Saudi Geological Survey signs contracts worth over $530m

Saudi Geological Survey signs contracts worth over $530m
The program takes a three-pronged approach that includes advanced atmospheric geophysical surveys, multicomponent geochemical surveys and production of detailed geological maps. (SPA)
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Updated 19 October 2020

Saudi Geological Survey signs contracts worth over $530m

Saudi Geological Survey signs contracts worth over $530m
  • Six-year long program will help boost the Kingdom’s mining sector

RIYADH: The Saudi Geological Survey (SGS) on Sunday signed several contracts with international organizations and consultants to carry out projects related to the geological survey general program.

It is one of the largest geological surveys in the world, with the budget for all its stages amounting to SR2 billion (over $530 million).

The signing ceremony was held under the auspices of Saudi Minister of Industry and Mineral Resources Bandar Alkhorayef and was attended by Investment Minister Khalid Al-Faleh, Transport Minister Saleh Al-Jasser, foreign envoys and representatives of the international firms awarded the contracts.

Alkhorayef said signing these contracts marks the beginning of the Kingdom’s massive data collection efforts. “It is the first step toward making the mining sector the third pillar” of the Saudi industrial landscape, he said.

The minister said the program will ensure gathering more reliable and accurate data about the Kingdom’s mineral resources, which will help the relevant authorities tap into the vast mineral wealth and lay a solid foundation for a sustainable national economy.

The program takes a three-pronged approach that includes advanced atmospheric geophysical surveys, multicomponent geochemical surveys and production of detailed geological maps.

Providing details about the contract in a statement, the SGS said one of the contracts includes a technical partnership deal with a consortium including International Geoscience Services Co. and Geological Survey of Finland.

A multicomponent geochemical survey contract for the Arabian Shield has been awarded to China Geological Survey. It is aimed at collecting and analyzing more than 110,000 samples of valley sediments and heavy metals in the Arabian Shield over the next 6 years.

Dr. Zhong Ziran, China’s vice minister for geological survey, said that the contract marked the beginning of a great cooperation between Saudi Arabia and China.

The SGS awarded the contract for advanced aerial geophysical survey contract for Sector No. 1 of the Arabian Shield to Sander Geophysics Ltd.

Under the deal, the company will collect and analyze geophysical data, produce various digital geophysical maps, and identify rock formations and evidence of mineralization in the region.

The program currently aims to survey nearly 600,000 sq. km. of the mineral-rich Arabian Shield region.

The other three contracts were awarded to Xcalibur Airborne Geophysics to carry out advanced aerial geophysical survey of sectors 2 and 3 of the Arabian Shield.

Simon Bush, CEO of Xcalibur, said: “It gives me great pleasure to work with the Saudi Geological Survey.”

All these programs seek to boost the contribution of the mining sector to the Kingdom gross domestic product and create 220,000 new jobs.


Payment solutions Zbooni secures $9.5m as e-commerce booms

Payment solutions Zbooni secures $9.5m as e-commerce booms
Updated 13 sec ago

Payment solutions Zbooni secures $9.5m as e-commerce booms

Payment solutions Zbooni secures $9.5m as e-commerce booms
  • The company, it said in a statement, is seeing strong traction on its mobile seller app and web-based tools

DUBAI: Payment solutions provider Zbooni has secured $9.5 million in its latest funding round, on the back of the region’s growing e-commerce scene.

Several regional and international investors participated in the Series A round, including family office March Holding, US-based Enterprise Fund, as well as a few European private investors.

The UAE-based startup provides digital tools for businesses to engage with their customers - including an online invoining function, and other mobile-based applications. 

“Our solutions help businesses seamlessly transition into a new era of commerce, offering more relevant ways to sell and interact with customers,” Ramy Assaf, Zbooni founder, said. =

The company, it said in a statement, is seeing strong traction on its mobile seller app and web-based tools. 

Zbooni will use the funds to further develop its proprietary commerce technology, as well as hire new talent and expand into new markets. 

“We see a massive opportunity in front of us and are excited about helping define the next generation of commerce,” Assaf said.


‘solutions by stc’ sets minimum of 2 shares per individual investor in IPO

‘solutions by stc’ sets minimum of 2 shares per individual investor in IPO
Updated 28 September 2021

‘solutions by stc’ sets minimum of 2 shares per individual investor in IPO

‘solutions by stc’ sets minimum of 2 shares per individual investor in IPO
  • Around 1.04 million retail investors subscribed to 2.4 million shares at SR151 per share - an offering oversubscribed by 2,365 percent

DUBAI: ‘Solutions by stc’ has allocated a minimum of two shares per individual subscriber as it completes its initial public offering. 

The ‘stc’ unit earlier announced its intention to float on the Saudi bourse, offering 24 million shares or 20 percent of its capital.

