Saudi Arabia’s FII hears call for ‘new chapter for humanity’ in response to pandemic

Panelists debate at the Future Investment Initiative conference at the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Riyadh. (AFP)
Panelists debate at the Future Investment Initiative conference at the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Riyadh. (AFP)
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Updated 28 January 2021

Saudi Arabia’s FII hears call for ‘new chapter for humanity’ in response to pandemic

Saudi Arabia’s FII hears call for ‘new chapter for humanity’ in response to pandemic
  • Pandemic presents ‘an unprecedented opportunity for fresh thinking’

The Future Investment Initiative summit opened in Riyadh on Wednesday with a call for a “fundamental rethink” toward economic and social challenges in the pandemic era, and an invitation to take part in the big investment opportunities offered by Saudi Arabia’s transformation strategy.
Yasir Al-Rumayyan, governor of the Public Investment Fund, said the pandemic presented “an unprecedented opportunity for fresh thinking,” and urged the virtual global audience involved in the event “not to return to the status quo.”
He also invited financiers, bankers and business people to sample the “investment menu” in the Kingdom. “The variety of investments available in Saudi Arabia is really big — not just in the financial sector, but in the real economy,” he said.
The event had been postponed from last autumn because of travel restrictions from the pandemic, but went ahead as a “hybrid” forum with a physical venue in the Saudi capital supported by online hubs in Beijing, Mumbai, Paris and New York. The organizers said about 9,500 people attended either in person or virtually.
Al Rumayyan said: “This is not a normal event, but it is the opportunity to open a new chapter for humanity — the neo-renaissance,” which is the theme of the two-day gathering.
The PIF boss and other investment experts talked enthusiastically about the range of potential investments in the Kingdom under the second phase of the Vision 2030 strategy, but also warned that the global economic situation remained uncertain.
Al-Rumayyan said the division between “those with funds waiting on the sidelines and the working class” was a potential risk for economic recovery in 2021.
That caution was echoed by one of the big investment heavyweights at the opening session, the founder of investment firm Bridgewater Associates, Ray Dalio, who said: “I don’t think equities will be as ebullient as last year.”
Khalid Al-Falih, the Saudi investment minister, was more optimistic, pointing out that foreign investment had risen in the Kingdom in 2020 despite the economic recession caused by the virus.
He called on governments to take on more of the risk of setting up business, as the Saudi government has done. “We have looked at 400 different investment regulations and half of them have been revamped,” he said.
A major theme of the opening day, reinforced by virtually every speaker, was the move toward more sustainable investment, especially in the crucial energy sector.
Prince Abdul Aziz bin Salman, the Saudi energy minister, predicted that the Kingdom would make more progress in tackling climate change in the next decades than many other countries.
“We will enjoy being looked at as a reasonable and responsible international citizen because we will be doing more than most European countries by 2030,” he said.
He praised the Kingdom’s efforts in fighting the virus and in rebalancing global oil markets last year. “When the going got tough, the tough got going,” he said.


Saudi SABIC, ExxonMobil begin operations of petrochemical JV on US Gulf Coast

Saudi SABIC, ExxonMobil begin operations of petrochemical JV on US Gulf Coast
Updated 20 January 2022

Saudi SABIC, ExxonMobil begin operations of petrochemical JV on US Gulf Coast

Saudi SABIC, ExxonMobil begin operations of petrochemical JV on US Gulf Coast

RIYADH: Riyadh-based Saudi Basic Industries, also known as SABIC, one of the leading petrochemical firms worldwide, announced the start of operations of its petrochemical joint venture with US ExxonMobil.

US Texas is to witness the launch of an ethylene production unit – operating an annual capacity of around 1.8 million tons, the homegrown petrochemical company said in a statement.

The new production unit, which started construction in 2019, will produce materials to be utilized in packaging, agricultural film, construction materials, clothing, and automotive coolants.

This project is in line with SABIC’s strategy, aimed at diversifying its feedstock as well as strengthening its position in North America.

“This is a remarkable achievement that positions us well to help meet growing global demand for performance products while providing meaningful investment in the US Gulf Coast,’ president of ExxonMobil Karen McKee said, commenting on the partnership.

