Zain Group boss is top Kuwait-based CEO on Forbes Middle East list of top executives

Zain Group boss is top Kuwait-based CEO on Forbes Middle East list of top executives
Bader Nasser Al Kharafi has been the CEO of Zain Group since 2014. (Zain Group))
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Updated 06 July 2022

Zain Group boss is top Kuwait-based CEO on Forbes Middle East list of top executives

Zain Group boss is top Kuwait-based CEO on Forbes Middle East list of top executives
  • The magazine ranked Bader Nasser Al-Kharafi in 35th place on its list of the top 100 CEOs in the region

LONDON: Forbes Middle East has named Bader Nasser Al-Kharafi, the CEO of Zain Group. as one of the top 100 CEOs in the Middle East for 2022.

He is ranked 35th and leads a number of other Kuwait-based executives on the list, including Sheikha Dana Al-Sabah of the KIPCO Group, Essam Al-Sager of the National Bank of Kuwait, Tareq Al-Sultan of Agility, Elham Mahfouz of the Commercial Bank of Kuwait, Mohammed Al-Osaimi of Boursa Kuwait, and Talal Al-Ajmi of VI Markets.

Al-Kharafi was appointed vice chairman of Zain Group in 2014 and CEO in 2017. He is also the chairman of the board for the executive committee of Boursa Kuwait, a board member of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, and a founder of BNK Holding, a privately held shareholding company.

The CEOs ranked on the Forbes list come from 26 countries in the region. Companies in the UAE leads the way with 19 entries, followed by Egypt with 16 and Saudi Arabia with 15.

In 2021, the bosses on the list managed more than $1 trillion in revenues and the combined worth of their companies is more than $5 trillion. The sector with the most CEOs on the list is banking and financial services, with 27, followed by telecoms with eight, and energy and logistics with seven.

“Irrespective of the economic environment, market conditions, and other factors, it is the CEO who bears most of the responsibility for the success or failure of the company they lead,” Forbes Middle East wrote.

“This is becoming more apparent in the Middle East, where corporate governance has been improving for several years. There is now a clear separation between ownership and management in companies throughout the region.

“This trend is particularly strong in government-owned businesses, with even sectors such as defense and utilities now being incorporated and even being listed on stock exchanges. This has made CEOs focus more on long-term benefits that stem from innovation, technology, and ESG (environmental, social and governance) initiatives.”

In 2021, when Forbes Middle East published its first list of the top CEOs in the region, the magazine found that the mood among executives was focused on safety and the protection of business.

“This year has seen a reversal in fortunes, with record profits, new investments, large IPOs (initial public offerings), and mega deals taking center stage,” according to the magazine.

“For example, so far in 2022 Amin H. Nasser has led Saudi Aramco to become the world’s most valuable company by market value again, usurping Apple. Meanwhile, Sultan Ahmed Al-Jaber led ADNOC as it took three of its subsidiaries — ADNOC Drilling, Fertiglobe and Borouge — public, with Borouge’s $2 billion IPO becoming Abu Dhabi’s largest-ever IPO.”

The CEOs were ranked based on the effects they have had on the region, their country and the markets that they serve; their overall experience and time spent in their current role; the size of the company in terms of revenues, assets and market cap; their achievements and performance in the past year, and the innovations and initiatives they are responsible for.

To create the rankings, Forbes Middle East sent questionnaires and gathered data from stock market disclosures, industry reports, annual reports and financial statements, among other primary sources.


Saudi Central Bank gets a new governor

Saudi Central Bank gets a new governor
Updated 11 sec ago

Saudi Central Bank gets a new governor

Saudi Central Bank gets a new governor

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s King Salman has appointed Ayman bin Mohammed Al-Sayari as the governor of the Saudi Central Bank, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Thursday. 

He is replacing Fahad Al-Mubarak, who has been named an adviser at the royal court with the rank of a minister, the agency said. 

Al-Sayari was appointed as the deputy governor of the central bank on Oct. 17, 2019. 

He had previously been SAMA’s deputy governor for investment since 2013, playing a key role in formulating the Kingdom’s sovereign debt strategy. 

Al-Sayari obtained a master’s degree in finance at George Washington University in the US. He was awarded his bachelors in accounting from King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals in Dhahran and completed a general management program at Harvard Business School. 

