EU to cut Russian energy reliance ahead of schedule; Qatar Electricity & Water profits surge: NRG matters

Update EU to cut Russian energy reliance ahead of schedule; Qatar Electricity & Water profits surge: NRG matters
The EU has been seeking alternative suppliers of energy (Shutterstock)
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Updated 18 April 2022

EU to cut Russian energy reliance ahead of schedule; Qatar Electricity & Water profits surge: NRG matters

EU to cut Russian energy reliance ahead of schedule; Qatar Electricity & Water profits surge: NRG matters

RIYADH: The energy sector is experiencing an optimistic outlook as the EU is anticipating cutting dependence on Russian energy sooner than expected. 

Through a micro lens, there is inconsistency, with South Africa’s Eskom to shut down amid additional generation unit losses and a delayed return to service. Meanwhile, Qatar Electricity & Water profits for the first quarter of 2022 jumped 17 million Qatari riyals ($4.6 million) when compared to the same period last year.

Looking at the bigger picture: 

  • The EU is projected to reduce reliance on Russian energy sooner than expected, Bloomberg reported, citing Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi. This comes following Draghi’s agreement with Algeria to boost gas exports to Italy and Europe as a whole. 
  • Struggling Pakistan has announced that it is cutting electricity flow to homes as it could no longer afford buying coal or natural gas to fuel its power plants. 

    This comes amid serious domestic political tensions as well as the war between Russia and Ukraine aggravating tight supplies and rallying energy prices, which accounted for the coal and natural gas deficiency in the South Asian country

Through a micro lens: 

  • South African electricity public utility Eskom has announced that it will implement power cuts from April 17 until April 20, amid additional generation unit losses, and delayed return to service, Bloomberg reported. Established in 1923, the public utility currently has 5,474 megawatts on planned maintenance, as well as 17,018 MW of unavailable capacity due to unprecedented breakdowns.
  • The profit of Qatari public joint stock water supply company Qatar Electricity & Water surged during the first quarter of 2022 to reach 389 million Qatari riyals. This was up from 372 million Qatari riyals during the corresponding period in 2021, Reuters reported. As of March 31, earnings per share hit 0.35 Qatari riyals, up from 0.34 a year ago.

TASI dives in September as recession fears mount: Monthly Recap

TASI dives in September as recession fears mount: Monthly Recap
Updated 15 sec ago

TASI dives in September as recession fears mount: Monthly Recap

TASI dives in September as recession fears mount: Monthly Recap

RIYADH: The Saudi main index ticked up on Thursday, but September still marked a dismal month for the stock exchange, marked by persistent inflation, unstable gas prices, and aggressive Fed hikes.

The Tadawul All Share Index ended September dropping 7 percent over the course of the month to reach 12,283 at the closing bell of Thursday’s session.  

This is despite closing the last session of September in green, with a 2.11 percent gain.

The monthly decline was led by a 9.23 percent drop in oil giant Saudi Aramco, and a 23.23 percent decline in Rabigh Refining and Petrochemical Co.

Also during the month, Saudi Arabia’s utility developer ACWA Power dropped 5.84 percent, while Saudi Electricity Co. declined 7.15 percent.

In the financial sector, the Kingdom’s highest valued bank, Al Rajhi, shed 12.29 percent, while Alinma Bank fell 9.09 percent.

The Saudi National Bank, the Kingdom’s largest lender and a major market player, dropped by 12.48 percent, while Saudi British Bank fell 9.52 percent,

Among the Kingdom’s information technology firms, Elm Co. decreased 5.16 percent, while Al Moammar Information Systems Co. declined 9.79 percent.

Saudi pharma operator Nahdi lost 3.83 percent for the month, while its rival Aldawaa Medical Services Co. gained 3.9 percent.

Dallah Healthcare Co. topped the month gainers with a 26.91 percent gain, while Mouwasat Medical Services Co. led the fallers with a 16.92 percent decline.

At the end of September, the main index dropped below 11000 for the first time in over 9 months in response to the Saudi Central Bank raising interest rates in line with the Fed's steep rate hike.

Speaking to Arab News, Saudi economist Ali Alhazmi said that the rate hike is not the only factor for this decline.

“The decline is also from the uncertainty about the global economics, or also the decline of growth and the existence of recession in major economies, especially the US and the EU,” he said, adding: “We cannot avoid the continued closure in China, which affects supply chains. We also have the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine.”

Ultimately, he concluded that the market direction is unpredictable, but he anticipated the decline to continue this week.

Fawaz Al-Fawaz, a Saudi-based independent economist and columnist, believes that the market will continue to shift.

“The markets are likely to continue to be volatile and in jittery mode until inflation is under control.”


flynas launches direct flights to Mumbai from Riyadh and Dammam

flynas launches direct flights to Mumbai from Riyadh and Dammam
Updated 6 min 10 sec ago

flynas launches direct flights to Mumbai from Riyadh and Dammam

flynas launches direct flights to Mumbai from Riyadh and Dammam

RIYADH: Low-cost Saudi airline flynas has announced the launch of new direct flights from Riyadh and Dammam to Mumbai as the Kingdom’s aviation sector continues to expand.

flynas will operate flights from Riyadh’s King Khalid International Airport to Mumbai beginning Oct. 20, and flights from Dammam’s King Fahd International Airport will start from Oct. 31, according to a press release. 

