China In-Focus — Sinopec Shanghai Petchem shut crude, ethylene units; Evergrande sticks to restructuring plan

China In-Focus — Sinopec Shanghai Petchem shut crude, ethylene units; Evergrande sticks to restructuring plan
This aerial photo taken on June 18, 2022 shows a large fire at a Sinopec Shanghai Petrochemical plant in outlying Jinshan district of Shanghai. (CNS / AFP)
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Updated 21 June 2022

China In-Focus — Sinopec Shanghai Petchem shut crude, ethylene units; Evergrande sticks to restructuring plan

China In-Focus — Sinopec Shanghai Petchem shut crude, ethylene units; Evergrande sticks to restructuring plan

RIYADH: Sinopec Shanghai Petrochemical Co. has shut its crude oil refining and ethylene units to evaluate safety risks after a fire on Saturday hit a chemical facility, a company spokesperson said.

The spokesperson did not specify the duration of the shutdown but said the firm will ensure stable domestic fuel supplies.

The Shanghai-based plant, controlled by state refiner Sinopec Corp., operates 16 million tons per year crude oil refining capacity and 700,000 tons of ethylene capacity annually.

Evergrande sticks to restructuring plan

China Evergrande Group said it expects to announce its preliminary restructuring plan before the end of July, sticking to its original deadline as the world’s most indebted property developer struggles to emerge from its financial crisis.

Reeling under more than $300 billion in liabilities, the firm’s offshore debt is deemed to be in default after missing payment obligations late last year.

In a stock exchange filing late on Monday, Evergrande also said it does not have a timeline for publishing its 2021 annual results or completing a probe in its property services unit.

(With input from Reuters)


SMEs grow 15% to 752,600 in Q1 2022 as business climate improves: Monsha’at

SMEs grow 15% to 752,600 in Q1 2022 as business climate improves: Monsha’at
Updated 7 sec ago

SMEs grow 15% to 752,600 in Q1 2022 as business climate improves: Monsha’at

SMEs grow 15% to 752,600 in Q1 2022 as business climate improves: Monsha’at

RIYADH: The number of small and medium enterprises in Saudi Arabia registered a 15 percent growth to 752,600 in the first quarter of 2022 from 650,550 in the corresponding period last year, revealed the Small & Medium Enterprises General Authority, also known as Monsha’at, in its latest report.

According to Monsha’at, SMEs are companies with less than 250 staff members and annual revenue below SR200 million ($53 million).

The report also indicated that SMEs amounted to 62 percent of all employment in the private sector, with each enterprise on average hiring 12 people.

“A change of mindset can partially explain this growth. Saudis today are increasingly willing to venture into entrepreneurship and start and scale their businesses,” Monsha’at Vice Governor of Entrepreneurship Saud Alsabhan told Arab News.

“Our job, as an entity dedicated to SMEs, is to advise, guide and improve these businesses’ chances of success,” he added.

The agency aims to grow SMEs’ contribution to the country’s gross domestic product from 20 percent to 35 percent by 2030.

Sectoral snapshots

In terms of sector, retail, construction and food and beverages were the most active, constituting 14, 13, and 10.2 percent of SMEs, respectively, in the first quarter of 2022.

On the other hand, sectors with the most investments in 2021 were retail, enterprise software, and fintech, which raised over $390 million.

Another reason fueling the rise of SMEs is the surge in capital investments that have flourished in the Kingdom over the past few years.

Local and foreign investors have been eyeing governmental support to startups and SMEs as one in every 33 enterprises received funding.

Monsha’at alone has provided over SR100 billion in value through financing programs and initiatives as of the first quarter of 2022.

Saudi investors were the most active in 2022, in addition to witnessing a record-high increase of 52 percent in 2021 compared to the year before, reported research firm MAGNiTT.

Improving tech know-how

Founder and managing director at Saudi-based venture capital firm Nama Ventures, Mohammed Al-Zubi, told Arab News that the growth of SMEs in the Kingdom is partially attributed to the “unparalleled support” by the government.

“The maturity of Saudi entrepreneurs themselves and the rise of their level of know-how and sophistication is the main aspect of the Kingdom’s growth,” Al-Zubi added.

Monsha’at added that over 239,000 SMEs are located in Riyadh, accounting for 31.8 percent of all SMEs in the country and employing over 1.8 million people, making the capital one of the most dynamic cities in the Kingdom for small businesses. 

Emerging markets in the Middle East and North Africa region have all been performing well, with the importance of startups and SMEs being recognized by governments.

Although the global market has been negatively affected, improvement in the Middle East and North Africa region is still persistent, with a 33 percent increase in SME funding in the first quarter of 2022 compared to the previous quarter, according to a report by MAGNiTT.

