All-time high mortgage volumes boosting Saudi economy: KPMG

All-time high mortgage volumes boosting Saudi economy: KPMG
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Updated 28 September 2021

All-time high mortgage volumes boosting Saudi economy: KPMG

All-time high mortgage volumes boosting Saudi economy: KPMG

RIYADH: A booming mortgage market has helped fuel economic growth in Saudi Arabia this year, according to financial analysts KPMG.

The firm’s ‘Future Finance’ report claimed businesses operating in the real estate sector are key figures among the Kingdom’s non-bank financial institutions (NBFIs), which are helping the economy recover after the pandemic. 

KPMG estimates the value of Saudi Arabia’s NBFIs — which include automotive, commercial equipment and other consumer financing firms —  at about SR54 billion ($14.5 billion).

This sector plays a pivotal role in lending to certain segments of borrowers within the Kingdom.

Khalil Ibrahim Al Sedais, office managing partner at KPMG in Saudi Arabia said growth momentum which began in the second half of 2020 carried through into the first six months of this year.

“It is especially noticeable in the mortgage industry, where volumes were all time high due to domestic demand for housing, low interest rate environment and government guarantee for the first house of a citizen,” he said. 

Al Sedais added that NBFIs are expected to continue growing thanks to developments in the Saudi financial services sector, including in anti-money laundering compliance, fintech advancement, cybersecurity, business continuity planning and digitalization.

Currently, more than 35 NBFIs are operating in Saudi Arabia. As at the end of the fiscal year 2020, the total paid up capital of these entities was SR14.2 billion ($3.8 billion).

Real estate companies stand at SR3.9 billion ($1 billion), with non-real estate companies at SR8.8 billion ($2.3 billion).

Saudi Real Estate Refinance Company (SRC), as the refinancing entity of the industry, comes in at SR1.5 billion ($403 million).

Industry-wide total assets were SR 53 billion ($14.2 billion) by end of fiscal year 2020, and there was an outstanding loan book, on and off-balance sheet, of approximately SR54 billion ($14.5 billion).

This included the real estate companies’ loan book of SR 23.5 billion.

There was on-balance sheet loan portfolio growth of 16 percent compared to 2019, consisting of SR3.97 billion, according to KPMG. 

Despite SAMA’s new regulations allowing deposit-taking by finance companies, NBFIs are highly dependent on borrowing and securitization as the main source for financing their lending activities. 

At the end of 2020, equity and liabilities totaled SR53 billion of which, liabilities accounted for 63 percent, while capital and reserves represented 27 percent and 10 percent, respectively.


VW expects battery, raw material drive to cost up to $34bn

VW expects battery, raw material drive to cost up to $34bn
Image: Shutterstock
Updated 6 sec ago

VW expects battery, raw material drive to cost up to $34bn

VW expects battery, raw material drive to cost up to $34bn
  • Schmall is overseeing Volkswagen’s ambitious plan to build six large battery cell plants in Europe by the end of the decade

Volkswagen’s planned European battery cell plants and securing vital raw materials will cost as much as 30 billion euros ($34 billion), board member Thomas Schmall said, putting a price tag on the expansion for the first time.


Schmall, who is in charge of technology at Europe’s largest carmaker, said in an interview at  the  Reuters Next conference that Volkswagen would seek outside partners to fund it.”


“We are talking about 25 to 30 billion (euros) ... including the vertical chain of raw materials, not only the factories,” the 57-year old said, adding VW would not have to take the lead on funding and was not aiming for a 50/50 investment split.


“It depends on the partnership model we will establish in the next months. We’re open to discuss it. For us it’s necessary that we can control ... the technology roadmap, the timing, the costs and the availability to enable our rollout.”


Schmall is overseeing Volkswagen’s ambitious plan to build six large battery cell plants in Europe by the end of the decade, a strategic pillar in its bid to overtake Tesla and become the world’s top electric vehicles seller.


Sweden’s Northvolt, the first plant in which Volkswagen owns a fifth, will start production premium cells for the German carmaker from 2023. The second plant, to be built jointly with China’s Gotion High-Tech in Salzgitter, is to start in 2025.


Four more plants will follow by the end of the decade, most likely in Spain, eastern Europe and two additional locations that have so far not been disclosed.


Costs will be 1 billion to 2 billion euros per plant while capacity will range from 40 up to a maximum of 80 gigawatt hours (GWh), depending on the chemistry as well as whether enough energy supplies are available, Schmall said.


“We have some natural limits in the availability of utilities, energy, water,” he said.

But production capacity is only one part of the equation, Schmall said, adding that Volkswagen also had to make sure it gets enough raw materials, such as lithium and nickel.


This requires a more proactive approach and Schmall said that Volkswagen was looking to strike partnerships, with cooperation announcements due “in some weeks.”


Volkswagen, which plans to submit its next five-year investment plan to the supervisory board on Dec. 9, is pursuing a mix of strategies, which might even include becoming a shareholder in a mining firm.


“You will see the full range,” Schmall said, also referring to fixed and mixed price contracts with suppliers. “You have to tailor-fit solutions, necessarily, to specific raw materials.”


This also requires making sure that materials are procured sustainably, which, in Volkswagen’s case, includes transparency reports, supplier ratings, and efforts to phase out some materials, most notably cobalt.


