Sidra Capital acquires Countryside PLC HQ in UK

Sidra Capital acquires Countryside PLC HQ in UK
The Grade A office building is located in an established southeast submarket and benefits from excellent transport links to Central London and the rest of the UK.
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Updated 15 September 2021

Sidra Capital acquires Countryside PLC HQ in UK

Sidra Capital acquires Countryside PLC HQ in UK

Sidra Capital, a GCC-based Shariah-compliant asset manager, has announced the completion of its acquisition of a freehold Countryside House HQ in the M25 submarket of Brentwood, UK. The transaction is valued at £19 million ($26.2 million).

The acquired property is fully let to Countryside PLC, a FTSE 250 company, on an unbroken 15-year lease and is undergoing a comprehensive £8 million refurbishment to transform the property into a state-of-the-art, future-proofed HQ building with excellent environmental credentials.

The Grade A office building is located in an established southeast submarket and benefits from excellent transport links to Central London and the rest of the UK. The three floors of office space comprise 38,878 square feet and the building provides 165 parking spaces, offering an excellent parking ratio of 1:1235 square feet, while enhancing an already extremely attractive working environment.

Commenting on the transaction, Hani Baothman, chairman of Sidra Capital, said: “We are pleased to have completed the acquisition of this exceptional HQ building whose value is enhanced by the long let to a strong tenant in an attractive M25 location.

HIGHLIGHT

The acquired property is fully let to Countryside PLC, a FTSE 250 company, on an unbroken 15-year lease and is undergoing a comprehensive £8 million refurbishment.

This demonstrates not only our commitment to the UK market but also to our belief that modern fit-for-purpose office buildings in strong locations will remain attractive to both tenants and investors. The transaction confirms our commitment to providing investors with attractive high-yielding investment opportunities in global mature markets that fulfill their investment objectives and aspirations.”

The transaction bolsters Sidra Capital’s real estate investment strategy in the UK, which is buoyed by the prospect of economic growth and renewed investor sentiment as the UK GDP returns to pre-COVID levels.

“An easing of COVID-19 restrictions has served to rebuild investor confidence, which in turn brought liquidity and positive sentiment back to the market,” Baothman added.
Founded in 2009 and headquartered in Saudi Arabia — with offices in Jeddah, Riyadh and London, Sidra Capital is a Shariah-compliant asset manager that specializes in income-generating real estate and private finance.
 


Acme restaurant opens doors in AlUla

Acme restaurant opens doors in AlUla
Updated 28 November 2021

Acme restaurant opens doors in AlUla

Acme restaurant opens doors in AlUla

Acme restaurant, which specializes in international cuisine, has announced the opening of its third Saudi branch in AlUla, in line with its ambitious expansion plan for the Kingdom.

Saudi Arabia’s UNESCO World Heritage Site was chosen as the restaurant location because of its growing importance on the regional tourism map as it continues to receive an increasing number of visitors every year.

The interiors at Acme’s latest outlet represent a mix between the past and the present, taking inspiration from its surrounding desert. The dining tables are designed in a unique shape and the outdoor seating is comfy and traditional.

Acme in AlUla will offer guests a unique gastronomic experience that blends international flavors with a touch of AlUla’s deeply rooted ancient history. Dishes can be made to order as well.

The restaurant can accommodate more than 100 persons at a time.

Abdulelah Al-Naddaf, CEO and owner of Food Concepts Company, said that the opening of the AlUla branch is an important step in the growth of the Acme restaurant chain. He said the region is attractive in all aspects and motivates to achieve success, especially in F and B projects.

“The city of AlUla has begun to strongly flex its muscles in the field of domestic tourism during the past few years, as we have noticed after studying the success that can be achieved in this region, especially in restaurant projects,” he added.

“We are ready to receive visitors and tourists on all upcoming occasions, as Acme is eagerly waiting for them in this charming and natural picturesque location.”


Tolerance & technology in focus at ABLF Talks Hybrid

Tolerance & technology in focus at ABLF Talks Hybrid
Updated 28 November 2021

Tolerance & technology in focus at ABLF Talks Hybrid

Tolerance & technology in focus at ABLF Talks Hybrid

Tolerance, constructive dialogue and peace will be the engines that drive economic and social growth, said Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al-Nahayan, minister of tolerance and coexistence, UAE, at the second hybrid edition of the ABLF Talks at the Dubai Cares Pavilion, Expo 2020 Dubai.

