European firms pledge green business overhaul

European firms pledge green business overhaul
The Green Deal is a key plank in the EU’s aim of helping economic recovery and limiting global warming. (Reuters)
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Updated 17 September 2020

European firms pledge green business overhaul

European firms pledge green business overhaul
  • The European Green Deal forms a key plank of von der Leyen’s plan for the EU to both recover from the economic ravages of the COVID-19 pandemic

LONDON: Executives from 30 of Europe’s leading companies backed the EU’s Green Deal on Wednesday and pledged to overhaul their businesses to help the bloc achieve climate-neutrality by 2050.

The commitment, from companies including Deutsche Bank, Axa, Snam and Royal DSM came ahead of European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen’s State of the Union address in Brussels.

The European Green Deal forms a key plank of von der Leyen’s plan for the EU to both recover from the economic ravages of the COVID-19 pandemic and meet the goals of the Paris climate agreement, which aims to limit global warming.

The company leaders are all part of a CEO Action Group for the European Green Deal, launched last year in cooperation with the World Economic Forum and the Commission with the aim of mobilizing business to contribute to the political effort.

In a statement, the group laid out its initial plan for businesses to help ensure that the COVID-19 recovery plan reset the bloc’s economic growth model with a focus on the circular economy, which embraces recyling and reusing, as well as renewable energy and low-carbon industries.

“We have to take more and faster action with more emphasis on sustainability and circularity. The European Green Deal presents an opportunity to do just this. It requires a strong partnership between business, politics and society,” said the co-chairs of the group, Axa CEO Thomas Buberl and Feike Sybesma, honorary chairman of Royal DSM.

The leaders laid out a number of steps, including “embracing new production and work models” and backed “clear, time-bound and measurable targets” for any companies receiving COVID-19 bailout money.

A key part of that would entail making sure each company’s business model was in line with the plan, providing training and education to help people prosper in the new economy.

The next step for the group, whose members employ about three million people and account for around €850 billion in revenues, will be to agree concrete actions by topic that the companies will commit to and report on.


UAE-based car-servicing platform raises $10m funding, eyes Gulf expansion

UAE-based car-servicing platform raises $10m funding, eyes Gulf expansion
Updated 09 March 2021

UAE-based car-servicing platform raises $10m funding, eyes Gulf expansion

UAE-based car-servicing platform raises $10m funding, eyes Gulf expansion
  • Oman’s Bahwan is a prominent family-owned group with interests in the automotive sector

DUBAI: Online car service and repair booking company, Service My Car, has raised $10 million during its first round of seed funding, as technology-driven companies continue to attract investors amid the pandemic.

Oman’s Bahwan, a prominent family-owned group with interests in the automotive sector, announced it was investing in the UAE-based company.

“It is an emerging time for the automotive ecosystem as investors are noticing the benefits of technology and digitization in the industry,” Ozair Puda, chief executive of Service My Car, said in a statement.

The region’s automotive industry has seen a wave of digital-focused companies setting up, including pay-by-minute car rentals. Service My Car was launched in 2018, and has since recorded growth.

“With the infusion of this capital, we are looking forward to extending this convenience, affordability and transparency to all GCC car owners,” Puda said.

The company will also use the fund to expand its service offerings, eventually including roadside assistance, car detailing, and car insurance.


Saudi anti-concealment law to protect consumers and small businesses

Saudi anti-concealment law to protect consumers and  small businesses
Updated 09 March 2021

Saudi anti-concealment law to protect consumers and small businesses

Saudi anti-concealment law to protect consumers and  small businesses
  • The measures relate in large part to the business relationship of Saudis and foreign investors and aim to ensure that they do not circumvent the Kingdom's commercial law

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia's "anti-concealment" laws aim to protect consumers and small businesses from financial crime according to the Ministry of Commerce, Al Arabiya reported.
The measures relate in large part to the business relationship of Saudis and foreign investors and aim to ensure that they do not circumvent the Kingdom's commercial law about how such partnerships are created and what happens when they are dissolved.
The regulations support the reporting of crimes and violations by protecting whistleblowers and motivating them through rewards.
Talat Hafiz, a Saudi economist, financial analyst, and board member of the Saudi Financial Association, said commercial concealment is a major financial crime that “works against fair and unjustifiable commercial trading and causes significant harm to the economy and to its gross domestic product.”
“The government of Saudi Arabia has been alerted to such risks and consequences of commercial concealment, and has introduced a very powerful national program to combat such economic and commercial disease,” he added.
Several government bodies are combating concealment besides the Ministry of Commerce, including, the Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs and the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development.

