India In-Focus — China’s Great Wall Motor halts $1bn India plans; Ban on single-use plastic; Toyota unveils hybrid car

India In-Focus — China’s Great Wall Motor halts $1bn India plans; Ban on single-use plastic; Toyota unveils hybrid car
Great Wall’s India entry plan was announced with great fanfare during the country’s biennial auto show in January 2020. (Shutterstock)
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Updated 03 July 2022

India In-Focus — China’s Great Wall Motor halts $1bn India plans; Ban on single-use plastic; Toyota unveils hybrid car

India In-Focus — China’s Great Wall Motor halts $1bn India plans; Ban on single-use plastic; Toyota unveils hybrid car

MUMBAI: China’s Great Wall Motor has shelved plans to invest $1 billion in India and laid off all employees at its operations there after failing to obtain regulatory approvals, three sources with direct knowledge of the matter said on Friday.

Without directly commenting on the exit, a Great Wall statement said the company “would like to thank all the members of the Indian team for their contribution,” adding that it would continue to study the Indian market and look for opportunities in the future.

Great Wall’s India entry plan was announced with great fanfare during the country’s biennial auto show in January 2020. India was a key market for the Chinese SUV manufacturer’s global expansion plans and the company had envisioned a plant that would be its biggest outside China.

Months later, after Great Motor began hiring staff in India, New Delhi increased scrutiny of investments from countries with which it shares a land border to deter opportunistic takeovers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The crackdown deepened after a border clash between India and China later that year, which has since held up billions of dollars of capital inflow in the auto and technology sectors among others.

The sources, who declined to be named, said that Great Wall laid off about a dozen employees at its Indian business on Friday after telling them it had failed to obtain foreign direct investment approval from the government to buy a former General Motors plant in the country.

India imposes ban on single-use plastics

India on Friday imposed a ban on single-use plastics on items ranging from straws to cigarette packets to combat worsening pollution in the country whose streets are strewn with waste.

Announcing the ban, the government dismissed the demands of food, beverage and consumer goods companies to hold off the restriction to avoid disruptions.

Plastic waste has become a significant source of pollution in India, the world’s second-most populous country.

Rapid economic growth has fueled demand for goods that come with single-use plastic products, such as straws and disposable cutlery.

But India, which uses about 14 million tons of plastic annually, lacks an organized system for managing plastic waste, leading to widespread littering.

India’s ban on single-use plastic items includes straws, cutlery, earbuds, packaging films, plastic sticks for balloons, candy and ice cream, and cigarette packets, among other products, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government said in a statement.

PepsiCo., Coca-Cola Co, India’s Parle Agro, Dabur and Amul had lobbied for straws to be exempted from the ban. 

Toyota unveils first mass-market hybrid car

Toyota Motor Corp. on Friday unveiled its first mass-market hybrid car for India, a sport utility vehicle, charting a new course for the Japanese automaker in one of the world’s fastest-growing car markets.

The Urban Cruiser Hyryder SUV, the first car to be built by Toyota as part of a global alliance with Suzuki Motor Corp., will compete with Hyundai Motor Co. and Kia Motor Corp. in a segment that accounts for a large portion of auto sales in India.

The new model will be an “ultimate game-changer” for the company in India’s electrified auto space, Vikram Kirloskar, vice chairman of local unit Toyota Kirloskar Motor, said at a launch event in New Delhi.

It also reinforces Toyota’s decision to take the hybrid route in developing markets like India, where it says infrastructure is not ready for battery electric vehicles and much of the electricity is generated using coal or other fossil fuels.

The new SUV is expected to be 40 percent to 50 percent more fuel-efficient than a comparable gasoline-powered car and reduce carbon emissions by 30 percent, Toyota said. 

About 90 percent of the car’s parts are sourced from local suppliers — a move that will help it price the car competitively when it goes on sale later this year. 

(With inputs from Reuters)


Saudi annual inflation rate rises to 2.7% in July driven by high food prices

Saudi annual inflation rate rises to 2.7% in July driven by high food prices
Updated 16 sec ago

Saudi annual inflation rate rises to 2.7% in July driven by high food prices

Saudi annual inflation rate rises to 2.7% in July driven by high food prices

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s annual inflation rate accelerated to 2.7 percent in July, from 2.3 percent in June, according to the recent data released by the General Authority for Statistics, also known as GASTAT.

The uptick in the inflation rate is driven by a rise in food and beverage prices, GASTAT added. 


Saudi IT firm solutions by stc gets approval to acquire Egypt’s Giza Systems

Saudi IT firm solutions by stc gets approval to acquire Egypt’s Giza Systems
Updated 4 min 45 sec ago

Saudi IT firm solutions by stc gets approval to acquire Egypt’s Giza Systems

Saudi IT firm solutions by stc gets approval to acquire Egypt’s Giza Systems

RIYADH: Arabian Internet and Telecommunication Co., known as solutions by stc, received approval from Saudi Arabia’s General Authority For Competition to buy a $158 million stake in Egypt's Giza Systems Co., a bourse filing revealed.

The Saudi-listed company had earlier entered a binding deal for the takeover of an 89.49 percent stake in Giza Systems in addition to 34 percent of its unit, Giza Arabia.