The monthly leadership series, held under the patronage of Sheikh Nahayan and in partnership with the UAE Ministry of Economy and Dubai Cares, a UAE-based global philanthropic organization, saw a lively discussion by world leaders on the virtues of tolerance and inclusivity, and their role in meeting the sustainable development goals.

In the keynote address, Sheikh Nahayan highlighted how the UAE was driven by its belief in constructive dialogues and concern for each other’s welfare. “Tolerant societies are more open, innovative and economically prosperous while tolerant businesses are more successful. We in the UAE, consider ourselves to be the example of the truth of these statements,” he added.

The role of the Expo 2020 Dubai was also spotlighted as an event that not just motivated people to redesign and reshape their future but also served as a platform to learn, discover and appreciate the relationship between individuals and the world around them. “Our country is a land of opportunities. We will continue to be a dynamic hub of a vast, vibrant and ever-accelerating global market that serves over 2 billion people in the Middle East, Africa and beyond,” Sheikh Nahayan said.

The panel discussion that followed focused on the impact of the pandemic on the UN SDGs, especially in the education sector. Featuring Dr. Tariq Al-Gurg, commissioner general for the Dubai Cares Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai and chief executive of Dubai Cares; Dr. Dena Assaf, the UN resident coordinator, UAE, and the deputy commissioner-general, UN; and Majid Al-Usaimi, UNICEF national ambassador and president, Asian Paralympic Committee; the conversation veered on the need to democratize technology to bridge the huge gaps in society.

“COVID-19 has accelerated united efforts toward SDGs, but at the same time, it has also created a huge digital divide. If you have a shared vision and a global agenda but not enough technological connectivity or adequate force or funding, these goals cannot be achieved. Therefore, universal access to connectivity is critical,” said Dr. Al-Gurg. While listing out the various initiatives by Dubai Cares that aim to enhance children and youth’s access to education and creating opportunities for youth empowerment, he also announced the objectives of the upcoming RewirEd Summit, which is led by Dubai Cares in partnership with Expo 2020 Dubai and in close coordination with the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and a host of global stakeholders. Taking place at Dubai Exhibition Centre from Dec. 12-14, the largest education summit of its kind aims to rewire education for a prosperous and sustainable future.

Delving deep into the UN’s efforts to tide over the challenges posed by the pandemic, especially in poorer economies, Dr. Assaf spoke about the need to engage with communities in a multi-level, multi-cultural and holistic manner while ensuring that technology is not used in a one-size-fits-all approach. “From the UN’s perspective, we work on the principle of — ‘no one should be left behind,’” he added, outlining the huge difference in access among various groups in different countries.

Meanwhile, Al-Usaimi brought the issues faced by people of determination to the forefront and the role of sports in building opportunities and communities.

Stressing on the need to use technology and research to identify the needs and customize programs for their benefit, Al-Usaimi said: “Our aim should be to get everything — money, technology and expertise — toward the achievements of the same goal.”


Mawani scoops top accolades at maritime awards

Mawani scoops top accolades at maritime awards
Updated 28 November 2021

Mawani scoops top accolades at maritime awards

Mawani scoops top accolades at maritime awards

Underlining the prominence of Saudi Arabia’s maritime logistics sector in the region and beyond, companies from the Kingdom have received a number of top accolades at the Maritime Standard Awards 2021. The Saudi Ports Authority (Mawani) and Bahri were presented with a total of five awards during the Annual Maritime Standard Awards Gala Dinner, which was hosted at Dubai World Trade Center in the UAE on Nov. 22.

Now celebrating its eighth edition, the glittering awards ceremony was held under the patronage of Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al-Maktoum, president of Dubai Civil Aviation Authority and chairman and CEO of Emirates Airline and Group.

President of Mawani Omar bin Talal Hariri received the Maritime Standard Excellence Award in recognition of his contribution to the growth and development of Saudi Arabia’s seaports and maritime logistics sector.

Musaad Al-Driss, vice president of Mawani, was the recipient of the coveted Maritime Standard Lifetime Achievement Award, reflecting his tireless dedication to the shipping and maritime industries throughout his career.

Meanwhile, Bahri triumphed in the Tanker Operator of the Year, Shipping Company of the Year, and Ship Manager of the Year categories.


