Aramco’s arm, Wa’ed, gives $2.71m to startups in 1st stop of Saudi roadshow

Aramco’s arm, Wa’ed, gives $2.71m to startups in 1st stop of Saudi roadshow
Wa’ed has helped drive growth of the Kingdom’s entrepreneurial ecosystem by deploying more than SR 400 million in venture capital investment, loans and incubation services into more than 100 Saudi-based startups. (Supplied)
Short Url
Updated 08 September 2021

Aramco’s arm, Wa’ed, gives $2.71m to startups in 1st stop of Saudi roadshow

Aramco’s arm, Wa’ed, gives $2.71m to startups in 1st stop of Saudi roadshow
  • The next Wa’ed Entrepreneurship Roadshow will be on Sept. 21 in Yanbu

JUBAIL: A total of SR10.2 million ($2.71 million) has been given in grants and loans to six local startups in the first of Wa’ed’s six stops on its nationwide roadshow. The first group of winners include a maker of radioisotopes, used in medical imaging technology, and a company that converts used cooking oil into biofuels for use in diesel cars.

Wa’ed, the entrepreneurship arm of Aramco, began a six-city national roadshow in Jubail on Monday to fund the Kingdom’s best new startups. The roadshows bring an element of Shark’s Tank TV show to Saudi Arabia with a top local TV personality bringing an air of excitement and competition to the selection of winning entrepreneurs.

Wa’ed roadshows will also be held this year in Yanbu, Jeddah, Riyadh, Madinah and Makkah. Wa’ed is selecting Saudi-based entrepreneurs for loans, incubation services and venture capital investment. The roadshows are being hosted by Mohammed Almousa, a Saudi entrepreneur and broadcast presenter for MBC television.

“The startups we recognize tonight in Jubail are part of a new wave of Saudi-based entrepreneurs who are driving economic growth and diversification in the Kingdom,” said Fahad Alidi, Wa’ed managing director. 

Created as a wholly owned venture of Aramco in 2011, Wa’ed has helped drive growth of the Kingdom’s entrepreneurial ecosystem by deploying more than SR 400 million in venture capital investment, loans and incubation services into more than 100 Saudi-based startups. 

The Jubail roadshow highlighted industrial manufacturing and services and drew entrepreneurs from a range of fields. The event was sponsored by The Royal Commission for Jubail & Yanbu, which oversees the Kingdom’s largest industrial zone. 

Future roadshows will focus on drones, security technology, reverse engineering, petrochemicals, environmental tech, fintech, supply chains, tourism and hospitality, among other sectors.

Entrepreneurs recommended for loans and incubation support must pass Wa’ed background checks. The next Wa’ed Entrepreneurship Roadshow will be on Sept. 21 in Yanbu.

Wa’ed Entrepreneurship Roadshow recommended loans be issued to:

  • Ahmad Alkhowaiter, the first Saudi producer of a ubiquitous oil and gas drilling compound;
  • Motlaq Almotairy, founder of Saudi’s first radioisotopes firm;
  • Abdullah Al Otaibi, the founder of a company that converts used cooking oils into biofuels. 

Wa’ed also recommended incubation seed funding grants to:

  • Nawaf Alabra, founder of a new-generation B2B platform;
  • Ahmed Abdulmohsen, founder of a business software maker that manages infrastructure, buildings and lighting;
  • Muhannad Alhamed, founder of a smart home automation solutions maker based on IoT.

 


Greenhouse gas levels reach new record high: UN

Greenhouse gas levels reach new record high: UN
Getty Images
Updated 5 sec ago

Greenhouse gas levels reach new record high: UN

Greenhouse gas levels reach new record high: UN
  • The organisation said that as long as emissions continue, global temperatures will continue to rise

Greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere reached new record levels last year, the United Nations said Monday in a stark warning ahead of the COP26 summit about worsening global warming.


The Greenhouse Gas Bulletin from the UN's World Meteorological Organization said the annual rate of increase last year was above the yearly average between 2011 and 2020 - and the trend continued in 2021.


The WMO said the economic slowdown caused by the Covid-19 pandemic triggered a temporary decline in new emissions, but had no discernible impact on the atmospheric levels of greenhouse gases and their growth rates.


The organisation said that as long as emissions continue, global temperatures will continue to rise.


And given the long life of carbon dioxide (CO2), the temperature level already observed will persist for several decades even if emissions are rapidly reduced to net zero.


COP26, the UN Climate Change Conference, is being held in Glasgow from October 31 to November 12.


"The Greenhouse Gas Bulletin contains a stark, scientific message for climate change negotiators at COP26," said WMO chief Petteri Taalas.


"At the current rate of increase in greenhouse gas concentrations, we will see a temperature increase by the end of this century far in excess of the Paris Agreement targets of 1.5 to two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.


"We are way off track."


The report said that roughly half of the CO2 emitted by human activity remains in the atmosphere, with the other half ending up in the oceans and the land.


