China closes loophole used by tech firms for offshore IPOs

China closes loophole used by tech firms for offshore IPOs
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Updated 01 December 2021

China closes loophole used by tech firms for offshore IPOs

China closes loophole used by tech firms for offshore IPOs

RIYADH: China plans to ban companies from going public on foreign stock markets through entities with different interests.

It will close a loophole that the country’s technology industry has long used to raise capital from foreign investors, according to Bloomberg.

People familiar with the matter, who asked not to be identified while discussing private information, said the ban, aimed in part at addressing concerns about data security, is among the changes included in a new draft of China’s overseas listing rules that may be finalized as soon as this month. 

Companies using what is called the VIE (variable interest entity) structure would still be allowed to pursue initial public offerings in Hong Kong, subject to regulatory approval, the sources said.

VIE refers to a business structure in which an investor has a controlling interest despite not having a majority of voting rights. A business that is the primary beneficiary of a VIE must disclose the holdings of that entity as part of its consolidated balance sheet.

China Securities Regulatory Commission said on its website on Wednesday that a media report about banning offshore listings of companies using the VIE structure was incorrect, without giving further details.

Companies currently listed in the US and Hong Kong that use VIEs will need to make adjustments so that their ownership structures are more transparent in regulatory reviews, especially in sectors where foreign investment is prohibited, the sources added.

The reform would mark one of Beijing’s biggest moves to crack down on offshore listings. 

Authorities have since moved quickly to halt the flow of companies seeking to go public in the US, shutting down a path that has generated billions of dollars for tech companies and their Wall Street backers.

While a global ban on the VIE structure is not being contemplated, a halt to foreign listings and a further review of Hong Kong's initial public offerings will mean the model will not be a viable way for many startups to tap into the capital markets. 

A person familiar with the matter said that some investment banks had already been advised by regulators to stop working on new deals involving VIEs.

The demise of VIE would also threaten the lucrative business streak of Wall Street banks, which has helped nearly 300 Chinese companies raise around $82 billion through first-time share sales in the US over the past ten years.

VIEs have been a constant source of concern for global investors due to their unstable legal position. Sina Corp. and its investment bankers led the way during an initial public offering in 2000, and the VIE framework has not been formally adopted by Beijing.


French construction design firm Clestra Hauserman opens regional HQ in Riyadh

French construction design firm Clestra Hauserman opens regional HQ in Riyadh
Updated 27 January 2022

French construction design firm Clestra Hauserman opens regional HQ in Riyadh

French construction design firm Clestra Hauserman opens regional HQ in Riyadh
  • Today, the Clestra Hauserman Group has offices in Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Qatar, Kuwait and Oman

RIYADH: A French construction and design firm opened its regional headquarters in Riyadh on Tuesday, in a 50-50 partnership deal with Saudi holding company, Zuhair Al-Habib Group.

Known internationally for their eco-friendly partitions, Clestra Hauserman’s decision to open a regional office in the capital city comes one year after Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman announced the Riyadh Strategy 2030 plan. 

“Saudi Arabia is our biggest market and as of this year I can say that 80 percent of our business comes from here,” said Farid Habbas, Middle East Director of Clestra Hauserman.

“It was a natural move for the firm that we were happy and ready for. Our firm will now have direct access to the local economy, which will help us gain financial and geographic opportunities,” he told Arab News.

Clestra Hauserman, which had been based in Dubai, joins more than 40 multinational companies that are moving to Riyadh.

The plan includes a policy stating that government and state-backed institutions will no longer sign any contracts with foreign entities from 2024 unless their regional headquarters are based in the Kingdom.

The policy, which paved way for a regional headquarters attraction program, aims to help make “Riyadh one of the ten largest city economies” in the world.

Founded in 1913, the French firm has had a regional presence for more than 40 years, specializing in the manufacture and installation of prefabricated demountable partitions. Its first project in Saudi Arabia was with Aramco in the 1970s and the firm extended its regional presence via the undertaking of airport projects and numerous educational buildings and corporate offices all over the Gulf area.

Today, the Clestra Hauserman Group has offices in Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Qatar, Kuwait and Oman.

“At Clestra, we develop and design our products from scratch, then completely fit out empty buildings from zero to completion,” Habbas told Arab News. “Our work extends to maintenance and after-sales services for all our clients, where we can be on-site for any adjustments needed within 24 hours.”

