Saudi Arabia closes 49 investment deals worth $925m in Q2

The Kingdom’s industrial production expanded by 24 percent year-on-year in May 2022, showing a strong post-pandemic rebound in business and investor appetite. File
The Kingdom’s industrial production expanded by 24 percent year-on-year in May 2022, showing a strong post-pandemic rebound in business and investor appetite. File
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Updated 07 August 2022

Saudi Arabia closes 49 investment deals worth $925m in Q2

Saudi Arabia closes 49 investment deals worth $925m in Q2

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia closed 49 investment deals worth more than $925 million in the second quarter, according to an official report from the Ministry of Investment. 

In a statement, the Ministry of Investment revealed that these investments, which are spread acorss diverse sectors such as advanced manufacturing, construction and real estate, information and communications technology, tourism, entertainment and sports, will create over 2,000 jobs in the Saudi economy. 

One of the major deals finalized in the second quarter was a $133.3 million agreement between the Saudi Ports Authority and DP World to build a logistics park at Jeddah Islamic Port. 

Another deal was a $37 million funding round led by global finance giant Mastercard into Saudi e-commerce firm HyperPay to expand the Kingdom’s digital payment ecosystem.

Other investments include a strategic agreement with pharmaceutical giant Novartis to boost Saudi Arabia’s biopharmaceutical capabilities, a $50 million investment by Aramco’s Wa’ed Ventures into Saudi fintech Wahed and a deal by Ma’aden to build the world’s largest solar-powered steam plant to be used to refine bauxite into alumina.

The report titled “Q2 2022 Investment Highlights” suggests that the Saudi non-oil sector witnessed a 5.4 percent year-on-year growth in the second quarter.

According to the report, the real gross domestic product also climbed 11.8 percent in the second quarter compared to the same period last year. 

It stated that the Kingdom’s industrial production expanded by 24 percent year-on-year in May 2022, showing a strong post-pandemic rebound in business and investor appetite. 

March, April and May 2022 recorded the highest Industrial Production Index figures of all quarters in the last three years, the report stated. 

The Kingdom also witnessed a 16.6 percent rise in point-of-sales transactions in the second quarter compared to the same period last year. 

“The National Investment Strategy is a catalyst to deliver on our Vision 2030 national objectives of seeing the private sector contribute 65 percent to GDP and growing foreign direct investment to 5.7 percent of GDP,” said Minister of Investment Khalid Al-Falih. 


Big jump in tourism revenue could see Portugal end 2022 on high note

Big jump in tourism revenue could see Portugal end 2022 on high note
Updated 13 sec ago

Big jump in tourism revenue could see Portugal end 2022 on high note

Big jump in tourism revenue could see Portugal end 2022 on high note

RIYADH: Witnessing a strong rebound in tourism, Portugal has had an amazing summer, with a quantum leap in revenue. Speaking to Arab News ahead of the World Travel & Tourism Council Global Summit in Riyadh, Rita Marques, secretary of state for Tourism of Portugal, said she was optimistic that 2022 would end on a high note for the country.

“We expect to end this year with 10-15 percent more revenue than we did back in 2019 and we are very excited about these numbers,” she said. “We are also very happy with the overall resilience that the sector has shown because things had come to a standstill for two years.”

Talking about competition from neighboring countries and beyond, Marques said that, after the pandemic, there was room for everyone. “There is space for everyone to compete in the world of tourism,” she said. “And that’s not just because people are traveling more but because people are more and more curious about exploring new emotions and new experiences. Tourists are also getting more curious about discovering new spots.”

With regard to tourism opportunities in Portugal, she explained that the country offers a lot for tourists to discover. “A couple of years ago, we were known to be a sunny place with beaches and all of that but now people come to Portugal for our golf courses, for our walking and cycling and more. And this allows us to compete with other destinations, not just with regular ones. We offer authentic and emotional experiences when tourists visit the old parts of Lisbon, for instance.” 

According to Marques, one of the main challenges that the tourism industry around the world is facing today is the shortage of talent because a lot of people left the industry during the pandemic. “In Europe, for instance, we lost pretty much 20 percent of our workforce,” she said. “So we need to create conditions for those people to come back. And how do we do that? Well, we need to open the door to migrants and that’s pretty much what we are doing.”

Marques added: “My message to everyone is to continue to invest in people because we might have nice places to visit, we might have nice cultural heritage sites, but if we don’t have trained people, then it’s going be hard to greet and host everyone. So it is important to pamper those that work in the sector and try to train them.”

Marques said she was glad that Saudi Arabia was taking the lead in this direction. 

