Ajlan & Bros eyes $2bn investment in Tashkent city project: Top official 

Short Url
Updated 18 August 2022

Ajlan & Bros eyes $2bn investment in Tashkent city project: Top official 

Ajlan & Bros eyes $2bn investment in Tashkent city project: Top official 

JEDDAH: Saudi conglomerate Ajlan & Bros Holding Group is eyeing an investment of $2 billion in a city project in Uzbekistan’s capital Tashkent as it signed multiple memorandums of understanding with Uzbek entities, the conglomerate’s CEO has confirmed. 

These MoUs were signed during the Saudi-Uzbek Business Council meeting in Jeddah on Wednesday. 

“The first agreement we signed was with the Tashkent city, the capital of Uzbekistan, and this is to cover multiple opportunities to develop infrastructure, commercial zones and industrial zones and retail zones in the city,“ Ali Al-Khatib, CEO of industrial manufacturing at Ajlan & Bros Holding Group told Arab News.

 Al-Khatib noted that the Tashkent city project is currently in its planning stage and things will be finalized soon after discussions with partners. 

The second agreement with the Ministry of Agriculture of Uzbekistan focuses on investments in the farming and agricultural sector. 

“We are also exploring the strategic red meat sector, where we aim to invest in the sector in Uzbekistan, and later bring it back to the Kingdom’s markets,” Al-Khatib added. 

He added that the investments in the agricultural sector could range between $50 million to $100 million.


Binance-linked blockchain hit by $570m crypto hack, Binance says

Binance-linked blockchain hit by $570m crypto hack, Binance says
Updated 15 sec ago

Binance-linked blockchain hit by $570m crypto hack, Binance says

Binance-linked blockchain hit by $570m crypto hack, Binance says

LONDON: A blockchain linked to Binance, the world’s largest crypto exchange, has been hit by a $570 million hack, a Binance spokesperson said on Friday, the latest in a series of hacks to hit the crypto sector this year, according to Reuters.

Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao said in a tweet that tokens were stolen from a blockchain “bridge” used in the BNB Chain, which was known as Binance Smart Chain until February. Blockchain bridges are tools used to transfer cryptocurrencies between different applications.

Zhao said the hackers stole around $100 million worth of crypto. BNB Chain later said in a blog post that a total of 2 million of the cryptocurrency BNB — worth around $570 million — was withdrawn by the hacker.

The Binance spokesperson said in emailed comments that “the majority” of the BNB remained in the hacker’s digital wallet address, while about $100 million worth was “unrecovered.”

Blockchain bridges have increasingly become the target of thefts, which have long plagued the crypto sector.

BNB Chain supports the BNB cryptocurrency, formerly known as Binance Coin, which is the world’s fifth-largest token with a market value of some $46 billion, according to CoinGecko data.

Some $2 billion worth of cryptocurrency has been stolen in 13 different bridge hacks, mostly this year, crypto analytics firm Chainalysis said in August.

In March, hackers stole around $615 million from Ronin Bridge, used to transfer crypto in and out of the game Axie Infinity, in one of the largest crypto heists on record. The United States linked North Korean hackers to the theft.

BNB Chain suspended its blockchain for several hours before resuming at around 0630 GMT, it said in a tweet.

It said in its blog post that BNB Chain was “able to stop the incident from spreading” by contacting the blockchain’s “validators,” — entities or individuals who verify blockchain transactions. BNB Chain said there are 44 validators across several different time zones, without giving further details.

BNB Chain said it would introduce a new “governance mechanism” to counter future hacks, as well as to expand the number of validators.

On the Binance website, BNB Chain is described as a “community-driven, open-sourced and decentralized ecosystem.” 


Abdul Latif Jameel Energy-owned firm to develop $1bn battery energy storage platform in the UK

Abdul Latif Jameel Energy-owned firm to develop $1bn battery energy storage platform in the UK
Updated 22 min 26 sec ago

Abdul Latif Jameel Energy-owned firm to develop $1bn battery energy storage platform in the UK

Abdul Latif Jameel Energy-owned firm to develop $1bn battery energy storage platform in the UK

RIYADH: A division of Abdul Latif Jameel Energy has partnered with UK-based firm Tyler Hill Partners to develop a $1 billion battery energy storage platform in Britain, MEED reported.

Fotowatio has put forward the platform, known as FRV TH Powertek, which will be focused on designing, constructing and operating a portfolio of battery energy storage-system projects in the UK. 

It is expected to reach up to 1GW over the next five years with an estimated aggregate investment of £1 billion.

“A significant growth is expected in installed capacity of battery storage projects to keep the UK on track to meet its net zero targets for 2050,” MEED reported citing Abdul Latif Jameel Energy.

FRV expects to invest more than $1.5 billion to double its total installed capacity from 2GW in 2021 to 4GW in 2024.

BESS platforms are expected to play a crucial role in the global expansion of variable renewable energy capacity using solar and wind sources, according to MEED.


Oil target cuts free up capacity in case of crises, OPEC head says

Oil target cuts free up capacity in case of crises, OPEC head says
Updated 59 min 56 sec ago

Oil target cuts free up capacity in case of crises, OPEC head says

Oil target cuts free up capacity in case of crises, OPEC head says

DUBAI: Oil output target cuts agreed by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies, known as OPEC+, will leave producers more supply to tap in the event of any crises, OPEC Secretary General Haitham Al-Ghais told Al Arabiya TV on Friday, according to Reuters.

