Saudi Arabia issues over 4.4k licenses, attracting $932m investment in Q2

Saudi Arabia issues over 4.4k licenses, attracting $932m investment in Q2
The Kingdom has put forth many efforts to attract investors to its highly competitive and safe business environment, and the goal has been achieved. (Shutterstock)
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Updated 17 August 2022

Saudi Arabia issues over 4.4k licenses, attracting $932m investment in Q2

Saudi Arabia issues over 4.4k licenses, attracting $932m investment in Q2

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia has recorded a massive jump of 673.4 percent in the number of investment licenses, with 4,455 licenses issued in the second quarter of 2022 in comparison to 576 in the same period last year, the latest government data showed. 

The five leading sectors which accounted for most of these licenses include wholesale and retail with 2,713, construction with 528, manufacturing with 349, accommodation and food services with 276, and professional, scientific and technical services with 153 investment licenses, reveals the Economic and Investment Monitor report by the Ministry of Investment, known as MISA.

A company willing to engage in financial activity within the country has to acquire an investment license, which is issued by the state body of the country— the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority, known as SAGIA, in this case.

While Saudi Arabia is pumping huge investments into the domestic economy from its state coffers, the Kingdom is also pushing to attract more foreign direct investments and partnerships while enhancing the business environment within the country as part of a wider diversification strategy under Vision 2030. 

These efforts have seen Saudi Arabia sealing 49 deals in the second quarter of 2022, up from 37 deals in the first quarter, generating an additional SR3.5 billion ($932 million) in investments and creating 2,000 new jobs.

When looking at the data, the sectors with the highest closed deals were the entrepreneurship and innovation sector which had 34 deals to its name, followed by education and training with six deals. The real estate sector followed that with four deals.

Among the top countries that are investing in Saudi Arabia, the UK leads the list followed by the UAE, Jordan and the US. 

The Kingdom has put forth many efforts to attract investors to its highly competitive and safe business environment, and the goal has been achieved, the report stated.

As part of the strategy to offer seamless services to investors, MISA — since its establishment in February 2021 — has been offering e-services which have gone up to 42,000 in the second quarter of this year, up from 18,000 during the same period in 202O.

Moreover, MISA said it helped raise awareness and draw investors to the diverse Saudi market through organizing and attending more than 15 events in the second quarter.

Its efforts also included introducing and incorporating new legislative laws, making Saudi Arabia a great place for investments, the report added.

These efforts played a part in Saudi Arabia claiming high ranks highly in various global indicators, such as Global Innovation Index, Consumer Confidence Index, and Edelman Trust Index, the report said.

While Saudi Arabia is growing at a massive pace, it wants to achieve its goals in tandem with the 2030 Vision — the core of which has been sustainability. The country is focusing on many sustainable and environmental projects which will continue to attract investors from all over the world, the MISA report said.

With projects such as the Green Riyadh, the water desalination, and the Sakaka solar power plant on their way, the report projects that the future of investments and growth in Saudi Arabia will be promising.  


Simaat platform signs technical integration agreement with Ejar Network

Simaat platform signs technical integration agreement with Ejar Network
Updated 23 sec ago

Simaat platform signs technical integration agreement with Ejar Network

Simaat platform signs technical integration agreement with Ejar Network

RIYADH: Real estate technology provider Simaat platform has signed a technical integration agreement with Ejar Network, a comprehensive system that aims to develop the housing sector in Saudi Arabia.

According to a press release, the agreement was signed in the presence of Majid Al-Hogail, the minister of the Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs and Housing — who is also the chairman of the Real Estate Authority, and Ahmed Mohammed Al-Suwaiyan, governor of the Digital Government Authority.

Integrating the Simaat platform with the Ejar network will boost efficiency by simplifying documentation procedures with the aim of reducing the user experience period from 15 minutes on average to less than one minute.

“By virtue of this agreement, the Simaat platform will become the first real estate property management platform linked to a rental network for direct documentation of rental contracts on the Simaat platform,” said Dhaifallah Al-Hassani, CEO of the Simaat platform.

Executive Vice President of the Simaat platform Sami Al-Sharekh said the platform involves the largest real estate property management companies in Saudi Arabia and is linked and integrated with various government agencies such as the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Commerce, Sadad and Mada.

The press release added that Simaat platform is expected to announce its partnerships with government entities with the aim of promoting the transformation of the real estate sector into a digital market in line with Vision 2030.


Saudi PIF subsidiary SEIC acquires 34% of Egypt’s B.TECH for $150mn

Saudi PIF subsidiary SEIC acquires 34% of Egypt’s B.TECH for $150mn
Updated 28 min 53 sec ago

Saudi PIF subsidiary SEIC acquires 34% of Egypt’s B.TECH for $150mn

Saudi PIF subsidiary SEIC acquires 34% of Egypt’s B.TECH for $150mn

RIYADH: The Saudi Egyptian Investment Co., a subsidiary of the Saudi Public Investment Fund, has acquired 34 percent of Egypt’s omnichannel retailer and consumer finance platform B.TECH, in a deal worth $150 million.

SEIC’s acquisition was made via the purchase of a minority stake from African Development Partners II, a fund advised by Development Partners International.

B.TECH is 34 percent owned by DPI, while the remaining 66 percent belongs to BT Holding which is owned by the Khattab family that founded the company.

DPI acquired the 34 percent stake in B-Tech in July 2016 for about $34 million.

B.TECH seeks to increase its revenues by 30 percent this year to about $562 million, as well as to increase its branch count to about 153 by the end of the year.

In 2021, B-Tech experienced a 30 percent growth rate to reach SR444 million, up from SR327 billion in 2020.

B-Tech was able to secure foreign investment in 2017 with a $15 million partnership contract with DPI.


