Kingdom Holding buys $283m stake in UK-based insurer Phoenix Group

Kingdom Holding buys $283m stake in UK-based insurer Phoenix Group
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Updated 28 July 2022

Kingdom Holding buys $283m stake in UK-based insurer Phoenix Group

Kingdom Holding buys $283m stake in UK-based insurer Phoenix Group

RIYADH: Saudi Kingdom Holding Co. has acquired a SR1.06 billion ($283 million) stake in UK-based insurer Phoenix Group, which has over 13 million customers across the UK and Europe.

The Saudi-listed PIF-backed investment firm, with assets worth more than SR50 billion, has consequently increased its ownership in Phoenix Group to 3.79 percent, a bourse filing showed.

“This investment is a continuation of KHC's strategy to invest in blue-chip companies that are considered market leaders in their field,” the company said.

The move comes as an extension to a SR12.8 billion investment program that was announced by KHC earlier this year. Most recently, it bought a SR1.01 billion stake in UK fund manager M&G plc.

Prior to that, Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal sold part of his stake in KHC to the Public Investment Fund in a $1.5 billion deal, reducing his interest to 78.13 percent.


Veolia and Emirates Waste to Energy form JV to operate region’s first waste-to-energy plant

Veolia and Emirates Waste to Energy form JV to operate region’s first waste-to-energy plant
Updated 9 sec ago

Veolia and Emirates Waste to Energy form JV to operate region’s first waste-to-energy plant

Veolia and Emirates Waste to Energy form JV to operate region’s first waste-to-energy plant

RIYADH: Environmental management firm Veolia Near & Middle East has joined forces with Emirates Waste to Energy to operate and maintain the Sharjah waste-to-energy plant, touted to be the first in the region.

A joint venture between Sharjah environmental management company Beeah and Abu Dhabi renewable energy company Masdar, Emirates Waste to Energy can process 300,000 tons of municipal waste every year along with producing 30 megawatts of low carbon energy — sufficient enough to power up to 28,000 homes and offset up to 450,000 tons of CO2 emissions per annum, according to a press release.

Sharjah currently has a 76 percent landfill waste diversion rate and upon completion of this project it will enable that to be increased to 100 percent, thus making Sharjah the first zero waste-to-landfill cities in the Middle East.

“As part of our efforts to promote ecological transformation, Veolia is dedicated to diverting domestic waste away from landfill and to supporting the UAE’s push for green energy. This project helps achieve both goals, while being aligned with the UAE’s ambitious environmental vision,” said Pascal Grante, CEO of Veolia Near & Middle East.

Khaled Al-Huraimel, Group CEO of BEEAH Group, said the new venture with Veolia and Masdar is “another exciting development in our mission to shape a zero waste to landfill, net-zero emissions future in Sharjah and the UAE.”

He added: “Over the next 25 years, we will continue to build on our integrated waste management and zero waste-to-landfill ecosystem through the Sharjah Waste to Energy Plant.”

The waste management complex in the plant will recover a majority of the recyclable material from the waste it processes. Later, the remaining waste will be thermally treated, and the heat produced from the process will be applied to a boiler, which will produce steam and drive a turbine to produce electricity, the press release noted.

Mohamed Jameel Al-Ramahi, CEO of Masdar said: “We will work together to ensure the smooth operation and maintenance of the region’s first commercial-scale waste-to-energy facility, supporting Sharjah and the UAE in achieving their zero-waste and net-zero ambitions.”


Saudi-Vietnamese trade ties boosted by Riyadh forum

Saudi-Vietnamese trade ties boosted by Riyadh forum
Updated 5 min 26 sec ago

Saudi-Vietnamese trade ties boosted by Riyadh forum

Saudi-Vietnamese trade ties boosted by Riyadh forum

RIYADH: Saudi and Vietnamese business leaders from more than 40 companies met in Riyadh to discuss ways to increase their already flourishing health trade exchange volume, which stands at SR8.2 billion ($2.2bn).

The Saudi-Vietnamese Business Forum, held at the Federation of Saudi Chambers, saw the representatives of 21 Saudi companies and 20 from Vietnam discussing how to benefit from the opportunities provided by the Kingdom’s Vision 2030.

Vice-chairman of the Saudi Regional Business Council for Southeast Asian Countries Abdulghani Al-Rumaih praised the Saudi-Vietnamese Joint Committee and its reflection on the volume of trade exchange, which amounted to about SR8.2 billion in 2021, Saudi Press Agency reported. 

Saudi Arabia is a major market for the South-East Asian country and one of Vietnam’s important partners in the Middle East and Africa region. 

The Saudi-Vietnamese Joint Committee was launched in 2006 and it aims to discuss ways of cooperation in many areas that contribute to the development of the two countries.

Vietnam is among the fastest growing economies in Southeast Asia, with an average gross domestic product growth of between 6 and 7 percent prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The meeting comes in line with recent efforts by Saudi Arabia to increase linkages with international markets through establishing new bilateral organizations, as well as holding forums and meetings with countries including Finland, India, Uzbekistan, Thailand, France, Indonesia and Spain.

Speaking to Arab News earlier this year, Saad Al-Shahrani, the acting deputy minister for investment promotion in the Ministry of Investment of Saudi Arabia, said the Kingdom achieved an 18 percent increase in foreign direct investment in 2020, even as the global FDI declined by 35 percent due to the pandemic.

Saudi Arabia has enacted over 600 economic reforms since the launch of the Vision 2030 blueprint in a bid to attract SR12.4 trillion of cumulative investment and SR1.8 trillion in foreign direct investment inflows between 2021 and 2030 as part of the National Investment Strategy.


Saudi Arabia, UAE recognize seafarer certifications to encourage maritime relations 

Saudi Arabia, UAE recognize seafarer certifications to encourage maritime relations 
Updated 18 min 28 sec ago

Saudi Arabia, UAE recognize seafarer certifications to encourage maritime relations 

Saudi Arabia, UAE recognize seafarer certifications to encourage maritime relations 

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia and the UAE have reached an agreement for mutual recognition of maritime certificates issued in both countries. 

A Memorandum of Understanding was signed at the International Maritime Organization’s headquarters in London by Hessa Al Malek, adviser to the UAE’s minister for maritime transport affairs, and Abdulrahman Matooq Al-Thonayan, deputy for maritime transport at the Transport General Authority in Saudi Arabia.  

According to the MoU, both sides will recognize the education, training, medical fitness and competency certificates of seafarers issued by maritime bodies and authorities. 

It will also honor seafarers on board ships flying the other party’s flag in line with international regulations and agreements. 

“The MoU between MOEI (Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure) and Saudi Arabia’s PTA will support integration between the two countries and facilitate procedures that ensure the safety and security of the maritime sector, as well as strengthen bilateral relations in the maritime field,” said Al Malek. 

According to the MoU, both sides will recognize the education, training, medical fitness and competency certificates of seafarers issued by maritime bodies and authorities. 

It will also honor seafarers on board ships flying the other party’s flag in line with international regulations and agreements. 

Al-Thonayan said: “At the Public Transport Authority, we work to develop the fleet of ships that carry the Saudi flag and enhance the capabilities of seafarers on board these ships in line with international safety, protection of the marine environment and maritime security standards issued by the IMO.”

In addition to its regulatory role, the Public Transport Authority provides an efficient and high-quality transport environment using the latest technologies to enhance economic and social development and achieve Vision 2030. 

Also present was Suhail Al Mazrouei, the UAE Minister of Energy and Infrastructure, and officials and maritime strategic partners from both sides. 

“The leadership in both the UAE and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia are keen to enhance strategic cooperation and economic, trade and development integration between the two countries,” said Al Mazrouei.


Energy transition will not happen without material transition: Aramco CEO 

Energy transition will not happen without material transition: Aramco CEO 
Updated 32 min 31 sec ago

Energy transition will not happen without material transition: Aramco CEO 

Energy transition will not happen without material transition: Aramco CEO 

RIYADH: Global energy transition will not happen without a corresponding material transition, the CEO of Saudi Arabian Oil Co. insisted as he set out the path for his company to achieve its net-zero target by 2050. 

