11th RED Summit kicks off with focus on Kingdom’s giga-projects 

11th RED Summit kicks off with focus on Kingdom’s giga-projects 
From left, Jason Addison, Saeed Albially, Ian Williamson and Amr Salah take part in a panel discussion at the 11th RED Summit — Saudi Arabia/ Europe Edition.
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Updated 30 June 2022

11th RED Summit kicks off with focus on Kingdom’s giga-projects 

11th RED Summit kicks off with focus on Kingdom’s giga-projects 

BARCELONA: The 11th Real Estate Development Summit — Saudi Arabia/ Europe Edition kicked off in Barcelona, Spain, with speakers discussing the Kingdom’s burgeoning real estate and tourism markets. 

“It takes two and a half hours to fly from one corner of Saudi Arabia to another; people don’t realize the size of the vastness, and the difference in climate and natural features. We will be introducing mounting points for skiing and of course, some of the best beaches in the world,” said Jason Addison, senior real estate adviser, BCG, and the panel chair.

The summit began on Wednesday morning in Hotel Barceló Sants with a welcome address by GBB and the summit host Sabina Ali, business development manager at Forbes Middle East. 

Following the welcome address, presentations were made on innovation, sustainability, and technology by Raya Ani, founder and design director of RAW NYC. 

The summit then hosted face-to-face meetings curated for each attendee, between buyers looking to source materials and architects, and suppliers. 

In the first panel, titled “Delivering a Destination,” three speakers took to the stage to discuss the significant giga-projects in the works: Saeed Albially, vice president of projects development at Knowledge Economic City; lan Williamson, group chief project delivery officer at The Red Sea Development Company; and Amr Salah, executive director of infrastructure and utilities for the Royal Commission of AlUla.

“We are building prestigious hotels; we are talking about 50+ hotels and resorts and social and extracurricular (centers) are going to be built in AlUla in the next four or five years max,” Salah said. 

“We are also signing a tramway for AlUla to connect all of the heritage and destination places in the area by an experiential tram. It is very ambitious and very unique, you can’t find a similar tram in the whole world that provides a luxurious experience to the customers while also fulfilling a transportation need,” he added. 

The panel also discussed ways that Vision 2030 is recreating the Kingdom as a world-class destination through giga-projects undertaken by the likes of The Royal Commission for AlUla and The Red Sea Development Company. 

“Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is the chairman of The Red Sea Project and AMAALA as well as that of other projects. He gave us the mandate to reach the very best global talent, the world’s best architects, the best engineers, and the world’s best interior designers, all of whom came on board and are now helping to accomplish our journey,” Williamson said. 

The panel also discussed real estate projects that go beyond host communities and serve not just the residents. 

Williamson said that The Red Sea Project currently has more than 500 consultancy contracts with world-renowned five-star hotels.

The panel members also stressed the importance of investing in human capital for the industry to truly prosper.

“Investment in the people of Saudi Arabia is a top priority for the crown prince,” said Salah. “Hiring more people in Saudi, training them and allowing them to gain experience with international firms — it is a goal by itself,” he added.


Alaan launches UAE’s first business cashback card

Alaan launches UAE’s first business cashback card
Updated 17 August 2022

Alaan launches UAE’s first business cashback card

Alaan launches UAE’s first business cashback card

Alaan, a UAE-based corporate spend-management fintech, has announced the launch of an industry-first business cashback card. The startup previously had raised $2.5 million in seed funding and built a platform enabling businesses to spend through modern corporate cards and automated invoice payments. Business customers using Alaan cards will be rewarded with up to 2 percent of their spending in cashback.

Commenting on the launch, Parthi Duraisamy, chief executive and co-founder of Alaan, said: “It’s great to have launched an industry-first business cashback card. Consumers have long had access to such cards in the UAE, but that has not been the case for SMEs and corporates. When businesses across the world are trying to conserve cash and cut spending during a recession, we are happy to be supporting UAE businesses to save and take control of their business spending.”

Founded in 2021 by ex-McKinsey employees, Duraisamy and Karun Kurien, Alaan aims to transform the processing of business expenses through its platform that provides employees with business cards to make company purchases and automatically reconciles spending in real-time.

Additionally, Alaan instantly issues virtual cards for e-commerce transactions, SaaS subscriptions, vendor payments or in-store purchases. These cards can be set up with daily or monthly spend limits and can be merchant-locked to be used only with certain merchants such as fuel stations. The platform eliminates expense reports, need for petty cash, and automates bookkeeping tasks via seamless integration with various accounting solution providers.

Philip Johnston, co-chief executive of Opontia, and an early customer of Alaan, said: “Until now, we have had to rely on debit cards, which have high FX rates and no cashback options. We look forward to scaling with Alaan cards, both to save money and to save precious time for our finance teams, so they can focus on our business instead of month-end manual expense management.”

