MENA startups raise $1.8bn in first half of 2022

The region saw three startups in the top-10 investment rounds across the MENA region, Pakistan, Turkey, and Sub-Saharan Africa, thanks to Saudi Arabia’s Foodics, UAE’s Pure Harvest Smart Farms, and Bahrain’s Rain.
The region saw three startups in the top-10 investment rounds across the MENA region, Pakistan, Turkey, and Sub-Saharan Africa, thanks to Saudi Arabia’s Foodics, UAE’s Pure Harvest Smart Farms, and Bahrain’s Rain.
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Updated 05 July 2022

MENA startups raise $1.8bn in first half of 2022

MENA startups raise $1.8bn in first half of 2022

RIYADH: Startups in the Middle East and North Africa region raised $1.8 billion in the first half of 2022 — hitting an all-time high of $974 million in the first quarter alone, said a MAGNiTT report.

The region saw three startups in the top-10 investment rounds across the MENA region, Pakistan, Turkey, and Sub-Saharan Africa, thanks to Saudi Arabia’s Foodics, UAE’s Pure Harvest Smart Farms, and Bahrain’s Rain.

The report also indicated that 33 mergers and acquisitions were recorded in the MENA region.

The fintech sector remained the most capital attracting sector, raising nearly $1.7 billion and accounting for 34 percent of the total funding secured across all markets. Transport and logistics and e-commerce came in second and third, each raising respectively $1 billion and $501 million.


Egypt In-Focus — Egypt launches low-cost airline Air Sphinx; Deal signed for high-speed rail line; SCZONE signs MOU with Toyota Tsusho

Egypt In-Focus — Egypt launches low-cost airline Air Sphinx; Deal signed for high-speed rail line; SCZONE signs MOU with Toyota Tsusho
Updated 26 sec ago

Egypt In-Focus — Egypt launches low-cost airline Air Sphinx; Deal signed for high-speed rail line; SCZONE signs MOU with Toyota Tsusho

Egypt In-Focus — Egypt launches low-cost airline Air Sphinx; Deal signed for high-speed rail line; SCZONE signs MOU with Toyota Tsusho

CAIRO: Egypt will be launching another airline, under the title of Air Sphinx by the end of this year.

After EgyptAir’s massive losses during the pandemic, the new low-cost airline is an effort to revive the aviation sector and increase profits, reported CNBC Arabia.

Additionally, it will encourage the flow of tourism within and outside of Egypt, according to Elhamy El-Zayat, the former head of the Egyptian Tourism Federation.  

Air Sphinx will operate from the Sphinx Airport in the 6th of October city, he added.

High-speed rail line

Egypt-based Elsewedy Electric, in partnership with Germany’s Deutsche Bahn International Operation, has signed a deal to operate and maintain the Egyptian high-speed rail line.

The scope of work includes the railway’s principle line and cargo rail networks, reported MEED.

SCZONE signs MOU with Toyota Tsusho

The Suez Canal Economic Zone has signed a memorandum of understanding with Japanese tycoon Toyota Tsusho Corp.

This comes as part of a plan to increase Japan’s presence in infrastructure and renewable energy-related projects, reported Egypt today.

Both sides will benefit from this deal, according to the general manager of Energy Infrastructure Projects at Toyota Tsusho Corp.


Aramco’s chemicals JV Sadara reports 88% profit drop as higher feedstock costs drag

Aramco’s chemicals JV Sadara reports 88% profit drop as higher feedstock costs drag
Updated 4 min 51 sec ago

Aramco’s chemicals JV Sadara reports 88% profit drop as higher feedstock costs drag

Aramco’s chemicals JV Sadara reports 88% profit drop as higher feedstock costs drag

RIYADH: Sadara Chemical Co., a joint venture between oil major Saudi Aramco and US Dow Chemical Co., has posted an 88 percent drop in profit for the first half of 2022.

On the back of higher feedstock prices, profits of the giant JV went down from SR2.2 billion ($592 million) to SR275 million, a bourse filing showed.

This was coupled with revenues amounting to SR8.3 billion during the six-month period, almost unchanged from the same period in 2021.

“The decrease in net profit in the current period compared to the same period of the last year is mainly attributable to the recognition of modification gain of SR1.05 billion from debt reprofiling during the previous year,” Sadara said in the filing.