Habbas said what makes their products special is their move-and-removability, and likened it to the moveable block system made by Lego — the size of partitions can easily be adjusted by adding or removing panels.

“We’re not just selling a product, we’re selling a solution. We believe that Saudi Arabia is in need of the type of flexibility we can bring with our products and expertise, and not to mention the sustainable aspect of reusing our partitions again and again.”

One of their notable projects is at King Saud University, which has more than 200 kilometers of partitions made by the French firm that have been in use for more than 40 years — which speaks to the durability of the product, the secret of which lies in steel and aluminum.

Habbas added that the firm has plans to open a small factory in the first stage, followed a by a larger one in the second, in addition to carrying out workshops that aims to provide knowledge, expertise and training to employees, a move that should provide many jobs.

Fahad Al-Rasheed, CEO of the Royal Commission for Riyadh City said that by 2030 the regional headquarters program will contribute $18 billion to the local economy and create around 30,000 new jobs.

Since the announcement of the Saudi Vision 2030, as well as plans such as the Riyadh Strategy 2030 and the National Investment Strategy, the metropolis has flourished into a regional hub for businesses, trade and plentiful investment opportunities.


Saudi Industrial Investment Group sees 1,135% jump in its 2021 profit

Saudi Industrial Investment Group sees 1,135% jump in its 2021 profit
Updated 13 sec ago

Saudi Industrial Investment Group sees 1,135% jump in its 2021 profit

Saudi Industrial Investment Group sees 1,135% jump in its 2021 profit
  • Net profit jumped from SR92 million ($24 million) to SR1.14 billion on an annual basis

RIYADH: The Saudi Industrial Investment Group, or SIIG, has experienced a tremendous increase in net profit by 1,134.8 percent due to a surge in the prices of the project's products.

Net profit jumped from SR92 million ($24 million) to SR1.14 billion on an annual basis, according to a stock exchange filing.

Established in 1996, the Riyadh-based firm is one of the first privately owned petrochemical companies in Saudi Arabia.

Its primary aim is to invest in the petrochemical industry for its shareholders.


All you need to know before Tadawul opens Jan. 27

All you need to know before Tadawul opens Jan. 27
Updated 31 min 19 sec ago

All you need to know before Tadawul opens Jan. 27

All you need to know before Tadawul opens Jan. 27

RIYADH: The Saudi stock exchange extended gains on Wednesday as investors reacted to a strong rebound in the energy market, where Brent crude oil crossed $89 per barrel.

TASI, the main index, registered gains standing at 0.6 percent, reaching 12,183 points, and the parallel market Nomu inched up by 0.5 percent to close at 25,688 points.

Elsewhere in the Middle East, bourses of Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and Bahrain edged up in line with Saudi, up 0.5, 0.1, and 0.4 percent, respectively.

The Qatari index QSI, Oman’s MSX30, Kuwait’s BKP, and the Egyptian EGX30 index all fell between 0.2 and 0.5 percent.

In early trading, Brent crude oil reached $89.6 per barrel, and US benchmark WTI crude oil rose to $86.7 per barrel as of 9:07 a.m. Saudi time.

Stock news

  • Saudi stock market regulator, the Capital Market Authority, has approved the listing of IT firm Saudi AZM for Communication and Information Technology on the parallel market Nomu
  • The Saudi Industrial Investment Group, or SIIG, has experienced a tremendous increase in its 2021 net profit, up by 1,134.8 percent
  • Saudi Kayan Petrochemical Co. turned from losses into profits of SR2.39 billion ($640 million) in 2021, buoyed by an increase in selling prices and a drop in costs
  • Telecommunication firm Etihad Atheeb has reduced its accumulated losses to 12 percent of capital
  • The Saudi National Bank, known as SNB, has awarded a SR215 million insurance contract to Arabian Shield Cooperative Insurance Co.
  • Saudi insurer Wataniya Insurance Co. got its S&P rating revised from BBB, altering the positive outlook to stable
  • National Petrochemical Co., better known as Petrochem, saw its profits surge almost fivefold in 2021, hitting SR1.4 billion
  • Saudi Arabia Refineries Co. announced the retirement of its board member Ali bin Saleh Khabti effective Jan. 26, 2022
  • Baazeem Trading Co. has appointed Salem Baazeem as board chairman and Fawzia Baazeem as vice chairman of the board of directors

