SABB & HSBC execute first blockchain trade transaction in KSA, Bahrain

Updated 23 November 2019

SABB & HSBC execute first blockchain trade transaction in KSA, Bahrain

The Saudi British Bank (SABB) and HSBC have for the first time used blockchain technology in Saudi Arabia and Bahrain to finance international trade. The move is expected to put Saudi Arabia and Bahrain at the forefront of global trade, introducing new levels of efficiency, security and transparency for corporates looking to access new markets.

The transaction involved the shipment of homogenized aluminum billets from Aluminium Bahrain B.S.C. (Alba) to Saudi Arabia’s Altaiseer Aluminium Corporation (TALCO). A letter of credit was issued by TALCO on a blockchain-based platform using R3’s Corda system.

Majed Najm, deputy managing director, corporate and institutional banking, SABB, said: “There’s been a lot of excitement about the commercial benefits of blockchain, so I’m proud we’re first to use it to improve how Saudi corporates trade internationally. Blockchain can improve many aspects of international trade, so it’s great to be in a position to pioneer these changes for the good of our customers and the economy.”

Melika Betley, CEO, HSBC Bahrain, said: “As the world’s leading bank for trade finance, HSBC is actively supporting the adoption of technologies such as blockchain to make global trade faster, safer and simpler. With intraregional trade continuing to grow, we see tremendous potential for blockchain in the GCC.”

Suliman S. Al-Oufi, general manager, TALCO, said: “We’re delighted to be the first to trial the use of blockchain in this way. We’ve always been innovative in terms of technology related to our product so it is a natural progression to explore innovation that helps us to trade more efficiently with our key overseas partners.”

We’re delighted banks like SABB are exploring new ways to take the hassle out of international trade for Saudi companies.”

Ali Al-Baqali, acting CEO, Alba, said: “Bahrain is on the go to establish itself as a hub for digital solutions specifically in fintech arena within the region. At Alba, we don’t see ourselves just as an aluminum supplier but we want to be also recognized for our progression in selling and trading more efficiently through digital platforms with our key partners such as TALCO.”


SAGIA, Xylem ink $50m MoU to advance water security

Updated 05 December 2019

SAGIA, Xylem ink $50m MoU to advance water security

Water technology firm Xylem has signed an MoU with the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA), representing an investment of $50 million. The agreement aims to expand Xylem’s manufacturing footprint into the Kingdom, and to better serve its portfolio of customers in Saudi Arabia and across the region.

Under the MoU, Xylem will work with SAGIA to develop and localize advanced water and wastewater products and technologies to address water challenges in Saudi Arabia, as well as increase its footprint of service points and rental fleets across the Kingdom. A core objective of the MoU is to accelerate adoption of digital water solutions and optimize utility networks across the Kingdom.

The proposed multimillion-dollar investment will not only help build a vibrant local supply chain, but also see Xylem bringing additional commercial opportunities into the Kingdom, with the wider aim of improving water solutions locally. The agreement is in line with the goals of Saudi Vision 2030 to promote economic diversification through investments in localization that will also contribute to the export of “Made in Saudi” products across the world.

The MoU was signed on the sidelines of the Future Investment Initiative (FII), commonly known as the “Davos in the Desert,” by Ibrahim A. Al-Omar, governor of SAGIA, and Steven Leung, senior vice president and president, emerging markets of Xylem, in the presence of senior officials of both entities and Frank Ackland, managing director Xylem Middle East.

Al-Omar said: “As Saudi Arabia welcomes investors and decision-makers from across the globe to this annual global investment platform, the agreements exchanged here reflect the strength and diversity of the economy. Under Saudi Vision 2030, Saudi Arabia is undergoing an ambitious program of economic reform, and the world is taking notice. This month, Saudi Arabia climbed 30 places in the World Bank’s Doing Business 2020 report, becoming the most improved economy globally. The indicators are
clear: Saudi Arabia is not only open for business, it’s the economy of the future.”

Leung added: “As Xylem continues to lead the water sector’s digital transformation globally, this MoU presents an opportunity to leverage our market-leading portfolio and application expertise to advance water security in Saudi Arabia. Through our investment of $50 million, and with our strong presence in Saudi Arabia, backed by our dedicated office and team, we are committed to creating in-Kingdom value through our investments and partnerships. We are thankful to SAGIA for the opportunity to directly contribute our expertise to the development vision of the leadership, as the Kingdom embarks on its ambitious transformation program.”