Bahrain sees 140% rise in government health contracts

Bahrain sees 140% rise in government health contracts
Despite the overall drop in the value of tenders awarded, the ministry awarded 137 tenders valued at $298.1 million. (Shutterstock)
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Updated 17 March 2021

Bahrain sees 140% rise in government health contracts

Bahrain sees 140% rise in government health contracts
  • While overall value of tenders dropped 14%, Ministry of Health spending soared in fight against COVID-19

DUBAI: Bahrain’s Ministry of Health reported a 140 percent year-on-year increase in the total value of tenders awarded last year, as the country ramped up its expenditure to combat the spread of COVID-19.

According to figures released on Wednesday by Bahrain’s Tender Board — the country’s government procurement regulator — 1,688 tenders worth $4.1 billion were issued last year. This compares to a total value of $4.8 billion in 2019, a year-on-year drop of 14.58 percent.

Despite the overall drop in the value of tenders awarded, the ministry awarded 137 tenders valued at $298.1 million, compared to 93 tenders valued at some $123.8 million in 2019.

“This surge in spending is attributed to the Kingdom’s robust and rapid COVID-19 response in many fronts, including a track and trace app, extensive testing, vaccinations, hospital robots, car park conversions to hospitals and more,” the Tender Board said in a statement.

Gulf Daily News reported that Bahrain registered 682 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, bringing the total number to 131,683.

It has also carried out 3,321,242 tests. The death of a 50-year-old expat brought the number of deaths to 485.

Analysis of the tenders issued last year showed that the oil and gas sector dominated with 228 tenders worth $1.6 billion, followed by the construction and engineering industry (317 tenders worth $875.7 million).

While the total value of tenders issued within the services sector amounted to $424.8 million, it dominated in terms of the number of contracts, with 599 tenders.

Shaikh Nayef bin Khalid Al-Khalifa, chairman of the Tender Board, said 2020 “has proven one of the most challenging and unpredictable years globally for businesses in all sectors across the board. Despite these less-than-friendly conditions, throughout the year Bahrain awarded an impressive 1,688 contracts valued at well over $4 billion.”

Bahrain’s “extensive, multibillion-dollar pipeline of infrastructure projects is a case in point, and has driven the consistently high value of contracts in our thriving construction and engineering sector throughout the year,” he added.

 


Aramco CEO says energy transition not going smoothly: Reuters

Aramco CEO says energy transition not going smoothly: Reuters
Updated 27 January 2022

Aramco CEO says energy transition not going smoothly: Reuters

Aramco CEO says energy transition not going smoothly: Reuters

BEIRUT: Saudi Aramco CEO Amin Nasser said on Thursday that the energy transition “was not going smoothly,” pointing to a resurgence in demand for oil and gas as the global economy recovers while supplies lag on the back of falling investment, according to Reuters.

“We all agree that to move towards a sustainable energy future a smooth energy transition is absolutely essential but we must also consider the complexities and challenges to get there,” he told the B20 conference in Indonesia via video link.

“We have to acknowledge that the current transition is not going smoothly,” he said.

- Reuters


SNB board recommends dividends of over $1bn for the second half of 2021

SNB board recommends dividends of over $1bn for the second half of 2021
Updated 27 January 2022

SNB board recommends dividends of over $1bn for the second half of 2021

SNB board recommends dividends of over $1bn for the second half of 2021

RIYADH: Saudi National Bank, the Kingdom’s biggest lender, said its board has recommended cash dividends of SR4.03 billion ($1.1 billion), or 9 percent of capital, for the second half of 2021.

SNB’s shareholders will receive SR0.9 per share, with a total amount of 4.48 billion shares eligible for dividends, a bourse statement by the bank revealed.

This brings the annual dividend yield to 2.12 percent, based on a share price of SR73, given the bank paid out SR0.65 per share for the first half of the same year.

The distribution date is yet to be disclosed, according to the statement.


Data-led innovation needed to help Saudi firms process information, says Dell ahead of LEAP

Data-led innovation needed to help Saudi firms process information, says Dell ahead of LEAP
Updated 27 January 2022

Data-led innovation needed to help Saudi firms process information, says Dell ahead of LEAP

Data-led innovation needed to help Saudi firms process information, says Dell ahead of LEAP

RIYADH: The majority of Saudi businesses gather data faster than it can be analyzed and used, Dell Technologies has warned ahead of the LEAP tech event being held in Riyadh from Feb. 1-3.

The US firm is set to take part in the forum, which is focused on future and disruptive technologies.

Ahead of the event, Mohamed Talaat, vice president in Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Levant at Dell Technologies, pointed to research by his company in 2021 that showed 70 percent of Saudi respondents have data-driven business and consider data as the lifeblood of their organisation.

However, 59 percent said they were gathering data faster than they could analyze and use.

Talaat said: “Saudi Arabia today stands at the threshold of change, underpinned by the nation’s ambitious vision and drive to transform, innovate and build a legacy for generations to come.

“Dell Technologies remains committed to advancing the country’s transformation agenda. We're empowering local organizations with end-to-end infrastructure and client solutions. They not only support a data-driven work culture, but are also capable of predicting the future and achieving better business results.”


Pandemic fast food orders see Saudi chain Herfy triple profits in 2021

Pandemic fast food orders see Saudi chain Herfy triple profits in 2021
Updated 27 January 2022

Pandemic fast food orders see Saudi chain Herfy triple profits in 2021

Pandemic fast food orders see Saudi chain Herfy triple profits in 2021

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s largest food chain, Herfy Food Service Co. has seen over a threefold rise in its estimated annual profit for 2021, after a surge in its sales during the pandemic.

The estimated net profit amounted to SR162 million ($43.2 million), compared to SR52.8 million a year earlier, according to a bourse filing.

The hike was propelled by a jump in sales of 22 percent, reaching more than SR1.3 billion, as well as a fall in general and administrative expenses.

This came despite a decrease in other income and higher selling and marketing expenses, the Riyadh-based food chain owner said in a bourse statement.

Herfy Food Services was established in 1981, and the first Herfy restaurant opened in Riyadh that same year.


Shares in SoftBank trading at their lowest level since May 2020

Shares in SoftBank trading at their lowest level since May 2020
Updated 27 January 2022

Shares in SoftBank trading at their lowest level since May 2020

Shares in SoftBank trading at their lowest level since May 2020

RIYADH: Japan's SoftBank, backed by the Saudi Public Investment Fund was among the most significant victims of the tech stock sell-off across Asia on Thursday, Bloomberg reported.

Investors turned on billionaire Masayoshi Son's company as the tightening phase of central bank policies unfolded.

The stock dropped as much as 9.8 percent in Tokyo, the most since March 2020, as Nasdaq futures tumbled and shares of the firm’s biggest investment, Alibaba Group, dropped in Hong Kong.

Hawkish signals from Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell led investors to bet against technology companies, which have powered much of the recent growth in global markets: something SoftBank has been gambling on with its Vision Funds of speculative tech bets.

“SoftBank is a poster child of a firm highly leveraged to the current asset bubbles,” wrote Amir Anvarzadeh, senior strategist at Asymmetric Advisors Pte, who recommends shorting the stock.

“This latest lurch down in its value could add further pressure on its financing structure.”

Shares in SoftBank traded at their lowest level since May 2020, with reports that a planned sale of its Arm chip unit to Nvidia was likely to fall through also weighing on the stock.

Analysts pointed out that the failure of the deal may lead to a credit downgrade.