Arab News partners with BMG Financial for high-level Saudi investment forum

Faisal J. Abbas, Editor-in-Chief of Arab News, left, and Chairman and CEO of BMG Financial Group, Basil M.K. Al-Ghalayini.
Updated 10 July 2018
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Arab News partners with BMG Financial for high-level Saudi investment forum

  • International investors and global private equity fund managers will also attend the 12th BMG Economic Forum
  • The theme of the forum is ‘Invest In Saudi’

DUBAI: Investment opportunities in Saudi Arabia will top the agenda at a high-level meeting in Britain next week of government officials, regulators, and industry chiefs.

International investors and global private equity fund managers will also attend the 12th BMG Economic Forum, held in partnership with Arab News, on July 11 at the London Stock Exchange. The BMG Summer Retreat will conclude the following day with the BMG Foundation Polo Cup at Cambridge County Polo Club, where Arab News will host the participants’ lunch traditionally attended by British and Saudi royalty and other dignitaries. 

This year’s theme for the annual forum is “Invest in the Saudi Vision 2030 — opportunities for UK and European companies.”  It is a unique gathering to discuss Saudi Arabia’s vision for the future and the status of issues such as the Kingdom’s “giga projects,” the Aramco IPO, and geopolitics.

The chairman and CEO of BMG Financial Group, Basil M.K. Al-Ghalayini, who will make the opening remarks at the forum, said: “At the event this year, we are expecting many business leaders, senior officials, very high-profile delegates, those from emerging markets and several fund managers to attend.

“The theme of the forum is “Invest In Saudi,” as under Vision 2030 we have seen the launch of several 'giga projects’ by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, aimed at diversifying the Kingdom’s economy. At this event visitors can expect to hear updates of what is happening in Saudi Arabia from professionals from different business sectors in the country.”

Saudi Vision 2030, the Kingdom’s blueprint for its future, was announced in April 2016 and aims not only to diversify the economy and address the challenges brought by low global energy prices, but also to implement far-reaching social and lifestyle changes. 

Vision 2030 will underpin discussions at the forum, which will be given extra gravitas by its location — the London Stock Exchange. "It will be an excellent platform to promote Saudi Arabia in such a professional setting,” Al-Ghalayini said. “Any platform to promote Saudi Arabia is value-added.”

The event follows news that the Saudi stock market will join FTSE Russell’s emerging market index in March 2019, a move expected to attract billions of dollars of fresh foreign portfolio investment to the Kingdom. 

“We expect a lot of Saudi and Gulf investors,” said Al-Ghalayini. “It is a timely opportunity to have this platform to promote the country.”

Senior Saudi officials, international sovereign fund officials, emerging fund managers, CEOs, investment bankers, and lawyers are among the speakers at the forum.

Faisal J. Abbas, Editor-in-Chief of Arab News, who will also address the forum, said: “With the massive transformation happening in Saudi Arabia as Vision 2030 attempts to diversify the economy away from oil, we are very happy to be partnering with BMG capital to host this business conference at the London Stock Exchange to shed light on challenges and the emerging opportunities currently available in the Kingdom."

Other key speakers are Donald Brydon, chairman of the London Stock Exchange Group; Yaser Alshareef, CEO of the Jabal Omar Development Company; and Carmen Haddad, CEO of Citigroup Saudi Arabia.


Foreign investment in Bahrain rising sharply, authorities say

Updated 25 September 2018
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Foreign investment in Bahrain rising sharply, authorities say

DUBAI: New foreign direct investment in Bahrain more than doubled in the first nine months of 2018 as the kingdom marketed itself as a base for companies to access the region, especially Saudi Arabia, data released on Tuesday showed.
Investment commitments between January and September jumped 138 percent from a year ago to a record $810 million from 76 firms, said the Economic Development Board, an investment promotion agency. That compared to $733 million in all of 2017, and was over five times the amount of FDI in 2015.
The rise in FDI is good news for Bahrain’s balance of payments, which has been under pressure as the kingdom runs fiscal and current account deficits fueled by low oil prices.
The central bank’s net foreign reserves hit a one-year low of 499.4 million dinars ($1.32 billion) in July, although they rebounded to 734.2 million dinars last month.
Manufacturing and logistics accounted for most foreign investment in the first nine months of this year, the EDB said. Some companies are locating operations in Bahrain to take advantage of reforms in Saudi Arabia, which aims to develop non-oil industries such as mining, light manufacturing and tourism.
Bahrain also wants to become a center for financial technology; last year it created a “regulatory sandbox” allowing companies in the field to experiment without facing normal regulatory constraints.
This year it established a $100 million fund of funds to support technology start-ups across the region, which it hopes will attract venture capital firms to Bahrain.