 


Makkah landmark hotel developer swings to loss after pilgrim numbers plummet

Makkah landmark hotel developer swings to loss after pilgrim numbers plummet
Updated 09 March 2021

Makkah landmark hotel developer swings to loss after pilgrim numbers plummet

Makkah landmark hotel developer swings to loss after pilgrim numbers plummet
  • Makkah hotels hit hard as pilgrim numbers shrink
  • More than 1.8m foreign pilgrims in 2019

DUBAI: The developer of the landmark Makkah Hotel and Towers reported a SR59 million ($15.7 million) loss for 2020 as the number of pilgrims visiting the holy city fell in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
Makkah Construction and Development said in a separate filing to the Tadawul stock exchange that it would not be recommending the distribution of a dividend following the losses. Overall revenues at the company fell by about 74 percent to SR123 million, it said.
“The reason for achieving a net loss is due to the decrease in the revenues and occupancy rates of the residential rooms in the Makkah Hotel and Towers, due to the decrease in the number of visitors and pilgrims, as well as the closing of the shops in the mall as a result of the precautionary measures taken by the government to confront the coronavirus pandemic,” it said in a statement.
Saudi Arabia attracted more than 1.8 million foreign pilgrims in 2019 in addition to the more than 600,000 people who visited Makkah from within the Kingdom itself. The annual influx of visitors sustains high occupancy levels in several huge hotels. However the arrival of the coronavirus pandemic in the Kingdom led the government to announce last June that numbers could be limited to just 1,000.
 


GRAPHIC: Saudi Turkish imports slow as Egypt exports more to Kingdom

GRAPHIC: Saudi Turkish imports slow as Egypt exports more to Kingdom
Updated 09 March 2021

GRAPHIC: Saudi Turkish imports slow as Egypt exports more to Kingdom

GRAPHIC: Saudi Turkish imports slow as Egypt exports more to Kingdom
Saudi Arabia’s imports from Turkey have slowed to a trickle according to data from the Saudi statistics authority.
Imports from Turkey totaled SR50.6 million ($13.5 million) in December down 95 percent from SR1.02 billion a year earlier. It represents the lowest figure since the Kingdom started to publish monthly data five years ago.
Meanwhile trade between Saudi Arabia and Egypt is on the upswing according to the Saudi Arabian General Authority for Statistics.

Oil prices rise on expected economic recovery, likely drawdown in oil stocks

Oil prices rise on expected economic recovery, likely drawdown in oil stocks
Updated 09 March 2021

Oil prices rise on expected economic recovery, likely drawdown in oil stocks

Oil prices rise on expected economic recovery, likely drawdown in oil stocks
  • OPEC+, agreed last week agree on broadly sticking with output cuts despite rising crude prices

SINGAPORE: Oil prices rose on Tuesday on expectations of a recovery in the global economy after US Senate approval of a $1.9 trillion stimulus bill and on a likely drawdown in crude oil inventory in the United States.
But a stronger dollar and receding fears of oil supply disruption from Saudi Arabia after an attack on its oil facilities capped price gains.
Brent crude futures for May rose by 32 cents, or 0.5 percent, to $68.56 a barrel by 0125 GMT, while US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude for April rose 19 cents, or 0.3 percent, to $65.24.
“Fundamentals remain incredibly supportive, especially with Saudi Arabia in full control pursuing a tight oil policy,” Stephen Innes, chief global markets strategist at Axi said in a note.
“Brent is currently holding up above $68, suggesting speculators are likely dipping their toes back in after yesterday’s chaos.”
On Monday, Brent crude oil price rose above $70 a barrel after Yemen’s Houthi forces fired drones and missiles at the heart of the Saudi oil industry, including a Saudi Aramco facility at Ras Tanura vital to petroleum exports.
Riyadh said there were no casualties or loss of property and prices ended the day lower.
Still, the United States expressed alarm at “genuine security threats” to Saudi Arabia from Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthis and elsewhere in the region, and said it would look at improving support for Saudi defenses.
The attacks came after the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, Russia and their oil producing allies, known as OPEC+, agreed last week agree on broadly sticking with output cuts despite rising crude prices.
Investor focus, meanwhile, remains on the prospects for a global economic recovery.
US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said on Monday that President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus aid package will provide enough resources to fuel a “very strong” US economic recovery.
US crude oil and refined product stockpiles likely fell last week, with distillate inventories seen drawing down for fifth straight week, a preliminary Reuters poll showed on Monday.