Petronas-Aramco refinery in Malaysia restarts after 2-year closure: source

Petronas-Aramco refinery in Malaysia restarts after 2-year closure: source
Pengerang Deepwater Petroleum Terminal oil refinery. (Stock image: Shutterstock)
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Updated 11 May 2022

Petronas-Aramco refinery in Malaysia restarts after 2-year closure: source

Petronas-Aramco refinery in Malaysia restarts after 2-year closure: source
  • The refinery, which restarted last week, is processing existing crude from storage tanks, which will then be followed by supplies from Saudi Aramco

SINGAPORE: A 300,000 barrel-per-day refinery-petrochemical complex in Malaysia run as a joint venture between Petronas and Saudi Aramco has restarted after a more than two-year closure, a source with knowledge of the matter said.

The complex in Pengerang, Johor, is resuming operations at a time when refining margins in Asia are at record levels, buoyed by a fuel demand recovery as more economies across Asia, except for China, ease COVID-19 restrictions.

Low inventories of oil products globally and a drop in fuel exports from Russia following the Ukraine crisis are also underpinning prices.

The joint venture, Pengerang Refining and Petrochemical (PRefChem), did not respond to a request for comment.

PRefChem was shut in March 2020 following a deadly fire. Its resumption has been delayed from last year for the entire plant to undergo detailed checks, at a time when fuel demand and refining margins were still being hit by COVID-19 lockdowns.

The refinery, which restarted last week, is processing existing crude from storage tanks, which will then be followed by supplies from Saudi Aramco, two more sources said.

It is expected to take some time before operations can return to full rates, the sources said.


Saudi fintech Raqamyah gets SAMA license to offer crowdlending solutions  

Saudi fintech Raqamyah gets SAMA license to offer crowdlending solutions  
Updated 7 sec ago

Saudi fintech Raqamyah gets SAMA license to offer crowdlending solutions  

Saudi fintech Raqamyah gets SAMA license to offer crowdlending solutions  

CAIRO: Riyadh-based fintech firm Raqamyah has received a license from the Saudi Central Bank, also known as SAMA, to offer its debt-based crowdlending solutions to small and medium enterprises.  

The license was granted after the company successfully passed testing its solutions within the SAMA’s regulatory sandbox, an experimental environment dedicated to innovative financial products and services in Saudi Arabia.  

Founded in 2017, Raqamyah enables SMEs to access Shariah-compliant financing of up to $1.3 million from individual and institutional lenders through its online platform and has been part of SAMA’s regulatory sandbox since 2019.  

SMEs apply for financing applications with the firm and receive approval within three working days to list their business on the platform where lenders start funding the request.  

The financers then receive monthly payments and profits as the businesses make their repayments. The platform also offers lenders to automate their lending investments so whenever there’s an opportunity that fits the criteria.  

In February 2021, Raqamyah secured $2.3 million in a funding round led by Impact46 which was used to comply with SAMA’s licensing requirements. 

The bank said its licensing of fintech companies contributes to achieving the objectives of the Financial Development Sector strategy aligned with Vision 2030.   

“SAMA reiterates its commitment to support the finance sector, increase the efficacy and flexibility of financial transactions and enable innovation in financial services to promote financial inclusion in the Kingdom and provide easy and secure access to financial services to all segments of society,” it said in a press release. 

Last month, the central bank issued licenses to two fintech firms — Forus and Tameed — both specializing in debt-based crowdfunding.  

Also earlier in January, the central bank announced the launch of a new lab to allow businesses to test their products against an established framework.   

The service is a new concept that enables consumers of financial institutions to securely share their data with a third-party provider, facilitating innovative services and products. 


Aldar joins with Dubai Holding to build 9,000 new homes

Aldar joins with Dubai Holding to build 9,000 new homes
Updated 8 min 15 sec ago

Aldar joins with Dubai Holding to build 9,000 new homes

Aldar joins with Dubai Holding to build 9,000 new homes

RIYADH: Abu Dhabi based Aldar Properties is set to begin devlopments in Dubai after signing a joint venture agreement with Dubai Holding to build 9,000 new homes across three communities in Dubai.

The developments will take place in the suburban heart of the city along the E311 and E611 corridors across 38.2 million sq. ft of land. according to a press release.

Work is set to begin this year, according to a press release.

“Our entry to Dubai is a milestone moment for Aldar, and we are excited about our long-term growth potential in the emirate alongside Dubai Holding, a prominent and strategic partner,” said Group CEO at Aldar Properties Talal Al Dhiyebi.  

Aldar will be in charge of the entire development cycle, including concept design, sales, delivery, and management of the developments.

“The JV with Aldar demonstrates Dubai Holding’s unparalleled track record of being the strategic ‘partner of choice’ for strong regional and institutional investors. In line with our vision to operate For the Good of Tomorrow, we will continue to unlock opportunities that position Dubai as a leading destination for investments from across the globe,” noted Amit Kaushal, CEO of Dubai Holding.

“By joining forces with Aldar, one of the market leaders in this field, we are delivering on a shared objective of driving the UAE’s economic growth and creating long-term, sustainable value for all our stakeholders,” Kaushal added.


Saudi-based AJA Pharma and the UAE’s Bioventure agree deal to license and supply new pharmaceuticals

Saudi-based AJA Pharma and the UAE’s Bioventure agree deal to license and supply new pharmaceuticals
Updated 02 February 2023

Saudi-based AJA Pharma and the UAE’s Bioventure agree deal to license and supply new pharmaceuticals

Saudi-based AJA Pharma and the UAE’s Bioventure agree deal to license and supply new pharmaceuticals

RIYADH: Saudi-based AJA Pharma has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with UAE’s Bioventure FZ-LLC to license and supply new pharmaceutical products.

