Riyadh-based fintech raises $7.2m to boost expansion

Riyadh-based fintech raises $7.2m to boost expansion
Launched just a year ago by Osama AlRaee and Mohamed Jawabri, Lendo offers instant invoice financing to the small and medium enterprises (SMEs) through its Shariah-complaint lending marketplace. (Supplied)
Short Url
Updated 15 March 2021

Riyadh-based fintech raises $7.2m to boost expansion

Riyadh-based fintech raises $7.2m to boost expansion
  • Peer-to-peer lending platform Lendo allows users to borrow money against their invoices

RIYADH: Riyadh-based financial technology (fintech) firm Lendo has raised $7.2 million to develop new technologies and financial products, as it plans to triple its revenue this year.

Launched just a year ago by Osama Al-Raee and Mohammed Jawabri, Lendo offers instant invoice financing to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) through its Shariah-compliant lending platform. The offering helps SMEs manage their immediate cashflow.

Invoice financing is a popular short-term borrowing tool for businesses in different markets around the world, by which they leverage their receivables to receive loans from banks or other financial institutions.

Speaking to Arab News, Al-Raee, co-founder and CEO of Lendo, said: “We have financed more than 100 invoices worth over SR 60 million ($16 million) for SMEs. We are planning to grow and triple these numbers this year.”

On new funding plans and growth prospects, he said: “We want to go higher and grow our team, build new technologies and launch innovative financial products. We have started hiring. We are growing 25 percent month-on-month, which is a testimony of the hard work and dedication of our team. We plan to continue this growth,” he added.

The company raised money from Saudi funds Derayah Ventures, Seedra Ventures and Impact46, as well as from UAE-based Shorooq Partners and US-based 500 Startups, Al-Raee said.

Jawabri, co-founder and COO of Lendo, told Arab News: “In July 2019, we got a license from the Saudi Central Bank. We launched Lendo in December that same year. Lendo is one of the many lending startups that are part of the bank’s regulatory sandbox.”

The sandbox aims to attract local and international fintech firms to benefit from state-of-the-art technology so that they can provide innovative financial services to startups, fintech companies, financial services firms and professional services companies in Saudi Arabia.

Lendo offers loans starting from SR 100,000 and reaching up to SR 3 million by connecting the SMEs with investors on its marketplace. SMEs looking for financing can apply on Lendo’s platform if they have a valid Saudi business license, have been in operations for at least one year and have an annual turnover of about SR 2 million.

The system takes up to three days to review the profile after receiving all the required details and documentation. If approved, the business can apply for financing of up to 80 percent of the invoice value sold to the customer. These opportunities are then shared on Lendo’s platform with the investors who finance them collectively.

Lendo makes money by charging the SMEs a management fee and taking a 20-percent cut from the profit investors make.

“During the pandemic, there was a huge surge in the numbers of SMEs who turned to Lendo for financing to keep their businesses afloat,” said Jawabri.


Europe slaps anti-dumping duties on MEG Saudi petchems product

Europe slaps anti-dumping duties on MEG Saudi petchems product
Updated 8 min 28 sec ago

Europe slaps anti-dumping duties on MEG Saudi petchems product

Europe slaps anti-dumping duties on MEG Saudi petchems product
  • The anti-dumping duties on MEG imports from Saudi Arabia are estimated at 11.1 percent

DUBAI: The European Commission (EC) announced proposed anti-dumping duties on monoethylene glycol (MEG) imports from Saudi Arabia and the US, Argaam reported.
The anti-dumping duties on MEG imports from Saudi Arabia are estimated at 11.1 percent, the financial news site reported, citing a document.
The companies affected by the new levy include Yanbu National Petrochemical Co. (Yansab), Saudi Kayan Petrochemical Co. (Saudi Kayan), Eastern Petrochemical Co. (Sharq), Saudi Yanbu Petrochemical Co. (Yanpet), Arabian Petrochemical Co. (Petrokemya), and Jubail United Petrochemical Co. (JUPC).
The original anti-dumping probe into Saudi and US MEG exports began in October 2020, Argaam said. It followed a petition from European ethylene glycol producers, which represent a quarter of total producers.
In December 2019, India also started an anti-dumping probe into imports of MEG from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman, the UAE, and Singapore, Argaam said.
Monoethylene glycol is used to make polyester fibers and film as well as engine coolant.


Jabal Omar losses widen on hotel closures in Makkah

Jabal Omar losses widen on hotel closures in Makkah
Updated 23 min 27 sec ago

Jabal Omar losses widen on hotel closures in Makkah

Jabal Omar losses widen on hotel closures in Makkah
  • Construction work extends across two square kilometers where some 40 towers are at various stages of development.

