Saudi Arabia biggest winner from US electric-vehicle startup boom as Lucid goes public

Saudi Arabia biggest winner from US electric-vehicle startup boom as Lucid goes public
Lucid’s expected market capitalization is nearly twice the valuation of Nissan Motor Co. (Supplied)
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Updated 21 July 2021

Saudi Arabia biggest winner from US electric-vehicle startup boom as Lucid goes public

Saudi Arabia biggest winner from US electric-vehicle startup boom as Lucid goes public
  • PIF will own more than 60 percent of Lucid after listing
  • Lucid expected to have a market cap of $36 billion

RIYADH: The kingdom of Saudi Arabia stands to record a profit of nearly $20 billion on a $2.9 billion investment in Lucid Motors Inc., a San Francisco Bay Area electric-car maker that is set to list publicly after it completes a merger with a special-purpose acquisition company Friday, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The Saudi Public Investment Fund will own over 60 percent of the company, which is expected to have a market capitalization of about $36 billion based on the SPAC’s current share price.

The listing represents the fruits of a well-timed 2018 investment in Lucid when it was struggling for survival. Its Saudi lifeline came thanks to Mohammed bin Salman, the crown prince who was pushing his country’s Public Investment Fund to spend unprecedented sums on startups as part of a bid to diversify the country’s wealth away from oil.

More recently, the Saudi investment in Lucid benefited from the meme stock phenomenon that has reshaped financial markets. A flood of amateur stock traders has pushed up prices of companies merging with SPACs, especially in the electric-vehicle space, as traders bet that startups will emulate Tesla Inc.’s stock market success leveraging the auto industry’s shift away from gasoline engines.

Lucid and the SPAC it is merging with, Churchill Capital Corp. IV, gained a particularly avid following on Reddit and Twitter. After the pending merger of the two companies was reported in January, an online frenzy pushed Churchill’s stock up more than 500 percent by February before shares retreated significantly.

Lucid’s expected market capitalization is nearly twice the valuation of Nissan Motor Co. and about two-thirds that of Ford Motor Co. , which delivered more than 4 million cars last year. Lucid has yet to sell any cars. It plans to start production later this year.

In all, more than 23 companies making electric vehicles or batteries have struck deals to go public through SPACs in the past year. The deals have raised over $17 billion for the companies, many of which have no revenue and have won over investors with projections of rapid growth. Lucid has said it expects revenue of $22 billion in 2026.

Lucid is substantially more valuable than any of the other US electric-vehicle startups that have gone public recently, and the Saudi gains are far and away the largest by total dollars. The second-most-valuable US company in the sector to list recently, battery maker QuantumScape Corp., is valued at around $9 billion. Large shareholder Volkswagen AG has logged a gain of over $1 billion on its $300 million investment in QuantumScape.

Lucid, Churchill and the Saudi Public Investment Fund declined to comment.

Lucid, formed in 2007, initially tried to make batteries before shifting its business model to making cars. For years, electric-vehicle companies weren’t en vogue among venture capitalists, and the company couldn’t find funding to build its factory.

Then Prince Mohammed embarked on a plan to sell some of the country’s state-owned oil company and plow the money into sectors including tech and electric vehicles. The Saudi fund held early talks about a possible buyout of Tesla in the summer of 2018 before later opting to take majority ownership in the much more nascent Lucid with an initial commitment of $1.3 billion. As part of the deal, Lucid committed to build a factory in Saudi Arabia, according to the company’s securities filings.


CFO of Novatek Firm arrested in U.S. on Tax charges more than $93 million

CFO of Novatek Firm arrested in U.S. on Tax charges more than $93 million
Updated 30 sec ago

CFO of Novatek Firm arrested in U.S. on Tax charges more than $93 million

CFO of Novatek Firm arrested in U.S. on Tax charges more than $93 million
  • Novatek has grown into a major competitor of Gazprom, produced last year, 18.8 million tons of liquefied natural gas, 5 percent of global output
  • The situation has absolutely no effect on Novatek’s operational and financial activities

RIYADH: The U.S. government has arrested Mark Gyetvay, the deputy chairman of the management board of Novatek, Russia’s second-largest natural gas producer, on federal tax charges for more than $93 million hidden in offshore accounts, according to the IRS statement.
 
The situation has absolutely no effect on Novatek’s operational and financial activities, adding that it isn’t involved in related litigation, the company said in WSJ about Mr. Gyetvay’s case.

Novatek has grown into a major competitor of Gazprom, produced last year, 18.8 million tons of liquefied natural gas, 5 percent of global output, WSJ said.
 
The arrest of Gyetvay, comes as Russia wrestles with European regulatory challenges to the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline running along the bed of the Baltic Sea, seen by opponents as a geopolitical tool, Nord Stream 2 will deliver Russian natural gas to Germany, WSJ added.


Japan's SMBC advising on Aramco's gas pipeline deal: CNBC Arabia

Japan's SMBC advising on Aramco's gas pipeline deal: CNBC Arabia
Image: Shutterstock
Updated 13 min 22 sec ago

Japan's SMBC advising on Aramco's gas pipeline deal: CNBC Arabia

Japan's SMBC advising on Aramco's gas pipeline deal: CNBC Arabia
  • A consortium of Asian investors are leading candidates to win the deal
  • The financing structure of the deal will be similar to the $12.4 billion oil pipeline deal

RIYADH: Saudi Aramco has selected Japan's Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC) to provide financial advice to the company in a $17-20 billion gas asset sale, CNBC Arabia reported, citing sources.

