Business leaders discuss post-pandemic inflation, SPACs, Metaverse at Top CEO forum

Business leaders discuss post-pandemic inflation, SPACs, Metaverse at Top CEO forum
Today’s event is set to be dominated by wide-ranging topics. (AN Photo)
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Updated 19 May 2022

Business leaders discuss post-pandemic inflation, SPACs, Metaverse at Top CEO forum

Business leaders discuss post-pandemic inflation, SPACs, Metaverse at Top CEO forum

DUBAI: Post-pandemic inflation, raising capital, and the growing popularity of special purpose acquisition companies are among the topics set to be discussed by business leaders on the second day of the Top CEO Forum in Dubai.

The second day of the event comes after the an opening salvo which saw leading Arab businesswomen and industry stalwarts discuss challenges and the role of women in driving the global economy.   

Other topics pencilled in for day two include include digitization, blockchain and metaverse. 

Education helping Vision 2030




Sarah Al-Tamimi, deputy president of Human Rights Commission (AN)

Education, reskilling and upskilling are driving Saudi Arabia’s future growth as the country currently focuses more on the development of the non-oil sectors, said Sarah Al-Tamimi, deputy president of Human Rights Commission. 

Al-Tamimi noted that the human capital development program in Saudi Arabia looks at society as a whole, and it aims to create skilled employees for the future. 

Inflation on the rise




The L’azurde CEO revealed that his company is investing in technology and 3D printing to reduce manpower costs. (AN Photo)

The issue of inflation increasing across the global is a recurrent theme in the forum. Sélim Chidiac, CEO of L’azurde Co. for Jewelry, said inflation is a long-term issue and a short-term solution is not sufficient enough to combat this problem.

Chidiac pointed out that consumers who reach the stores are thoroughly checking the prices of different retailers before making the buying decision. 

Mega projects

Arab News reporters at the event are live-tweeting through some of the sessions. Here's a thread from a session on mega projects.

 

 

 

 

Path of transformation




Mohammed H A Abudawood, executive chairman of M Abudawood Group (AN Photo)

Saudi Arabia is currently going through a huge transformation when it comes to women’s inclusion, according to Mohammed H A Abudawood, executive chairman of M Abudawood Group.

The business leader suggested people across the world are not realizing the trajectory of change in Saudi Arabia, as the Kingdom is now opening up in terms of diversification.

Creative financing 




Mohamed Khammas, CEO of Al Ahli Holding Group, spoke during the Top CEO forum in Dubai on May 18. (AN Photo)

Banks are hesitant to provide funds for creative media ideas, said Mohamed Khammas, CEO of Al Ahli Holding Group. 

He noted that the Middle East region lacks a collaborative effort between banking systems and creative projects. 

Venture Rising




Ahmad Belhoul Al-Falasi, UAE’s Minister of State for Entrepreneurship and SMEs, at the Top CEO forum in Dubai. (AN Photo)

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 speaking at the forum in Dubai, 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.”


Saudi Arabia sees 79 industrial factories with $266.5m investments in May: Ministry

Saudi Arabia sees 79 industrial factories with $266.5m investments in May: Ministry
Updated 15 sec ago

Saudi Arabia sees 79 industrial factories with $266.5m investments in May: Ministry

Saudi Arabia sees 79 industrial factories with $266.5m investments in May: Ministry

RIYADH: The Ministry of Industry and Mineral Resources licensed 79 new factories in May, with investments exceeding SR1 billion ($266.5 million), reaching 411 as total number of licenses since the beginning of the year.

The number of industrial facilities across the Kingdom reached 10,638, led by non-metallic minerals with over 2,056 factories, Saudi Press Agency reported.

Rubber and plastics factories followed with 1,346, while food factories reached 1,268.

Making food products accounted for the largest proportion of the total new licenses with 16 licenses, a report by the ministry’s National Industrial Information Center showed.

Small establishments acquired the vast majority of the new industrial licenses during May, with a rate of 92.4 percent, followed by medium enterprises with 6.3 percent. 

Large enterprises consisted of 1.3 percent of the new licenses, while national factories acquired new licenses by type of investment by 77 percent, followed by foreign enterprises with 13 percent, and joint investment enterprises with 10 percent.

The ministry's report showed that 62 industrial facilities began actual production in May, with investments of SR1.3 billion.

As many as 32 new industrial licenses were issued in the Saudi capital Riyadh, while 19 were issued in the Eastern region, and 11 in Makkah, the report said.

The eastern region occupied the largest number of factories that started production with 17 factories, followed by Riyadh with 16, and the Asir region with 10 factories.

Number of jobs created by the industrial sector during May reached 2,516, all of them citizens, while more than 19,000 expatriate workers left the sector during the same month, the ministry said.


TASI down from record high to 2nd biggest monthly decline in 2022: Monthly Recap

TASI down from record high to 2nd biggest monthly decline in 2022: Monthly Recap
Updated 01 July 2022

TASI down from record high to 2nd biggest monthly decline in 2022: Monthly Recap

TASI down from record high to 2nd biggest monthly decline in 2022: Monthly Recap

RIYADH: The Saudi main index, TASI, sank to its second-largest monthly decline in 2022 in the final session of June, led by fears of interest rate hikes hitting investors’ optimism.

TASI ended June losing 11 percent, to reach 11,523 at the closing bell of Thursday’s session.  

During June, the Tadawul All Share Index suffered its worst decline in six months to reach 11,299.

This was led by a 5.43 percent fall in oil giant Saudi Aramco, and 15.47 percent decrease in the Kingdom’s largest valued bank, Al Rajhi.

Saudi Industrial Export Co. topped the fallers list despite being the top gainer last month, down 63.87 percent.

Also adding to this was a weak performance from all listed sectors as they ended June in the red.