Alaan is headquartered in Dubai and is expanding its headcount and scale in multiple markets across the Middle East.


APICORP and nogaholding sign MoU to promote collaboration

APICORP and nogaholding sign MoU to promote collaboration
Updated 17 August 2022

APICORP and nogaholding sign MoU to promote collaboration

APICORP and nogaholding sign MoU to promote collaboration

The Oil and Gas Holding Company B.S.C (c), known as nogaholding, and the Arab Petroleum Investments Corporation signed a memorandum of understanding to promote collaboration between the two entities.

Under the MoU, nogaholding will leverage APICORP’s experience as a partner to the Arab energy sector to support the company’s strategic initiatives and projects that will be crucial to the future of Bahrain’s energy sector. This includes sharing knowledge and best practices on environmental, social and governance aspects, sustainability initiatives, and green financing.

The MoU was signed by APICORP Chief Executive Officer Khalid Ali Al-Ruwaigh and nogaholding Group Chief Executive Officer Mark Thomas. The signing ceremony was attended by Dr. Mohammed bin Mubarak bin Daina, minister of oil and environment and special envoy for climate affairs, and Dr. Aabed Al-Saadoun, chairman of the board — APICORP, alongside a number of other officials from both parties.

Dr. bin Daina said: “We are delighted to witness this partnership between two entities focusing on the development of the Arab energy sector and exchanging knowledge for the benefit of communities. The Kingdom has taken massive strides in the development of the oil and gas sector while responsibly working on meeting the decarbonization mandates as pledged by Prince Salman bin Hamad Al-Khalifa, the crown prince and prime minister of Bahrain at COP26, as well as the UN sustainable development goals. With APICORP’s experience, we can expect this partnership to accelerate the energy transition and adoption of ESG principles in Bahrain.”

Al-Saadoun said: “Our mission is to contribute to the development and transformation of the Arab hydrocarbon and energy industries through equity, debt financing and advisory services and provide the Arab energy sector with financial solutions for the energy of tomorrow. The MoU with nogaholding is a testament to our focus on our goals in supporting the Arab energy sector in a balanced energy transition that enables socioeconomic growth and workforce empowerment.”

Meanwhile, Al-Ruwaigh said: “Being the region’s only multilateral financial institution with established experience in financial services and solutions for sustainable energy, APICORP is delighted to partner with nogaholding and support its commendable strategic initiatives that aim to improve the Bahraini energy sector. We will work closely with nogaholding to strengthen corporate sustainability and ESG practices, provide financial advisory on sustainable energy projects and support on effective structuring and arranging of financing. This partnership will help APICORP to cement its legacy of providing financial services for impact.”

Thomas added: “We are proud to be signing this MoU with an esteemed company like APICORP. The knowledge-sharing aspect of this partnership will provide nogaholding with opportunities that will help bolster the future of Bahrain’s energy sector, enabling us to take on additional projects, in line with Bahrain’s Vision 2030. We look forward to revitalizing our oil and gas sector while moving toward a more sustainable method of energizing the Kingdom and exploring avenues that lead to more efficient and alternative energy sources.”


KPMG joins Digital Cooperation Organization as official observer

KPMG joins Digital Cooperation Organization as official observer
Updated 16 August 2022

KPMG joins Digital Cooperation Organization as official observer

KPMG joins Digital Cooperation Organization as official observer

The Digital Cooperation Organization, an intergovernmental organization established to enable digital prosperity for all, has announced KPMG as the first professional services organization to join as an official observer.

The DCO, whose programs work to accelerate the inclusive growth of the digital economy, has swelled its ranks to represent nearly 600 million people and $2 trillion of GDP. Its programs are dedicated to supporting women, youth and entrepreneurs to harness the power of the digital economy across its 10 member states.

KPMG is a global network of professional services companies with more than 200,000 employees worldwide, helping clients thrive in a digital world and accelerate their digital transformation. KPMG has 26 global strategic alliances with world-leading technology companies, including Google Cloud, IBM, Alibaba Cloud, and Infosys, cementing its position as a leader in digital transformation on the international stage. Bringing this extensive expertise into the wider DCO ecosystem, KPMG will work alongside DCO experts on multinational projects designed to enhance the global digital economy in areas such as digital taxation, cross-border data flows, digital transformation and e-governance.

Dr. Samer Abdallah, global lead partner at KPMG, said: “KPMG is aligned with the DCO’s mission to promote social prosperity through more inclusive participation to grow the digital economy. We have played an active role in building key strategies, policies, and enablers to foster innovation and the digital economy. The digital era we live in brings us opportunities as well as challenges. Digital and innovation are part of our DNA at KPMG, and as part of the DCO ecosystem, we are proud to work together to promote digital prosperity.”

