Surge in MENA’s SPAC activity counters IPOs drop, says Ernst & Young

Surge in MENA’s SPAC activity counters IPOs drop, says Ernst & Young
SPACs are also known as 'blank cheque' companies
Short Url
Updated 20 September 2021

Surge in MENA’s SPAC activity counters IPOs drop, says Ernst & Young

Surge in MENA’s SPAC activity counters IPOs drop, says Ernst & Young

Middle Eastern businesses are increasingly making use of the alternative route to public listing known as SPACs, a report by Ernst & Young has claimed.

The analysis shows a rise in activity involving special purpose acquisition companies (SPACs) and MENA-based firms.

SPACs are publicly listed companies created with the sole purpose of purchasing privately owned businesses, which therefore leads to its target to be listed. 

As well as private companies, sovereign wealth funds in the Middle East — including Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) and Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala — have also made use of SPACs, with PIF investing USD$75 million in NYSE-listed Compute Health in February.

Gregory Hughes, Ernst & Young MENA IPO and transaction diligence leader, said: “IPO activity during H1 2021 was below expectations, nevertheless the year did bring some remarkable deals with MENA companies showing an ever-increasing interest in SPAC transactions as a means to go public. We expect this trend to continue as companies seek to increase their international presence and gain access to a wider pool of investors.”

Among the MENA companies to go public this year after merging with SPACs were Abu Dhabi-based music streaming platform Anghami, and Dubai-headquartered transit firm Swvl Inc.

While SPAC activity was surging, the proceeds from initial public offerings (IPOs) across the region saw a year-on-year drop of 48 percent in the first half of 2021. 

Four IPOs raised USD$425.8 million, even though the number of listings stayed the same as 2020. 

Matthew Benson, EY MENA Strategy and Transactions Leader said that despite the drop, his company’s outlook on the region’s IPO activity “remains positive”.


NEOM’s green hydrogen plant to operate in 2026: Air Product’s CEO

NEOM’s green hydrogen plant to operate in 2026: Air Product’s CEO
Updated 21 October 2021

NEOM’s green hydrogen plant to operate in 2026: Air Product’s CEO

NEOM’s green hydrogen plant to operate in 2026: Air Product’s CEO
  • Seifi Ghasemi noted that the project is the biggest in the world and that it is the first time for the company to handle a project with this scale, echoing a similar comment from ACWA Power CEO to Arab News. 

NEOM’s green hydrogen plant will start operations in 2026, the chief executive officer of Air Products & Chemicals revealed in an interview with Alarabiya.

The project will export hydrogen in the form of liquid ammonia to the world market for use as a biofuel that feeds transportation systems.

Seifi Ghasemi noted that the project is the biggest in the world and that it is the first time for the company to handle a project with this scale, echoing a similar comment from ACWA Power CEO to Arab News. 

This comes amid the Kingdom’s directions towards green energy. 

 


US jobless claims fall; Turkey’s central bank slashes interest rate again: Economic wrap

US jobless claims fall; Turkey’s central bank slashes interest rate again: Economic wrap
Updated 21 October 2021

US jobless claims fall; Turkey’s central bank slashes interest rate again: Economic wrap

US jobless claims fall; Turkey’s central bank slashes interest rate again: Economic wrap

Americans applying for jobless benefits declined to 290,000 in the week ending 16 October, compared to the previous seven day's 296,00 claims, official data showed. 

This is the lowest level since March 2020 as job hirers hold on to their employees as a result of worker shortages.

Turkish interest rate falls once more

The Turkish Central Bank decided to cut its interest rate again from 18 percent to 16 percent, despite rising inflation and a depreciating currency. 

This decision came after the president renewed calls to alleviate borrowing costs to promote economic growth. Economists considered this confirmation of the bank's loss of independence as the president sacked the last three central bank governors.

South Korea's exports

Based on data released by its customs agency, South Korea's exports jumped in the first 20 days of October by 36.1 percent compared to a year earlier, while imports soared by 48 percent, causing a provisional trade deficit of $2.49 billion.

Exports rose the most for petroleum products and vessels as they leapt by 128.7 percent and 93.5 percent respectively.

The data showed that exports to China, the United States and the European Union increased during this period by 30.9, 37.1 and 42.1 percent respectively.

Sub-Saharan Africa’s recovery at risk 

The IMF said that the weak vaccination rollouts in sub-Saharan Africa could setback the region’s economic recovery in the coming period.

While higher commodity prices and favorable harvests were beneficial for some countries, the overall outlook is pessimistic as the region is likely to considerably lag behind developed countries.

