SAUDIA allocates 14 aircraft for 268 international flights for Hajj season

Update SAUDIA allocates 14 aircraft for 268 international flights for Hajj season
SAUDIA is investing heavily in both its product and service to enhance the customer experience. (Shutterstock)
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Updated 29 August 2022

SAUDIA allocates 14 aircraft for 268 international flights for Hajj season

SAUDIA allocates 14 aircraft for 268 international flights for Hajj season

RIYADH: SAUDIA, the national flag carrier of Saudi Arabia, has allocated a fleet of 14 aircraft for pilgrims, which are expected to carry out 268 international flights to and from 15 stations around the world, in addition to 32 domestic flights from and to six stations.

In total, the airline will be responsible for providing 107,000 international and 12,800 domestic seats during the Hajj season, the company said in a statement.

The national flag carrier had concluded all preparations to start transporting pilgrims, Ibrahim Al-Omar, Director General of Saudia Group said. 

The pilgrims will be transferred to King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah or Prince Mohammed bin Abdulaziz International Airport in Madinah, and from there they will leave for Makkah, it said.

Fastest growing airline brand in the Middle East with $500m value

SAUDIA has witnessed the fastest growth in its brand value in the Middle East, recording a 13 percent increase to $500 million in 2022, according to a new report from brand valuation consultancy Brand Finance.

The report pointed out that SAUDIA is investing heavily in both its product and service to enhance the customer experience as it welcomes first-time visitors to Saudi Arabia.

The Kingdom plans to increase the number of tourists to 100 million and the number of religious visitors to 30 million a year by 2030, the report noted. 

In the Brand Finance’s Brandirectory annual rankings, American carrier Delta retained the top position as the world’s most valuable airline, with a value of $7.3 billion.

The brand value of WestJet increased by 22 percent to reach $600 million in 2022. The Canadian airline has strengthened its brand identity across its home market with the addition of 24 new routes. 

The brand value of Spanish airline, Iberia, also increased by 36 percent to reach $2 billion. 

Meanwhile, the brand value of Indian airline, IndiGo, increased by 22 percent to reach $0.7 billion. 

The Indian airline brands in the ranking have achieved significant growth with 22 percent year-on-year brand value growth, with further potential as the world looks to a post-COVID future, the report added.


Rising Riyadh home prices push deal value up 6% but volume falls

Rising Riyadh home prices push deal value up 6% but volume falls
Updated 12 sec ago

Rising Riyadh home prices push deal value up 6% but volume falls

Rising Riyadh home prices push deal value up 6% but volume falls

RIYADH: As residential prices continue to rise in Saudi Arabia’s cities, the total transaction value of houses in the Kingdom has increased by 6 percent compared to this time last year, the latest report from global property consultancy firm Knight Frank showed.   

The average apartment value has spiked as high as 30 percent in Riyadh over the last 12 months, with some of the well-located suburbs in northern parts of the city seeing rises over 40 percent, as the shortage in housing supply continues to play havoc on prices. 

This resulted in the number of housing deals slipping, with the volume of home sales this year falling by 24 percent, according to Knight Frank.

“The affordability gulf between buyer expectations and the significant house price increases registered in cities across the Kingdom is underpinning the slowing in the number of home sales,” said Faisal Durrani, partner – head of Middle East Research at Knight Frank. 

Despite a strong pipeline of around 200,000 new homes for the capital by 2030, he said price growth remains on a sharp upward trajectory. 

As a result, the total volume of homes sold in the capital dipped by 30 percent in the year to the third quarter of 2022 attaining 7, 7750 transactions in comparison to the last year’s transactions of 11,074. 

According to Knight Frank’s estimates, Riyadh is expected to face a housing supply deficit when factoring in the expected spike in population to 17 million by 2030, from 7.5 million today. 

“To exacerbate matters, anecdotal evidence suggests some sellers are opting to lease their inventory to take advantage of the influx of domestic and international migrants being drawn to the city for work, which is further eroding the sales supply,” explained Durrani.

As business activity is rising in Riyadh, more people flock to the city for employment, driving demand for office spaces and houses while supply still catches up.

The employment level in Riyadh is projected to increase by around 5 percent by the end of 2022, with a further rise of 3 percent in 2023, according to Oxford Economics.

The residential sector in the other major city Jeddah witnessed similar trends as average apartment and villa prices grew at 6 percent and 3 percent respectively during the third quarter of 2022, according to Knight Frank.

