Saudi Arabia’s PIF takes 15.2 percent direct stake in ACWA Power

Saudi Acwa Power-generating windmills are pictured in Jbel Sendouq, on the outskirts of Tangier, Morocco, June 29, 2018. (REUTERS/Youssef Boudlal)
Updated 04 July 2018
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Saudi Arabia’s PIF takes 15.2 percent direct stake in ACWA Power

  • The investment will be in the form of a capital increase and proceeds will be used to support ACWA’s growth strategy and investment plan
  • ACWA is poised to be a main beneficiary of one pillar of that reform program, which is a plan to develop Saudi Arabia’s power industry

DUBAI: Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, the Public Investment Fund (PIF), has taken a 15.2 percent direct stake in Riyadh-based ACWA Power, a developer and operator of power and water plants, the two announced in a joint statement on Wednesday.
The PIF already owns a 9.8 percent stake in ACWA through a subsidiary, Sanabil Direct Investments Company, bringing its total shareholding in the company to 25 percent, the statement said.
The investment will be in the form of a capital increase and proceeds will be used to “support ACWA’s growth strategy and investment plan,” it said.
Plans for the stake sale have been in the works since 2016, when the PIF hired HSBC to advise it on the purchase.
ACWA has also been planning to sell a 30 percent stake in an initial public offering in Riyadh by the end of the year and has hired JP Morgan, Citigroup, Natixis and Riyad Capital to advise on that process, sources have told Reuters.
Saudi Arabia aims to expand the PIF into the world’s largest sovereign wealth fund, while also deploying its investments to boost strategic companies inside the kingdom in a bid to grow and diversify the economy.
ACWA is poised to be a main beneficiary of one pillar of that reform program, which is a plan to develop Saudi Arabia’s power industry, particularly renewable energy.
In February the company won a contract to develop a 300 megawatt (MW) solar project in Sakaka worth $300 million, the kingdom’s first such award as it prepares generate 9.5 gigawatts of electricity from renewable energy annually by 2023.
“(The PIF’s) endorsement underlines the central role we play in the Saudi economy and our successful international expansion all geared toward achieving the objectives of Vision 2030,” said ACWA chairman Mohammad Abunayyan, referring to the reform program.


Apple Watch, FitBit could feel cost of US tariffs

Updated 20 July 2018
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Apple Watch, FitBit could feel cost of US tariffs

SAN FRANCISCO: The latest round of US tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods could hit the Apple Watch, health trackers, streaming music speakers and other accessories assembled in China, government rulings on tariffs show.
The rulings name Apple Inc’s watch, several Fitbit Inc. activity trackers and connected speakers from Sonos Inc. While consumer technology’s biggest sellers such as mobile phones and laptops so far have faced little danger of import duties, the rulings show that gadget makers are unlikely to be spared altogether and may have to consider price hikes on products that millions of consumers use every day.
The devices have all been determined by US Customs and Border Patrol officials to fall under an obscure subheading of data transmission machines in the sprawling list of US tariff codes. And that particular subheading is included in the more than 6,000 such codes in President Donald Trump’s most recent round of proposed tariffs released earlier this month.
That $200 billion list of tariffs is in a public comment period. But if the list goes into effect this fall, the products from Apple, Fitbit and Sonos could face a 10 percent tariff.
The specific products listed in customs rulings are the original Apple Watch; Fitbit’s Charge, Charge HR and Surge models; and Sonos’s Play:3, Play:5 and SUB speakers.
All three companies declined to comment on the proposed tariff list. But in its filing earlier this month to become a publicly traded company, Sonos said that “the imposition of tariffs and other trade barriers, as well as retaliatory trade measures, could require us to raise the prices of our products and harm our sales.”
The New York Times has reported that Trump told Apple CEO Tim Cook during a meeting in May that the US government would not levy tariffs on iPhones assembled in China, citing a person familiar with the meeting.
“The way the president has been using his trade authority, you have direct examples of him using his authority to target specific products and companies,” said Sage Chandler, vice president for international trade policy at the Consumer Technology Association.
The toll from tariffs on the gadget world’s smaller product lines could be significant. Sonos and Fitbit do not break out individual product sales, but collectively they had $2.6 billion in revenue last year. Bernstein analyst Toni Sacconaghi estimates that the Apple Watch alone will bring in $9.9 billion in sales this year, though that estimate includes sales outside the United States that the tariff would not touch.
It is possible that the products from Apple, Fitbit and Sonos no longer fall under tariff codes in the $200 billion list, trade experts said. The codes applied to specific products are only public knowledge because their makers asked regulators to rule on their proper classification. And some of the products have been replaced by newer models that could be classified differently.
But if companies have products whose tariff codes are on the list, they have three options, experts said: Advocate to get the code dropped from the list during the public comment period, apply for an exclusion once tariffs go into effect, or try to have their products classified under a different code not on the list.
The last option could prove difficult due to the thousands of codes covered, said one former US trade official.