Saudi-Greek Investment Forum sees $3.7bn deals on energy, economy and technology

Saudi-Greek Investment Forum sees $3.7bn deals on energy, economy and technology
Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Investment Khalid Al-Falih at the forum (Supplied)
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Updated 27 July 2022

Saudi-Greek Investment Forum sees $3.7bn deals on energy, economy and technology

Saudi-Greek Investment Forum sees $3.7bn deals on energy, economy and technology
  • The meeting included discussions on communications, transport, logistics and energy
  • Saudi minister of investment: Saudi-Greek Investment Forum will strengthen bilateral economic relationship

RIYADH: Ministers from Saudi Arabia and Greece came together with leading private sector officials to discuss ways to enhance economic and investment cooperation between the two countries at a special Forum on Wednesday.

The meeting included discussions on communications, transport, logistics and energy, in addition to a signing ceremony for a number of agreements and memoranda of understanding, amounting to around SR14 billion ($3.7 billion).

Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Investment Khalid Al-Falih said that the Saudi-Greek Investment Forum will strengthen bilateral economic relationship between the two countries.

“For everything that we do to advance our relations are about this — whether in the form of a fiber optic data cable, electricity, culture, shipping or people to people contacts. We are truly at a historical inflection point in our bilateral economic relations,” said Al-Falih in a tweet.

During the investment forum, Saudi Arabia signed an agreement with Greece to extend a submarine cable to help the Kingdom become a “major player” in the digital economy, Saudi Minister of Communications Abdullah Al-Sawaha told Al-Sharq.

“We seek for Saudi Arabia to be a magnet for cloud computing and building a new economy based on artificial intelligence,” Al-Sawaha said.

He added: “Today, we started from the stage of building the local leadership, then the digital regional leadership, and we will be the global leadership in 2030.”

During the forum, Bahri, the national shipping carrier of Saudi Arabia signed two memorandum of understanding to strengthen the maritime sector.

A strategic partnership was announced between the Saudi and Greek private sectors on the sidelines of the Crown Prince's visit to build a data cable project linking the East to the West.

This cable will ensure the smooth digital supply of data worldwide at a time when the data traffic is growing by more than 30 percent, SPA said.

This comes through the leadership of the Saudi Telecom Co. on the submarine cable project in partnership with the Greek Telecom Co., the General Energy Co. of Greece and the Cyprus Telecom Co.

STC Group announced that its subsidiary Middle East and North Africa Hub will cooperate with the Greek telecom firm TSSA to build a data corridor that extends from the Kingdom to Europe through a modern, high-capacity network of terrestrial optical fibers under the sea and will connect Europe with Asia.

The project aims to position the two countries as an eastern digital station for Europe to reach the Middle East, the continents of Africa and Asia. 

Along with 21 investment agreements, Saudi Arabia and Greece also signed a deal to promote digital transformation and innovation in the fields of energy, including cybersecurity, while working to develop qualitative partnerships to localize materials, products and services related to all energy sectors and their associated supply chains and technologies.


UAE In-Focus: Peninsula acquires 17 leased warehouse buildings; Dubai sees rental growth

UAE In-Focus: Peninsula acquires 17 leased warehouse buildings; Dubai sees rental growth
Updated 18 sec ago

UAE In-Focus: Peninsula acquires 17 leased warehouse buildings; Dubai sees rental growth

UAE In-Focus: Peninsula acquires 17 leased warehouse buildings; Dubai sees rental growth

DUBAI: Peninsula Real Estate Management Limited has acquired 17 leased warehouse buildings at the AL MARKAZ Industrial Development from Waha Capital, through its wholly owned subsidiary, Waha Land, for 555 million dirhams ($151 million), according to a statement.

AL MARKAZ is a mixed-use industrial development developed by Waha Land in Al Dhafra, 35 km west of Abu Dhabi. It features Grade “A” industrial and logistic facilities and first-class infrastructure, the statement said.

Under the terms of the agreement, the two parties are expected to close the all-cash deal by the end of 2022.

Peninsula CEO James Gallon said in a statement: “This acquisition is one of a number of transactions that Peninsula will be announcing in the months ahead, as we continue to build a portfolio with diversified and highly visible cash flows.”

Along with the five plots that make up 362,000 sq. m, Peninsula has also agreed to purchase an additional 136,000 sq. m of industrial properties currently under development by Waha Land, with leasing expected to begin in the third quarter of 2023 after construction is completed.

Waha Land will continue to develop its remaining land bank assets following the sale. AL MARKAZ’s land and built assets will also continue to be developed, leased, and monetized through Waha Land’s comprehensive asset development and management capabilities.

Aleph Hospitality enters Congo and creates job opportunities

Dubai-based Aleph Hospitality signed a management contract with Congo-based Sokerico Group to operate Kertel Suites in Kinshasa, according to a statement.

The boutique property is set to open in the first quarter of 2023, setting a new benchmark for the hospitality sector in Kinshasa. Across eight African countries, Aleph Hospitality now operates 12 properties, the statement said.

Founder and Managing Director of Aleph Hospitality, Bani Haddad, said: “It’s an interesting time to secure a presence in the heart of Africa, as the Democratic Republic of the Congo is currently investing in the hospitality sector, restoring historical sites and strengthening sustainability within their ecosystem.”

According to Ritesh Hemnani and Kenny Rawtani, owners of Sokerico Group and developers of the project, Kertel Suites will create vast employment opportunities for Congolese residents as part of Aleph’s rapidly growing hospitality group.

Dubai’s rental growth, highest level since May 2014: CBRE 

CBRE’s August 2022 Dubai Residential Market Snapshot shows that Dubai’s residential market recorded 6,524 transactions in July 2022, up 58 percent.

Off-plan sales increased by 59 percent and secondary market sales by 57.1 percent during this period. While the total volume of transactions reached 45,793, a record high since 2009, the report said.

In the year to July 2022, the average price increased by 9.9 percent. During this period, average apartment prices increased by 8.7 percent and average villa prices increased by 17.8 percent, the report added.

In July 2022, the average apartment price in Dubai was 1,114 dirhams ($303) per square foot, while the average villa price was 1,335 dirhams per square foot.

In comparison to late 2014 highs, these rates per square foot are 25.1 percent and 7.6 percent lower, respectively.


China In-Focus — Stocks end lower; Toyota suspends operations at Sichuan plant

China In-Focus — Stocks end lower; Toyota suspends operations at Sichuan plant
Updated 7 min 59 sec ago

China In-Focus — Stocks end lower; Toyota suspends operations at Sichuan plant

China In-Focus — Stocks end lower; Toyota suspends operations at Sichuan plant

RIYADH: China’s blue-chip index edged lower on Tuesday on worries about COVID-19 flare-ups and slowing economic growth, although property stocks jumped on news of policy support.

The blue-chip CSI300 index fell 0.2 percent, while the Shanghai Composite Index .SSEC gained 0.1 percent.

The Hang Seng index fell 1.1 percent, while the China Enterprises Index lost 1.3 percent.

Toyota suspends operations

Toyota Motor Corp. suspended operations at its Sichuan plant in China because of a power shortage, the Kyodo News reported on Tuesday.

The local authority has ordered the automaker to suspend operations, the report said.

Tsingshan mulls selling Indonesian assets 

China’s stainless steel and nickel giant, Tsingshan Holding Group is considering selling some of its assets in Indonesia to China Baowu Steel Group, the world’s top steel producer, sources said.

Tsingshan has in recent years been investing heavily in Indonesia, turning the nickel-rich Southeast Asian nation into a hub of stainless steel and nickel production, and a possible top supplier of electric vehicle battery chemicals.

“(It’s) still under discussion,” a Tsingshan official said, referring to the possible sale, without elaborating.

Two other sources at Baowu confirmed the talks, with one saying that the acquisition would be part of the Chinese state-controlled steel firm’s long-term goal to expand in the stainless steel sector, especially in Southeast Asia.

It would also be in Baowu’s interests to expand into nickel, most of which is used in making stainless steel.

“Our layout in the nickel industry is quite limited, and it is now too late to buy resources and invest a large amount of money to build factories,” said a second source at Baowu.

