Global shares down for fifth straight day 

Global shares down for fifth straight day 
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Updated 20 August 2021

Global shares down for fifth straight day 

Global shares down for fifth straight day 
  • Global shares fell for the fifth straight day and the dollar remained firm in a flight to safety on Friday
  • rising coronavirus cases compounded concerns over Chinese growth and the outlook for U.S. stimulus

Global shares fell for the fifth straight day and the dollar remained firm in a flight to safety on Friday as rising coronavirus cases compounded concerns over Chinese growth and the outlook for U.S. stimulus, Reuters reported. 

U.S. stock futures, pointed to Wall Street opening down 0.2 percent-0.4 percent while Asian shares limped into the weekend with their lowest close since November, with MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan down 1.1 percent and 4.9 percent lower on the week, its weakest since February. 

China's tech stocks slumped to new lows on Friday and Hong Kong's benchmark index hit an almost 10-month trough, as an unrelenting series of Chinese regulatory crackdowns crushed investors' confidence.

 


Saudi Aramco shows interest in buying Valvoline's commercial unit: sources

Saudi Aramco shows interest in buying Valvoline's commercial unit: sources
Updated 9 sec ago

Saudi Aramco shows interest in buying Valvoline's commercial unit: sources

Saudi Aramco shows interest in buying Valvoline's commercial unit: sources
  • Revenue from Valvoline's global products unit accounted for about 59 percent of its overall sales in 2021

Oil giant Saudi Aramco has approached motor oil and lubricant maker Valvoline Inc to buy its segment that caters to commercial customers, sources familiar with the matter told Reuters on Wednesday.

Valvoline, which is valued at $5.4 billion as of Tuesday's closing price, had last year decided to separate its retail services and global products division, following a strategic review.

Revenue from Valvoline's global products unit accounted for about 59 percent of its overall sales in 2021.

The division also sells some "Do-It-Yourself" products to consumers.

The company said no decision has been taken even as it continues to work on the separation process.

Aramco did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Shares of Valvoline, which have lost 20 percent of their value so far this year, rose 11.2 percent at $33.07 after the Wall Street Journal first reported that Aramco had approached the Lexington, Kentucky-based company with a takeover deal.

Valvoline is also the world's top supplier of battery fluids to electric vehicle makers and makes as well as supplies oil and lubricants used in commercial vehicles and industrial equipment.

The deal talks between the two companies are in an early stage and there were no guarantees the two sides would reach an agreement, the Journal report said.


Naqi Water gets CMA nod to go public for 30% stake sale on the Saudi stock market

Naqi Water gets CMA nod to go public for 30% stake sale on the Saudi stock market
Updated 4 min 5 sec ago

Naqi Water gets CMA nod to go public for 30% stake sale on the Saudi stock market

Naqi Water gets CMA nod to go public for 30% stake sale on the Saudi stock market

RIYADH: Saudi mineral water brand Naqi Water Co. has received the necessary regulatory approval to go ahead with its initial public offering on the Kingdom’s stock exchange.

The resolution for releasing six million shares through IPO was issued by the Saudi stock market regulator Capital Market Authority in a statement on Wednesday.

Naqi Water is looking to float a 30-percent stake of its SR20 million ($5.33 million) capital.

CMA also approved the direct listing of Academy of Learning Co. and telecom operator Keir International Co. on the parallel Nomu market, where trading will be confined to qualified investors.


Three more join impressive list of Red Sea resort operators

Three more join impressive list of Red Sea resort operators
Updated 25 May 2022

Three more join impressive list of Red Sea resort operators

Three more join impressive list of Red Sea resort operators
  • Ritz-Carlton Reserve, Miraval and Rosewood sign deals with The Red Sea Development Company

RIYADH: Three new hotel management agreements were inked with international hotel brands to operate resorts in the first phase of development at the Red Sea destination, The Red Sea Development Co. confirmed on Tuesday.

The announcement was made at the Future Hospitality Summit in Riyadh.

These hotels include Ritz-Carlton Reserve and Miraval hotels — the first to operate in the Middle East — and Rosewood, a global luxury hospitality company.

“This announcement demonstrates industry confidence in The Red Sea Project, with a total of 12 hospitality brands now confirmed, and signifies a growing appetite from global leaders to participate in the expansion of the Saudi tourism market. With two brands now entering the region for the first time, I believe the future of tourism in the Kingdom is bright,” said John Pagano, CEO at TRSDC. 

