Saudi Aramco begins marketing first sukuk issue

Saudi Aramco begins marketing first sukuk issue
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The oil company said it had mandated several banks ahead of the planned debt sale. (Supplied)
Saudi Aramco begins marketing first sukuk issue
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Saudi Aramco told Tadawul that it had selected a group of financial institutions to organize a series of meetings with investors to market the bonds. (Getty Images)
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Updated 08 June 2021

Saudi Aramco begins marketing first sukuk issue

Saudi Aramco begins marketing first sukuk issue
  • A group of 13 banks are involved in the process, including some of the biggest names in finance

DUBAI: Saudi Aramco has begun the process of issuing a multibillion-dollar tranche of sukuk (Islamic bonds) on international capital markets.

The company told the Saudi Tadawul that it had selected a group of regional and global financial institutions to organize a series of meetings with investors to market the bonds. A group of 13 banks are involved in the process, including some of the biggest names in global finance.

The Tadawul filing said that the proceeds from the issuance of the bonds — in the form of trust certificates — “will be used by Saudi Aramco for general corporate purposes or for any other purpose specified in the final terms for a series of trust certificates.”

The offer price, rate of return and maturity of the bonds will be determined by market conditions decided by the conversions with investors.

Some reports said that Aramco would look to raise $5 billion from the issue, but the company declined to comment on the exact size or other terms of the issue.

HIGHLIGHTS

• Some reports said that Aramco would look to raise $5 billion from the issue, but the company declined to comment on the exact size or other terms of the issue.

• It is the first time Aramco has looked to raise capital on international markets in sukuk form, and reflects international appetite for Islamic bonds.

• Analysts expect that some of the issue could be used to help pay the group’s promised dividend, amounting to $75 billion, pledged in the 2019 initial public offering.

It is the first time Aramco has looked to raise capital on international markets in sukuk form, and reflects international appetite for Islamic bonds.

Analysts expect that some of the issue could be used to help pay the group’s promised dividend, amounting to $75 billion, pledged in the 2019 initial public offering.

The lenders listed among those mandated during a series of meetings on Monday included Alinma Invest, Al Rajhi Capital, BNP Paribas, Citi, First Abu Dhabi Bank, Goldman Sachs, HSBC, JP Morgan, Morgan Stanley, NCB Capital, Riyad Capital, SMBC Nikko and Standard Chartered Bank.

It may offer three tranches of notes due in three, five and 10 years, Bloomberg reported on Monday, citing a person familiar with the matter.

Saudi Aramco raised $8 billion in November from another non-Shariah-compliant debt sale. That followed a $12 billion sale a year earlier.

In March, Aramco announced the highest profit of any oil company in the world despite what chief executive Amin Nasser called an “unprecedented and difficult” year.

The company made $49 billion in 2020, when oil prices fluctuated more than at any time for decades, and demand plummeted in the pandemic recession. Free cash flow stood at $49 billion in 2020.

Aramco is one of several major Saudi companies expected to take part in the “Shareek” initiative to direct investment funds into the Kingdom’s multitrillion-dollar strategy to diversify the economy away from oil dependency.

Oil prices have recovered significantly since the depths of last year, with Brent crude trading above $71 per barrel on Monday.


Easing restrictions drive Middle East’s post-pandemic rebound, says ICAEW

Easing restrictions drive Middle East’s post-pandemic rebound, says ICAEW
Updated 23 min 23 sec ago

Easing restrictions drive Middle East’s post-pandemic rebound, says ICAEW

Easing restrictions drive Middle East’s post-pandemic rebound, says ICAEW
  • The report reveals that business confidence in the region has strengthened in recent months

DUBAI: The Middle East’s regional GDP will grow by 2.4 percent this year according to a report commissioned by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICEAW).
It represents a similar rate to the region’s average growth trajectory in the last decade, as countries double down on their pandemic exit strategies.
The report reveals that business confidence in the region has strengthened in recent months on the back of eased COVID-19-related restrictions and an energetic vaccine campaign.
Strong Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) readings indicate a positive outlook throughout the year, the report said.
This shows a marked improvement from the 4.4 percent economic contraction felt across the region last year.
The region can particularly benefit from the expected surge of travel demand once the rest of the world opens up, the report noted, with major global events set to happen in Dubai and Qatar.
“The outlook for most Middle Eastern economies looks positive this quarter, but keeping coronavirus levels low will be essential to ensure economies can return to growth,” the company’s regional director, Michael Armstrong, said.
He highlighted the need to continue diversification strategies to reduce reliance in the oil industry, which has seen gradual recovery from its performance in 2020.
“The rise in the oil price has boosted revenue prospects for GCC producers,” ICAEW Economic Adviser Scott Livermore, said.
“Higher oil revenue gives governments more scope to support post-pandemic recoveries without undermining efforts aimed at improving medium-term fiscal sustainability,” he added.