Calendar

Jan. 27, 2022

End of Gas Arabian Services’ IPO book-building

End of Scientific and Medical Equipment House’s IPO book-building

Jan. 28, 2022

End of Elm Co.’s IPO book-building

 


Oil falls as US Fed’s pending interest rate hike spooks investors

Oil falls as US Fed’s pending interest rate hike spooks investors
Updated 43 min 42 sec ago

Oil falls as US Fed’s pending interest rate hike spooks investors

Oil falls as US Fed’s pending interest rate hike spooks investors
  • Futures pulled back amid a broader decline in financial markets triggered by the March interest rate increase telegraphed by the Fed and as the dollar climbed against its major peers

BEIJING: Oil prices fell on Thursday as the US dollar strengthened following signs that the US Federal Reserve will tighten monetary policy in the world’s biggest oil user.
Futures pulled back amid a broader decline in financial markets triggered by the March interest rate increase telegraphed by the Fed and as the dollar climbed against its major peers. Dollar-denominated oil becomes more expensive for buyers using other currencies when the greenback gains.
Brent crude futures were down 57 cents, or 0.9 percent, to $89.18 a barrel at 0440 GMT, after earlier falling by as much as 1.1 percent to $89. Brent climbed 2 percent on Wednesday.
US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were down 83 cents, or 0.9 percent, to $86.52 a barrel, after falling by as much as 1.2 percent to $86.34. WTI gained 2 percent in the previous session.
“It could be a strong US dollar at play after the Federal Open Markets Committee signalled rates will rise,” said Commonwealth Bank analyst Vivek Dhar.
The dollar rose on higher US Treasury yields, lifting the US dollar index, which measures the greenback against major peers, to 96.604, near five-week highs.
Crude prices surged on Wednesday, with Brent climbing to $90 a barrel for the first time in seven years, amid the tensions between Ukraine and Russia, the world’s second-largest oil producer, that has fanned fears of energy supply disruptions to Europe.
Commonwealth Bank’s Dhar echoed those concerns, listing that along with the omicron coronavirus variant not impacting oil demand as badly as initially feared and efforts by OPEC and its allies, known as OPEC+, to boost supply not materialising as supportive for oil prices.
OPEC missed its planned supply increase target in December, highlighting capacity constraints that are limiting supply as global demand recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic.
OPEC+ is gradually relaxing 2020’s output cuts as demand recovers from the demand collapse that year. But many smaller producers can’t raise supply and others have been wary of pumping too much in case of renewed COVID-19 setbacks.
“Continued supply challenges and mounting Russia-Ukraine tensions continue to support crude oil prices. It is down slightly today but I think it is nothing more than a technical move,” said Howie Lee, economist at OCBC in Singapore.
An increase in crude oil and gasoline inventories in the United States alleviated some of the concerns about supply.
Crude inventories rose by 2.4 million barrels in the week to Jan. 21 to 416.2 million barrels, compared with analysts’ expectations in a Reuters poll for a 728,000-barrel drop, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) said on Wednesday.
Gasoline stockpiles rose by 1.3 million barrels last week to 247.9 million barrels, the EIA said, the most since February 2021.


Saudi Kayan turns into profits of $640m in 2021 as petrochemical sector blossoms

Saudi Kayan turns into profits of $640m in 2021 as petrochemical sector blossoms
Updated 51 min 5 sec ago

Saudi Kayan turns into profits of $640m in 2021 as petrochemical sector blossoms

Saudi Kayan turns into profits of $640m in 2021 as petrochemical sector blossoms

RIYADH: Saudi Kayan Petrochemical Co. has seen its 2021 earnings turn into profits of SR2.39 billion ($640 million), buoyed by higher selling prices and sector-wide growth.

As the economic situation improved globally, the homegrown firm managed to erase losses of SR785 million from a year earlier, according to a bourse filing.

Revenues soared over 58 percent in 2021, and earnings per share amounted to SR1.6, against a loss per share of SR0.52 a year ago.

The improved performance was driven by higher selling prices and a drop in financing costs, despite an increase in feedstock costs, Saudi Kayan said in a bourse statement.

On a broader scale, data by Gastat earlier showed that outgoing chemical shipments picked up pace significantly prompting the Saudi non-oil exports growth to hit an annual rate of 26.1 percent in November.

Headquartered in Jubail Industrial City, Saudi Kayan is a leading chemical maker operating in the Kingdom’s petrochemical sector since 2007.