Yemeni rial bounces back as central bank restructured

Yemeni rial bounces back as central bank restructured
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Updated 07 December 2021

Yemeni rial bounces back as central bank restructured

Yemeni rial bounces back as central bank restructured

AL-MUKALLA: The Yemeni rial recovered on Tuesday by roughly 30 percent hours after the Yemeni president reshuffled the country’s central bank board in a bid to rein in the rapid currency devaluation. 

Local moneychangers told Arab News that the Yemeni rial began bouncing back on Monday night when President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi dismissed the governor of the Aden-based central bank and his deputy. 

By Tuesday morning, the Yemeni currency rose from 1,700 to 1,100 against the dollar before dropping again to 1,250 in the afternoon. 

The rial has rapidly tumbled during the past couple of weeks, reaching a historic record low of 1,750 this week, compared to 215 in early 2015. 

Yemen’s president appointed Ahmed bin Ahmed Ghaleb as the new governor and head of the central bank’s administrative board. Mohammed Omer Banaja was appointed his deputy. 

The official news agency reported that the president authorized the Central Agency for Control and Accountability to monitor the bank’s current and previous financial activities. 

Four previous central bank chiefs, all appointed Hadi, failed to prevent the rial’s plunge despite their expertise and strong educational backgrounds.

The central bank had closed dozens of exchange firms and shops that violated the bank’s monetary rules and were involved in speculative activities on foreign currency. The central bank also ordered banks in the Houthi-controlled areas to move offices and operations to Aden, or face punitive measures and provided fuel and food importers with dollars. The rial continued losing value against the dollar, as several blacklisted firms and banks continued operations  in the Houthi-controlled Sanaa.

Mustafa Nasr, director of the Economic Media Center, has urged local and international support to the bank’s new administration to succeed in putting into place economic policies and also demanded resuming the flow of oil and gas exports and reviving money-generating state bodies. “

Richard Oppenheim, British ambassador to Yemen, said the reshuffle of the bank’s administrative board would help the Yemeni government carry out vital reforms to steady the economy.


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.


WeTransfer owner cancels IPO, citing market volatility

WeTransfer owner cancels IPO, citing market volatility
Image: Shutterstock
Updated 6 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 5 min 40 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.

 


Saudi Fisheries driving the transformation of the Kingdom’s aquaculture industry

Saudi Fisheries driving the transformation of the Kingdom’s aquaculture industry
Updated 40 min 46 sec ago

Saudi Fisheries driving the transformation of the Kingdom’s aquaculture industry

Saudi Fisheries driving the transformation of the Kingdom’s aquaculture industry

RIYADH: Saudi Fisheries Co. has strongly contributed to the ambitious plan of the Kingdom’s marine sector since its establishment, even as its stock tumbled over the years.

Owing to major steps taken by the fisheries firm, Saudi Arabia saw its traditional aquaculture industry transform into an export-oriented and modernized hub.

The Saudi Arabian aquaculture market reached a production volume of 70,000 tons in 2020. However, the demand for fish within the Kingdom stood at 282,000 tons — meaning import levels are currently high. 

The company aims to exploit marine resources in Saudi waters and meet rising demand, through its fleet of 32 fishing vessels, processing plants, and retail stores.

Riyadh-based Saudi Fisheries runs its operations in factories across Riyadh, Jeddah, Dammam, and Jizan, and exports its fishery products to several foreign countries.

In compliance with Vision 2030, it processes products in a way that ensures high quality and food safety.

The company took a leap in 1993 when it launched a shrimp farm in Huraidah on the Red Sea coast, with a production capacity of more than 1,700 tons per year, according to the company’s website.

Shares of the firm, which is known to be one of the pioneers in its field, hit a peak of over SR500 ($133) in late 2006. Today, the stock is at SR46.8 as of Jan. 26, 2022.

In 2021, the share price dropped 17 percent to exit the year at SR45.5 after it jumped more than twofold during pandemic-hit 2020.

Saudi Fisheries widened its net loss in the first nine months of 2021 by 45 percent to SR37.9 million as the impairment of one of its farms and higher expenses weighed on earnings.

On a wider scale, Saudi Arabia is taking several steps to boost its aquaculture and plans to increase the sector’s yield fivefold by 2030 through a public-private partnership.

The sector is expected to get a boost in the short-to-medium term through various projects to increase production to 600,000 tons per year, Deputy Minister for Agriculture Ahmed Aleyada told Arab News in December. 

 


UK invests $135m in EDF’s nuclear plant; Wind turbine prices set to rise: NRG matters

UK invests $135m in EDF’s nuclear plant; Wind turbine prices set to rise: NRG matters
landscape view of Sizewell B Nuclear Power Station. Shutterstock
Updated 25 min 9 sec ago

UK invests $135m in EDF’s nuclear plant; Wind turbine prices set to rise: NRG matters

UK invests $135m in EDF’s nuclear plant; Wind turbine prices set to rise: NRG matters

RIYADH: On a macro level, countries including Lebanon, Denmark, and Germany are pursuing initiatives to help ease the problem of energy shortages and cost inflation. On the other hand, investments in the sector continue to flow in on a micro level

Looking at the bigger picture:

  • Lebanon sealed deals on Wednesday to secure electricity from Jordan through Syria to alleviate the pain of the energy crunch the Middle Eastern country is going through. Thanks to the deals, Lebanon is set to reach 250 megawatts of electricity per day within the span of two months. However, industry experts have told Arab News the deal still has numerous hurdles to clear
  • Danish manufacturer, seller, installer, and servicer of wind turbines, Vestas, anticipates the wind energy sector to be heavily influenced by cost inflation in 2022, CNBC reported. The corporation will, accordingly, have to raise prices of its wind turbines to combat the volatile business environment, according to Reuters.
  • Germany is considering the establishment of government owned natural gas storage sites to curb future shortages of the fuel in the winter to follow, Bloomberg reported, citing economy minister, Robert Habeck. The Western European country is also contemplating another option of having local gas storage plants commit to a specific volume of the fuel to be available at all times.

Through a micro lens:

  • British manufacturer and maker of luxury cars and SUVs Bentley Motors will allocate £2.5 billion ($3.4 billion)  to fully shift its lineup to electric vehicles, or EVs, by 2030. The carmaker’s first EV is set to launch in 2025. 
  • The UK government invested £100 million ($135 million) to propel the advancement of French multinational electric utility firm Electricite de France SA’s Sizewell C nuclear project residing in the UK, Bloomberg reported. The funds aim to bring the project to a final funding decision soon regarding how much the government along with private investors will inject into the plant.