Saudi banks’ aggregate profit grows 14% in March

Saudi banks’ aggregate profit grows 14% in March
The outlook for Saudi banks and foreign banks operating in the Kingdom is expected to remain positive. (Shutterstock)
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Updated 01 May 2021

Saudi banks’ aggregate profit grows 14% in March

Saudi banks’ aggregate profit grows 14% in March
  • The data covers 11 listed banks and some foreign banks operating in the Kingdom

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia-listed banks reported a 14 percent rise in aggregate net profit before Zakat and tax to the tune of SR 4.02 billion in March 2021 as against SR 3.53 billion a year earlier, according to data from the Saudi Central Bank (SAMA).

The data covers 11 listed banks and some foreign banks operating in the Kingdom.

Banks' aggregate assets grew by over 11 percent year on year (YoY) to SR 3.035 trillion in March, combined deposits increased by 9 percent YoY to SR 1.980 trillion in the same month, whereas loans to the private sector saw an increase of 15 percent YoY to around SR 1.871 trillion by the end of March, financial news portal Argaam reported.

Talat Zaki Hafiz, financial analyst and banking expert, told Arab News: " the obvious reason for the aggregate reported net profit by Saudi banks to show a rise of 14 percent is the positive return back of the banking sector to the normal operations after a long period of lockdown (partially and completely) of more than than 70 days, between March and May last year due to the COVID19 pandemic as part of precautionary measures taken by the Saudi government to prevent the spread of the virus."

During the lockdown Saudi banks were able to serve its clients normally, despite the fact that in certain days of the lockdown the sector was operating with only 25 percent of its branches network capacity which exceeds in total 2000 branches Kingdom-wide, he added.

Saudi banks utilised technology and electronic payments to serve customers effectively as is evident from report by SAMA, which also indicated that the rate of e-payments for the retail sector - Individual Retail Payments by the end of July 2019, amounted more than 36 percent of all payments available, exceeding the targeted percentage of the financial sector development program (FSDP), one of the key programs of Saudi Vision 2030, he underlined.

FSDP stipulates that the share of non-cash transactions should be increased by 28 percent by 2020, he added.

"This achievement is based on SAMA's strategy for payment systems and the FSDP, which aims to enhance e-payment and reduce cash handling to reach 70 percent of total payments in the Kingdom by 2030," said Hafiz.

SAMA also pointed out that the record growth rates witnessed in the e-payments through the national payment system "Mada" is a result of Mada strategic plan, he added.

Launching Mada Atheer (NFC) service has had a major impact in enhancing e-payment, especially after the introduction of mobile payment services.

"These positive indicators were the result of SAMA's efforts to support use of electronic channels in cooperation with the local banking sector with the participation of relevant private service providers, as well as the constant cooperation of SAMA with government entities to promote e-payment," he added.

Dr. Osama Ghanem Al-Obaidy, Advisor and Professor of economic law at the Institute of Public Administration, Riyadh told Arab News: "The increase in net profits of Saudi banks and foreign banks operating in the Kingdom is due in part to corporate credit growth which picked up substantially in 2021 after the Public Investment Fund (PIF) programs helped generate additional business for contractors and credit to small and medium enterprises (SME)."

He said: "Saudi banks and foreign banks operating in the Kingdom outperformed their regional counterparts. This reflects the relatively low impact of the pandemic on the performance of Saudi banks loan books and higher growth of mortgage lending."

The outlook for Saudi banks and foreign banks operating in the Kingdom is expected to remain positive, he added.

This rise in net profits is also due to lower impairments and higher fees and commissions which is indicative of the Saudi economy’s resilience and recovery from the pandemic impact, he reasoned.

"Saudi banks have also benefited from an increase of their total operating income due to higher net commission income, invested related income and higher fees from banking services. Also mergers between Saudi banks such as the merger between the National Commercial Bank and Samba financial group will help increase such profits," said Al-Obaidy.


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 acquisition

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

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

Google-backed Firefly comes to the Middle East after Abu Dhabi acquisition
  • 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.

 


Saudi property developer Alandalus profits jump on office income

Saudi property developer Alandalus profits jump on office income
Updated 09 May 2021

Saudi property developer Alandalus profits jump on office income

Saudi property developer Alandalus profits jump on office income
  • Overall revenues gained by a fifth over the period, helped by the acquisition last June of QBIC Plaza in Riyadh

DUBAI: Saudi property developer Alandalus said first quarter net profit rose 55 percent to about SR19 million ($5.1 million), driven by its office business.
Overall revenues gained by a fifth over the period, helped by the acquisition last June of QBIC Plaza in Riyadh.
The high-end office complex located close to the intersection of King Abdulaziz Road with Northern Ring Branch Road in the Al-Ghadeer district of the capital, is fully leased to the Ministry of Housing for a period of three years.
“Despite the continuation of the pandemic and its effects on society, the company’s malls reported healthy footfall rates, which contributed to achieving positive results in the first quarter of the year,” said Alandalus CEO Hathal bin Saad Al-Otaibi. “We also affirm the continuity of the company’s strategic approach to maintaining our tenant mix and progressing steadily toward achieving our future targets, God willing. “
The developer’s offices and malls business helped to compensate for the impact of the pandemic on its hospitality unit where occupancy levels fell.