Saudi budget airline expands flights to Bisha

Saudi budget airline expands flights to Bisha
It is a pure low-cost airline, with passengers charged for meals and checked luggage. (Twitter/@flyadeal)
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Updated 01 August 2021

Saudi budget airline expands flights to Bisha

Saudi budget airline expands flights to Bisha

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s budget airline flyadeal on Sunday launched operations from Dammam to Bisha.

The addition of the new destination to the company’s flight network is part of its expansion plans.

It is a pure low-cost airline, with passengers charged for meals and checked luggage, a model that has so far not had major success in the Middle East beyond UAE-headquartered Air Arabia. The Saudi government owns the airline through state carrier Saudia.

Ahmed Al-Barahim, executive vice president for commercial and customer affairs, vowed to ensure good service for passengers.

He said the airline will continue to expand its fleet and flight network.

Fahd Al-Harbi, CEO of Dammam Airports Co., said healthy competition between airlines will support the Kingdom’s drive to boost domestic tourism.


Chip shortage puts a brake on auto industry; hits Europe's biggest carmakers

Chip shortage puts a brake on auto industry; hits Europe's biggest carmakers
Getty Images
Updated 21 sec ago

Chip shortage puts a brake on auto industry; hits Europe's biggest carmakers

Chip shortage puts a brake on auto industry; hits Europe's biggest carmakers
  • Both companies have had to repeatedly pause production at some factories due to a lack of chips

The global semiconductor chip shortage worsened and severely hampered carmakers costing Volkswagen and Stellantis a combined 1.4 million vehicles in lost production in the third quarter, Europe's two biggest carmakers said on Thursday.


That led to a 27 percent drop in shipments for Stellantis, a loss of around 600,000 vehicles, which was created at the start of the year from Fiat-Chrysler and Peugeot-Citroen.

The chips are the processors needed in multiple systems in both traditional and electric cars.


Volkswagen AG, Europe's top car company and also the world's No. 2, cut its outlook for deliveries, toned down sales expectations and warned of cost cuts as it reported lower-than-expected quarterly operating profit.


The German company said it had made around 800,000 fewer cars, or about 35 percent less than in the same quarter in 2020.


At Volkswagen the drop in customer deliveries was 24 percent and at GM nearly a third. Ford saw a 27 percent sales drop.


"The level of shortage was slightly higher than we expected in August," acknowledged Stellantis's chief financial officer, Richard Palmer.


The company had already said chip shortages had prevented it from making 700,000 vehicles in the first half of the year.


Meanwhile, Volkswagen said that "the global semiconductor bottlenecks particularly impacted" its performance in the third quarter.


Both companies have had to repeatedly pause production at some factories due to a lack of chips.


Volkswagen, which had previously been forecasting a rise in the number of vehicles it sells, said it now it expects them to be in line with 2020 figures.


But the industry was "through the worst" of the chip crisis, Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess said in the conference call, predicting the situation would improve in the fourth quarter even if "constraints" continued into 2022.


That view is widely shared by his rivals. 


GM chief Mary Barra said Wednesday that the company has seen "some improvement" in semiconductor availability, with more expected in the first quarter of 2022, although the situation "continues to be somewhat volatile."


In the first half of 2022, "We'll still see impact from the semiconductor shortage," she said, but "we think it will get better towards the end of the year."


Chip availability "markedly improved" in the third quarter from the prior period, even as supply "remains a challenge," Ford said in its earnings release.


"We see it continuing into 2022," Ford Chief Financial Officer John Lawler said on an analyst conference call, adding that the problem could persist into 2023.

Globally, the shortage of computer chips could block the production of 7.7 million vehicles, according to AlixPartners consultancy.


That would result in 180 billion euros ($210 billion) in lost revenue.


Carmakers' sales figures were better than their production data as they have been able to stop discounting vehicles or even raise prices.


Stellantis kept its drop in revenue to 14 percent. It did not provide profit figures, but confirmed its forecast of an annual operating margin around 10 percent.


At VW, sales revenue dipped only 4 percent, thanks in part to a strong performance by its high-end brands. But its operating profit fell by 12 percent and its mass-market brands, including VW, suffered an overall operating loss.


At GM, profits fell 41 percent following a 24 percent drop in revenues amid a broad-based shortfall in sales in all markets and across models.


At Ford, revenues slid just five percent, even if the net profit fell by 23 percent. But Ford lifted its full-year operating profit forecast and said its board voted to reinstate a dividend.


Only Tesla has emerged unscathed, both boosting production in the third quarter and posting record profits.

Its vehicles use fewer chips and it said it was able to adapt to using different ones that were available.


As investors pushed its share price higher the company joined a select club of companies which boast a stock market valuation of over $1 trillion.


Lucid Motors CEO wants signature electric vehicle ‘in the $70k price point’

Lucid Motors CEO wants signature electric vehicle ‘in the $70k price point’
Updated 9 min 42 sec ago

Lucid Motors CEO wants signature electric vehicle ‘in the $70k price point’

Lucid Motors CEO wants signature electric vehicle ‘in the $70k price point’

Saudi-backed Lucid Motors is aiming to offer a “pure version” of its Air model at around $70,000, the CEO of the electric vehicle company has said.

