Five Chinese state-owned companies to delist from NYSE amid US tensions

Five Chinese state-owned companies to delist from NYSE amid US tensions
Oil giant Sinopec is one of the Chinese firms set to delist from the NYSE (Shutterstock)
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Updated 12 August 2022

Five Chinese state-owned companies to delist from NYSE amid US tensions

Five Chinese state-owned companies to delist from NYSE amid US tensions

SHANGHAI: Five Chinese state-owned companies, including oil giant Sinopec and China Life Insurance, said on Friday they would delist from the New York Stock Exchange, amid economic and diplomatic tensions with the US, according to Reuters.

The companies, which also include Aluminium Corporation of China, PetroChina and Sinopec Shanghai Petrochemical Co, each said that they would apply to delist their American Depository Shares this month.

The five, which in May were flagged by the US securities regulator as failing to meet its auditing standards, will keep their listings in Hong Kong and mainland Chinese markets.

Beijing and Washington are in talks to resolve a long-running audit dispute that could see Chinese companies banned from US exchanges if they do not comply with US rules.

Washington has long demanded complete access to the books of US-listed Chinese companies, but Beijing bars foreign inspection of audit documents from local accounting firms, citing national security concerns.

There was no mention of the auditing dispute in separate statements by the Chinese companies outlining their moves, which come amid heightened tensions after last week’s visit to Taiwan by US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

“These companies have strictly complied with the rules and regulatory requirements of the US capital market since their listing in the US and made the delisting choice for their own business considerations,” the China Securities Regulatory Commission said in a statement.

The agency added that it would keep “communication open with relevant overseas regulatory agencies.”

The oversight row, which has been simmering for more than a decade, came to a head in December when the Securities and Exchange Commission finalized rules to potentially prohibit trading in Chinese companies under the Holding Foreign Companies Accountable Act. It said 273 companies were at risk.

Some of China’s largest companies including Alibaba Group Holdings, J.D Com Inc. and Baidu Inc. are among them. Alibaba said last week it would convert its Hong Kong secondary listing into a dual primary listing which analysts said could ease the way for the Chinese ecommerce giant to switch primary listing venues in the future.

In premarket trading Friday, US-listed shares of China Life Insurance and oil giant Sinopec fell 5.7 percent about 4.3 percent respectively. Aluminium Corporation of China dropped 1.7 percent, while PetroChina shed 4.3 percent. Sinopec Shanghai Petrochemical Co. shed 4.1 percent.

A spokesperson for NYSE declined to comment. A spokesperson for the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, the audit watchdog overseen by the SEC, did not immediately provide comment.

Losing Patience? 

Market-watchers were split over what the delistings might mean for the audit deal, with some saying it was a bad sign.

“China is sending a message that its patience is wearing thin in the audit talks,” said Kai Zhan, senior counsel at Chinese law firm Yuanda, who specializes in US capital markets.

The companies said their US traded share volume was small compared with those on their other major listing venues.

PetroChina said it had never raised follow-on capital from its USlisting and its Hong Kong and Shanghai bases “can satisfy the company’s fundraising requirements” as well as providing “better protection of the interests of the investors.”

Global fund managers holding US-listed Chinese stocks are steadily shifting toward their Hong Kong-traded peers, even as they remain hopeful the audit dispute will eventually be resolved, Reuters reported this week.

“These companies are very thinly traded with very small US market cap so it is not a loss for US capital markets,” Brendan Ahern, CIO of Krane Funds Advisers, which has a New York-listed fund focused on Chinese tech plays, wrote in an email.

He and analysts said the delistings could pave the way for China to comply with the US requirements, since the five companies concerned likely have sensitive information China would not want exposed in an audit review.

“We see this as a positive sign. This is consistent with our view China will decide what companies would be allowed to be US-listed and thus subject to SEC’s audit investigations,” Jefferies analysts wrote in a note.

China Life and Chalco said they would file for delisting on Aug. 22, with it taking effect 10 days later. Sinopec, whose full name is China Petroleum & Chemical Corporation, and PetroChina said their applications would be made on Aug. 29.

China Telecom, China Mobile and China Unicom were delisted from the US in 2021 after a Trump-era decision to restrict investment in Chinese technology firms.

That ruling has been left unchanged by the Biden administration amid continuing tensions. 


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 20 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 5 min 44 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 25 min 34 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. 


Saudi Arabia offering $6tn of investment opportunities in travel and tourism: Minister

Saudi Arabia offering $6tn of investment opportunities in travel and tourism: Minister
Updated 29 November 2022

Saudi Arabia offering $6tn of investment opportunities in travel and tourism: Minister

Saudi Arabia offering $6tn of investment opportunities in travel and tourism: Minister

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia is offering investment opportunities worth $6 trillion in the travel and tourism sector through to 2030, as the Kingdom steadily pursues its journey to emerge as a global tourist destination by the end of this decade, according to the Saudi Minister of Tourism, Ahmed Al-Khateeb. 

Speaking at the World Travel and Tourism Council Global Summit in Riyadh on Nov. 29, Al-Khateeb said that collective action globally is required to combat the challenges in the tourism sector. 

“We built our tourism industry against the backdrop of a global disaster (COVID-19 pandemic). And we now have $6 trillion of investment opportunities through 2030,” said Al-Khateeb. 

He added: “We value collaboration, we have proved that it will work. Our shared commitment to partnerships will drive the global industry forward. Saudi Arabia is reimagining tourism, making use of the power of partnership and ensuring that no one is left behind.” 

Al-Khateeb noted that he is proud of Saudi Arabia’s achievements, both as a rapidly developing destination and as a global partner driving change across the travel and tourism sector. 

“As the travel and tourism sector recovers stronger, we must put people and the planet first, at the very center of every decision we take,” he said. 

The minister further noted that the travel and tourism industry will create 126 million new jobs in the next decade globally, which means one in every three new jobs created will be from the tourism sector. 

Reaffirming Saudi Arabia’s commitment toward the industry and the young population in the nation, Al-Khateeb pointed out that the Kingdom is training 100,000 people annually to work in the tourism sector. 

Arnold Donald, chairman of WTTC, said that Saudi Arabia is evolving rapidly as a tourist destination. 

“This is my third visit to Saudi Arabia within the last 14 months, and each visit has been very impressive when compared to my previous visit. Saudi Arabia’s bold ambitions embody the region’s drive and energy in the travel and tourism sector,” said Donald. 

He added: “This is a Kingdom that aspires to become one of the top 5 tourist destinations in the world, welcoming 100 million domestic and international travelers a year.” 

Donald said the public and private sectors are working together in pursuit of a common goal in Saudi Arabia, which is an example to the entire world. 

“Partnership across the public and private sectors should come first to push forward the action that will benefit all,” added Donald. 

For her part, Julia Simpson, president and CEO of WTTC said that investments worth $800 billion are happening in the travel and tourism sector of Saudi Arabia now, and that is the biggest ever in the history of the industry. 

She also added that the travel and tourism sector will witness tremendous growth over the next decade. 

“Travel and tourism sector will outpace global growth over the next decade. We will be growing at a rate of 5.8 percent annually, but globally GDP will grow 2.8 percent,” said Simpson. 

During her speech, Simpson also announced the launch of the world’s first environmental and social impact report for travel and tourism, describing it as a “groundbreaking piece of research that allows us to measure and track the sector's footprint.”

She also highlighted the necessity to embrace sustainable aviation fuel to reduce emissions in the transport sector. 

“In 2019, transport accounted for 38 percent of emissions. It is critical to ensure wide scale availability of sustainable aviation fuel,” added Simpson.