 Specialized in producing a wide range of specialty chemicals, the firm added that its profits were hit by an increase in feedstock costs and lower average sales prices.


MENA Project Tracker — Bids on Saudi radiological services project; Spetco lands $172m contract with KOC; JPMC begins work on $85m phosphate plant

MENA Project Tracker — Bids on Saudi radiological services project; Spetco lands $172m contract with KOC; JPMC begins work on $85m phosphate plant
Updated 10 min 1 sec ago

MENA Project Tracker — Bids on Saudi radiological services project; Spetco lands $172m contract with KOC; JPMC begins work on $85m phosphate plant

MENA Project Tracker — Bids on Saudi radiological services project; Spetco lands $172m contract with KOC; JPMC begins work on $85m phosphate plant

CAIRO: Saudi-based Quantum Switch Tamasuk— a specialist in designing and building data centers —has collaborated with the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology on the $2 billion data center project.

The first phase has already begun in King Salman Energy Park in Dammam, and it comprises building 60MW of data center capacity out of the 300MW capacity by year-end, reported Tamasuk.

According to the four-year plan, Riyadh, Jeddah, and NEOM will also benefit from their own data centers by 2026.

“QST’s data centers will be designed and built to meet the demands of hyper-scale cloud service providers, international gaming and media platforms, and global content delivery networks, with a view to attracting them to locate their main regional hubs in the Kingdom,” stated QST.

Bids on Saudi radiological services project

Pre-qualified companies in the health sector will place bids on the Saudi Ministry of Health's radiological services project—the first of its kind in Saudi Arabia.

Eight companies are to reveal their bids on the project on Aug. 18.

The scope of work includes supplying and operating radiological services and medical nuclear images services to top-notch hospitals in the region, reported MEED.

This is part of the $2 billion healthcare projects in the Gulf Cooperation Council being achieved through a public-private partnership model.

Spetco lands $172m contract with KOC

Kuwait-based Spetco International Petroleum Co. has signed a 53 million Kuwaiti dinar ($172 million) contract with state-owned Kuwait Oil Co. to provide and operate sucker rod pumps at oil fields.

This is the third contract out of $389 million worth of contracts, where the other two were tendered to Contracting & Marine Services and Fawares Petroleum Services Co, disclosed MEED.

The bids were conducted through a mumarasa tendering system, which is a reverse auction where each company puts forth its lowest price until the lowest bidder wins.

Tadweer partners with KEO for Al-Dhafra feasibility study

Abu Dhabi Waste Management Centre, known as Tadweer, has partnered with KEO International Consultants on a feasibility study to extract greenhouse gases from the Al-Dhafra landfill.

The project will convert the toxic gasses into sustainable energy, according to MEED.

This study will include detecting the local market’s needs, and how to benefit from the exerted greenhouse gases using the most efficient and environmentally friendly methods. 

JPMC begins work on $85m phosphate plant in Jordan

Jordan Phosphate Mines Co., in collaboration with Ideal Development Co. for Manufacturing Industries, has started work on the planned $85 million phosphate washing factory in Shidiya, Maan governorate of Jordan.

It is to be completed in 15 months, whereafter the project will use washing and floating methods to convert low-quality phosphate into high-quality phosphate, reported MEED.

Not only will the project generate profits of 100 million Jordanian dinars ($140.9 million), but it will also create over 2,000 jobs in the transport and logistics sector, according to Mohammed Thneibat, JPMC chairman.

Qatar to receive first Typhoon fighter Jet

Qatar will receive its first Typhoon fighter jet from UK-based BAE Systems by the end of this month, reported MEED.

This is part of a £5 billion ($6.5 billion) deal in 2018, which entails BAE Systems providing Qatar with 24 Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft.

“The first Typhoon has been delivered on schedule and will ferry from the UK to Qatar later this month,” BAE Systems said.

“Typhoon will provide critical support for the Fifa World Cup, which will be held in the state from 20 November,” the British multinational aerospace company added.


