TASI settles flat amid uncertainty over oil prices, higher inflation: Closing bell

The Tadawul All Share Index ended the session flat at 12,545, while the parallel market, Nomu, edged 0.34 percent lower to finish at 22,034.
The Tadawul All Share Index ended the session flat at 12,545, while the parallel market, Nomu, edged 0.34 percent lower to finish at 22,034.
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Updated 16 August 2022

TASI settles flat amid uncertainty over oil prices, higher inflation: Closing bell

TASI settles flat amid uncertainty over oil prices, higher inflation: Closing bell

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s benchmark index settled flat on Tuesday’s trading session, as investors scramble to assess the impact of declining energy prices and higher inflation on the index

The Tadawul All Share Index ended the session flat at 12,545, while the parallel market, Nomu, edged 0.34 percent lower to finish at 22,034.

In the energy market, Brent crude reached $95.55 a barrel, while US West Texas Intermediate declined to $90.14 a barrel, as of 3:24 p.m. Saudi time.

The country’s biggest lender Saudi National Bank increased 0.55 percent, while the Saudi British Bank decreased 0.35 percent.

Saudi Aramco lost 1.61 percent, despite achieving its highest quarterly profit since going public in 2019 with SR182 billion ($48.4 billion), a 90 percent jump over analysts’ expectations.

Dallah Healthcare Co. edged up 0.85 percent, after posting a 52 percent gain in profit during the first half of 2022, reaching SR152 million.

KEIR International fell 1.92 percent, after it partnered with US-based Quadratics Development to deploy its eco-friendly building system and technology in Saudi Arabia

Qassim Cement Co. dropped 2.45 percent, after reporting a 73 percent decline in first-half profits to SR54 million.

Al-Etihad Cooperative Insurance Co. shed 1.45 percent after its profits dropped 93 percent to SR2 million in the first half.

Abo Moati for Bookstores Co. rose 0.68 percent, following a 125 percent profit surge to SR4.3 million for the second quarter of 2022.

The Saudi Industrial Development Co. edged down 1.23 percent, after its losses widened by 88 percent to SR11 million during the first half.

Al Kathiri Holding Co. declined 2.71 percent, after it turned into losses of SR5.5 million in the first half of 2022.

 


Top 10 most funded mobility-tech startups in MENA region

Top 10 most funded mobility-tech startups in MENA region
Updated 19 sec ago

Top 10 most funded mobility-tech startups in MENA region

Top 10 most funded mobility-tech startups in MENA region
  • After producing several unicorns, the shared mobility market is set to expand

CAIRO: The shared mobility technology landscape, which includes ride-sharing, car-renting and taxi-ordering models, has been on the rise in the Middle East and North African region ever since global players such as Uber and Lyft rode a wave of success in the business.

After producing several unicorns, the shared mobility market in the region is set to expand with a compound annual growth rate of 18.4 percent from 2022 to 2030 as the annual market is predicted to witness a 16.9 percent increase, according to Grand View Research Inc.

Arab News has compiled a list of the 10 most funded mobility-tech startups from the MENA region.

1. Careem

Total funding: $771.7 million

Founders: Mudassir Sheikha and Magnus Olsson

Investors: Alpha Partners, Arzan Venture Capital, BECO Capital, Bild Alternative Investment, Coatue Management and 22 others

Headquarters: UAE

Recognized to be the Middle East’s first unicorn startup, Careem has transformed the ride-hailing sector in the region, attracting global competition and acquisitions to the industry.

The company first started as a car-booking app. It later entered the food delivery space and now operates as a super app.

Founded in 2012, Careem is the second most funded startup in the region. It obtained unicorn status in 2018 and was later acquired by global ride-hailing giant Uber for $3.1 billion in 2020.

2. Swvl

Total funding: $264 million

Founders: Mostafa Kandil, Mahmoud Nouh and Ahmed Sabbah

Investors: BECO Capital, Endeavor Catalyst, MSA Capital, Oman Technology Fund, Arzan Venture Capital, Sawari Ventures, VNV Global, Queen’s Gambit Growth Capital and others

Headquarters: Founded in Egypt, based in the UAE

Founded in 2017, Swvl is a tech-enabled mass transit solutions provider offering intercity, intracity, business-to-business and business-to-government transportation services.

The company is another unicorn founded in the MENA region, also listed on the Nasdaq.

Currently operating in 20 countries across four continents, Swvl went public after it completed a merger with special purpose acquisition company Queens Gambit Growth Capital and was valued at $1.5 billion in March 2022.

