Rotana Hotels to triple Saudi Arabia presence to 6,000 rooms by 2026, says president & CEO

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Updated 26 May 2022

Rotana Hotels to triple Saudi Arabia presence to 6,000 rooms by 2026, says president & CEO

Rotana Hotel Management Corp. President and CEO Guy Hutchinson says visitor numbers to the region are beginning to normalize.
  • This is one of the most exciting and dynamic regions in terms of hospitality, says Hutchinson

RIYADH: Rotana Hotels plans to build seven new hotels in Saudi Arabia, which will almost triple the number of rooms it runs to in the Kingdom to 6,000 over the next four years, says its president and CEO.

In an exclusive interview with Arab News on the sidelines of the Future Hospitality Summit in Riyadh, Rotana Hotel Management Corporation President and CEO Guy Hutchinson said its move was prompted by Saudi’s growing tourism market.

He said: “Without doubt, this is one of the most exciting and dynamic regions at the moment anywhere in the world in terms of hospitality development.”

FASTFACTS

• The hotel chain also backs the Kingdom’s sustainability program to cut CO2 emissions and energy waste.

• It plans to source local agricultural and farm products that will be served in its hotels.

The Abu Dhabi-based business currently operates seven hotels in the Kingdom — in Alkhobar, Jeddah, Makkah and Riyadh — hosting 2,100 rooms.

Sector growth

The move by the business is in line with the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 program, which bids to diversify the country’s economy, making it less reliant on oil, while boosting such areas as IT, business startups and tourism.

Vision 2030’s goal of attracting 100 million visitors to the Kingdom by the end of the decade is a key driver of the growth in the country’s hospitality sector, according to Hutchinson.

He added that the opening up of the country’s heritage cities and towns — such as AlUla and Jeddah — will attract more tourists over the coming years.

Hutchinson noted that visitor numbers to the region are beginning to normalize after almost grinding to a halt following the COVID-19 pandemic.

He said: “You’re seeing this pent up demand from people wanting to reclaim their lifestyles and to reclaim travel at a really unprecedented speed.”

Local produce to drive sustainability

The hotel chain also backs the Kingdom’s sustainability program to cut CO2 emissions and energy waste.

It plans to source local agricultural and farm products that will be served in its hotels.

Hutchinson said: “Sustainability is an enormous part of what we do as it is embedded in our culture. That’s an important part of being part of sustainable communities.”


Biden administration holding its first onshore oil sales

Biden administration holding its first onshore oil sales
Updated 29 June 2022

Biden administration holding its first onshore oil sales

Biden administration holding its first onshore oil sales

BILLINGS: The US government this week is holding its first onshore oil and gas drilling lease auctions since President Joe Biden took office after a federal court blocked the administration’s attempt to suspend such sales because of climate change worries.

The online auctions start on Wednesday and will conclude on Thursday. About 200 square miles (518 square kilometers) of federal lands were offered for lease in eight western states. Most of the parcels are in Wyoming.

The sales come as federal officials try to balance efforts to fight climate change against pressure to bring down high gas prices.

Republicans want Biden to expand US crude production. But he faces calls from within his own party to do more to curb fossil fuel emissions that are heating the planet.

A coalition of 10 environmental groups said in a lawsuit filed before the sales even began that they were illegal because officials acknowledged the climate change impacts but proceeded anyway.

An immediate ruling was not expected. Interior Department spokesperson Melissa Schwartz said the agency did not have comment on the litigation.

Beginning with this week’s sales the royalty rate for oil produced from new federal leases is increasing to 18.75 percent from 12.5 percent. That’s a 50 percent jump and marks the first increase since the 1920s.

Parcels also are being offered in Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, Montana, Nevada, North Dakota and Oklahoma.

Hundreds of parcels of public land that companies nominated for leasing had been previously dropped by the administration because of concerns over wildlife being harmed by drilling rigs. More parcels covering about 49 square kilometers were dropped at the last minute in Wyoming because of potential impacts on wilderness, officials said.

But attorney Melissa Hornbein with the Western Environmental Law Center said the reductions in the size of the sales were not enough.

“They are hoping that by choosing to hold sales on a smaller amount of acreage they are threading the needle. But from our perspective, the climate science is the one thing that doesn't lie,” Hornbein said.