According to a filing on Monday, remaining shares will be allocated on a pro rata basis at around 0.5776 percent on average, based on the size of each subscriber’s request compared to the total remaining subscribed shares. 

Around 1.04 million retail investors subscribed to 2.4 million shares at SR151 per share - an offering oversubscribed by 2,365 percent. 

The institutional offering was 13,0004 percent oversubscribed, raising SR471 billion. 


Qatar Airways says gets $3bn state aid after huge loss

Qatar Airways says gets $3bn state aid after huge loss
Updated 28 September 2021

Qatar Airways says gets $3bn state aid after huge loss

Qatar Airways says gets $3bn state aid after huge loss
  • The airline reported an overall loss of $4.1 billion for the year to March 31

DOHA: Qatar Airways said Monday it received $3 billion in state aid to weather the coronavirus travel downturn and to offset losses it blamed on the cost of grounding aircraft.
The airline reported an overall loss of $4.1 billion for the year to March 31, double the figure for the same period the year before.
Without the cost of grounding its Airbus A380 and A330 aircraft, Qatar Airways reported an underlying operating loss for the year of $228.3 million compared with $310 million the previous year.
The Gulf carrier did report a slight uptick in overall earnings and a 4.6 percent increase in the amount of cargo carried in the last 12-month period.
Qatar is among several governments that have stepped in to support their national carriers through the coronavirus shutdown, which has pummelled global travel and the aviation industry.
In September 2020 the airline reported it had received $2 billion in state aid after its annual losses exceeded 50 percent of share capital.
“We adapted our entire commercial operation to respond to ever-evolving travel restrictions and never stopped flying,” Qatar Airways chief executive Akbar Al-Baker said in a statement, calling the last 12-month period “difficult.”
“While our organization did not receive any subsidies in the form of salary support or grants, (the Qatari government) did provide an equity injection of 11 billion riyals ($3 billion) to support the business’s continuity.”
Monday’s results are the first full year numbers since the United Arab Emirates, a key market for the Gulf carrier, along with Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt, ended a boycott of Qatar in place since June 2017.
They had accused Doha of links to extremist groups and being too close to Iran, Riyadh’s regional arch-rival — charges Qatar denied — closing their airspace, borders and markets to Doha until a deal was struck in January.
Qatar Airways is the second largest airline in the Middle East after Dubai-based Emirates, operating a fleet of 253 aircraft — although some remain grounded during the pandemic.

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UAE food giant Agthia to pay $17.8m in its first interim cash dividends

UAE food giant Agthia to pay $17.8m in its first interim cash dividends
Updated 28 September 2021

UAE food giant Agthia to pay $17.8m in its first interim cash dividends

UAE food giant Agthia to pay $17.8m in its first interim cash dividends
  • The approved dividend distribution marks Agthia Group’s first interim dividend

DUBAI: Agthia Group, a leading food and beverages company in the UAE, approved yesterday to pay a cash dividend of 8.25 fils per share for the first half of 2021, or 65.31 million dirhams, it said in a statement.

The approved dividend distribution marks Agthia Group’s first interim dividend, it said.

"Recently, the Group adopted a semi-annual dividend policy, which aligns with its commitment to maximizing shareholders’ returns," it added.


Female Pakistani duo gets $3m for their fintech startup Ooran

Female Pakistani duo gets $3m for their fintech startup Ooran
Updated 28 September 2021

Female Pakistani duo gets $3m for their fintech startup Ooran

Female Pakistani duo gets $3m for their fintech startup Ooran
  • The startup was founded in 2018 by Halima Iqbal and Farwah Tapal, who wanted to provide financing solutions for unbanked women in Pakistan

DUBAI: Pakistani financial technology startup Oraan has raised $3 million in its latest funding round, in a boost to female-led entrepreneurs in the country. 

The startup was founded in 2018 by Halima Iqbal and Farwah Tapal, who wanted to provide financing solutions for unbanked women in Pakistan. 

The female duo set out to disrupt an informal financing model in Pakistan where families or a group of people in a community would contribute money to a pool distributed to a member each month. 

Oraan provides technology to decentralize and automate this informal system, providing unbanked communities, particularly women, a more sophisticated financing option.

Investors including Zayn Capital and Wavemaker Partners joined the round, as well as other international venture capitalists. 

“When a woman goes into a bank, the first question we get asked is ‘why do you even need a bank account?’ especially if you’re a freelancer or micro-entrepreneur or unemployed homemaker,” Iqbal said. 

The kinds of restrictions, she added, have stopped women from contributing to the economy because of the lack of financial mobility. 

“We take this culturally, religiously, socially acceptable tool, which is committees, digitize them and bring women into a more formal space where they can open bank accounts,” Iqbal explained.

The startup has big ambitions to become a “full-fledged neobank.”

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