Business conference to forge closer UK-MidEast tech bonds

Tech in healthcare is one of the topics that will be explored. (Shutterstock)
Updated 27 November 2019

Business conference to forge closer UK-MidEast tech bonds

  • The conference will examine different sectors from health care to education

LONDON: Arab and British business leaders will meet this week to discuss how technology in industry can help forge closer UK-Middle East ties.

A conference hosted by the Arab-British Chamber of Commerce in London on Thursday will examine how different sectors — from health care to education — are being transformed and explore the importance of workforce training along with ways to give youth the essential skills to succeed.

The high-profile event will be held under the title “4th Industrial Revolution: Charting New Systems for Arab-British Cooperation.” The fourth industrial revolution phrase was coined for the World Economic Forum in Davos in 2016 and is often used to describe the fundamental shift in the business and social landscape happening in the 21st century, with technology at its core.

The gathering will be made up of four panels with a focus on technology and its role in the industrial, healthcare, financial and agricultural sectors, each chaired by speakers from companies based across the Arab world and in the UK, including Prof. Ibrahim Eldukheri, director general of the Arab Organization for Agricultural Development.

Topics for discussion will include how technology can improve the delivery of healthcare services and the use of automation in agriculture to limit the impact of climate change and usher in a “green revolution” in farming.

The Arab-British Chamber of Commerce was set up in 1975 to promote trade and investment between the UK and Arab countries through its work with government ministries, trade and investment bodies and diplomatic missions in London.

Group membership is open to all with an interest in Arab-British commercial relations.

Aramco profits fall in tough quarter, but sees partial recovery from COVID-19 impact

Updated 25 min 16 sec ago

Aramco profits fall in tough quarter, but sees partial recovery from COVID-19 impact

  • Aramco see’s “partial recovery” from pandemic impact
  • Aramco president says company remains resilient

DUBAI: Saudi Aramco, the world’s biggest oil company, reported a net income of $6.57bn for the second quarter of 2020, the period which witnessed the most volatile oil market conditions for many decades.

The result, announced to the Tadawul stock exchange in Riyadh where the shares are listed, compared with income of $24.7 bn last year.

Amin Nasser, president and chief executive, said: “Despite COVID-19 bringing the world to a standstill, Aramco kept going. We have proven our financial resilience and operational reliability, setting a record in our business operations, while at the same time taking steps to ensure the health and safety of our people.”

Aramco’s dividend - a big attraction for the investors who bought into the world’s biggest initial public offering last year - will remain as pledged, Nasser added. Cash flow in the quarter amounted to $6.106 bn.

““Strong headwinds from reduced demand and lower oil prices are reflected in our second quarter results. Yet we delivered solid earnings because of our low production costs, unique scale, agile workforce, and unrivalled financial and operational strength. This helped us deliver on our plan to maintain a second quarter dividend of $18.75 billion to be paid in the third quarter,” he said.

Aramco said the loss was “mainly reflecting the impact of lower crude oil prices and declining refining and chemicals margins, partly offset by a decrease in production royalties resulting from lower crude oil prices and a decrease in the royalty rate from 20 per cent to 15 per cent, lower income taxes and zakat as a result of lower earnings, and higher other income related to sales for gas products.”


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Sales and revenue in the period - which saw oil prices collapse on “Black Monday” in April - fell 57 per cent to $32.861 bn from the comparable period last year. 

Nasser said he was cautiously optimistic that the world economy was slowly recovering from the depths of the pandemic lockdowns.

“We are seeing a partial recovery in the energy market as countries around the world take steps to ease restrictions and reboot their economies. Meanwhile, we continue to place people’s safety first and have adapted to the new normal, implementing wide-ranging precautions to limit the spread of COVID-19 wherever we operate.

“We are determined to emerge from the pandemic stronger and will continue making progress on our long-term strategic journey, through ongoing investments in our business – which has one of the lowest upstream carbon footprints in the world,” he added.

Aramco expects capital expenditure to be at the lower end of the $25bn to $30bn range it has already indicated for this year.