Emaar wants to do more business in Saudi Arabia

Mohamed Alabbar (left), Emaar Properties Chairman, at the Future Investment Initiative conference in Riyadh. (Reuters)
Updated 26 October 2017

Emaar wants to do more business in Saudi Arabia

RIYADH: Mohamed Alabbar, the Emaar Properties chairman, is keen to do further business with Saudi Arabia, and would like to help the Kingdom to develop the $500 billion Neom project announced at the opening day of the Future Investment Initiative in Riyadh.
Speaking on the sidelines of the conference, Alabbar, who already has significant business partnerships with Saudi Arabia via the Noon e-commerce platform and the King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC), said of the Neom project: “It’s a big, exciting thing. If they call on us (Emaar), we would look on that positively. The Middle East as a whole is very short on infrastructure, and the project is a very significant addition. If we’re invited to participate, we would be honored.”
His company is the developer of the KAEC project, listed on the Tadawul as Emaar The Economic City, which has been in development since 2005. He said: “There have been challenges. We all got very excited about it but it needed support during the financial crisis in terms of facilitation. But it is still well on the path. It is a long-term project. I would imagine in five or six years we will see a lot more progress. We have to watch the cashflow and the finances according to market conditions.”
He is a joint investor with the Saudi Public Investment Fund in Noon, the e-commerce company set up last year to rival big firms such as Amazon in the online retail space.
He said that the Noon initiative was also a long-term project. “I’m very happy with it, but it’s still a baby.” He said the firm was already doing deliveries in the Kingdom, and had already had an effect on the Saudi market.
“Amazon is now dropping its prices. Any competition is beneficial to the country and its society. I will not allow any company to come in to a market and dominate the price of milk you give to your child. We don’t come to destroy your business, we will not kill local business.”
He added that he would like to do more business with PIF. “We’re on the phone to them all the time. We are dedicated to supporting the opening up of Saudi Arabia,” but did not elaborate on specific further projects with PIF.
He said that Saudi Arabia faced challenges in implementing its economic transformation strategy, but added: “Every country has challenges and I would not criticize another country because I am a foreigner here. If you are a true businessman you want to look into the future, and that is what the young leadership is doing here. The policy changes in the country are like a businessman restructuring his company.”


Saudi minister calls on worshippers to respect safety measures in mosques

Updated 7 min 26 sec ago

Saudi minister calls on worshippers to respect safety measures in mosques

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia's minister of Islamic affairs called on Muslims to respect ongoing preventative measures to stop the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) inside mosques as the Kingdom eases some restrictions.

Sheikh Abdullatif Al-Asheikh said worshipers should bring their own prayer mats, wear masks and wash their hands prior to coming to the mosque to ensure the safety of other worshippers. 

Al-Asheikh said preventative measures will remain in place to ensure a safe return of worshipers to mosques for Friday prayers from May 31 until June 20, except in Makkah. 

Worshippers must keep two meters apart and leave a row of space empty between each row, he said.

The minister said the elderly and children under 15 should continue to avoid going to the mosque. 

The instructions follow other announcements in the Kingdom relaxing aspects of the lockdown, including reducing curfews and allowing freer movement of people.