3. Yassir

Total funding: $43 million

Founders: Noureddine Tayebi and El-Mahdi Yettou

Investors: Y Combinator, P1 Ventures, French Partners, ACE & Co., Venture Souq, WndrCo, DN Capital, Kismet Capital, Spike ventures, Quiet Capital, Endeavor Catalyst, FJ Labs, Venture Souq, Nellore Capital, Moving Capital and other investors

Headquarters: Algeria

Established in 2017, Yassir offers on-demand services such as ride-hailing and last-mile delivery in 25 cities across Algeria, Canada, France, Morocco and Tunisia, with over 3 million users.

The startup started as a ride-sharing platform and later became a super app adding last-mile delivery and financial services for its users.

The company raised $30 million in series A funding in June 2021 in a bid to expand into Western Africa and Europe in 2022.

4. ekar

Total funding: $34 million

Founder: Vilhelm Hedberg

Investors: Polymath Venture and other investors

Headquarters: UAE

Founded in 2016, ekar offers on-demand access to a network of car-share, subscription leasing vehicles and other mobility options, including peer-to-peer rentals.

Operating across seven cities with a fleet of 2,300 vehicles and 250,000 users in Saudi Arabia and the UAE, the company is one of the region’s first fully contactless car-sharing apps.

The company raised $17.5 million in series B funding in 2019, announced its launch in Thailand in 2022 and plans to expand into Malaysia, Turkey and Egypt later in the year.

5. Udrive

Total funding: $17.3 million

Founders: Nicholas Watson and Hasib Khan

Investors: Cultiv8 and Oman Holding International

Headquarters: UAE

Another car rental app Udrive provides a pay-per-minute rental service for UAE residents and tourists, clocking in over 2 million trips.

Founded in 2016, the company allows users to pick up a car from any location available and is then returned to any parking location in the same city.

In its latest funding round, Udrive raised $5 million to support its plans to expand in the Middle East and enhance its technology.

6. Fenix

Total funding: $5 million

Founders: Jaideep Dhanoa and IQ Sayed

Investors: Emkan Capital and Panthera Capital Ventures

Headquarters: UAE

Established in November 2020, Fenix provides a different kind of mobility using electric scooters on a subscription-based service.

Founded by two ex-Careem executives, the company has one of the largest electric vehicle fleets in the region as it operates in four cities.

In 2021, the company raised a $5 million seed funding to support its goals to become the first national micro-mobility operator in the Gulf Cooperation Council.

7. Telgani

Total funding: $4.2 million

Founder: Abdulkader Almkinzy

Investors: 500 Startups, Saudi Venture Capital Co., Impact46 and others

Headquarters: Saudi Arabia

A car rental platform, Telgani allows users to rent a car through its mobile app that is then delivered to their doorstep.

Founded in 2018, the company also enables users to pick the car and the location they want to travel to and provides them with nearby options.

In November 2021, Telgani secured a $2.5 million pre-series A funding led by Saudi venture capital firm, Impact46.

8. Ousta

Total funding: $3.1 million

Founder: Nader El-Batrawi

Investors: Angel investors

Headquarters: Egypt

Founded in 2016, Ousta is Egypt’s first local ride-sharing application that was established to compete with ride-hailing companies Uber and Careem.

The company did not disclose any of its operations to the media since its fundraising of $1.5 million in 2016.

9. KOI Ride

Total funding: $3 million

Founder: Kayla Kroot

Investors: CEG Invest and Taurus Wealth

Headquarters: UAE

KOI Ride is a B2B ride-hailing service startup that offers end-to-end ground transport services and connects online booking portals with licensed transportation providers.

Established in 2015, the company offers services in Dubai, London, New York, Las Vegas, Cancun, Istanbul, Bodrum, Antalya, Izmir and Dalaman.

In June 2022, KOI Ride raised $3 million in an investment round to support its expansion into 24 cities across Europe, the Americas and the Middle East.

10. Urent

Total funding: $1.5 million

Founder: Omar Al-Ashi

Investors: Sheikh Saeed bin Ahmed Al-Maktoum

Headquarters: UAE

Urent, another player in the car rental space, is a UAE-based platform aiming to revolutionize the car rental industry in the region.

The company offers a peer-to-peer vehicle sharing platform, creating a whole community based on trust.

It is dubbed to be the Airbnb for cars.

In June 2019, Urent raised seed funding and, in 2020, raised an undisclosed pre-series A funding.


Expo City Dubai officially opens, aims to bring back Expo 2020 Dubai visitors

Expo City Dubai officially opens, aims to bring back Expo 2020 Dubai visitors
Updated 01 October 2022

Expo City Dubai officially opens, aims to bring back Expo 2020 Dubai visitors

Expo City Dubai officially opens, aims to bring back Expo 2020 Dubai visitors
  • Award-winning Saudi Arabia and the UAE pavilions to re-open later in October
  • Opening of other country pavilions will be announced soon

DUBAI: One year after Expo 2020 Dubai debuted to the world, the global fair’s legacy site has again opened its doors to the public on Saturday hoping to attract the multitude of visitors that flocked to the six-month event described as the greatest show on earth.

