Saudi IT firm MIS renews $133m Shariah-compliant loan

Saudi IT firm MIS renews $133m Shariah-compliant loan
The funds will help MIS finance projects as well as issue bank letters of credit and guarantee.
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Updated 13 April 2022

Saudi IT firm MIS renews $133m Shariah-compliant loan

Saudi IT firm MIS renews $133m Shariah-compliant loan

RIYADH: Saudi information technology firm Al Moammar Information Systems Co., also known as MIS, has renewed a Shariah-compliant loan worth SR500 million ($133 million) to finance operations.

The funds will help Saudi-listed MIS finance projects as well as issue bank letters of credit and guarantee, according to a bourse filing.

The loan, obtained from Al Rajhi Bank, will be valid until the end of December 2022.

Last October, Riyadh-based MIS partnered with Saudi Fransi Capital to launch a fund – namely Saudi Data Center Fund 1. This aimed to establish six data centers in two areas, with a combined initial capacity of 24 MW.

The first-of-its-kind fund in the Kingdom, as claimed by the related parties, was used to kick off the first phase of the construction process in January at an initial value of SR1.2 billion.

MIS was established in 1979, and is Saudi Arabia’s first listed information technology company. 

 


Electric vehicles emerge as key driver of Saudi-China climate-change fight

Electric vehicles emerge as key driver of Saudi-China climate-change fight
Updated 6 sec ago

Electric vehicles emerge as key driver of Saudi-China climate-change fight

Electric vehicles emerge as key driver of Saudi-China climate-change fight
  • China is the world’s largest market for EVs, accounting for 53 percent of the global share 
  • Saudi Arabia has launched its own EV brand, Ceer, and owns a stake in US maker Lucid

RIYADH: China and Saudi Arabia are two of the energy powerhouses of the world and, as such, the world’s gaze turns to them in discussions around climate change.

While much of the focus is on the Kingdom’s oil production, or Beijing’s coal-mining activities, the two nations are only just starting to get recognition for their shared vision for decarbonization via electric vehicles.

This is an area of shared enthusiasm, and one where Saudi Arabia and China can further work together to lead innovation and implementation.

For its part, Saudi Arabia has handed the EV industry a prominent role in its economic diversification plan known as Vision 2030.

Tesla cars at a charging station in Beijing, main, and, below, a Lucid luxury electric vehicle on display. (AFP)

The world’s largest oil exporter has identified the sector as one on the cusp of a boom as the globe moves away from fossil fuels, and is investing not just in overseas firms, but also in homegrown products.

The overseas backing takes the form of the US-firm Lucid. In 2018, the Public Investment Fund poured $1billion into the company and now has a 60 percent stake. The investment prompted Lucid to announce in February 2022, that it would build its first international vehicle assembly plant in King Abdullah Economic City, north of Jeddah. 
To further underline its commitment to the sector, the Saudi government struck a deal with Lucid to buy up to 100,000 EVs over a 10-year period.

It is not just Lucid that will be producing EVs in the Kingdom. In October, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman unveiled Saudi Arabia’s own EV brand: Ceer.

Lithium batteries for electric vehicles on the inspection line at a factory in Nanjing in China’s eastern Jiangsu province. (AFP)

Like Lucid, this company will produce vehicles from a plant in KAEC, with construction on the $69 million facility due to begin in early 2023.

Ceer is a joint venture with FoxConn — the Taiwan-based firm that is the largest private sector employer in China — and will further cement the ties between Saudi Arabia and the economies of the Far East.

Ceer will license component technology from BMW to design and build vehicles, including sedans and sport utility vehicles, in the Kingdom while Foxconn will develop the electrical architecture of the vehicles, resulting in a portfolio of products that will lead in infotainment, connectivity and autonomous driving technologies.

Of course, the Kingdom is not turning itself into one of the leading EV producers in the world just to appease its domestic market. Exporting these vehicles is a key part of not just Saudi Arabia’s economic diversification strategy but in reducing global emissions.

Penetrating the Chinese market could prove a challenge. Beijing has been encouraging its citizens to switch to EVs by offering subsidies for purchases. This has helped China become the largest market for EVs, accounting for 53 percent of the global share.

US-based Lucid is planning to build its first overseas vehicle assembly plant north of Jeddah. (AFP)

The Chinese government forecasts that EVs will account for 50 percent of all new car sales in the country by 2035, suggesting the appetite for such vehicles will continue to be high.

Yet while firms such as Tesla are doing well in the market — selling 83,135 cars in September in what was its best month for sales in the country — China has a thriving production sector, meaning the reliance on imports is low.

However, as is the case in many countries, one of the main barriers for mass take-up of EVs is higher purchase price than for petrol vehicles.

Saudi Arabia could find itself in a position to use its growing EV production hub being built just north of Jeddah to make affordable vehicles for what is the largest market in the world.

Should it crack that nut, the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 goal of raising non-oil exports to 50 percent of GDP looks eminently reachable.
 


DP World Logistics opens 6,000 sq. m warehouse in Dubai’s Jebel Ali Free Zone

DP World Logistics opens 6,000 sq. m warehouse in Dubai’s Jebel Ali Free Zone
Updated 08 December 2022

DP World Logistics opens 6,000 sq. m warehouse in Dubai’s Jebel Ali Free Zone

DP World Logistics opens 6,000 sq. m warehouse in Dubai’s Jebel Ali Free Zone
  • The company said the storage facility has a monthly capacity of 6,000 twenty-foot equivalent units

DUBAI: DP World Logistics in Dubai has opened a 6,000-square-meter high-end warehouse offering new storage solutions at Jebel Ali Free Zone, the Emirates News Agency reported.

The facility has 12,500 pallet positions and can accommodate cargo up to 18 meters high using Very Narrow Aisle racking systems, the company said, and a monthly capacity of 6,000 twenty-foot equivalent units.

DP World Logistics highlighted its advantageous location in what it described as one of the world’s fastest-developing regions and said that it is able to leverage the capabilities and cutting-edge IT platforms of its parent company, DP World, to ensure goods are stored, distributed and delivered efficiently through a multimodal transportation model that combines port, shipping line, sea freight, air freight and trucking solutions.

The company said it offers container freight station operations, warehousing and supply chain solutions, and freight-forwarding operations from six facilities in Jebel Ali and its assets include extensive yard operations, cross-dock warehousing, and cold storage and cool storage solutions.

“As part of DP World, a global smart-trade enabler, DP World Logistics is continually on a journey of business transformation, with new product innovations and developments,” said Abdulla bin Damithan, the CEO of DP World UAE and Jafza.

“Our shared commitment to improve end-to-end logistics performance in moving cargo around the world, underpinned by innovations in logistics-led solutions, has maximized opportunities for our customers over the years.

“The new CFS 2 warehouse is yet another step in supporting our customers better, helping them explore varied business opportunities and move forward with tremendous growth potential in the region. As a reliable, trustworthy and time-bound logistics partner, we will continue creating a complete end-to-end logistics trade journey from and to high-growth markets for our clients.”


Saudi-Chinese cooperation scales new heights with each passing year

Saudi-Chinese cooperation scales new heights with each passing year
Updated 08 December 2022

Saudi-Chinese cooperation scales new heights with each passing year

Saudi-Chinese cooperation scales new heights with each passing year
  • 2022 turned out to be the year when Sino-Saudi collaborative projects in various fields truly prospered
  • China seeking to bolster its energy ties with the Gulf countries to secure adequate oil supply

RIYADH: Saudi-Chinese ties have prospered in 2022 amid the high cooperation efforts between the countries across various fields, including aviation, energy, tourism, artificial intelligence, technology and more.

On Nov.27, Saudi Arabia’s deputy foreign minister met with the Chinese ambassador to the Kingdom in Riyadh, Saudi Press Agency reported.