Subject to other regulatory conditions, solutions by stc said the transaction is expected to be completed by the fourth quarter of 2022, adding that any developments will be announced in due course.

 


Iran’s top automaker sets sights on Russian market

Iran’s top automaker sets sights on Russian market
Updated 14 August 2022

Iran’s top automaker sets sights on Russian market

Iran’s top automaker sets sights on Russian market

TEHRAN: Iran’s leading automaker is seeking to prioritize exports to Russia, its CEO said on Sunday, as both countries reel under Western economic sanctions.

Iran Khodro unveiled the latest model of its crossover Rira vehicle at its factory west of Tehran, where CEO Mehdi Khatibi announced the manufacturer’s ambitions for the Russian market.

“We are going to pay special attention to the Russian market, and we are also thinking of partnering with Russian investors,” he said.

“We have held good negotiations with Moscow. The Russian market, with its capacities, will be one of our important markets,” Khatibi added.

“We will begin exporting this year” to Russia, he said.

Iran Khodro had previously exported vehicles to Russia, notably between 2007 and 2009, Iranian media said.

The two countries have responded to the sanctions by boosting cooperation in key areas to help prop up their economies.
The company’s vice president, Kianoush Pourmojib, struck an optimistic note on Sunday, pointing to increased exports to Azerbaijan over the past five years.

“We are ambitious about improving the quality of our vehicles,” he told AFP.

He added that while the manufacturer hopes to compete in markets such as Azerbaijan, Oman and Iraq, “in volume, it is of course Russia that is the most important.”

“This year, we will produce more than 500,000 vehicles and our goal within three years is to export 100,000 vehicles annually,” compared with fewer than 20,000 currently, he said.


Saudi Arabia’s Kingdom Holding unveils $3.4bn investment program

Saudi Arabia’s Kingdom Holding unveils $3.4bn investment program
Updated 14 August 2022

Saudi Arabia’s Kingdom Holding unveils $3.4bn investment program

Saudi Arabia’s Kingdom Holding unveils $3.4bn investment program

RIYADH: Kingdom Holding Co.unveiled its investment program worth SR12.8 billion ($3.4 billion), according to a bourse filing.

In June, the company announced that it completed its investment program during the period between the second quarter of 2020 and Q2 2022. The program invested in companies operating in diverse sectors with a proven track-record of growth and strong financial position.

The company’s total investments amounted to SR4.33 billion in 2020, SR3.75 billion in 2021 and SR4.73 billion in 2022.

 

 

 


UAE In-Focus — SWVL announces a $20m private placement; Dubai developer plans to raise $4.6bn loan

UAE In-Focus — SWVL announces a $20m private placement; Dubai developer plans to raise $4.6bn loan
Updated 14 August 2022

UAE In-Focus — SWVL announces a $20m private placement; Dubai developer plans to raise $4.6bn loan

UAE In-Focus — SWVL announces a $20m private placement; Dubai developer plans to raise $4.6bn loan

DUBAI: SWVL, Dubai-based mobility and transport solutions provider, announced on Wednesday that it had entered into a deal with US-based institutional investors to sell and buy over 12 million shares and securities for 73.4 million dirhams ($20 million) at 6.06 dirhams a share.

The sale of securities and private placement will take place on Friday, the statement said.

It said warrants issued under Series A and Series B will expire five and two years from the date of issuance, respectively.

The company will receive additional 110 million dirhams if the warrants are exercised during this period, it added.

Earlier this year, a special purpose acquisition company bought the transport startup.

Since its founding in Egypt in 2017, it has raised a total of 969 million dirhams.

Dubai developer plans to raise $4.6bn loan

The developer of Dubai’s artificial palm-shaped islands, Nakheel, plans to refinance existing debt by raising 17 billion dirhams ($4.6 billion), according to Bloomberg.

In addition to Dubai Islamic Bank and Emirates NBD, Mashreqbank is seeking financing from the company, the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is confidential.

Aside from regional and global lenders, the banks arranging the loan are also asking them to participate.
 
Emaar reports $1.8bn in H1 revenues

Emaar Development had its highest property sales during the first half of 2022, supported by recent successful launches that will create value for years to come, according to Emirates News Agency, known as WAM.

Compared to 2021, real estate sales increased by 10 percent to 15.216 billion dirhams ($4.143 billion) in the first half of 2022, WAM said.

It added that the Emaar Properties-owned build-to-sell business launched 15 projects in different master plans during the first half of 2022.

The earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization at Emaar Development was 2.564 billion dirhams in the first half of 2022, up 15 percent from the same period in 2021, while revenue was 7.282 billion dirhams, WAM said.

Emaar now has a robust backlog of 32.753 billion dirhams, which will be recognized as future revenue for the company.

Over 3,100 residential units have been delivered by Emaar Development across prime locations, including Dubai Hills Estate, Dubai Creek Harbor, Downtown Dubai, Emaar Beachfront, Arabian Ranches, and Emaar South. 

Currently, Emaar is developing over 26,100 residences in the UAE, with more than 55,100 being delivered as of June 2022.