Saudi Arabia suspended world’s largest desalination and power plant privatization due to pandemic — official

Saudi Arabia suspended world’s largest desalination and power plant privatization due to pandemic — official
The cancellation of the privatization project was announced on July 26. (Reuters)
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Updated 30 July 2021

Saudi Arabia suspended world’s largest desalination and power plant privatization due to pandemic — official

Saudi Arabia suspended world’s largest desalination and power plant privatization due to pandemic — official
  • Pandemic repercussions affected response of bidders to a project the size of Ras Al-Khair plant

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia has suspended the privatization of Ras Al Khair Desalination and Power Plant due to the repercussions of the coronavirus pandemic, which slowed the responses it got from bidders, National Center for Privatization & PPP CEO Rayyan Nagadi said.

“It is clear that the pandemic repercussions affected the response of companies in the world to a project of the size of the Ras Al-Khair plant,” he said.

Suspension of the world’s biggest desalination and power plant privatization was announced by the Privatization Supervisory Committee for the Environment, Water and Agriculture on Monday.

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Reaching the decision to cancel the project had passed through stages that took into account that the desalination assets had developed their own strategies for a long time, and the tender process began in the summer of 2020.

This decision was made to capitalize on knowledge and capacity built in the Kingdom as a result of many years of experience in the areas of water desalination, new technologies, R&D and supply chains, the committee said at the time.

Reaching the decision to cancel the project had passed through stages that took into account that the desalination assets had developed their own strategies for a long time, and the tender process began in the summer of 2020 through the development of studies, with the interest of local and international developers, he told Al Arabiya on Wednesday.

The country aims at launching such major projects with efficiency, and will resume privatization of other projects in other sectors, including the education sector, said Nagadi.

Several ministries are working on initiatives aimed at facilitating the process of establishing companies, and facilitating the process of participation from the private sector, all in the context of strengthening the privatization environment in the Kingdom, he said.


Dubai’s SHUAA to complete $2.7bn London property deals ahead of prices uptick

Dubai’s SHUAA to complete $2.7bn London property deals ahead of prices uptick
Updated 28 sec ago

Dubai’s SHUAA to complete $2.7bn London property deals ahead of prices uptick

Dubai’s SHUAA to complete $2.7bn London property deals ahead of prices uptick
  • The company is making the investment as property prices in the centre of the UK’s capital are predicted to increase by seven percent in 2022

DUBAI: Asset management and investment platform SHUAA Capital is planning to complete and deliver 2 billion pounds ($2.7 billion) worth of property developments in London within the next eight months as the UK capital braces itself for post-pandemic growth.

It plans to do so through its subsidiary Northacre, which is currently building two mix-used properties in the British capital - No. 1 Palace Street and The Broadway, SHUAA said in a statement. Both projects are located in prime locations in Central London, offering views of Buckingham Palace, as well as other iconic landmarks such as the Big Ben. 

“The significant growth of SHUAA’s real estate portfolio in the UK reflects its effective strategic vision to create opportunities that deliver long term value with high returns,” its chief executive officer of real estate, Walid El-Hindi, said. 

The company is making the investment as property prices in the centre of the UK’s capital are predicted to increase by seven percent in 2022, according to analysis by property market insight company Knight Frank.

The firm has also revealed that August saw the number of international buyers and tenants searching for UK property reaching its highest level since before the pandemic.

Northacre will unveil the first show apartment in The Broadway in October, and it will also launch a 116,000 square foot commercial space, as well as a 27,000 square foot retail space that will house wellness activities. 

Group CEO of SHUAA said: “As major investors in the prime London property market, we are delighted that the fruits of our long-term vision are now becoming a reality.”


Hungary, Russia's Gazprom expected to sign gas supply deal on Monday

Hungary, Russia's Gazprom expected to sign gas supply deal on Monday
Image: Shutterstock
Updated 50 min 7 sec ago

Hungary, Russia's Gazprom expected to sign gas supply deal on Monday

Hungary, Russia's Gazprom expected to sign gas supply deal on Monday
  • Alexei Miller, boss of Russian supplier Gazprom, is in Budapest for a visit, with the signing ceremony due later
  • Gazprom would ship 4.5 billion cubic metres of natural gas to Hungary annually, via two routes

Hungary's foreign minister and the head of Russian gas giant Gazprom are expected to sign a new long-term gas supply deal for Hungary later on Monday in Budapest, an invitation from the foreign ministry showed.


Alexei Miller, boss of Russian supplier Gazprom, is in Budapest for a visit, with the signing ceremony due later.


Hungary said at the end of last month that it had agreed with Russia on all the conditions for a new long-term gas supply deal to take effect from Oct. 1. 


Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said at the end of August that the agreement with Gazprom would be for 15 years, with an option to modify purchased quantities after 10 years.


He said the price had been agreed as well and Gazprom would ship 4.5 billion cubic metres of natural gas to Hungary annually, via two routes: 3.5 billion cubic meters via Serbia and 1 billion cubic meters via Austria.