Dubai office market records strong rental growth in 7 years: Report

Dubai office market records strong rental growth in 7 years: Report
Updated 5 min 11 sec ago

Dubai office market records strong rental growth in 7 years: Report

Dubai office market records strong rental growth in 7 years: Report

DUBAI: Dubai’s office market has seen rental growth for the first time since 2016’s first quarter, according to CBRE’s UAE Real Estate Market Review Q2 2022 report.

Looking at the office sector figures in the second quarter, Dubai-based commercial Ejari contracts increased by 28.1 percent year-on-year, according to the report. 

Average Prime and Grade A rents in Abu Dhabi fell by 6.9 percent and 1.1 percent respectively, whereas the Grade B segment of the market saw average rents increase by 4.5 percent.

The UAE’s real estate sector continued to record strong activity and performance in the first half of the year, it said. 

Prime, Grade A, Grade B, and Grade C rents increased by 7 percent, 7.2 percent, 3.9 percent, and 3 percent, respectively, in the second quarter. 

According to CBRE, the market will continue to outperform Prime and Grade A assets due to the limited availability of quality stock.

Residential sector 

There was an increase of 2.2 percent in property prices in Abu Dhabi in the 12 months to June 2022, with an increase of 2.1 percent for apartments and 2.2 percent for villas. 

In the year to June 2022, apartment rents in the capital increased by 0.6 percent, while villa rents declined by 2.3 percent. A total of 33.2 percent of sales transactions took place in this period, primarily on Reem Island, Yas Island, and Saadiyat Island. 

Dubai’s average property price increased by 10.1 percent in the year to June 2022.

There was an 8.7 percent increase in average apartment prices and a 19.3 percent increase in average villa prices during this period. In the year to June 2022, average apartment and villa rents increased by 21.2 percent and 24.7 percent, respectively, the highest growth rate since July 2014. 

Over this period, 39,269 transactions have been recorded, the highest total since 2009. Over the year to June 2022, total transaction volumes were up 54.5 percent, with off-plan and ready transactions up 72.3 percent and 43.3 percent, respectively.

Hospitality sector 

CBRE reported that the UAE’s key performance indicators continued to show significant improvement in 2022.

 As of June 2022, the average occupancy rate had increased by 10.3 percentage points year-over-year.

Revenue per available room across the UAE now stands 16.9 percent above 2019 levels on a year-to-date basis through June 2022.

The growth has primarily been driven by Fujairah, Dubai, and Sharjah, where RevPAR has grown by 26.7 percent, 20.6 percent, and 10.5 percent, respectively. 

The report said it predicted a steeper decline in performance than usual during the summer. Despite this, the project has not materialized as expected. 

According to the report, local and regional events are likely to boost performance for the remainder of the year.

Retail sector 

The number of retail visits in Abu Dhabi and Dubai exceeded their respective pre-pandemic baselines by 13 and 12.3 percent, respectively. 

A total of 6,540 new retail Ejari contracts were registered in Dubai in the second quarter of 2022, up 1.8 percent from the same period last year, and 10,193 contracts were renewed, up 16.1 percent.

Retail operators in Abu Dhabi are still hesitant to acquire new space due to COVID-19 regulations, and existing occupiers are content to maintain their existing footprints and lock in rents. 

The average retail rent in Abu Dhabi remained flat in the year to Q2 2022, while it increased by 22.0 percent in Dubai.


Saudi Arabia to maintain gasoline price ceiling in medium-term, official tells Al-Arabiya

Saudi Arabia to maintain gasoline price ceiling in medium-term, official tells Al-Arabiya
Updated 57 min 24 sec ago

Saudi Arabia to maintain gasoline price ceiling in medium-term, official tells Al-Arabiya

Saudi Arabia to maintain gasoline price ceiling in medium-term, official tells Al-Arabiya

RIYADH: The Saudi government will continue to implement a ceiling on gasoline prices in the medium-term, the Kingdom’s deputy minister for macro-fiscal policy at the Ministry of Finance told Al-Arabiya. 

Thamer Al-Jared said the Kingdom’s objection to the International Monetary Fund’s proposal to raise the ceiling of gasoline prices comes in line with the government’s policy. 

He said with the current policy the government seeks to keep inflation under control. 

Global inflation exceeded 8 percent in many countries, while it is still at 2.3 percent in Saudi Arabia, which reflects the success of the Kingdom’s policies in this regard.