Quebec-based Robotel to add Arabic curriculum in its offering

Quebec-based Robotel to add Arabic curriculum in its offering
Updated 13 June 2021

Quebec-based Robotel to add Arabic curriculum in its offering

Quebec-based Robotel to add Arabic curriculum in its offering
  • The Quebec-based company said it would partner with Nexus Learn Arabic to develop the course
  • The pair want to finish the curriculum by 2022

DUBAI: Canadian education technology company Robotel is teaming up with a UK-based startup to develop an extensive Arabic language digital curriculum.
The Quebec-based company said it would partner with Nexus Learn Arabic to develop the course, as it expands its offerings to its client schools.
“We feel it is important to help bridge the cultural gap between North America, Europe and the Arabic culture, of which the language is a rich testimonial,” Yanick Demers, the company’s CEO said in a statement.
He added Robotel’s client schools have been asking for an Arabic curriculum. The company currently offers curricula in English, German, and Spanish.
The aim is to create a curriculum that will be the “go to” for schools in Europe, Middle East, Asia, and North America, Nexus Learn Arabic CEO Jamal Al-Tamimi said.
“We are currently entertaining opportunities for financing and strategic partnerships to help us achieve the goal of bringing best-in-class Arabic curriculum to schools,” he added.
The pair want to finish the curriculum by 2022.


Dammam smart parking to generate cash for Batic in second half as $320 project takes off

Dammam smart parking to generate cash for Batic in second half as $320 project takes off
Updated 13 June 2021

Dammam smart parking to generate cash for Batic in second half as $320 project takes off

Dammam smart parking to generate cash for Batic in second half as $320 project takes off
  • It follows a deal struck in 2019 and worth SR1.2 billion ($320 million) to develop and operate smart car parks in Dammam, Dhahran and Al Khobar

RIYADH: Batic Investment and Logistics Company said that its smart parking project in Dammam would start generating revenue from July 1.
It follows a deal struck in 2019 and worth SR1.2 billion ($320 million) to develop and operate smart car parks in Dammam, Dhahran and Al Khobar for 25 years.
It is part of a broader push to develop so-called smart cities in the Kingdom with major investments being channeled into technology aimed at improving the efficiency of municipal services.

 


Dur Hospitality and Taiba Investments mull merger

Dur Hospitality and Taiba Investments mull merger
Updated 13 June 2021

Dur Hospitality and Taiba Investments mull merger

Dur Hospitality and Taiba Investments mull merger
  • It comes amid a wave of merger and acquisition activity in the Kingdom and wider Gulf region as corporations reposition themselves in the post-pandemic world

RIYADH: Dur Hospitality and Taiba Investments said they would start preliminary discussions about a possible merger.

The pair made the disclosure in separate statements to the Saudi stock exchange on Sunday.
It comes amid a wave of merger and acquisition activity in the Kingdom and wider Gulf region as corporations reposition themselves in the post-pandemic world.
Dur develops, owns and manages hotels, restaurants, recreational centers and travel agencies. It also provides services to Umrah pilgrims, in addition to developing residential, hotel and commercial buildings, Argaam reported.
Its major shareholders include Assila Investments Co. with 27.14 percent, the Public Investment Fund (PIF) with 16.62 percent, and Mohamed Ibrahim Mohamed Al Issa with 12 percent, the financial website said.
Meanwhile Taiba is active in real estate, architectural and electrical contracting, maintenance and operation, agricultural, industrial and mining activities.
Its major shareholders include Asilah Investment Co. with 16.73 percent, Mohamed Saleh Hamza Serafy (15.55 percent), and Mohamed Ibrahim Mohamed Al Issa (7.41 percent), Argaam said.


SRMG unit inks 3-year media services contract worth $53.3m

SRMG unit inks 3-year media services contract worth $53.3m
Updated 13 June 2021

SRMG unit inks 3-year media services contract worth $53.3m

SRMG unit inks 3-year media services contract worth $53.3m
  • Under the contract, Taoq will provide media services, produce multilingual content, and provide consulting services

DUBAI: Taoq International Public Relations, a unit of the Saudi Research and Media Group (SRMG), has signed a three-year contract with an annual value of SR200 million ($53.3 million).
Under the contract, Taoq will provide media services, produce multilingual content, and provide consulting services, SRMG announced in a bourse filing.
The financial impact of the deal, signed with an unnamed commercial company in the media industry, is expected to appear in Q2 statements this year.