Lubna Al-Olayan to chair merged Saudi British Bank, Alawwal

Saudi British Bank (SABB) and Alawwal bank are set combine. (Courtesy SABB Facebook)
Updated 04 October 2018
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Lubna Al-Olayan to chair merged Saudi British Bank, Alawwal

  • Proposed merger part of wider sector consolidation
  • No job cuts expected as banks combine

LONDON: Lubna Sulaiman Al-Olayan is set to lead the merged Saudi British Bank and Alawwal bank as chair of what would be the Kingdom’s third-largest lender.

It comes amid efforts to increase the representation of women at board level among Saudi corporates and follows a string of other appointments of women to senior roles over the last year.

Saudi British Bank (SABB) and Alawwal bank said in a statement on Thursday they had agreed to combine to create the country’s third largest bank in the latest sign of consolidation in the sector.

 

 


Al-Olayan is one of the members to be nominated by Alawwal’s board of directors, Argaam, a Saudi Arabian financial news portal, reported on Thursday.

Lubna Sulaiman Al-Olayan

 

The proposed merger, which is still subject to shareholder and regulatory approval, coincides with a number of financial sector reforms in Saudi Arabia.

“Our bank will supply entrepreneurs with the financial tools needed to grow and create jobs and we will have enhanced capacity to underwrite large-scale transactions to support infrastructure and privatisation projects,” said SABB Chairman Khaled Suleiman Olayan.

No involuntary staff redundancies are expected as a result of the merger, the pair said in a statement on Thursday. Neither will there be any immediate change for customers as both banks will remain independent until the merger has completed.

Banks throughout the Gulf are mulling merger deals as the industry reacts to both changing economic realities and the advance of digital banking that is replacing many of the roles that previously required staff.
“When banks merge the key savings are on employee costs given the service oriented nature of this sector,” Mazen Alsudairi head of research at Al Rajhi Bank, told Arab News.
“So, as per the merger announcement and our calculations, around SR450 million to SR650 million are the savings expected in the future for the combined entity.”

 


Saudi energy minister compares electric vehicle ‘hype’ to peak oil misconceptions

Updated 43 min 15 sec ago
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Saudi energy minister compares electric vehicle ‘hype’ to peak oil misconceptions

  • Khalid Al-Falih on Monday questioned what he described as the “hype” of the electric vehicle market
  • Compared it to past misconceptions around the theory of peak oil

LONDON: Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih on Monday questioned what he described as the “hype” of the electric vehicle market and compared it to past misconceptions around the theory of peak oil.
He told the CERAWeek energy gathering by IHS Markit in New Delhi that petrol and diesel engines would co-exist with emerging electric and hydrogen fuel cell technologies for much longer than widely expected.
Miscalculations around the pace of electrification could create “serious” risks around global energy security, he said.
“Conventional vehicles today, despite all the hype, represent 99.8 percent of the global vehicle fleet. That means electric vehicles with 0.2 percent of the fleet, only substitute about 30,000 barrels per day of oil equivalent of a total global oil demand of about 100 million barrels.
“Even if those numbers increase by a factor of 100 over the next couple of decades, they would still remain negligible in the global energy mix.”
He said: “History tells us that orderly energy transformations are a complex phenomenon involving generational time frames as opposed to quick switches that could lead to costly setbacks.”
In another broadside aimed at electric vehicles, the Saudi energy minister highlighted past misconceptions about global energy demand growth — and specifically the notion of “peak oil.”
“I remember thought leaders within the industry telling us that oil demand will peak at 95 million barrels per day. Had we listened to them and not invested . . . imagine the tight spot we would be in today.”
“Let’s also remember that in many parts of the world, roughly three fourths of the electricity, which would also power electric vehicles, is currently generated by coal, including here in India. So you could think of any electric vehicle running in the streets of Delhi as essentially being a coal-powered automobile.”
“When it comes to renewables, the fundamental challenge of battery storage remains unresolved — a factor that is essential to the intermittency issue impacting wind and solar power. Therefore the more realistic narrative and assessment is that electric vehicles and renewables will continue to make technological and economic progress and achieve greater market penetration — but at a relatively gradual rate and as a result, conventional energy will be with us for a long, long time to come.”