FII2018: Company chiefs urged to embrace technological revolution

Top CEOs at the opening ceremony of the Future Investment Initiative conference in Riyadh. (AFP)
Updated 24 October 2018
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FII2018: Company chiefs urged to embrace technological revolution

  • If companies do not transform with clear strategies, they will be left behind, just like many companies that have failed

RIYADH: Company chief executives must embrace the technological revolution, delegates to the Future Investment Initiative conference were told.

Leaders need to come out of their traditional offices and engage with the community, said Yousef Al-Benyan, vice chairman and chief executive of Saudi Basic Industries Corp. (SABIC), the Saudi petrochemicals giant.

“I don’t look at it wholly from a regional point of view, but I look at it globally,” he said. “Transformation and the technology evolution are going to be very crucial. At the same time, it is going to create challenges for business.”

Companies should keep in mind that if they do not transform themselves with different platforms and clear strategies, they will be left behind, like many companies that had failed, Al-Benyan said.

“I’m not looking at incremental transformation but it has to be a complete transformation otherwise the companies will not be able to truly satisfy their shareholders.”

Al-Benayan also discussed the digital transformation that is changing the petrochemical industry, and how it will drive future growth.

The petrochemical industry is important for the growth of prosperity, Al-Benayan said. “The petrochemical industry is now everywhere in every individual’s life,” he said. 

SABIC is competitive, he said. “We have more than 21 centers globally, supported by more than 2,000 scientists and researchers to make sure that we have up-to- speed positions in our competitive environment.”  

Al-Benayan expressed concern about the future of job creation. The speed of technological innovation was greater than the speed of the transformation of Saudi Arabia’s education system, he said, which would create challenges for Saudi youth.


Saudi banks, Dubai shares give Gulf markets a timely boost

Updated 24 January 2019
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Saudi banks, Dubai shares give Gulf markets a timely boost

  • The Dubai index was up by 0.9 percent with Emirates NBD, its largest bank, adding 2.1 percent and its largest listed developer Emaar Properties gaining 2.2 percent
  • Nasdaq-listed DP World increased 0.7 percent after increasing its stake in its Australia unit

DUBAI: The Dubai stock market snapped a three-day losing streak on Wednesday, boosted by its financial and property shares, while Saudi Arabia rose on the back of its banks.
The Dubai index was up by 0.9 percent with Emirates NBD, its largest bank, adding 2.1 percent and its largest listed developer Emaar Properties gaining 2.2 percent. Gulf Arab economies are expected to grow at a slower pace than previously forecast, a quarterly Reuters poll of economists found, as oil output cuts, lower crude prices and weaker global growth put pressure on regional economies. Amlak Finance rose 2.2 percent after announcing a renegotiation of restructuring terms with its financiers to allow more flexibility in adapting to “current market conditions.” Nasdaq-listed DP World increased 0.7 percent after increasing its stake in its Australia unit.
The port operator will spend at least $250 million buying back some shares in its Australian port terminals unit. Saudi Arabia’s index rose 0.8 percent, with nine out of 10 banks rising.
Al Rajhi Bank was up 0.6 percent and Samba Financial Group closed 1.7 percent higher. Petrochemical investor Alujain added 1.5 percent after an update on the fire at its affiliate’s plant.
The company said it now expects the NATPET plant to start operating all units by the end of September.
The Egyptian blue-chip index was up 0.2 percent with its largest listed bank Commercial International Bank gaining 4.2 percent.
The Egyptian Exchange on Wednesday canceled all transactions made the previous day in local firms Sixth of October Development and Investment Company (SODIC) and Madinet Nasr for Housing and Development (MNHD).
The move followed SODIC’s decision against a takeover of MNHD and involved their shares being suspended on Wednesday as the bourse reset prices. Global Telecom Holding jumped by 10 percent before trading on its shares were suspended, pending a statement from the company after VEON Ltd, a major shareholder in the firm, said it was considering taking it private.