Bahrain takes top spot in MEA for tourism capital investment: fDi Intelligence report

Bahrain takes top spot in MEA for tourism capital investment: fDi Intelligence report
Bahrain Bay, Manama Bahrain. Shutterstock
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Updated 12 September 2021

Bahrain takes top spot in MEA for tourism capital investment: fDi Intelligence report

Bahrain takes top spot in MEA for tourism capital investment: fDi Intelligence report
  • Bahrain secured $492 million of tourism capital investment in 2020
  • Capital investment into MEA last year slumped 82 percent from 2019, dropping to $1.6 billion

Bahrain was ranked first in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) for attracting the highest tourism capital investment in 2020, according to the fDi Intelligence Tourism Investment Report 2021. 

Last year, major investments from UAE-based property developers helped Bahrain’s tourism sector remain buoyant and created jobs during the worst ever period for the global tourism industry.

Bahrain secured $492 million of tourism capital investment in 2020, mainly made up of investments from global property developer Emaar Properties and real estate developer Eagle Hills, despite the overall regional decline in capital investment in 2020.Bahrain secured $492 million of tourism capital investment in 2020

Capital investment into MEA last year slumped 82 percent from 2019, dropping to $1.6 billion. The number of tourism jobs created in the region also experienced a similar decline, decreasing from approximately 17,400 in 2019 to 2,800 in 2020. Despite the pandemic, Bahrain ranked first in MENA for the number of tourism jobs created in 2020 and second for the number of tourism FDI projects.

Prior to Covid-19, Bahrain was attracting around a million visitors a month on average and the tourism sector contributed around 7 percent to GDP. The kingdom was the first economy in the GCC to diversify away from oil, pivoting to tourism through new attractions, hotels, F&B, and retail.

During the pandemic, the country continued developing its tourism strategy, allocating more than $10 billion to tourism infrastructure projects, including the $1.1 billion modernisation of its international airport. 

More recently, Edamah, the real estate arm of Bahrain’s sovereign wealth fund, Mumtalakat, also announced several new upscale property projects in the country.

Accor, a hospitality group with over 400 hotels, Minor Hotels, which has a portfolio of 527 hotels and resorts, and Hilton DoubleTree unveiled plans to launch new properties in the Kingdom.

Anticipating a significant rebound in tourism numbers, Bahrain is growing its portfolio of five-star hotels and is set to have around 9,300 rooms by the end of 2022. Bahrain is also anticipating a return in demand and growth for beachfront affordable brands.

Mahmood Al Aradi, Chief Investment Officer at Bahrain’s Economic Development Board, said: “Despite the obvious challenges, we have continued to progress with our ambitious tourism infrastructure and real estate plans, which have attracted some of the world’s most renowned hotel brands and the Gulf’s largest property development groups, including Emaar.

“As well as being one of the region’s top holiday destinations, Bahrain is widely regarded as the best place to live and work in the GCC. Locals and expats are well-integrated both socially and professionally, which is unusual in the region. As part of the Kingdom’s infrastructure transformation initiative, we have a significant pipeline of projects in various sectors including industrial, hospitality, real estate and retail."

He added that he expected to see an increase in opportunities for regional cooperation as pandemic restrictions eased as well as more foreign hospitality groups looking to Bahrain as an investment opportunity.


Saudi leading online food delivery platform Jahez to list on Parallel Market Nomu

Saudi leading online food delivery platform Jahez to list on Parallel Market Nomu
Updated 25 sec ago

Saudi leading online food delivery platform Jahez to list on Parallel Market Nomu

Saudi leading online food delivery platform Jahez to list on Parallel Market Nomu

RIYADH: Jahez International Co. for Information Systems Technology, the Saudi leading online food delivery platform also known as Jahez, intends to proceed with IPO and list its ordinary shares on the Saudi Parallel Market, Nomu, according to a statement.

The Capital Market Authority approved on September 29, the Group’s application for the IPO of 1,363,934 shares, representing 13 percent of the Group’s share capital post-listing.

The final price for the shares to be announced at the end of the book-building period. 

Jahez is a homegrown Saudi business that utilizes disruptive technology to connect over 1.3 million active users with its platform’s network that includes over 12,000 merchant branches and more than 34,000 delivery partners in 47 cities across Saudi Arabia as of March 31st, 2021. 

 


Al Rajhi Capital expects a budget surplus for Saudi Arabia in 2022

Al Rajhi Capital expects a budget surplus for Saudi Arabia in 2022
Updated 5 min 49 sec ago

Al Rajhi Capital expects a budget surplus for Saudi Arabia in 2022

Al Rajhi Capital expects a budget surplus for Saudi Arabia in 2022

Saudi Arabia is set for a fiscal surplus of around SR25-SR45 billion ($6.7-$12 billion) in 2022, according to a report from investment bank Al Rajhi Capital.