Bahri reinforces industry leadership with award wins

Bahri reinforces industry leadership with award wins
Updated 27 November 2021

Bahri reinforces industry leadership with award wins

Bahri reinforces industry leadership with award wins

Bahri, a global provider of logistics and transportation services, bagged three prestigious awards at The Maritime Standard Awards 2021 and one award at the All India Maritime And Logistics Awards 2021. The award successes further strengthen the Saudi shipping company’s reputation for building market-leading capabilities and delivering excellence.

Bahri was awarded “Ship Manager of the Year,” “Tanker Operator of the Year,” and “Shipping Company of the Year” at TMS 2021, held on Nov. 22 at the Dubai World Trade Centre, UAE, and “Shipping Line of the Year — Multipurpose Vessel Operator” at MALA 2021, held on Nov. 18 in Mumbai.

Abdulaziz Sabri, president of Bahri Ship Management, accepted the TMS awards on behalf of Bahri, in the presence of nearly 500 senior executives from shipping, ports, shipbuilding, and other maritime sectors, along with decision-makers and senior officials from governmental agencies from across the region.

Bahri CEO Eng Abdullah Aldubaikhi

Commenting on the awards, Abdullah Aldubaikhi, CEO of Bahri, said: “We are delighted to be honored with four coveted awards and thank The Maritime Standard Awards and MALA Awards for recognizing our efforts to transform Bahri into the undisputed leader that sets new benchmarks in the world of logistics and transportation. These accolades reflect the success of our wide-ranging initiatives to create excellence in our operations and services, in pursuit of the fullest satisfaction of our customers, superior value for our partners and shareholders, and sustainable impact on the industry and Saudi Arabia’s economy.”

The “Ship Manager of the Year” award was presented to Bahri for demonstrating particularly high levels of effectiveness in managing vessels and, especially, in ensuring outstanding levels of operational performance, quality and safety, and business growth over recent years.

Bahri was awarded the “Tanker Operator of the Year” title in recognition of its most exceptional level of performance over the year, based on the assessment of a range of criteria, including a commitment to customer service and efficiency, investments in vessels and related shipping services, diversification into new trades, expansion of service networks, financial performance, and social and environmental commitment.

Meanwhile, the “Shipping Company of the Year” award recognized Bahri for indicating a significant process of change and improvement and showing activities that have had a particularly significant effect on the region’s maritime sector.


Danube and F1 champion spread the word on healthy diet

Danube and F1 champion spread the word on healthy diet
Updated 25 November 2021

Danube and F1 champion spread the word on healthy diet

Danube and F1 champion spread the word on healthy diet

The Danube supermarket and hypermarket chain in Saudi Arabia has joined forces with two-time F1 champion Mika Häkkinen in a drive to create awareness about the importance of maintaining a healthy diet. As part of the initiative, Danube Online will launch the “Racing Kitchen” on the Danube App during the upcoming F1 season. The feature will host an array of healthy recipes that could be part of a healthy diet and help in reaching an optimized lifestyle. Racing enthusiasts will also have the chance to enter a competition on Danube Online to meet the legendary driver Häkkinen in Jeddah. 

Häkkinen is also bringing his own “INZDR” app to racing fans across the Kingdom. The app aims to redefine the fan experience and provide exclusive content from their favorite driving stars, including high-quality content such as the type of diets and exercise programs maintained by an elite athlete like an F1 driver. 

Ahmad A.R. BinDawood, CEO of BinDawood Holding, the owner and operator of Danube, said: “We are thrilled to partner with such a legendary champion and athlete to help create awareness on the importance of maintaining a healthy and high-quality diet in order to support an optimized lifestyle. Our Danube stores stock a huge range of organic fresh produce and high-quality products that our customers can avail of to help them maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle. We encourage our customers to try out the recipes in the Danube Kitchen section of our Danube App and of course, enter the draw to win a chance to meet Mika Hakkinen.”

The names of the winners will be announced on Danube’s social media handles. 

BinDawood Holding is one of the leading grocery retail operators of hypermarkets and supermarkets in Saudi Arabia. The company has a total of 76 stores, of which 52 are hypermarkets and 24 are supermarkets, each located strategically across the Kingdom, and operating under two complementary brands: BinDawood and Danube.