ACWA Power to close financing for TRSDC project before year end, NEOM project in H2 2022

ACWA Power to close financing for TRSDC project before year end, NEOM project in H2 2022
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Updated 16 November 2021

ACWA Power to close financing for TRSDC project before year end, NEOM project in H2 2022

ACWA Power to close financing for TRSDC project before year end, NEOM project in H2 2022

RIYADH:  Saudi-listed ACWA Power is expecting to close financing for its renewable project with The Red Sea Development Company (TRSDC) by end of the year, and its NEOM hydrogen project in the second half of next year.

The two projects, in addition to its ongoing developments in Sudair and Jazan, will have positive impacts on its earnings, Paddy Padmanathan, chief executive officer of ACWA Power, told Arab News.

Construction is in full swing for the project in Red Sea, with the company targeting partial operation by end of 2022, while real construction work for NEOM’s hydrogen plant is expected to start by early 2022, he added.

Riyadh-based ACWA, which is 44 percent owned by the Public Investment Fund (PIF), is the Kingdom’s most high-profile entity for building renewable energy and hydrogen projects.

The company plans to end investment in non-renewable schemes as part of the business’s commitment to reaching net zero by 2050.

ACWA Power announced on Oct. 27 the financial close and completion of the acquisition of the first group of assets for the Jazan integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) project.

The JV will complete the commissioning, testing and commence operating, and maintaining the plant to supply power, steam, hydrogen, and other utilities for Aramco’s Jazan refinery, under a 25-year contract with Aramco.

In August, ACWA announced the financial closure of 1.5 gigawatt PV solar plant at Sudair Industrial City, one of the largest solar parks in the country.

Sudair Solar PV project, the first project under PIF’s renewable energy program, is developed by a consortium with ACWA Power, SAPCO, a fully owned company of Aramco, and Badeel, a company fully owned by PIF.


Dur Hospitality plans to open Rixos Jeddah Resort by 2023

Dur Hospitality plans to open Rixos Jeddah Resort by 2023
Updated 58 min 31 sec ago

Dur Hospitality plans to open Rixos Jeddah Resort by 2023

Dur Hospitality plans to open Rixos Jeddah Resort by 2023

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Dur Hospitality Co. has purchased Makarem Al Nakheel Village & Resort for $80 million and plans to convert it into the first Rixos resort in Jeddah, said a top executive.

In an interview with Arab News at the Future Hospitality Summit, Hassan Ahdab, president of hotel operations at Dur Hospitality, said that the all-inclusive resort will be open to visitors in one year.

“We plan to have a grand opening of the Rixos Jeddah Resort by the mid or the third quarter of 2023,” said Ahdab.

According to a press statement, the project will restyle and enhance all facilities, including 174 rooms, 73 furnished residential villas and two restaurants, among other amenities.

Hassan Ahdab, Dur Hospitality's president for hotel operations, in an interview with Arab News on the sidelines of the Future Hospitality Summit in Riyadh. (AN)

The statement added that the resort would also feature vast green landscapes, sandy beaches with breathtaking views, a marina, and a plaza overlooking the Red Sea.

The hospitality major has also roped in Accor to develop and manage the property.

“We were the first in Saudi Arabia to own, operate, manage, franchise, and even create brands for hotels,” said Ahdab.

The company was instrumental in bringing Marriott International into the Kingdom, the first Marriott outside the USA.

“Our journey started by training and educating our people on the international standards while keeping the Saudi hospitality as part of the DNA of our services,” he said.

He further said: “Dur Hospitality’s main investment is Makkah’s Makarem Ajyad Makkah Hotel. Makarem is a homegrown brand with international standards, but it still carries a lot of Islamic flavors that pilgrims can appreciate.”


Hilton to open 59 more hotels in Saudi Arabia in the next 10 years

Hilton to open 59 more hotels in Saudi Arabia in the next 10 years
Updated 54 min 21 sec ago

Hilton to open 59 more hotels in Saudi Arabia in the next 10 years

Hilton to open 59 more hotels in Saudi Arabia in the next 10 years
  • Hilton's top exec for MENA says Saudi Arabia has enormous potential for growth in the hospitality sector
  • Assures that the hospitality chain will work closely with the Saudi Tourism Authority

RIYADH: Hilton Hotels & Resorts will add 59 more hotels across various asset classes in Saudi Arabia in the next five to 10 years. The hospitality group currently has 16 in the region.

