Leading Saudi companies keen on investing in Oman, says Al-Falih

Leading Saudi companies keen on investing in Oman, says Al-Falih
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Updated 30 August 2021

Leading Saudi companies keen on investing in Oman, says Al-Falih

Leading Saudi companies keen on investing in Oman, says Al-Falih
  • The number of Saudi investors in Oman has reached 1,235

RIYADH: Saudi Investment Minister Khalid Al-Falih on Sunday said a number of leading Saudi companies are interested in making investments in vital sectors in Oman, such as petrochemicals, healthcare and renewable energy, etc.

The minister who is leading a delegation of Saudi businessmen and officials to Oman said the trade volume between the two countries amounted to more than SR2 billion ($533 million) in the first quarter of 2021, the SPA reported. He said the trade exchange between the two brotherly countries was hit due to the coronavirus disease pandemic but now it is rising back to the pre-pandemic level.

The number of Saudi investors in Oman has reached 1,235 whereas 320 Oman companies have so far invested in various sectors in the Kingdom. Al-Falih said the total Saudi investments in Oman amount to nearly SR24 billion and Omani investments have reached over SR4 billion.

He said efforts are underway to consolidate the partnership between the two countries. The ministerial visit aims to consolidate and expand economic ties and mutual investments between the two countries.

FASTFACTS

The number of Saudi investors in Oman has reached 1,235.

The ministerial visit aims to consolidate and expand economic ties and mutual investments between the two countries.

A total of 320 Oman companies have so far invested in various sectors in the Kingdom.

The Saudi-Oman Business Council seeks to promote bilateral trade in various sectors.

Last month, Oman’s ruler Sultan Haitham bin Tariq visited the Kingdom. During the visit, the two sides agreed to launch initiatives that include major areas of cooperation, including investments in Oman’s Duqm region, energy cooperation, and partnerships in food security, and various cultural, sports and tourism activities. The Saudi-Omani Business Council was also established to promote bilateral business ties.

Earlier talking to Al-Arabiya in a televised interview, Al-Falih said that despite several challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic, “we were able to raise the level of direct investment flows by 20 percent in 2020.”

Stressing the importance of technology, he said: “What determines the competitiveness and productivity of each economic sector in the Kingdom will be based on their adoption of the latest technological capabilities in terms of productivity and global competitiveness, and this is part of the vision of the crown prince.”

Al-Falih recently concluded his visit to the UK. In an interview with Independent Arabia newspaper, he said the Kingdom is making efforts to attract more capital.

The minister said the real investment process in the Kingdom has not yet begun, particularly, with the active role played by the Public Investment Fund and large companies. 

Al-Falih said the field is open to British companies to invest in Saudi Arabia, pointing out that the petrochemical sector is one of the main sectors attracting investment and Saudi Arabia has become a leader in this sector. 

 There are talks with INEOS Group about a $2 billion project in Jubail to produce nitriles that is used as a key material in advanced industries such as carbon fiber, and involved in many sectors, including the automotive industry, Al-Falih said. 


Immersive video app 360VUZ scales operations in Saudi Arabia

Immersive video app 360VUZ scales operations in Saudi Arabia
Updated 17 sec ago

Immersive video app 360VUZ scales operations in Saudi Arabia

Immersive video app 360VUZ scales operations in Saudi Arabia
  • 360VUZ's Saudi office is part of the company’s growth plan, focusing on business development, building the latest immersive technologies, and initiating new partnerships. 

The immersive mobile video app, 360VUZ has scaled its operations further in Riyadh with a larger office.

360VUZ's Saudi office is part of the company’s growth plan, focusing on business development, building the latest immersive technologies, and initiating new partnerships. 

“360VUZ ranked as the number one mobile app on Apple Store in Saudi Arabia last week, proving that it is just the perfect location to maximize our business and continue on bringing new immersive social content to our users,” the company’s CEO, Khaled Zaatarah said. 

So far, the app has raised a total of $10 million from top international investors. 


European businesses ahead of the Middle East on ESG, says EFG Hermes chief

European businesses ahead of the Middle East on ESG, says EFG Hermes chief
Updated 21 min 57 sec ago

European businesses ahead of the Middle East on ESG, says EFG Hermes chief

European businesses ahead of the Middle East on ESG, says EFG Hermes chief

Middle East businesses are lagging behind Europe when it comes to Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) policies, the chief of multinational financial services company EFG Hermes has warned.

Speaking at the Future Investment Initiative Forum in Riyadh, Karim Awad, CEO of the Egyptian-based firm, added that while governance has improved in the region over the last two decades, environmental and social frameworks have not been developing at the same pace.

Awad highlighted the difficulties some companies face when expanding these areas of their businesses, as investors often feel they are not being told “concrete” achievements.

He said: “ESG has not happened in the Middle East to the level of what happened in Europe and different places in the world.

“The ‘G’ in the past 20 years has evolved massively, with the amount of transparency and governance from companies, especially public listed ones, not near to what it was years ago, but it isn’t the same for ‘E’ and ‘S’.”

Awad added: “There is a lot of data and investors sometimes feel they are fooled by telling them stuff that is not concrete in terms of value.”

Another leading business figure, Christine Tsai, CEO and founding partner of venture capital firm 500 Global, also flagged up issues with ESG, saying that more than 80 percent of their portfolio want to integrate the policies "but there's no framework for early stage companies.”