In the end, Schmall said, the goal was to ensure that the full production chain was sustainable, adding that producing electric vehicles alone was not enough for Volkswagen, which is aiming to be carbon neutral by 2050 at the latest.


“And this altogether brings us in this closed loop and hopefully show you that we are taking care from the beginning on, from the first step, from the mining process, to be sustainable, until the last point of battery lives and car lives and recycling,” he said.


Air taxis will come to NEOM after pioneering deal signed with Germany’s Volocopter

Air taxis will come to NEOM after pioneering deal signed with Germany’s Volocopter
Updated 10 min 53 sec ago

Air taxis will come to NEOM after pioneering deal signed with Germany’s Volocopter

Air taxis will come to NEOM after pioneering deal signed with Germany’s Volocopter

RIYADH: Air taxis will take to the skies above the Saudi city of NEOM thanks to a deal signed with German-based Volocopter in what will be a world's first bespoke public transport development.

NEOM has ordered 15 Volocopter aircraft to start initial flight operations within the next two to three years, it said on its website.

Of those, ten will carry passengers while the remaining five will transport logistics. 

NEOM, a regional development in northwest Saudi Arabia, has created a joint venture company with Volocopter which will be the sole operator of the initial public transit routes across the city.

It will also enable an open electric vertical take-off and landing ecosystem for vertical mobility services, known as eVTOL.

This includes logistics, emergency response, and tourism. 

Nadhmi Al-Nasr, the CEO of NEOM, said: “In designing cities and urban infrastructure for the 21st century, mobility is at the center of the equation. 

“Through this joint venture with Volocopter, we are demonstrating to the world that NEOM is the ideal region to implement urban air mobility rapidly and create a fully integrated vertical mobility ecosystem.”

Christian Bauer, the chief commercial officer at Volocopter, described the deal as an “exciting journey,” adding: “It is a once in a lifetime opportunity to be an essential part of designing and operating a completely new UAM (urban air mobility) ecosystem from the ground up without the constraint of legacy infrastructure or regulation, and as pioneers in the industry, Volocopter is honored to be the trusted partner to contribute to NEOM’s ambitious vision.”


Amazon investing in 274 renewable energy projects globally, adds 18 new projects in Europe and US

Amazon investing in 274 renewable energy projects globally, adds 18 new projects in Europe and US
Image: Shutterstock
Updated 01 December 2021

Amazon investing in 274 renewable energy projects globally, adds 18 new projects in Europe and US

Amazon investing in 274 renewable energy projects globally, adds 18 new projects in Europe and US
  • The projects will supply renewable energy for Amazon’s corporate offices, fulfillment centers, and Amazon Web Services (AWS) data centers

Amazon today announced 18 new utility-scale wind and solar energy projects across the US, Finland, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the UK, totaling 5.6 gigawatts (GW) of procured capacity to date in 2021.

Amazon now has 274 renewable energy projects globally and is on a path to power 100 percent of its business operations with renewable energy by 2025 — five years earlier than its original 2030 commitment.


These new utility-scale wind and solar projects bring Amazon’s total committed renewable electricity production capacity to more than 12 GW and 33,700 gigawatt hours (GWh) when the projects become fully operational, or electricity output equivalent to powering more than 3 million US homes for a year.

The projects will supply renewable energy for Amazon’s corporate offices, fulfillment centers, and Amazon Web Services (AWS) data centers that support millions of customers globally.

The projects will also help Amazon meet its commitment to produce the clean energy equivalent of the electricity used by all consumer Echo devices.

The amount of clean energy produced by these projects will avoid the equivalent of the annual emissions of nearly 3 million cars in the US each year, or about 13.7 million metric tons.


“We are moving quickly and deliberately to reduce our carbon emissions and address the climate crisis,” said Kara Hurst, vice president of worldwide sustainability at Amazon.

“Significant investments in renewable energy globally are an important step in delivering on The Climate Pledge, our commitment to reach net-zero carbon by 2040, 10 years ahead of the Paris Agreement.

Renewable energy projects also bring new investment, green jobs, and advance the decarbonization of the electricity systems in communities around the world.”


Following today’s announcement, Amazon is the largest corporate buyer of renewable energy in the world, with 274 global projects including 105 utility-scale wind and solar projects and 169 solar rooftops on facilities and stores worldwide. 


“Amazon is wasting no time demonstrating that they are fully committed to a clean energy future for all,” said Gregory Wetstone, CEO of the American Council on Renewable Energy.

“At COP26, the world agreed we needed bigger and bolder ambitions around global carbon reduction from all sectors. With hundreds of renewable energy projects already underway, Amazon is a model for the level of urgency and action we need from the private sector to combat the climate crisis.”


“Large-scale clean energy investments like these benefit us all and should be the new normal for industries of all shapes and sizes. They bring good-paying, green jobs to local communities and support progress toward our community’s goal of a 90 percent carbon-free US electricity system, said Miranda Ballentine, CEO of Clean Energy Buyers Association (CEBA).”


“Amazon’s procurement of 12 GW of renewable energy capacity globally is a strong testament to the company’s commitment to reaching net-zero carbon by 2040,” said Hannah Hunt, impact director at RE-Source, a corporate renewable energy sourcing platform in Europe.

“The company’s 10 new renewable energy operations across Europe will benefit communities, bring new green jobs, and help meet our commitments to curb the climate crisis.”


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 01 December 2021

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 01 December 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

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.