ACI Asia-Pacific to open regional office in Riyadh

ACI Asia-Pacific is the largest civil aviation market in the world in terms of traffic volumes.
ACI Asia-Pacific is the largest civil aviation market in the world in terms of traffic volumes.
Short Url
Updated 04 October 2022

ACI Asia-Pacific to open regional office in Riyadh

ACI Asia-Pacific to open regional office in Riyadh

RIYADH: Airports Council International Asia-Pacific will open an office in Riyadh, which will work closely with its headquarters in Hong Kong to serve member airports in the Middle East, Matarat Holding Co. said in a press release issued on Tuesday.

ACI Asia-Pacific is the largest civil aviation market in the world in terms of traffic volumes. It serves as the voice of 127 airport members, operating 618 airports across 46 countries in Asia-Pacific, and Middle East. Its mission is to advocate for policies and provide services that strengthen its members’ ability to serve their passengers, employees and stakeholders. It also promotes environmental best practices to minimize aviation’s impact on the environment and to recognize airport members who have outstanding accomplishments in their environmental projects.

Abdulaziz bin Abdullah Alduailej, General Authority of Civil Aviation president and Matarat chairman, said: “Today’s announcement of a regional ACI headquarters in Riyadh reflects Saudi Arabia’s leadership on the world stage of global aviation, in line with Vision 2030 and the National Transport and Logistics Strategy.” 

ACI Asia-Pacific also collaborates with other regional offices, including ACI Europe, ACI North America, ACI Africa, ACI Latin America and the ACI World. Founded in 1991 to cater to Asian airports, ACI Asia was merged with ACI Pacific in 2006 and renamed as ACI Asia-Pacific.

Suliman Albassam, acting CEO of Matarat Holding Co., said: “We are pleased to host a new office of the ACI Asia, Pacific, and Middle East in Riyadh. This step comes in continuation of our efforts to achieve the objectives of the Vision 2030 by attracting international companies and institutions to set up their headquarters in Saudi Arabia,” and stressed that this will contribute to improving the passenger experience by replication of the global best practices.


World’s first commercial shipment of blue ammonia leaves Saudi Arabia

World’s first commercial shipment of blue ammonia leaves Saudi Arabia
Updated 29 November 2022

World’s first commercial shipment of blue ammonia leaves Saudi Arabia

World’s first commercial shipment of blue ammonia leaves Saudi Arabia

A consignment of blue ammonia has left Saudi Arabia for South Korea, representing a new milestone in the development of decarbonization solutions.

The development was first announced during the recent Saudi Green Initiative conference in Sharm El-Sheikh, and Vessel Seasurfer, carrying 25 kilometer-tons of low-carbon blue ammonia, is expected to reach its destination between Dec. 9 and 13 in the world’s first commercial shipment of its kind.

The accomplishment, which is an alternative to conventional gray ammonia, is part of a collaboration between Saudi Basic Industries Corporation Agri-Nutrients and Aramco.

Lotte Fine Chemical, which has a long-standing relationship with SABIC AN, will receive the low-carbon “cradle to gate” blue ammonia.

Abdulrahman Shamsaddin, SABIC AN CEO, said: “This shipment is another milestone in our journey toward carbon neutrality.

“We are proud to be a part of this pioneering solution, paving the way for further decarbonization efforts.

“Looking to the future, we are constantly working on breakthrough solutions to decarbonize our assets and deliver low-carbon solutions to our customers.”

Yong Suk Kim, LFC CEO, said: “We are delighted to enter this meaningful agreement with our long-term supplier, SABIC Agri-Nutrients, to receive the world’s first certified blue ammonia cargo. 

“Building on our shared history, we are looking forward to moving forward together into a new era for ammonia. We believe that this shipment of blue ammonia will help lay the foundations for a global supply chain." 

Earlier this year, SABIC AN and Aramco received the world’s first independent certifications, recognizing blue ammonia and blue hydrogen production, from TUV Rheinland, a leading independent testing, inspection and certification agency, based in Germany.