"The last time the Earth experienced a comparable concentration of CO2 was 3-5 million years ago, when the temperature was 2-3C warmer and sea level was 10-20 metres higher than now. But there weren't 7.8 billion people then," said Taalas.

The WMO said that with continued rising greenhouse gas emissions, alongside rising temperatures, the planet could also expect more weather extremes.


That includes intense heat and rainfall, ice melt, sea-level rise and ocean acidification - all of which will have far-reaching socio-economic impacts.


"We need to transform our commitment into action that will have an impact on the gases that drive climate change," said Taalas.


"We need to revisit our industrial, energy and transport systems and whole way of life. The needed changes are economically affordable and technically possible. There is no time to lose."


Euan Nisbet, from the University of London's Greenhouse Gas Group, compared greenhouse gas measurements to "skidding into a car crash".


"The disaster gets closer and closer but you can't stop it. You can clearly see the crash ahead, and all you can do is howl."


Arab National Bank profits fall: Market Wrap

Arab National Bank profits fall: Market Wrap
Updated 12 min 52 sec ago

Arab National Bank profits fall: Market Wrap

Arab National Bank profits fall: Market Wrap

The Tadawul All Share Index, TASI, was down 0.2 percent at 11,845 points in early trade today. 

Here’s a wrap of market movements as of 10:30am Riyadh time:

Arab National Bank profits declined 0.6 percent in the third quarter to SR665 million ($117 million). This fall was due to an increase in salaries, employee expenses and other general and administrative costs, the bank said in a filing.

On a quarterly basis, Arab Bank's net profit increased by 40.59 percent, compared to a net profit of about SR473 million in the second quarter of 2021.

Alinma Bank’s profits rose 15 percent in the third quarter to SR822.9 million ($219.4 million), compared to SR715 million in the third quarter of 2020.

On a quarterly basis, the company's profits increased in the third quarter by 3.9 percent, compared to profits of SR792 million in the second quarter of 2021.

Alarabia launched the retail subscription for 10 percent of its shares on Tuesday.

Saudi Arabian Mining Company, Maaden, returned to a net profit of SR3.1 billion ($830 million) in the first nine months of 2021.

Alkhorayef Water and Power Technologies Company’s board approved establishing a subsidiary company, along with France’s Veolia, to focus on water services in the Riyadh region.

Dr. Sulaiman Al Habib Medical Services Group’s two subsidiaries signed two contracts worth SR599.6 million ($159.9 million). 

SIECO signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the International Development Bank to support Saudi exports to Iraq.

Zahrat Al Waha’s net profit soared 65 percent to SR44.1 million ($11.8 million) for the first nine months of 2021.

Mobile Telecommunication Company Saudi Arabia (Zain Ksa) posted a 36 percent decline in profit in the first nine months of 2021.

Taleem REIT Fund distributed a 1.2 percent cash dividend for Q3 2021. 

CMA announced the approval of the public offering of the "Riyad Opportunities Fund".


German business morale deteriorates further in October

German business morale deteriorates further in October
Getty Images
Updated 55 min 18 sec ago

German business morale deteriorates further in October

German business morale deteriorates further in October
  • "Sand in the wheels of the German economy is hampering recovery"

German business morale fell for the fourth month running in October as supply bottlenecks held back factory output in Europe's largest economy, a survey showed on Monday.


The Ifo institute said its business climate index fell to 97.7 from an upwardly revised 98.9 in September.


The reading was the lowest since April and undershot the figure of 97.9 in a Reuters poll.


"Supply problems are giving businesses headaches," Ifo President Clemens Fuest said, adding that capacity utilisation in manufacturing was falling.


"Sand in the wheels of the German economy is hampering recovery."


The government is expected to slash on Wednesday its forecast for economic growth this year, after leading institutes last week cut their joint forecast to 2.4 percent from 3.7 percent. For 2022, the institutes predicted 4.8 percent growth. 


Saudi Arabia, Blackrock sign $53bn deal to finance Saudi infrastructure

Saudi Arabia, Blackrock sign $53bn deal to finance Saudi infrastructure
Updated 16 min 45 sec ago

Saudi Arabia, Blackrock sign $53bn deal to finance Saudi infrastructure

Saudi Arabia, Blackrock sign $53bn deal to finance Saudi infrastructure

Saudi National Development Fund (NDF) and US private equity giant BlackRock will launch a fund tasked with investing SR200 billion ($53 billion) in Saudi infrastructure, according to a statement on Saudi Press Agency.

Announced on the eve of the Future Investment Initiative in Riyadh, the deal will set up a National Infrastructure Fund that will help deliver some SR200 billion of essential investment in assets such as schools, hospitals, transport and the digital foundation, between now and 2030.

It is a significant step for the National Development Fund (NDF), the lesser-known of the Kingdom’s agents for economic development, in comparison to its high-profile collaborator, the Public Investment Fund.


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 25 October 2021

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.