KSA ‘being reborn’ as Vision 2030 unleashes $1tn real estate and mega-projects

KSA ‘being reborn’ as Vision 2030 unleashes $1tn real estate and mega-projects
Riyadh is poised to become entrenched as the Kingdom’s commercial hub, with more than 100,000 new homes expected by the end of 2023. (File/Reuters)
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Updated 25 August 2021

KSA ‘being reborn’ as Vision 2030 unleashes $1tn real estate and mega-projects

KSA ‘being reborn’ as Vision 2030 unleashes $1tn real estate and mega-projects
  • According to Knight Frank, almost $300 billion of the total spend is dedicated to new infrastructure

RIYADH: Almost $1 trillion of real estate and infrastructure projects have been announced across Saudi Arabia since 2016 as the Kingdom’s economy is transformed under Vision 2030, analysis carried out by global property consultant Knight Frank has revealed.

According to Faisal Durrani, Knight Frank’s head of Middle East research, “Saudi Arabia is a country being reborn.”

Durrani said: “The ambition that underpins Vision 2030 is being borne out in reality and we are rapidly closing in on $1 trillion of developments, all of which are colossal. And this is only about a third of the total spend planned.”

He added: “The number and value of mega-projects around the country are set to transform the country’s real estate landscape, standard of living, lifestyle offering and, perhaps most importantly, showcase the Kingdom’s vision for an ultra-modern future to a global audience.”

According to Knight Frank, almost $300 billion of the total spend is dedicated to new infrastructure, including extensive passenger rail networks and a new $ $147 billion airport for Riyadh, which is expected to be the home base for a new national airline.

“The scale of infrastructure improvements in the country is phenomenal,” Durrani said.

“The aggressive targets laid out by the government to attract about 100 million annual visitors to the country by 2030 means both adequate and first-class gateways need to be created. We are already seeing the first of these trickling through, including the new cruise terminal at Jeddah Islamic Port. These developments are not vanity projects but will have a significant impact on economic growth.”

The cruise industry itself is set to create up to 50,000 jobs nationally, according to the Public Investment Fund and 1.5 million cruise visitors are expected annually by 2028.

Knight Frank highlighted eight new cities that are planned, mostly along the Red Sea coast, where almost $575 billion is being spent to deliver over 1.3 million new homes and over 100,000 hotel rooms.

NEOM alone will cost an estimated $500 billion and is being positioned as a new vision for future cities. The new metropolis will use cutting edge technology to create one of the most innovative and sustainable places in the world.

Meanwhile, Riyadh is poised to become entrenched as the Kingdom’s commercial hub, with more than 100,000 new homes expected by the end of 2023 and close to 3 million square meters of office space in the pipeline, along with over 12,000 hotel rooms, spread across mega-projects worth an estimated $63 billion.

“Delivering these projects at such speed is incredible, but clearly comes with its own challenges and opportunities. Regulations that govern the sale and lease of all property asset classes need to be carefully looked at if the Kingdom is to deliver a globally attractive investment landscape,” Durrani said.

 


HSBC bucks China property worries with 74% profit jump, $2bn buyback

HSBC bucks China property worries with 74% profit jump, $2bn buyback
Image: Shutterstock
Updated 5 sec ago

HSBC bucks China property worries with 74% profit jump, $2bn buyback

HSBC bucks China property worries with 74% profit jump, $2bn buyback
  • HSBC was ranked Europe's biggest lender by assets until last year, when French rival BNP Paribas claimed the title with $3 trillion in assets

HSBC Holdings reported a surprise 74 percent rise in third quarter profit as it shrugged off concerns about pandemic-related bad loans and property problems in its key market of China, allowing it to announce a share buyback of $2 billion.

The British lender reversed potential credit losses it had previously expected due to pandemic-induced defaults, with CFO Ewen Stevenson telling Reuters on Monday that the worst of that impact is likely behind HSBC.


"You should also look at the buyback as a measure of the confidence that we have at the moment that we are not unduly concerned about our exposures in China," he said.


The bank said in its results presentation that it had $19.6 billion in lending to China's property sector, where China Evergrande Group is grappling with a $300 billion debt pile, stoking fears of further defaults and contagion risks.


HSBC CEO Noel Quinn, who was confirmed in the role in 2020 just as the pandemic-induced economic crisis began, is betting on Asia to drive growth, by moving global executives there and ploughing billions into the lucrative wealth business.


The bank could spend up to $1.5 billion more on acquisitions in that space after it bought insurer AXA's Singapore assets for $575 million in August, CFO Stevenson said.


"While we retain a cautious outlook on the external risk environment, we believe that the lows of recent quarters are behind us," Quinn said in the results statement.


HSBC posted pretax profit of $5.4 billion for the quarter to September, versus $3.1 billion a year earlier and the $3.78 billion average estimate of 14 analysts compiled by HSBC.


