UAE and Israel join forces on venture capital investments

Saudi-Emirati entrepreneur, Sabah Al Binali, has been made head of the Arabian Gulf region for a new partnership between the Dubai-based Al Naboodah conglomerate and OurCrowd. (Supplied)
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Updated 06 October 2020

UAE and Israel join forces on venture capital investments

  • A joint statement said the new venture would “identify and support UAE based start-ups seeking growth and development in Israel
  • Al Naboodah’s business development unit Phoenix Capital will aim to channel investment funds to start ups in the two countries

DUBAI: A well-known Saudi-Emirati entrepreneur has been put in charge of one of the biggest financial initiatives to come out of the renormalization agreement between Israel and the UAE.

Sabah Al Binali, who has been involved in big-ticket transactions in the Kingdom and the Emirates for the past two decades, has been made head of the Arabian Gulf region for a new partnership between the Dubai-based Al Naboodah conglomerate and OurCrowd, a $1.5bn venture capital investment group based in Jerusalem.

OurCrowd, with global activities in equity crowd funding, has teamed up with Al Naboodah, a leading UAE family business with interests in construction, real estate, transport and energy, to channel investment funds between Israel and the Gulf for start-ups in technology and other business areas.

A joint statement said the new venture would “identify and support UAE based start-ups seeking growth and development in Israel, as well as leverage its diverse portfolio of 220 companies to enhance business development for UAE start-ups seeking to collaborate on innovative solutions.”

Al Binali told Arab News: “The UAE and GCC governments have created great infrastructure for foreign firms to expand into the region. The Israeli government created a start-up nation with globally leading-edge tech. It is a natural match.”

Al Binali has advised on investment and transactions in the Gulf region, including the setting up of an investment bank in Saudi Arabia eventually sold to Credit Suisse and the multi-million-dollar takeover of the Zawya information agency by Thomson Reuters.

He said that he saw opportunities for joint Israeli-Gulf investment in such areas as technology innovation in defense, medical, finance and agriculture.

Al Naboodah’s business development unit Phoenix Capital will aim to channel investment funds to start ups in the two countries which last month signed the Abraham Accords, as well as other Gulf destinations.

Phoenix chairman Abdullah Al Naboodah said: “This first-of-its-kind major alliance will pave the way for the rapid expansion of business between our two countries.”

The OurCrowd-Naboodah deal is the latest initiative to come from the accord, following talks between big Israeli and UAE banks, as well as the recent link up between UAE conglomerate Al Habtoor and Israeli tech company Mobileye to develop “robo-taxis” in Dubai.


Japan’s export credit agency to lend $2 billion to Nissan for US sales financing

Updated 26 November 2020

Japan’s export credit agency to lend $2 billion to Nissan for US sales financing

  • The money should help the Japanese company sell cars in the world’s second-biggest automarket after China

TOKYO: Japan’s state-owned export credit agency has agreed to give Nissan Motor Co. up to $2 billion as part of a credit agreement to help it finance car sales in the United States.
The money is part of a $4.1 billion credit agreement for Nissan Motor Acceptance Corporation, a unit of Nissan North America, Japan Bank of International Cooperation (JBIC) said in a press release on Wednesday.
The money should help the Japanese company sell cars in the world’s second-biggest automarket after China by allowing it to provide customers with loans that they can repay in monthly instalments, the export credit agency added in the statement.
The United States “is an important market for Japanese automobile manufacturers. Sales finance has become an important tool in business strategy,” JBIC said.
“This case provides financial support for Nissan’s overseas business development,” it added.
JBIC has provided loans for overseas sales financing to other automakers, including a $78 million October agreement with Honda Motor Co. in Brazil, and one in September for Toyota Motor Corp. in South Africa. JBIC did not disclose the amount for that deal.
The latest agreement with Nissan is more than three times as much as a $582 million loan extended by JBIC in July to help it finance car sales in Mexico.
A JBIC spokesman said the government export credit agency applied the same lending standards as private banks.
Nissan, Japan’s third-largest automaker, is focusing on key markets as it pulls back from the rapid expansion led by ousted Chairman Carlos Ghosn.
It is looking to raise market share with new models in the United States, China and Japan as they rebound from a demand slump triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We have financing from a variety of different ways and JBIC is one of them,” a Nissan spokeswoman said.
This month, Nissan cut its operating loss forecast for the year to March 2021 by 28 percent, albeit still to a record of about $3.2 billion, helped by a rebound in demand, particularly in China.