Dubai's Amanat eying up $272m of investments in Middle East, says CEO

Dubai's Amanat eying up $272m of investments in Middle East, says CEO
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Updated 27 September 2021

Dubai's Amanat eying up $272m of investments in Middle East, says CEO

Dubai's Amanat eying up $272m of investments in Middle East, says CEO

RIYADH: Dubai-based Investment firm Amanat Holdings can call on a billion dirhams warchest to fund new acquisitions across the Middle East, its chief executive has revealed.

Speaking on CNBC Arabia, Mohamad Hamade said his firm will target investments in Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Egypt as he claimed Amanat’s investment portfolio delivered achieved returns of 235 million dirhams in the first half of the year, representing about 10 percent of the value of the portfolio.

"Currently, the liquidity has reached more than 700 million dirhams as cash for investment, but we can increase this amount to one billion or more if we borrow from the banks," Hamade said.

On Sunday, Amanat completed the sale of its minority 13.13 percent share in Jeddah Hospital International Medical Center for SR443 million ($118 million).

The divestment resulted in a cash return of 100 million dirhams, and is expected to report a gain of 40 million dirhams, Amanat said in a statement.

Amanat Holdings acquired Cambridge Medical and Rehabilitation Center — a local rehabilitation firm for an enterprise value of $232 million, Bloomberg reported last February.

The Cambridge acquisition deal amounted to 850 million dirhams and was half financed by banks, Hamade said.  

 


Crypto too close to criminals, says SAMA governor

Crypto too close to criminals, says SAMA governor
Updated 23 sec ago

Crypto too close to criminals, says SAMA governor

Crypto too close to criminals, says SAMA governor

Saudi Arabia’s central bank (SAMA) should have no involvement with crypto-assets as many of those who deal with them are criminals, according to its governor.

Speaking at the Future Investment Initiative Forum in Riyadh, Fahad Al Mubarak claimed there would be no smashing of the banking system by digital currencies such as Bitcoin, but instead an expansion of a centralized system for regulating the tender.

Regulators are still playing catch-up when it comes to how crypto-curencies should be governed, he added.

Hussain Abdulla, co-CEO of Qatar-based investment bank QInvest, claimed the products were not yet Sharia-compliant, and more understanding was needed.

Abdulla warned though that the Middle East is lagging way behind the US and Europe when it comes to digitization of the banking industry, adding: “Winners in the banking industry will be those who take steps today toward digitization rather than later.”

The SAMA governor talked up the rise of online banking during the Covid-19 crisis, and said: “Before the pandemic only 35 percent of the transactions were electronic, now it’s around 55 percent “


Dubai’s DIFC regulator issues first part of digital assets framework

Dubai’s DIFC regulator issues first part of digital assets framework
Updated 28 min 5 sec ago

Dubai’s DIFC regulator issues first part of digital assets framework

Dubai’s DIFC regulator issues first part of digital assets framework

DUBAI: The regulator for DIFC, Dubai’s state-owned financial free zone and the Middle East’s major finance center, has released the first part of a regulatory framework for digital tokens aimed at opening up trading of the fast-growing asset class.

The move by the Dubai Financial Services Authority comes as Gulf countries start to look at how to regulate digital assets to attract new forms of business as regional economic competition heats up.

The framework initially covers security and derivative tokens it refers to as investment tokens — digital representations of rights and obligations equivalent to those conferred by assets such as shares or futures contracts, issued, transferred and stored using distributed ledger technology such as blockchain.

It expects to issue another consultation this year for tokens not yet covered by the regulation, including exchange tokens — also known as cryptocurrencies — utility tokens and some asset-backed tokens known as stablecoins.

Last month, the UAE’s Securities and Commodities Authority and the Dubai World Trade Centre Authority agreed a framework that allows DWTCA to approve and license financial activities relating to crypto assets.

 Bahrain in 2019 released rules regulating crypto assets. 


Customer demand for quick delivery is huge challenge for retailers, warns CEOs

Customer demand for quick delivery is huge challenge for retailers, warns CEOs
Updated 52 min 32 sec ago

Customer demand for quick delivery is huge challenge for retailers, warns CEOs

Customer demand for quick delivery is huge challenge for retailers, warns CEOs

Customer demand for fast delivery of products is one of the biggest challenges facing companies today, according to retail group leaders.

Speaking at the Future Investment Initiative Forum in Riyadh, heads of major firms set out how pandemic-caused changes in shopping behavior, together with developments in technology, has shifted expectations from consumers.

Yusuf Ali, chairman of Abu Dhabi-based Lulu Group International, told delegates that e-commerce was not growing in the Gulf region before Covid-19 swept the globe, but now the picture is different and his company “will increase e-commerce platforms”. 

John Hadden, CEO of Alshaya Group, headquartered in Kuwait, highlighted food and beverage deliveries as an area changed by the pandemic.

“The new challenge is how to get the right products to the consumers as quickly as possible,” he said.

The head of online marketplace Noon.com warned that customers now expect small grocery deliveries within 20 minutes, adding: “Buyers’ desire to get orders quickly is increasing and this is the challenge for companies.”


Winning technical advice bidder for Saudi nuclear power program to be named soon: CNBC Arabia

Winning technical advice bidder for Saudi nuclear power program to be named soon: CNBC Arabia
Nuclear power plant Baden-Wuerttemberg, Germany. Getty Images
Updated 26 October 2021

Winning technical advice bidder for Saudi nuclear power program to be named soon: CNBC Arabia

Winning technical advice bidder for Saudi nuclear power program to be named soon: CNBC Arabia
  • EY may be the closest to winning the deal after offering the lowest price among advanced companies

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia is about to determine the winner of the presentation of the technical advice bid for its first nuclear power program, Banking sources told CNBC Arabia.

King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy, the government agency responsible for implementing the Saudi nuclear program, has been studying the offers from four bidders, Deloitte, EY, HSBC, and PwC.

EY may be the closest to winning the deal after offering the lowest price among advanced companies, sources added.

Saudi Arabia intends to become a leader in renewable energy by building 16 nuclear reactors by 2030, estimated to cost more than $100 billion with a combined capacity of 22GW.


FII: MISA says investment in jobs and supply chains secure pandemic growth

FII: MISA says investment in jobs and supply chains secure pandemic growth
Getty Images
Updated 26 October 2021

FII: MISA says investment in jobs and supply chains secure pandemic growth

FII: MISA says investment in jobs and supply chains secure pandemic growth
  • Last month, the Kingdom forecast economic growth of 2.6% this year and 7.5% in 2022


RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Investment Khalid Al-Falih said the Kingdom put maintaining jobs and securing supply chains as one of its top priorities during the height of the pandemic, reported Argaam.

Speaking at the Future Investment Initiative in Riyadh he added that the Kingdom’s economy was able to remain flexible and grow as the health crisis eased.

The Minister said: “The pandemic came as a shock to the business enterprise sector; it taught us different lessons in various fields.”

Last month, the Kingdom forecast economic growth of 2.6% this year and 7.5% in 2022, in a pre-Budget statement, after a 4.1% contraction in 2020.