SAGO sells mills to UAE investors as part of KSA’s ongoing privatization drive

SAGO sells mills to UAE investors as part of KSA’s ongoing privatization drive
Food security is a key agenda item for Middle East governments. (SPA)
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Updated 08 April 2021

SAGO sells mills to UAE investors as part of KSA’s ongoing privatization drive

SAGO sells mills to UAE investors as part of KSA’s ongoing privatization drive
  • National Center for Privatization is aiming to raise $4bn this year through state asset sales

RIYADH: The Saudi Grains Organization (SAGO) and the National Center for Privatization (NCP) announced on Thursday that the Third Milling Co. (MC3) has been sold to a consortium of UAE investors.

The consortium, which includes Ghurair Investment (AGI), Al Rajhi Holding Group and Masafi, acquired MC3 following a competitive tender process led by SAGO and the NCP.

SAGO will continue to oversee MC3 in its remit as the regulator of the Kingdom’s milling sector and its main importer and supplier of wheat, barley and other grains.

The flour milling sector represents one of the key sectors for full privatization in line with Saudi Vision 2030, and the completion of the acquisition is a significant step in the country’s privatization agenda.

Commenting on the deal, John Iossifidis, group CEO of AGI, said: “The completion of the strategic acquisition of MC3 marks a milestone in the move toward the privatization of crucial sectors, and aligns to AGI’s strategy to support governments as they seek to enhance food security throughout the region.

“We are grateful to the NCP, SAGO and our consortium partners for their trust in our commitment to advancing the development of the grains sector. AGI has a long and proud history in the flour sector, having established Dubai’s first milling company in 1976. We look forward to bringing this experience to Saudi Arabia and leveraging it to spur the growth and diversification of MC3,” he added.

Djamal Djouhri, CEO of Al Ghurair Foods, commented: “Monetizing public assets is a key agenda item for governments across the Middle East, as is food security as they seek to boost competitiveness, product diversity and operational efficiency.

Esmail Al-Sallom, chief investment officer at Al Rajhi Holding Group, said: “This is a historic transaction which is a major step toward the Kingdom’s vision to increase private sector participation in the Saudi economy. Al Rajhi Holding Group aims to leverage on its experience … to improve operational efficiency and performance, drive new product development, enhance distribution networks, increase market penetration, and enrich the overall consumer experience.”

While the valuation of this latest deal was not revealed, Al-Raha Al-Safi Food Co. announced the acquisition of First Milling Co. (MC1) in January for $540 million, a deal also facilitated by the NCP and SAGO.

MC1 is the largest of the Kingdom’s four milling companies, and the sale was also part of SAGO’s planned privatization of Saudi flour mills and grain silos previously owned by the Public Investment Fund, the sovereign wealth fund of Saudi Arabia.

Last month, the Saudi Cabinet announced plans to privatize 16 key industries, including in the environmental, water and agricultural, transportation, energy, industry and mineral wealth, labor and social development, housing, education, health, municipalities, Hajj and Umrah, communications and information technology, media, sports, interior and finance sectors.

“We are working with all the sectors targeted for privatization. Several projects have been recently selected and launched in … health, education, transport, municipalities, environment, water and agriculture and human resources and social development,” Hani Alsaigh, director general of strategic communication and marketing at the NCP, told Arab News.

In January the NCP announced it had raised SR3 billion ($800 million) in revenue from sale of state assets in 2020 and aimed to make approximately SR15 billion or more in 2021


Emirates converts 16 passenger planes to carry cargo

Emirates converts 16 passenger planes to carry cargo
Updated 09 May 2021

Emirates converts 16 passenger planes to carry cargo

Emirates converts 16 passenger planes to carry cargo
  • It comes as some big airlines are faced with competing forces of supply and demand in the cabins and bellies of their aircraft

DUBAI: Emirates has converted 16 passenger planes to transport cargo and is also using some of its fleet to carry goods in the cabin.
Nabil Sultan, Emirates SkyCargo divisional senior vice president said the airline was studying its capacity, in an interview with Bloomberg TV on Sunday.
“So far we have converted 16 passenger aircraft to fully cargo flights,” he said. “We also use the remaining fleet, where we have put cargo in the main cabin, especially to move essential PPE goods and various other medical material.”
It comes as some big airlines are faced with competing forces of supply and demand in the cabins and bellies of their aircraft — as cargo volumes accelerate while at the same time passenger numbers remain subdued.
Earlier on Sunday Emirates said it would begin shipping aid for free into India to help fight the coronavirus.
It comes as air cargo demand has risen to its highest recorded level ever in the wake of the pandemic.


Turkish research group faces criminal charges over inflation data

Turkish research group faces criminal charges over inflation data
Updated 09 May 2021

Turkish research group faces criminal charges over inflation data

Turkish research group faces criminal charges over inflation data
  • The group started publishing its own inflation data in September amid claims from opposition parties that the official agency is under-reporting price increases

DUBAI: Turkey’s statistics agency filed a criminal complaint against a group of local researchers publishing alternative inflation data, Bloomberg reported.