 

(With input from Reuters) 

 


Crypto Moves – Bitcoin and Ethereum fall; 10X SPAC and Prime Blockchain complete $1.25bn merger deal

Crypto Moves – Bitcoin and Ethereum fall; 10X SPAC and Prime Blockchain complete $1.25bn merger deal
Updated 30 min 37 sec ago

Crypto Moves – Bitcoin and Ethereum fall; 10X SPAC and Prime Blockchain complete $1.25bn merger deal

Crypto Moves – Bitcoin and Ethereum fall; 10X SPAC and Prime Blockchain complete $1.25bn merger deal

RIYADH: Bitcoin, the leading cryptocurrency internationally, traded lower on Tuesday, falling by 3.44 percent to $24,008 as of 7:57 a.m. Riyadh time.

Ethereum, the second most traded cryptocurrency, was priced at $1,874 falling by 5.51 percent, according to data from Coindesk.

10X SPAC and Prime Blockchain complete $1.25bn merger deal

Prime Blockchain and blank-check vehicle 10X Capital Venture Acquisition Corp. II have ended their $1.25 billion merger deal, Reuters reported.

It demonstrates waning enthusiasm for special purpose acquisition companies that were startups’ preferred route to initial public offerings.

As a result of sky-high inflation and recession fears this year, several companies have canceled their SPAC mergers, which were announced in April.

Despite some hope last week, analysts have cautioned against over-optimism, arguing that before slowing rate hikes, the Federal Reserve will seek more solid evidence that inflation is declining.

Hodlnaut seeks judicial management for reorganization

As part of its efforts to restructure its business, Hodlnaut, a Singapore-based crypto currency lender and borrower, filed an application to be placed under judicial management on Tuesday, Reuters said.

In a petition filed with the Singapore High Court, the crypto company said it suspended withdrawals, swaps, and deposits last week.

The collapse of two paired tokens, Luna and TerraUSD, in May sparked a selloff in crypto assets.

Dragonfly Ventures buys hedge fund and rebrands

Venture capital firm Dragonfly announced it acquired cryptocurrency fund MetaStable Capital and rebranded, according to Bloomberg.

Haseeb Qureshi, the managing partner at Dragonfly, said the acquisition coincides with consolidation in the digital asset industry, Bloomberg added.

The terms of the deal were not disclosed. Under a new logo, Bloomberg said that Dragonfly has dropped “Capital” from its name.

Qureshi, a former partner at MetaStable, said in a Telegram message: “The bear market has caused a lot of traditional funds and crossover funds to exit the crypto market.”

“We’re the opposite: we’re going deeper, and committing to our crypto-native roots,” he added.

With tightening monetary policy, the crypto market suffered a painful rout resulting in spectacular leveraged losses., Bloomberg added. This shakeout is resulting in a rise in mergers and acquisitions.

Leon Li, the founder of crypto exchange Huobi, is interested in selling his majority stake. Crypto.com, a digital currency platform, also announced acquisitions in South Korea recently.

As of July 31, MetaStable had over $400 million in assets under management, co-founded by Naval Ravikant, according to Bloomberg. Many well-known digital-asset projects, such as Ethereum, were invested in by the fund early on. Venture capital firms including Andreessen Horowitz, Sequoia, Union Square Ventures, and Founders Fund backed the company.

“Dragonfly has grown a lot since it launched, and so has the crypto industry," Qureshi said.

He added: “The traditional VCs will be back eventually, but the space will have moved on even further by then, and so will we.” 

According to public records, Dragonfly manages regulatory assets worth more than $3 billion, said Bloomberg. In a statement, general partner Tom Schmidt said the new brand represents the firm’s “cyberpunk, hacker-first roots.”

(With inputs from Reuters)


Saudi Arabia’s Dar Al Arkan plans residential project in Abu Dhabi

Saudi Arabia’s Dar Al Arkan plans residential project in Abu Dhabi
Updated 44 min 47 sec ago

Saudi Arabia’s Dar Al Arkan plans residential project in Abu Dhabi

Saudi Arabia’s Dar Al Arkan plans residential project in Abu Dhabi

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s property developer Dar Al Arkan is planning a new residential project in Abu Dhabi as the property market in the UAE is steadily rebounding after the pandemic, a local newspaper of the UAE reported quoting the firm’s vice chairman Ziad El Chaar. 