The flights will be available on Saturdays, Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Earlier this year, during an exclusive interview with Arab News, CEO of flynas Bander Al-Mohanna said the strategic goal of the airline is to connect the world to the Kingdom to contribute to realizing the civil aviation strategic plan and achieving the goals of Saudi Vision 2030.

According to the civil aviation strategic plan, the Kingdom is aiming for 330 million passengers annually and 250 destinations around the world by 2030.

flynas recently announced the resumption of its direct flights between Jeddah and Karachi, starting from Oct. 30, with three weekly flights, on Saturdays, Sundays and Tuesdays.

The press release noted that flynas has succeeded in increasing the number of aircraft to 38 in June 2022 compared to 25 in January 2021.

The low-cost airline also witnessed a surge in passenger traffic, as it carried about 4 million passengers during the first half of 2022 up from about 1.8 million in the same period last year.

Currently, flynas has more than 70 domestic and international destinations, and since its establishment in 2007, the airline has transported more than 60 million passengers.


Saudi Arabia scores record leap in UN’s E-Government Development Index ranking

Saudi Arabia scores record leap in UN’s E-Government Development Index ranking
Updated 24 min 19 sec ago

Saudi Arabia scores record leap in UN’s E-Government Development Index ranking

Saudi Arabia scores record leap in UN’s E-Government Development Index ranking

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia has achieved the highest leap in the UN’s E-Government Development Index since its inception more than 20 years ago. 

The Kingdom has advanced 12 places, to be ranked 31st this year, compared to 43rd in 2020, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

The index is considered to be an important international indicator that measures the extent of the development of digital governments in the areas of electronic services, communications, infrastructure and human capital worldwide.

The results of the EGDI were announced on Wednesday on the sidelines of the UN’s General Assembly in New York.

The Saudi Minister of Communications and Information Technology attributed the leaps to the efforts of the government agencies, and the adoption of modern digital solutions by launching many initiatives and products to serve the beneficiaries.

The Kingdom came among the best countries in the world in terms of providing government services information and sharing open government data to citizens and business sectors by 100 percent.

The report also praised the maturity of government digital organizations, reaching 96 percent, and the quality of digital specifications for government services, which scored  94 percent.

The availability and spread of digital government services reached 81 percent.

Saudi Arabia advanced 23 places globally in participation and electronic consultations directed to individuals and business sectors to explore their views on legislation and regulations with economic and social impact.

In February, digital transformation spending by Saudi Arabia reached SR12 billion ($3.19 billion) a year, according to Turki Al-Manea, executive director of investment at the Kingdom’s Digital Government Authority.

The money is being invested in cloud computing, new emerging technologies, and open source government software, Alarabiya reported.


Volkswagen prices Porsche shares at top tier range on strong demand

Volkswagen prices Porsche shares at top tier range on strong demand
Updated 46 min 29 sec ago

Volkswagen prices Porsche shares at top tier range on strong demand

Volkswagen prices Porsche shares at top tier range on strong demand

RIYADH: Volkswagen-owned Porsche is set to price its initial offering of stock at the high end of the planned range, Bloomberg reported

The share price was set at $80 per share, valuing the company at $73 billion, as it aims to pull off Europe’s largest initial public offering in a decade despite the turmoil in capital markets.

Porsche opens its Frankfurt stock market trading on Thursday, Sep. 29, for the first time.

The sale will help Volkswagen fund its electrification push, while investors get an emotional brand akin to Ferrari NV, which also separated from parent Fiat in 2015.

“If you can pull off an IPO in such a difficult market, it shows the attractiveness of the business,” Jefferies analyst Philippe Houchois told Bloomberg.

“Porsche is a mature, well-known business that doesn’t need to raise capital. Putting it on the market as a fully formed business –- being able to pull that off is quite impressive.”

The company is targeting revenue of up to $37 billion this year and a return on sales of up to 18 percent, up two percentage points from last year. Returns are to climb above 20 percent in the long term.


Saudi Arabia's ACWA Power’s investment exceeds $67m: CFO

Saudi Arabia's ACWA Power’s investment exceeds $67m: CFO
Updated 52 min 59 sec ago

Saudi Arabia's ACWA Power’s investment exceeds $67m: CFO

Saudi Arabia's ACWA Power’s investment exceeds $67m: CFO

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s utility developer ACWA Power currently holds over a $67 billion investment portfolio, revealed its chief financial offier.

The company, which builds power and desalinated water plants, currently has 60 percent of its projects in progress and 40 percent in development stages.

In the UAE, it has invested $10 billion in renewable energy, water desalination, and clean gas projects, Abdulhameed Al-Muhaidib told CNBC Arabia.

It is expected that the financial results for these projects will be announced this year, he added.