The UAE and Egypt have also been focusing on SMEs and supporting startups through funding initiatives, with both countries raising over $450 million in venture capital funding in the first2022, according to MAGNiTT.

The UAE has seen 75 percent quarter-on-quarter growth in 2022 in startup funding, with international investors amounting to 61 percent of all transactions.


Saudi stock market to list 36 new firms by the end of Q3, says CEO

Saudi stock market to list 36 new firms by the end of Q3, says CEO
Updated 8 min 43 sec ago

Saudi stock market to list 36 new firms by the end of Q3, says CEO

Saudi stock market to list 36 new firms by the end of Q3, says CEO

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s stock exchange is expected to see 36 new listings by the end of the third quarter of 2022, Asharq reported citing CEO Mohammed Al-Rumaih.

Al-Rumaih added that 10 new companies have been approved for listing on the bourse.

With the latest initial public offering of Saudi developer Retal Urban Development Co., Tadawul has recorded 27 listings so far this year, the executive concluded.


GCC grids aim to connect with Europe once Egypt, Jordan, and Iraq interlinked

GCC grids aim to connect with Europe once Egypt, Jordan, and Iraq interlinked
Updated 10 min 16 sec ago

GCC grids aim to connect with Europe once Egypt, Jordan, and Iraq interlinked

GCC grids aim to connect with Europe once Egypt, Jordan, and Iraq interlinked

RIYADH: The Gulf Cooperation Council Interconnection Authority aims to connect with Europe in the future once the grids to Egypt and Jordan are linked, said the authority’s CEO Ahmed Ali Al-Ebrahim.

“We are connecting GCC with Egypt, Jordan and Iraq to have a pan-Arab market. The sector needs grids, interconnectivity, and technology,” said Al-Ebrahim, while speaking at a virtual conference during the MEA Energy Week.

He also noted that GCCIA is carrying out discussions to connect with India as well. 

Al-Ebrahim added that a transformation from the classical way of grid operation and connectivity is necessary to meet the rising demands of the future. 

He further noted that the major challenge in this time of transformation is how to integrate renewable energy into the system without affecting security and stability. 

Last week, Saudi Arabia’s energy minister Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz met with his Egyptian counterpart Mohamed Shaker in Cairo to follow up on the progress of the electrical interconnection project between the two countries.

During the meeting, the ministers also discussed possibilities of cooperation in the fields of renewable energy and hydrogen. 

Last October, Saudi Arabia and Egypt signed contracts for a $1.8 billion electricity interconnection project aimed at ensuring an electricity exchange of 3,000 MW. 


Saudi Alkhabeer Capital partners with Wamid to launch trading platform

Saudi Alkhabeer Capital partners with Wamid to launch trading platform
Updated 19 min 54 sec ago

Saudi Alkhabeer Capital partners with Wamid to launch trading platform

Saudi Alkhabeer Capital partners with Wamid to launch trading platform

RIYADH: Jeddah-based Alkhabeer Capital has signed a strategic agreement with Wamid, a subsidiary of Saudi Tadawul Group, as part of its strategy to provide investors with advanced trading services.

This follows Alkhabeer Capital’s preparations to launch the Alkhabeer Brokerage Platform in the near future, according to a press release.

With this partnership, aspiring investors will be able to harness the latest technological advancement and trade efficiently, it said.

“Our strategic partnership with Wamid will enhance our capabilities in providing innovative investment solutions,” said Alkhabeer Capital CEO Ahmed Saud Ghouth.

The company aims to make Alkhabeer Brokerage one of the Kingdom’s fastest platforms for executing orders.


Saudi Grains Organization finalizes tenders to import 495K tons of wheat

Saudi Grains Organization finalizes tenders to import 495K tons of wheat
Updated 38 min 12 sec ago

Saudi Grains Organization finalizes tenders to import 495K tons of wheat

Saudi Grains Organization finalizes tenders to import 495K tons of wheat

RIYADH: The Saudi Grains Organization has completed the procedures for the third tender of imported wheat for 2022 from Europe, North and South America and Australia.

A total of 495,000 tons of wheat will arrive during November 2022 and January aboard eight ships on different Saudi ports including the Jeddah Islamic Port, Yanbu Commercial Port and King Abdulaziz Port in Dammam, according to a statement.

SAGO did not identify the entities awarded the contract for the final batch.  

SAGO Gov. Ahmad Al-Fares said the Kingdom’s ports continue to receive wheat shipments according to the approved supply schedules. 

A week earlier, the organization awarded the Saudi Agricultural and Livestock Investment Co., also known as SALIC, a contract to import 300,000 tons of wheat between November 2022 and January 2023.