Egypt's sovereign fund aims to increase its investment portfolio to $1.5bn

Egypt's sovereign fund aims to increase its investment portfolio to $1.5bn
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Updated 07 December 2021

Egypt's sovereign fund aims to increase its investment portfolio to $1.5bn

Egypt's sovereign fund aims to increase its investment portfolio to $1.5bn
  • Egypt's sovereign fund signed an agreement with a winning US consortium to develop and rehabilitate the Tahrir Complex

Egypt's sovereign fund aims to increase its investment portfolio in 2022 to 23 billion Egyptian pounds ($1.5 billion) between managed, owned or liquid assets, its executive director has said. 

Ayman Soliman pledged to increase cooperation with various sovereign funds during the coming period, including those from the Gulf.

He stated that the green economy, infrastructure, logistics and tourism sectors are the most prominent sectors targeted by the fund for investment during the next year, with three-four new agreements planned to be signed to produce green hydrogen in Egypt. 

Egypt's sovereign fund signed an agreement with a winning US consortium to develop and rehabilitate the Tahrir Complex, with a total investment of more than 3.5 billion Egyptian pounds. 

“We aim to attract billions of dollars in projects in the next two years. We hope that the Tahrir Complex development project will be the beginning of many pioneering projects and future investments,” Soliman added.

Last month, the Egyptian president El-Sisi urged the fund to continue studying the state's under-utilised properties and assets, with maximising the return from them to ensure the sustainability of its investments. 


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.


Digitalization key to boosting insurance sector’s competitiveness: KPMG Saudi Arabia

Digitalization key to boosting insurance sector’s competitiveness: KPMG Saudi Arabia
Updated 12 sec ago

Digitalization key to boosting insurance sector’s competitiveness: KPMG Saudi Arabia

Digitalization key to boosting insurance sector’s competitiveness: KPMG Saudi Arabia
  • The growth in the Kingdom’s insurance sector was led by the automotive and medical sectors

RIYADH: Digital transformation could be key for insurance companies to remain competitive, a senior KMPG official in Saudi Arabia said, as the sector recorded gains in 2021. 

According to its “The Pulse of the Insurance Sector” report, where 28 Saudi companies were analyzed, written premiums reached SR31.81 billion ($84.79 billion) by the end Q3 last year. 

That was a 7.7 percent increase from the same period in 2020 — a year that ushered in many changes across different consumer industries in the region and beyond. 

“Given the world’s constant changes, it is becoming increasingly important for insurance companies to consider using data analysis, artificial intelligence, and other means of digital transformation to remain competitive,” Uwais Shehab, Head of Financial Services at KPMG Saudi Arabia, said.

The growth in the Kingdom’s insurance sector was led by the automotive and medical sectors, which contributed the most to the gross written premiums, jumping 79 percent and 81 percent respectively. 

Total assets amounted to SR68.03 billion ($1813 billion), while total equity stood at SR18.93 billion; an increase of 5.4 percent and 4.9 percent respectively.

The net profit of the sector decreased by 62.6% compared to the third quarter of 2020, when it reached SR1.438 billion, in the Q3 2021


US, Canada target rate hikes to curb inflationary pressures

US, Canada target rate hikes to curb inflationary pressures
Updated 3 min 25 sec ago

US, Canada target rate hikes to curb inflationary pressures

US, Canada target rate hikes to curb inflationary pressures

Interest rate hikes should be expected across North America after the US Federal Reserve and the Bank of Canada warned about the need to combat mounting inflationary pressures.

Jerome Powell, head of the US institution, said the organization would do whatever is necessary to put the brakes on consumer prices, according to Bloomberg.

He added that interest rate hikes will be expected in March, and that higher-than-projected rate spikes remain a possibility as well.

Powell pointed out that inflation might remain high for some time, and that it could upwardly move even more, explaining that monetary policy must be ready for all these scenarios.

In December, the inflation rate hit 7 percent in the world’s largest economy, a 40-year high.

North of the US, the Bank of Canada, while maintaining its interest rate at 0.25 percent, is anticipated to introduce an increase soon due to rising inflation.

Inflation is set to hover around 5 percent in the first half of this year, but will drop to 3 percent by the end of 2022, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing the central bank.

