Sajwani buys 15.6% of DAMAC shares through Dubai Financial Market

Sajwani buys 15.6% of DAMAC shares through Dubai Financial Market
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Updated 28 November 2021

Sajwani buys 15.6% of DAMAC shares through Dubai Financial Market

Sajwani buys 15.6% of DAMAC shares through Dubai Financial Market

RIYADH: Maple Invest, owned by businessman Hussein Sajwani has bought a 15.6 percent stake in Damac Properties through the Dubai Financial Market.

It is part of a plan by which the Emirati businessman aims to acquire up to 100 percent shares of the company he established in 2002 and de-listing it  from the Dubai market, Asharq reported on Sunday.

According to Damac Properties’ disclosure to the Dubai market on Sunday, Maple executed approximately 944 million shares, representing 15.6 percent of the property firm's issued capital, at a price of 1.4 dirhams per share.

Maple made a conditional offer to buy the rest of the shares of the firm — which is not owned by Maple or its subsidiaries — on June 9. The offer included a price of 1.3 dirhams per share. Damac shareholders rejected the offer and called on its board of directors to appoint advisers to assess the fairness of the offer's value.

In late October, Maple announced that it intends to purchase 800 million shares of Damac Properties through the Dubai Financial Market, provided that the purchase process is outside the offer made by Maple to acquire all of Damac’s shares.

The data issued today is the implementation of a quantity higher than the target, bringing Sajwani’s direct and indirect share in the company to approximately 88 percent.


End of Facebook’s cryptocurrency dreams points to challenges for stablecoins

End of Facebook’s cryptocurrency dreams points to challenges for stablecoins
Updated 4 sec ago

End of Facebook’s cryptocurrency dreams points to challenges for stablecoins

End of Facebook’s cryptocurrency dreams points to challenges for stablecoins
LONDON: Facebook is said to be winding down its cryptocurrency project Diem and preparing to sell its assets following regulatory pushback in the US

The Diem Association, launched by Facebook in 2019 and supported by 25 businesses, will sell its technology to California-based Silvergate Bank for $200 million, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the discussions.

Originally named Libra, the crypto coin was initially planned to be backed by a basket of currencies, but under pressure from regulators narrowed its ambition to assuming the status of a stablecoin, backed one-to-one by US dollars.

Similar products already exist in the form of other stablecoins, such as Tether, Dai, Binance USD and USD Coin.

They are braced for action from regulators, who have shown an increasing interest in stablecoins and other crypto assets of late. Facebook’s failure to launch a preapproved coin does not bode well for them.

A report in November from the President’s Working Group on Financial Markets, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency called for urgent legislative action to limit the issuance of stablecoins to insured depository institutions and to enable their regulation.

They are most concerned about their ability to destabilize the financial system if there is a sudden run on withdrawals. The market for stablecoins is growing rapidly — up to nearly $130 billion as of the end of October from closer to $23 billion at the same time last year.

Stablecoins are mainly used in transactions involving other digital currencies, but they have the potential to be used in retail transactions as companies like Visa explore services relating to them.

However, there are reasons to believe stablecoins will not meet the same fate as Diem, which faced some unique challenges.

Because of Facebook’s size – it has about 2.9 billion users – it was always going to face greater scrutiny than rival products. It was liaising with regulators during a period of numerous scandals, including the Cambridge Analytica privacy row, which meant trust in the social media pioneer was historically low.

Diem hired former HSBC legal chief Stuart Levey as its first CEO and, in May last year, moved its headquarters from Switzerland to the US in an attempt to placate regulators. But the writing was on the wall when founder David Marcus left the company at the end of 2021.

However, Facebook’s parent company, Meta, has not given up all its crypto ambitions. It built a digital currency wallet, called Novi, and released it as a small pilot in October. Novi is central to its plans to pivot toward projects related to allowing its users to buy and sell non-fungible tokens, known as NFTs, which became a $40 billion market in 2021.

Don’t expect this to be the end of Meta’s crypto ambitions.

On the markets today, Bitcoin was down 0.6 percent to $36,379, while Ethereum declined 2.9 percent to $2,379.

However, outflows of $670 million of Bitcoin from centralized exchanges is a bullish sign for the largest cryptocurrency, according to CoinDesk. Most investors prefer to have direct custody of coins when they intend to hold them for the longer term, it said.

NAFT to increase to 500 gas stations in Saudi Arabia thanks to $300m Saudi Automotive Services deal

NAFT to increase to 500 gas stations in Saudi Arabia thanks to $300m Saudi Automotive Services deal
Updated 54 sec ago

NAFT to increase to 500 gas stations in Saudi Arabia thanks to $300m Saudi Automotive Services deal

NAFT to increase to 500 gas stations in Saudi Arabia thanks to $300m Saudi Automotive Services deal

RIYADH: NAFT Services will see its number of gas stations in Saudi Arabia more than double thanks to the SR1.1 billion ($293.1 million) deal with Saudi Automotive Services Co announced earlier this week.

The deal will see the automotive services firm, also known as SASCO, take an 80 percent stake in the gas station firm. 

The money will be used to expand NAFT's current network of 233 gas stations spread through the Kingdom to 500, SASCO’s Vice Chairman Sultan Al Hudaithi said in an interview with CNBC Arabia.