Fossil fuels extracted from public lands account for about 20 percent of energy-related US greenhouse gas emissions, making them a prime target for climate activists who want to shut down leasing.

Biden suspended new leasing just a week after taking office in January 2021. A federal judge in Louisiana ordered the sales to resume, saying Interior officials had offered no “rational explanation” for canceling them and only Congress could do so.

The government held an offshore lease auction in the Gulf of Mexico in November, although a court later blocked that sale before the leases were issued.


Arabian Plastic Industrial Co. gets CMA nod to IPO 20% stake on Nomu

Arabian Plastic Industrial Co. gets CMA nod to IPO 20% stake on Nomu
Updated 29 June 2022

Arabian Plastic Industrial Co. gets CMA nod to IPO 20% stake on Nomu

Arabian Plastic Industrial Co. gets CMA nod to IPO 20% stake on Nomu

RIYADH: Saudi-based Arabian Plastic Industrial Co. has received approval for an initial public offering of 1 million shares on the Kingdom’s parallel market.

Shares to be listed represent 20 percent of the company’s share capital. 

The resolution was issued by the Saudi stock market regulator Capital Market Authority in a statement on Wednesday.

The Capital Market Authority’s approval shall be valid for six months from the authority’s board resolution date. It shall be deemed cancelled if the company’s offering is not completed within this period. 

The authority also granted Abdulaziz and Mansour Ibrahim Albabtin Co. approval to list 544,000 shares, representing 16 percent of the firm’s capital, on Nomu.

 

 


Arabian Drilling Co. gets approval to IPO 30% stake on Saudi stock market

Arabian Drilling Co. gets approval to IPO 30% stake on Saudi stock market
Updated 29 June 2022

Arabian Drilling Co. gets approval to IPO 30% stake on Saudi stock market

Arabian Drilling Co. gets approval to IPO 30% stake on Saudi stock market

RIYADH: Saudi-based Arabian Drilling Co. has received approval for an initial public offering of 26.7 million shares, representing 30 percent of the firm’s capital, on the Kingdom’s stock exchange.

The Capital Market Authority’s approval shall be valid for six months from the authority’s board resolution date. It shall be deemed cancelled if the company’s offering is not completed within this period. 


ICT infrastructure in Makkah, Madinah fully operational for Hajj with 41% rise in 5G towers 

ICT infrastructure in Makkah, Madinah fully operational for Hajj with 41% rise in 5G towers 
Updated 29 June 2022

ICT infrastructure in Makkah, Madinah fully operational for Hajj with 41% rise in 5G towers 

ICT infrastructure in Makkah, Madinah fully operational for Hajj with 41% rise in 5G towers 

RIYADH:  The Communications and Information Technology Commission, Saudi Arabia’s digital regulator, on Wednesday announced that communication infrastructure is fully operational in Makkah and Madinah and ready for this year’s Hajj.

The CITC has ensured the functioning of over 5,900 communication towers and more than 11,000 Wifi access points in the two holy cities, according to a statement. 

The number of 5G towers rose 41 percent to reach more than 2,600.

 “The Kingdom’s infrastructure readiness will not only help smooth the passage of fulfilling a lifelong dream,” said CITC Gov. Mohammed bin Saud Al-Tamimi, “it will significantly enhance their (pilgrims) digital experience.” 

 


Saudi Electricity sells entire stake of its subsidiary to the government

Saudi Electricity sells entire stake of its subsidiary to the government
Updated 29 June 2022

Saudi Electricity sells entire stake of its subsidiary to the government

Saudi Electricity sells entire stake of its subsidiary to the government

RIYADH: State-owned Saudi Electricity Co. has transferred its entire stake in the Saudi Power Procurement Co. to the government, the company said in a bourse filing.

SPPC as of today is an independent company wholly owned by the government, following completion of all legal arrangements for sale and transfer of assets, liabilities, and contracts

SPPC and SEC also signed energy conversion agreements, bulk supplies, and fuel supply novations, all effective July 1.

With that, SEC, SPPC and the Ministry of Finance signed a fuel inventory sale agreement, which stipulates that the ministry shall pay SEC its net book value for the fuel inventory.

The sale price shall be calculated based on the book value of SPPC's net assets at the end of the second quarter of 2022.

SEC does not expect the carve-out of SPPC to negatively impact its business since SPPC possesses no material tangible assets.