Britain’s Lloyd Bank to close another 48 branches

Britain’s Lloyd Bank to close another 48 branches
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Updated 20 October 2021

Britain’s Lloyd Bank to close another 48 branches

Britain’s Lloyd Bank to close another 48 branches

LONDON: Lloyds Banking Group will close a further 48 branches across England and Wales, the British lender said on Wednesday, as it seeks to further cut costs by trimming its physical network.

The closures are the latest in a string of such moves by the bank, which in June announced the closure of 44 different branches.

Banks have stepped up branch closures after many paused restructuring for much of last year to focus on responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The announcement by Lloyds Banking Group of closing a further 48 bank branches is a complete betrayal of the communities and staff who have long supported this highly profitable business,” said Sharon Graham, general secretary of employment union Unite.

Lloyds said it is responding to customers using branches less frequently, and that it is piloting a scheme whereby ‘community bankers’ visit customers in their areas.


Indian salesmen threaten supply disruptions in protest against Reliance

Indian salesmen threaten supply disruptions in protest against Reliance
Image: Shutterstock
Updated 6 sec ago

Indian salesmen threaten supply disruptions in protest against Reliance

Indian salesmen threaten supply disruptions in protest against Reliance

India’s household goods salesmen have threatened to disrupt supplies to mom-and-pop stores if consumer companies provide products at lower prices to Reliance Industries, according to a letter seen by Reuters.


Reuters reported last month Indian salesmen representing companies such as Reckitt Benckiser , Unilever and Colgate-Palmolive said their sales had dropped 20-25 percent in the last year as mom-and-pop stores were increasingly partnering with Indian billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance.


Ambani’s deeply discounted offerings were prompting more stores to order digitally from his JioMart Partner app, posing an existential threat to more than 450,000 company salesmen who for decades served every corner of the vast nation by going store-to-store to take orders.


Citing the Reuters story, the All India Consumer Products Distributors Federation — which has 400,000 members — has written to consumer companies demanding a level playing field, saying they must get products at same prices like other big corporate distributors such as Reliance.


If the pricing-parity demand is not met, the group said in its letter, its salesmen will stop distribution of products to mom-and-pop stores, and will also not supply newly launched consumer goods if such partnerships continue beyond Jan 1.


“We have earned reputation and goodwill among our retailers by giving them good service for many years ... We have decided to call a ‘Non-cooperation’ movement,” said the letter.


The group’s president, Dhairyashil Patil, said the letter was sent to Reckitt, Hindustan Unilever, Colgate and 20 other consumer goods companies.


None of the three consumer companies, as well as Reliance, responded to requests for comment.


Mom-and-pop stores, or “kiranas,” account for 80 percent of a near-$900 billion retail market in India.

About 300,000 such stores in 150 cities order goods from Reliance, with the company setting a target of 10 million partner stores by 2024.


Traditional distributors have told Reuters they have been forced to cut vehicle fleet and staff as their business has been suffering because they can’t match Reliance’s pricing.


Jefferies in March estimated kiranas will “steadily increase the share of procurement” from Reliance “at the cost of traditional distributors.”

Such sales for Reliance could mushroom to $10.4 billion by 2025 from just $200 million in 2021-22, Jefferies estimates.


Saudi Space Commission signs agreement with French counterpart 

Saudi Space Commission signs agreement with French counterpart 
Updated 05 December 2021

Saudi Space Commission signs agreement with French counterpart 

Saudi Space Commission signs agreement with French counterpart 
  • The agreement outlines different cooperative activities between the two firms, the Saudi firm said in a statement

RIYADH: The Saudi Space Commission has signed a cooperative agreement with its French counterpart, National Center for Space Studies, in the field of the peaceful use of outer space.

The agreement outlines different cooperative activities between the two firms, the Saudi firm said in a statement. It comes amid French President Emmanuel Macron’s visit in Saudi Arabia. 

It provides a framework for cooperation in space activities, including exchanging information and technologies, capacity building, organizing mutual visits and meetings, holding workshops and training courses. 

Both firms will also develop a mechanism for space-based climate monitoring, and create an attractive environment for investments in the sector. 

