Fitch revises Saudi Aramco’s outlook to positive, affirms rating at ‘A’

Fitch revises Saudi Aramco’s outlook to positive, affirms rating at ‘A’
The change, up from “stable”, follows a similar rating action on its parent nation, Saudi Arabia (Aramco)
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Updated 12 May 2022

Fitch revises Saudi Aramco’s outlook to positive, affirms rating at ‘A’

Fitch revises Saudi Aramco’s outlook to positive, affirms rating at ‘A’

RIYADH: Fitch Ratings has revised Saudi Aramco’s long-term foreign-currency issuer default rating to “positive” as it affirmed its “A” rating.

The change, up from “stable”, follows a similar rating action on its parent nation, Saudi Arabia.

“Saudi Aramco’s rating is constrained at that of its majority shareholder Saudi Arabia, given the close links between the company and the sovereign,” wrote Fitch in its report.

The credit agency revealed that Saudi Aramco’s financial profile benefits from strong pre-dividend free cash flow generation and conservative leverage, along with large scale production, vast reserves, low output costs and expansion into downstream and petrochemicals.

Fitch had raised its outlook on Saudi Arabia to “positive” from “stable” earlier this month on the back of improvements in the country’s sovereign balance sheet due to increased oil prices.

“The company’s robust financial position has not necessitated support from the government historically, but we expect that support would be forthcoming if the need arises,” said the ratings agency, adding: “We view socio-political or financial implications of the company’s default as ‘very strong’ due to Saudi Aramco’s key role in the economy of Saudi Arabia.”


Massive shift in retail experience after COVID-19 outbreak: Majid Al Futtaim Properties CEO

Massive shift in retail experience after COVID-19 outbreak: Majid Al Futtaim Properties CEO
Updated 12 sec ago

Massive shift in retail experience after COVID-19 outbreak: Majid Al Futtaim Properties CEO

Massive shift in retail experience after COVID-19 outbreak: Majid Al Futtaim Properties CEO

RIYADH: The retail experience has witnessed a massive shift after the outbreak of the pandemic, Majid Al Futtaim Properties CEO Ahmed Ismail told a gathering at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos on May 24.

He said that this massive shift has come as people were confined to their homes due to the pandemic. As things have improved, the CEO said that human beings have now that hunger for a social experience — something that has opened up new possibilities. 

Talking about the retail sector, Ismail said that data has been a big challenge for their businesses as their new-age competitors are incredibly data-rich with the implementation of new technologies. 

He revealed that Majid Al Futtaim Properties has invested a lot in recent years in data collection through loyalty programs and partnerships. 

The company has also inked partnership deals with payment processors, telecom companies, and even with the Dubai government through the Dubai smart initiative to bridge this data divide. 

 


China In-focus: Tax relief worth $21bn unveiled to boost slowing economy; policymakers pledge more steps

China In-focus: Tax relief worth $21bn unveiled to boost slowing economy; policymakers pledge more steps
Updated 12 min 47 sec ago

China In-focus: Tax relief worth $21bn unveiled to boost slowing economy; policymakers pledge more steps

China In-focus: Tax relief worth $21bn unveiled to boost slowing economy; policymakers pledge more steps

RIYADH: China unveiled a major tax relief to help lift the world’s second largest economy. The country’s policymakers also pledged to take necessary measures to help the economy recover from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

·      China unveiled a tax relief worth over 140 billion yuan ($21 billion) to help boost its slowing economy, Bloomberg reported. This comes as the extended lockdowns since March have hit the economic growth of the Asian country. The support is mainly targeting companies and firms rather than households. Other measures taken include additional tax rebates to firms as well as cuts of around 60 billion yuan on passenger-car purchase taxes, according to a decision from China’s State Council.

·      Chinese policymakers have vowed to help the world’s second largest economy get back on its feet by implementing the necessary steps, Reuters reported citing the Cabinet. The measures to be taken include broadening tax credit rebates, postponing social security payments as well as loan repayments, introducing new investment projects, among others.

·      Lockdowns in China are predicted to have a greater effect on global supply chains than the Russia-Ukraine war, Reuters reported citing the head of German logistics company DHL Group’s freight business. Global supply chain bottlenecks, as a result of the lockdowns, are expected to linger through Christmas this year and all of the next year as a huge part of the global economy highly depends on China, the head said. 


Abu Dhabi stays ahead of the game with its creative endeavors

Abu Dhabi stays ahead of the game with its creative endeavors
Updated 16 min 9 sec ago

Abu Dhabi stays ahead of the game with its creative endeavors

Abu Dhabi stays ahead of the game with its creative endeavors

RIYADH: With the winds of positive change sweeping the UAE, the Emirates is now emphasizing moving from a resource-based economy to a knowledge-based one and leading the advocacy in the region is its emerging creative industry.

