PIF launches Cruise Saudi to develop Kingdom’s tourism industry

PIF launches Cruise Saudi to develop Kingdom’s tourism industry
Cruise Saudi will be headquartered in Jeddah on the Red Sea coast. (AFP/File)
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Updated 29 January 2021

PIF launches Cruise Saudi to develop Kingdom’s tourism industry

PIF launches Cruise Saudi to develop Kingdom’s tourism industry
  • Cruise Saudi will be headquartered in Jeddah on the Red Sea coast
  • Kingdom aims to become a tourist destination on the international cruise map

RIYADH: The Public Investment Fund PIF launched Thursday Cruise Saudi Company, which aims to establish and develop the cruise industry in Saudi Arabia, enhance the Kingdom's efforts to become a tourist destination on the international cruise map, and develop the tourism sector in line with Saudi Vision 2030.

Headquartered in Jeddah on the Red Sea coast, Cruise Saudi will form a strategic bridge between sea and land operations, through developing cruise ports and terminals in several Saudi cities, to deliver an integrated experience in line with the goals of the tourism sector in the Kingdom.

Cruise Saudi is also working in partnership with the relevant authorities on developing tourist destinations, with the aim of introducing cruise itineraries, providing an exceptional experience for guests, and creating opportunities to explore Saudi heritage and culture while ensuring the preservation of the environment and the protection of natural resources.

The company’s launch comes as part of the PIF strategy 2021-2025, which focuses on unleashing the capabilities of the promising non-oil sectors to enhance the Kingdom's efforts in diversifying revenue sources away from oil. The Fund and its subsidiaries aim to contribute SR1.2 trillion to non-oil GDP cumulatively by the end of 2025 by activating growth opportunities for strategic and vital sectors in the Kingdom.

The Kingdom’s sovereign wealth fund aims to benefit from the tourist attractions, as well as the Saudi historical and cultural heritage including UNESCO sites and the Kingdom’s distinctive natural destinations such as the mountain and marine environments. Investing in tourism projects forms part of its strategy to develop promising sectors and achieve high returns in the medium and long-terms.


Alibaba appoints new CFO, reshuffles e-commerce businesses

Alibaba appoints new CFO, reshuffles e-commerce businesses
Image: Shutterstock
Updated 6 sec ago

Alibaba appoints new CFO, reshuffles e-commerce businesses

Alibaba appoints new CFO, reshuffles e-commerce businesses
  • Alibaba said that it would be creating an International Digital Commerce team to handle its e-commerce businesses in international markets

China’s largest e-commerce group Alibaba said Monday it is appointing a new chief financial officer and reorganizing its e-commerce businesses amid a regulatory crackdown in the technology industry.


The company said in a statement Monday that Toby Xu will succeed Maggie Wu as its new CFO from April 1, 2022. Xu joined Alibaba from PricewaterhouseCoopers three years ago and was appointed deputy group CFO in July 2019.


Wu, who has been Alibaba’s CFO since 2013 and has helped lead three Alibaba-related company listings, will continue to serve as an executive director on Alibaba’s board.


She will also remain as a partner in the Alibaba Partnership – a group of senior executives who have the right to nominate a simple majority of Alibaba’s board of directors.


“We are focused on the long-term, and succession within our management team on every occasion is always in the service of ensuring Alibaba will be stronger and better positioned for the future,” said Daniel Zhang, chairman and CEO of Alibaba Group.


Separately, Alibaba said that it would be creating an International Digital Commerce team to handle its e-commerce businesses in international markets. A China Digital Commerce team will be in charge of e-commerce operations inside China, according to a post on the company’s Alizila news hub.


The international and domestic digital commerce teams will be led by executives Jiang Fan and Trudy Dai respectively.


Jiang has been in charge of Taobao and Tmall, Alibaba’s core e-commerce sites in China. Dai was the firm’s chief customer officer.


The Hangzhou-based firm was fined a record $2.8 billion for antitrust violations and is under scrutiny as regulators step up oversight of the technology industry at a time when the economy is slowing.


Last month, Alibaba cut its sales outlook for the year amid mounting competition from rivals such as Pinduoduo. It expects growth for its current year to be the slowest since it listed in New York in 2014.


Alibaba’s flagship Singles’ Day shopping extravaganza also posted its slowest-ever growth this year, amid muted marketing campaigns and a shift to sustainability and philanthropy amid Chinese President Xi Jinping’s calls for “common prosperity.”


Alibaba’s New York stock price has plunged more than 50 percent over the last 12 months. The company’s Hong Kong-traded shares were down 4.9 percent Monday.


American, Lebanese lag behind home-grown restaurants as they lead Riyadh’s lifestyle boom 

American, Lebanese lag behind home-grown restaurants as they lead Riyadh’s lifestyle boom 
Updated 5 min 28 sec ago

American, Lebanese lag behind home-grown restaurants as they lead Riyadh’s lifestyle boom 

American, Lebanese lag behind home-grown restaurants as they lead Riyadh’s lifestyle boom 
  • The US and UAE are the second and third largest sources of restaurant chains in Riyadh

RIYADH: Riyadh’s food and beverage scene has come a long way since 2016, when the National Transformation Plan was announced, with the city witnessing 288,000 square meters of new developments so far.

