SABB & Alawwal merge to create KSA’s third largest bank

Lubna S. Olayan, chair of SABB.
Updated 17 June 2019

SABB & Alawwal merge to create KSA’s third largest bank

SABB and Alawwal Bank have created Saudi banking history by legally combining their businesses. Following regulatory and shareholder approvals, the banks have now become a single listed company, creating the third largest bank by assets in Saudi Arabia. The two banks will continue to operate a normal service while work continues to fully integrate their products and services. 

Lubna S. Olayan, chair of SABB, said: “We have combined two great banks, each with a rich history and legacy of playing key roles in the Kingdom’s development. Now our size, enhanced capabilities and fantastic talent will help us build on that history and legacy to become the bank of choice for a modern Saudi Arabia. We will be the best place to bank and the best place to work in the Kingdom, for a new generation of Saudi men and women and for the new era of development under Vision 2030.” 

The combined bank will cement its position as a top-tier Saudi financial institution, with total revenue of SR10.9 billion ($2.9 billion), more than 1 million retail customers and the second largest corporate bank by assets. 

Joining the two banks is expected to create a significant retail and wealth management business, with greater resources to innovate and connect a young, tech-savvy population to a digital banking experience. 

David Dew, managing director of SABB, said: “The combination of SABB and Alawwal Bank creates huge potential for our customers and staff. The increased scale and capacity will allow us to support the growing needs of our diverse customer base, while also providing unrivaled international connectivity for retail, corporate and institutional clients. Our focus now is on our customers while at the same time completing the integration process and executing our vision of being the leading international bank in the Kingdom.” 

The combined bank has SR257 billion in total assets, SR168 billion in customer loans and SR195 billion of customer deposits. It will deliver long-term shareholder value by combining the best of SABB and Alawwal Bank, while capitalizing on its long-term strategic partnership with HSBC Holdings PLC to provide an international banking experience in Saudi Arabia.

A new board and leadership team are in place, overseeing the integration of the two banks, which is expected to take between 18 and 24 months.


Michelin-starred chefs delight Riyadh foodies

Guests at Taste of the World, Riyadh, a six-day extravaganza featuring some of the world’s best restaurants in the capital’s Digital City, sipped mocktails while listening to live acoustic music on the Music Stage.
Updated 44 min 50 sec ago

Michelin-starred chefs delight Riyadh foodies

Taste of the World, Riyadh has been heralded as a great success by both event organizers and the 14,000 visitors that attended the six-day extravaganza in the capital’s Digital City.
Commissioned by the General Entertainment Authority, this bespoke edition of the festival, created especially for the Riyadh Season, featured 14 of the world’s best restaurants, boasting a combined 13 Michelin stars.  
Throughout the festival, the participating restaurants featured an exclusive menu of three dishes, served in taster-size portions — two of each restaurant’s signature dishes, as well as a Saudi-inspired dish that the chef had exclusively designed for Taste of the World, Riyadh. Visitors looking for a more exclusive experience were welcomed to The Taste Residence where they were treated to a four-course dining experience with Michelin-starred chefs.
Another major attraction that drew large crowds was the Fire Pit, where local star chefs Areej Al-Shareef, Abdelelah bin Jarid and Fahad Bokhari showed off their talents alongside the global superstars. Hosted by Saudi culinary star and presenter Rakan Aloraifi, spectators enjoyed cooking demonstrations, tasting sessions and a live DJ.
In another area of the festival, guests sipped mocktails while listening to live acoustic music on the Music Stage.  
Award-winning chef Shane Osborn from Hong Kong’s Arcane said “Taste of the World, Riyadh has far exceeded my expectations. I have been fortunate to have experienced many similar events around the world but this one in Riyadh is both very unique and very different to anything that I have experienced before. It is the people of Riyadh who have really made it special and welcoming.”

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14,000 - of the capital’s cosmopolitan citizens visited the six-day culinary festival, featuring 14 of the world’s best restaurants and boasting a combined 13 Michelin stars.

Pascal Aussignac from London’s Michelin-starred Club Gascon said: “The smiles of the people whilst trying my food and their inquisitive questions about the meals prepared made it truly very special. I am
very happy to be here in Riyadh and to have taken part in this exciting event.”
Saudi chef Al-Shareef said: “I am very happy to be here and taking part in Taste of the World, Riyadh. I am also very proud in being the only female Saudi chef taking part and my experiences at the Fire Pit were very exciting and fun.”
Chef Aloraifi said, “This is the first time that Taste of the World has taken place in the Kingdom and people have been very excited about the occasion, the activities and the cooking demonstrations ... Hopefully next year we will be back again and will be able to add more local touches to the program.”
Based on the overwhelming enthusiasm and fast-selling ticket sales that has greeted the Taste of the World experience, organizers said they are looking forward to announcing a 2020 event soon.