Awad agreed with this, saying that a lack of “specific standards” is an issue for companies looking to expand their ESG policies.


FII Institute signs deal with Saudi British Joint Business Council to establish tech hub

FII Institute signs deal with Saudi British Joint Business Council to establish tech hub
Updated 29 min 47 sec ago

FII Institute signs deal with Saudi British Joint Business Council to establish tech hub

FII Institute signs deal with Saudi British Joint Business Council to establish tech hub

RIYADH: The Future Investment Initiative Institute on Wednesday signed an agreement with the Saudi British Joint Business Council to become a founding partner of the Saudi/UK Tech Hub and contribute to the project’s startup costs.

The tech hub will link Saudi and UK tech entrepreneurs and innovation hubs with potential partners and investors through a virtual platform, joint events and a business growth program. It will help to connect Saudi and British startups and scale-ups in key sectors, promote knowledge sharing and increase deal flow.

Speaking at the singing ceremony, Richard Attias, CEO of the FII Institute said: “The UK — home to many of humanity’s greatest inventions — will bring the best of what it knows to the Kingdom.”

The Saudi Ministry of Communications and IT and the British government’s Science and Innovation Network have pledged their support to the tech hub.  

Chris Innes-Hopkins, executive director of the Saudi British Joint Business Council, said the Saudi/UK Tech Hub builds on great opportunities for collaboration between the UK and Saudi technology sectors including fintech, clean tech and healt htech.

“We look forward to working closely with the FII on implementation,” he added.


Eni announces 3 oil, gas discoveries in Egypt

Eni announces 3 oil, gas discoveries in Egypt
Updated 22 min 33 sec ago

Eni announces 3 oil, gas discoveries in Egypt

Eni announces 3 oil, gas discoveries in Egypt
  • The discoveries were made by the Jasmine W-1X and MWD-21 wells, which were drilled respectively in the Aman area near the west Meleiha deep field.

CAIRO: Italian energy company Eni has made three new oil and gas discoveries in Egypt’s Western Desert, the Egyptian Ministry of Petroleum has announced.

Oil, gas, and condensate (a mix of light liquid hydrocarbons) were found in the Meleiha concession area, and oil in the southwest Meleiha zone.

The discoveries were made by the Jasmine W-1X and MWD-21 wells, which were drilled respectively in the Aman area near the west Meleiha deep field.

In a statement, the ministry said that tests resulted in an average production of 2,000 barrels per day of light crude and 7 million cubic feet per day of associated gas.

The MWD-21 well, which has already been linked to production, also yielded a stable rate of 2,500 bpd.

In the southwest Meleiha concession, the SWM-4X well, located 35 kilometers south of the Meleiha field, was used for the discoveries. The test resulted in a production rate of approximately 1,500 barrels of oil equivalent per day.

The three wells will add a total production of about 6,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day.

Eni’s ongoing oil and gas exploration strategy in the area means that any discoveries can be quickly and cost-effectively linked into existing production facilities.

Eni, through its subsidiary AIOC, owns a 38 percent stake in the Meleiha concession license, while Russia’s Lukoil has 12 percent, and the Egyptian General Petroleum Corp. 50 percent.

In the southwest Meleiha concession, Eni owns, through AIOC, a 50 percent stake, with the Egyptian General Petroleum Corp. holding the remaining share.

Eni has been operating in Egypt since 1954 and is a major producer, with a current production of about 360,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day.


Red Sea Development Company signs deal to open 9 hotels

Red Sea Development Company signs deal to open 9 hotels
Updated 27 October 2021

Red Sea Development Company signs deal to open 9 hotels

Red Sea Development Company signs deal to open 9 hotels
  • The tourism development on Saudi Arabia’s west coast is set to be completed in 2030

The Red Sea Development Company (TRSDC) has signed a single multiple deal to operate nine hotels that will open in the first phase of the Red Sea development project next year.

The agreement was unveiled on the second day of the Future Investment Initiative in Riyadh and will see international hospitality firms run nine of the 16 properties under development taking over more than 1,700 hotel rooms of 3000 for the first phase of the project.

The agreements are with 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 InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG); and the Jumeirah Group.

The tourism development on Saudi Arabia’s west coast is set to be completed in 2030 and will offer 50 hotels with up to 8,000 hotel rooms and around 1,000 residential properties across 22 islands and six inland sites.

The site will also host a luxury marina, an 18-hole golf course, entertainment and leisure facilities, as well as an international airport that is expected to serve up to one million passengers a year by 2030.

The complex covers 28,000 square Km, including an archipelago of more than 90 islands, spanning an area the size of Belgium.

The project has so far handed out 800 contracts to firms worth over SR 20 billion.

TRSDC chief executive John Pagano said the first phase of the project is on track for completion by the end of 2023, with a total of 16 hotels set to offer 3,000 hotel rooms across five islands and two inland sites.
 

Pagano said: “Saudi Arabia is accelerating its development of a new tourism offering in the Kingdom, fuelled by the ambitious Vision 2030 program.
 

“We are proud to unveil our collection of unique and diverse hospitality brands that cater to this growing market and underpin our commitment to creating a world-leading barefoot luxury destination which will soon serve as a gateway to one of the last undiscovered places on the planet.”

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