economic cities a unique quality of life. This is in addition to recognizing the environmental, economic and societal gains, as well as creating the right balance to guarantee long-run continuity as an integrated, active system,” Al-Sharif said.
He added: “In this context, ECA, in partnership with the private sector, is keen on applying sustainability practices starting from the legislation stage until the operation stage, as well as receiving feedback and suggestions for reviews and improvements in order to retain the benefits and offer sustainable, high quality and highly efficient real estate services and products for the housing sector within the economic cities for this generation and those in the future.”
On the sidelines of the forum, ECA, represented by Director General of Real Estate, Municipality and Urban Planning Abdulaziz M. Almohimeed, signed a memorandum of understanding with the Saudi Real Estate Institute, represented by managing director Fawzi S. Al-Oyouni.
The memorandum aims to achieve integration and compatibility between training programs and the business needs inside economic cities to create an attractive real estate environment.
It also aims to qualify national talents and promote job opportunities.


GFH reveals boost in first-half profits

Updated 45 min 16 sec ago
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GFH reveals boost in first-half profits

GFH Financial Group has announced that net profit attributable to shareholders rose to $72.5 million in the first six months of 2018, a 16.7 percent increase from the same period a year earlier. The group also reported a consolidated net profit of $73.4 million in the first half of the year, a rise of 12.1 percent.

Net profit attributable to shareholders for the second quarter increased by 19.2 percent to $36 million. Consolidated net profit during the quarter rose to $36.5 million, an increase of 14.1 percent.

Earnings per share for first half of the year was 2.02 cents, compared with 2.51 cents in the first six months of 2017. Earnings per share for the second quarter was 1 cent, compared with 1.22 cents in the same period of 2017.

Total consolidated revenues in the first half, grew by 12.5 percent to $124.2 million, primarily from revenues generated by its investment-banking business. This included income generated from investment placements for private equity and real-estate transactions. Consolidated revenues for the second quarter stood at $63.7 million, an increase of 4.8 percent.

Profit before impairment allowance for the first half of the year was $79.1 million, an increase of 34.1 percent. Consolidated operating profit for the second quarter increased by 23.5 percent to $40.5 million. Total operating expenses for the first half fell to $45.1 million from $51.4 million. Operating expenses for the second quarter dropped to $23.2 million from $28 million a year earlier.

Equity attributable to shareholders was $1.11 billion for the first half, compared with $1.14 billion a year ago. The total assets of the group increased by 10.3 percent to $4.3 billion.

“We are pleased with the continued growth in profitably for the first half of 2018,” said GFH Chairman Jassim Alseddiqi. “Enhanced results and revenue generation for the period were supported by increased contributions from the group’s investment-banking business, where it continues to demonstrate a strong ability to identify and bring to the market unique investment opportunities.”

Hisham Alrayes, the group’s CEO, added “In line with the Group’s strategy, the ongoing growth in our investment-banking business continues to drive enhanced results and profitably. In particular, during the period, improvements in income generation came from a number of strategic deals, including our landmark investment in the UAE-based Entertainer, and a notable trophy real-estate asset in Chicago.”