PIF to exceed Q2 objective with assets under management of $480bn 

PIF to exceed Q2 objective with assets under management of $480bn 
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Updated 01 January 2022

PIF to exceed Q2 objective with assets under management of $480bn 

PIF to exceed Q2 objective with assets under management of $480bn 
  • The Public Investment Fund is a key player in the Kingdom’s diversification strategy

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund is on track to surpass its objective for the second quarter of 2022, and reach SR1.8 trillion ($480 billion) in assets under management, the fund’s Governor Yasir Al-Rumayyan said. 

The Public Investment Fund, or the PIF, is a key player in the Kingdom’s diversification strategy, particularly in achieving the Vision 2030 goals. 

Al-Rumayyan said the fund established a department called National Development to focus on supporting local supply chains, and increasing the role of local suppliers in the ecosystem. 

The new department, he told a Saudi budget media forum in Riyadh on Monday, will assess and monitor, on a quarterly basis, the impact of projects and companies on the economy — in terms of job creation, and increasing local content. He said the Kingdom’s Shareek program aims to strengthen cooperation between the public and private sectors and increase local investments to reach SR5 trillion by 2030.

Al-Rumayyan said the fund has offered stakes in several companies for initial public offering in the Saudi stock exchange. Very recently, it offered part of the fund’s shares in stc, in the first-ever secondary public offering. 

The PIF chief said efforts are also underway to boost the fund’s contributions to the green energy sector in line with the Saudi Green Initiative.

He cited Al-Sudair Solar Power Plant as an example. The project will be developed by ACWA Power to meet the power needs of 185,500 housing units. 

Al-Rumayyan said the PIF is also working on launching a platform for trading carbon in the Middle East.

Despite all the challenges posed by the coronavirus disease pandemic, the fund was able to maintain its performance and to take advantage of many investment opportunities, he added.

Al-Rumayyan said the fund seeks to develop many other sectors, as the capital of the fund will help ensure long-term investment. 

Since the approval of its new strategy in 2016, PIF has created 47 companies and generated more than 400,000 jobs directly and indirectly through their projects and ventures, Al-Rumayyan added. 

As well as working towards the Vision 2030 goal, the PIF also has targets to hit before then.

Al-Rumayyan said: “The PIF continues to achieve its 2025 strategy, which is to pump about SR1 trillion in new national projects, and to increase its own assets under the fund’s management from SR1.8 trillion to SR4 trillion, and contribute in the national non oil sector with an amount reaching SR 1.2 trillion.”

The PIF governor highlighted other areas of investment in the Kingdom, including the fact that about 70 percent of the Red Sea Development contracts were signed with Saudi companies, worth more than SR13 billion.

King Abdullah financial center signed contracts worth SR10 billion to complete and activate the center, while real estate developers ROSHN also signed strategic partnerships with Saudi companies to push ahead with its first phase in Riyadh. 

Qiddiya company signed contracts worth more than SR5.5 billion to complete the primary phase of its infrastructure and to develop its first entertainment facility “Qiddiya six flags.”

Additionally, investment management firm Jada Fund of Funds aims to enhance the small and medium enterprise sector by investing SR1.2 billion in 17 investment funds — with SR200 million already handed over and helping to create more than 4,000 jobs.

The Fund contributed in green energy sectors in line with the Kingdom’s initiative, launching renewable energy projects, including the Sudair Solar PV, which will be implemented by ACWA Power and will meet the needs of 185,000 housing units.

Tarshid, National Energy Services Company,  has replaced more than a million and a half of regular street lighting lamps with LEDs.

The Fund’s presence on the world stage has grown as it invests in various global markets, which contributes to diversifying sources of income and bringing international expertise to the Kingdom.

Firms to see investment include Lucid Motors, with about $2.9 billion, bringing global investors at its initial public offering listing in July 2021, making it one of the most significant companies in the electric vehicle sector.

The company's value has risen from $3 billion to $65 billion.

PIF also ploughed $2.8 billion into Indian companies, such as the mobile network operator Jio Platforms and the conglomerate Reliance.


Apple’s holiday iPhone sales surge despite supply shortages

Apple’s holiday iPhone sales surge despite supply shortages
Updated 28 January 2022

Apple’s holiday iPhone sales surge despite supply shortages

Apple’s holiday iPhone sales surge despite supply shortages
  • Apple to report iPhone sales of $71.6 billion for the October-December period