Another factor contributing to the performance was the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict, which sent oil prices on a rollercoaster, creating instability and shaking the market.

It would be pertinent to mention that despite global economic shocks, TASI managed to cross 13,000 points for the first time since 2006 in March, and maintained the level during April as it closed at 13,733.


Saudi crude supplied a third of Japan’s oil needs in May

Saudi crude supplied a third of Japan’s oil needs in May
Updated 01 July 2022

Saudi crude supplied a third of Japan’s oil needs in May

Saudi crude supplied a third of Japan’s oil needs in May

TOKYO: Japan’s imports of Saudi crude oil in May amounted to 27.10 million barrels, or 33.5 percent of the total in that month, according to the Agency for Natural Resources and Energy of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.

In April, Japan’s imports of Saudi crude oil were 38.49 million barrels — 43.9 percent of the total.

During May, Japan imported 80.81 million barrels, which was a record high of 94.5 percent, some 76.38 million barrels, provided by five Arab countries: the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait and Oman, according to the data.

Russia remained on the list of Japan’s suppliers of crude oil, with the Japanese government exempting the energy sector from sanctions, but Japanese company imports decreased to 651,848 barrels — 0.8 percent — of the total.

Japan imported 36.21 million barrels from the UAE – 44.8 percent of the total imported in May. Qatar provided 5.559 million barrels (6.9 percent), Kuwait 5.556 million barrels (6.9 percent) and Oman supplied about 1.5 million barrels (1.9 percent).

The remaining imports came from Central and South America (3.8 percent), Southeast Asia (0.3 percent), and Oceania (0.6 percent).

The figures cited represent the quantities of oil that arrived at refineries, tanks and warehouses in ports in Japan during May 2022. Japan uses oil to generate about a third of its energy needs. 

 


Saudi Alamar fast food chain franchiser sets final offer price at $30.64 

Saudi Alamar fast food chain franchiser sets final offer price at $30.64 
Updated 01 July 2022

Saudi Alamar fast food chain franchiser sets final offer price at $30.64 

Saudi Alamar fast food chain franchiser sets final offer price at $30.64 

RIYADH: Alamar Foods has set the top range of its initial public offering prices at SR115 ($30.64) per share, with a 47.5 percent oversubscription, after completing its pricing and book building process for institutional investors.

The final offer price gives the fast food chain franchiser an implied market capitalization at listing of SR2.933 billion.

Alamar Foods is developer and operator of two global household brands: Domino’s, which operates across the Middle East, North Africa, and Pakistan region, and Dunkin’, which operates in Egypt and Morocco.

“This IPO stands as a testament to the milestones achieved towards becoming a leading QSR player across the MENAP region,” Filippo Sgattoni, CEO at Alamar Foods, said.

The individual investor subscription period is scheduled to start on July 20 and to close on July 21. 

The Capital Market Authority approved on June 7 Alamar’s application to offer 10.63 million shares, or 41.7 percent of the company’s capital, to the public.

Alamar’s capital stands at SR255 million.


Oil prices ease on recession fears, headed for 3rd weekly loss

Oil prices ease on recession fears, headed for 3rd weekly loss
Updated 01 July 2022

Oil prices ease on recession fears, headed for 3rd weekly loss

Oil prices ease on recession fears, headed for 3rd weekly loss
  • OPEC+ sticks to oil output policy, avoids debate on September
  • Traders prepare for long Fourth of July holiday weekend
  • Some Norway oil workers to strike from July 5

TOKYO: Oil prices eased on Friday as lingering fears of a recession demand weighed on sentiment, putting the benchmarks on track for their third straight weekly losses, according to Reuters.

Brent crude futures were down 20 cents, or 0.2 percent, at $108.83 a barrel by 0428 GMT, giving up earlier gains of over $1.

WTI crude futures for August delivery slid 37 cents, or 0.4 percent, to $105.39 a barrel, also surrendering an early gain of nearly $1.

Both contracts fell around 3 percent on Thursday.

“Earlier in the session, the market took a breather from Thursday’s sell-off as the OPEC+ gave no surprise, saying it would stick to its planned oil output hikes in August,” said Tsuyoshi Ueno, senior economist at NLI Research Institute.

“But uncertainty over OPEC+ policy in and after September and fears that the aggressive rate hikes by the Federal Reserve would lead to a US recession and hamper fuel demand dampened sentiment,” he said.

On Thursday, the OPEC+ group of producers, including Russia, agreed to stick to its output strategy after two days of meetings. However, the producer club avoided discussing policy from September onwards.

Previously, OPEC+ decided to increase output each month by 648,000 barrels per day (bpd) in July and August, up from a previous plan to add 432,000 bpd per month.

US President Joe Biden will make a three-stop trip to the Middle East in mid-July that includes a visit to Saudi Arabia, pushing energy policy into the spotlight as the United States and other countries face soaring fuel prices that are driving up inflation.

Biden said on Thursday he would not directly press Saudi Arabia to increase oil output to curb soaring prices when he sees the Saudi king and crown prince during a visit this month.

“All eyes are on whether or not Saudi Arabia or any other Middle Eastern oil producers would bolster output to respond the US request,” NLI’s Ueno said.

Elsewhere, 74 Norwegian offshore oil workers at Equinor’s Gudrun, Oseberg South and Oseberg East platforms will go on strike from July 5, the Lederne trade union said on Thursday, likely shutting about 4 percent of Norway’s oil production.

Oil prices are expected to stay above $100 a barrel this year as Europe and other regions struggle to wean themselves off Russian supply, a Reuters poll showed on Thursday, though economic risks could slow the climb. (Reporting by Stephanie Kelly and Yuka Obayashi; editing by Richard Pullin and Kim Coghill)