PIF unit makes Saudi Arabia’s largest ever private military industry deal

SAMI, which is a subsidiary of the Public Investment Fund (PIF), announced the deal on Monday during a ceremony attended by senior officials from the Defense Ministry, the General Authority for Military Industries and board members from both companies. (Supplied)
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SAMI, which is a subsidiary of the Public Investment Fund (PIF), announced the deal on Monday during a ceremony attended by senior officials from the Defense Ministry, the General Authority for Military Industries and board members from both companies. (Supplied)
SAMI, which is a subsidiary of the Public Investment Fund (PIF), announced the deal on Monday during a ceremony attended by senior officials from the Defense Ministry, the General Authority for Military Industries and board members from both companies. (Supplied)
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SAMI, which is a subsidiary of the Public Investment Fund (PIF), announced the deal on Monday during a ceremony attended by senior officials from the Defense Ministry, the General Authority for Military Industries and board members from both companies. (Supplied)
SAMI, which is a subsidiary of the Public Investment Fund (PIF), announced the deal on Monday during a ceremony attended by senior officials from the Defense Ministry, the General Authority for Military Industries and board members from both companies. (Supplied)
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SAMI, which is a subsidiary of the Public Investment Fund (PIF), announced the deal on Monday during a ceremony attended by senior officials from the Defense Ministry, the General Authority for Military Industries and board members from both companies. (Supplied)
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Updated 28 December 2020

PIF unit makes Saudi Arabia’s largest ever private military industry deal

SAMI, which is a subsidiary of the Public Investment Fund (PIF), announced the deal on Monday during a ceremony attended by senior officials from the Defense Ministry, the General Authority for Military Industries and board members from both companies. (Supplied)
  • Purchase in line with country's reform plan goals
  • Currently around 85 percent of AEC’s employees are Saudi nationals, including 500 engineers

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabian Military Industries (SAMI) is buying a defense, energy, ICT, and security services company in the country’s largest ever military industries deal.

The purchase of the Advanced Electronics Company (AEC) is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2021 following regulatory approvals.

SAMI, which is a subsidiary of the Public Investment Fund (PIF), announced the deal on Monday during a ceremony attended by senior officials from the Defense Ministry, the General Authority for Military Industries and board members from both companies.

“AEC is considered the ‘crown jewel’ of Saudi Arabia’s military industries and a proud accomplishment for its citizens, and will bring about transformative change in the Kingdom’s defense sector,” SAMI chairman Ahmed Al-Khateeb was quoted as saying by the Saudi Press Agency.

He added that, with the collective efforts of SAMI and AEC, the acquisition would shape the future of the domestic defense ecosystem and have a long-lasting impact on the national economy in the coming years.

The deal is in line with Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 reform plan to localize over 50 percent of military equipment spending. Currently around 85 percent of AEC’s employees are Saudi nationals, including 500 engineers.




SAMI, which is a subsidiary of the Public Investment Fund (PIF), announced the deal on Monday during a ceremony attended by senior officials from the Defense Ministry, the General Authority for Military Industries and board members from both companies. (Supplied)

It also supports SAMI’s strategic plan to expand its business and enter the defense electronics sector.

AEC has been a core part of the Saudi government's bid to localize the Kingdom's military manufacturing sector.

“This achievement also supports PIF’s efforts through SAMI in localizing cutting-edge technology and knowledge, as well as building strategic economic partnerships,” Al-Khateeb said.

AEC has had a record in the military industry since 1988. It has over 100 strategic partners and successfully completed more than 1,000 projects.

It has also witnessed a steady growth in sales. In 2019 its revenues reached SR2.32 billion ($620 million), compared to SR2.07 billion in 2018 and SR1.92 billion in 2017.

“SAMI’s acquisition of AEC stock will help us reach our goals and strategic plans for the next five years,” said AEC CEO Abdulaziz Al-Duailej.

SAMI has been leading Saudi Arabia’s efforts in developing self-sufficient defense capabilities through its portfolio of military products and services and across its business divisions: Aeronautics, land systems, weapons and missiles, defense electronics, and emerging technologies.

In an interview with Al-Ekhbariya TV on Monday, Al-Khateeb pointed out that Saudi Arabia is the third-largest military spending nation in the world, spending over $20 billion every year for the purchase, acquisition, maintenance and operation of defence systems.

“Since electronic industries occupy around 30 to 40 percent of the cost of any defence system or deal, this means the market is very large in the Kingdom and the world and this deal comes as a pivotal step to achieve SAMI's strategic goals in accordance with the Kingdom's vision,” he said.


Fitch lifts 6 Saudi banks outlooks to stable from negative

Fitch lifts 6 Saudi banks outlooks to stable from negative
Updated 54 min 42 sec ago

Fitch lifts 6 Saudi banks outlooks to stable from negative

Fitch lifts 6 Saudi banks outlooks to stable from negative
  • These ratings follow a similar action on Saudi Arabia’s sovereign rating on 15 July 2021 that was attributed to better fiscal management and an increase in oil prices

RIYADH: Ratings agency Fitch has revised six Saudi banks’ credit outlooks to stable from negative and affirmed their international ratings at BBB+.

The banks are Arab National Bank (ANB), Banque Saudi Fransi (BSF), Alinma bank (Alinma), Saudi Investment Bank (SAIB), Bank Aljazira (BAJ) and Gulf International Bank - Saudi Arabia (GIB SA).

These ratings follow a similar action on Saudi Arabia’s sovereign rating on 15 July 2021 that was attributed to better fiscal management and an increase in oil prices.

