German industry views Brexit, Trump as biggest risks to economy

(AFP)
Updated 26 December 2018

German industry views Brexit, Trump as biggest risks to economy

  • The German economy, Europe’s largest, is expected to post its weakest growth rate in many years in 2018
  • If Britain left the EU in March without any agreement on its future relations with the bloc, this would create massive uncertainties for trade and business

BERLIN: Germany’s leading industry groups said on Wednesday that Britain’s departure from the European Union and trade disputes triggered by US President Donald Trump’s ‘America First’ policies were posing the biggest risks to growth and prosperity.
The German economy, Europe’s largest, is expected to post its weakest growth rate in many years in 2018 as exporters are facing headwinds from abroad. But vibrant domestic demand means many companies are still able to expand business.
In a survey conducted by Reuters, the heads of Germany’s leading industry associations said they did not see the economy entering a recession and that most forecasts were predicting a solid growth rate of around 1.5 percent for 2019.
But the industry associations said the economic woes of company executives were increasing and the government should do more to help them, for example by lowering corporate taxes and investing more in digital infrastructure.
“The biggest risk in the short term is Brexit,” said Dieter Kempf, president of the BDI industry association.
If Britain left the EU in March without any agreement on its future relations with the bloc, this would create massive uncertainties for trade and business, Kempf warned.
“The British economy would face the direct threat of a recession which would indirectly also affect Germany,” Kempf said.
Holger Bingmann, head of the BGA trade group, said Brexit was the “most urgent problem for the German economy” while an escalation of international trade disputes sparked by the United States could potentially derail the economic upswing.
DIHK President Eric Schweitzer said German companies are still worried about the US imposing higher import tariffs on European cars. “The threat of car tariffs is still on the table,” Schweitzer warned.
It was vital that both sides increased their efforts to find a solution to the trade dispute through negotiations that ideally would lead to lower tariffs, Schweitzer said.
The German economy likely grew by around 1.5 percent this year, compared with 2.2 percent in 2017.


Saudi Aramco sets IPO share price between 30-32 riyals

Updated 30 min 27 sec ago

Saudi Aramco sets IPO share price between 30-32 riyals

  • Saudi Aramco intends to buy $1 billion worth of shares for employee

DUBAI: Saudi Aramco’s multibillion-dollar initial public offering (IPO), probably the biggest in history, shifted to full gear as its share price was announced and subscription to the world’s biggest oil company commenced on Sunday.

Saudi Aramco set an indicative share price between 30 and 32 riyals for the 1.5 percent of its oustanding shares – or about 3 billion shares of its 20 billion regular shares – that it would offer for the domestic part of its public offering. The blockbuster IPO could be worth least $24 billion, and values the state-owned oil giant at up to $1.71 trillion.

The offering – or book-building – period for institutional subscribers, which started today, closes on December 4 while the retail offering for individual investors will begin on November 21 and will end on November 28. Individual investors will subscribe based on a price of 32 riyals, the top end of the price range, the company noted in a document.

The final pricing for the Aramco shares would be announced on December 5, and Saudi Tadawul  – the Kingdom’s stock exchange – would make an announcement when initial trading day would be, the company added.

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For more of our coverage of the Aramco IPO, click here.

To view key Aramco IPO documents, click here.

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Samba Capital & Investment Management Company has been designated as issue manager while National Commercial Bank, Saudi British Bank, Samba Financial Group, Saudi Investment Bank, Alawwal Bank, Arab National Bank, Albilad Bank, Aljazira Bank, Riyad Bank, Al Rajhi Bank, Alinma Bank, Banque Saudi Fransi and Gulf International Bank were named as receiving banks.

If there are applications for more than the 0.5 percent on offer — amounting to 1 billion shares — allocations to private investors will be scaled back proportionate to demand; if there are fewer applications than the 0.5 percent when all maximum applications are satisfied, private investors can have the over-payment refunded either in cash via the receiving banks or in the form of extra shares in Aramco.

There is an incentive mechanism in the IPO whereby Saudi investors will receive a bonus one-for-ten allocation of shares, up to a maximum of 100 shares, if they do not sell shares in the market for a period of six months after dealings begin in December, at a date still to be determined.

Saudi Aramco also intends to buy $1 billion worth of shares for employees under a plan to incentivize executives and staff members alongside the IPO next month.

The plan — which was disclosed in the IPO prospectus — will involve Aramco buying the shares from the government and making them available for employees under special terms.