NEOM project draws interest at  Japan-Saudi conference in Tokyo

The Japan-Saudi Arabia Business Council meeting in Tokyo provided an excellent platform for investors from both countries to exchange ideas. (Photo/Supplied)
Updated 24 October 2019

NEOM project draws interest at  Japan-Saudi conference in Tokyo

  • Kingdom’s medical devices manufacturer eyes advanced Japanese technology

TOKYO: Dozens of Saudi and Japanese businessmen met at the 18th Japan-Saudi Arabia Business Council in Tokyo on Thursday to discuss standing and new investment opportunities.

The conference, attended by representatives from the Japanese External Exchange Organization, Ministry of Trade and several top businesses, as well as the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority, saw presentations promoting various sectors including real estate, medicine, entertainment, education and agriculture.

Projects like NEOM, the ambitious city project which Saudi Arabia is building in the Tabuk Province in the Kingdom’s northwest, grabbed a lot of attention.

The city, which the Kingdom will share with Egypt and Jordan near the Red Sea, will incorporate smart city technologies and function as a tourist destination.

“Saudi Arabia is a very important partner, both politically and economically, and we have to keep close contact with the Kingdom,” said Yasuhiro Sato, co-chairman of the Japanese side of the council. 

“Based on today’s meeting there are a lot of business opportunities that can be invested in.”

He revealed that Japanese business representatives “will soon be visiting Saudi Arabia” this November to further inspect projects.

The Kingdom’s Ambassador to Japan, Naif bin Marzouq Al-Fahadi, praised the excellent relations between the two nations, and built on Wednesday’s meeting between Saudi and Japanese ministers to highlight the increasing number of economic agreements signed between them.

“Today, we have many business opportunities because there is change in the economic infrastructure, and times have been changing as well,” Sato said.

“They (Japanese businesses) appreciate the efforts of Saudi business representatives in bringing leaders together to discuss how they can improve their businesses via mutual agreements,” Dr. Maha Al-Ateeki told Arab News on the sidelines of the conference.

Al-Ateeki, who is the first Saudi woman to invest in the manufacturing of medical devices in the Kingdom, said that she was looking at bringing Japanese technology back home.

“They have more advanced technology than us, and we are interested in taking it back to Saudi Arabia because, under Vision 2030, the Saudi leadership wants to localize technology,” she said, adding that she had set up a number of interviews while in Japan to help make this possible.


Saudi Aramco shares soar at maximum 10% on market debut

Updated 11 December 2019

Saudi Aramco shares soar at maximum 10% on market debut

  • Company is now world’s largest publicly traded company, bigger than Apple

RIYADH: Saudi Aramco shares opened at 35.2 riyals ($9.39) on Wednesday at the Kingdom’s stock exchange, 10 percent above their IPO price of 32 riyals, in their first day of trading following a record $26.5 billion initial public offering.
Aramco has earlier priced its IPO at 32 riyals ($8.53) per share, the high end of the target range, surpassing the $25 billion raised by Chinese retail giant Alibaba in its 2014 Wall Street debut.
Aramco’s earlier indicative debut price was seen at 35.2 riyals, 10 per cent above IPO price, raising the company’s valuation to $1.88 trillion, Refintiv data showed.
At that price, Aramco is world’s most valuable listed company. That’s more than the top five oil companies – Exxon Mobil, Total, Royal Dutch Shell, Chevron and BP – combined.
“Today Aramco will become the largest listed company in the world and (Tadawul) among the top ten global financial markets,” Sarah Al-Suhaimi, chairwoman of the Saudi Arabian stock exchange, said during a ceremony marking the oil giant’s first day of trading.
“Aramco today is the largest integrated oil and gas company in the world. Before Saudi Arabia was the only shareholder of the company, now there are 5 million shareholders including citizens, residents and investors,” said Yasir Al-Rumayyan, the managing director and chief executive of the Saudi Public Investment Fund.
“Aramco’s IPO will enhance the company’s governance and strengthen its standards.”
Amin Nasser, the president and CEO of Saudi Aramco, meanwhile thanked the new shareholders for their confidence and trust of the oil company.
The sale of 1.5 percent of the firm, or three billion shares, is the bedrock of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s ambitious strategy to overhaul the oil-reliant economy.
Riyadh’s Tadawul stock exchange earlier said it will hold an opening auction for Aramco shares for an hour from 9:30 a.m. followed by continuous trading, with price changes limited to plus or minus 10 percent.

The company said Friday it could exercise a “greenshoe” option, selling additional shares to bring the total raised up to $29.4 billion.
The market launch puts the oil behemoth’s value at $1.7 trillion, far ahead of other firms in the trillion-dollar club, including Apple and Microsoft.
Two-thirds of the shares were offered to institutional investors. Saudi government bodies accounted for 13.2 percent of the institutional tranche, investing around $2.3 billion, according to lead IPO manager Samba Capital.
The IPO is a crucial part of Prince Mohammed’s plan to wean the economy away from oil by pumping funds into megaprojects and non-energy industries such as tourism and entertainment.
Watch the video marking Aramco’s opening trading: