MENA mergers and acquisition deals reach $109bn in 2021, Saudi Arabia tops the region 

MENA mergers and acquisition deals reach $109bn in 2021, Saudi Arabia tops the region 
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Updated 21 January 2022

MENA mergers and acquisition deals reach $109bn in 2021, Saudi Arabia tops the region 

MENA mergers and acquisition deals reach $109bn in 2021, Saudi Arabia tops the region 

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia dominated mergers and acquisitions activity last year as deals across the Middle East and North Africa rose 57 percent, according to a report by financial market data firm Refinitiv.

The value of mergers and acquisition deals across the region ​hit $109 billion, making it the third year on record that it has hit the $100-billion mark.

Saudi Arabia saw the most action, with $27.3 billion in mergers and acquisition activity, constituting half of the deals recorded in the region. 

The amount of deals signed off in 2021 was up 40 percent compared to the previous 12 months, with the 1,141 agreements the highest annual total since 1980, with 1,141 deals.

According to the report from the London-based firm, investment banking fees in the MENA region hit $1.4 billion in 2021, up 3 percent from the same period in 2020 and the second-highest total on record.

JP Morgan topped the any MENA Involvement M&A league table in 2021 with $43.3 billion in related activity, or a 40 percent share of the market. Goldman Sachs came second with a 37 percent share of the market.

MENA equity capital markets raised $14.5 billion from 42 offerings in 2021, a 193 percent increase in proceeds from last year and a thirteen year high in the number of ECM deals. 

Initial public offerings raised $8.2 billion in 2021, accounting for 56 percent of total proceeds, a 341 percent increase from 2020. 

Follow-on issuances came in at $5.1 billion in 2021, a 65 percent rise on the previous 12 months and a 13-year high.

The largest equity offering of the year was Saudi Telecom’s follow-on issuance of $3.2 billion after the Public Investment Fund sold 6 percent of its stake. 

Saudi Arabia was the most active country with $8.9 billion in ECM proceeds, followed by the UAE with $4.3 billion. Citi takes the top spot in the MENA ECM league table advising on $2.5 billion of deals — a 24 percent market share.

The UAE was the top nation for Debt Capital Markets activity with $32.4 billion in related proceeds, followed by Saudi Arabia with $25.3 billion. The financial industry was the top-performing industry of 2021 with $44.3 billion in proceeds. 

The largest deal of the year was the bond sale from state energy company Qatar Petroleum Corp raising $12.4 billion in June 2021. Standard Chartered takes the top spot in the MENA Debt capital markets league table in 2021 with $13.5 billion in related activity or a 13 percent market share. HSBC come second with an 11 percent share of the market.


Global business leaders gather as the Top CEO forum kicks off in Dubai 

Global business leaders gather as the Top CEO forum kicks off in Dubai 
Updated 14 sec ago

Global business leaders gather as the Top CEO forum kicks off in Dubai 

Global business leaders gather as the Top CEO forum kicks off in Dubai 

DUBAI: Business leaders from across the world gather as the Top CEO forum kicks off in Dubai, after a successful day one that saw leading Arab businesswomen and industry stalwarts discuss business and challenges and the role of women in driving the global economy.   

Today’s event is set to be dominated by a wide-ranging topic, right from how the businesses should go about beating inflation post-pandemic, deal with their initial public offering plans, and raising capital to how the special purpose acquisition companies operate in this changing environment. The other topics to lead the discussion today include digitization, blockchain and metaverse. 


Bank of England official warns of tough times for crypto

Bank of England official warns of tough times for crypto
Updated 17 May 2022

Bank of England official warns of tough times for crypto

Bank of England official warns of tough times for crypto
  • G7 to discuss crypto-asset regulation, says French central banker

RIYADH: Investors in crypto currencies should expect more difficult times ahead as tightening financial conditions around the world stoke appetite for safer assets, Bank of England Deputy Gov. Jon Cunliffe said on Tuesday.

Asked at a Wall Street Journal conference if rising interest rates would ramp up pressure on crypto currencies, Cunliffe said: “Yes, I think as this process continues, as (quantitative tightening) starts in the US ... I think we’ll see a move out of risky assets.” Cunliffe added that the conflict in Ukraine also had the potential to cause a renewed flight to safer assets.

Bitcoin, the world’s largest cryptocurrency, fell as low as $25,401 on Thursday, its lowest since Dec. 2020. It hit a record high of $69,000 in November. 

However, it traded higher on Tuesday, up 0.2 percent to $30,418 as of 08:52 a.m. Riyadh time.

Ether, the second most traded cryptocurrency, was priced at $2,077, up 0.32 percent, according to data from CoinDesk.

G7 meeting

The regulation of crypto-assets is likely to be discussed at a meeting of Group of Seven finance chiefs this week in Germany, French central bank head Francois Villeroy de Galhau said on Tuesday.

“What happened in the recent past is a wake-up call for the urgent need for global regulation,” Villeroy told an emerging markets conference in Paris, referring to recent turbulence in crypto-asset markets.

“Europe paved the way with MICA (regulatory framework for crypto-assets), we will probably ... discuss these issues among many others at the G7 meeting in Germany this week,” he added.

Grayscale to launch digital assets

Grayscale will list an exchange-traded fund in Europe made up of companies representing the “Future of Finance,” the world’s largest cryptocurrency asset manager said in a statement on Monday. 