Upon completion in 2030, the project will comprise 50 resorts, offering up to 8,000 hotel rooms and more than 1,000 residential properties across 22 islands and six inland sites. (Supplied)

Ritz-Carlton Reserve is situated at the destination’s idyllic Ummahat Islands, while Miraval and Rosewood are located on Shura Island, the main hub for the resort. The new collection of hospitality brands collectively features nearly 500 hotel keys of the total 3,000 planned for Phase 1.

“Together with our collection of globally recognized and respected partners, we are excited to play our part in opening up this unique and undiscovered part of the world, setting new benchmarks for sustainable development along the way,” Pagano said.

A top executive from Marriott International also shared his thoughts with Arab News about the new deal.

“Nujuma, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve will offer a highly personalized leisure experience that blends intuitive and heartfelt service with stunning natural beauty and indigenous design. The resort will be surrounded by unspoiled natural beauty and designed to blend seamlessly with the environment,” Jerome Briet, chief development officer, Europe, Middle East & Africa, Marriott International told Arab News. 

He added: “We will work closely together with The Red Sea team to promote the overall destination, as well as Nujuma, which will be a destination in itself. This is also where the strength of Marriott’s distribution system, our channels and partners will play a key role. When it opens, the resort will also have access to a network of over 160 million members as part of our loyalty program, Marriott Bonvoy, which Ritz-Carlton Reserve recently joined.”

For his part, Ludwig Bouldoukian, regional vice president, development, Middle East and Africa at Hyatt Hotels Corporation, talked about the promising future of Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea.

“Miraval The Red Sea will join Grand Hyatt The Red Sea as the second Hyatt hotel slated to open within the first phase of the Red Sea Development Project. It is a great source of pride for Hyatt to play such a central role in this project and be able to collaborate with owners who share our values and ambitions. We look forward to introducing guests to experience a new standard of luxury and wellness, synonymous to the Miraval brand, where the focus is on mindfulness and creating balance. We have great confidence in the success of this property that will be a unique addition to The Red Sea Project,” Bouldoukian told Arab News. 

We will work closely together with The Red Sea team to promote the overall destination.

Jerome Briet, Marriott International

He added: “Saudi Arabia has become a thriving hub for global business, arts and culture, and pioneering hospitality experiences. This ever-evolving destination continues to represent an important growth market for Hyatt, reinforcing our continued commitment to intentional growth in places that matter most to guests, members, customers and owners.” He went on to say that as Hyatt continues to grow within the Kingdom, the company remains grounded in its purpose — to care for people so they can be their best.

“This promise is reflected in the elevated guest experience that will await guests to Miraval when the resort opens,” Bouldoukian said.

He stressed that with its untapped natural beauty, The Red Sea Project is the perfect location to bring the Miraval brand to the global stage. 

Saudi Arabia has become a thriving hub for global business, arts and culture, and pioneering hospitality experiences.

Ludwig Bouldoukian, Hyatt Hotels Corporation

“This is the brand’s first property outside of the US. Expected to boast the largest spa and wellness facilities within The Red Sea Project, the property will usher in a new era of wellness tourism to the Kingdom; a sector that has already demonstrated great potential within the Middle East and is set to grow exponentially in the coming years,” he explained. 

Bouldoukian added that Miraval The Red Sea will introduce the wellness brand’s signature mindfulness-based wellness practices to a new corner of the world, empowering guests with tools and inspiration to find balance and support their emotional and mental wellbeing.

“The Life in Balance Spa, which is expected to be the largest within the Red Sea destination, will be the heart of the property encompassing nearly 40,000 square feet (3,700 square meters) and 39 treatment rooms,” he informed.

The posh hotel companies join a line-up of globally renowned brands that have already confirmed they will operate at the Red Sea, including: EDITION Hotels and St Regis Hotels & Resorts, part of Marriott International; Fairmont Hotel & Resorts; Raffles Hotels & Resorts and SLS Hotels & Residences, part of global hospitality group Accor; Grand Hyatt, part of Hyatt Hotels Corporation; InterContinental Hotels & Resorts and Six Senses, part of IHG Hotels & Resorts; and Jumeirah Hotels & Resorts.

The statement explained that The Red Sea has already passed significant milestones and work is on track to welcome the first guests in early 2023 when the first hotels will open. Phase one, which includes 16 hotels in total, will complete by the end of 2023.

Upon completion in 2030, the project will comprise 50 resorts, offering up to 8,000 hotel rooms and more than 1,000 residential properties across 22 islands and six inland sites. The destination will also include an international airport, luxury marinas, golf courses, entertainment, and leisure facilities.