The number of home sales too in Jeddah saw a decline of 19 percent, falling to 3,711 deals, in the year to the third quarter. 

Despite this, Knight Frank noted that the value of transactions increased by 30 percent during the same period.


Almarai eyes expanding poultry business to double its market share: CEO 

Almarai eyes expanding poultry business to double its market share: CEO 
Updated 12 min 23 sec ago

Almarai eyes expanding poultry business to double its market share: CEO 

Almarai eyes expanding poultry business to double its market share: CEO 

RIYADH: Saudi Arabian food and beverages manufacturing firm Almarai Co. is expanding its poultry business in an attempt to double its market share in the Kingdom, according to its CEO.  

Almarai’s strategy has always been to expand its current businesses to new segments, Al Arabiya reported, citing Abdullah Nasser Al Bader, who added that the poultry segment was one of those crucial investments the firm made over the past 13 years. 

The CEO further noted that Almarai’s poultry business has been a profitable venture despite facing challenges in the industry which include bird deaths. 

One of the biggest dairy companies in Saudi Arabia, Almarai ventured into the poultry market in 2009, following the acquisition of Hail Agricultural Development Co.  

Affirming the company’s strong financial solvency, Al Bader added that Almarai’s investments are linked to sustainability and continuity.  

On Nov. 26, Almarai announced investing SR.5 billion ($1.2 billion) in Al-Shamli Governorate, Hail Region, to expand poultry production.

This is part of Almarai’s strategy to maximize the full potential of its core business lines across the Gulf Cooperation Council region.  

The company’s new investments include the establishment of a new plant and farms in Hail, aimed at elevating poultry production by above 150 million birds annually, the Argaam report stated.  

Almarai currently produces 225 million birds annually, and through these investments, the company wants to become a leader in poultry production in the region.  

Al Bader further noted that these investments will also provide job opportunities for 4,000 people, and will also contribute to the development of local content.  

Earlier in June, the company, in a bourse filing, said that it is looking to inject SR252 million as an initial investment to mark its entry into the seafood category.  

“This investment plan will expand Almarai’s product offering and contribute to the food security agenda as per vision 2030,” the company said.  

In January, Almarai completed the acquisition of Bakemart’s operations in the UAE and Bahrain in a deal worth SR95.4 million, as part of the strategy to expand its presence across the region.  

Almarai currently offers a vast product mix, encompassing dairy, juices, poultry, bakery, and infant nutrition, according to its website.


MEPCO factory working to restore full capacity after Jeddah floods hit operation

MEPCO factory working to restore full capacity after Jeddah floods hit operation
Updated 34 min 49 sec ago

MEPCO factory working to restore full capacity after Jeddah floods hit operation

MEPCO factory working to restore full capacity after Jeddah floods hit operation

RIYADH: Jeddah-based Middle East Paper Co. is still working to get a factory fully operational after the fatal floods that hit the city last week prompted a production shutdown.

The company revealed the record rainfall — which left two people dead in the city — caused work to stop in its Al Khumrah plant on Nov. 24.

According to a disclosure with the Saudi stock exchange — known as Tadawul — about 40 percent of production was back online within 48 hours, but the firm estimates it could take until Dec. 5 for the factory to be working at full capacity.

The statement said that while there was an “impact on some logistical activities”, there were “no human injuries.”

“The financial impact will be determined after the restoration of production capacity and operation,” the company added.

Earlier this month, the paper company, known as MEPCO, revealed its plants were operating at above 92 percent production despite declining commodities demand.

The paper manufacturer reported net earnings valued at SR245 million ($65 million) for the first nine months of 2022 — an annual increase of 95 percent. 

The firm’s CEO Sami Safran said at the time that MEPCO was riding out a global weaking for commodity demand — including paper products — thanks to consistent domestic demand.

He added that MEPCO, on average, exported 40 percent of its output, boosting its growth plans, and although shipping costs rose in the first half of the year, they slightly declined in the third and fourth quarters.  

At the end of October, MEPCO invited its shareholders to vote on increasing its capital to SR666 million to support the company’s financial position and growth plans. 

According to a bourse filing, the Saudi-listed paper manufacturer’s board proposed a 33 percent capital hike from the current capital of SR500 million. 

Rainfall in the southern area of Jeddah on Nov. 24 was the highest amount ever recorded, according to Saudi Arabia’s National Center for Meteorology, with 179mm of water falling between 8am and 2pm.

As well as causing disruption to roads — with footage posted online showing cars being swept away — there was also an impact on air travel.