“We want to take advantage of this network to reach customers faster, whether individuals, companies or the government sector and to achieve synergy between benefiting from both SASCO and NAFT teams' expertises,” Al Hudaithi said.

“This is an important step to expand and shorten the time for natural growth. This acquisition enables us to rapidly spread in different regions in the Kingdom, and achieve more integration between the two companies,” he added.

Negotiations are underway with a group of local banks to finance the acquisition, and the percentage of self-financing is not determined yet, according to Al Hudaithi.

Once completed, the deal will see SASCO have a 5 percent share of the market.

The vice chairman said there will be progress in terms of services provided to the company's customers in the Kingdom.

On SASCO future performance, Al Hudaithi expected significant improvement in 2022, with Saudi recovery from the pandemic.

“With the return of schools, we expect the recovery to speed up in gas stations in general, as well as travel between cities,” he said.

 


Retail e-payments exceed Saudi Vision target in 2021, Central Bank says

Retail e-payments exceed Saudi Vision target in 2021, Central Bank says
Updated 9 min 11 sec ago

Retail e-payments exceed Saudi Vision target in 2021, Central Bank says

Retail e-payments exceed Saudi Vision target in 2021, Central Bank says

RIYADH: Electronic payments in retail surpassed the 55 percent target set out by the Financial Sector Development Program, FSDP, one of the main programs of Saudi Vision 2030.

The e-payments exceeded 57 percent of total transactions conducted in 2021, the Saudi Central Bank said in a statement.

Over 5.1 billion transactions were made through the national Mada payment system during 2021, with a growth rate of 81 percent compared to 76 percent in 2020, the statement said.

More than a million Point of Sale terminals were deployed by the end of 2021 compared to 721,000 terminals deployed in 2020.

Additionally, contactless payments methods accounted for 95 percent of all PoS transactions in 2021, alongside other electronic payment methods such as e-commerce payments, ‘SADAD’ system payments and the new Instant Money Transfer through ‘Sarie’ system and others.

The business sector had 84 percent of its total payment transactions electronic in 2021, compared to just 51 percent in 2019, marking a 65 percent increase in electronic payment share during these past two years.

Accordingly, major corporations rely on electronic payments to complete 99.6 percent of their transactions, while the same metric stood at 78 percent for Small Medium Enterprises, and 76 percent for micro enterprises, the Central Bank noted.

The Central Bank is working on promoting electronic infrastructure, expanding electronic payment activities and accelerating the electronic transformation of transactions, Governor of the Bank Fahad Almubarak said.

He added that this most recent achievement was driven by FSDP and the implementation of the bank's strategic plans for the payments sector, primarily aiming to reduce dependency on cash, and increase the rate of electronic payments to 70 percent by 2025.

Almubarak emphasized the joint efforts between the government and private sectors to increase payment choices and implement many payment digitization initiatives.


Egypt unveils 4-wheel natural gas alternative to imported tukuks

Egypt unveils 4-wheel natural gas alternative to imported tukuks
Updated 28 January 2022

Egypt unveils 4-wheel natural gas alternative to imported tukuks

Egypt unveils 4-wheel natural gas alternative to imported tukuks

Egypt has unveiled a four-wheeled light vehicle powered by petrol and natural gas that will replace the country's 3.5 million tuktuks in a bid to reduce their environmental footprint. 

The ministries of trade and industry and military production showed off a prototype of the new vehicle following Egyptian authorities decision on Tuesday evening to ban the import of tuktuks and set a plan to replace them using alternative vehicles.

Tuktuks are three-wheeled vehicles used as taxis, common in a number of countries including Egypt.

Minister of State for Military Production Mohamed Ahmed Morsi explained that this vehicle is a sample of a proposed project between the National Authority for Military Production and the private sector company GB Auto Ghabbour to provide an alternative four-wheeled vehicle. 

Trade and Industry Minister Nevin Gamea said the vehicle will be produced with a dual system engine, petrol and natural gas, which reduces the cost of transportation and operation and makes it environmentally friendly. 

The number of tuktuks in Egypt is approximately 3.5 million, according to estimates, of which just 10 percent have an official licence.

Some see them as a public nuisance while others find them a cheap, convenient method of transportation.


Aramco partners with Japan’s Yokogawa to localize chip manufacturing in Saudi Arabia

Aramco partners with Japan’s Yokogawa to localize chip manufacturing in Saudi Arabia
Updated 28 January 2022

Aramco partners with Japan’s Yokogawa to localize chip manufacturing in Saudi Arabia

Aramco partners with Japan’s Yokogawa to localize chip manufacturing in Saudi Arabia

RIYADH: Tokyo-based Yokogawa Electric Corp. has signed an initial agreement with Aramco to seed and localize semiconductor chip manufacturing in Saudi Arabia and boost growth in the industrial digital business domain.

Under the agreement, Aramco is to explore the possibility of utilizing Minimal Fab technology for semiconductor manufacturing, Argaam reported. 

Minimal Fab is a production system that enables high-mix, low-volume manufacturing of semiconductors and microelectromechanical systems without the need for a cleanroom.

The Japanese company will offer its expertise in deploying the technology to Aramco facilities, with the provision of related training, maintenance, and support services to ensure an end-to-end success.

The announcement comes as the world struggles with shortage of chips, with a recent US government report warning the problem could continue for more than six months.