The Saudi-based firm said government revenues could amount to around SR1 trillion in 2022, made up of SR600 billion in oil revenues and about SR380-SR400 billion in non-oil revenues. 

This forecast goes against that made by the Saudi Ministry of Finance, which expects a deficit of SR52 billion, as shown in its pre-budget statement for 2022.

The ministry’s forecast for revenues was a lower SR903 billion, inducing their expected deficit.

Al Rajhi Capital assumed the same value of expenditures as the ministry, valued at SR955 billion.

Jadwa Investment, another investment bank in the Kingdom, had almost the same forecasts for oil and non-oil revenues, as well as expenditures, for 2022. Its budget surplus expectation was also similar at SR35 billion.

Al Rajhi Capital also said that VAT rates are likely to remain unchanged.

The Ministry of Finance is set to publish its budget statement for 2022 in December.


Red Sea International rises 4% on Baker Hughes deal, TASI up amid omicron fears: Market Opening

Red Sea International rises 4% on Baker Hughes deal, TASI up amid omicron fears: Market Opening
Updated 9 min 40 sec ago

Red Sea International rises 4% on Baker Hughes deal, TASI up amid omicron fears: Market Opening

Red Sea International rises 4% on Baker Hughes deal, TASI up amid omicron fears: Market Opening

RIYADH: The shares of Red Sea International Co.'s rose by four percent at 10:55 Riyadh after it signed a seven-year contract worth SR245.8 million ($65.5 million) with Baker Hughes to design, manufacture, supply and operate three camps in the Eastern region to support its oil drilling operations in the region, according to a bourse filing.

Saudi Arabia's stock market traded higher this morning even as concerns about the new omicron COVID-19 strain persisted.

The main stock index, TASI was up very slightly 0.86 percent, reaching 10,854.27 points at 10:55 Riyadh time.

Saudi’s parallel market Nomu almost flat as it's down by 0.13 percent.

Companies news:

Aljazira Takaful Taawuni Co.’s shareholders approved the board of directors’ recommendation to increase capital to SR550 million from SR470.66 million through 16.86 percent bonus shares, according to a bourse filing.

This came during the extraordinary general assembly meeting  held on Nov. 30, the company said in a statement on Saudi Stock Exchange, Tadawul.

The capital increase will be executed by granting 0.1686 shares for every one share owned.

The National Agricultural Development Company, or NADEC, announces recent developments relating to the acquisition of the Second Milling Company with OLAM International Limited, Al Rajhi International for Investment Company and Abdulaziz Alajlan & Sons Company for Commercial and Real Estate Investment.

The Saudi Exchange announces that the fluctuation limits for Aljazira Takaful Taawuni Co. will be based on a share price of SAR 22.00

Saudi Telecom Co., or stc, approved its dividends policy for the next three years starting fourth quarter of 2021


Saudi Arabia’s $100bn plan to become largest shale gas producer outside of the US

Saudi Arabia’s $100bn plan to become largest shale gas producer outside of the US
Updated 01 December 2021

Saudi Arabia’s $100bn plan to become largest shale gas producer outside of the US

Saudi Arabia’s $100bn plan to become largest shale gas producer outside of the US
  • Saudi Arabia’s $100bn plan to become largest shale gas producer outside of the US

LONDON: Saudi Aramco’s award of $10 billion worth of contracts on its giant Jafurah project has finally fired the starting gun to develop what is thought to be the world’s biggest shale gas field outside of the US.
Having battled with America’s shale oil producers for market share over the last decade, the Kingdom is now adopting the advanced low-cost techniques of its fracking rivals and is set to spend up to $100 billion on Jafurah to rapidly increase its domestic gas production.
The Kingdom is estimated to be sitting on the fifth largest shale gas reserves in the world.
Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman earlier said the Jafurah gas field will place the Kingdom third in the world in natural gas production by 2030.
But does Saudi Arabia really have the potential to replicate the soaring success of US shale gas development?


Saudi Aramco Chief Executive Amin Nasser certainly thinks so. Announcing the contracts this week, he said: “It is a breakthrough that few outside the Kingdom thought was possible and which has positive implications for energy security, economic development and climate protection.”
Production is scheduled to begin within the next three years. The field will supply cleaner natural gas for domestic use in the Kingdom, along with feedstock for both petrochemical production, and crucially, low carbon hydrogen power.
Jafurah is expected to contribute to Saudi Arabia’s goal of producing half of its electricity from gas and half from renewables as it pursues its 2060 net-zero target. Indeed, Jafurah alone is forecast to replace up to 500,000 barrels of oil a day that would otherwise be used for domestic consumption.
All this serves the goals of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 program to diversify the economy from crude oil and sharply reduce its carbon footprint, even if the scheme will enable the Kingdom to increase its crude exports.