Dubai bourse DFM to introduce changes to indices in Q4

Dubai bourse DFM to introduce changes to indices in Q4
Updated 03 October 2022

Dubai bourse DFM to introduce changes to indices in Q4

Dubai bourse DFM to introduce changes to indices in Q4

DUBAI: Dubai Financial Market said on Monday it planned to adopt a new methodology for its main equities indices, which will come into effect in the fourth quarter, according to Reuters.

The Dubai bourse’s general index, Sharia index and sector indices, will be calculated by S&P Dow Jones Indices, it said in a statement.

A key improvement among the changes is a limit on the weighting of a listed company to 10 percent from 20 percent, which should result in a larger representation of companies on the DFM’s benchmarks, it said.

The Dubai bourse said the index calculation will be based on actual free float adjusted market capitalization, and that the indices will be rebalanced on a quarterly basis, from semi-annually currently.

The bourse plans to align its sectors with an industry classification standard which is followed by institutional clients, it said.

DFM will have seven sectors: financials, industrials, real estate, utilities, communication services, materials and consumer staples.

The bourse has invited market participants for consultations on the index methodology ahead of possible changes, with the revised indexes to be launched in Q4, it said.

The changes follow a flurry of initial public offerings from state-linked entities this year, part of a government program intended to attract investors and boost activity on the stock exchange.

Toll-road operator Salik , which listed last week, raised 3.735 billion dirhams ($1.02 billion) by selling a 24.9 percent stake in its initial public offering, giving the company a market value of 15 billion dirhams.

Dubai business park operator TECOM Group in June raised 1.7 billion dirhams through the sale of 625 million ordinary shares, equivalent to 12.5 percent of the company in an IPO.

Dubai’s Water and Electricity Authority, known as DEWA, in April raised over $6 billion for its IPO, the region’s biggest since Saudi Aramco. 


UK discusses trade and investment opportunities with Saudi Arabia

UK discusses trade and investment opportunities with Saudi Arabia
Updated 03 October 2022

UK discusses trade and investment opportunities with Saudi Arabia

UK discusses trade and investment opportunities with Saudi Arabia

RIYADH: A UK delegation led by Lord Mayor of the City of London Alderman Vincent Keavney discussed trade and investment opportunities with Saudi Arabia's Minister of Investment Khalid Al-Falih during talks in Riyadh.

After the meeting, part of the ongoing UK-Gulf Cooperation Council free trade negotiations, Keavney said London’s expertise opens huge possibilities for the Kingdom as it seeks to diversify its economy away from oil as outlined in Vision 2030.

Keavney further noted that the UK already has a strong trade relationship with Saudi Arabia, and the investments made by the Public Investment Fund in Britain are fetching mutual benefits.

This is for the first time that Keavney is arriving in the Kingdom during his mayoralty, and his delegation of senior business leaders included Nicholas Lyons, chairman of the board at Phoenix Group and Sheriff of the City of London; Martin Gilbert, chairman of Toscafund, Revolut, and others; and Robert Cashmore, head of Institutional Funds Distribution, the Middle East at Octopus.

Prior to his visit to the Kingdom, Keavney, in an exclusive interview with Arab News, said that a free-trade agreement between the UK and the GCC will “significantly increase” their financial ties at a transformational moment for the global economy.

During the interview, Keavney pointed out that Saudi investment in Britain has already topped £65 billion ($69.36 billion) annually.

“Saudi Arabia has great transformational plans for its own economy, and the financial and professional services here in the UK have a huge amount to offer in helping implement and support this,” said Keavney.


Oil Updates — Crude climbs; Shell to invest in Malaysia oil; Genel Energy appoints new CEO

Oil Updates — Crude climbs; Shell to invest in Malaysia oil; Genel Energy appoints new CEO
Updated 03 October 2022

Oil Updates — Crude climbs; Shell to invest in Malaysia oil; Genel Energy appoints new CEO

Oil Updates — Crude climbs; Shell to invest in Malaysia oil; Genel Energy appoints new CEO

RIYADH: Oil prices jumped nearly 3 percent on Monday, as the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, known as OPEC+, considers cutting output by more than 1 million barrels a day in what would be its biggest reduction since the pandemic.

Brent crude futures rebounded $2.44, or 2.87 percent, to $87.58 a barrel by 10.13 a.m Saudi time, after settling down 0.6 percent on Friday.

US West Texas Intermediate crude was also up 2.87 percent, or $2.40, at $81.89 a barrel, after the previous session’s loss of 2.1 percent.

Shell to invest in second Malaysia oil, gas project in a month

Shell announced a second investment in Malaysia’s oil and gas sector in a month as the major and its partners, including Petronas, aim to revive output in an environment of tight global supply.

Shell’s decisions come after the war in Ukraine disrupted Russian oil and gas supplies and boosted prices. Oil and gas producers in Asia are struggling to sustain output after years of under-investment in the sector as international companies scaled back to focus on exploration and production in Africa and the Americas.

Sabah Shell Petroleum Co, a Malaysian unit of Shell, said on Monday it will invest in phase 4 of the Gumusut-Kakap-Geronggong-Jagus East deepwater offshore development project along with its partners. No amounts were given.

The GKGJE phase 4 development is a subsea tie-back project that is expected to achieve first oil in late 2024, Shell Malaysia said in a statement.

Shell’s partners in the GKGJE project include ConocoPhillips Sabah Ltd., Petronas Carigali, Sabah Oil Limited, PT Pertamina Malaysia Eksplorasi Produksi and others.

Genel Energy appoints Weir as permanent CEO

Iraqi Kurdistan-focused oil firm Genel Energy appointed Paul Weir as its full-time CEO on Monday.

Weir, who previously served as the chief operating officer, was appointed as the interim CEO in June.

(With input from Reuters)