The shipment of blue ammonia to South Korea will be the first to capitalize on this major certification achievement. 

The new developments are aligned with Saudi Vision 2030, which focuses on low-carbon fuels, products, solutions and clean energy. 
 


Americana Restaurants reveals IPO date in first dual listing on Abu Dhabi and Saudi Arabia markets

Americana Restaurants reveals IPO date in first dual listing on Abu Dhabi and Saudi Arabia markets
Updated 28 November 2022

Americana Restaurants reveals IPO date in first dual listing on Abu Dhabi and Saudi Arabia markets

Americana Restaurants reveals IPO date in first dual listing on Abu Dhabi and Saudi Arabia markets

RIYADH: The restaurant group that runs KFC, Pizza Hut, Krispy Kreme and others across the Middle East has announced share allocation to investors as well as the scheduled date for its initial public offering in Abu Dhabi and Saudi Arabia, according to a statement.

Americana Restaurants’ IPO poses the first simultaneous dual listing process on the Abu Dhabi Stock Exchange and the Saudi Stock Exchange, also known as Tadawul.

Taking into consideration obtaining all the required regulatory approvals, the IPO’s listing and trading process is set to commence on Dec. 12.

As of Nov. 24, the firm disclosed that the final share price to be offered for subscription stands at 2.62 dirhams ($0.71) per share in the UAE and SR2.68 ($0.71) per share in the Kingdom respectively.

Subscription requests hit $105 billion garnered from several qualified and eligible institutional investors across diverse countries including both the UAE and Saudi Arabia.

Apart from that, other investors belonged to what is known as an “individual segment” in both the UAE and the Kingdom respectively.

Subscription requests for individuals in the UAE and Saudi Arabia exceeded 48.2 times and 2.8 times, respectively. On the other hand, subscription requests for qualified institutions exceeded 65.5 times.

A total of 283,245 individual investors in Saudi Arabia subscribed to the IPO. 

“We are looking forward to the next step of our growth journey and working towards future value creation. We are equally proud to have taken the final step towards a historic first-ever concurrent dual listing on ADX and the Saudi Exchange – further enhancing the depth and maturity of the UAE and Saudi capital markets. We look forward to welcoming our new shareholders in December,” said Chairman of Americana Restaurants Mohamed Ali Rashed Alabbar in a statement.

While 80 percent of the normal shares were allocated to a qualified institutional tranche, 10 percent were allocated to individual tranches in the UAE, and 10 percent were allocated to the individual tranche in the Kingdom.

In addition to this, the food and beverages firm also allocated over 1,000 shares for each subscriber in the retail segment in the UAE and more than 892 shares for each subscriber in the retail segment in Saudi Arabia.

The remaining shares were allocated on a pro-rata basis to the retail tranche in the UAE and an allocation percentage of 0.01 percent to the retail tranche in the Kingdom.

The shares have been allocated to the tranche of eligible constitutions in consultation with financial advisors as well as international coordinators.

 As per the updated schedule, any surplus subscription amounts are set to be returned to retail investors in the UAE on Nov. 30 and prior to Dec. 8 for those in the Kingdom.


Abu Dhabi overcomes global challenges registering 11.2% GDP growth in H1: SCAD

Abu Dhabi overcomes global challenges registering 11.2% GDP growth in H1: SCAD
Updated 28 November 2022

Abu Dhabi overcomes global challenges registering 11.2% GDP growth in H1: SCAD

Abu Dhabi overcomes global challenges registering 11.2% GDP growth in H1: SCAD

RIYADH: Reflecting Abu Dhabi’s robust performance and the ability of the economy to sustain growth despite global economic challenges, data released by the Statistics Centre – Abu Dhabi, shows expansion of the emirate’s gross domestic product in the first half of 2022 to 11.2 percent compared to the same period last year. 

The quarterly GDP growth rate reached its highest value in six years during the second quarter of 2022 when it hit 11.7 percent compared to the same quarter last year, according to estimates reported by SCAD. 