SAN RAMON, California: Apple shook off supply shortages that have curtailed production of iPhones and other popular devices to deliver its most profitable holiday season yet.
The results posted Thursday for the final three months of 2021 help illustrate why Apple is looking even stronger at the tail end of the pandemic than when the crisis began two years ago.
At that point, Apple’s iPhone sales had been flagging as consumers began holding on to their older devices for longer periods. But now the Cupertino, California, company can’t seem to keep up with the steadily surging demand for a device that has become even more crucial in the burgeoning era of remote work.
Apple’s inability to fully satisfy the voracious appetite for iPhones stems from a pandemic-driven shortage of chips that’s affecting the production of everything from automobiles to medical devices.
But Apple so far has navigated the shortfalls better than most companies. That deft management enabled Apple to report iPhone sales of $71.6 billion for the October-December period, a 9 percent increase from the same time in the previous year.
Those sales gains would have likely been even more robust if Apple could have secured all the chips and other components needed to make iPhones. That problem plagued Apple’s July-September quarter when management estimated that supply shortages reduced its iPhone sales by about $6 billion. The company may address how supply shortages affected its performance in the most recent quarter during a conference call with analysts scheduled later Thursday.
Despite what drag the shortages caused, Apple still earned $34.63 billion, or $2.10 per share, a 20 increase from the same time in the previous year. Revenue climbed from the previous year by 11 percent to $123.95 billion.
Apple’s ongoing success help push the company’s market value above $3 trillion for the first time earlier this month. But its stock price has tumbled 13 percent since hitting that peak amid worries about a projected rise in interest rates aimed at dampening the torrid pace of inflation that has been fueled in part by supply shortages.
Its shares gained more than 3 percent in Thursday’s extended trading after the Apple’s fiscal first-quarter numbers came out.
The supply issues looming around Apple’s devices have magnified the importance of the company’s services division, which is fueled by commissions from digital transactions on iPhone apps, subscriptions to music and video streaming and repair plans.
The up to 30 percent commissions collects from apps distributed through Apple’s exclusive app store have become a focal point of a fierce legal battle that unfolded in a high-stakes trial year, as well as proposed reforms recently introduced in the US Senate that tear down the company’s barriers that prevent consumers from using alternative payment systems.
For now, though, the services division is still booming. Its revenue in the past quarter hit $19.52 billion, a 24 percent increase.
Apple is widely believed to be maneuvering toward another potentially huge money-making opportunity with the introduction of an augmented reality headset that would project digital images and information while its users interact with other physical objects and people. True to its secretive form, the company has never said it is working on that kind of technology.
But Apple CEO Tim Cook has openly shared his enthusiasm for the potential of augmented reality in public presentations, and analysts believe the long-rumored headset could finally roll out later this year — unless it’s delayed by supply shortages.


Lebanon’s finance minister says replacing central bank governor is not ‘wise’

Lebanon’s finance minister says replacing central bank governor is not ‘wise’
Updated 28 January 2022

Lebanon’s finance minister says replacing central bank governor is not ‘wise’

Lebanon’s finance minister says replacing central bank governor is not ‘wise’

BEIRUT: Lebanon’s finance minister said on Thursday replacing the central bank governor, Riad Salameh, today is not “wise.”
Finance Minister Youssef Khalil told local broadcaster MTV that nobody proposed removing the central bank governor, but “I do not imagine changing the central bank governor today is a wise matter.”
Salameh, who has support from several top politicians, is being probed in Lebanon and at least four European countries, with his role under close scrutiny since Lebanon’s economic collapse in 2019.
Salameh denies any wrongdoing during almost three decades leading the central bank.


Aramco CEO says energy transition not going smoothly: Reuters

Aramco CEO says energy transition not going smoothly: Reuters
Updated 27 January 2022

Aramco CEO says energy transition not going smoothly: Reuters

Aramco CEO says energy transition not going smoothly: Reuters

BEIRUT: Saudi Aramco CEO Amin Nasser said on Thursday that the energy transition “was not going smoothly,” pointing to a resurgence in demand for oil and gas as the global economy recovers while supplies lag on the back of falling investment, according to Reuters.

“We all agree that to move towards a sustainable energy future a smooth energy transition is absolutely essential but we must also consider the complexities and challenges to get there,” he told the B20 conference in Indonesia via video link.

“We have to acknowledge that the current transition is not going smoothly,” he said.

- Reuters


SNB board recommends dividends of over $1bn for the second half of 2021

SNB board recommends dividends of over $1bn for the second half of 2021
Updated 27 January 2022

SNB board recommends dividends of over $1bn for the second half of 2021

SNB board recommends dividends of over $1bn for the second half of 2021

RIYADH: Saudi National Bank, the Kingdom’s biggest lender, said its board has recommended cash dividends of SR4.03 billion ($1.1 billion), or 9 percent of capital, for the second half of 2021.

SNB’s shareholders will receive SR0.9 per share, with a total amount of 4.48 billion shares eligible for dividends, a bourse statement by the bank revealed.

This brings the annual dividend yield to 2.12 percent, based on a share price of SR73, given the bank paid out SR0.65 per share for the first half of the same year.

The distribution date is yet to be disclosed, according to the statement.


Data-led innovation needed to help Saudi firms process information, says Dell ahead of LEAP

Data-led innovation needed to help Saudi firms process information, says Dell ahead of LEAP
Updated 27 January 2022

Data-led innovation needed to help Saudi firms process information, says Dell ahead of LEAP

Data-led innovation needed to help Saudi firms process information, says Dell ahead of LEAP

RIYADH: The majority of Saudi businesses gather data faster than it can be analyzed and used, Dell Technologies has warned ahead of the LEAP tech event being held in Riyadh from Feb. 1-3.

The US firm is set to take part in the forum, which is focused on future and disruptive technologies.

Ahead of the event, Mohamed Talaat, vice president in Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Levant at Dell Technologies, pointed to research by his company in 2021 that showed 70 percent of Saudi respondents have data-driven business and consider data as the lifeblood of their organisation.

However, 59 percent said they were gathering data faster than they could analyze and use.

Talaat said: “Saudi Arabia today stands at the threshold of change, underpinned by the nation’s ambitious vision and drive to transform, innovate and build a legacy for generations to come.

“Dell Technologies remains committed to advancing the country’s transformation agenda. We're empowering local organizations with end-to-end infrastructure and client solutions. They not only support a data-driven work culture, but are also capable of predicting the future and achieving better business results.”