ESG investing makes business sense: Saudi PIF chief

ESG investing makes business sense: Saudi PIF chief
Al-Rumayyan, who also chairs the FII Institute, said that ESG investing should grow in tandem with the sustainable development goals (SDGs). (AFP)
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Updated 15 April 2021

ESG investing makes business sense: Saudi PIF chief

ESG investing makes business sense: Saudi PIF chief
  • The PIF has already incorporated ESG principles into its $400 billion worth of global investments as the sector gains in prominence throughout the region

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) Governor Yasir Al-Rumayyan said that environmental, social, and governance (ESG) programs made solid business sense in the Kingdom and worldwide.
“Such action not only helps in protecting climate but also helps economically,” he said during the Future Investment Initiative (FII) Institute’s ESG virtual event on Thursday.
The PIF has already incorporated ESG principles into its $400 billion worth of global investments as the sector gains in prominence throughout the region.
Al-Rumayyan, who also chairs the FII Institute, said that ESG investing should grow in tandem with the sustainable development goals (SDGs) which were adopted by UN member states in 2015 as a universal call to action to end poverty and protect the planet.
“We need to work together on mobilizing ESG for a sustainable future,” he told delegates.
Developing the renewable energy sector was crucial to reducing emissions, he said, highlighting the Fund’s work with ACWA Power, a leading global player in the renewables sector. The PIF in November increased its stake in the company to 50 percent, part of a move to support the wider renewables sector in the Kingdom.
ACWA Power is planning an initial public offering and heads a consortium that will build and operate renewable power-based utilities at the Kingdom’s flagship Red Sea tourism project.
Al-Rumayyan also referred to the Saudi Green Initiative and Middle East Green Initiative to reduce carbon and contribute to protecting the planet as an example of the Kingdom’s progress, which were announced by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in late March.
The green initiatives aim to reduce carbon emissions by 60 percent in the region and deliver the world’s biggest afforestation project. The tree-planting project will be double the size of the Great Green Wall in the Sahel region, the second-biggest regional forestry initiative. The initiative will also work to increase the percentage of protected land to more than 30 percent, exceeding the global target of 17 percent per country.
It aims to reduce carbon emissions by more than four percent of global contributions through renewable energy projects that will provide 50 percent of the Kingdom’s electricity production by 2030.
The initiative is expected to eliminate more than 130 million tons of carbon emissions by using clean hydrocarbon technologies.
The PIF governor said such initiatives represented a clear and ambitious roadmap and would contribute to achieving global targets on combating climate change. He said the Kingdom will raise vegetation cover, reduce emissions, and preserve marine life as part of its efforts to deliver a more sustainable future.
Thought leaders in sustainable investment gathered virtually in Riyadh on Thursday to explore one of the hottest topics in the world of finance — the move to environmental, social and governance (ESG) benchmarks by big global investors.
The event, under the auspices of the Future Investment Initiative (FII) Institute, focuses attention on sustainable investment in the post-pandemic recovery, and the role of emerging markets like Saudi Arabia within the new investment philosophy.
ESG investing has recently taken off, attracting hundreds of billions of dollars into funds that pledge to weigh broader considerations when deciding where to put their money, rather than mere cash returns.
Richard Attias, chief executive of the FII Institute, said: “Although ESG has proven its worth, much remains to be done to ensure we use it to its full potential. The low level of inclusion and participation of emerging markets in the development of ESG frameworks is counterproductive to global sustainability.
“Perhaps the most challenging task, and one that we will address during this event, is how we push ourselves to think beyond ESG as a risk management tool and deploy it to create a truly sustainable future,” he added.

 


Sadara first quarter profit surges on chemical prices increase, debt rejig

Sadara first quarter profit surges on chemical prices increase, debt rejig
Updated 20 min 12 sec ago

Sadara first quarter profit surges on chemical prices increase, debt rejig

Sadara first quarter profit surges on chemical prices increase, debt rejig
  • Q1 comprehensive income was SR2.04 billion vs. a loss of SR2.24 billion
  • Sadara booked a gain of SR1.05 billion on debt restructuring

DUBAI: Sadara Chemical Company reported a surge in profit in the first quarter as the price of its products increased and it booked a sizeable gain from the restructuring of its debts.
First quarter total comprehensive income rose to SR2.04 billion ($544 million) compared with a loss of SR2.24 billion in the year-earlier period and a profit of SR109 million in the fourth quarter of 2020, Sadara said in a filing to the Tadawul.
Revenue increased 80 percent year on year and 31 percent from the previous quarter to SR4.42 billion. Profit per share was SR0.44, compared with a loss of SR0.37 a year earlier.
The improved performance was attributed to “higher selling prices, continuous financial discipline, and the recognition of a modification gain of SR1.05 billion from debt re-profiling,” the company said.
Sadara, a joint venture between Saudi Aramco and Dow Chemical, joins other Tadawul-listed Saudi petrochemical producers in reporting a rebound in first-quarter profit.
The sector reported net profits of SR8.5 billion in Q1 compared with collective losses of SR3.2 billion over the same period in 2020, according to data from financial information website Argaam.
Saudi petrochemicals giant SABIC, which accounts for 57 percent of total earnings in the sector, last month reported that its Q1 profits had more than doubled to SR4.86 billion compared to the previous quarter and rebounding from a loss of SR1.05 billion in Q1 2020.
Nine petrochemical companies, including SABIC, were back in the black after reporting losses last year.
Saudi Aramco said in late March it restructured its debt financing for Sadara Chemical Company. The Saudi national oil company also said an agreement had been reached to allocate more natural gas feedstock to the joint venture, which has been building the world’s biggest chemical complex ever delivered in a single phase, in Jubail.
Sahara International Petrochemical Company (Sipchem), which had reported profit after Zakat and tax of SR451 million, said today it had delivered SR136 million in synergies in 2020, or 78 percent of its target in half the timeframe.
Saudi International Petrochemical Company completed its $2 billion merger with Sahara in May 2019. It has a goal of SR175 million of synergies by May 20222, it said in an investor presentation.