El Chaar revealed that the new project will be Dar Al Arkan’s fourth in the UAE and the first in Abu Dhabi. Currently, the property developer has three ongoing projects in Dubai. 

“Abu Dhabi is a promising market. We are in discussions with many parties to acquire some key plots to enter the market soon,” said El Chaar. 

The development work on the new residential project is expected to begin by the first quarter of 2023. 

El Chaar, however, did not reveal the total cost of the Abu Dhabi project but said the company’s projects are “sizeable,” with each project valuing about $262 million. 


India In-Focus — Shares rise; India buys discounted Venezuelan petcoke; Volkswagen, Mahindra deepen EV cooperation 

India In-Focus — Shares rise; India buys discounted Venezuelan petcoke; Volkswagen, Mahindra deepen EV cooperation 
Updated 48 min 27 sec ago

India In-Focus — Shares rise; India buys discounted Venezuelan petcoke; Volkswagen, Mahindra deepen EV cooperation 

India In-Focus — Shares rise; India buys discounted Venezuelan petcoke; Volkswagen, Mahindra deepen EV cooperation 

RIYADH: Indian shares traded higher on Tuesday, with the NSE Nifty 50 index trading above 17,800 for the first time since April 8, helped by softening consumer inflation that eased for a third straight month in July.

The NSE Nifty 50 index was up 0.7 percent at 17,827.25, as of 0500 GMT, while the S&P BSE Sensex was 0.7 percent higher at 59,888.24. Indian markets were closed on Monday for a holiday.

India’s consumer inflation dipped to 6.71 percent in July, aided by a slower increase in food and fuel prices and adding to expectations that the central bank may rein in the pace of its policy rate hikes from next month.

Auto stocks were up, and the Nifty Auto index hit a record high with its 1.8 percent gain.

Shares of Hero MotoCorp. rose as much as 3 percent after strong June-quarter results.

Life Insurance Corporation of India rose 2.5 percent after the country’s biggest insurer posted a 20 percent jump in June-quarter premium income on Friday.

India buys discounted Venezuelan petcoke to replace coal

Indian companies are importing significant volumes of petroleum coke from Venezuela for the first time, trade sources and shipping data showed.

India’s growing appetite for Venezuela’s petcoke – a byproduct from oil upgrading and an alternative to coal — is being driven by a scramble for inexpensive fuel to power industries as global coal prices have surged.

This could boost cash flow for the South American producer, where state and private companies have increased exports of petrochemicals and oil byproducts, and the more competitively-priced Venezuelan supplies could displace cargoes from traditional suppliers.

Indian cement companies imported at least four cargoes carrying 160,000 tons of petroleum coke from April to June, according to three trade sources, Refinitiv ship-tracking data and Venezuelan shipping schedules.

Another 50,000-ton cargo is expected to reach the port of Mangalore on India’s southwestern coast in the coming days while a 30,000-ton shipment is scheduled to depart later in August, the data showed.

Volkswagen, Mahindra deepen electric vehicle component cooperation

Volkswagen and Mahindra & Mahindra on Monday expanded their cooperation and signed a term sheet under which the German carmaker will supply electric components to its Indian peer.

The agreement covers components of Volkswagen’s open platform for electric vehicles, called MEB, to be supplied to Mahindra’s new electric platform INGLO, the companies said.

The INGLO platform, which will power all of Mahindra’s EVs, offers options ranging from 60-80 kilowatt-hour battery capacity and fast-charging of up to 80 percent in less than 30 minutes, Mahindra said, without specifying the range of the EVs.

The cooperation aims for a volume of more than 1 million vehicles by 2030 and includes the equipment of five electric sports utility vehicles based on INGLO, the companies said.

“The partnership not only demonstrates that our platform business is highly competitive, but also that the MEB is well on track to become one of the leading open platforms for e-mobility,” Volkswagen management board member Thomas Schmall said.

(With input from Reuters)