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.


Lufthansa to start flights to Israeli Red Sea resort Eilat

Updated 18 July 2018
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Lufthansa to start flights to Israeli Red Sea resort Eilat

  • More than 175,000 foreign tourists flew into Ovda in the first five months of 2018
  • Lufthansa said it would fly to Ovda from Frankfurt and Munich twice weekly starting Oct. 28

JERUSALEM: Lufthansa said on Wednesday it will launch four weekly flights to Eilat, the Red Sea resort which Israel hopes to turn into a winter vacation spot for foreign tourists.
More than 175,000 foreign tourists flew into Ovda, a converted military airfield 60 km (40 miles) from Eilat, in the first five months of 2018, double the amount for all of 2017.
Helping spur growth is a government grant of 60 euros ($70) per passenger for airlines starting routes to Eilat.
Lufthansa said it would fly to Ovda from Frankfurt and Munich twice weekly starting Oct. 28.
Eilat, Israel’s southernmost city, borders Jordan and Egypt. It will later be served by the new Ramon International Airport which is expected to open in early 2019.
Since 2015, a number of airlines, mainly low-cost, have been operating direct flights to Ovda, led by Ryanair and WizzAir.
“The number of flights to the city has increased from four weekly flights to more than 60 weekly flights,” said Tourism Minister Yariv Levin.
The Tourism Ministry has a budget of 30 million shekels ($8.25 million) a year for subsidising flights to Ovda.
“We are willing to pay more,” Levin said, adding the ministry is also in talks with British Airways. The airline declined to comment.
International tourist arrivals in Israel hit a record 3.6 million last year, pumping $5.5 billion into the economy.