Last month, consumer prices rose by 4.8 percent — the highest since 1991 — in the North American country.

Moreover, the euro area is also struggling with record highs inflation, and pressure is piling up on the European Central Bank to act and mitigate these effects.

On the other hand, China trimmed its interest rate for the first time in two years to boost its economy which is grappling with COVID-19.


WeTransfer owner cancels IPO, citing market volatility

WeTransfer owner cancels IPO, citing market volatility
Image: Shutterstock
Updated 14 min 23 sec ago

WeTransfer owner cancels IPO, citing market volatility

WeTransfer owner cancels IPO, citing market volatility

The company that owns the WeTransfer file service is canceling its initial public offering, Europe’s first prominent tech offering of the year, it said on Thursday, citing volatile market conditions.


WeRock had planned a Jan. 28 floatation on Amsterdam’s Euronext that would have valued the company at between 629 million and 716 million euros ($714 million-813 million).


The company said in a statement it had made the decision to cancel the listing “despite substantial investor interest.” It will continue “pursuing our strategy and continuing our growth trajectory,” Chief Executive Gordon Willoughby added.


Global stock markets have had a bumpy start to the year, with the EuroStoxx 600 technology index down 6 percent since the company announced its intention to float on Jan. 12.

Following a bumper first half of listings in 2021, deal cancelations and postponements began to be seen toward year-end, with France’s Icade Sante and Switzerland’s Chronext pulling deals in October.


The IPO market closely reflects investors’ appetite for risk and they tend to become more reluctant to commit large chunks of cash to a single company if the broader economic environment is showing signs of strain.


2021 was “an extraordinary year for equity formation globally — dare I say one that is unlikely to be repeated any time soon,” said James Fleming, global co-head of equity capital markets at Citigroup Inc.


Renault-Nissan to do more together in $26bn electric bet

Renault-Nissan to do more together in $26bn electric bet
Image: Shutterstock
Updated 21 min 5 sec ago

Renault-Nissan to do more together in $26bn electric bet

Renault-Nissan to do more together in $26bn electric bet
  • Now the world’s most valuable automaker, Tesla forecast on Wednesday its deliveries in 2022 would grow 50 percent year on year

Renault and Nissan will work more closely together to make electric cars, they said on Thursday, detailing their plans to spend 23 billion euros ($26 billion) on the transition to cleaner vehicles over the next five years.


The two-decade old alliance, which also includes Mitsubishi Motors, said it would increase the number of common platforms for electric vehicles (EV) to five from four.


They will be used to build a combined EV line-up of 35 vehicles by 2030, the companies said in a press release.


They also said that by 2026 four fifths of all their models would share common platforms, compared with 60 percent now.


“The alliance remains a powerful partnership. We benefit from shared experience and expertise,” said Nissan CEO Makoto Uchida.


The commitment to pool resources comes as the three companies face growing competition from bigger carmakers with deeper pockets, such as Toyota Motor, which in December pledged to spend $70 billion to electrify its fleet, as well as EV specialists such as Tesla Inc.


Now the world’s most valuable automaker, Tesla forecast on Wednesday its deliveries in 2022 would grow 50 percent year on year.


The money promised by Renault, Nissan and Mitsubishi Motors on Thursday comes from funding they announced last year.


Nissan said in November it would spend 2 trillion yen ($17.6 billion) over five years to accelerate vehicle electrification, including on EVs and hybrid gasoline-electric cars.


In June, Renault unveiled a five-year 10 billion euro EV strategy with a plan to launch 10 models and to have EVs account for 90 percent of all models by 2030.


Holding their alliance together is a cross-shareholding relationship, with Renault owning 43.4 percent of Nissan, which in turn has a 15 percent non-voting stake in the French car company and a third of Mitsubishi Motors’ stock.

The Nissan auto alliance said Thursday it will invest 23 billion euros ($25.7 billion) into electric vehicles over the next five years as the auto industry pours resources into the sector.


Nissan, Renault and Mitsubishi Motors said the latest investment followed more than 10 billion euros already spent on its "offensive strategy in electrification" and would lead to 35 new electric models by 2030.