During a presentation at the Future Investment Initiative Forum in Riyadh, Peter Rawlinson set out the ambitions for his company, which the Kingdom’s Public Investment Fund poured $1 billion into in April 2019 - giving it a 67 per cent stake in the firm.

Rawlinson talked up the efficiency of his company’s vehicles, as he flagged up the US’s EPA ratings standard placing six Lucid vehicles as having the largest range for electric motors. 

Turning to costs to customers, he said: “Right now the Dream edition car is $169,000. My dream is to get to a pure version of Lucid Air in the $70,000 price point.”

Rawlinson used much of his speech to delegates to focus on the efficiency battle between his company and rival firm Tesla.

“The future will be defined by a tech race between the companies that adopt and embrace EV technology and that’s why I would believe Tesla’s value today of over $1 trillion is based on its technological prowess,” he said. 

He went on to say that other manufacturers deliver low-efficiency cars as they do not design them in-house, but instead are “just buying a load of motors and battery technology and software off-the-shelf.”

Last month it was announced that Lucid will start producing vehicles in Saudi Arabia by 2024.


Private healthcare investors set for huge returns over the next ten years, claims tech firm CEO

Private healthcare investors set for huge returns over the next ten years, claims tech firm CEO
Updated 28 October 2021

Private healthcare investors set for huge returns over the next ten years, claims tech firm CEO

Private healthcare investors set for huge returns over the next ten years, claims tech firm CEO

Investors in the digital health industry will see a return of up to 35 percent every year for the next decade, according to the head of a global technology firm.

Peter Ohnemus, president and CEO of Zurich-based dacadoo, talked up the rise of the sector during a discussion on investing in medical innovations at the Future Investment Initiative Forum in Riyad.

He said that the global value of the digitial health industry for 2021 has been estimated at $26billion, but it is forecast to grow to $238.9 billion industry within seven years.

He said: “From an investment perspective going forward over the next ten years will provide a very high return. 

“The integrated digital health sector will create a 30-35 percent return every year over the next decade.”

Ohnemus said that healthcare providers needed to make it simpler for people to understand what they needed to do to stave off chronic illnesses, and the cost implications of developing such conditions. 

Another CEO, Ali Parsa from London-based Babylon Health, also flagged up the costs involved in what he dubbed the “sick caring industry”, saying: “70 percent of all expenditure goes to predictable preventable diseases.”


SABB reports profit of $750 million in first 9 months of 2021

 SABB reports profit of $750 million in first 9 months of 2021
Updated 28 October 2021

SABB reports profit of $750 million in first 9 months of 2021

 SABB reports profit of $750 million in first 9 months of 2021
  • The chairman reiterated the bank’s efforts to support Saudi’s Vision 2030 plan

The Saudi British Bank (SABB) recorded a seismic leap of 157 percent in net profit after Zakat and income tax of SR2.8 billion ($750m) for the first 9 months of 2021, compared to the loss of SR4.8 billion in the same period last year. 

“It is worth reiterating that we are in the investment phase of our newly announced five-year strategic plan, where we will be taking the necessary steps to develop the Bank into an institution fit to meet the future needs of our customers,” chairman of SABB, Lubna Olayan, said.

“We are investing considerably across the business front-to-back, to ensure that we remain relevant and can create a sustainable banking organization,” she added.  

The chairman reiterated the bank’s efforts to support Saudi’s Vision 2030 plan and unlock the opportunities brought by the economic transformation plans. 


Qatar Energy to launch green bonds in 2022; state commits to emissions reduction

Qatar Energy to launch green bonds in 2022; state commits to emissions reduction
Getty Images
Updated 28 October 2021

Qatar Energy to launch green bonds in 2022; state commits to emissions reduction

Qatar Energy to launch green bonds in 2022; state commits to emissions reduction

RIYADH: Qatar Energy is looking to raise between $5 to $10 billion from issuing green bonds, banking sources told CNBC Arabia.

Qatar Energy is developing an environmental framework in collaboration with global investment banks, including Goldman Sachs, to move into the green bond market in conjunction with the global trend towards reducing carbon emissions, sources said.

The offering is expected to take place in the first quarter of 2022 or by the end of June 2022, sources added.

Separately, Reuters reported that the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change in Qatar launched a national climate change action plan aimed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent by 2030.

The plan also envisioned reducing "carbon intensity" of its liquefied natural gas facilities by 25 percent by the same year.

Qatar's move follows other Gulf Arab states, including Saudi Arabia which announced its net-zero emission target by 2060 ahead of the COP26 climate change summit in Glasgow next week.


Qatar is the world’s largest producer of liquefied natural gas and aims to expand LNG production to 127 million tonnes annually by 2027. It says its gas production helps combat climate change globally because it can help the world shift from high-polluting fuels like oil and coal to renewable energies.