Saudi Aramco’s Amin Nasser warms the night in glittering Davos reception

Saudi Aramco CEO Amin Nasser thanked guests for their continuing collaboration with the company at a function in the InterContinental hotel, in Davos. (Courtesy WEF)
Updated 25 January 2019

Saudi Aramco’s Amin Nasser warms the night in glittering Davos reception

  • The world’s biggest oil company greeted political and business leaders at the InterContinental hotel
  • The guests included ministers and oil executives from Saudi Arabia and top business executives and financiers from around the world

DAVOS: Saudi Aramco welcomed a delegation of the global elite to a reception at the World Economic Forum which, even by the glittering standards of Davos, was a sumptuous affair.

Hosted by CEO Amin Nasser, the world’s biggest oil company greeted political and business leaders at the InterContinental hotel, a short drive through the ice night from the main Congress Hall venue.

Though the temperature outside was well below zero, the hospitality in the cavernous reception hall was warm. The guests — including ministers and oil executives from Saudi Arabia and top business executives and financiers from around the world — were treated to a selection of gourmet canapés and refreshments, and all seemed to be enjoying the convivial atmosphere.

Joe Kaeser, chief executive of the German engineering giant Siemens, said: “This is a pleasant break from the back-to-back business meetings of Davos.” His company is in the running for some of the big contracts on prospect in the mega-projects underway in the Kingdom as part of the Vision 2030 diversification strategy.

The guests were treated to an extravagant visual exhibition of the Manifa oilfield off the Saudi Arabian Gulf coast, which has been praised throughout the world for its innovative approach to combining oil exploration with environmental concern.

During its annual meeting the World Economic Forum recognized another Aramco project, the Uthmaniyah gas plant, as a “lighthouse” manufacturing facility and a technology leader in the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR).

Nasser said: “The recognition of the Uthmaniyah Gas Plant demonstrates Saudi Aramco’s shift to transform and adapt in the rapidly changing global energy landscape. Through the application of 4IR technologies, we can be at the forefront of the industry helping to shape the future of energy as part of Saudi Aramco’s mission to supply oil and gas around the world safely and reliably.”

In a short speech, Nasser thanked the guests for their continuing collaboration with Aramco, before handing over to Saudi musicians, including Madani Abadi on strings.

He revealed that Abadi was a former Aramco employee, and joked: “He used to work for us, but now he has a much better job.”


HP rejects Xerox takeover bid, says open to acquiring Xerox instead

Updated 10 min 29 sec ago

HP rejects Xerox takeover bid, says open to acquiring Xerox instead

  • In rejecting Xerox's $33.5 billion cash-and-stock acquisition offer, HP said the offer “significantly” undervalued the personal computer maker
  • Xerox made the offer for HP on Nov. 5 after resolving its dispute with its joint venture partner Fujifilm Holdings Corp.
NEW YORK: HP Inc. said on Sunday it was open to exploring a bid for US printer maker Xerox Corp. after rebuffing a $33.5 billion cash-and-stock acquisition offer from the latter as “significantly” undervaluing the personal computer maker.
Xerox made the offer for HP, a company more than three times its size, on Nov. 5, after it resolved a dispute with its joint venture partner Fujifilm Holdings Corp. that represented billions of dollars in potential liabilities.
Responding to Xerox’s offer on Sunday, HP said in a statement that it would saddle the combined company with “outsized debt” and was not in the best interest of its shareholders.
However, HP left the door open for a deal that would involve it becoming the acquirer of Xerox, stating that it recognized the potential benefits of consolidation.
“With substantive engagement from Xerox management and access to diligence information on Xerox, we believe that we can quickly evaluate the merits of a potential transaction,” HP said in its statement.
The move puts pressure on Xerox to open its books to HP. Xerox did not immediately respond on Sunday to a request for comment on whether it will engage with HP in negotiations as the potential acquisition target, rather than the acquirer.
HP on Sunday published Xerox CEO John Visentin’s Nov. 5 offer letter to HP, in which he stated that his company was “prepared to devote all necessary resources to finalize our due diligence on an accelerated basis.”
Activist investor Carl Icahn, who took over Xerox’s board last year together with fellow billionaire businessman Darwin Deason, said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal last week that he was not set on a particular structure for a deal with HP, as long as a combination is achieved. Icahn has also amassed a 4% stake in HP.
Xerox had offered HP shareholders $22 per share that included $17 in cash and 0.137 Xerox shares for each HP share, according to the Nov. 5 letter. The offer would have resulted in HP shareholders owning about 48% of the combined company. HP shares ended trading on Friday at $20.18.
Many analysts have said there is merit in the companies combining to better cope with a stagnating printing market, but some cited challenges to integration, given their different offerings and pricing models.
Xerox scrapped its $6.1 billion deal to merge with Fujifilm last year under pressure from Icahn and Deason.
Xerox announced earlier this month it would sell its 25% stake in the joint venture for $2.3 billion. Fujifilm also agreed to drop a lawsuit against Xerox, which it was pursuing following their failed merger.

Test for new HP CEO
In 2011 as the centerpiece of its unsuccessful pivot to software. Little over a year later, it wrote off $8.8 billion, $5 billion of which it put down to accounting improprieties, misrepresentation and disclosure failures.
More recently, HP has been struggling with its printer business segment recently, with the division’s third-quarter revenue dropping 5% on-year. It has announced a cost-saving program worth more than $1 billion that could result in its shedding about 16% of its workforce, or about 9,000 employees, over the next few years.
Xerox’s stock has rallied under Visentin, who took over last year as CEO. However, HP said on Sunday that a decline in Xerox’s revenue since June 2018 from $10.2 billion to $9.2 “raises significant questions” regarding the trajectory of Xerox’s business and future prospects.