Speaking at the Gulf Petrochemicals and Chemicals Association Forum in Riyadh, Amin Nasser said that more durable and sustainable materials should be used to ensure an environmentally friendly future.  

He said the company is strengthening its focus on materials transition, and cutting-edge research and development, innovation and investments are necessary to achieve the target. 

Nasser added that establishing an advanced materials center in Saudi Arabia could strengthen and complement existing programs and push the boundaries of innovation through global collaboration. 

 “A viable materials transition in parallel with a viable energy transition is urgently needed to build a new world made to last,” he added. 

The executive pointed out that emissions from concrete are projected to total almost 4 gigatons of carbon dioxide by 2050 because of the growth in demand.  

The iron and steel sector accounts for more emissions than the whole of road freight, and global demand for steel alone is expected to rise by more than a third by 2050. 

Nasser said: “To help reduce emissions in this growth environment, more durable and more sustainable materials must be the building blocks of 21st-century life. 

“Just imagine a future where skyscrapers, bridges, planes, cars – including electric ones – and even World Cup football stadiums are built with these advanced materials.”  

Nasser also added that the chemical industry should also strengthen and accelerate its innovation efforts to develop sustainable materials in a cost-effective manner.  

“The big opportunity for the chemical industry is to steadily supplement existing materials as their carbon footprint is lowered too, with more durable and sustainable ones, especially polymer- and carbon-based materials,” he said.  

He added: “I believe the industry should especially focus on finding optimal material solutions, with a lower carbon footprint, in high volume applications.”  

Reaffirming his previous views, Nasser made it clear that oil demand from the petrochemicals sector is likely to remain robust in the future, amid the energy transition journey.  

“Under a net-zero scenario, petrochemicals could still account for more than half of total global oil demand by 2050. That is why our strategy to convert up to 4 million barrels per day of liquids into chemicals by 2030, supported by technology investments, is beginning to take shape,” he added. 


Driven by strong incubation programs, Saudi gaming startups double in 2022 

Driven by strong incubation programs, Saudi gaming startups double in 2022 
Updated 26 min 18 sec ago

Driven by strong incubation programs, Saudi gaming startups double in 2022 

Driven by strong incubation programs, Saudi gaming startups double in 2022 

RIYADH: Reflecting Saudi Arabia’s ambition to become one of the world’s major gaming centers, the number of games startups in the Kingdom almost doubled to 24 in 2022 from 13 last year, according to a report by Nine66. 

The company, an integrated support system for game developers, said this growth was driven by incubation programs.  

The report went on to add that most of the companies employ one to five, or six to 10, staff, putting them in the independent studios category. However, only six companies employ more than 10 people.  

Nine66 is a Savvy Games Group company, which is owned by the Public Investment Fund. It offers global infrastructure, skills development, network, capital, publishing and advisory services to game studios and developers. 

About 80 percent of those who have set up a game studio in Saudi Arabia said the experience was “relatively easy,” according to the report. There is also a strong collaborative spirit in the Kingdom’s gaming industry.  

The report stated that almost 84 percent of the respondents have linked up with other local developers at some point.  

The survey report interviewed 51 game developers from a mix of solo developers, mid-sized teams, and large companies between April and June. 

Even though gaming is extremely popular in the region, there is a comparatively small number of studios compared to the 5,000 across Europe and more than 3,000 in the US, the report said.  

Nearly 67 percent of respondents said financial risks and the lack of a safety net prevented them from establishing startups.  

Almost 35 percent stated that the lack of knowledge of how companies work is a significant factor in why developers cannot start new studios.  

The report noted that access to funding has been challenging for some developers as investors either do not fully understand the sector or have been hesitant to invest in gaming companies, the report said.  

The fact that all game developers interviewed in the report were self-funded indicated a lack of investor support.  

The report stated that most developers — 65 percent — have never tried to seek investment, with the most common reason being that they were not ready to pitch their games.