Hungary has relied on Russia for most of its natural gas imports delivered via a pipeline through Ukraine in the past.


However, in recent years it has diversified gas imports, opening cross-border interconnectors with most of its neighbours and securing supplies from Royal Dutch Shell RDSa.L, via a liquefied natural gas (LNG) port in Croatia.


PIF acquires 25% of Emaar Economic City

PIF acquires 25% of Emaar Economic City
Updated 27 September 2021

PIF acquires 25% of Emaar Economic City

PIF acquires 25% of Emaar Economic City
  • Under the investment deal, the sovereign wealth fund becomes a major shareholder in the company with a 25 percent stake

DUBAI: The Public Investment Fund has completed the acquisition of Emaar’s The Economic City, it said in a statement. 

Under the investment deal, the sovereign wealth fund becomes a major shareholder in the company with a 25 percent stake. 

Emaar EC transferred part of its loan - worth SR2.8 billion - from the Ministry of Finance to the PIF in exchange for company shares. 

The deal will “provide an opportunity to leverage synergies between EEC and PIF’s ecosystem in the real estate, manufacturing, logistics, and tourism sectors,” the fund said in a statement. 

“Our investment in EEC aligns with our broader 2021-2025 strategy, which aims to build strategic economic partnerships through PIF and unlock the capabilities of promising sectors in the Kingdom, including transportation, logistics, real estate and tourism,” Aiman Al-Mudaifer, head of PIF’s local real estate division said.

It is also in line with PIF’s goal to invest in the non-oil sectors, as part of the Kingdom’s wider push to diversify its income sources. 


A year later, stc-Vodafone Egypt deal still making headlines despite fallout

A year later, stc-Vodafone Egypt deal still making headlines despite fallout
Updated 27 September 2021

A year later, stc-Vodafone Egypt deal still making headlines despite fallout

A year later, stc-Vodafone Egypt deal still making headlines despite fallout
  • Telecom Egypt doesn't have any knowledge of stc resuming acquisition negotiations with Vodafone Egypt

CAIRO: Almost a year passed since talks between stc, and Vodafone International Group ended without reaching an agreement on stake sales in the Egyptian unit to the Saudi largest mobile operator, however, the deal still makes headlines.

Few days ago, CNBC Arabiya TV quoted sources saying that negotiations between STC and the Vodafone Group are back on the table after negotiations fell through in December.

The network said that the Saudi company is looking to secure a soft loan of about $1.1 billion to finance the deal using part of the liquidity available to it, and another part of the global debt markets.

Telecom Egypt - the largest telephone operator in Egypt - denied knowledge of renewed negotiations between stc and the Vodafone Group to acquire its stake in Vodafone Egypt.

In a bourse filing, Telecom Egypt attached four previous statements it issued regarding the deal during the period from January 29, 2020 to June 7, 2021, denying its knowledge of any recent developments.

Ayman Essam, head of the External and Legal Relations Sector at Vodafone Egypt, denied the existence of any ongoing talks at the present time between the Vodafone International Group and stc.

In an official statement, Essam affirmed Vodafone's commitment to the Egyptian market and work to provide a distinguished service to its customers, pointing out that his company recently obtained a new frequency package to improve the service, in addition to pumping several investments in the field of network, digital transformation and a number of financial inclusion projects in Egypt.

Negotiations to acquire Vodafone’s 55% stake in Vodafone Egypt began in January 2020, for $2.39 billion, according to a non-binding preliminary agreement signed at the time with stc.

Vodafone International agreed to enable the Saudi company to carry out the due diligence process for a period of 75 days, which can be extended, and in April 2020 stc requested an extension until June due to the repercussions of the coronavirus, and then the deadline was pushed again to September 12.

In September of last year, stc said that the period of the memorandum of understanding signed with Vodafone Egypt ended without reaching an agreement but the dialogue was open between the two parties.


Saudi investment chief Al-Falih in Kazakhstan to strengthen economic ties

Saudi investment chief Al-Falih in Kazakhstan to strengthen economic ties
Updated 27 September 2021

Saudi investment chief Al-Falih in Kazakhstan to strengthen economic ties

Saudi investment chief Al-Falih in Kazakhstan to strengthen economic ties

RIYADH: Saudi Investment Minister Khalid Al-Falih met Kazakhstan President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev and Prime Minister Askar Mamin during an official visit to the country on Sunday. 
The two sides discussed ways to enhance bilateral ties and bolster cooperation in different sectors. 
The Saudi delegation met government officials and representatives of major Kazakh companies. 
The visit aims to enhance economic ties between the two countries. During the 5th meeting of the Saudi-Kazakhstan Joint Committee, Al-Falih stressed the importance of promoting mutual and joint investments in the two countries and taking advantage of the available opportunities, especially as the Kingdom’s economy opened its door to foreign investments in several areas.
Al-Falih will also attend the signing of an MoU between the National Companies Entrepreneurship Program of the Ministry of Investment and Kazakh Invest.