King Abdulaziz International Airport, based to the north of Jeddah, urged passengers to contact airlines for schedules as “due to weather conditions, the departure of some flights has been delayed”.


Oil Updates — Crude falls over $2; Chevron to expand production in Venezuela 

Oil Updates — Crude falls over $2; Chevron to expand production in Venezuela 
Updated 28 November 2022

Oil Updates — Crude falls over $2; Chevron to expand production in Venezuela 

Oil Updates — Crude falls over $2; Chevron to expand production in Venezuela 

RIYADH: Oil futures fell more than $2 a barrel on Monday, with US West Texas Intermediate crude hitting an 11-month low, as protests in top importer China over strict COVID-19 curbs fueled demand concerns. 

Brent crude dropped $2.16, or 2.6 percent, to trade at $81.47 a barrel at 0230 GMT, after diving to $81.16 earlier in the session — its lowest since Jan. 11. 

US WTI crude slid $2.08, or 2.7 percent, to $74.20 a barrel. It fell as far as $73.82 earlier — its lowest since Dec. 27, 2021.  

Both benchmarks, which hit 10-month lows last week, have posted three consecutive weekly declines. Brent ended the latest week down 4.6 percent, while WTI fell 4.7 percent. 

Chevron can resume key role in Venezuela’s oil output, exports 

Chevron Corp. has received a US license allowing the second-largest US oil company to expand its production in Venezuela and bring the South American country’s crude oil to the US. 

The decision grants broader rights for the last big US oil company still operating in US-sanctioned Venezuela. However, it restricts any cash payments to Venezuela, which could reduce the oil available to export. 

License terms are designed to prevent state-run oil firm Petróleos de Venezuela, known as PDVSA, from receiving proceeds from Chevron’s petroleum sales, US officials said. The license lasts for six months and will be automatically renewed monthly thereafter, the US Treasury said. 

The US authorization “brings added transparency to the Venezuelan oil sector” and allows Chevron to benefit from sales of “oil that is currently being produced” by its joint ventures with PDVSA, the California-based company said in a statement. 

(With input from Reuters) 

 


BEEAH Group paves way for a sustainable future in the region

BEEAH Group paves way for a sustainable future in the region
Updated 27 November 2022

BEEAH Group paves way for a sustainable future in the region

BEEAH Group paves way for a sustainable future in the region
  • Group aims to help Sharjah achieve 100% landfill waste diversion: CEO

DUBAI: BEEAH Group, the UAE’s leading sustainability pioneer and digital expert, has achieved a waste diversion rate of 76 percent, the highest in the Middle East, and the remaining 24 percent was disposed of in landfills.

Speaking to Arab News, Group CEO Khaled Al-Huraimel said that BEEAH Group aims to help Sharjah achieve 100 percent landfill waste diversion in 2022, up from 76 percent currently.

BEEAH Group launched the UAE’s first waste-to-energy facility earlier in 2022 as part of its efforts to achieve zero waste, he added.

The facility, located in Sharjah, would divert over 300,000 tons of non-recyclable waste from landfills annually and generate 30 megawatts of clean energy, enough to power almost 30,000 homes.

“Once the facility reaches full operational capacity, Sharjah will become the first city in the Middle East to achieve zero waste,” Al-Huraimel said

All of this is due to BEEAH Group’s operations in Sharjah with 10 different plants.

There are 10 dedicated recycling facilities that process materials such as paper, plastic, tires, old vehicles, metals, construction and demolition waste, organic waste, industrial wastewater, maritime waste and commercial and industrial waste.

Al-Huraimel said BEEAH was established in 2007 to address the environmental challenges the region was facing, including waste. However, at the beginning of 2022, the company changed its name to BEEAH Group and adopted the structure of an investment holding company and a new visual identity. This is part of the group’s strategy to diversify its core business into new sectors.

The Gulf Cooperation Council countries have the highest waste per capita in the world. Therefore, this was the immediate challenge, he added.

“We started in waste management, and today, we’re proud to say we became the first to reach zero waste in the emirate of Sharjah, and today we are also active across the UAE,” he said. “Our new structure as an investment holding group has seen us launch several new business verticals that will capitalize on business opportunities across different industries and countries.”

BEEAH places sustainability and digitization at the heart of the business. This can be seen across several verticals, including BEEAH Tandeef for waste collection and city cleaning and BEEAH Recycling for waste processing and material recovery. There is also BEEAH Energy for clean and renewable power and BEEAH Environment Services for consulting, research and innovation.

