Oman credit rating outlook revised to positive by S&P on fiscal improvement

Oman credit rating outlook revised to positive by S&P on fiscal improvement
Oman was downgraded to B+ from BB- by S&P in October 2020 as debt level rose. (Shuttertstock)
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Updated 02 October 2021

Oman credit rating outlook revised to positive by S&P on fiscal improvement

Oman credit rating outlook revised to positive by S&P on fiscal improvement
  • Long-term foreign currency credit rating was affirmed at B+

RIYADH: S&P Global Ratings revised up Oman’s credit outlook to positive from stable on the expectation that the sultanate’s reform program will limit increases in government debt in the coming years.

Oman’s credit rating was affirmed at ‘B+/B’. S&P downgraded Oman's long-term sovereign credit rating to B+ from BB- in October 2020 due to the projected material deterioration of public sector finances.

“The positive outlook indicates that we consider that Oman’s reform program, and the higher oil prices relative to 2020, will narrow fiscal deficits and slow the increase in net government debt over the next three years,” Dubai-based credit analyst Zahabia Gupta wrote in a rating note.

S&P said it could raise its ratings on Oman over the next 12 months if planned fiscal reforms and stronger economic growth sustainably reduce fiscal imbalances and the stock of net government debt beyond its current expectations.

However, it could revise the outlook to stable if it saw risks to fiscal reform implementation that could reduce the government’s ability to maintain sustainable public finances, Gupta said.

S&P could also revise the outlook to stable if external debt issuances by government-related
enterprises increased the country’s external debt metrics more than it currently expects.


Saudi PIF-owned Savvy makes debut with acquisition of ESL and FACIT

Saudi PIF-owned Savvy makes debut with acquisition of ESL and FACIT
Updated 10 sec ago

Saudi PIF-owned Savvy makes debut with acquisition of ESL and FACIT

Saudi PIF-owned Savvy makes debut with acquisition of ESL and FACIT

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund launched Savvy Gaming Group that will be chaired by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

The group seeks to be a leading developer of games at home and internationally, according to a statement from the Fund, known as PIF.

The Saudi-owned Savvy will acquire ESL and FACEIT platform and merge them into one entity to be the cornerstone of reaching the group goals, the statement added.

Savvy has acquired ESL Gaming Co. for $1.08 billion.

The deal is expected to close in the second quarter of 2022, Handelblatt reported, citing an announcement from ESL FACEIT Group.

The group, backed by Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund, acquired the esports platform FACEIT in an earlier $500 million deal.

“Our merger with FACEIT, along with the backing of SGG, will give us more know-how, capabilities, and resources than ever before to deliver on this vision,” CEO of ESL, Craig Levine, said.

“Whether you are competing or watching, doing so socially or at a professional level, every stage of the pathway will be improved through this merger,” he added. 

Electronic gaming, or egaming, is an increasingly popular activity, with a recent study suggesting that 50 percent of the Saudi population consider themselves regular gamers.

Prince Faisal bin Bandar bin Sultan, president of the Saudi Esports Federation told Arab News in October that the sector will contribute about 1 percent of Saudi GDP by 2030, which might seem a small proportion but the amount of money potentially involved is significant.

 


UAE’s Chimera, US Alpha Wave to lead $10bn tech fund

UAE’s Chimera, US Alpha Wave to lead $10bn tech fund
Image: Getty
Updated 10 min 20 sec ago

UAE’s Chimera, US Alpha Wave to lead $10bn tech fund

UAE’s Chimera, US Alpha Wave to lead $10bn tech fund
  • The fund’s ticket size ranges from “tens of millions to hundreds”

RIYADH: Abu Dhabi based investment firm Chimera Capital has joined global alternative asset manager Alpha Wave in leading a $10 billion tech fund.

The fund will have a global remit but with a concentration on India and will focus on private firms across a wide array of sectors including artificial intelligence, financial technology, and life sciences, Bloomberg reported.

Both institutions will work hand in hand to pinpoint and run potential management opportunities in the South Asian country.

The fund’s ticket size ranges from “tens of millions to hundreds,” Bloomberg reported, citing Seif Fikry, Chimera’s chief executive officer.

This falls in line with the Gulf’s growing role as a major channel of capital for international firms such as SoftBank Group Corp. and Silver Lake.

The Gulf region has hit a record year for tech investments with an accumulated balance of $621 billion dispersed worldwide.


China’s Xi: Climate goals should not reduce our productivity

China’s Xi: Climate goals should not reduce our productivity
Updated 19 min 37 sec ago

China’s Xi: Climate goals should not reduce our productivity

China’s Xi: Climate goals should not reduce our productivity

RIYADH: China’s president, Xi Jinping, has warned the country’s climate objectives should not hold back productivity in the economic powerhouse.

Speaking at a Politburo session on Tuesday, Xi insisted that efforts to decarbonise the Asian country must not jeopardize the supply of vital commodities.

In 2020, Xi vowed to peak emissions by 2030 and deliver a net zero nation by 2060.

According to state news agency Xinhua, the president said: “Reducing emissions is not about reducing productivity, and it is not about not emitting at all.”

He added: “We must stick to the overall planning and ensure energy security, industrial supply chain security and food security at the same time as cutting carbon emissions.”

China’s drive to cut emissions led to a limit in coal, metal, and fertilizers production, causing an increase in their prices. This negatively affected inflation concerns in the country.

However, the country is expected to maintain stable oil, gas, and coal production — particularly amid power shortages across the nation.

 


Profits of the National Bank of Kuwait hit $1.2bn in 2021

Profits of the National Bank of Kuwait hit $1.2bn in 2021
Updated 55 min 40 sec ago

Profits of the National Bank of Kuwait hit $1.2bn in 2021

Profits of the National Bank of Kuwait hit $1.2bn in 2021

RIYADH: The National Bank of Kuwait, known as NBK, recorded a 47 percent jump in profits in 2021, reaching 362 million Kuwaiti dinars ($1.2 billion).

The bank attributed the hike in profits to higher net operating income, which was up over 3 percent to 547 million Kuwaiti dinars, as well as lower provision charges for credit and impairment losses.

The bank recommended cash dividends of 30 fils ($555) per share for the fiscal year 2021, it said in a statement to the Kuwaiti bourse.

Shareholders will also receive five bonus shares for every 100 shares, the statement revealed.


Qatar to launch first green bond to secure ESG funds

Qatar to launch first green bond to secure ESG funds
Updated 26 January 2022

Qatar to launch first green bond to secure ESG funds

Qatar to launch first green bond to secure ESG funds

RIYADH: Qatar intends to launch its first green fund as it aims to secure Environmental, Social, and Governance funding, Bloomberg reported.

The finance ministry is in contact with global banks in an attempt to accrue billions of dollars via green bonds.

Such a move may cause disputes among ESG investors given the Persian Gulf country’s vast carbon emissions on a global level, according to Bloomberg.

Qatar will appoint several banks to develop a plan on how the money is going to be spent.

A potential deal with state owned petroleum firm Qatar Energy could be sealed soon.

The Middle Eastern country aims to cut emissions by 25 percent by 2030.

However, gas remains a crucial commodity and the country is investing an estimated $30 billion to increase production capacity by 50 percent in the upcoming six years.

This comes as the gas shortages in Asia and Europe are partly attributed to the lack of proper spending in fossil fuels, Bloomberg reported, citing Saad Al-Kaabi, Qatar’s energy minister.