Mohammed Al-Tamaimi, CEO of the Saudi Space Commission, said he is pleased to sign the cooperation agreement, as well as to benefit from the French experience in the space sector.


Saudi Chemical, Sanofi sign deal to localize manufacturing of thrombosis drug 

Saudi Chemical, Sanofi sign deal to localize manufacturing of thrombosis drug 
Updated 05 December 2021

Saudi Chemical, Sanofi sign deal to localize manufacturing of thrombosis drug 

Saudi Chemical, Sanofi sign deal to localize manufacturing of thrombosis drug 
  • Clexane is a therapeutic solution that prevents and treats thrombosis

DUBAI: The Saudi Chemical Company Holding has signed an initial agreement with French pharmaceutical giant Sanofi to explore manufacturing Clexane in Saudi Arabia. 

Clexane is a therapeutic solution that prevents and treats thrombosis, which may also “affect a significant percentage of COVID-19 patients with severe symptoms,” the Saudi firm said in a bourse filing. 

Thrombosis is the formation of blood clot within a blood vessel which can lead to life-threatening complications such as stroke and heart attack. 

The MoU outlines Aja Pharma’s, a unit of SCCH, role to provide manufacturing facilities and systems to produce Clexane prefilled syringes in the Kingdom.

The move comes amid France’s President Emmanuel Macron’s state visit in the Kingdom, where a number of deals between Saudi and French companies were signed. 

The agreement is also in line with the Kingdom’s push to localize critical industries, and drive economic growth with more local content. 


Here is what you need to know before Tadawul opens: Pre-Market

Here is what you need to know before Tadawul opens: Pre-Market
Updated 05 December 2021

Here is what you need to know before Tadawul opens: Pre-Market

Here is what you need to know before Tadawul opens: Pre-Market

RIYADH: The new coronavirus variant, Omicron, will be one of the driving forces for the Saudi stock market in the near-term, as fears over its economic impact continue to burden investor sentiment.

Saudi Economic and Development Securities Co. announced the approval of raising its Capital REIT fund’s assets value by SR701 million ($186.87 million) and the approval of the addendum of the fund’s terms and conditions.

Arabian Pipes Co. submitted an application for approval to cut capital and increase the company’s capital by offering a rights issue to the Capital Market Authority.

With reference to Allied Cooperative Insurance Group’s previous development recommendation, the company received the Saudi Central Bank’s approval to expand its capital from SR141 million to SR291 million through a rights issue for an additional six months.

Exploring the possibility of manufacturing Clexane prefilled syringes from the Kingdom, the global pharmaceutical giant Sanofi and Saudi Chemical Company Holding signed a memorandum of understanding.

AlJazira Capital Market declared the final dividend distribution of its REIT funds to shareholders – standing at 3.38 percent for 12 months.

Arabian Shield Cooperative Insurance Co. announced that e-voting on the Extraordinary General Assembly Meeting agenda items, including a rise in share capital, will commence today, Dec.21, at 10:00 a.m Saudi time.


Saudi non-oil sector maintains growth as PMI drops in November: IHS Markit

Saudi non-oil sector maintains growth as PMI drops in November: IHS Markit
Updated 05 December 2021

Saudi non-oil sector maintains growth as PMI drops in November: IHS Markit

Saudi non-oil sector maintains growth as PMI drops in November: IHS Markit
  • The new report business activity rose “at one of the fastest rates since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic”

DUBAI: Strong demand and modest price pressures are pushing business activity to rise Saudi Arabia, a latest IHS Market report showed, indicating a “strong growth momentum” for the Kingdom’s non-oil sector. 

The new Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) report said business activity rose “at one of the fastest rates since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

This is despite the index dropping from 57.7 in October to 56.9 in November, which the report still said was “in line with the average recorded over the 12-year series.”

“Despite slipping to a three-month low, new business growth was rapid overall, whilst activity expanded at one of the quickest rates since the start of the pandemic,” David Owen, an economist at the IHS Markit said. 

The fall was due to a slowdown in new orders, which fell for the second month in a row from September’s seven-year high.