“Fitch’s assessment considers the authorities’ strong ability to support the banking system, given large, albeit reduced from their historical levels, external reserves,” Fitch said in the statement.

“It also reflects a long record of support for Saudi banks, irrespective of their size, franchise, funding structure and level of government ownership.”


Saudi Arabia targets energy reduction worth $6.6bn by 2030, says CEO

Saudi Arabia targets energy reduction worth $6.6bn by 2030, says CEO
Updated 27 July 2021

Saudi Arabia targets energy reduction worth $6.6bn by 2030, says CEO

Saudi Arabia targets energy reduction worth $6.6bn by 2030, says CEO
  • Its services include retrofitting buildings and streetlighting and promotes the use of renewable energy, including rooftop solar PV

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s National Energy Services Company (Tarshid) said it plans to reduce energy consumption in the Kingdom by SR25 billion ($6.6 billion) by 2030.

“We are targeting integrated savings through the Saudi Energy Efficiency Program (SEEP), and in the public sector alone, we will be saving 8 terawatts and SR2.5 billion annually,” Tarshid CEO Waled Alghreri told CNBC Arabia in an interview.

Tarshid was established by the Public Investment Fund (PIF) to pioneer energy efficiency in Saudi Arabia in collaboration with the Ministry of Energy.

Its services include retrofitting buildings and streetlighting and promotes the use of renewable energy, including rooftop solar PV.

Its Energy Efficiency Program is a rare example of a country creating a dedicating, integrated initiative to target energy efficiency, said Alghreri.

Most such programs are scattered and decentralized and do not produce encouraging results, he said.


Amazon to rebrand Souq.com Egypt site this year

Amazon to rebrand Souq.com Egypt site this year
Updated 27 July 2021

Amazon to rebrand Souq.com Egypt site this year

Amazon to rebrand Souq.com Egypt site this year
  • Souq.com sellers in Egypt encouraged to set up on Amazon.eg

CAIRO: Amazon said it plans to rebrand the Egyptian version of Souq.com as Amazon.eg this year, following similar moves in Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

Sales partners previously registered on Amazon’s Souq.com affiliate can access their accounts through the Amazon Seller Center in preparation for selling their products on the Amazon Egypt website immediately after its launch.

Amazon acquired Middle East etailer Souq.com in 2017 from Syrian entrepreneur Ronaldo Mouchawar.

On May 1, 2019, Souq.com UAE became known as Amazon.ae. On June 17 last year, Amazon launched its dedicated Saudi website Amazon.sa, rebranding the old Souq.com website.

Amazon announced plans in March to hire 1,500 new employees in Saudi Arabia and add 11 buildings to its network. The expansion will boost storage capacity in the Kingdom by 89 percent and its geographical delivery network by 58 percent.

The company operates an extensive logistics network and local operations across Egypt, which includes the main warehouse supported by 15 delivery stations across the country.


Sawiris creates $1.4 billion fund for gold mining assets, seeks outside investors

Sawiris creates $1.4 billion fund for gold mining assets, seeks outside investors
Updated 27 July 2021

Sawiris creates $1.4 billion fund for gold mining assets, seeks outside investors

Sawiris creates $1.4 billion fund for gold mining assets, seeks outside investors
  • Fund took $100 million from an unnamed strategic partner
  • Fund will be open to outside investors

LUXEMBOURG: La Mancha Holdings, owned by Egyptian billionaire Naguib Sawiris, has launched a $1.4 billion fund to hold his gold mining assets and pursue new opportunities in precious and electric-vehicle metals.

The fund, La Mancha Fund SCSp, took on $100 million from an unnamed “strategic partner” and will soon be open to outside investors, Luxembourg-based La Mancha said in an emailed statement.

“Creating a fund is the natural consequence of what we have been doing since we vended-in our operational assets into Evolution and Endeavour in 2015,” Sawiris said in the statement. “Transitioning to a fund structure and welcoming new investors is timely when we are seeing opportunities in a gold mining sector which is fragmented and needs further consolidation.”

The fund will mainly be focused on gold and precious metals miners, but may also invest in EV battery metals. It will seek to acquire significant stakes in listed junior mineral resource companies with the goal of creating value over a three-to-five-year horizon.

As part of its mandate, the fund will seek to improve ESG metrics within its portfolio
companies during its investment tenure, it said in the statement.


Saudi Central Bank steps up efforts to increase locals in financial sector

Saudi Central Bank steps up efforts to increase locals in financial sector
Updated 27 July 2021

Saudi Central Bank steps up efforts to increase locals in financial sector

Saudi Central Bank steps up efforts to increase locals in financial sector
  • SAMA working with Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development and Human Resources Development Fund
  • Initiative could create 200,000 jobs - economist

RIYADH: The Saudi Central Bank (SAMA) has signed an agreement with other government entities to increase the number of locals in the financial sector, a move that might lead to the creation of more than 200,000 jobs for nationals.

SAMA signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development (HRSD), in partnership with the Human Resources Development Fund (Hadaf), SPA reported on Monday.

“This MoU aims to increase localization, provide human competencies capable of meeting the requirements of the financial sector, and create more than 203,000 jobs in the sector,” independent economist Fadhel Al Buainain told Arab News.

The measures will establish sustainable strategic steps to ensure the creation of more jobs and prepare young people to fill them, he said.

For decades, the Saudi financial sector was made up only of banks, but since the entry of new financial entities such as investment institutions, financial companies and the insurance sector, localization of jobs has become more important, to achieve sufficiency, strategic security and address unemployment, said Al Buainain.

Supporting specialized financial colleges and creating a college for banking sciences are among the tools that will help achieve the sector’s localization goals, he said.