KSA signs AI agreement with Dell Technologies

KSA signs AI agreement with Dell Technologies
The agreement was signed last week during GITEX Technology Week 2020 in Dubai between Dr. Esam Al-Wagait, director of Saudi Arabia’s National Information Center (NIC), and Mohammed Amin, senior vice president of Dell’s Middle East wing. (SPA)
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Updated 12 December 2020

KSA signs AI agreement with Dell Technologies

KSA signs AI agreement with Dell Technologies
  • Saudi Data and Artificial Intelligence Authority deal part of the Kingdom’s digital transformation

RIYADH: The Saudi Data and Artificial Intelligence Authority (SDAIA) signed an agreement with the American multinational computer company Dell Technologies, combining the two organizations’ expertise in emerging technologies to accelerate the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in the Kingdom.

As Saudi Arabia aims to diversify its economy away from oil under Saudi Vision 2030, it is stepping up efforts to drive innovation and the use of AI. As part of this agreement, SDAIA will be provided with consulting services that will help them leverage solutions within AI, cloud, data analytics and enterprise storage, as part of the Kingdom’s digital transformation.

“This strategic collaboration will also witness an exchange of industry best practices and expertise needed to develop integrated projects that will serve the needs of public sector entities’ technology across Saudi Arabia,” SDAIA and Dell said in a joint statement.

The agreement was signed last week during GITEX Technology Week 2020 in Dubai between Dr. Esam Al-Wagait, director of Saudi Arabia’s National Information Center (NIC), and Mohammed Amin, senior vice president of  Dell’s Middle East wing.

Saudi Arabia has undertaken a series of initiatives to support its ongoing socio-economic transformation and modernization strategy. The National Strategy for Data and Artificial Intelligence (NSDAI) said recently that it is looking to attract some $20 billion in foreign and local investments by 2030.


PayPal in $45bn bid for Pinterest: Reuters

PayPal in $45bn bid for Pinterest: Reuters
Updated 20 October 2021

PayPal in $45bn bid for Pinterest: Reuters

PayPal in $45bn bid for Pinterest: Reuters

NEW YORK: PayPal Holdings Inc. has offered to buy digital pinboard site Pinterest Inc. for $45 billion, people familiar with the matter said on Wednesday, a combination that could herald more tie-ups between financial technology and social media companies in e-commerce.

The deal talks come as internet shoppers increasingly buy items they see on social media, often following “influencers” on platforms such as Instagram and TikTok. Buying Pinterest would allow PayPal to capture more of that e-commerce growth and diversify its income though advertising revenue.

PayPal has offered $70 per share, mostly in stock, for Pinterest, one of the sources said. 

The online payments provider hopes to successfully negotiate and announce a deal by the time it reports quarterly earnings on Nov. 8, the source added.

The sources cautioned that no deal was certain and terms could change. They asked not to be identified because the matter is confidential.

PayPal and Pinterest did not respond to requests for comment. Bloomberg News first reported on the PayPal-Pinterest talks on Wednesday.

PayPal’s offer represents a 26 percent premium to Pinterest’s closing price of $55.58 on Tuesday. PayPal’s shares fell over 4 percent on the news, while Pinterest rose more than 14 percent to $63.51.


Oil rallies as US crude stocks decline in tight market: Energy market wrap

Oil rallies as US crude stocks decline in tight market: Energy market wrap
Updated 20 October 2021

Oil rallies as US crude stocks decline in tight market: Energy market wrap

Oil rallies as US crude stocks decline in tight market: Energy market wrap

RIYADH: Oil prices rose on Wednesday after US crude inventories at the nation’s largest storage site hit their lowest level in three years and nationwide fuel stocks fell sharply, a signal of rising demand.

Brent crude futures settled at $85.82 a barrel, a gain of 0.9 percent or 74 cents and the highest since October 2018.

November US West Texas Intermediate crude, which expires on Wednesday, settled at $83.87, up 91 cents, or 1.1 percent. The more active WTI contract for December settled up 98 cents to $83.42 a barrel.

Crude prices have risen as supply has tightened, with the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries maintaining a slow increase in supply rather than intervening to add more barrels to the market, and as US demand has ramped up.

Globally, refiners have been boosting output thanks to high margins, one that can only be restrained by maintenance. US refining capacity use dropped in the most recent week, but analysts noted that supply may continue to tighten if US refiners also pick up processing again.

Emissions cut

Anglo-Australian miner Rio Tinto announced a $7.5 billion plan to reduce carbon emissions by 50 percent by 2030 and forward its target of 2025 for a 15 percent reduction in emissions from 2018 levels.

LNG deals

China has agreed to three huge liquefied natural gas deals with US exporter Venture Global LNG.

According to documents posted on the US department of energy website, the agreements with China’s state oil giant Sinopec include two 20-year deals for a combined 4 million tons of LNG per year.

