Futurous Games could bring foreign direct investments to Saudi Arabia, says CEO

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Updated 25 May 2022

Futurous Games could bring foreign direct investments to Saudi Arabia, says CEO

Futurous Games could bring foreign direct investments to Saudi Arabia, says CEO

RIYADH: Esports technology platform provider Futurous could bring foreign investments to Saudi Arabia, as innovative new generation sports are capable to generate massive footfall and business in a region, said its CEO Philippe Blanchard. 

“Imagine you (Saudi Arabia) have the first-ever Federation of cyborgs created through the Futurous games. You have this opportunity to support new initiatives, bringing foreign direct investment, expertise and talents to the nation,” Blanchard told Arab News on the sidelines of the Top CEO Forum. 

Blanchard added that he sees Kingdom’s Vision 2030 blueprint and its leadership as a springboard that will propel sports beyond physical activity or an economic driver in the region. 

“The crown prince of Saudi Arabia understands that sports are much more than physical activity, economic development, or health factors; sports can serve as a vector for modernizing a nation without becoming too Westernized,” said Blanchard.

Content revolution necessary to meet the expectations of youth

According to Blanchard, revolutionary changes in terms of content in sports are necessary to meet the expectations of the young generation, as classical sports are only attracting people in their mid-ages. 

“If we want to engage with youth, we need to have a content revolution. We need to reinvent new ways of doing sports. We need to answer the expectations of youth,” he said. 

Competitions aligned with the future

During the interview, Blanchard revealed that Futurous competitions are shaped to meet the necessity of the future. 

“In the same team, you have males and females, athletes and power athletes, humans and robots. This is the sense of future. And this is how you can engage with the younger population,” said Blanchard. 

Blanchard added that the young population love interaction, and they want to be a direct part of the competition. 

He further added, “All our competitions are interactive. The spectators are interacting with the competitors on the field of play. The spectators are no more passive spectators, they become spect-actor. They are part of it.” 

Blanchard made it clear that the goal of Futurous is to invent new sports and bring additional values to existing ones.

Bringing Futurous Games to GCC

During the talk, Blanchard revealed that GCC is a promising region for Futurous Games, and added that the company is currently considering Abu Dhabi to start its operations. 

Blanchard added that he may possibly relocate the activities and infrastructure they created in Switzerland to Saudi Arabia. 

Games of the Future: All you need to know

Blanchard had initially decided to organize the first edition of “Games of the Future” in Russia in 2023. However, the tournament was called off due to the ongoing Russia-Ukraine crisis.

The idea was to launch a technological platform designed to link live and virtual sports using its dedicated social network and online video service.

According to a company statement, “Games of the Future” was meant to showcase over 15 high-tech disciplines, including esports, drone racing, mobility, exoskeletons, augmented and virtual reality.

During the talk, he also gave a glimpse of the way in which Fututous is planning to carry out its competition. 

“We start with a weekend stretching nine days of competitions. We have five galaxies, the first galaxy is e-sport. The second galaxy is E-motions, which comprises technologies of mobility like drones, sustainable mobility, and autonomous mobility. The third galaxy is robotics and exoskeleton. while the fourth one is augmented reality. The last one is the new sport,” revealed Blanchard. 


Volatile rouble slumps to 10-day low; Gazprom shares extend losses

Volatile rouble slumps to 10-day low; Gazprom shares extend losses
Updated 11 sec ago

Volatile rouble slumps to 10-day low; Gazprom shares extend losses

Volatile rouble slumps to 10-day low; Gazprom shares extend losses

MOSCOW: The Russian rouble plunged more than 6 percent against the dollar on Friday to its weakest level in 10 days, while shares in Gazprom extended losses after the gas giant canceled dividend payments, pressuring Russian stock indexes, according to Reuters.

As of 1019 GMT, the rouble was 5.9 percent weaker against the dollar at 54.50, earlier hitting its weakest point since June 21 at 54.9250. The currency scaled its highest level in more than seven years on Wednesday.

The unit lost 5.9 percent to trade at 56.85 versus the euro .

The likelihood of the rouble strengthening past 50 to the dollar has eased, said Dmitry Polevoy, head of investment at Locko Invest, although high commodity prices were supporting the Russian currency.

The rouble has become the world’s best-performing currency this year, boosted by measures taken to shield Russia’s financial system from Western sanctions imposed after Moscow sent troops into Ukraine on Feb. 24.

The measures have included restrictions on Russian households withdrawing foreign currency savings.

The rouble’s strength has raised concerns among officials and export-focused companies because it dents Russia’s income from selling commodities and other goods abroad for dollars and euros.

Expectations that Russian authorities could resort to foreign currency interventions were putting pressure on the rouble, Polevoy said.

Dividend Fallout 

Shares in Russian energy giants Rosneft and Gazprom followed divergent courses as investors responded to the two companies’ opposing dividend decisions.

Gazprom’s shares were down 5.5 percent, extending heavy losses from the previous session after the gas giant decided not to pay dividends on last year’s results for the first time in more than two decades.

Meanwhile, shares in oil major Rosneft, which approved 2021 dividend payments after Thursday’s closing bell, were gaining ground, up 4.5 percent.

“There are few reasons for optimism in the Russian market,” said Otkritie Research in a note.

The commodity sectors of the market will be under pressure and the rouble may lose some ground before the weekend, Otkritie said.

Russian stock indexes were mixed, with the dollar-denominated RTS index shedding 4.3 percent to 1,286.8 points, hitting its lowest mark since mid-June.

The rouble-based MOEX Russian index was 1 percent higher at 2,225.8 points.

 


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

Saudi Arabia licences 79 factories with $266.5m investments in May: Ministry
Updated 1 min 20 sec ago

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

Saudi Arabia licences 79 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.