He is also a chartered financial analyst. 

Al-Sayari is a board member of the Saudi Fund for Development, which participates in investment projects in developing countries by granting loans and providing technical aid for financing studies. He is also a board member of the Public Pension Agency and the Saudi Federation for Cybersecurity and Programming. 

Al-Sayari began his professional career as a financial analyst for the Saudi Industrial Development Fund. Before joining SAMA in 1999, he earned an investment analyst certificate from Chase Manhattan Bank. 


Closing bell: Saudi bourse slips 82 points to 10,702  

Closing bell: Saudi bourse slips 82 points to 10,702  
Updated 21 min 15 sec ago

Closing bell: Saudi bourse slips 82 points to 10,702  

Closing bell: Saudi bourse slips 82 points to 10,702  

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Tadawul All Share Index on Thursday lost 81.94 points — or 0.76 percent — to close at 10,701.79.  

MSCI Tadawul 30 Index dropped 0.95 percent to 1,475.52, while the parallel market Nomu slipped 0.79 percent to 18,996.50.  

TASI’s total trading turnover of the benchmark index on Thursday was SR4.04 billion ($1.08 billion), with 77 stocks of the listed 224 advancing and 130 retreating.  

Salama Cooperative Insurance Co. was the topmost gainer for the second day in a row, rising 5.84 percent on Thursday to SR16.30.   

The other top gainers were Dar Alarkan Real Estate Development Co., Saudi Arabian Cooperative Insurance Co., Knowledge Economic City and Americana Restaurants International.  

The worst performer on Thursday was Alinma Bank, which fell 4.25 percent to SR31.55. The bank on Feb. 2 posted a net profit increase of 33 percent to SR3.59 billion in 2022 from SR2.70 billion in 2021.  

The net profit growth was driven by an increase in total operating income by 19.6 percent year-on-year, mainly due to higher net income from financing and investment, fee income, the fair value of investments income through the income statement and currency exchange income.   

Net income from specialized commissions, financing and investments increased 18 percent to SR6.01 billion in 2022 from SR5.14 in 2021.  

The net profit for the fourth quarter of 2022 grew 39 percent to SR860.2 million from SR619.1 million during the same period in 2021.   

The other stocks that performed poorly included Dr. Sulaiman Al Habib Medical Services Group, Banque Saudi Fransi, Saudi Industrial Investment Group and Etihad Etisalat Co.  

Among sectoral indices, 14 of the 21 listed on the stock exchange declined, while the rest advanced.  

The Real Estate Management & Development Index was the best-performing sector of the day as it gained 2.14 percent to 2,733.75, points led by Dar Alarkan Real Estate Development Co.’s 4.85 percent leap to SR12.96.  

The Healthcare Equipment & Service Index was the worst-performing sector, losing 169.9 points to close at 9,384.11.  

On the announcements front, Bank AlJazira also reported a rise of 10 percent in 2022 net profit to SR1.10 billion, compared to SR1 billion in 2021.  

The growth was spurred by a 10 percent decline in total operating expenses year on year.   

“The reduction in total operating expenses came primarily due to a decrease in the net impairment charge for financing and other financial assets, impairment charge for another real estate, rent and premises-related expenses and depreciation and amortization expenses,” the bank said in a statement to Tadawul.  

In the fourth quarter of 2022, net profit rose 7 percent to SR243.8 million from SR228.8 million a year earlier. Bank AlJazira’s share price fell 0.52 percent to SR19.16.  

Saudi Chemical Holding Co., through its pharmaceutical sector represented by the subsidiary AJA Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd, signed on Feb. 1 a memorandum of understanding with Lagap SA, a Swiss-based pharmaceuticals producer.  

The MoU was signed at the Saudi Export stand during the Arab Health Exhibition 2023, the company said in a statement to Tadawul. The MoU is aimed at the co-development of pharmaceutical products and launching them in European and Middle East markets. The company’s share slumped 2.33 percent to SR27.30. 


Saudi-based developer RSG achieves top green rating for its workers’ village

Saudi-based developer RSG achieves top green rating for its workers’ village
Updated 55 min 22 sec ago

Saudi-based developer RSG achieves top green rating for its workers’ village

Saudi-based developer RSG achieves top green rating for its workers’ village

RIYADH: Saudi-based developer Red Sea Global has achieved a Platinum Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification for a collection of villas and townhouses built for the company’s staff.

