Ritz-Carlton, Riyadh unveils Ramadan tent

Ritz-Carlton, Riyadh unveils Ramadan tent
The five-star hotel’s iftar buffet features an abundance of Arabic and international Ramadan specialties.
Updated 26 May 2019

Ritz-Carlton, Riyadh unveils Ramadan tent

Ritz-Carlton, Riyadh unveils Ramadan tent

The Ritz-Carlton, Riyadh is inviting guests to its lamp-inspired Ramadan tent for an opulent gastronomic experience and authentic spiritual ambience.
This year’s Ramadan tent theme “Siraj,” a literal interpretation of “lantern,” transforms one of the hotel’s ballrooms into an exquisitely decorated dining area featuring a lavish iftar buffet.
The classic decor reminisces the role of traditional lamps, which were used in the past for lighting family gatherings and its flame was considered the means to keep those gatherings alive even after dark. Since then, lanterns have been used to decorate houses, shops and streets in the holy month.
Mohammed Marghalani, manager at Ritz-Carlton, Riyadh, said: “The project is the result of the cooperation of various employees in the hotel — starting from the tent’s name through to the variety and quality of dishes and the reception and care of the valued ladies and gentlemen visiting us.”
“Ramadan preparations are deeply rooted in our traditions as they emphasize the uniqueness of this special month. The real essence of Arabian hospitality focuses on making visitors and guests feel appreciated and comfortable,” he added.
Ramadan tents in hotels offering iftar and suhoor delicacies have become a tradition in the Kingdom during the fasting month.

HIGhLIGHT

The buffet spread features cuisines from around the world, from Saudi dishes to Asian, Italian and Turkish specialities, displayed in various live stations.

Hundreds of people turn up daily for the lavish meals with family and friends, amid sophisticated decor and five-star service.
On entering the palace-like venue, guests are greeted with the warm and smoky scent of oud at the reception.
The five-star hotel’s iftar buffet features an abundance of Arabic and international Ramadan specialties. Each table is elegantly laid out with dates, Arabic coffee and appetizers.
The buffet spread features cuisines from around the world, from Saudi dishes to Asian, Italian and Turkish specialities, displayed in various live stations.
The star of the buffet is the dessert selection comprising both Middle Eastern and international favorites guaranteed to satisfy any sweet tooth.
Prices range from SR325 ($86) per adult to SR160 for children. Kids under the age of six dine for free. The tent is open from sunset until 9:00 p.m.
The 492-room Ritz-Carlton has 52 acres of landscaped gardens and is one of the most luxurious five-star properties in the capital.


MG Motor reveals brand refresh in Middle East

MG Motor reveals brand refresh in Middle East
Updated 01 March 2021

MG Motor reveals brand refresh in Middle East

MG Motor reveals brand refresh in Middle East

MG Motor has announced details of its new strategic brand positioning for the Middle East, celebrating the company’s achievements and history, as it embarks on the next stage of its technology-focused journey. By implementing this fresh new approach, the first time MG has developed a bespoke position for the Middle East, the brand is demonstrating its commitment to the region as it sets itself on a sustainable and technologically innovative course toward the future.

Through this new campaign, the brand aims to connect with, empower and inspire its young and millennial customers by reflecting their active mindset. Developed following extensive research, MG’s new positioning is encapsulated by the “Do More” tagline, which highlights how the British-born brand has been continuously pushing boundaries since its founding in 1924. 

The announcement comes just five years after MG made its return to the region, during which time the brand has made a significant impact on the car market. Last year it recorded a 72 percent increase in sales, breaking into the GCC’s top 10 car makers for the first time.

Tom Lee, managing director at MG Motor Middle East, said: “MG possesses an extremely rich history, and we are very proud of what this brand has offered and has yet to offer. The pride we take in the MG heritage will allow us to further cement its place among the elite group of automakers in the world.”

Lee continued: “We are confident that, through this exciting new positioning, our brand will become even more recognizable among our customers. MG has remarkable stories to tell, and we are determined to bring these rich stories to life through our models. We have many exciting plans, and are set on bringing back the vintage MG 2-door sports sedan as an all-electric model. We are looking forward to telling the MG story in the most unique way, allowing our customers to join us on this journey we are undertaking.”

With its regional head office in Dubai, MG has recently expanded into additional markets, such as Jordan and Iraq. MG is now active in nine countries across the GCC and Middle East: Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman, Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq. 

The brand’s new positioning highlights how high-tech connectivity and mobility are key to providing a holistic experience, as it blazes its way into a cutting-edge, highly advanced future. This will be reflected through authentic, adventurous and bold digital content produced by MG and its current and future customers.

The “Do More” campaign will reflect MG’s product lineup, which is equipped with state-of-the-art technology. The brand’s new visual identity will adopt brighter color schemes and bold, sleek lines, with mood boards that will exude dynamism, energy and fun. MG is looking to inspire millennials to bring their own unique elegance to the MG community.


