Saudi Aramco considering IPO of fuel unit: Bloomberg

Saudi Aramco considering IPO of fuel unit: Bloomberg
Aramco is in the process of selling a stake in its gas pipelines. (Reutrers)
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Updated 08 October 2021

Saudi Aramco considering IPO of fuel unit: Bloomberg

Saudi Aramco considering IPO of fuel unit: Bloomberg
  • Talks about an IPO are at an early stage, the people said

RIYADH: Saudi oil giant Aramco is considering selling a stake in its retail fuels and lubricants business, and could list shares on the Riyadh stock exchange, Bloomberg reported citing people with knowledge of the situation.

Talks about an initial public offering (IPO) are at an early stage, the people said, asking not to be identified discussing confidential matters.

Aramco may opt against any sale, they said.

Five North American companies are bidding for a deal to sell a share of Saudi Aramco's gas pipelines, Bloomberg reported this week.


Tourism ‘too big to fail’ warns Saudi minister as she calls for governments to step up

Tourism ‘too big to fail’ warns Saudi minister as she calls for governments to step up
Updated 12 sec ago

Tourism ‘too big to fail’ warns Saudi minister as she calls for governments to step up

Tourism ‘too big to fail’ warns Saudi minister as she calls for governments to step up

RIYADH: The tourism industry is “too big to fail”, according to a Saudi minister as she invoked the 2008 banking collapse to describe the challenges facing the sector.

Speaking at the Future Investment Initiative Forum, Princess Haifa Al Saud called for enhanced cooperation between the public and private sectors with a focus on “redesigning the future of tourism”.

The Covid-19 pandemic devastated the travel industry as countries around the world imposed lockdown measures.

The assistant minister for Executive Affairs & Strategy in Saudi's tourism department said some 60 million jobs have been lost in tourism as a result of the measures used to tackle Covid-19.

Addressing delegates in Riyadh, she said: “We need to work cross-sectoral with different industries in order to have a proper recovery, but also with the private sector. 

“We need to enhance this collaboration, to sit down on a table together, listen and understand what the issues are, agree on what the issues are and set a way forward.

“During the financial crisis back in 2008 we said banking is too big to fail. Today I'm telling the world tourism is way too big to fail.”

She went on to argue that governments must take responsibility for ensuring the sector gets back on its feet, saying they must “not just point the finger and say in ‘this is needed’ and watch them go and do, but to actually take that journey with them”.

Her concerns over the industry’s future were echoed by Spain’s tourism minister Reyes Maroto, who said that his country “will use health passports and other tools to facilitate continual movement to achieve sustainability”.

“We cannot work separately from the private sector, they will take the initiative to move forward in the future,” he added.


Germany trims 2021 growth forecast, lifts 2022 prediction

Germany trims 2021 growth forecast, lifts 2022 prediction
Updated 55 min 12 sec ago

Germany trims 2021 growth forecast, lifts 2022 prediction

Germany trims 2021 growth forecast, lifts 2022 prediction

BERLIN: The economic growth forecast for Germany was sharply cut to 2.6 percent for 2021 from April’s prediction of 3.5 percent, the German government said. 

This was mainly driven by distortions in the supply chain as well as hikes in energy prices.

On the other hand, the forecast for next year was favorably altered to 4.1 percent up from the former expectation of 3.6 percent, the Economy Ministry added.


Immersive video app 360VUZ scales operations in Saudi Arabia

Immersive video app 360VUZ scales operations in Saudi Arabia
Updated 27 October 2021

Immersive video app 360VUZ scales operations in Saudi Arabia

Immersive video app 360VUZ scales operations in Saudi Arabia
  • 360VUZ's Saudi office is part of the company’s growth plan, focusing on business development, building the latest immersive technologies, and initiating new partnerships. 

The immersive mobile video app, 360VUZ has scaled its operations further in Riyadh with a larger office.

360VUZ's Saudi office is part of the company’s growth plan, focusing on business development, building the latest immersive technologies, and initiating new partnerships. 

“360VUZ ranked as the number one mobile app on Apple Store in Saudi Arabia last week, proving that it is just the perfect location to maximize our business and continue on bringing new immersive social content to our users,” the company’s CEO, Khaled Zaatarah said. 

So far, the app has raised a total of $10 million from top international investors. 


European businesses ahead of the Middle East on ESG, says EFG Hermes chief

European businesses ahead of the Middle East on ESG, says EFG Hermes chief
Updated 27 October 2021

European businesses ahead of the Middle East on ESG, says EFG Hermes chief

European businesses ahead of the Middle East on ESG, says EFG Hermes chief

Middle East businesses are lagging behind Europe when it comes to Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) policies, the chief of multinational financial services company EFG Hermes has warned.

Speaking at the Future Investment Initiative Forum in Riyadh, Karim Awad, CEO of the Egyptian-based firm, added that while governance has improved in the region over the last two decades, environmental and social frameworks have not been developing at the same pace.

Awad highlighted the difficulties some companies face when expanding these areas of their businesses, as investors often feel they are not being told “concrete” achievements.

He said: “ESG has not happened in the Middle East to the level of what happened in Europe and different places in the world.

“The ‘G’ in the past 20 years has evolved massively, with the amount of transparency and governance from companies, especially public listed ones, not near to what it was years ago, but it isn’t the same for ‘E’ and ‘S’.”

Awad added: “There is a lot of data and investors sometimes feel they are fooled by telling them stuff that is not concrete in terms of value.”

Another leading business figure, Christine Tsai, CEO and founding partner of venture capital firm 500 Global, also flagged up issues with ESG, saying that more than 80 percent of their portfolio want to integrate the policies "but there's no framework for early stage companies.”

Awad agreed with this, saying that a lack of “specific standards” is an issue for companies looking to expand their ESG policies.


FII Institute signs deal with Saudi British Joint Business Council to establish tech hub

FII Institute signs deal with Saudi British Joint Business Council to establish tech hub
Updated 27 October 2021

FII Institute signs deal with Saudi British Joint Business Council to establish tech hub

FII Institute signs deal with Saudi British Joint Business Council to establish tech hub

RIYADH: The Future Investment Initiative Institute on Wednesday signed an agreement with the Saudi British Joint Business Council to become a founding partner of the Saudi/UK Tech Hub and contribute to the project’s startup costs.

The tech hub will link Saudi and UK tech entrepreneurs and innovation hubs with potential partners and investors through a virtual platform, joint events and a business growth program. It will help to connect Saudi and British startups and scale-ups in key sectors, promote knowledge sharing and increase deal flow.

Speaking at the singing ceremony, Richard Attias, CEO of the FII Institute said: “The UK — home to many of humanity’s greatest inventions — will bring the best of what it knows to the Kingdom.”

The Saudi Ministry of Communications and IT and the British government’s Science and Innovation Network have pledged their support to the tech hub.  

Chris Innes-Hopkins, executive director of the Saudi British Joint Business Council, said the Saudi/UK Tech Hub builds on great opportunities for collaboration between the UK and Saudi technology sectors including fintech, clean tech and healt htech.

“We look forward to working closely with the FII on implementation,” he added.