Speaking to Arab News, Ahmed Al-Khatib, chief development and delivery officer of Expo City Dubai, said the legacy site, which retained 80 percent of the Expo infrastructure, will be beyond a touristic destination or a UAE community favorite.

While carrying forward Expo 2020 world fair’s energy and excitement, Expo City Dubai also aims to be a dynamic, futuristic city, which is home to tech-driven businesses and entertainment offerings, Al-Khatib added.

Expo 2020 Dubai, the first World Expo to be hosted by Arab nation, welcomed over 24 million visitors. Expo City Dubai will feature an array of entertainment facilities, pavilions and restaurants when its development plans have been completed by 2023.

“The comprehensive city will drive innovation and action on its journey to net zero, cultivating a sense of personal agency among both tenants and visitors,” Al-Khatib told Arab News.

Expo City Dubai will be home to major businesses including Siemens, DP World and Terminus, he said.

Business tenants, who will start moving in stages this month, are being selected with a focus on areas such as sustainability, innovation, technology, education and healthcare, Al-Khatib explained.

Al-Khatib added that Expo City Dubai will also be the new go-to destination for business and globally significant events, including the much-anticipated 2023 UN Climate Change Conference (COP 28).

The city, he added, is unique for its open and public spaces where people can freely walk or bike, thus “presenting a smarter, more balanced, resilient, and sustainable way of life.”

It features 10 kilometers of cycling tracks, a 5km running track and 45,000-square meters of parks and gardens.

Meanwhile, a rich cultural and entertainment program will carry the spirit of the World Expo, celebrating imagination and ingenuity.

Unique visitor experience

Visitors to Expo City Dubai can now experience two re-opened pavilions – Vision Pavilion and the Women’s pavilion – besides the two major Mobility (Alif) and Sustainability (Terra) pavilions that re-launched earlier in September.

Al-Wasl Dome is returning with free immersive projections five days a week, from Wednesday to Sunday, after sunset. (Expo City Dubai)

Al-Wasl Dome, an Expo 2020 favorite, is also returning with free immersive projections five days a week, from Wednesday to Sunday, after sunset.

Other free-of-charge open-air facilities are the water feature, as well as children’s playgrounds and the carousel.

The Garden in the Sky, a 55-meter-high rotating observation tower that offers 360-degree views, has been reopened earlier with tickets priced at around $8 per adult.

The award-winning Saudi Arabia and the falcon-inspired UAE pavilion are to re-open later this month, with other country pavilions set to open “soon”, according to the Expo team.

Visitors can access all the flagship pavilions, including ones that will open in the future, with a $31 (AED 120) one-day Attractions Pass. Otherwise, individual pavilion tickets will cost $14 (AED 50) per person, with free-of-charge entry for children aged 12 and under, and people with disabilities.

Later this year, the Opportunity Pavilion will become the Expo 2020 Dubai Museum — a new feature highlighting the history and impact of World Expos and celebrating the success of Expo 2020 Dubai.

From a dining perspective, Expo City Dubai now hosts five food trucks and three restaurants.

“We will continue to expand our dining options to suit all tastes, with more restaurants opening in the near future,” Al-Khatib told Arab News.


Gasoline price to shape EV demand in Kingdom: KAPSARC

Gasoline price to shape EV  demand in Kingdom: KAPSARC
Updated 01 October 2022

Gasoline price to shape EV demand in Kingdom: KAPSARC

Gasoline price to shape EV  demand in Kingdom: KAPSARC
  • KSA has implemented energy price reforms to unlock economic and environmental benefits for the country

RIYADH: Growing gasoline prices will play a significant role in increasing the demand for electric vehicles in the Kingdom, according to Anwar Gasim, a King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center researcher.

“The higher the domestic gasoline price, the more a consumer may be incentivized to switch to an electric vehicle,” he told Arab News.

According to Gasim, gasoline prices in the Kingdom seven years ago were a quarter of today’s prices.

“If you look at the 91-octane gasoline, it was SR0.45 ($0.12) per liter. Today, it’s SR2.18,” Gasim said in an exclusive interview with Arab News.

Since 2016, the Kingdom has implemented energy price reforms to unlock economic and environmental benefits for the country.

“Since gasoline prices ended up getting linked with the international price, the government had to put a cap on them when international prices went up very high last year,” said Gasim.

It means there is a limit that domestic gasoline prices will not surpass, no matter how high energy prices may hike internationally.

“I think it was becoming too high for people here, and then the government decided to put a cap,” he said.

According to Gasim, raising domestic energy prices can contribute to the Kingdom’s climate goals.