Sanad, La Vache qui rit bring laughter to children

Sanad, La Vache qui rit bring laughter to children
Updated 01 March 2021

Sanad, La Vache qui rit bring laughter to children

Sanad, La Vache qui rit bring laughter to children

Saudi-based nonprofit Sanad Children’s Cancer Support Association has partnered with La Vache qui rit or The Laughing Cow, a brand of processed cheese, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary, to bring laughter to those who need it the most.

The nonprofit association provides services to children with tumors across the Kingdom, supports children’s centers with the medical equipment they need, and provides social, residential, educational and recreational services for patients and their families — citizens and residents — in need. In addition, the center also focuses on funding research and studies in the field of childhood cancer.

Running for one month starting Feb. 15, La Vache qui rit has introduced a dedicated web-application where consumers can register and “laugh to donate.” Showcasing the uniqueness and power of each person’s laughter, the initiative will turn every laugh recorded into a monetary donation toward the Sanad Children’s Cancer Support Association.

A simple click on www.100ytlc.com is all that is required to record the laughter through the device’s microphone; each laugh recorded will boost contributions toward children in need. Donations generated through the online platform will be utilized toward the association’s “Make a Wish” program. This program focuses on making children’s wishes come true — ranging from toys such as blocks and puzzles, to gadgets such as gaming consoles and smartphones, to large-scale activities such as a curated personalized art gallery.

“We believe that our partnership with La Vache qui rit for the Golden February campaign and supporting children with cancer is a noble cause, and we proudly celebrate it this year with International Childhood Cancer Day,” said Reem Alhegelan, general manager at Sanad.

“The monetary contribution will be toward the ‘Make a Wish’ program that fulfills children’s wishes. We believe that making their wishes come true during the difficult times they are going through, will help improve their lives and maintain their psychological balance during intensive treatments. This year’s slogan “Gold at heart,” is for all the pure hearts who are willing to contribute to our fruitful journey.”

Garo Matossian, general manager, Bel Group Middle East, manufacturer of La Vache qui rit, said: “We are joining forces with Sanad Children’s Cancer Support Association on our 100-year anniversary to make a difference in the lives of young children diagnosed with cancer. At La Vache qui rit, we believe that laughter is our most precious gift and our core mission is to inspire people to choose to laugh at life and garner the strength to face life’s difficulties every day. We want to give the Saudi community an opportunity to transform their laughter, or the laughter of their loved ones, into a good deed that can help those in need of optimism. La Vache qui rit has been in the homes of Saudi families for a very long time, and it is of utmost importance to us to ensure a healthier, happier society for generations to come.”


Oppo unveils rollable phone, wireless air charging at MWCS

Oppo unveils rollable phone, wireless air charging at MWCS
Updated 28 February 2021

Oppo unveils rollable phone, wireless air charging at MWCS

Oppo unveils rollable phone, wireless air charging at MWCS

Global smart device company Oppo recently showcased its state-of-the art 5G technological advancements and a host of innovations in device charging, 5G connectivity and smart technology at the Mobile World Congress, Shanghai (MWCS) 2021. The event ran from Feb. 23-25.

Since its launch in Saudi Arabia in 2019, Oppo has demonstrated incredible growth to become the fifth most popular smartphone brand in the Kingdom driven by the launch of two generations of the Reno handset in 2020, the Reno3 and Reno4 series, as well as the Find X2 Pro. 

Guests at the MWCS were introduced to the Oppo X 2021 concept phone, which features a screen that unrolls from 6.7 to 7.4 inches, showcasing the latest screen form advancements in the mobile industry. The company also demonstrated its wireless air charging innovation, which uses magnetic resonance technology to begin charging as soon as the phone is within 10 cm of its charging mat, with up to 7.5W of charging power.

Also launched was the Flash Initiative, a new era in mobile charging technology based around Oppo’s VOOC flash charging, which the company has developed alongside FAW-Volkswagen, Anker and NXP Semiconductors, leaders in their respective fields of automobiles, portable charging and chip manufacture. As part of the initiative, Oppo has applied for more than 2,950 flash charging patents worldwide, with more than 1,400 already granted. 

Adler Feng, senior director of intellectual property at Oppo, said: “The Flash Initiative reflects Oppo’s belief in human-centric technologies that make a difference in people’s everyday lives. And thanks to our new partners, our proprietary technologies can reach more people than ever before. This is a vital step in freeing consumers to use their devices however they want, no matter what they need to do or where in the world they are.”

Oppo also used the opportunity of the MWCS to demonstrate how it is expanding its portfolio beyond mobile phones to embrace wider smart technology. It has invested heavily in R&D to develop frontier technologies and create products including its 5G CPE Omni, a futuristic technology that converts the 5G mobile signal into a stable Wi-Fi connection, which in turn can support the Internet of Things in the smart home of the future.