Welcoming the announcement of the partnership, Hassan Nasser, DCO vice president of international affairs, said: “The partnership between DCO and KPMG is the latest leap forward for the DCO as we continue to forge partnerships wherever and however they can play an active role in harnessing the power of the digital economy. KPMG is the first professional services observer of the DCO, with international expertise and a vital knowledge partner as we continue our mission to enable digital prosperity for all.”

The DCO is quickly expanding its ecosystem of international collaborators to include leading private sector companies, academic institutions, think tanks, civil society organizations, international organizations, and other partners across North America, South America, Europe, Asia, and Africa.

The global multilateral organization, founded in November 2020, brings together the Ministries of Digital Economy and ICT of 10 nations — Bahrain, Djibouti, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Rwanda and Saudi Arabia.


‘House of the Dragon’ drone show to light up Riyadh Boulevard

‘House of the Dragon’ drone show to light up Riyadh Boulevard
Updated 16 August 2022

‘House of the Dragon’ drone show to light up Riyadh Boulevard

‘House of the Dragon’ drone show to light up Riyadh Boulevard

OSN+, a regional streaming service for premium entertainment, is celebrating the premiere of House of the Dragon, the Game of Thrones prequel, with an immersive drone show and screen takeover that will light up the Riyadh skyline during the Gamers8 festival on Aug. 18.

OSN+ will celebrate the premiere of the highly anticipated series with a breathtaking 1,000-drone light show above Riyadh Boulevard, preceded by a complete screen takeover and firework display during the Gamers8 festival, the largest eSports and gaming event worldwide, currently taking place in Riyadh.

“OSN+ is excited to launch a spectacular drone show as part of the Gamers8 festival ahead of the highly anticipated release of House of the Dragon on Aug. 22 in the Middle East. Alongside an expansive screen takeover and firework display, the gaming festival will provide an engaging and immersive platform to celebrate the premiere of the first episode of the Game of Thrones prequel with fans, both within the Saudi Arabian capital and across the Kingdom,” said Ashley Rite, vice president, marketing and growth at OSN+.

The 10-episode HBO Original drama series, available exclusively on OSN, is based on George R.R. Martin’s Fire and Blood, which is set 200 years before the events of Game of Thrones, and tells the story of House Targaryen. The prequel to one of the most successful series of the past decade is set to air exclusively on OSN+ on Aug. 22, simultaneously with the US premiere, with new episodes dropping weekly on the platform.

The lineup in the upcoming series includes Paddy Considine as King Viserys Targaryen, Matt Smith as Prince Daemon Targaryen, the king’s younger brother and heir to the throne, Olivia Cooke as Alicent Hightower, daughter of the Hand of the King, Emma D’Arcy as King Viserys’ firstborn child Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen, Steve Toussaint as Lord Corlys Velaryon “The Sea Snake,” Eve Best as his wife Princess Rhaenys Targaryen, Fabien Frankel as Ser Criston Cole, Sonoya Mizuno as Mysaria, and Rhys Ifans as Otto Hightower, the Hand of the King and father to Alicent.

OSN+ is an accessible online platform and is available for download across all iOS and Android devices for $9.5 per month.


Tanmiah delivers robust earnings growth supported by strong product demand

Tanmiah delivers robust earnings growth supported by strong product demand
Updated 16 August 2022

Tanmiah delivers robust earnings growth supported by strong product demand

Tanmiah delivers robust earnings growth supported by strong product demand

Tanmiah Food Company, a leading provider of fresh and processed poultry and other meat products, animal feed and health products, and a foods brand franchise operator, has announced its results for the first half ending June 30, 2022, with a 31 percent year-on-year growth in revenues amounting to SR965.9 million ($257.2 million). The gross margin improved to 23.3 percent from 22.8 percent in H1 2021, while the EBITDA of SR107.5 million (+30 percent YoY), yielded a margin of 11.1 percent. The net income increased 43 percent YoY from SR22.2 million to SR31.7 million, on the back of a robust top-line performance and gradual price increases in the fresh chicken category.

Zulfiqar Hamadani CEO of Tanmiah, said: “We have continued to successfully execute our capacity expansion program, resulting in solid top-line performance as Tanmiah’s products continued to grow in popularity during the first half of the year as we drive innovation across all our product lines. The recent completion of refurbishment projects at our Majmah facility to reach a capacity of 420,500 birds per day will further boost revenues and profitability in the upcoming quarters and is a major milestone in our goal to reach a production capacity of 1.2 million birds per day by 2025.

“Despite the volatility in global commodity prices, our strong market positioning, and the increasing preference by customers for our diversified product offerings has enabled us to mitigate this impact by carefully managing pricing, thus resulting in margin improvement during the period.”

