Third of Saudi companies expect to grow by 10%

Saudi companies aremore optimistic about revenue growth than they were last year, according to new survey. (AN file photo)
Updated 10 September 2018
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Third of Saudi companies expect to grow by 10%

  • Saudi business leaders are also on a hiring spree, with 58 percent looking to recruit more full-time staff
  • Saudi business leaders also see the need to expand beyond the Kingdom if they are to become market leaders

RIYADH: A third of middle-market Saudi businesses expect to grow by at least 10 percent this year and more than half will hire extra full-time staff, a new survey suggests.

Saudi companies are significantly more optimistic about revenue growth than they were last year, according to the EY Growth Barometer, an annual survey of entrepreneurs’ and business leaders’ growth strategies produced by the global professional services company Ernst & Young.

“Company leaders ... in Saudi Arabia are riding a wave of ambition and confidence, as set out by Vision 2030 and the National Transformation Program,” said Fahad Altoaimi, EY’s Saudi Arabia managing partner.

“Contrary to the common belief that regulation stifles innovation, Saudi executives believe that reforms set out by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman have been driving change and growth.

“This is very encouraging for Saudi businesses — one of the key goals of Vision 2030 was to increase participation from middle-market businesses in the economy.”

Attitudes to new technology have also evolved rapidly. In 2017, 94 percent of Saudi respondents to the EY survey said they would never adopt robotic process automation. Now, 82 percent say they will have adopted AI by 2020 and implemented robotic process automation, with 95 percent of respondents planning to do so within five years.

According to the EY survey, Saudi business leaders also see the need to expand beyond the Kingdom if they are to become market leaders. Overseas expansion is the leading growth priority for 29 percent of respondents, while 18 percent of middle-market businesses are aiming to grow at home. 

Saudi business leaders are also on a hiring spree, with 58 percent looking to recruit more full-time staff. The greatest talent need, however, is more diversity, cited by 62 percent of Saudi Arabian respondents. 

 

 


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.