According to a bourse filing, the new additional selected pharmaceutical products in the Middle East region are set to be used in the Saudi Export stand at the upcoming Arab Health Expedition 2023.

Under the terms of the new MoU, Bioventure, a subsidiary of GlobalOne Healthcare Holding, is set to focus and develop various delivery forms including complex-to-develop formulations, diabetes, oncology, and biosimilars.

In addition to this, the biopharmaceutical company is also expected to advance and propel therapeutic categories that are projected to be among the largest and fastest-growing within the global pharma sector over the coming years.

The financial impact of the one-year agreement which was signed on Feb. 1 is yet to be disclosed.

Commenting on the agreement, Thamer Al-Muhid, CEO of investment firm Saudi Chemical Co. Holding – of which AJA Pharma is a subsidiary – said: “SSCH aspires to develop its manufacturing arm in the pharma sector, AJA Pharma, through such investment which will contribute to strengthening its position as a Saudi pharmaceutical manufacturer in the field of Oncology, Diabetes and Specialty products, to serve and meet community needs.”

Also, Ashraf Radwan, CEO of GlobalOne Healthcare, said: “Bioventure is committed to improving access to quality healthcare for patients in the Middle East, and this MoU with AJA Pharma marks a significant step towards achieving that goal. By expanding our licensing and supply capabilities, we can bring a wider range of innovative, effective treatments to the people who need them most. I am thrilled to be working with AJA Pharma to bring these solutions to patients in the Middle East and make a meaningful difference in their lives”.

Bioventure is a biopharmaceutical company with a global network focused on biotech as well as a wide range of pharmaceutical activities.


SAMA among Gulf central banks to mirror US Fed 25 bps interest rate hike  

SAMA among Gulf central banks to mirror US Fed 25 bps interest rate hike  
Updated 43 min 42 sec ago

SAMA among Gulf central banks to mirror US Fed 25 bps interest rate hike  

SAMA among Gulf central banks to mirror US Fed 25 bps interest rate hike  

RIYADH: The Saudi Central Bank has increased its interest rate by 25 basis points to 5.25 percent, echoing Wednesday’s move by the US Federal Reserve to curb inflation. 

A statement from the bank, also known as SAMA, noted its Reverse Repo rate has also increased to 4.75 percent.  

Inflation is on the rise in the Kingdom, with the annual rate rising to 3.3 percent in December, up from 2.9 percent in November.  

The Fed’s quarter-point interest rate hike follows months of larger increases, as it hiked 50 basis points in December, and 75 basis points in November, September, July and June.

Despite recent signs of a slow down in the US economy, prices are running at their highest level since the early 1980s. 

Rising interest rates increase the cost of borrowing for consumers, leading to more expensive mortgage bills and loan repayments – something that can lead to reduced spending on other items as people try to reduce costs.

However, savers benefit from the interest rates rise, with money stored away gaining a greater return. Yet, with inflation across the globe still running hot, any extra interest gained by savings is lower than the rising cost of goods and services.

While the US Central Bank’s decision was driven by its desire to lower high inflation, this played a part in driving the Gulf region’s monetary policy, as most of the region’s currencies are pegged to the dollar.  

Following the US Fed’s decision, regional central banks also swung into action to raise their interest rates – although Qatar chose to hold. 

The UAE's central bank increased its base rate to 4.65 percent, effective on Thursday, while the Central Bank of Oman hiked its Repo rate to reach 5.25 percent.

Bahrain also raised its main rate by 25 basis points, with its one-week deposit facility rate rising to 5.5 percent, while the overnight deposit rate hit 5.25 percent. 

Qatar’s Central Bank said in a press release Wednesday that it would keep its rates unchanged, keeping its deposit rate at 5 percent, its lending rate at 5.5 percent, and its repo rates at 5.25 percent. 

As it was predicted that the country would mirror the Fed in early 2023 by the credit ratings agency Fitch in a report last month, this decision came somewhat as a surprise. 

The Central Bank of Kuwait, which raised its interest rate by 50 basis points last month, often acts separately and does not necessarily follow the Fed’s hikes.  

In addition, the Central Bank of Egypt is forecast to raise its overnight interest rates by 150 basis points at its regular monetary policy committee meeting on Thursday, a Reuters poll showed last Monday.  

The CBE increased its interest rates by an unprecedented 800 basis points over the last year alone, and has been involved in a constant series of currency devaluations.  

A poll of 13 analysts anticipated the bank to increase its deposit rate to 17.75 percent and its lending rate to 18.75 percent.  


Egypt poised to announce detailed plan for state stake sales

Egypt poised to announce detailed plan for state stake sales
Updated 02 February 2023

Egypt poised to announce detailed plan for state stake sales

Egypt poised to announce detailed plan for state stake sales

CAIRO: Egypt's government aims to announce a detailed plan next week to offer stakes in at least 20 state companies over the coming year, Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly said after a cabinet meeting on Wednesday.

An Egyptian plan to sell stakes in public companies, first announced more than five years ago, has gained new urgency since the Russian invasion of Ukraine triggered heavy foreign investment outflows from Egyptian financial markets and threw the economy into crisis.

Egypt in December agreed to a $3 billion rescue plan with the International Monetary Fund in expectation that the state withdraws from some non-strategic sectors of the economy to allow space for the private sector to grow.

"The whole goal is to increase the participation of citizens and the private sector in the development process and their management and participation in public institutions that have been owned by the state," Madbouly said, adding that a detailed plan should be in place after the next cabinet meeting.

The company offerings will be made over the course of a year, with some being sold on the stock exchange and others to strategic investors, Madbouly said.

"Large investors will also participate in restructuring and expanding production lines of the companies while also increasing their capital," he added.