‘Let the unicorns come!’ PIF advisor says Saudi’s economic ‘pie’ is growing

‘Let the unicorns come!’ PIF advisor says Saudi’s economic ‘pie’ is growing
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Updated 26 October 2021

‘Let the unicorns come!’ PIF advisor says Saudi’s economic ‘pie’ is growing

‘Let the unicorns come!’ PIF advisor says Saudi’s economic ‘pie’ is growing

Entrepreneurship is the new growth economy, according to a leading figure in Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) as he called for business “unicorns” to come to the country.

Andrew Liveris, special advisor to the governor of the PIF, made the remarks as he discussed how economies need to diversify to embrace the digital age.

Speaking at the Future Investment Initiative Forum in Riyadh, Liveris insisted the economic “pie will get bigger”, but workers will need to be retrained to carry out the new, less traditional, jobs of the future.

Referring to start-ups that go on to achieve market valuations of over a billion dollars, Liveris said: “Let the unicorns come.”

His comments chime with those made by billionaire businessman Larry Fink at the Middle East Green Initiative Summit on Monday.

The chairman of US asset management giant BlackRock told delegates at the forum in Riyadh it will be firms producing environmentally-friendly goods and systems that will become the next billion dollar companies.

Fink said: "It’s my belief that the next 1,000 unicorns - companies that have a market valuation over a billion dollars - won’t be a search engine or media company. They will be businesses developing green hydrogen, and green agriculture, and green steel and green cement."


Profits of SABIC Agri-Nutrients jump over 300% to $1.2bn

Profits of SABIC Agri-Nutrients jump over 300% to $1.2bn
Updated 12 sec ago

Profits of SABIC Agri-Nutrients jump over 300% to $1.2bn

Profits of SABIC Agri-Nutrients jump over 300% to $1.2bn

RIYADH: Saudi Arabian petrochemical firm SABIC Agri-Nutrients Co. has seen a nearly fourfold jump in its profits in 2021, buoyed by an increase in selling prices.

Amid global economic recovery in 2021, net profit soared to SR5.23 billion ($1.2 billion), compared to SR1.29 billion a year earlier, according to a bourse filing.

Revenues almost tripled, reaching SR9.59 billion, and the profit per share was up from SR3 to SR11.

The company, half-owned by SABIC, attributed the profit hike to higher selling prices of products.

However, profits were capped by an increase in inventory as well as general and administrative expenses, the firm said in a statement to the Saudi exchange, Tadawul.

The homegrown fertilizer producer earlier said it plans to take over 49 percent of Dubai-based ETG Inputs Holdco’s share capital amid a SR1.2 billion deal. 

 


Saudi stocks end flat amid earnings season, crude oil rally: Closing bell

Saudi stocks end flat amid earnings season, crude oil rally: Closing bell
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Updated 27 min 29 sec ago

Saudi stocks end flat amid earnings season, crude oil rally: Closing bell

Saudi stocks end flat amid earnings season, crude oil rally: Closing bell

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s stock market was flat at the closing bell on Thursday, as investors saw a wave of earnings announcements lead to cautious trading, despite a rally in the energy market.

Brent crude oil crossed $90 per barrel, and US benchmark WTI crude oil reached $88.3 per barrel as of 3:48 p.m. Saudi time.

The main TASI index closed at 12,179 points, while the parallel market, Nomu, ended at 25,660 points.

TASI was pushed higher by gains in Saudi Kayan Petrochemical Co. but weighed down by National Petrochemical Co., known as Petrochem, and the Saudi Industrial Investment Group, even as all three firms reported earnings.

Saudi Kayan saw its share price soar over 2 percent, after it turned from losses into profits of SR2.39 billion ($640 million) in 2021.

Shares in Petrochem and the Saudi Industrial Investment Group were down 1.2 and 0.9 percent respectively, despite seeing major profit hikes on an annual basis.

The Kingdom’s largest valued bank, Al Rajhi Bank, and one of its leading petrochemical firms, Sipchem, were down 0.7 and 2.9, respectively.

Saudi Automotive Services Co., known as SASCO, soared nearly 10 percent, topping the gainers for a second consecutive day.

SASCO had earlier acquired 80 percent of gas station operator NAFT Services Limited Co. for SR1.1 billion.

Allied Cooperative Insurance Group led the fallers, with its shares declining almost 4 percent.


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 35 min 28 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 27 January 2022

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 27 January 2022

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.