The Kingdom, however, has no plans to export the gas from Jafurah as Prince Abdulaziz told reporter on Nov. 29 in Dhahran following the announcement of the new contracts to develop the basin.

We will keep our gas to ourselves

Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman


But it was thought that fracking in Saudi Arabia will be more expensive than it is in the US, not least because the Kingdom is not renowned with an abundance of natural water, a critical component in the fracking process.
The fracking process requires pumping water, sand and chemicals into the fields at high pressure which fractures the shale rock and allows the hydrocarbons to escape.
“We managed to reduce drilling cost by 70 percent and stimulation cost by 90 percent since the 2014 cost benchmark, while increasing well productivity six-fold compared with the start of the program,” Nasser said on Monday.
Aramco plans to use seawater for fracking at Jafurah. Earlier this year, the company also invited bids for a water desalination plant at the field. Desalinated water is used in gas processing plants. An earlier bidding process was abruptly canceled last year and the current tender process has reduced the capacity of the desalination plant by around 20 percent.

Sadad Al Husseini, former EVP of Aramco


However, former Aramco Executive VP Sadad Husseini insists the “water issue” is a red herring.
He told Arab News: “The water issue was resolved years ago. We have aquifers that hold saline water and the Saudi oil industry has a long history of using this water for drilling.”
Husseini also dismissed cost comparisons with the US shale industry.
He said: “The cost of fracking depends on the depth of the reservoir. In the US, they work with shallower reservoirs, around 3,000 to 4,000 feet deep, which makes fracking less costly. In Saudi Arabia, the reservoirs will be 9,000 to 10,000 feet deep. It’s technically more challenging, but unlike the US, those deep wells are not just producing gas, they’re also producing a lot of condensates, most notably ethane, along with gas, and that is profitable and makes the economics of this field work. Ethane feeds the petrochemical industry.”
He added: “It’s a challenging development but it wouldn’t have advanced if the issues hadn’t been resolved.
Developing shale gas reserves outside the US has not been particularly successful, partly due to environmental concerns - particularly in large population centers in Europe, a lack of infrastructure, and difficulties accessing and disposing of water used in the process.
However, Jafurah is close to the Gulf coast with relatively easy access to seawater, and is also adjacent to the world’s largest oilfield, Ghawar, and its substantial energy infrastructure.
Production at Jafurah is expected to commence in 2024 and is forecast to reach up to 2 billion cubic feet per day of sales gas, 418 million cubic feet per day of ethane and about 630,000 barrels per day of gas liquids and condensates by 2030. Investment over that period will amount to $68 billion, but is expected to total more than $100 billion overall.
Domestic employment, another key plank of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030, is also central to the scheme. It is understood that along with fields under development in North Arabia and South Ghawar, the Jufarah project will create more than 200,000 direct and indirect jobs in the Kingdom.
The scheme will also incorporate new technology, most notably using industrial internet of things and video analytics.
The Jafurah project will not only aid the Kingdom’s environmental ambitions but will also support its petrochemicals industry. “Its ethane and liquified natural gas are highly valuable feedstocks for the Kingdom’s petrochemical’s industry,” the Aramco chief said.

 


China links key to success of African free trade initiative: Egyptian president

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi. (AP file photo)
Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi. (AP file photo)
Updated 30 November 2021

China links key to success of African free trade initiative: Egyptian president

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi. (AP file photo)
  • El-Sisi pointed out the importance of the forum in strengthening joint trade and investment initiatives, including debt relief programs and help for small- and medium-sized enterprises

CAIRO: Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi has highlighted the importance of working with China to the success of an African free trade initiative.

Speaking virtually during a meeting of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation — attended by Chinese President Xi Jinping and a number of African leaders — he said that effective partnership with China was vital to implementing the African Continental Free Trade Area agreement.

The Egyptian leader noted that under its current presidency of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa organization his country would be looking to attract foreign investment, promote integration between African and foreign private sectors, and expand digital transformation and e-commerce.

In a statement, an official spokesperson for the Egyptian Presidency said that forum members had discussed ways to consolidate links between the African continent and China, including cooperation on economic recovery schemes following the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

El-Sisi pointed out the importance of the forum in strengthening joint trade and investment initiatives, including debt relief programs and help for small- and medium-sized enterprises to overcome the economic crises brought about by the global virus outbreak.

He told the meeting that further investment in infrastructure projects was needed to complete the continental linkup between African countries and added that it was important to learn from the experiences of other nations in tackling the COVID-19 pandemic through prevention, biotechnology, and pharmaceutical manufacturing.

The Egyptian president lauded the vaccine manufacturing work of Egypt and China that had seen his country become the first African nation to possess the capabilities to produce vaccines against COVID-19. And he also stressed the need for joint coordination between Africa and China on issues related to strengthening peace and security.