“The Kingdom’s capital is beginning to morph into a foodie’s treasure trove and we’re not done yet,” Faisal Durrani, head of Middle East research at Knight Frank said. 

This growth is led by home-grown restaurants and cafes, he added, with 68 percent of Riyadh’s new outlets being Saudi - 21 percent of which specialize in international cuisine. 

“American food outlets account for 16 percent of Food and beverage outlets, while Lebanese restaurants are the third most prevalent at 13 percent,” Durrani said. 

The US and UAE are the second and third largest sources of restaurant chains in Riyadh, respectively, he added.

“International brands must adapt their proposition across the full spectrum to suit demand, both in terms of operational aspects, as well as the actual menu offering itself,” Pedro Riberio, head of retail advisory KSA at Knight Frank, said.

The Kingdom’s capital will further benefit from upcoming tourism developments, including the Bujairi Terrace and Diriyah Gate, which the Knight Frank report said will add “15,000 sqm of lifestyle retail space to the capital when its 17 restaurants open their doors in 2022.”

This rapid growth and competition are putting pressure on older developments, the report indicated, with some operators struggling to keep vacancy rates and footfall up. 


Will TASI reignite after its slight fall in November? Here are key takeaways: Premarket

Will TASI reignite after its slight fall in November? Here are key takeaways: Premarket
Updated 56 min 28 sec ago

Will TASI reignite after its slight fall in November? Here are key takeaways: Premarket

Will TASI reignite after its slight fall in November? Here are key takeaways: Premarket

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s main benchmark index TASI started the week in the green zone with stocks recouping omicron-related declines, up around 350 points from last week.

Al Rajhi Bank traded at 4.8 percent higher this week with around 4 million traded shares.

Sahara International Petrochemical Company saw a recovery of 7.44 percent.

The Kingdom’s oil giant Aramco saw gains of 0.72 percent.

This came as the group announced its entry into the Kingdom’s domestic lubricants as well as its collaboration agreement with French companies including hydrogen car deals with Gaussin.

The International Company for Water & Power Projects, or ACWA Power, and Natixis CIB signed a memorandum of understanding aiming to collaborate on the development of ACWA power in the GCC region.

Natixis CIB will finance up to almost SR7.5 billion ($2 billion) over two years to finance ACWA Power’s projects.

Sadr Logistics’ shareholders approved the board of directors’ recommendation to raise SR175 million through a rights issue worth SR150 million to expand its logistics services. The rights issue trading and new share subscription period will start today Dec.6.

Apart from its rights issue, Sadr Logistics has been on the rise since last week jumping to an all-time high of SR86.2.

With reference to the Public Investment Fund and stc’s earlier announcement, the subscription period for stc’s secondary offering will start on Dec.7 and end on Dec. 8 for retail tranche whereas, for participating parties, it started yesterday and will end on Dec.9.

Saudi Exchange announced the initial public offering of Saudi Tadawul Group Holding Company to be 442.53 percent oversubscribed.

Subscriptions exceeding individual subscribers will be refunded no later than Dec.8, when the listing and trading of the company’s shares on the main market will begin.

Jahez International Company for Information Systems Technology issued the prospectus for its initial public offering at 13 percent of its capital on Nomu, Tadawul’s parallel market.

The offering period will commence on Dec. 23 and end on Dec. 26.


France’s Natixis to finance $2bn ACWA Power projects in 2 years

France’s Natixis to finance $2bn ACWA Power projects in 2 years
Updated 45 min 5 sec ago

France’s Natixis to finance $2bn ACWA Power projects in 2 years

France’s Natixis to finance $2bn ACWA Power projects in 2 years
  • The MoU will allow both parties to “explore opportunities to develop new projects in the region”

RIYADH: France-based Natixis Corporate and Investment Banking has signed an agreement to finance ACWA Power projects over the next two years - with funding of up to $2 billion. 

The MoU will allow both parties to “explore opportunities to develop new projects in the region,” the Saudi clean energy provider said in a bourse filing. 

Natixis has previously underwritten some of ACWA Power’s high-profile projects, including the Sakaka solar project. 


Tadawul IPO 442.53% oversubscribed to reach $1.3bn

Tadawul IPO 442.53% oversubscribed to reach $1.3bn
Updated 06 December 2021

Tadawul IPO 442.53% oversubscribed to reach $1.3bn

Tadawul IPO 442.53% oversubscribed to reach $1.3bn
  • The stock exchange group was offering 10.8 million shares to individual investors

RIYADH: The individual subscribers tranche of Tadawul’s initial public offering was 442.53 percent oversubscribed with a total demand of SR5.02 billion ($1.3 billion). 

The stock exchange group was offering 10.8 million shares to individual investors, or 30 percent of the total offer shares at a final price of SR105. 

Around 598,327 subscribers participated in the period, which started on Nov. 30.