SABIC noted that the deal’s financial impact is expected to roll out on the company’s financial statements during the ongoing quarter.

In the latest trading session, shares of the company edged down by 0.2 percent to close at SR126 ($33.6).


Mastercard, Coinbase partner to make NFTs more accessible

Mastercard, Coinbase partner to make NFTs more accessible
Updated 20 January 2022

Mastercard, Coinbase partner to make NFTs more accessible

Mastercard, Coinbase partner to make NFTs more accessible

RIYADH: Payments giant Mastercard has partnered with cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase to make non-fungible tokens more accessible.

Mastercards can be used to make purchases on Coinbase’s upcoming NFT marketplace.

“We’re excited to announce today that we’re partnering with Coinbase to let people use their Mastercard cards to make purchases on Coinbase’s upcoming NFT marketplace,” Mastercard said in a statement.

“Getting more people involved safely and securely is perhaps the best way to help the NFT market thrive.”

Mastercard also sees greater potential for core NFT technology to go beyond art and collectibles in many other areas.

Coinbase announced in October last year that it is launching an NFT marketplace.

“Coinbase NFT, as a peer-to-peer marketplace that will make minting, purchasing, showcasing and discovering NFTs easier than ever,” Coinbase said.

“We’re making NFTs more accessible by building user-friendly interfaces that put the complexity behind the scenes. We’re adding social features that open new avenues for conversation and discovery. And we’re going to grow the creator community exponentially, a win for artists and for fans.” 


Saudi Wafrah appoints Khaled Saleh Al Amoudi as CEO

Saudi Wafrah appoints Khaled Saleh Al Amoudi as CEO
Updated 20 January 2022

Saudi Wafrah appoints Khaled Saleh Al Amoudi as CEO

Saudi Wafrah appoints Khaled Saleh Al Amoudi as CEO

RIYADH: Saudi food firm Wafrah for Industry and Developments has appointed Khaled Saleh Al Amoudi as CEO on Thursday, according to a bourse statement. 

The decision follows recommendation from the Remuneration and Nomination Committee.

With a M.Sc.in Financial Management, Al Amoudi currently holds the chief financial officer position at the firm, with more than 20 years of accumulated experience as CFO and in the governmental and bank sectors.


Tadawul approves $755m government debt listing

Tadawul approves $755m government debt listing
Updated 20 January 2022

Tadawul approves $755m government debt listing

Tadawul approves $755m government debt listing

RIYADH: Saudi stock exchange Tadawul approved listing of SR2.83 billion ($755 million) worth of government debt instruments, submitted by the Ministry of Finance, according to a bourse filing.

The first issuance dated January 8, amounts to SR1.25 billion, Tadawul said in a statement.

The second issuance dated January 12, is valued at SR1.59 billion.


Profits of Saudi-based SADAFCO drop 28.6% as pandemic hits sales

Profits of Saudi-based SADAFCO drop 28.6% as pandemic hits sales
Updated 20 January 2022

Profits of Saudi-based SADAFCO drop 28.6% as pandemic hits sales

Profits of Saudi-based SADAFCO drop 28.6% as pandemic hits sales

RIYADH: Saudia Dairy and Foodstuff Co., or SADAFCO, reported a 28.6 percent decline in profit during the nine months ending Dec. 31, 2021. 

Profits dropped to SR146 million ($38.9million), compared to SR205 million in the corresponding period a year earlier, the company announced in a bourse statement.

SADAFCO attributed the lower profit figures to lower sales volumes driven by the pandemic, an increase from 5 percent to 15 percent in VAT, and higher material and logistics costs.

The financial statements of the company indicated a healthy cash flow, with a strong cash position of SR679 million.

SADACFO’s share price edged down by 0.12 percent in today’s session to close at SR167.

Earlier, the company’s board recommended cash dividends at SR3 per share for the first half of the fiscal year ended Mar. 31, 2022.

Jeddah-based SADAFCO operates sales and distribution depots in 24 locations across Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, Jordan, and Kuwait. Its products are also exported to several countries in the MENA region.