The international organization expects sub-Saharan economic growth to be 3.7 percent in 2021 and 3.8 percent in 2022. 

Russia’s producer prices

Russian producer prices went up by a 26.3 percent annual rate in September, official data revealed. This is the lowest level since March and was mainly driven by a 41.4 percent surge in costs of raw materials extraction and a 25.4 percent jump in manufacturing costs.

China’s investments abroad

China's non-financial outbound direct investment (ODI) grew by 2.4 percent in the first nine months of 2021 compared to the same period last year to reach $80.78 billion, the commerce ministry said.

Ukraine’s interest rate 

The Central Bank of Ukraine kept the interest rate on hold at 8.5 percent. However, the bank said there was a possible chance to increase the rate in December if needed to manage rising inflationary pressures.


TASI closes 0.3 percent higher at 11,940 points: Market Wrap

TASI closes 0.3 percent higher at 11,940 points: Market Wrap
Updated 21 October 2021

TASI closes 0.3 percent higher at 11,940 points: Market Wrap

TASI closes 0.3 percent higher at 11,940 points: Market Wrap

RIYADH: The Tadawul All-Share Index was up 35 points on Thursday, or 0.3 percent, closing at 11,939,58 points.

Some 202.4 million of shares changed hands in 305,000 deals.

Al Rajhi Bank, SABIC and Saudi Aramco rose by 1 percent.

Baazeem was the top gainer, rising 5.6 percent, to SR124.80, with about 2.2 million shares traded.

Sulaiman Al Habib jumped 5.2 percent, to SR178.20.

Alinma Bank, Arab Sea, Sipchem and Saudi National Bank recorded their highest closings since the listing.

The parallel market index “Nomu” decreased by 719.49 points, or 2.94 percent, and closed at 23730.47 points. The liquidity amounted to about SR15.6 million.

Makkah Construction declined 1.9 percent to SR77.10. In Q3 2021, the company recorded a net profit of SR12 million.

NADEC and National Gypsum closed at SR34.95 and SR46.80, respectively.


Cryptocurrencies benefit from Bitcoin's gains: Crypto wrap

Cryptocurrencies benefit from Bitcoin's gains: Crypto wrap
Updated 21 October 2021

Cryptocurrencies benefit from Bitcoin's gains: Crypto wrap

Cryptocurrencies benefit from Bitcoin's gains: Crypto wrap

RIYADH: Leading cryptocurrencies have mirrored Bitcoin’s gains with strong performances in the past 24 hours.

Ethereum and Solana are up more than 10 percent, after Bitcoin surged above $66,000 on Wednesday.

Edan Yago, the lead contributor to the Bitcoin DeFi protocol Sovryn, said: “As big as Bitcoin is now, it’s a mere fraction of what it will be.

“An entire borderless economy will be powered by sound money. An economy far larger than our current global economy. Why? Bitcoin finally brings property rights and economic access to billions of people.”

 Ruud Feltkamp, CEO of cloud-based automated crypto trading bot Cryptohopper predicted that Bitcoin’s value will continue to grow.

“As expected, Bitcoin reached its all time high. It’s expected that the long volatile route to the top starts now, where I expect Bitcoin’s peak around Christmas. We often see that when Bitcoin makes a move, the altcoins follow in the two weeks after, which could explain the latest surge in Ethereum and Solana,” he said.

Trading
 

Bitcoin, the leading cryptocurrency in trading internationally, traded lower on Thursday, falling by 0.55 percent to $65,286 at 4:49 pm Riyadh time.

Ether, the second most traded cryptocurrency, traded at $4,251 up 6.74 percent, according to data from Coindesk.


'stc' profits hit $2.3 billion in 9 months, an increase of 3.5%

'stc' profits hit $2.3 billion in 9 months, an increase of 3.5%
Updated 21 October 2021

'stc' profits hit $2.3 billion in 9 months, an increase of 3.5%

'stc' profits hit $2.3 billion in 9 months, an increase of 3.5%
  • stc attributed the increase during the third quarter of 2021 to the rise in revenues by and a decrease in operating expenses. 

Saudi telecom giant 'stc’ reported a 3.5-percent increase in its net profit for the first 9 months of 2021, compared to the same period last year, reaching SR8.7 billion ($2.32 billion). 

The company’s net profit in the third quarter alone of 2021 increased by 5.71 percent, reaching SR2.9 billion. 

stc attributed the increase during the third quarter of 2021 to the rise in revenues by and a decrease in operating expenses.