UAE’s Etisalat to raise €1 billion with two-tranche bonds

UAE’s Etisalat to raise €1 billion with two-tranche bonds
Updated 06 May 2021

UAE’s Etisalat to raise €1 billion with two-tranche bonds

UAE’s Etisalat to raise €1 billion with two-tranche bonds

Abu Dhabi-based telecoms operator Etisalat is set to raise €1 billion ($1.2 billion) in dual-tranche bonds on Thursday, a document from one of the banks leading the deal showed.
The company plans to raise €500 million in seven-year notes and a further €500 million with a 12-year maturity, according to the document reviewed by Reuters.
The seven-year notes were being marketed at about 85 basis points over mid-swaps, with the 12-year tranche at about 110 bps over.
HSBC, BNP Paribas, First Abu Dhabi Bank and Societe Generale have been hired to arrange the transaction, which is expected to close later on Thursday.


Egypt PMI fell in April to lowest level in 9 months

Egypt PMI fell in April to lowest level in 9 months
Updated 06 May 2021

Egypt PMI fell in April to lowest level in 9 months

Egypt PMI fell in April to lowest level in 9 months
  • PMI fell to 47.7 in April from 48 in March, IHS Markit said
  • Output, new orders and employment all fell in April

RIYADH: Egypt’s non-oil private sector economic conditions worsened in April by the most since June 2020, according to IHS Markit.

The Egypt Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) fell to 47.7 in April from 48.0 in March, its fifth consecutive month below the 50 mark that separates expansion from contraction, IHS Market said.

Sub-indexes showed declines in output, new orders and employment as rising global raw material costs pushed inflation to the fastest pace since September 2019.

The level of new export orders received by Egyptian companies increased strongly during April, which purchasing managers attributed to an improvement in activity across foreign markets.

However, expectations for future output fell significantly in April, as a rise in domestic coronavirus cases and concerns about financial liquidity damped optimism, IHS Markit said.


Aramex profits hit by supply chain disruptions as new CEO unveiled

Aramex profits hit by supply chain disruptions as new CEO unveiled
Updated 06 May 2021

Aramex profits hit by supply chain disruptions as new CEO unveiled

Aramex profits hit by supply chain disruptions as new CEO unveiled
  • Q1 net profit fell 32 percent to 46 million dirhams
  • Revenue jumped 24 percent to 1.42 billion dirhams

DUBAI: Aramex failed to turn a surge in demand from e-commerce into profits as pandemic-related capacity constraints squeezed margins in the first quarter.
Q1 net profit fell 32 percent to 46 million dirhams ($12.5 million) even as revenues jumped 24 percent to 1.42 billion dirhams, the Dubai-based logistics company said in a filing to the Dubai Financial Market.
The increase in revenue was driven by a 35 percent gain in its International Express business to 647 million dirhams as cross-border e-commerce in the US, UK, Hong Kong and other Asian markets gathered pace. Its domestic express business grew 23 percent to 356 million dirhams, where e-commerce activity in Saudi Arabia was a major driver.
“The impact of COVID-19 continues to weigh on our operating margins because of relatively high line haul costs,” CEO Bashar Obeid said in the DFM filing. “The downward pressure on margins will likely continue for the remainder of the year, however, will slowly start to abate as we continue to explore ways and redesign our line haul network.”
Aramex also announced that Othman Aljeda will replace Obeid as CEO following an undisclosed transition period. Obeid resigned on April 29 after 28 years with the company and four years in the top job, citing personal reasons.


Bahrain may follow other Gulf states by selling oil pipeline assets

Bahrain may follow other Gulf states by selling oil pipeline assets
Updated 06 May 2021

Bahrain may follow other Gulf states by selling oil pipeline assets

Bahrain may follow other Gulf states by selling oil pipeline assets
  • Flurry of energy asset sales in recent weeks
  • Bahrain’s new petrochemical plant will use naphtha

RIYADH: Bahrain may follow other Gulf states and sell energy assets to bolster its economy after last year’s crash in oil prices, Bloomberg reported
“We’ve got a lot of infrastructure assets that can easily be” structured to raise funding, Oil Minister Mohammed bin Khalifa Al-Khalifa said in an interview. “We’ve been looking at this for some time. We haven’t made a decision yet,” he added.
A pipeline connecting the island-nation to Saudi Arabia would be “ideal” for a private-equity transaction, while a ship for importing liquefied natural gas and upstream assets could also be used to raise money, he said.
In recent weeks, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Qatar, Oman and Kuwait have all accelerated multi-billion-dollar plans to sell energy assets or issue bonds off the back of them, Bloomberg said.
The region’s state energy producers are in a strong position because demand for infrastructure assets, which tend to have steady returns, is high, Al Khalifa said.
“There seems to be a large pool of capital interested in this, despite all the challenges with the environmental drive,” he said.
Al-Khalifa said that the government is in talks with international firms about them investing in a petrochemical plant that will cost as much as $2 billion to build, the news site said.
Bahrain’s new petrochemical plant will use naphtha from a nearby refinery, whose capacity is being expanded from 270,000 oil barrels a day to 400,000. The expansion should be finished in around 18 months, Bloomberg reported.