DUBAI: Jabal Omar Development Co. reported a widening first-quarter loss as hotels in Makkah were forced to close amid the pandemic.
The developer that is spearheading the vast redevelopment of land around the Grand Mosque in the holy city, said losses widened by 45 percent to SR345.3 million ($92 million). Sales fell 89 percent to SR21.6 million, it said in a stock exchange filing on Tuesday.
It blamed the performance on the “significant decline in revenues due to the decrease in the occupancy rate of hotels and commercial malls.”
At the same time its financial charges rose due to the non-capitalization of borrowing costs, it said in the filing.
Saudi Arabia is investing billions of dollars to develop hotels, malls and other real estate in Makkah to accommodate the expected surge in pilgrims.
Current construction work extends across two square kilometers where some 40 towers are at various stages of development.
They are expected to accommodate some 4,000 guests on any normal day, and up to 100,000 visitors on any given day during the Hajj and Umrah seasons.


Arab News publisher SRMG rebrands to Saudi Research and Media Group

Arab News publisher SRMG rebrands to Saudi Research and Media Group
Updated 28 min 8 sec ago

Arab News publisher SRMG rebrands to Saudi Research and Media Group

Arab News publisher SRMG rebrands to Saudi Research and Media Group
  • The group owns several companies in publishing and media, including Saudi Research and Publishing Company and Asharq News Services

DUBAI: The Saudi Research and Marketing Group, the company which publishes Arab News, has rebranded to Saudi Research and Media Group.
The Tadawul-listed company completed the change on Monday, according to a bourse filing, but the move was first approved in April.
The group owns several companies in publishing and media, including Saudi Research and Publishing Company and Asharq News Services.
The rollout of Saudi Vision 2030 reforms, a booming entertainment sector and the opening of the Kingdom to foreign tourists are all contributing to the Kingdom’s rapidly expanding media landscape.


No new fossil fuel projects for net-zero: IEA

No new fossil fuel projects for net-zero: IEA
Updated 32 min 8 sec ago

No new fossil fuel projects for net-zero: IEA

No new fossil fuel projects for net-zero: IEA
  • The IEA predicted a “sharp decline in fossil fuel demand” in the next three decades as well as a 2040 deadline for the global energy sector to achieve carbon neutrality

PARIS: All future fossil fuel projects must be scrapped if the world is to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 and to stand any chance of limiting warming to 1.5C, the International Energy Agency said Tuesday.
In a special report designed to inform negotiators at the crucial COP26 climate summit in Glasgow in November, the IEA predicted a “sharp decline in fossil fuel demand” in the next three decades as well as a 2040 deadline for the global energy sector to achieve carbon neutrality.
It called for a rapid and vast ramping up of renewable energy investment and capacity, which bring gains in development, wealth and human health.
IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol said the roadmap outlined in the report showed that the path to global net-zero by 2050 was “narrow but still achievable.”
“The scale and speed of the efforts demanded by this critical and formidable goal — our best chance of tackling climate change and limiting global warming to 1.5C — make this perhaps the greatest challenge humankind has ever faced,” he said.
Built using its industry network and energy modelling tools, the IEA’s roadmap lays out more than 400 milestones on the path to net-zero by mid-century.
These include “no new oil and gas fields approved for development” beyond projects that are already committed as of 2021.
It predicts “a sharp decline in fossil fuel demand, meaning that the focus for oil and gas producers switches entirely to output — and emissions reductions — from the operation of existing assets.”
The roadmap also said that sales of new internal combustion engine passenger cars would have to end in 2035 and energy efficiency would need to improve four percent annually this decade — around three times faster than the current trajectory.
With annual additions of solar and wind power reaching 630 and 390 gigawatts respectively by 2030, the IEA said that investment in renewables could put global GDP four percent higher by 2050 than it would be based on current trends.
By 2050, it said that renewables capacity and greater efficiency would see global energy demand drop about eight percent compared to today, even as two billion more people gained access to electricity.
Investment totalling around $40 billion a year — around one percent of current energy sector investment — is projected to hook hundreds of millions up to the global grid.
The IEA said that clean energy and access to clean cooking solutions could cut the number of premature deaths by 2.5 million a year by 2050.
Overall, fossil fuels are set to account for only around a fifth of energy supply by 2050, down from almost four fifths currently, the report showed.
Dave Jones, global lead at the energy think tank Ember, said Tuesday’s assessment was “a complete turnaround of the fossil-led IEA from five years ago.”
“This is truly a knife into the fossil fuel industry,” he said.