At the end of the first half of 2022, the real GDP value (at constant prices) exceeded 543 billion dirhams ($148 billion), and the value of the non-oil sectors’ GDP increased 28.4 billion dirhams compared to the same period last year to reach 273 billion dirhams in total. 

Furthermore, the statistical estimates reveal that all non-oil economic activities and sectors showed positive growth rates at constant prices during the first half of 2022, most notably, the health and social work activity rising at a rate of 29.9 percent. This was followed by accommodation and food services at a rate of 29.3 percent, and professional, scientific and support services at a rate of 27.2 percent. The emirate's wholesale and retail trade activity also recorded a positive growth at a rate of 23.7 percent, whereas real estate activities grew at a rate of 19.1 percent. Abu Dhabi's electricity, gas, water, and waste management registered a growth rate of 18.0 percent, followed by 13.8 percent for transportation and storage. 

The leading economic activities that contributed to the GDP of Abu Dhabi at constant prices during the first half of 2022 included manufacturing activities with the contribution of 8.1 percent, while showing a growth rate of 10.2 percent, according to the results.
In addition, the construction and building activity contributed to the real GDP with 7.7 percent, and achieved a growth rate of 6.9 percent, followed by the wholesale and retail trade activity that contributed 5.9 percent to the GDP.
The financial and insurance activities contributed 5.5 percent to the GDP, with a growth rate of 9.1 percent during the first half of 2022 compared to the same period last year. 

Mohamed Ali Al Shorafa, chairman of the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development, said, “Economy’s positive growth rates in Abu Dhabi reflect the profound strength and success of the economic diversification policy, which contributed to the economy’s resilience and ability to address global changes posed by geopolitical and economic factors that directly affected strategic sectors such as energy and international trade.” 

He added: “The Abu Dhabi economy continues to reap the benefits of the effective policies guided by the wise leadership to strengthen the pillars and foundations of the economy, maintaining a competitive performance while attracting investments with more initiatives to achieve the strategic objectives of Abu Dhabi.” 

According to data released by SCAD, the mining and quarrying activities (including crude oil and natural gas) contributed 49.7 percent to the real GDP of Abu Dhabi during the first half of 2022, which means non-oil activities contributed 50.3 percent at constant prices defying the noticeable increases of global oil prices during the same period.
The increase in the non-oil sector’s contribution to the real GDP bears testimony to the success of the ambitious strategic plans for diversifying the economic base in Abu Dhabi. 


TVTC zeroes in on tourism with more than 6k Saudis training for roles in key Vision 2030 sector

TVTC zeroes in on tourism with more than 6k Saudis training for roles in key Vision 2030 sector
Updated 28 November 2022

TVTC zeroes in on tourism with more than 6k Saudis training for roles in key Vision 2030 sector

TVTC zeroes in on tourism with more than 6k Saudis training for roles in key Vision 2030 sector

RIYADH: More than 6,000 Saudis are currently being trained up for technical roles in the Kingdom’s growing tourism industry, according to the government agency leading the charge.

Saudi Arabia's Technical and Vocational Training Corp. has announced it is currently training 6,189 people in preparation for jobs in the tourism and hotel industries.

The Kingdom’s tourism sector continues to grow, with the Kingdom expecting to attract 100 million annual visitors and creating one million jobs by 2030.

TVTC spokesperson Fahad Alotaibi said the entity focuses on designing and providing specialized training programs to train citizens to work in this sector and lead its facilities through diversified training programs in the tourism and hospitality fields.

TVTC's aims align with Saudi Vision 2030, under which efforts are exerted to cut the unemployment rate in the Kingdom from 11.6 percent to 7 percent by 2030.

In August this year, TVTC announced that it had received more than 230,000 trainees — new starters and returnees — in over 260 training facilities and partnership institutes distributed throughout the Kingdom.