Additionally, there is BEEAH Digital for future technologies and digital ventures, BEEAH Transport for green mobility and autonomous transportation, and BEEAH Education, an environmental education and awarding organization for businesses and individuals.

The various verticals will benefit from the collective experience of the BEEAH Group while having more room to grow within their respective industries.

BEEAH Group encourages collective responsibility for sustainability through education and awareness programs. In 2010, BEEAH Group launched the BEEAH Academy of Sustainability to promote environmental education. Today, the academy reaches a network of more than 252,000 students, 6,500 teachers, and 700 schools. Across its areas of operation, the group aims to improve quality of life through a twin-pillared approach that focuses on sustainability and digitalization.

Digitalization of BEEAH Group

During a private meeting at BEEAH Group’s recently built headquarters, designed by the late Zaha Hadid, Al-Huraimel remarked, “It was one of the last buildings she designed.” 

Our new structure as an investment holding group has seen us launch several new business verticals that will capitalize on business opportunities across different industries and countries.

Khaled Al-Huraimel, BEEAH Group CEO

According to him, the organization’s brand-new headquarters reflect BEEAH Group’s identity as a sustainable icon.

The BEEAH Group headquarters is a command center for all BEEAH Group operations, as it has more than 10,000 employees and is growing. “This building is one of the smartest and most sustainable buildings in the region,” he added.

A primary area of focus for BEEAH Group is technology, and the organization believes that technology has many tools to help it achieve its goals, Al-Huraimel said. In that sector, BEEAH Group has three companies: Evoteq, re.life, and One Data Center, a recent joint venture with Khazna to build Sharjah’s first data center.

He said the BEEAH Group headquarters operates using hundreds of artificial intelligence use cases.

At Tandeef, BEEAH Group’s waste collection business, the vehicles are all tracked, and the routing is also optimized by artificial intelligence.

The commercial and industrial recycling facility, a recent facility launched by BEEAH Recycling this year, has a robot with AI vision that can segregate different types of waste.

“So, we believe and embrace technology as it can help us create a better future and meet our targets,” Al-Huraimel said.

As part of its efforts in facilitating digital transformation, BEEAH Group also partnered with Khazna Data Centers recently to build Sharjah’s first Tier 3 data center.

Commenting on their JV with Khazna, the group CEO said that data centers have become necessary with the growth of cloud computing. This requires a great deal of data storage.

He added that Sharjah also needs a data center to support shortages and digitalization and become a more innovative city.

“In today’s world, it’s important to build a strong digital foundation and infrastructure,” said Al-Huraimel.

By harnessing the power of technology and innovative sustainable solutions, the BEEAH Group is paving the way for a better quality of life across the MENA region.

COP27 delegation

BEEAH Group has commenced operations in Egypt’s Sharm El-Sheikh, including sustainable waste management services during the UN Climate Change Conference, also known as COP27.

He said that the organization and Egypt’s Green Planet, an environmental solutions company, signed a contract in September to provide waste management and city cleaning services under the 10-year contract.

“We were awarded the waste management contract for Sharm El-Sheikh, and we have commenced our services before COP27,” he added.

The BEEAH Group also attended COP27 and represented the UAE as part of the UAE delegation.

Besides showcasing the organization’s groundbreaking projects, such as the UAE’s first waste-to-energy plant and the region’s first fully AI-integrated office building, BEEAH Group introduced the conference attendees to its recycling facilities and zero-waste solutions.

“We were proud to participate in COP27 as part of the UAE delegation. As a frontrunner in climate action, the UAE has made huge strides toward zero emissions; we are pleased to show how we support these targets through clean energy, sustainable infrastructure, and integrated waste management solutions,” said Al-Huraimel.

“I believe the UAE and the region have strong sustainability goals. We see that in the UAE, Saudi, Egypt, and so on,” he said, commenting on BEEAH Group’s attendance at COP27.

As the group CEO pointed out, Egypt and Saudi Arabia are two key markets for BEEAH Group, which will continue to expand over the next 18 months.

Geographic growth and diversification have been the main ways the group has grown. BEEAH has diversified into digital, energy consulting and health care.

“We targeted Saudi Arabia and Egypt for future expansion, as they are the two biggest markets for us in terms of size and recognition of the relationship between our countries,” he said.

Currently, the group focuses on growing in Saudi Arabia and Egypt by offering waste management services in both countries.

BEEAH Group also hopes to consolidate its position as a regional leader in waste management while looking at other government and private contracts.