Germany’s oil imports

German crude oil import volumes fell 7.1 percent from January to August and related lockdowns hit the industry, official data showed on Wednesday.

Oil volumes in Jan-Aug fell to 51.9 million tons from 55.8 million in the same months of 2020, statistics from the BAFA foreign trade office showed.

Forecast 

Crude oil prices could reach $100 per barrel in the first or second quarter of next year as global inventories are at their lowest level, the Iraqi oil minister said.


Sipchem records highest profits in its history, shares skyrocket

Sipchem records highest profits in its history, shares skyrocket
Updated 20 October 2021

Sipchem records highest profits in its history, shares skyrocket

Sipchem records highest profits in its history, shares skyrocket
  • The company posted a net profit of SR1.029 billion for the third quarter of 2021.
  • It also achieved a net profit after zakat and tax of about SR1.24 billion in the first half of 2021.

RIYADH: Shares of Sahara International Petrochemical Co. “Sipchem” on Wednesday hit the highest level since debut on the Saudi stock market. Share of the petrochemical company closed at SR46.95 ($12.2). 

Nearly 15.4 million shares were traded during the market session. The company posted a net profit of SR1.029 billion for the third quarter of 2021, the highest profit since its establishment. 

In a statement, the company attributed the reason for the rise in shares price to high selling prices of all the company’s products, which it said contributed to the increase in profit margins despite pressures from the rise in the prices of raw materials such as butane, ethanol, ethylene and propane.

On a quarterly basis, the company’s profits rose by about 24 percent, compared to the profits of the previous quarter, which amounted to SR829.9 million.

The company also achieved a net profit after zakat and tax of about SR1.24 billion in the first half of 2021, compared to losses of about SR151.8 million in the same period of 2020.

Sipchem CEO Abdullah Al-Saadoon told CNBC Arabia that he expected demand for the company’s products to remain strong in the fourth quarter of the year and the first three months of 2022.

Sipchem’s strong marketing plan helped buoy its third quarter earnings, he said. 

The company has  strong presence in the European and Asian markets, through Sipchem Europe and Sipchem Asia. It markets more than 70 percent of its products to end consumers.

Al-Saadoon said the company seeks to reduce its debt since the beginning of the year. It reduced its leverage by almost 12 percent to reach 40 percent of capital, he added.

 

 


Oil prices, government spending see TASI hit highest level since 2006: Market Wrap

Oil prices, government spending see TASI hit highest level since 2006: Market Wrap
Updated 20 October 2021

Oil prices, government spending see TASI hit highest level since 2006: Market Wrap

Oil prices, government spending see TASI hit highest level since 2006: Market Wrap

RIYADH: The Tadawul All Share Index increased on Wednesday by 0.94 percent, or 111.2 points.

Oil prices and the announcement of $2 trillion in government spending contributed to the rise in stocks.

TASI liquidity today amounted to about SR7.2 billion, while 189.8 million shares were traded, in 313,000 deals. 

National Gypsum Co. (NGC) topped the list of companies trading above three month average at 344, followed by Sahara International Petrochemical Co. (Sepchem) at 295.

The petrochemical producer posted a net profit of SR1.029 billion for the third quarter of 2021, the highest profit since inception.

Saudi Arabia’s parallel stock market index, Nomu, gained 81.7 points, or 0.34 percent, closing at 24,449.96 points. 

The biggest risers today were, Al-Rajhi Bank which records the highest level since 2006 to close at SR141.2, up 1.6 percent, and SABIC shares by 2 percent at SR133.6.

Among other shares that rose were NCB by 0.6 percent, and Riyad Bank by 4.4 percent.


Saudi markets surge as M&A activity set to continue until mid-2022: General Authority for Competition

Saudi markets surge as M&A activity set to continue until mid-2022: General Authority for Competition
Updated 20 October 2021

Saudi markets surge as M&A activity set to continue until mid-2022: General Authority for Competition

Saudi markets surge as M&A activity set to continue until mid-2022: General Authority for Competition

RIYADH: The Saudi market saw mergers and acquisitions jump 68 percent to 237 applications in the first nine months of 2021 — led by the IT, healthcare and petrochemical sectors according to a Saudi expert.

Talal Alhogail, head of mergers and acquisitions at the General Authority for Competition,  said the year-on-year comparison shows that it has been an exceptional period for business as it recovers from the pandemic, reported Asharq.

He added he expects the high rate to continue into the middle of 2022.

In August, the authority approved the merger of 32 companies and local exchange institutions (purchasing and selling foreign currencies).

It was one of the largest merger operations in terms of the number of establishments involved in a single deal in its history.

The year also saw the merger of National Commercial Bank and Samba Financial Group under the name of Saudi National Bank. 

With SR837 billion ($223 billion) in assets, SNB will be Saudi Arabia’s largest bank, accounting for a market share of 25 percent across all metrics. It will be well capitalized with a combined equity of SR120 billion.

The combination of the country’s largest with its fourth-largest lender creates a national champion across the board.