Choice Hotels Europe to open 10 hotels in Saudi Arabia in next five years

Choice Hotels Europe to open 10 hotels in Saudi Arabia in next five years
The first three properties — Clarion Jeddah Airport, Comfort King Road Jeddah and Comfort Olaya Riyadh — are due to open at the end of this year. (Supplied)
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Updated 03 September 2021

Choice Hotels Europe to open 10 hotels in Saudi Arabia in next five years

Choice Hotels Europe to open 10 hotels in Saudi Arabia in next five years

RIYADH: Choice Hotels Europe will open at least 10 hotels in Saudi Arabia within the next five years, Hotel Business reported on Wednesday.

Choice Hotels Europe is repositioning itself as Choice Hotels EMEA as it continues its master license agreement with Seera Hospitality, a fully owned subsidiary of Seera Holding Group, a publicly listed travel company in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.

There are currently several identified projects for Choice Hotels brands throughout Saudi Arabia in various stages of development, as part of the agreement.

The first three properties — Clarion Jeddah Airport, Comfort King Road Jeddah and Comfort Olaya Riyadh — are due to open at the end of this year and are available to pre-book now.


Dubai-based Arcab raises seed round, eyes regional expansion

Dubai-based Arcab raises seed round, eyes regional expansion
Updated 7 sec ago

Dubai-based Arcab raises seed round, eyes regional expansion

Dubai-based Arcab raises seed round, eyes regional expansion

RIYADH: Dubai-based technology-enabled bus aggregator has raised an undisclosed amount in its seed round led by We Founder Circle, Wamda reported. 

The financing will be used to build, maintain and scale technology infrastructure that facilitates a multi-sided marketplace to fuel expansion in the region. 

“The next 18 months are going to be very exciting and crucial for us to move quickly, ramp up our operations and scale our footprint in the region,” Arcab CEO Bilal Shabandri said. 

The startup’s tech-enablement allows fleet owners to increase utilization of their vehicles by reducing downtime and avoiding manual control, hence increasing profits. 

Arcab works with over 40 operators including Europcar, Avis and Dubai Taxi corporation, and more than 3,000 buses. 


Voyager Portal raises $8.4m in Series A round led by Oman’s Phaze Ventures

Voyager Portal raises $8.4m in Series A round led by Oman’s Phaze Ventures
Updated 3 min 56 sec ago

Voyager Portal raises $8.4m in Series A round led by Oman’s Phaze Ventures

Voyager Portal raises $8.4m in Series A round led by Oman’s Phaze Ventures

RIYADH: US-based marine supply chain platform Voyager Portal has raised $8.4 million in a funding round led by Oman’s venture capital firm Phaze Ventures.

The startup will use the newly acquired funds to speed up its product roadmap, whilst maintaining an international client base, Wamda reported. 

The new funding comes amidst the Voyager Portal’s unprecedented growth. 

Revenues have seen a thirteen-fold increase from the third quarter of 2020 to the third quarter of 2021.

The voyage management platform, founded in 2018, is a software as a service startup that aims to reduce risk, cost and complexity across companies’ marine supply chain. 


KSA’s Sidra fund exceeds annual target net returns

KSA’s Sidra fund exceeds annual target net returns
Updated 17 min 58 sec ago

KSA’s Sidra fund exceeds annual target net returns

KSA’s Sidra fund exceeds annual target net returns

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Sidra Income Fund, a US dollar-denominated investment fund, exceeded its annual target net return of 7.75 percent, delivering, 8.01 percent and 8.39 percent respectively in the last 24 months, said a statement.

The fund, focussed on financing supply chains, is managed by Sidra Capital, which is a Shariah-compliant investment fund regulated by Saudi Arabia’s Capital Market Authority.

Launched in September 2019, the $50-million Shariah-compliant fund, aims to capitalize on the infrastructure boom in Indonesia, while aiming to intervene in energy and infrastructure supply chains achieving stable, unlevered high yield return uncorrelated to the stock market and global commodity prices.

“The economy of Indonesia is the largest in Southeast Asia, and is one of the leading emerging market economies of the world,” explained Hani Baothman, chairman of Sidra Capital. 

“Following 2020’s pandemic-induced recession, rising infrastructure spending and unleashed pent-up demand amid supportive fiscal and monetary policies should sustain investment for the foreseeable future.”

 


Japanese SoftBank shares fall 9% amid bad portfolio news

Japanese SoftBank shares fall 9% amid bad portfolio news
Updated 27 min 17 sec ago

Japanese SoftBank shares fall 9% amid bad portfolio news

Japanese SoftBank shares fall 9% amid bad portfolio news

RIYADH: Tokyo-based SoftBank Group’s shares dropped nine percent on Monday, hitting its sixth consecutive day of losses as valuations of its key portfolio companies fell. 

SoftBank shares sank to 5,057 yen ($45) in its largest intraday decline since March 2020, Bloomberg reported. 

The group’s Chinese portfolio company Didi Global started US delisting last Thursday, following the US Federal Trade Commission opposition to SoftBank’s Arm sale to Nvidia Corp. 

Masayoshi Son, SoftBank’s founder, relies on completing the Arm deal to secure the nine trillion yen for his investment group. 

This happened as the shares of Alibaba Group Holding, the biggest Chinese internet firm and most valuable company in SoftBank’s portfolio, fell by more than eight percent, while Didi Global’s stock dropped by over 22 percent.

 


Global shipping outlook turns stable from positive

Global shipping outlook turns stable from positive
Updated 40 min 3 sec ago

Global shipping outlook turns stable from positive

Global shipping outlook turns stable from positive
  • Industry earnings will be considerably higher than pre-COVID-19 levels during the next 12 months

RIYADH: As demand slightly outstrips supply, Moody’s Investors Service has changed the outlook for the global shipping industry to stable from positive for the next 12 to 18 months.

A report issued on Monday said the change is driven by tough comparisons with the very strong cash flows generated this year rather than a deteriorating business environment. It predicted business and financial conditions to remain solid, but are unlikely to get better than they already are today.

“Earnings for container and dry bulk carriers are at record levels; however, we expect earnings to fall from their 2021 peak but remain high,” said Daniel Harlid, a vice president — senior analyst at Moody’s and the author of the report. 

“Still, limited deliveries of new vessels next year will help keep freight rates at elevated levels.”

According to the report, demand for goods and commodities remain high and will stay robust in 2022. Growth rates have most likely peaked and will start to decelerate next year. Record high profitability and cash flow generation have been used to pay down debt.

Capital spending of shipping companies will continue to increase. Therefore, Moody’s expects orders for newer and more energy-efficient ships to continue to be a theme during 2022, as shipping companies prepare for stricter environmental regulations that will gradually be phased in from 2023.