SABB reports resilient Q4 results, net income up by 7%

SABB reports resilient Q4 results, net income up by 7%
Updated 28 February 2021

SABB reports resilient Q4 results, net income up by 7%

SABB reports resilient Q4 results, net income up by 7%

The Saudi British Bank (SABB) reported a net income of SR680 million ($181.3 million) for the three months ending Dec. 31, 2020. The net income before Zakat and income tax for Q4 of 2020 was SR801 million, SR55 million or 7 percent higher than the corresponding quarter ending Dec. 31, 2019. This was mainly from lower expected credit losses partly offset by reduced revenue.

SABB reported a resilient end to the year but disappointing bottom line financial performance, with a full year net loss before Zakat and income tax of SR4,302 million, which included the impairment of goodwill in the second quarter of SR7,418 million.

The underlying full year net income before Zakat and income tax was SR3,835 million, 13 percent lower than 2019 (on a pro forma basis), from lower revenue reflecting the cuts to benchmark interest rates partly offset by lower expected credit losses and reduced costs.

The fourth quarter of 2020 saw an acceleration in the integration of SABB and Alawwal Bank, with full integration expected by the end of the first quarter of 2021. 

The gross loans and advances increased 1 percent during 2020 and the fourth quarter.

SABB closed the reporting period with robust levels of capital, liquidity and a strong funding base.

According to a statement, the integration of the merged bank and realization of synergies is on track. 

Lubna Suliman Olayan, board chair of SABB, said: “2020 has been an eventful year with the COVID-19 global pandemic creating challenges and uncertainty, but despite this, we remained open for business, ensuring the safety of our customers and staff, and continued with our 2020 priorities. 

“In 2020, we completed the integration of our corporate and institutional banking and treasury businesses, which enter 2021 operating as a single bank. Our retail and wealth management business will complete its customer integration, referred to as ‘Customer Day 1’ in the first quarter of 2021, following which we will be one bank, with one branch network, one IT system, one website and a shared culture. As we transition into life as truly one bank, our Strategy 2025 provides a roadmap to deliver on our vision of ‘bringing a world of financial opportunities to an ambitious Kingdom,’ and supporting the ambitious growth plans of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 transformation plan.” 

Despite the environment, the bank has developed its leadership position in the capital markets. This has been demonstrated through SABB’s Tier II sukuk issuance of SR5 billion, a range of industry awards recognizing the bank’s digital and mobile banking capabilities, and trade, treasury and cash management.

“Although there is uncertainty ahead, we look forward to approaching 2021 with the same commitment and perseverance that we have shown during 2020 and we are optimistic that global recovery will take place during the year ahead,” Olayan added.


GFH acquires mission-critical Chicago distribution center

GFH acquires mission-critical Chicago distribution center
Updated 28 February 2021

GFH acquires mission-critical Chicago distribution center

GFH acquires mission-critical Chicago distribution center

GFH Financial Group has announced the acquisition of a mission-critical distribution facility in Chicago, Illinois, which has been leased since November 2015 to blue-chip tenant, Michelin North America, a global tire brand. 

The transaction, valued at approximately $135 million, marks the continued expansion of GFH’s global portfolio of income-generating real estate assets including prime distribution centers, well-positioned logistics assets and last-mile delivery facilities in the US and Europe. The transaction was undertaken in partnership with Silver Creek Commercial Development LLC, a US-based asset manager with a track record of more than $2 billion in logistics transactions. 

The facility is distinguished by its strategic location in the geographic center of the US. It is situated at the intersection of I-55 (Chicago to Louisiana) and I-80 (New York to Northern California), offering seamless access to major interstate highways. The facility is one of only two bulk logistics centers used by Michelin in the US, handling 35 percent of the company’s imported inventory.

Razi Al-Merbati, CEO of GFH Capital S.A., said: “With this transaction, we continue to further our efforts to diversify and expand our portfolio of international, blue-chip real estate assets. This includes new acquisitions of prime properties in strategic geographies for us including the US. This is especially true in the distribution and logistics segment today, where demand is strong for well-located facilities close to major urban centers and populations that require faster and more seamless access to goods. With this deal, we move further toward solidifying our position as a leading real estate investor in the US and look to transact on the strong pipeline of other unique opportunities we have in place.”

Salem Patel, head of asset management, at GFH, added: “We’re extremely pleased to announce another strategic global acquisition in the logistics sector. The Chicago-based facility is uniquely positioned in the center of the country and boasts seamless access to a variety of transport links giving tenants easy access to their customers located across major US states and commercial centers. This investment is supported by its long-term lease to Michelin N.A, a highly reputable tenant and global tire industry giant, who has helped establish and maintain the facility as a state-of-the-art distribution center. We are continuing to look at further investments in the sector globally and to maximize the value of this and our growing portfolio of logistics centers for the benefit of the group, our shareholders, investors and partners.”