Michael Garin, director-general at Abu Dhabi Creative Media Authority, a pioneer in the creative industry, told Arab News at the Top CEO event in Dubai that sectors such as gaming also have a massive role in that transition.

Garin disclosed that what they have accomplished in 15 years in the film and television industry was achieved in almost two years in the esports and gaming industry.

“Already, the revenues generated by gaming far exceed all the advertising revenues in the television business around the world,” he added.

Garin believes an economy’s change is through training people for jobs that are still not widely available, and the gaming industry can create an unlimited number of jobs.

“The creative industries will drive a great deal of that transition because it’s attracting the smartest, the most talented and the best-educated young people,” he explained.

Michael Garin spoke to Arab News at the Top CEO event in Dubai (Arab News)

Explaining the wide reach of its creative industries, Garin shared the success story of Unity Technologies, one of the leading global technology companies in the gaming industry, based in Abu Dhabi.

“You turn on your computer; it’s powered by Apple or Microsoft. You make a phone call; it’s an Android phone or an iOS device, but over 94 percent of all games, virtual and augmented reality, are powered by Unity Technologies,” he added.

Since its launch last year, the Creative Media Authority has been creating an overarching ecosystem to enable creative individuals and businesses to express themselves and reach new levels of commercial success.

The establishment of the authority is part of a 30 billion UAE dirhams ($8.17 billion), 10-year investment strategy across Abu Dhabi by both the public and private sectors to develop the emirate’s culture and creative infrastructure.


UAE blockchain firm aims to build Crypto Valley in the region

UAE blockchain firm aims to build Crypto Valley in the region
Updated 36 min 46 sec ago

UAE blockchain firm aims to build Crypto Valley in the region

UAE blockchain firm aims to build Crypto Valley in the region

DUBAI: More than 1,000 companies in the UAE will board the crypto bandwagon by the end of this year, estimated the co-founder of Crypto Oasis, a Dubai-based venture that fosters the blockchain ecosystem in the UAE.

Speaking on the sidelines of the Top CEO event in Dubai, Crypto Oasis co-founder Saqr Ereiqat told Arab News that the company has an opportunity to develop an ecosystem that is untapped in the Middle East.

“That ecosystem consists of talent, capital and infrastructure,” said Ereiqat.

From a physical, regulatory or digital point of view, the Middle East has some of the best infrastructures in the world, he said.

The company began investing in 2022 and has made 24 investments in 20 different projects since then.

“That is a testament to this fast-paced, growing ecosystem we operate in,” he added.

Crypto Oasis intends to invest in the top 10 percent of companies in the ecosystem, he said.

Currently, the company has a cap of $10 million, but Ereiqat states that he sees it growing in the future.

“We want to make strategic investments where we invest $50,000 to $250,000 in many projects, riding the wave with the ecosystem,” he said.

He informed that the company is working with regulators, businesses, free zones and governments to create a regulatory infrastructure.

“Crypto Oasis is creating the same infrastructure and geography as Silicon Valley but for the blockchain and crypto ecosystem,” Ereiqat added.

When asked what makes Crypto Oasis different, Ereiqat said he does not think there is competition since the ecosystem is large enough for everyone to engage.

However, he added that the company supports talented intrapreneurs to get connected to the proper regulatory infrastructure.

With the Dubai Multi Commodities Center, Ereiqat said that Crypto Oasis has helped create a regulatory infrastructure where companies can come, get registered, and use their blockchain, distributed ledger technology, Metaverses, and non-fungible tokens.

According to him, the company hopes to have people refer to this ecosystem as the Crypto Oasis. “We’re very proud that although we’ve just launched in November, we can already see international publications referring to this area as the Crypto Oasis,” he added.


Saudi EXIM, UKEF partner to expand international trade

Saudi EXIM, UKEF partner to expand international trade
Updated 49 min 43 sec ago

Saudi EXIM, UKEF partner to expand international trade

Saudi EXIM, UKEF partner to expand international trade

RIYADH: The Saudi Export-Import Bank and UK Export Finance have signed an agreement to help British and Saudi businesses secure international contracts.

Under the deal, UKEF will offer support for the export of Saudi products and provide significant opportunities to engage in trade with third countries, according to a UKEF press release.

“Saudi Arabia is diversifying its exports capability intensely as part of Vision 2030 strategy. The two countries are already working closely together to strengthen trade ties to support the growth in export,” Saad Alkhalb, CEO of Saudi Export-Import Bank, said

“This partnership is a major boost to our trading relationship and to businesses in both countries,” Louis Taylor, CEO of UKEF, said.

Founded in 2020, Saudi EXIM is one of the world’s newest export credit agencies, whereas UKEF, established in 1919, is one of the oldest.