He added: “As we embark on a new phase in Tanmiah’s journey through the landmark partnership with Tyson Foods, we expect to unlock substantial long-term value for our shareholders by enhancing all stages of the value chain, along with diversifying our product offerings, and expanding our global footprint. Collectively, we will continue to significantly invest in our business to raise production capacity further and meet the expected rising demand that could be captured through the potential launch of a new global halal brand with Tyson, which may be marketed worldwide.”

Ahmed Osilan, executive board member and managing director of Tanmiah, said: “We are proud to have achieved major milestones since the start of the year, including the strategic partnership with Tyson Foods. Our sustained investments in ramping up production capacity and strengthening our long-standing relationships with our key business partners, have rewarded us with a robust performance during the period, whereby we have successfully attained a remarkable growth in profitability.

“We are delighted to be taking our company to a whole new level, by advancing our technical expertise and tapping new opportunities for realizing wide-ranging synergies across the group, whilst accelerating our pace of growth.

“Further supporting our strategic growth plans is the SR150 million financing facility recently secured by our subsidiary ADC, from the Agriculture Development Fund. This forms part of a comprehensive bundle of loans that are aligned with the government’s ongoing initiatives to boost food production. We remain committed to our pioneering role in reinforcing Saudi Arabia’s food security and self-sufficiency goals, through enriching the domestic ecosystem by bringing world-class sector expertise to the Kingdom and creating a number of job opportunities in the local market, which will emerge as a result of our significant partnership with Tyson Foods.”

Revenue analysis

Tanmiah reported first half revenues of SR965.9 million, up 31 percent YoY from SR734.9 million. The top-line growth was driven by strong performance across all segments, in particular fresh poultry and processed products, reflecting a combination of both price and volume effect.

Fresh poultry sales, comprising 69 percent of total revenues, increased 31 percent YoY to SR666.2 million from SR510.7 million in the similar period of last year. The fresh poultry revenue growth was driven by a continued expansion of capacity, leading to sustained volume growth, in line with the rising popularity of Tanmiah’s products, as well as a gradual increase in prices across the fresh chicken category. The group ended 2021 with a daily capacity of 370,000 birds and increased it to 420,500 birds per day (net of rental capacity), marking a 13.6 percent growth, following the upgrade of Tanmiah’s facility in Majmah, north of Riyadh.

Further, the processed products revenues grew by 31 percent YoY to SR199 million during H1 2022. This increase in sales comes on the back of growth in demand from the food service channel, and a gradual revision of prices for key food service customers during contract renewals.

The feed and animal health revenues grew by 26 percent to SR91 million in H1 2022, predominantly due to the increasing demand for animal health products and equipment.

Meanwhile, the food franchise operator revenues amounted to SR9.8 million in H1 2022, with Q2 reflecting the second full quarter since the launch of the food franchise vertical. During the period, Tanmiah opened a total of six Popeyes stores in the Kingdom, bringing the total to 10 operational outlets as of June 30.

Growth strategy

Tanmiah’s strategy to further reinforce its market positioning hinges on both organic and inorganic growth. In order to capture lucrative opportunities from rising demand for poultry, coupled with the Kingdom’s strategic goal of attaining 80 percent self-sufficiency in the poultry sector by 2025, Tanmiah continues to invest substantially on capacity expansion and continues to make good progress in this regard.

The company has increased its local sales of fresh chicken by 9 percent YoY from 49.2 million chickens in H1 2021 to 53.5 million chickens in H1 2022, as a result of sustained investments in its assets and operations. Tanmiah has recently completed the refurbishment of its facility in Majmah, which has resulted in increasing its total production capacity to 420,500 birds per day (net of rental capacity), from 370,000 birds per day at the end of 2021.

Another key event for Tanmiah is the strategic partnership with Tyson Foods. Tanmiah considers this partnership an important milestone in its 60-year journey, demonstrating its commitment to its pioneering role in reinforcing Saudi Arabia’s food security and self-sufficiency goals. The partnership will also enable Tanmiah to gain exposure to global industry know-how and could lead to emerging opportunities in the fast-growing halal market. By capitalizing on this significant collaboration, Tanmiah will be well-positioned to enhance its product, customer, and geographical diversification, and deliver substantial value through advancing its operational processes, which will enable the company to realize material operational efficiencies and improve its revenues and profitability going forward.

Tanmiah has continued to capitalize on other strategic initiatives by the government to reinforce the domestic food sector, whereby the company has obtained a short-term financing facility of SR150 million from the Agricultural Development Fund to finance the import of grains. Moreover, Tanmiah recently secured a 48.2-million-euro ($49.1 million) long-term Shariah-compliant facility from Rabobank to further support its expansion program.