A consortium of Asian investors are leading candidates to win the deal, after Asian sovereign funds, primarily sovereign wealth funds from China, South Korea, and Singapore, entered negotiations the CNBC source said.

The American Brookfield Fund, which won the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) gas pipeline deal last year, is among potential investors.

The financing structure of the deal will be similar to the $12.4 billion oil pipeline deal, which was won by a coalition of investors led by EIG Global Energy, the source added.

The sources explained that the deal will be financed using $4 billion of issued shares, while the rest of the deal will be financed through loans from a group of banks.


PIF lender SRC acquires new housing portfolio from Banque Saudi Fransi

PIF lender SRC acquires new housing portfolio from Banque Saudi Fransi
A common residential area built above on the desert near the corniche park in the Dammam, Saudi Arabia (Shutterstock)
Updated 26 September 2021

PIF lender SRC acquires new housing portfolio from Banque Saudi Fransi

PIF lender SRC acquires new housing portfolio from Banque Saudi Fransi
  • It follows other partnerships with banks and real estate finance companies in the Kingdom
  • The company expects the acquisition to provide “long-term liquidity to the housing market”

DUBAI: The Saudi Real Estate Refinance Company has signed its second housing finance portfolio purchase with Banque Saudi Fransi.

The company, which is wholly owned by the Public Investment Fund, expects the acquisition to provide “long-term liquidity to the housing market.”

“We have illustrated to primary originators in the Kingdom the crucial role we play in developing the housing market and supporting their businesses through liquidity and risk management solutions,” SRC chief Fabrice Susini said.

It follows other partnerships with banks and real estate finance companies in the Kingdom, as SRC seeks to promote stability in the real estate finance market. 

“SRC has played a vital role in ensuring that the Vision 2030 housing program objectives are being met and we expect ourselves to play a significant role in this by supporting them,” Rayan Fayez, managing director and chief executive officer of BSF, said.


Bahrain’s Investcorp set to be a $100bn company in 7 years: CEO

Bahrain’s Investcorp set to be a $100bn company in 7 years: CEO
Image: Shutterstock
Updated 26 September 2021

Bahrain’s Investcorp set to be a $100bn company in 7 years: CEO

Bahrain’s Investcorp set to be a $100bn company in 7 years: CEO
  • Although America continues to be their biggest market, Asia is going to be very important in the future Investcorp
  • The company is currently pursuing a five-year growth plan

Bahrani investment company Investcorp has ambitious plans to be a 100-billion-dollar company in seven years, its chief Mohammed Al-Ardhi said, saying the company is currently valued at nearly $40 billion.

“We believe in about seven years we can get there [through] acquisitions, organic growth, joint ventures, [these] are things that we have done and we will continue to do,” he said in an interview with Bloomberg.

“We operate in America, North America and Europe, in the Gulf and in Asia. America and Europe are 80 percent of our markets at the moment,” Al-Ardhi added.

The company is currently pursuing a five-year growth plan.

“Obviously it is about changing our model for many years. We have served the retail investors in the deal-by-deal model. We would like to change that. So, we target sustainable capital, institutional capital,” he said.

“The structure of going private (delisting) is the right thing for us to do now as we prepare the company for the next stage of its growth,” he added.

Al-Ardhi added although America continues to be their biggest market, Asia is going to be very important in the future Investcorp.

“The growth that is happening on the scale that it is happening there is just something you cannot ignore. We started our businesses in India two years ago and in China, we have offices in both of these countries and in Singapore. In China, we have concentrated on the consumer, on technology, on food. In India, we have concentrated financial services on the consumers and health care,” he said.

“We see a lot of growth there and we see a lot of appetite of our investors to actually -whether retail or institutional- to get the opportunities that we can bring in India and China and Southeast Asia,” Al-Ardhi added.


Jadwa Investment eyes luxury Riyadh complex through new $98m REIT fund

Jadwa Investment eyes luxury Riyadh complex through new $98m REIT fund
Updated 26 September 2021

Jadwa Investment eyes luxury Riyadh complex through new $98m REIT fund

Jadwa Investment eyes luxury Riyadh complex through new $98m REIT fund
  • The Riyadh development consists of high-end office spaces, as well as a retail space with a hotel and a gym.
  • The offering is expected to raise equity of SR370 million ($98.6 million)

DUBAI: Advisory firm Jadwa Investment has launched the second offering of its real estate investment trust (REIT) Saudi fund to acquire a luxury retail and office complex in Riyadh.

The offering is expected to raise equity of SR370 million ($98.6 million), which will be used to purchase “The Boulevard.”

The Riyadh development consists of high-end office spaces, as well as a retail space with a hotel and a gym.

Once acquired, the complex will become one of the fund’s flagship properties, representing 13.4 percent of its assets. It is expected to generate a net rental income of SR29.6 million annually.

“We are pleased to offer our existing and potential clients the opportunity to invest in Jadwa REIT Saudi at an attractive price and to gain exposure to prime real estate assets across Saudi Arabia,” Tariq Al-Sudairy, chief executive officer and managing director of Jadwa Investment, said.

The Jadwa REIT Saudi Fund is a closed-end, Shariah-compliant fund with a term of 99 years and total gross assets value of SR2.19 billion.

The acquisition will push the fund’s assets by 16.9 percent to SR2.56 billion.