Wa’ed roadshow continues with $1.8m investment in Riyadh startups

Wa’ed roadshow continues with $1.8m investment in Riyadh startups
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Updated 19 October 2021

Wa’ed roadshow continues with $1.8m investment in Riyadh startups

Wa’ed roadshow continues with $1.8m investment in Riyadh startups

Wa’ed, the entrepreneurship arm of Aramco, has pledged $1.8 million (SR6.9 million) in seed grants and venture capital funds to three Saudi startups during its fourth roadshow stop in Riyadh.

The investment was divided between two seed-stage grants to be paid out after completing a final onboarding process, and a single venture capital investment in a Saudi-based company. 

The agreements follow the Aramco unit’s stops in Jubail, Yanbu, Jeddah over the last two months, as part of its aim to support the local startup scene in the Kingdom. 

Recent investments were made to three startups in the fields of e-commerce, cyber security, and health technology.

“We’ve seen how the COVID-19 pandemic pushed all three sectors — e-commerce, health-tech, and cyber security — to the forefront of every startup ecosystem both regionally and globally,” Wa’ed Managing Director Fahad Alidi, said. 

The event was held in collaboration with the Saudi Small and Medium Enterprises General Authority (Monsha’at), which is also a key player in the Kingdom’s entrepreneurship agenda. 
Wa’ed will make its last stops in Madinah on November 11, and Makkah on December 6.


Rising costs, pandemic curbs take a bite out of McDonald’s profit

Rising costs, pandemic curbs take a bite out of McDonald’s profit
Image: Shutterstock
Updated 7 sec ago

Rising costs, pandemic curbs take a bite out of McDonald’s profit

Rising costs, pandemic curbs take a bite out of McDonald’s profit
  • Sales rise in Italy, Germany, France, the US and the UK boosted total revenue by 13 percent to $6.01 billion in the three months ended Dec. 31

McDonald’s Corp. missed revenue and profit expectations on Thursday, as higher costs and dismal sales in its over 4,500 restaurants in Australia and China due to pandemic-led curbs ate into gains from growth in the United States in the fourth quarter.


Operating costs rose 14 percent to $3.61 billion as supply chain bottlenecks led the world’s largest burger chain to spend more for ingredients such as chicken and beef, as well as packaging material, while it also raised wages in the United States.


Shares fell nearly 3 percent as sales in China contracted after some cities banned dining in restaurants to control fresh outbreaks ahead of the Winter Olympics. In Australia, sales growth remained muted compared to a year earlier.


“COVID-19 continued to result in varying levels of government restrictions on restaurant operating hours, limited dine-in capacity and, in some cases, dining room closures,” McDonald’s said.


Sales rise in Italy, Germany, France, the US and the UK boosted total revenue by 13 percent to $6.01 billion in the three months ended Dec. 31, but still the company missed market expectation of $6.03 billion, according to Refinitiv data.


Meanwhile, expenses for the burger chain that has more than 40,000 restaurants in over 100 countries have been rising. While McDonald’s had raised prices in 2021, higher costs continue to weigh on profit as it was forced to increase wages to retain workers in the United States, its largest market.


On a per share basis, McDonald’s earned $2.23, but missed analysts’ average estimate of $2.34.


Its US same-store sales increased 7.5 percent compared to analysts’ estimate of a 6.8 percent rise, thanks to the launch of special menu items such as McRib, loyalty program-driven growth in digital sales and higher prices.


Global same-store sales jumped 12.3 percent, compared with Wall Street estimates of a 10.73 percent rise. 


UAE’S First Abu Dhabi Bank books profits of $3.4bn

UAE’S First Abu Dhabi Bank books profits of $3.4bn
Image: Shutterstock
Updated 34 min 2 sec ago

UAE’S First Abu Dhabi Bank books profits of $3.4bn

UAE’S First Abu Dhabi Bank books profits of $3.4bn
  • The outstanding performance reflects indicators of economic recovery and positive momentum for the bank's core business

RIYADH: Largest bank in the UAE, First Abu Dhabi Bank announced its financial results of the last fiscal year with profits of 12.5 billion dirhams ($3.4 billion).

