NAFT to increase to 500 gas stations in Saudi Arabia thanks to $300m Saudi Automotive Services deal

NAFT to increase to 500 gas stations in Saudi Arabia thanks to $300m Saudi Automotive Services deal
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Updated 28 January 2022

NAFT to increase to 500 gas stations in Saudi Arabia thanks to $300m Saudi Automotive Services deal

NAFT to increase to 500 gas stations in Saudi Arabia thanks to $300m Saudi Automotive Services deal

RIYADH: NAFT Services will see its number of gas stations in Saudi Arabia more than double thanks to the SR1.1 billion ($293.1 million) deal with Saudi Automotive Services Co announced earlier this week.

The deal will see the automotive services firm, also known as SASCO, take an 80 percent stake in the gas station firm. 

The money will be used to expand NAFT's current network of 233 gas stations spread through the Kingdom to 500, SASCO’s Vice Chairman Sultan Al Hudaithi said in an interview with CNBC Arabia.

“We want to take advantage of this network to reach customers faster, whether individuals, companies or the government sector and to achieve synergy between benefiting from both SASCO and NAFT teams' expertises,” Al Hudaithi said.

“This is an important step to expand and shorten the time for natural growth. This acquisition enables us to rapidly spread in different regions in the Kingdom, and achieve more integration between the two companies,” he added.

Negotiations are underway with a group of local banks to finance the acquisition, and the percentage of self-financing is not determined yet, according to Al Hudaithi.

Once completed, the deal will see SASCO have a 5 percent share of the market.

The vice chairman said there will be progress in terms of services provided to the company's customers in the Kingdom.

On SASCO future performance, Al Hudaithi expected significant improvement in 2022, with Saudi recovery from the pandemic.

“With the return of schools, we expect the recovery to speed up in gas stations in general, as well as travel between cities,” he said.

 


Average VC investment size in UAE has tripled since 2016, says UAE minister

Average VC investment size in UAE has tripled since 2016, says UAE minister
Updated 11 sec ago

Average VC investment size in UAE has tripled since 2016, says UAE minister

Average VC investment size in UAE has tripled since 2016, says UAE minister

DUBAI: The average size of venture capital investment in the UAE has tripled since 2016, according to Ahmad Belhoul Al-Falasi, UAE’s Minister of State for Entrepreneurship and SMEs.

While talking at the Top CEO forum in Dubai on May 18, Al-Falasi revealed that the foundation of entrepreneurship is about having access to talent, and the UAE is the best place to tap talent as the country has “always been the labor market of choice in the region.”

He also talked about the vitality of having high-ranked universities and educational institutions, adding that the UAE wants to ignite the interest in entrepreneurship among young people.

The minister also noted that digitization is pivotal to scaling up any business, and emphasized that web3, blockchain, and crypto are fundamental in modern-day business operations.


State-owned Saudi Electricity’s Q1 profit dragged down by higher fuel costs

State-owned Saudi Electricity’s Q1 profit dragged down by higher fuel costs
Updated 7 min 6 sec ago

State-owned Saudi Electricity’s Q1 profit dragged down by higher fuel costs

State-owned Saudi Electricity’s Q1 profit dragged down by higher fuel costs

RIYADH: The Saudi Electricity Co. has reported a decline of 10 percent in quarterly profit as rising costs squeezed its operating profit.

The state-owned utility provider saw its net profit drop to SR1.5 billion ($404 million) last quarter, down from SR1.7 billion in the same period a year earlier, according to a bourse filing.

The company attributed the results to higher fuel costs, adding that operating and maintenance costs increased due to higher electricity demand.

Despite that, revenues nudged higher by 1.4 percent to SR13.5 billion from the same quarter a year earlier.


GESAT wins a new gas turbine contract for Aramco oilfield

GESAT wins a new gas turbine contract for Aramco oilfield
Updated 21 min 14 sec ago

GESAT wins a new gas turbine contract for Aramco oilfield

GESAT wins a new gas turbine contract for Aramco oilfield

DAMMAM: General Electric Saudi Advanced Turbines has been awarded a new contract to build three gas turbines at Aramco’s Tanajib oilfield, based 200 km north of Dammam in the Kingdom’s Eastern Province.

The deal was handed out by South Korean conglomerate Samsung, which is the engineering, procurement and construction manager of the project, with Saudi Aramco as the end-user, said GESAT CEO Hassan Elokdi in an exclusive interview with Arab News.

Dammam-based GESAT is a joint venture between Saudi industrial investments firm Dussur and US-based engineering giant GE to manufacture heavy-duty gas turbines and components in the Kingdom, founded in 2017.

The project involves supplying three gas turbines with a total capacity of 100 megawatts of power.

“This is a long-cycle project, we expect the first gas turbine to be ready in the first quarter of 2023, and then every three to four months we will build another turbine” Elokdi added.

(stock image of gas turbines in a modern industrial factory)

The last unit will be delivered during the first quarter of 2024, said Elokdi on the sidelines of GESAT’s fifth-anniversary celebrations.

GE and Dussur, signed a new memorandum of understanding to expand the scope of GESAT by adding further products and services, on May 16.

Since it was founded, GESAT has also exported over 160 component kits around the world, including the US, Mexico, Brazil, Malaysia and Europe.

Elokdi said exploring new markets was essential during the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak to make up for the shortfall in demand across the region.

“GESAT has been actively working to maximize its exports as well as supporting local demand in Saudi Arabia,” he added.

The engineering head said heavy industry will require a few more years to recover from the slowdown caused by the health crisis. He expects demands to return to pre-pandemic levels by 2024.

Elokdi said: “The manufacturing process is typically a long-cycle business. To manufacture one of our products could take a couple of years. So, it would take a long time to fully recover.”

GESAT is keen to adopt the Kingdom’s localization workforce targets, with Saudis making up 65 percent of its staff, while 14 percent of its employees are female.


Business leaders to discuss post-pandemic inflation, SPACs, Metaverse at Top CEO in Dubai

Business leaders to discuss post-pandemic inflation, SPACs, Metaverse at Top CEO in Dubai
Updated 18 May 2022

Business leaders to discuss post-pandemic inflation, SPACs, Metaverse at Top CEO in Dubai

Business leaders to discuss post-pandemic inflation, SPACs, Metaverse at Top CEO 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 range of topics, 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.