The certification, also referred to as LEED, was awarded by the non-profit US Green Building Council for the developments at Turtle Bay – a residential and commercial area housing workers, employees and management of The Red Sea.

The platinum certification poses the highest level of accreditation achievable under the LEED Homes rating system, and means Red Sea Global is the owner of the largest portfolio of LEED Homes certified buildings in the Kingdom, according to a statement.

“To be one of the world’s most responsible developers, we must ensure every aspect of our destinations meets the highest possible sustainable standards. Achieving LEED Platinum for The Red Sea’s Turtle Bay villas and townhouses demonstrates to our key stakeholders that we are meeting and exceeding our sustainability objectives,” said Group CEO of RSG John Pagano, in a statement.

In addition to this, Red Sea Global's sustainability accreditation management system is targeting to achieve LEED Building Design & Construction certifications for over 75 percent of its assets, as well as a LEED Cities & Communities for its destinations, the statement revealed.

The multi-project developer is also aiming to attain LEED Platinum on other key developments, including the Red Sea International airport, hospitality assets, among others.


Modon to develop and operate 14 automated warehouses in Jeddah 

Modon to develop and operate 14 automated warehouses in Jeddah 
Updated 02 February 2023

Modon to develop and operate 14 automated warehouses in Jeddah 

Modon to develop and operate 14 automated warehouses in Jeddah 

RIYADH: The Saudi Authority for Industrial Cities and Technology Zones, also known as Modon, is set to establish, develop and operate 14 warehouses in Jeddah 1st Industrial City.  

The new warehouses will be based on smart automated systems to provide quick and temporary logistical solutions to support industrialists and entrepreneurs as well as stimulate investment in the retail sector.  

According to Modon, the project involves the construction of fully digital and automated warehouses that do not need human intervention, using the latest technology and equipment that provides access to storage units via a smartphone app.  

The project is set to offer 24-hour customer service to provide immediate and thorough support.  

The warehouses will be operated based on the public-private partnership model, which is expected to enhance quality standards and operational efficiency of services and products and stimulate investment. 


Saudi fintech firm Raqamyah gets SAMA license to offer crowdlending solutions  

Saudi fintech firm Raqamyah gets SAMA license to offer crowdlending solutions  
Updated 02 February 2023

Saudi fintech firm Raqamyah gets SAMA license to offer crowdlending solutions  

Saudi fintech firm Raqamyah gets SAMA license to offer crowdlending solutions  

CAIRO: Riyadh-based fintech firm Raqamyah has received a license from the Saudi Central Bank, also known as SAMA, to offer its debt-based crowdlending solutions to small and medium enterprises.  

The license was granted after the company successfully passed testing its solutions within the SAMA’s regulatory sandbox, an experimental environment dedicated to innovative financial products and services in Saudi Arabia.  

Founded in 2017, Raqamyah enables SMEs to access Shariah-compliant financing of up to $1.3 million from individual and institutional lenders through its online platform and has been part of SAMA’s regulatory sandbox since 2019.  

SMEs apply for financing applications with the firm and receive approval within three working days to list their business on the platform where lenders start funding the request.  

The financers then receive monthly payments and profits as the businesses make their repayments. The platform also offers lenders to automate their lending investments so whenever there’s an opportunity that fits the criteria.  

In February 2021, Raqamyah secured $2.3 million in a funding round led by Impact46 which was used to comply with SAMA’s licensing requirements. 

The bank said its licensing of fintech companies contributes to achieving the objectives of the Financial Development Sector strategy aligned with Vision 2030.   

“SAMA reiterates its commitment to support the finance sector, increase the efficacy and flexibility of financial transactions and enable innovation in financial services to promote financial inclusion in the Kingdom and provide easy and secure access to financial services to all segments of society,” it said in a press release. 

Last month, the central bank issued licenses to two fintech firms — Forus and Tameed — both specializing in debt-based crowdfunding.  

Also earlier in January, the central bank announced the launch of a new lab to allow businesses to test their products against an established framework.   

The service is a new concept that enables consumers of financial institutions to securely share their data with a third-party provider, facilitating innovative services and products.