During the meeting, Waleed Al-Khuraiji and Chen Weiqing reviewed bilateral relations and ways of enhancing them to serve common interests. They also discussed issues of common interest.

Aviation

Earlier this year, in October, Saudi Arabia and China signed a memorandum of understanding to boost the number of flights and stations between the two countries. 

The MoU also aims to promote air traffic growth further and bolster cooperation in the air transport sector field between both countries, Zawya reported.

Energy

In September, the regional organization Arab League announced the first of its kind Arab-China summit to be hosted by Saudi Arabia in December, reflecting a milestone in the strategic collaboration between Arab countries and the Asian giant.

According to Hong Kong-based newspaper South China Morning Post, Beijing is seeking to bolster its energy ties with the Gulf countries to secure sufficient supply.

Tourism

In September, the Saudi Tourism Authority and Shanghai-based financial firm UnionPay signed an MoU to boost the number of Chinese visitors to Saudi Arabia.

Under the agreement, the Chinese state-owned financial services company will facilitate payment operations within the Kingdom for UnionPay card holders, the Saudi Press Agency reported.  

Culture

As part of Saudi-Chinese cultural cooperation, King Abdulaziz Public Library signed an MoU and collaboration with the Bayt El-Hekma Chinese Group in April.

The agreement aims to enhance cooperation between Saudi Arabia and China in different cultural, knowledge, and language fields of interest to both sides.

It also includes exchanging publication services and cultural visits between the two countries, besides holding scientific meetings and specialized exhibitions and activating cultural commonalities through forums.  

Artificial Intelligence

In March, Riyadh-based aerospace company TAQNIA and solution provider TAQNIA ETS signed an MoU with Chinese aerospace firm Star Vision to elevate the space sector’s supply chain and work hand in hand on artificial intelligence applications and technologies.

Under the MoU, all parties will participate in collaborative research and work together to facilitate the development of top-notch space technologies, satellites, and geospatial products, trade publication Times Aerospace reported.

The MoU aims to introduce localized services and products that align with the Kingdom and the region’s strategic space and geospatial industry.

 Technology

In March, Saudi Advanced Communications and Electronics Systems Co., ACES, partnered with China Electronics Technology Group to manufacture unmanned aerial vehicle payload systems in the Kingdom.

Under the partnership, China Electronics Technology Group, the state-owned defense conglomerate specializing in dual-use electronics, aims to aid ACES in establishing a research and development center and manufacturing team for various types of unmanned aerial vehicle payload systems.  

Oil

In March, a Saudi Arabian Oil Co. unit signed an initial agreement with China Petroleum & Chemical Corp., known as Sinopec, for potential downstream collaboration in China.  

The subsidiary, Saudi Aramco Asia Company Ltd., and Sinopec aim to support Fujian Refining and Petrochemical Co. in conducting a feasibility study into the optimization and expansion of capacity, according to a statement.  

Building & Construction

In January, Saudi Aramco and the China Building Materials Academy announced plans to launch a new Nonmetallic Excellence and Innovation Center collaboratively.

Also referred to as NEXCEL, the new center will be based in Beijing and advance the use of nonmetallic materials in the building and construction sector.
 


Saudi-Chinese relations witness ‘qualitative leap,’ says energy minister

Saudi-Chinese relations witness ‘qualitative leap,’ says energy minister
Updated 07 December 2022

Saudi-Chinese relations witness ‘qualitative leap,’ says energy minister

Saudi-Chinese relations witness ‘qualitative leap,’ says energy minister
  • China has become the top destination for Saudi oil exports
  • President Xi Jinping arrived in Saudi Arabia earlier on Wednesday as part of a three-day visit

RIYADH: Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman on Wednesday said that relations between the Kingdom and China are witnessing a qualitative leap, reflecting the keenness of both countries’ leaderships to develop them at all levels.

In remarks to the Saudi Press Agency during the Saudi-Chinese Summit in Riyadh, Prince Abdulaziz said that the Kingdom has strong and close strategic relations with China in many fields, the most important of which is energy.