Big projects need to open doors for SMEs to drive tourism, says official

Big projects need to open doors for SMEs to drive tourism, says official
Updated 25 May 2022

Big projects need to open doors for SMEs to drive tourism, says official

Big projects need to open doors for SMEs to drive tourism, says official
  • Saudi Arabia’s Tourism Development Fund offers ‘financial and non-financial support to startups’

RIYADH: Prominent Saudi projects aimed at elevating tourism in the country will need to integrate with small and medium enterprises, said a senior official of Saudi Arabia’s Tourism Development Fund.

“We believe that even our big projects will need a lot of integration with SMEs to activate the entertainment, food and beverages sector,” Wahdan Al-Kadi, the chief business officer at TDF, told Arab News on the sidelines of the Future Hospitality Summit in Riyadh.

The two-day event held under the theme “Reimagined Horizons” discussed the future of hotel development, destination impact, aviation, sustainability, restaurant investment and human capital.

It featured a series of sessions covering topics such as the future of hotel asset management, the future of loyalty schemes, transparency and brand loyalty.

Encouraging SMEs

During the interview, Al-Kadi said that the TDF provides financial and non-financial support to startups and SMEs in the nation.

“We have financial support and non-financial support. We have a business app that offers to coach SMEs to run their businesses,” said Al-Kadi. 

Wahdan Al-Kadi

He further added: “There is financial support as well. We have 10 different products for SMEs that offer startup loans, working capital, asset financing, and many other products to support them.”

Tourism’s impact on GDP

Al-Kadi noted that the revenue from non-oil sectors is crucial for Saudi Arabia’s economy.

“There is a lot of focus on diversifying the economy through industries such as tourism, which can contribute to the gross domestic product and generate jobs. The idea is to raise the contribution of tourism to GDP from 3 percent to 10 percent and add another 1 million jobs directly and indirectly to the industry by 2030,” he added.

Al-Kadi added that the TDF is also doing its part to attract investors to the country.

“We have a one-stop-shop that helps local and international investors get the right data on the destinations we are promoting, besides supporting them with project-related licenses and permits and assisting them in getting lands.

We also do review feasibility studies,” he said.

Saudi Arabia has become a tourist destination for regional and international visitors and the Kingdom’s tourism sector is accelerating the pace for the future by announcing several programs and initiatives.

Saudi tourism offers geographical and historical diversity, highlighting natural resources, archaeological treasures and historical places that meet the aspirations of tourists.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, 450,000 tourist visas were issued, since the Kingdom’s Tourism Authority launched the tourist visa program in 2019, by targeting 49 countries in the initial stage, and facilitated access to tourist visas electronically or through entry points to the Kingdom within specific regulatory controls.

The authority has prepared programs to attract tourism, and has been activating tourism investment and the role of the private sector. The authority has also participated in local and international tourism exhibitions and has managed marketing destinations, sites, itineraries, products and tourist packages internally and externally.


Radisson Hotel Group set to launch Mansard Riyadh in the next 2 weeks

Radisson Hotel Group set to launch Mansard Riyadh in the next 2 weeks
Updated 25 May 2022

Radisson Hotel Group set to launch Mansard Riyadh in the next 2 weeks

Radisson Hotel Group set to launch Mansard Riyadh in the next 2 weeks
  • The company currently operates 25 hotels with 20 more under development in the Kingdom and plans to reach 80 hotels by 2026

RIYADH: Radisson Hotel Group is opening its second flagship hotel under its luxury brand Radisson Collection Mansard Riyadh.

Elie Milky, the company’s vice president of business development in the Middle East, Pakistan, Cyprus and Greece, told Arab News at the Future Hospitality Summit that Mansard Riyadh will open in the next two weeks.

“Radisson Collection is our premium brand. We launched it with Nofa Riyadh a few years ago. It’s a flagship for us. It grows our resort and luxury portfolios in the Kingdom,” said Milky.

Located on Prince Mohammed bin Salman Road, Mansard Riyadh will have 140 guestrooms, 27 serviced apartments and 24 three-bedroom villas.

“It’s one of our best properties globally, not only in Saudi Arabia,” said Milky.

The company is also planning to become carbon negative in the next few years and increase its human capital by opening an office in Saudi Arabia.

The company currently operates 25 hotels with 20 more under development in the Kingdom and plans to reach 80 hotels by 2026.

Milky added that the company currently generates $150 million in revenue from its hotels and expects to reach $300 million by 2026.

“The whole of Saudi Arabia has only 150,000 hotel rooms today. We need to add 450,000 to 500,000 rooms in Saudi Arabia by 2030,” Milky added.