Saudi Arabia aims to reduce emissions and increase the share of renewables to 50 percent by 2030.

“Higher energy prices can incentivize more efficient behavior, more energy conservation, and therefore it can help save energy and reduce emissions,” he added.

KAPSARC was a part of the regulatory team led by the Ministry of Energy, which on Aug. 22 issued the completion of all legislative and technical aspects to regulate the EV charging market.

These stations will more likely charge the vehicles using the national grid. Still, there are possibilities that off-grid stations will be a requirement.

Some neighborhood distribution networks can no longer accommodate any additional load. They have reached the peak of the transformer capacity.

The only option is using off-grid solutions; renewable sources like solar and hydrogen can supply these off-grids.

Electromin, a wholly owned e-mobility turnkey solutions provider under Petromin, in May announced the rollout of electric vehicle charging points across the Kingdom.

In an earlier interview with Arab News, Kalyana Sivagnanam, the group CEO of Petromin, said that the network includes 100 locations across the Kingdom powered by a customer-centric mobile application.

Sivagnanam said that the company would set up most of its charging stations in Riyadh, Jeddah and Dammam and eventually branch out across the country.

Electromin’s charging network will offer a complete spectrum of services from AC chargers to DC fast and ultrafast chargers, catering to all customer segments.

The imports of EV charging equipment were permitted in the Kingdom in 2020.

As part of the Kingdom’s sustainability strategy, the Royal Commission of Riyadh launched an initiative last year to ensure that 30 percent of all vehicles in the capital would be powered by electricity by 2030.


Saudia to bring voice recognition technology, augmented reality on board: VP

Saudia to bring voice recognition technology, augmented reality on board: VP
Updated 30 September 2022

Saudia to bring voice recognition technology, augmented reality on board: VP

Saudia to bring voice recognition technology, augmented reality on board: VP

RIYADH: Saudia, Saudi Arabia’s national carrier, is aiming to integrate voice recognition technology and augmented reality to its services, the company announced during the second edition of the Global AI Summit held in Riyadh.

Saudia has signed an agreement, aimed at boosting artificial intelligence in the flight sector, with the Saudi Data and Artificial Intelligence Authority and the Saudi Company for Artificial Intelligence. Speaking to Arab News on the sidelines of the summit, Dr. Khaled Alhazmi, vice president of IT support and operations at Saudia, said that the agreement is the first step in introducing AI products to the airline’s services.

Alhazmi explained that the company is currently exploring voice recognition technology through one of SDAIA’s products, an app called SauTech.

“It is an amazing app; it currently gives accurate results for the recognition of the dialects of the Arabic language. And right now, we are trying to explore opportunities and use cases, to start implementing it in our services,” he said.

The company is also planning to adopt Internet of Things technology as well as augmented reality to ensure that they are first movers to implement AI into their services.

“Our strategic direction is to build an ecosystem of partners who would enable us to digitize our services to our customers. We are aiming to deliver a first-class experience to our customers,” he added.

Alhazmi believes that the digitalization factor currently in use at the airline such as downloading tickets to personal devices can be greatly expanded on, and that there are huge opportunities to integrate technology into the sector.

“We are digitizing everything under a program, which is adapting the digital first. Right now we believe that we need to put in use all the data science, all the technologies nowadays, and put them into the hands of the customer,” he said. The company wants to improve its self-service options by providing a personalized platform that will enable users to customize their journey according to their needs.

“That’s actually the main goal because we understand right now that we have a new generation of people who are more interested in technology, they are using technology every day,” he added.

Saudia has also recently partnered with agritech company Red Sea Farms to provide sustainable and high-quality meals for its customers.

“We can see that the adoption of technology in Saudi Arabia in general is getting more mature than other countries,” Alhazmi concluded.


Saudi budget surplus is calculated on $76 for brent price

Saudi budget surplus is calculated on $76 for brent price
Updated 30 September 2022

Saudi budget surplus is calculated on $76 for brent price

Saudi budget surplus is calculated on $76 for brent price
  • Real GDP growth is forecasted to increase by nearly 8 percent year-on-year in 2022 and 3.1 percent year-on-year in 2023

RIYADH: Based on the government budget figures, Al-Rajhi Capital assessed the government's 2023 budgeted revenues to likely be based on Brent at $76 per barrel.

Real GDP growth is forecasted to increase by nearly eight percent year-on-year in 2022 and 3.1 percent year-on-year in 2023, according to Al-Rajhi Capital.

Inflation is expected to be 2.6 percent and 2.1 percent in 2022 and 2023 respectively, Al-Rajhi said.

Revised 2022 revenues are mostly in line with estimates, however, the expenditure budget is much higher than from an earlier announcement, it said.

The 2023 spending budget was raised by 18 percent, with a slight fiscal surplus of SR9 billion expected for 2023.