Minister confident of progress in ties as Saudi-Japan Business Forum kicks off in Tokyo

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The forum is focusing on showcasing the opportunities by key Saudi government and private sector entities to partner with Japanese counterparts on the themes of Tourism and Entertainment, and Innovation and Productivity. (Supplied)
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The forum is focusing on showcasing the opportunities by key Saudi government and private sector entities to partner with Japanese counterparts on the themes of Tourism and Entertainment, and Innovation and Productivity. (Supplied)
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The forum is focusing on showcasing the opportunities by key Saudi government and private sector entities to partner with Japanese counterparts on the themes of Tourism and Entertainment, and Innovation and Productivity. (Supplied)
Updated 23 October 2019

Minister confident of progress in ties as Saudi-Japan Business Forum kicks off in Tokyo

  • Saudi-Japan Vision 203 business forum aims to introduce Saudi Arabia as an attractive investment destination
  • Key issues being discussed at the forum include national digitalization and the essence of Vision 2030

The bilateral economic and commercial ties and agreements between Saudi Arabia and Japan are progressing well, Saudi economy and planning minister Mohammed Al-Tuweijiri said on Wednesday.

Tuwaijri was speaking at the Saudi-Japan Vision Business Forum taking place in Tokyo. He said he is “confident that they will proceed well going forward”.

Under the Saudi-Japan Vision 2030, the Saudi General Investment Authority (SAGIA), the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) and the Japan Cooperation Center for the Middle East (JCCME) have come together to organize the Saudi-Japan Vision Business Forum.

Also present on the occasion was Saudi minister of commerce and investment, Majid Al-Qasabi, who said “Japan has been a credible and reliable partner”.

Earlier, in his opening remarks, Muhannad Abanmy, the General Manager of Entertainment Infrastructure Development at GEA said Saudi Arabia is “open for business”.

This forum aims to introduce Saudi Arabia (under the Invest Saudi Brand) as an attractive investment destination especially in the fields of tourism, entertainment, and discuss business opportunities for Japanese technology companies to contribute to the Saudi private and public sector.

Key issues being discussed at the forum include national digitalization and the essence of Vision 2030.

The forum is focusing on showcasing the opportunities by key Saudi government and private sector entities to partner with Japanese counterparts on the themes of Tourism and Entertainment, and Innovation and Productivity.

Saudi & Japan are undergoing key structural changes in their governments to promote and reshape their economy to a more sustainable and dynamic one that creates a healthy society and enhance the well-being of both populations.

Saudi Vision 2030 seeks to increase entertainment and tourism’s contribution to national GDP, while enhancing the Kingdom’s profile as a unique destination.


STC postpones its acquisition of Vodafone Egypt for second time

Updated 13 July 2020

STC postpones its acquisition of Vodafone Egypt for second time

  • Kingdom’s largest telecom company says it will need an additional two months to complete the deal

CAIRO: The Saudi Telecom Company (STC), the Kingdom’s largest telecom company, said that it will need an additional two months to complete a deal to purchase a 55 percent stake in Vodafone Egypt.

In January, STC was in agreement to buy the stake for $2.4 billion. In April, it extended the process for 90 days due to logistical challenges stemming from the spread of COVD-19. The company said in a statement that it would extend the period again to September for the same reason.

The Public Investment Fund, the Saudi sovereign wealth fund, owns a majority stake in STC. The ownership of Vodafone Egypt is divided between 55 percent for Vodafone International, which is the target percentage of the Saudi purchase offer, 44.8 percent for Telecom Egypt, and the remaining 0.2 percent for small shareholders.

Telecom Egypt is awaiting the results of Vodafone’s evaluation of the final share price to announce its position on the deal. A Telecom Egypt official stated that the company is still awaiting STC’s position regarding the purchase of the share. If the deal is not completed, it may be presented with its rights to acquire Vodafone’s share, which would allow it to take over 99.8 percent of the company’s shares, leaving 0.2 percent for small investors.

Ashraf El-Wardany, an Egyptian communications expert, pointed out the importance of waiting until the procedures between STC and the Vodafone Group are complete. The results will determine the next steps by Telecom Egypt.

El-Wardany said that the Saudi operator must, after completing the relevant studies, submit a final binding offer at the share price and any conditions for purchase. If approved by Vodafone, it must submit the offer with the same conditions and price to Telecom Egypt, provided that the latter responds within a maximum period of 45 days to determine its position regarding the use of the right of pre-emption and the purchase, or lack thereof, of Vodafone’s share.

According to El-Wardany, there are other possible scenarios. Vodafone International may not be convinced of the offer or the conditions presented by the Saudi side and the sale may be withdrawn, or the Vodafone group may be ready to sell and has prepared another buyer for its stake in Egypt in the event of rejecting the Saudi offer. It may also it back away from the deal and continue to operate in Egypt for a few more years.

El-Wardany said that if Telecom Egypt decides not to use the right of pre-emption to acquire the remaining Vodafone shares for any reason, it will continue with its 44.8 percent stake.
It may also resort to selling all of its shares or part of it to the Saudi side or to any company that wants to acquire its stake.

“This raises the question of whether STC can acquire all of Vodafone’s shares,” El-Wardany said, adding that the coming months “will make the answer clear.”