“I know that the Kingdom has just launched a massive program to train more than 100,000 people to work in the tourism and sustainability sector. And that’s pretty much what we are doing as well but on a different scale, of course,” she added.  


Seera Group’s multi-million resort in Al Baha to be operational by 2026: top official 

Seera Group’s multi-million resort in Al Baha to be operational by 2026: top official 
Updated 4 min 42 sec ago

Seera Group’s multi-million resort in Al Baha to be operational by 2026: top official 

Seera Group’s multi-million resort in Al Baha to be operational by 2026: top official 

RIYADH: Hospitality firm Seera Group’s resort in Al Baha will be operational by 2026 as the company continues its collaboration with the Tourism Development Fund, according to a top official. 

In an exclusive interview with Arab News on the sidelines of the World Travel and Tourism Council Global Summit in Riyadh on Nov. 29, Fahad Al-Obailan, vice president of Seera Group, said that the company received $136 million from the TDF for the project.

He added that Saudi Arabia is going to be a top-rated tourist destination by 2030, attracting more than 100 million visitors annually. 

“We have a destination getting ready in Al Baha, in cooperation with the Tourism Development Fund. We are developing a resort there with a retail landmark, along with an activation center. We are expected to finish the project by 2026,” said Al-Obailan. 

Talking about Discover Saudi, Seera Group’s integrated destination management company brand, Alobailan said it is helping travelers carry out their journey across Saudi Arabia in a comfortable manner. 

“From meet and greet in the airport, restaurant booking, hotel booking and till they leave the country, Discover Saudi will assist travelers,” he said. 

Alobailan further noted that Seera Groups have plans to open a new hotel in AlUla with 200 keys. 

“We have a hotel in Makkah. We have three hotels in Jeddah as well. Two hotels in Jeddah are opened. Our hotel in Riyadh will be opened soon as well. The construction of a business hotel in AlUla with almost 200 rooms will begin soon,” said Al-Obailan. 

Alobailan added that the travel and tourism sector is rebounding in 2022, and Seera Group has turned profitable in the third quarter of this year. 

“In 2021, we struggled a bit. But, in the third quarter of this year, we started to make profits, and we call it good growth compared to 2021. Seera Group has exceeded the profits of 2019 by 28 percent which is a good sign for us,” he added. 

He went on and said that the move to list Seera Group’s car rental brand Lumi is progressing steadily. 

“Already we have announced the decision to list Lumi in Tadawul. We are in the process to do that in the first quarter of 2023,” said Al-Obailan. 

 


Germany to get new Qatari LNG flows through QatarEnergy, ConocoPhillips deal

Germany to get new Qatari LNG flows through QatarEnergy, ConocoPhillips deal
Updated 34 min 32 sec ago

Germany to get new Qatari LNG flows through QatarEnergy, ConocoPhillips deal

Germany to get new Qatari LNG flows through QatarEnergy, ConocoPhillips deal
  • QatarEnergy says talks for further supply to Germany ongoing
  • Two deals mark first supply from North Field expansion to Europe

DOHA: Germany is set to receive new flows of Qatari liquefied natural gas from 2026 after QatarEnergy and ConocoPhillips on Tuesday signed two sales and purchase agreements for its export covering at least a 15-year period, according to Reuters.

Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February, competition for LNG has become intense, with Europe in particular needing vast amounts to help replace Russian pipeline gas that used to make up almost 40 percent of the continent’s imports.

The deal, the first of its kind to Europe from Qatar’s North Field expansion project, will provide Germany with 2 million tons of LNG annually, arriving from Ras Laffan in Qatar to Germany’s northern LNG terminal of Brunsbuettel, QatarEnergy’s CEO said.

“(The agreements) mark the first ever long-term LNG supply agreement to Germany, with a supply period that extends for at least 15 years, thus contributing to Germany’s long-term energy security,” Saad Al-Kaabi said in a joint news conference with ConocoPhillips CEO Ryan Lance.

A ConocoPhillips subsidiary will purchase the agreed quantities to be delivered to the German receiving terminal, which is currently under development.

QatarEnergy and German utility firms have been thrashing out long-term LNG deals for much of this year as Berlin looks for alternatives to Russia, which is Germany’s biggest gas supplier.

Europe’s biggest economy, which mainly relies on natural gas to power its industry, aims to replace all Russian energy imports by as soon as mid-2024.

Talks ongoing 

German Economy Minister Robert Habeck said on Tuesday the 15-year term of the deal was “great.”

ICIS head of energy analytics Andreas Schroeder said the starting date of 2026 was late, as Germany needed LNG for 2023 and 2024.

