Riyadh emerging as global business hub, giving regional rivals competition

The number of foreign investors registered at the Tadawul has more than doubled from 6 percent in 2019, and Saudi Arabia’s foreign direct investment inflows rose during the pandemic. (Shutterstock)
The number of foreign investors registered at the Tadawul has more than doubled from 6 percent in 2019, and Saudi Arabia’s foreign direct investment inflows rose during the pandemic. (Shutterstock)
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Updated 26 December 2021

Riyadh emerging as global business hub, giving regional rivals competition

Riyadh emerging as global business hub, giving regional rivals competition
  • Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman envisages $3.2 trillion in public and private investment over the next decade

RIYADH: The Saudi Arabian capital has long been seen by international bankers and executives as a place to visit for work, before weekending elsewhere in the region. However, that is about to change as the Saudi capital is not only fast transforming into a global and regional hub of business activities, it is also becoming a center of entertainment facilities and fun-filled festivals.

According to Reuters, Saudi Arabia’s domestic stock market’s $2.6 trillion market capitalization is over four times those of Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Qatar combined.

There is also loads of work. In the next four years, the Kingdom wants to raise $55 billion via privatizations, and that does not include further asset or equity sales by $1.9 trillion oil giant Saudi Aramco. Nor does it encompass disposals by the $450 billion Public Investment Fund, which recently sold down a big chunk of its 70 percent stake in $61 billion Saudi Telecom Co.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman envisages $3.2 trillion in public and private investment over the next decade to shift the domestic economy away from oil. 

HIGHLIGHTS

Saudi Arabia’s $700 billion gross domestic product in 2020 was double the UAE’s, with three times the population.

Its domestic stock market’s $2.6 trillion market capitalization is over four times those of Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Qatar combined.

Riyadh has become one of the world’s fastest-growing cities with a gross domestic product of more than $200 billion.

The number of foreign investors registered at the Tadawul has more than doubled from 6 percent in 2019, and Saudi Arabia’s foreign direct investment inflows rose during the pandemic. The Regional Headquarters Program was put into action at the beginning of the year, and its ultimate aim is to tempt 480 global companies to make Riyadh its home in the region. Some 24 companies signed up initially, and that figure has now ballooned to 44.

Riyadh may also become less of a social desert. Gigs by Miami rapper Pitbull, World Wrestling Entertainment matches, and Saudi ownership of the Newcastle United football club reduce the cultural distance with the West.

Riyadh is now home to the regional headquarters of 44 multinational companies — an increase of 20 since a drive was launched in January to attract more firms to Saudi Arabia’s capital city.

In a recent briefing given to the Bureau International des Expositions while launching Riyadh’s bid to host the World Expo 2030, Fahd Al-Rasheed, the CEO of the Royal Commission for Riyadh City, said expanding from a small town of 150,000 inhabitants in 1950, Riyadh has become one of the world’s fastest-growing cities with a gross domestic product of more than $200 billion.

Al-Rasheed then briefed the BIE governing body about the several development projects underway in the Saudi capital, such as a  sports boulevard, the massive King Salman Park, which is four times the size of New York’s Central Park and ten times the size of London’s Hyde Park.

He said the city is building one of the world’s largest public transport networks. Al-Rasheed also highlighted the efforts being made to make Riyadh a sustainable and healthy city by increasing greenery in and around the city as part of the Riyadh Green Project.


Saudi Arabian Amiantit Co.’s losses widened by 344% despite higher sales

Saudi Arabian Amiantit Co.’s losses widened by 344% despite higher sales
Updated 30 sec ago

Saudi Arabian Amiantit Co.’s losses widened by 344% despite higher sales

Saudi Arabian Amiantit Co.’s losses widened by 344% despite higher sales

RIYADH: Dammam-based Saudi Arabian Amiantit Co. has widened losses by 344 percent in the first quarter of 2022 despite a slight increase in its revenues.

The company’s net losses widened to SR5.98 million ($1.5 million) during the first quarter of 2022, compared to SR1.34 million in the same period last year, according to a bourse filing.

Increased net losses happened despite a 4.3 percent increase in the company’s revenues. 

This rise in losses was a result of recorded accounting profits during the first quarter of 2021 against settlement discounts for some outstanding obligations with some banks that amounted to around SR20 million. 

Established in 1968, the company manufactures pipes. 


Saudi food delivery platform Jahez eyes full acquisition of The Chefz

Saudi food delivery platform Jahez eyes full acquisition of The Chefz
Updated 4 min 13 sec ago

Saudi food delivery platform Jahez eyes full acquisition of The Chefz

Saudi food delivery platform Jahez eyes full acquisition of The Chefz

RIYADH: Saudi food delivery platform Jahez said it has signed an initial deal to acquire The Chefz — one of its rivals in the Kingdom.

The firm, formally known as Jahez International Co. for Information Systems Technology, seeks a full acquisition of The Chefz, it said in a bourse filing.

Riyadh-based The Chefz is an app specialized in food delivery and caters to several citites across the Kingdom.

Valued at $2.94 billion as of May 19, Jahez joined Saudi exchange’s parallel market earlier this year as its first-ever listing of a local startup.


Saudi Alujain’s Q1 profit down as finance costs weigh on performance

Saudi Alujain’s Q1 profit down as finance costs weigh on performance
Updated 24 min 15 sec ago

Saudi Alujain’s Q1 profit down as finance costs weigh on performance

Saudi Alujain’s Q1 profit down as finance costs weigh on performance

RIYADH: Alujain Holding Corp. has recorded a profit decline of 7.5 percent as rising costs weighed on its performance during the first quarter of 2022.

The Saudi-listed investment firm, involved in Kingdom’s major petrochemical and mining projects, made SR55.8 million ($14.9 million) in profit, according to a bourse filing.

Alujain attributed the profit drop from SR60.3 million in the same period a year ago to an increase in finance costs.


Saudi Petro Rabigh gets shareholders’ nod to increase capital to $4.5bn

Saudi Petro Rabigh gets shareholders’ nod to increase capital to $4.5bn
Updated 35 min 25 sec ago

Saudi Petro Rabigh gets shareholders’ nod to increase capital to $4.5bn

Saudi Petro Rabigh gets shareholders’ nod to increase capital to $4.5bn

RIYADH: Rabigh Refining and Petrochemical Co., known as Petro Rabigh, has received shareholders’ approval for a 91-percent increase in capital through an offering of 795 million shares.

This will allow the company to increase its capital to SR17 billion ($4.5 billion) from SR9 billion, according to a bourse filing.

The prospectus for its capital increase will be issued through SR8 billion rights issue, after receiving the Capital Market Authority's approval, it added.

 


Amwaj International sets offering price as it joins Saudi Arabia's IPO boom

Amwaj International sets offering price as it joins Saudi Arabia's IPO boom
Updated 19 May 2022

Amwaj International sets offering price as it joins Saudi Arabia's IPO boom

Amwaj International sets offering price as it joins Saudi Arabia's IPO boom

RIYADH: As the wave of Saudi initial public offerings continues, Amwaj International Co. has set its offering price at SR72 ($19.2) as it plans to start book-building next week.

Riyadh-headquartered Amwaj International, which is the commercial unit of Zahran Holding Co., sells and distributes electronic and home appliances.

Aiming to float 10 percent of its capital on Saudi Arabia’s parallel market Nomu, the company will run its book-building period for four days starting May 22, according to a bourse filing.

Marifa Capital is acting as the financial advisor for the potential offering, which was approved by the Capital Market Authority last month.