In an interview with Arab News on the sidelines of the Future Hospitality Summit, Hilton’s managing director for the Middle East and North Africa, Amir Lababedi, said that Hilton will reach 75 hotels within the next five to 10 years and probably exceed that number as well.

“We will surpass 75 hotels in the next five to 10 years because of all the Kingdom’s efforts. These hotels will be spread across a range of asset classes and brands, serving a broad range of demographics,” said Lababedi.

He further added that the Kingdom has enormous potential for growth in the hospitality sector thanks to the wholehearted support offered by the government, including the Tourism Development Fund and the Public Investment Fund.

“The Hilton in Jeddah, Makkah and Medina are properties that are part of the fabric of the tourism industry, right from the start of domestic and international tourism,” Lababedi said.

As a result of Vision 2030, the market has changed in the last few years with regard to tourism and economic development, and Lababedi said that the company would fully support the goals and initiatives of the Ministry of Tourism.

He added that the hospitality chain works closely with the Saudi Tourism Authority to bring its performance engine to support the industry’s growth.

Hilton’s goal is to infuse a sense of local culture into all of its brands.

“We are looking to infuse the Diriyah property with the essence of its history, bringing the story of this unique location to life,” Lababedi added. “And we call these properties the heroes, and it’s part of a shared principle of brand sharing,” he said.

When it comes to hiring Saudis, he said the company needs to hire locals not just because of regulations and Saudization quotas but also because guests appreciate the gesture when a company can bring a local culture into their hotels.

 “We work very closely with the authorities in training and developing Saudis to find a career in hospitality, get them ready for a work-life, and provide them with the basic life skills to go out into the workforce and prepare them for that,” said Lababedi.


AlUla attracts 250,000 visitors over the last 12 months

John Northen Executive director — head of hotels  and resorts at RCU
John Northen Executive director — head of hotels and resorts at RCU
Updated 28 May 2022

AlUla attracts 250,000 visitors over the last 12 months

John Northen Executive director — head of hotels  and resorts at RCU
  • The RCU is also developing AlUla’s old town, where they will inaugurate the 30-room Boutique Hotel in October

RIYADH: The historic city of AlUla received more than 250,000 visitors in the past 12 months, far exceeding its forecast, said a senior government official.

The city developers had already covered huge ground, considering it had envisaged attracting one million visitors by 2025.

“The plan is to keep it preserve the nature. We don’t want to create a destination and then destroy it by bringing too many people,” John Northen, executive director – head of hotels and resorts at the Royal Commission of AlUla, or RCU, told Arab News.

“So, we are providing an experience that is very carefully created and managed for visitors,” Northen said.

One such labor of love is the Banyan Tree Hotel, a sprawling destination with 79 villas slated to open in October this year.

The plan is to keep it preserve the nature ... We are providing an experience that is very carefully created and managed for visitors.

John Northen, Executive director — head of hotels and resorts at RCU

The hotel is also a worthy neighbor of Maraya Hall, the largest mirrored building in the world and a centerpiece of the city’s growing cultural landscape.

The RCU is also developing AlUla’s old town, where they will inaugurate the 30-room Boutique Hotel in October.

“It’s going to be completely different; you will feel like you traveled back in time and experienced something very unusual,” he said.

The city has also regenerated its 2,000 square kilometers of vast Sharaan Nature Reserve, a sanctuary to the Arabian leopards.

“Here, we are developing two exciting hotels, one designed by the French architect Jean Nouvel, which will be crafted inside the mountain,” Northen said.

The destination is also home to international fine dining restaurants

“Food and beverage are already a great strength for AlUla,” he added.

Most of the restaurants in the city have been seasonal based on the tourism traffic. However, RCU will operate them throughout the year starting from next year.

Part of the RCU’s strategy is to engage the local community and offer training programs.

“The population of AlUla is 42,000 people. We are trying to hire as many as we can and give educational opportunities,” said Northen, adding that they have already opened a language school and will soon be setting up a hotel management school.