The ETF, tracking the “Bloomberg Grayscale Future of Finance Index,” will be listed on the London Stock Exchange, Italy’s Borsa Italiana and Germany’s Deutsche Börse Xetra and begin trading on May 17. It is the first time that US-based Grayscale has listed a fund in Europe.

The index contains a mixture of companies involved in digital currencies including asset managers, exchanges, brokers, technology firms, as well as firms directly involved in cryptocurrency mining. “For us, the digital economy is primarily being driven through the proliferation of digital assets,” said Grayscale CEO Michael Sonnenshein.


Digital transformation, women participation are the need of the hour, says VP Visa CEMEA

Digital transformation, women participation are the need of the hour, says VP Visa CEMEA
Updated 18 May 2022

Digital transformation, women participation are the need of the hour, says VP Visa CEMEA

Digital transformation, women participation are the need of the hour, says VP Visa CEMEA

RIYADH: In a post-pandemic world, digital transformation has been one of the main changes for companies and economies as a whole.

In an exclusive interview with Arab News on the sidelines of the Arab Women Forum in Dubai, Visa CEMEA Vice President of Marketing Christine Harb emphasized the need for digital transformation and women’s representation.

“I believe that digital transformation is done in multiple phases. There are pretty traditional organizations in the way they operate and are trying to move into a more agile space,” she said.

Harb added: “When you look at how digital is transforming the world and the metaverse impacting on organizations, there is a need to rethink how people collaborate and engage. So it’s not just about making sure that you have the right tools or enabling employees and people to connect.”

She explained that the shift is not only in digitizing the economy but also in how women’s representation has been a focus for organizations and educational spheres.

“Now, we are already equipped. So maybe we are on the right track. But, still, a lot needs to be done, mainly around policies and regulations that would protect women and open new doors to them, when it comes to, you know, bigger roles, but also allowing them to be their authentic selves,” she concluded.


Commercial Bank of Kuwait plans to digitize, says CEO

Commercial Bank of Kuwait plans to digitize, says CEO
Updated 18 May 2022

Commercial Bank of Kuwait plans to digitize, says CEO

Commercial Bank of Kuwait plans to digitize, says CEO

DUBAI: Elham Mahfouz, the chief executive officer of the Commercial Bank of Kuwait, said that robots will play a major role in the future, with 85 million jobs expected to be taken over in the next two to three years.

Speaking to Arab News at the Arab Women Forum, Mahfouz said that the bank’s next plan is digitization and that, in the next two to three years, the look of banks will be different.

CBK is the only bank to have SwatchPAY, which is a smart-watch payment service, she informed.

Beginning her journey in banking around 35 years ago, Mahfouz climbed up the ladder after starting as a credit analyst. She has been the CEO of the bank for the last eight years, she informed.

“Being in a high position can favor the institution if you want to implement certain kinds of dreams that you have to get the institution in a certain way and pave the way with the team,” she added.

Mahfouz told Arab News that one of the things that stood out to her as a woman working in the banking sector was getting more support from males than females.

Self-development, focus, and patience are factors that have influenced her journey to reaching the top post, Mahfouz said.

She added that the following generations are tech-savvy and are very smart when it comes to technological advances. However, Mahfouz said they have to have patience and read more.


Women should not relinquish their rights in business, says Suzy Kanoo

Women should not relinquish their rights in business, says Suzy Kanoo
Updated 18 May 2022

Women should not relinquish their rights in business, says Suzy Kanoo

Women should not relinquish their rights in business, says Suzy Kanoo

DUBAI: When it comes to taking a huge step like running a family business, most entrepreneurs would flinch, especially in a male-dominated industry. Female successors would instead pass their rights to a male than take the path of leadership.

In an exclusive interview with Arab News, the CEO and president of Khalil bin Ebrahim Kanoo Co. and International Motor Trading Agency, Suzy Kanoo, shared her advice on what women should do when put in that position, and it’s not relinquishing their rights.

Speaking on the sidelines of the Arab Women Forum event in Dubai, Kanoo, who has also authored “Hear Us Speak: Letters from Arab Women,” expressed that one of the main obstacles women face in the business world is not believing in themselves.

“The Japanese call it Ikigai. Find a purpose and passion, do it well, and make sure it benefits society. Whatever it is, anything that you think is insignificant isn’t insignificant for that individual. So, find that purpose and do it well,” she added.

Kanoo has been the voice of the Arab world, and her book discusses real-life stories about Arab women that have experienced physical or emotional abuse but outlived their circumstances.

“My book emphasizes that never let a male, whether a cousin or a brother, force you or coerce you into signing documents asking you to relinquish your rights of the family business,” she said.

Her book brought to light the circumstances of the marginalized women who succumbed to male domination and gave away what was rightfully theirs.

However, Kanoo feels those were different times. She finds Gen Z is the most empowered generation. They believe that nothing should stop them from achieving their goals. In addition, they understand technology better than the previous generations.

But the struggle is not over. Even emancipated women have to fight on multiple fronts. An accomplished writer and businesswoman, Kanoo is currently facing problems with the automotive business. Her production declined by 50-60 percent.

Does that mean she is letting off the reins? No chance. The feisty lady is expanding into different sectors, opening a restaurant from personal investments and launching an advisory company for blockchain technology.