The government body demanded ENAGroup, an independent inflation research group, be fined for “purposefully defaming” the official statistics institution and “misguiding public opinion,” according to documents seen by the news wire.
The group started publishing its own inflation data in September amid claims from opposition parties that the official agency is under-reporting price increases, Bloomberg said
ENAGroup’s inflation figures are higher than the official data. Its consumer price index rose 2.62 percent in April from a month earlier, more than double the 1.1 percent reported by the official agency. The group reported an annual inflation rate of 36.7 percent for 2020, Bloomberg reported.
Turkey’s Treasury and Finance Minister Lutfi Elvan said that the statistics agency filed a complaint against a group “for the first time in the history of the Turkish Republic.”
The group aims to “damage and discredit the Turkish Statistical Institute” by spreading misleading data that are used by opposition parties, Elvan said.

 


Abu Dhabi's ADNOC said to invite banks to pitch for bookrunner roles for drilling unit IPO

Abu Dhabi's ADNOC said to invite banks to pitch for bookrunner roles for drilling unit IPO
Updated 09 May 2021

Abu Dhabi's ADNOC said to invite banks to pitch for bookrunner roles for drilling unit IPO

Abu Dhabi's ADNOC said to invite banks to pitch for bookrunner roles for drilling unit IPO
  • ADNOC is planning to take the unit public in the third quarter
  • ADNOC Drilling owns and operates a large fleet of rigs

DUBAI: Abu Dhabi National Oil Co (ADNOC) has invited investment banks to pitch for bookrunner roles for the initial public offering of its drilling unit, two sources told Reuters on Sunday.
The oil giant invited a handful of international and local banks to take part in the process of the public share sale of ADNOC Drilling, which is due later this month, they said.
ADNOC is planning to take the unit public in the third quarter, they added. One of the sources previously said ADNOC could raise at least $1 billion from the share sale.
ADNOC, which supplies nearly 3 percent of global oil demand, declined to comment when contacted by Reuters on Sunday.
ADNOC Drilling owns and operates a large fleet of rigs, including 75 onshore rigs, 20 offshore jackup rigs, and 11 well water rigs, according to its website.
The drilling business is critical for ADNOC’s upstream operations, helping the oil company reach its production targets.
ADNOC Chief Executive Sultan Al-Jaber has been chief architect of the transformation strategy the company embarked on more than four years ago, building an investment team to monetise assets and raise funds from international private equity groups.
It is also planning to float Fertiglobe, a fertiliser joint venture with Dutch-listed chemical producer OCI later this year.


Google-backed Firefly comes to the Middle East after Abu Dhabi deal

Google-backed Firefly comes to the Middle East after Abu Dhabi deal
Updated 09 May 2021

Google-backed Firefly comes to the Middle East after Abu Dhabi deal

Google-backed Firefly comes to the Middle East after Abu Dhabi deal
  • IHC-owned Multiply Marketing Consultancy (MMC) acquired the minority stake in the company

DUBAI: A unit of Abu Dhabi’s International Holding Company (IHC) has acquired a stake in Google-backed Firefly, which provides street-level digital media on taxis and rideshare vehicles.
IHC-owned Multiply Marketing Consultancy (MMC) acquired the minority stake in the company, it said in a stock exchange filing on Sunday.
Firefly operates across major US cities, working with major taxi and rideshare companies to install advertising displays atop their vehicles.
The proprietary screens feature content based on location, and are Internet-enabled. The platform attracts millions of impressions per month, according to a statement.
The deal will expand the company’s operations in the Middle East, and will set up an office within MMC’s Abu Dhabi headquarters.
“Investments in our communications vertical ensure that our media teams are servicing our local clients with the latest, most innovative and analytically-precise technology available on the market,” MMC chief Samia Bouazza said.
Gulf governments are ramping up their technology investments in a regional race for supremacy in the sector which is seen as a critical path to economic diversification.
Firefly will become part of Multiply Group’s communications vertical, which includes global agency MMC, Viola, as well as other minority stakes in companies such as Yieldmo, a digital advertising and attention analytics company.


ADQ-owned Senaat offers to merge Arkan Building Materials with Emirates Steel

ADQ-owned Senaat offers to merge Arkan Building Materials with Emirates Steel
Updated 09 May 2021

ADQ-owned Senaat offers to merge Arkan Building Materials with Emirates Steel

ADQ-owned Senaat offers to merge Arkan Building Materials with Emirates Steel
  • The proposed deal implies an equity value for Arkan of about 1.4 billion dirhams

DUBAI: Abu Dhabi industrial conglomerate Senaat has submitted an offer to Arkan Building Materials to merge it with its own Emirates Steel unit.
Under the proposed deal, Emirates Steel would be transferred to Arkan in consideration of a convertible instrument which would on the closing of the deal convert to 5.1 billion ordinary shares at a fixed price of 0.798 dirhams per share in Arkan’s capital.
The proposed deal implies an equity value for Arkan of about 1.4 billion dirhams, the building materials company said in a filing to the Abu Dhabi stock exchange.
Post completion, ADQ-owned Senaat would own approximately 87.5 percent of the entire issued share capital of the combined group
Should an agreement be reached between the two parties, a general assembly meeting would consider approving the transaction during the second half of this year, Arkan said in the statement.
Emirates Steel is a leading integrated steel manufacturer in the Middle East region, based in Abu Dhabi.