Dar Al Arkan acquires Compass Consulting to venture into project

‘Sustainability will remain a key factor of expansion into the Kingdom.’ (Reuters)
‘Sustainability will remain a key factor of expansion into the Kingdom.’ (Reuters)
Updated 28 May 2022

Dar Al Arkan acquires Compass Consulting to venture into project

‘Sustainability will remain a key factor of expansion into the Kingdom.’ (Reuters)
  • The company saw COVID-19 as an opportunity to start consolidating with their clients and get their assets out to the market quickly as soon as the market rebounded

RIYADH: Dar Al Arkan, one of Saudi Arabia’s largest real estate developers, has acquired a Dubai-based project consulting firm, Compass Project Consulting.
In an exclusive interview with Arab News at the Future Hospitality Summit, Spencer Wylie, CEO of Compass Project Consulting, confirmed the buyout.
According to Wylie, the rationale behind purchasing Compass Project Consulting is twofold.
One, it allows Dar Al Arkan to venture into the fast-growing project management space. Two, it equips the real estate giant to bid for the upcoming megaprojects as a project consultant.

Dar Al Arkan wants to approach the larger mega developers, the Public Investment Fund, and other giga programs as a project management company and not just a residential developer.

Spencer Wylie, CEO of Compass Project Consulting

“Dar Al Arkan wants to approach the larger mega developers, the Public Investment Fund, and other giga programs as a project management company and not just a residential developer,” Wylie told Arab News.
With regional coverage and multi-sector expertise, Compass offers clients fully tailored project development solutions that can take an initial concept through to construction completion and handover.
Widely known within the construction, fit-out, engineering and design industries, the company provides a turnkey project consulting service to clients of all sizes. The buyout assumes significance as both companies had entered into a strategic partnership late last year.
Wylie added that the growth of the tourism sector in the Kingdom has been phenomenal and well-grounded around Vision 2030.
The company saw COVID-19 as an opportunity to start consolidating with their clients and get their assets out to the market quickly as soon as the market rebounded.
“Sustainability will remain a key factor of expansion into the Kingdom and as the company aims to develop more assets in the Kingdom,” said Wylie.


Louvre Hotels advances its influence in KSA, signs up 12 properties

Paul Diab, vice president of operations, Middle East and North Africa region, Louvre Hotels Group. (AN photo)
Paul Diab, vice president of operations, Middle East and North Africa region, Louvre Hotels Group. (AN photo)
Updated 28 May 2022

Louvre Hotels advances its influence in KSA, signs up 12 properties

Paul Diab, vice president of operations, Middle East and North Africa region, Louvre Hotels Group. (AN photo)
  • We are currently looking at 14 properties and have 12 in the pipeline that are signed, top official says
  • We are concentrating not only on the big cities but also on other destinations. When the tourists come, they will also want to visit smaller cities

RIYADH: Paris-based Louvre Hotels Group has signed up 12 properties and identified 14 locations to fuel its expansion plans in Saudi Arabia, said a top executive.

“We are currently looking at 14 properties and have 12 in the pipeline that are signed. We also have another six to eight properties that are under negotiation across different destinations in the Kingdom,” Paul Diab, vice president of operations, Middle East and North Africa region, Louvre Hotels Group, told Arab News.
The locations under consideration include places such as Alkhobar, Jazan, Jeddah, Makkah, Madinah and Riyadh.

HIGHLIGHTS

• The locations under consideration include places such as Alkhobar, Jazan, Jeddah, Makkah, Madinah and Riyadh.

• According to the official, the Red Sea and Abha are important destinations as the Kingdom aims to attract 100 million visitors.

• Louvre Hotels Group already operates 16 hotels in some of the most sought-after locations in Saudi Arabia.

• The hospitality major ventured into the Kingdom in June last year with the launch of Golden Tulip Riyadh. The hotel has 94 rooms, including 15 suites.

“We are concentrating not only on the big cities but also on other destinations. When the tourists come, they will also want to visit smaller cities such as Abha, which has unique things to offer,” said Diab.
According to Diab, the Red Sea and Abha are important destinations as the Kingdom aims to attract 100 million visitors as part of the Vision 2030 blueprint.
“Louvre is keen to make sure that at least one or two of our brands are available to be part of the giga-projects,” he said.
Louvre Hotels Group already operates 16 hotels in some of the most sought-after locations in Saudi Arabia.
He further added: “With our experience being in the region for the last 35 years, we have seen different cities also have big growth, which gives us an advantage to be part of the growth that’s happening in the Kingdom.”
The hospitality major ventured into the Kingdom in June last year with the launch of Golden Tulip Riyadh. The hotel has 94 rooms, including 15 suites.