To achieve its Vision 2030 goals, Saudi Arabia is not only encouraging the recruitment of nationals to private sector jobs, but is also encouraging adequate investment in their future to ensure their retention by employers as well as their contribution to a vibrant and diverse economy.

Saudization, officially known as the Saudi nationalization scheme, or Nitaqat, is considered a crucial step towards economic success.

Saudi Arabia launched the ‘Saudization’ labor market strategy to enhance the economic participation of its citizens, with the aim of reaching 60 percent by 2030.

Although the process of Saudization has been going on since 1985, major regulatory and economic reforms have accelerated in recent years under the Vision 2030 agenda, with the aim of increasing the participation of young Saudis in the economy, promoting non-oil sectors and improving the overall quality of life.

According to Saudi Arabia's Central Department of Statistics and Information, the unemployment rate in the Kingdom decreased to 5.80 percent in the second quarter of 2022 from 6 percent in the first quarter of 2022.

Vision 2030 promotes Saudi women as an important part of the Kingdom’s strength. It aims to develop their talents, invest their energies, and provide them with the right opportunities to build their futures, contributing to the development of society.

Saudi women now comprise 33.6 percent of the Saudi workforce as of March 2022, according to the General Authority for Statistics. That figure is up from 17.4 percent just five years ago.

The unemployment rate of women was the lowest in 20 years as of the first quarter of 2022, falling to 20.2 percent from 22.5 percent during the fourth quarter of 2021.


WTTC members to invest $10.5bn in Saudi Arabia’s tourism sector over next 5 years

WTTC members to invest $10.5bn in Saudi Arabia’s tourism sector over next 5 years
Updated 28 November 2022

WTTC members to invest $10.5bn in Saudi Arabia’s tourism sector over next 5 years

WTTC members to invest $10.5bn in Saudi Arabia’s tourism sector over next 5 years

RIYADH: The World Travel and Tourism Council members will invest $10.5 billion in Saudi Arabia’s tourism sector, as the Kingdom steadily evolves as a global tourist destination in line with the goals outlined in Vision 2030, according to Julia Simpson, president and CEO of WTTC. 

Speaking at a press conference ahead of the WTTC Global Summit in Riyadh on Nov. 28, Simpson noted that Saudi Arabia is showing incredible commitment to developing the tourism sector, and is planning to attract 100 million visitors globally by 2030. 

Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Tourism Ahmad Al-Khateeb said the sector is still recovering from the pandemic, but the number of international arrivals in the Kingdom has already climbed to 70 percent of pre-COVID-19 levels. 

“I am proud of the progress we made in building resilience in this sector. We believe in the power of partnership, and we want to bring the global community together. Saudi Arabia is the fastest growing destination in the world,” said Al-Khateeb. 

WTTC also announced that American actor, environmentalist and entrepreneur Edward Norton will be a keynote seeker at its global summit in Riyadh on Nov. 30.

Norton, who has been a long-time advocate for sustainable business practices, will speak about the vitality of maintaining healthy environmental operational standards in the tourism sector as he will be in a conversation with Saudi Tourism Authority CEO Fahd Hamidaddin during the event, according to a press release.

“It is clear that people who have such a global platform as Edward Norton help to transcend borders and reinforce the work that we do in promoting sustainable development strategies and we are delighted he is with us at the WTTC Summit in Riyadh,” said Hamidaddin.

This year’s WTTC Global Summit is being organized at the King Abdul Aziz International Conference Center under the theme “Travel for a Better Future.”

Some other prominent personalities who will speak at the summit include former UK Prime Minister Theresa May, Jerry Inzerillo — Group CEO of Diriyah Gate Development Authority, and Paul Griffiths, CEO of Dubai International Airports. 

Former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon will also address delegates in person during the event. In October, Al-Khateeb said that Riyadh is set to become the capital of the global tourism industry, and the tourist destinations in the Kingdom are being built and will operate in a sustainable manner. 

“We have the vision, we put the plan, and we put all the resources, especially the financial resources to deliver the plan,” said Al-Khateeb.