China has become the top destination for Saudi oil exports as part of the high volume of trade exchange between the two countries, with continued annual growth over the past five years, he said, adding that Saudi-Chinese energy ties include multiple joint investments.

China’s President Xi Jinping arrived in Saudi Arabia earlier on Wednesday as part of a three-day visit to the Kingdom following an invitation by King Salman to attend the summit, which will run until Dec. 9.

Prince Abdulaziz highlighted the importance of cooperation between the two countries in maintaining stability of the global oil market, and said that the Kingdom will remain China’s credible and reliable partner in facing future energy challenges.

The minister also reviewed areas of cooperation between the Kingdom and China, mainly through projects to convert crude oil into petrochemicals, renewable energy, clean hydrogen, electricity projects and peaceful uses of nuclear energy, as well as investment in integrated refining and petrochemical complexes in both countries.

He highlighted the two nations’ efforts to boost cooperation in energy supply chains by establishing a regional center in the Kingdom for Chinese factories.


Budget 2023: Saudi Arabia exceeds surplus estimate and revises up GDP forecast

Budget 2023: Saudi Arabia exceeds surplus estimate and revises up GDP forecast
Updated 12 min 21 sec ago

Budget 2023: Saudi Arabia exceeds surplus estimate and revises up GDP forecast

Budget 2023: Saudi Arabia exceeds surplus estimate and revises up GDP forecast
  • Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said that the government intends to prioritize capital spending
  • The budget has been approved by the Saudi Cabinet

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia has recorded a larger-then-expected budget surplus for 2022 of SR102 billion ($27.13 billion) — SR12 billion higher than previously forecast.

The surplus comes as the Kingdom's gross domestic product is also set to exceed expectations — registering growth of 8.5 percent compared with the 7.5 percent estimated in December 2021 and the 8 percent forecast in pre-Budget statement published at the end of September.

GDP growth is forecast to slow to 3.1 percent in 2023.

The revelations came as the Saudi government approved a SR1.114 trillion budget for 2023, itself expected to post a surplus of SR16 billion, Saudi media outlets reported.

The Kingdom expects revenues of SR1.13 trillion next year, Saudi-owned Al Arabiya TV reported. The surplus is equivalent to 0.4 percent of gross domestic product — 0.2 percentage points higher than forecast in September 

Total revenues are forecast at SR1.234 trillion for 2022, while spending is SR1.132 trillion, meaning a surplus of 2.6 percent of GDP — 0.1 percentage point higher than previously forecast.

Saudi Arabia’s inflation, which recorded 2.6 percent in 2022, is expected to fall to 2.1 percent in 2023.

Later on Wednesday, the Saudi cabinet approved the budget in a meeting that was chaired by King Salman at Al-Yamamah Palace in Riyadh, the Saudi Press Agency reported.
“We announced the general budget of the state for the next year, asking God Almighty to perpetuate the blessing of security and prosperity,” the king said.
Following his speech, the Council of Ministers completed the session headed by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, where they thanked King Salman for attending the session to announce the state general budget for the next fiscal year.
The crown prince said that the success of the Kingdom’s reforms in the operating model of the public sector and the economy contributed to the achievement of a budget surplus.
He emphasized that budget surpluses will be used to boost government reserves, support national funds, and strengthen the Kingdom’s financial position in the face of a global economic downturn.
Prince Mohammed added that the government intends to prioritize capital spending in the 2023 budget based on regional and sectoral strategies in line with the Kingdom’s Vision 2030.
Along with spending, he also said that the government will implement a number of initiatives to strengthen the role of the private sector in development and attract additional foreign investment.
He cited the Kingdom’s launch of the “Global Supply Chain Resilience Initiative,” which aims to make Saudi Arabia a prime investment environment for supply chain investors.
The cabinet then reviewed the provisions of the budget, and issued its decision regarding the revenue, expenditure and surplus.
The crown prince directed the ministers and officials to actively commit to implementing the budget programs and the development and social projects.