“If German players do not secure sufficient volumes at an OK price for 2023, they will have to revert to spot LNG markets, and expose themselves to global price volatility.”

Kaabi said negotiations were still taking place with other German companies for further supply.

Asked on Tuesday whether some German politicians’ criticism of Qatar hosting the soccer World Cup had had any impact on talks, Kaabi, who had previously ruled out the possibility, said QatarEnergy separated politics and business.

The deal comes a few days after QatarEnergy signed a 27-year sales and purchase agreement with China’s Sinopec. The North Field is part of the world’s biggest gas field, which Qatar shares with Iran.

QatarEnergy earlier this year signed five deals for North Field East, the first and larger of the two-phase North Field expansion plan, which includes six LNG trains that will ramp up Qatar’s liquefaction capacity to 126 million tons per year by 2027 from 77 million. 


Informa and SAFCSP form events company to attract 500k visitors a year by 2030

Informa and SAFCSP form events company to attract 500k visitors a year by 2030
Updated 54 min 22 sec ago

Informa and SAFCSP form events company to attract 500k visitors a year by 2030

Informa and SAFCSP form events company to attract 500k visitors a year by 2030

RIYADH: Events firm Informa and the Saudi Federation for Cybersecurity, Programming and Drones have agreed to form a joint venture company to boost the Kingdom’s entertainment sector and create jobs for the nation’s youth.  

Officials announced that Tahaluf, meaning ‘Alliance’, will become a global trademark designed to create a vast chain of events that accommodate Saudi Arabia’s key sectors, such as beauty, real estate, technology, AI, food, pharmaceutical services, and healthcare.

Tahaluf plans to employ approximately 200 people in the coming 5 years. In addition, the organization will manage events that will attract around 500,000 visitors every year by the end of the decade.  

“Saudi Arabia has hosted an expanding portfolio of global events in recent years, and now, through Tahaluf, SAFCSP is investing to further elevate the Saudi events industry and related creative and digital sectors,” said Faisal Al-Khamisi, chairman of SAFCS.  

Tahaluf is expected to launch and commence trading on Jan. 1 2023, and is in line with Saudi Arabia’s goal of diversifying its economy in line with the implementation of Vision 2030.  

Al-Khamisi added: “Tahaluf will be a significant contribution to SAFCSP’s mission of supporting skills development and creating career opportunities for Saudi youth in dynamic, professional sectors and will also contribute to the overall diversification and modernisation of key industries in Saudi Arabia.”


Ceer EV plant to be built in Emaar EC in $95m deal

Ceer EV plant to be built in Emaar EC in $95m deal
Updated 29 November 2022

Ceer EV plant to be built in Emaar EC in $95m deal

Ceer EV plant to be built in Emaar EC in $95m deal

RIYADH: Emaar The Economic City has announced the sale of an industrial plot to Ceer National Automotive Co. to build a specialized factory for electric vehicles in a move that will create thousands of high-skilled jobs. 

The deal was valued at SR359.04 million ($95.53 million), which Ceer will pay Emaar EC in installments over 15 years, the company said in a statement to Tadawul. The asset book value stood at SR19 million. 

Once complete, the manufacturing facility will create thousands of direct and indirect high-skilled jobs, the majority of which will be filled by Saudi nationals. Construction at the site will begin in early 2023. 

Ceer, the first Saudi electric vehicle brand, was announced by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at the beginning of November, and will see EVs designed, manufactured, and sold to consumers in Saudi Arabia and the Middle East and North Africa region.

“We have found a place that meets all our needs. KAEC offers us a great location with world-class logistics, effective access for our global and Saudi-based suppliers, and an ideal location to develop our future workforce,” said Ceer CEO James DeLuca in a press statement. 

According to a Ceer press release, the site in Industrial Valley near King Abdullah Port in KAEC will cover over 1 million square meters. 

The factory will feature the latest technologies to ensure manufacturing efficiency while minimizing energy and water usage, making it a zero-waste-to-landfill site. 

Ceer, a joint venture between the Public Investment Fund and Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., also known as Foxconn, will license component technology from BMW to design and build vehicles, including sedans and sport utility vehicles in the Kingdom. 

Foxconn will develop the electrical architecture of the vehicles, resulting in a portfolio of products that will lead in infotainment, connectivity and autonomous driving technologies. 

The establishment of Ceer comes in line with the PIF strategy to focus on unlocking the capabilities of promising sectors in the Kingdom, including the automotive industry and creating opportunities for the growth and diversification of its economy.