Saudi Aramco to set up gas stations

Updated 19 May 2014

Saudi Aramco to set up gas stations

Saudi Aramco has disclosed plans to enter the Kingdom’s retail market by setting up gas stations fully owned by the company.
“We had already begun implementing this project by the end of last year,” said the company’s annual report without giving an exact date for launching the service.
The move comes as part of the Saudi oil giant’s strategy to become an integrated energy company that enters into more business ventures, including petrochemicals and the sales of refined products.
A team set up for this purpose is reportedly weighing several strategic options to expand the company’s operations. Aramco has already received approval for establishing a fully owned company for retail services.
The new company is licensed to build, operate and maintain service stations in selected areas. The company will not only run gas stations but also supermarkets and other services. Aramco has indicated that it could hand services other than fuel supply to potential partners who could add value to the company and its trademark.
Two international companies — Shell and Mobil — left the Kingdom’s retail market after suffering losses, said Ahmed Al-Falih, deputy chairman of the National Committee for Gas Stations.
He said one of the two had paid SR80 million for nine stations. “Gas stations face problems in acquiring licensing and manpower,” he said.
Foreign investors in the sector are required to have 10 years’ experience in management, operation and maintenance. “About 90 percent of station owners are small investors,” Al-Falih said.


Saudi investors share expertise on Saudi corporate VC opportunities

Updated 27 November 2020

Saudi investors share expertise on Saudi corporate VC opportunities

JEDDAH: The two-day Step Saudi 2020 event featured two prominent Saudi figures in the field of investment on the second day.
Hashim Al-Awadi, CEO of Tech Invest, and Salman Jaffery, chief investment officer at Saudi Aramco Entrepreneurship Ventures, both shared their expertise, with the latter saying it is more beneficial for corporations to start a venture capital (VC) arm than invest from their current mergers and acquisitions arm (M&A).
Managing partner at Class 5 Global, Zach Finkelstein, who moderated the session on the second day of the event, said the San Francisco-based venture fund invested in a number of companies in the Middle East.
“The Middle East is particularly interesting to us, and in the past, our partners have invested in such regional companies as Careem. We’re excited to explore the development of the corporate VC space and how it can impact places like Saudi Arabia,” he added.
When asked why a corporation should start a VC arm instead of investing from an M&A team, and why have a separate corporate Venture Capital arm in the first place, Jaffery answered that “it brings faster results.”
“I think the easiest answer to that is just speed and agility,” he said. “Getting that response quickly to the market. VC deals can take weeks or months whereas an M&A transaction can take up to a year or longer, and also similarly, if you’re trying to then come out of it, it’s harder to come out of a joint venture agreement or an M&A as opposed to a VC.”
Al-Awadi explained his opinion a traditional VC perspective, and said: “We like the fact that corporations can invest from both their M&A arms and their VC arms if they have them.”
He highlighted that VC arms can invest in a greater variety of companies. “You have the intelligence, you know the market and if you’re looking at specific technology where we don’t have a lot of expertise we trust that you (other venture capitalists) know the market and you can evaluate that technology better to see if it has the capability and potential for growth or not.
“Eventually, you do have an M&A arm that will provide an exit for us, for an incentive for this company to work hard to grasp the intention after having been invested in by the VC arm of this big corporate to maybe look into making a partial agreement or complete acquisition, which really adds an incentive for the company to grow and attracts other investors and also attracts talent to join the company and help it grow even more.”
He said both the VC and M&A arm are important for company growth. “We tend to look at corporate investors through both arms as complementary to what we do when we have both of them around.”
The Kingdom has obtained a high reputation among investors internationally through the years, especially after the economic and social reforms of Saudi Vision 2030.
Step Saudi is home to the Kingdom’s best entrepreneurs, investors, creatives and digital enthusiasts. The last edition of Step Saudi featured four content tracks, more than 100 startups and over 1,500 attendees.