The bank's Hong Kong-listed shares rose as much as 1.8 percent to the highest in four months. Its London-listed shares have gained 15 percent so far this year versus a 5 percent rise in shares of Asia-focussed rival Standard Chartered, while Barclays is up 35% and U.S.-listed Citi has put on 16 percent.


HSBC was ranked Europe's biggest lender by assets until last year, when French rival BNP Paribas claimed the title with $3 trillion in assets.

Despite the overall positive results, HSBC said its cost projections for 2022 had increased to $32 billion from $31 billion, due to global inflation pressures which would push up its $19 billion wage bill.


Major companies worldwide have in recent weeks warned of the impact on their businesses from rising costs driven by spiralling energy prices and supply chain disruption.


"A little bit of inflation is good for us as it should drive policy rates higher," Stevenson said.


"However, we have a cost base of $32 billion of which $19 billion is compensation... so it doesn't take much (to push up costs), 2 or 3 percent inflation on the cost base is $400 to $600 million of additional costs," he said.


Set against those concerns, HSBC released $700 million in cash it had put aside in case pandemic-related bad loans spiked, as opposed to the same time a year earlier when it took an $800 million charge in expectation of such soured debts.


Another headache for HSBC compared to its peers is its investment banking performance, where rivals such as Citigroup are riding a M&A boom.


HSBC's investment bank however saw income fall this year as it paid the price for its bias towards debt markets, which have been patchy amid low interest rates that crimped trading, while rivals' equities and merger-focused businesses have thrived.


It is the second big British lender to post strong results for the quarter, after Barclays reported on Thursday it had doubled profits on the back of a strong performance from its investment bank advisory business. 


Saudi imports from UAE jump back up in August

Saudi imports from UAE jump back up in August
Getty Images
Updated 37 min 6 sec ago

Saudi imports from UAE jump back up in August

Saudi imports from UAE jump back up in August
  • On an annual basis, UAE imports increased by about 47 percent

The value of Saudi Arabia's imports from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in August increased by about 31 percent month on month, official data showed on Monday, jumping back from a steep decline in July after the kingdom imposed new rules on imports from other Gulf countries.


Imports from neighbouring UAE rose to 4.1 billion riyals ($1.09 billion) from 3.1 billion riyals in July, according to data from the General Authority for Statistics.

On an annual basis, UAE imports increased by about 47 percent.


The monthly increase follows a 33 percent decline in July, when Saudi Arabia amended rules on imports from other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries to exclude goods made in free zones or using Israeli input from preferential tariff concessions, a move seen as a challenge the UAE's status as the region's trade and business hub.


Aramco and TotalEnergies launch first two service stations in Saudi Arabia

Aramco and TotalEnergies launch first two service stations in Saudi Arabia
Updated 43 min 48 sec ago

Aramco and TotalEnergies launch first two service stations in Saudi Arabia

Aramco and TotalEnergies launch first two service stations in Saudi Arabia

RIYADH: Saudi Aramco and TotalEnergies have launched the first two service stations of their joint retail network in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia’s capital, and Saihat, in the country’s Eastern Province.

"It follows the signing of a 50:50 Joint Venture (JV) Agreement between Aramco and TotalEnergies in 2019, with plans to  significantly upgrade a network of 270 service stations and expand the range of quality retail services available across the Kingdom," Aramco said in a statement.

 


Saudi mining company Ma’aden turns $826m profit in first nine months of 2021

Saudi mining company Ma’aden turns $826m profit in first nine months of 2021
Updated 30 min 49 sec ago

Saudi mining company Ma’aden turns $826m profit in first nine months of 2021

Saudi mining company Ma’aden turns $826m profit in first nine months of 2021

DUBAI: The Saudi Arabian Mining Company, or Ma’aden, has returned to profit, posting returns of SR3.1 billion ($826 million) in the first nine months of the year.

This is compared to a net loss of SR780 million in the same period in 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic hit pushed industries to the wall. 

The recovery is due to higher average sales prices of all products except gold, the company said in a Tadawul filing. 

Higher share in net profit from its joint ventures also bumped Ma’aden’s profits up.


Softbank Vision Fund, Mubadala invest in European mobility company TIER

Softbank Vision Fund, Mubadala invest in European mobility company TIER
Updated 25 October 2021

Softbank Vision Fund, Mubadala invest in European mobility company TIER

Softbank Vision Fund, Mubadala invest in European mobility company TIER

DUBAI: TIER, Europe’s micro-mobility company, announced the first close of its $200 million Series D funding round led by previous investors SoftBank Vision Fund 2, Mubadala Capital and adds new partners like M&G Investments, a green impact fund, and Mountain Partners, a diversified global investment holding.

The company, which entered the UAE market in 2020 after being selected as a leading service provider by the Roads & Transport Authority (RTA), said in a statement that the funding provides TIER with additional resources to fulfil its mission to "change mobility for good by providing the safest, most equitable and sustainable mobility solution in the market."