This figure compares to 10.6 billion dirhams in 2020, representing a 19 percent increase, according to a statement.

The outstanding performance reflects indicators of economic recovery and positive momentum for the bank's core business, the statement revealed.

Moreover, the group’s revenue saw a 17 percent surge thanks to strong trading performance and growth in fee-generating business. This contributed to alleviating the repercussions of low interest rates, the statement said.

Operational costs rose when compared to the corresponding period in 2020. This comes as a result of the persisting investments in digital and strategic initiatives as well as taking into consideration Egypt’s Bank Audi business.

Asset quality maintained adequate rates thanks to the proper management of risks and stimulus measures. These were within the framework of the comprehensive economic support plan tailored for the country’s central bank.

The group also maintained strong levels of liquidity, financing, and capital altogether.

Founded in 2017, FAB provides financial solutions, products, and services through its corporate and investment banking and personal banking franchises. 


Gold’s Gym Saudi Arabia jumps into the Kingdom’s IPO market  

Gold’s Gym Saudi Arabia jumps into the Kingdom’s IPO market  
Image: Shutterstock
Updated 39 min 39 sec ago

Gold’s Gym Saudi Arabia jumps into the Kingdom’s IPO market  

Gold’s Gym Saudi Arabia jumps into the Kingdom’s IPO market  

RIYADH: A leading fitness player in the Kingdom and globally, Gold’s Gym Saudi Arabia, has appointed a financial advisor amid plans to list on Saudi Exchange’s parallel market, Nomu.

To manage and lead the initial public offering, the fitness club selected BMG Financial Group, according to a statement by BMG.

US-based Gold’s Gym has several branches across Saudi Arabia, which are all owned by Jeddah's Batterjee Holding Co.


Dubai, Monaco sign agreement to attract ultra-wealth individuals

Dubai, Monaco sign agreement to attract ultra-wealth individuals
Updated 45 min 5 sec ago

Dubai, Monaco sign agreement to attract ultra-wealth individuals

Dubai, Monaco sign agreement to attract ultra-wealth individuals

RIYADH: Government-owned Dubai Multi-Commodities Centre, or DMCC, has signed an initial agreement with Monaco Economic Board in a bid to attract ultra-rich individuals. 

Dubai and Monaco are both synonymous with the ultra-wealthy. The agreement focuses on enabling Ultra High Net Worth Individuals and family offices, with DMCC being the primary destination for global business. 

This comes as the two cities seek to further strengthen the economic synergies and expand bilateral trade relations, the Government of Dubai Media Office reported. 

“The agreement will build on our existing strategic bonds and allow us to explore further trade opportunities between our two countries,” CEO and executive chairman of DMCC, Ahmed Bin Sulayem, said. 

“In line with its mandate to attract trade to Dubai, DMCC continues to expand its global network and work closely with its stakeholders to nurture a thriving business ecosystem in Dubai,” he added. 

The deal comes following the recent European roadshow held by DMCC, where it signed agreements with key counterparts and strategic partners to strengthen collaboration and attract foreign direct investment to Dubai. 

 


Kuwait’s credit rating downgraded to ‘AA-’ by Fitch

Kuwait’s credit rating downgraded to ‘AA-’ by Fitch
Updated 15 min 37 sec ago

Kuwait’s credit rating downgraded to ‘AA-’ by Fitch

Kuwait’s credit rating downgraded to ‘AA-’ by Fitch

RIYADH: Kuwait has had their long-term foreign-currency issuer default ratings, or IDR, downgraded from 'AA' to ‘AA-' by Fitch Ratings.

The downgrade comes as a result of the ongoing political constraints on decision-making that is contributing to structural challenges in the Gulf state. 

Despite national dialogue held to address some points of dispute with the opposition, political divisions linger and are expected to prevent a reform in Kuwait’s fiscal rigidities.  

Since 2017, the Gulf state has been under discussions regarding a debt law, reflecting the slow processes of decision-making.

Upon approval of the debt law, the credit rating company projects a rise in Kuwait’s debt to around 50 percent of gross domestic product, up from the current 10 percent. 

The Kuwaiti government has been trying to pass a new public debt law to ease liquidity shortages in the country, with the parliament repeatedly blocking the bill.