OPEC+, which includes the 13 members of OPEC and 10 allies led by Russia, agreed on Wednesday to lower their output target by 2 million barrels per day.

OPEC’s de facto leader Saudi Arabia said the move was necessary to respond to rising interest rates in the West and a weaker global economy.

The decision was criticized by the US where the White House said it was a sign the group was aligning itself with Russia.

US President Joe Biden also faces mid-term elections next month in which high energy prices are a hot topic.

“This was not a decision from one country against another, and I want to be clear in saying this, and it’s not a decision from two or three countries against a group of other countries,” said Ghais.

“There are strong indicators that there is a high possibility that recession will happen, we decided in this meeting to be pre-emptive.”

Western nations worry higher energy prices will hurt the fragile global economy and hinder efforts to deprive Moscow of oil revenue following its invasion of Ukraine.

EU sanctions on Russian crude and oil products are also set to take effect, in December and February, respectively.

Asked about the sanctions and a EU proposal to cap the price of Russian oil, OPEC’s Ghais said he could not comment.

“The truth is, the shape of these proposed sanctions is not quite clear, and how they will be implemented is also unclear, so we cannot comment.”

Ghais also said OPEC+ does not target prices: “We are not targeting a price, we are targeting a balance in supply and demand.”

 

 


OPEC+ output cut decision to sustain markets, not raise prices: Saudi Energy Minister

OPEC+ output cut decision to sustain markets, not raise prices: Saudi Energy Minister
Updated 07 October 2022

OPEC+ output cut decision to sustain markets, not raise prices: Saudi Energy Minister

OPEC+ output cut decision to sustain markets, not raise prices: Saudi Energy Minister

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Energy has insisted an agreement to cut oil production by two million barrels per day was made to sustain markets, not to raise prices.

Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman made the comments after the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies, known as OPEC+, faced criticism for agreeing to reduce its output from November, with US President Joe Biden calling it “a disappointment”. 

The minister said in a press conference after the OPEC+ meeting on Wednesday that “our current priority is stability in the market in terms of demand and investment.”

In an interview with Bloomberg, he went further, responding to suggestions of prioritizing profit directly.

“That mantra maybe could be acceptable if it is meant to be that we are deliberately doing this to jack up prices and that is not on our radar, our radar is to make sure we sustain markets,” he told Bloomberg.

Oil prices have not surged compared to coal and gas thanks to the OPEC+ and the effectiveness of its decisions, Prince Abdulaziz added.

The group's goal is to create a disciplined market that serves its real objective, as liquidity in the markets was affected by sharp fluctuations that caused prices to surge, according to the minister.

Prince Abdulaziz also indicated that there is currently no need for an additional cut in oil production by Saudi Arabia, as the agreement is considered good and appropriate for the current time.

“I said it in the press conference that in order for us to be attentive we have to be certainly assertive, preemptive and we have to be proactive,” he said.

The minister moved to quell suggestions that Saudi Arabia was the driving force behind the production cuts, insisting that the decisions taken in the group are unanimous and taken with the participation of all members.

Prince Abdulaziz said that the risks to the market come from strength of the dollar and higher interest rates.

He also indicated that it is not possible currently to judge the impact of the decision to set a price cap on Russian oil, until the passing of the next two months, given the state of uncertainty and lack of details and until the situation becomes clearer. 

He added that it will then be possible to clarify the reaction of players and producers and accordingly make better decisions.

Lack of clarity on price cap adds uncertainty, he said, adding that uncertainty could go either way.

“Our hope that people can bring more certainty in many aspects, certainty in terms of interest rates, in terms of growth, in terms of foreign exchange, in terms of what this issue from Bargo caps and the rest of it including the zero covid policies,” he said. 

The situation is now incomparable to any other throughout his 35-year career in the sector, according to the minister.

Prince Abdulaziz noted that even during the pandemic period, the market faced one variable which is COVID while currently, the market is facing a number of issues whose impact on the market may be positive or negative or a combination of both.

“It is a variety of convoluting uncertainties and they could go astray altogether, and to the positive side, or the negative side, or it could be a combination,” he said.


Tawadul Group awards $36.7m contract for fit-out works in new HQ in KAFD

Tawadul Group awards $36.7m contract for fit-out works in new HQ in KAFD
Updated 07 October 2022

Tawadul Group awards $36.7m contract for fit-out works in new HQ in KAFD

Tawadul Group awards $36.7m contract for fit-out works in new HQ in KAFD

RIYADH: Saudi Tadawul Group Holding Co. has awarded a SR137.98 million ($36.7 million) contract for fit-out works to its new headquarters in King Abdullah Financial District, according to a bourse statement.

The contract was given to Riyadh-based Construction & Planning Co., the statement said, and covers fit-out works for some designated floors in the new Riyadh HQ.

Tadawul Tower has been designed by Japan’s Nikken Sekkei and will host the Saudi stock exchange, major banks and financial institutions, according to the Nikken Sekkei website. 

The construction and equipment works at the KAFD are nearing completion and have reached their final stages, Al Arabiya reported in May 2022.

The Public Investment Fund's KAFD is located in the heart of Riyadh and covrs an area of more than 3 million sq. m..