Under a scenario where all current national net-zero pledges are met on time and in full, the IEA outlined a changing energy mix in the coming decades.
Oil demand is predicted to plateau at around 104 million barrels a day just after 2030, the report showed.
Gas use is likely to increase significantly in the stated pledges pathway, as is nuclear.
It also said that all inefficient coal power plants needed to close by 2030 in order to achieve net-zero by 2050.
“This will be a huge step-up in ambition for so many countries, especially China,” said Jones.
“India and South Africa will need international assistance to meet this goal.”


While most of the global CO2 reductions until 2030 in the net-zero pathway come from “technologies available today,” the IEA said that around half of reductions by 2050 would be provided by “technologies that are currently only in demonstration or prototype phase.”
These include direct air capture and storage of CO2 from the atmosphere, which it said could be “particularly impactful.”
Teresa Anderson, climate policy coordinator at ActionAid International, said that the IEA’s net-zero plan still relied too heavily on as-yet untested technology to remove carbon pollution.
“Any role of future technologies should be to replace fossil fuels, not justify their use,” she told AFP.
“Given all the uncertainties and risks around long-shot technologies and land availability for bioenergy, the IEA would do better to focus on bringing emissions down to real zero, rather than using ‘net’ zero accounting to pander to the fossil fuel industry’s fears of losing profits.”


Stocks fall as tech shares weigh, gold climbs

Stocks fall as tech shares weigh, gold climbs
Updated 18 May 2021

Stocks fall as tech shares weigh, gold climbs

Stocks fall as tech shares weigh, gold climbs
  • Amid a flight to safety, the precious metal is seen as a hedge against rising inflation

NEW YORK: Stock indexes were lower globally on Monday with technology shares on Wall Street falling, while US Treasury yields traded little changed even after a report showing the highest prices ever paid in a May manufacturing survey for New York state.

Concerns over inflationary pressure helped to lift gold prices to their highest in more than three months, however.

The Empire State Manufacturing Survey, produced by the New York Fed, showed the prices paid index rose to a record 83.5, the highest since the data series began in 2001, said Tom Simons, money market economist at Jefferies & Co.

Wall Street’s declines follow the S&P 500’s biggest one-day jump in more than a month on Friday.

While the week is expected to be relatively quiet for economic data, investors will be anxious to see minutes on Wednesday from the Federal Reserve’s policy meeting last month which could shed more light on the policymakers’ outlook of an economic rebound.

“The volatility has picked up because a lot of the good news has been priced in, and last week we finally saw fears of inflation,” said Greg Marcus, managing director, UBS Private Wealth Management.

The spread of the coronavirus was also a drag in some markets, with Singapore reporting the highest number of local infections in months and Taiwan seeing a spike in cases.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 120.02 points, or 0.35 percent, to 34,262.11, the S&P 500 lost 20.43 points, or 0.49 percent, to 4,153.42 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 121.39 points, or 0.9 percent, to 13,308.58.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index lost 0.05 percent and MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe shed 0.26 percent.

In the Treasury market, the yield on benchmark 10-year US Treasury notes was up 1 basis point at 1.645 percent, below a spike to 1.77 percent in late March.

The dollar was steady near recent lows as new restrictions in Asia to contain COVID-19 supported safe-haven currencies, while bitcoin extended its slide.

The dollar index fell 0.116 percent, with the euro up 0.12 percent at $1.2154.

Bitcoin dropped to a three-month low after Tesla Inc. boss Elon Musk suggested over the weekend that the electric automaker may have already sold some of its holdings in the digital currency.

Oil prices edged higher. Brent crude rose 56 cents, or 0.8 percent, to $69.27 a barrel, and West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude was up 63 cents, or 1 percent, at $66.

In China, meanwhile, retail sales rose 17.7 percent in April from a year earlier, although they fell short of forecasts for a jump of 24.9 percent, while industrial output matched expectations with a rise of 9.8 percent.

Gold prices climbed to their highest in more than three months on Monday. Spot gold jumped 1.3 percent to $1,866.45 per ounce, after hitting its highest since Feb. 1 at $1,867.15. US gold futures gained 1.5 percent to $1,866.40.

“There’s a flight to safety out of the equity markets ... and anticipation that we’re going to continue to see inflation numbers trend much stronger going forward,” said Jeffrey Sica, founder of Circle Squared Alternative Investments.

“The Fed is going to continue to hold on to the notion that the increase in inflation has to do more with the reopening of the economies than to do with any real inflation,” Sica said.

Gold is seen as a hedge against rising inflation. On a technical note, the gold market has breached the 200-day moving average and that’s supporting prices further, said Eli Tesfaye, senior market strategist at RJO Futures.

Elsewhere, platinum rose 0.7 percent to $1,234 per ounce.