Saudi government seeking to stimulate local factories with new initiative 

Saudi government seeking to stimulate local factories with new initiative 
The Stimulating Local Industry will be an umbrella for many initiatives, according to the minister (Shutterstock)
Short Url
Updated 06 December 2022

Saudi government seeking to stimulate local factories with new initiative 

Saudi government seeking to stimulate local factories with new initiative 

RIYADH: The seeds of a stronger industrial sector in Saudi Arabia have been sown by the minister of industry and mineral resources as he unveiled a Stimulating Local Industry initiative that would fuel the Kingdom’s ambitious advance into the Fourth Industrial Revolution. 

Bandar Al-Khorayef set out how the plan will stimulate investments in the sector, increase the percentage of local content, raise operational efficiency and improve the competitiveness of the local factories, spur employment and facilitate technology transfer into the region. 

“The Stimulating Local Industry will be an umbrella for many initiatives, including the Future Factories and Promising Factories launched today, in addition to other initiatives that will be announced later,” Al-Khorayef said in a ministry press note. 

The Factories of the Future program plans to transform 4,000 factories with automation and modern technologies into trailblazers of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the convergence of emerging technology domains such as nanotechnology, biotechnology and advanced  

According to the ministry, the program will finance up to 75 percent of the project cost and 0ffer financial incentives for the rest of the project. The financial incentive for the company would be a maximum of SR10 million ($2.66 million) granted when the factory is fully operational. 

The other benefits of the scheme include a loan repayment of seven years and an application review process not exceeding eight weeks. Details for applications to the Competitiveness program can be found on the Saudi Industrial Development Fund website. 

Promising Factories is another program that promises to rev up the pace of the industry by offering soft loans through SIDF without seeking personal guarantees or mortgaging the investor’s property. 

The program will facilitate the development of innovative investment and financing tools to encourage the entry of small and medium enterprises into the industrial sector and fill the required financing gap in the sector. 

“This initiative (SLI) reflects the volume of interest that the Kingdom attaches to the development of Saudi industries and confirms the continued endeavor of the industrial system to provide incentives and advantages for local and foreign investors,” the minister said in a statement.  

“It demonstrates the integration of roles between the relevant government agencies in order to provide an attractive environment for industrial investment and to employ the purchasing capabilities of individuals and government agencies, which provides in the industrial sector qualitative opportunities for current manufacturers and future investors,” the statement added. 


Aldar joins with Dubai Holding to build 9,000 new homes

Aldar joins with Dubai Holding to build 9,000 new homes
Updated 7 sec ago

Aldar joins with Dubai Holding to build 9,000 new homes

Aldar joins with Dubai Holding to build 9,000 new homes

RIYADH: Abu Dhabi based Aldar Properties is set to begin devlopments in Dubai after signing a joint venture agreement with Dubai Holding to build 9,000 new homes across three communities in Dubai.

The developments will take place in the suburban heart of the city along the E311 and E611 corridors across 38.2 million sq. ft of land. according to a press release.

Work is set to begin this year, according to a press release.

“Our entry to Dubai is a milestone moment for Aldar, and we are excited about our long-term growth potential in the emirate alongside Dubai Holding, a prominent and strategic partner,” said Group CEO at Aldar Properties Talal Al Dhiyebi.  

Aldar will be in charge of the entire development cycle, including concept design, sales, delivery, and management of the developments.

“The JV with Aldar demonstrates Dubai Holding’s unparalleled track record of being the strategic ‘partner of choice’ for strong regional and institutional investors. In line with our vision to operate For the Good of Tomorrow, we will continue to unlock opportunities that position Dubai as a leading destination for investments from across the globe,” noted Amit Kaushal, CEO of Dubai Holding.

“By joining forces with Aldar, one of the market leaders in this field, we are delivering on a shared objective of driving the UAE’s economic growth and creating long-term, sustainable value for all our stakeholders,” Kaushal added.


Saudi-based AJA Pharma and the UAE’s Bioventure agree deal to license and supply new pharmaceuticals

Saudi-based AJA Pharma and the UAE’s Bioventure agree deal to license and supply new pharmaceuticals
Updated 02 February 2023

Saudi-based AJA Pharma and the UAE’s Bioventure agree deal to license and supply new pharmaceuticals

Saudi-based AJA Pharma and the UAE’s Bioventure agree deal to license and supply new pharmaceuticals

RIYADH: Saudi-based AJA Pharma has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with UAE’s Bioventure FZ-LLC to license and supply new pharmaceutical products.

According to a bourse filing, the new additional selected pharmaceutical products in the Middle East region are set to be used in the Saudi Export stand at the upcoming Arab Health Expedition 2023.

Under the terms of the new MoU, Bioventure, a subsidiary of GlobalOne Healthcare Holding, is set to focus and develop various delivery forms including complex-to-develop formulations, diabetes, oncology, and biosimilars.

In addition to this, the biopharmaceutical company is also expected to advance and propel therapeutic categories that are projected to be among the largest and fastest-growing within the global pharma sector over the coming years.

The financial impact of the one-year agreement which was signed on Feb. 1 is yet to be disclosed.

Commenting on the agreement, Thamer Al-Muhid, CEO of investment firm Saudi Chemical Co. Holding – of which AJA Pharma is a subsidiary – said: “SSCH aspires to develop its manufacturing arm in the pharma sector, AJA Pharma, through such investment which will contribute to strengthening its position as a Saudi pharmaceutical manufacturer in the field of Oncology, Diabetes and Specialty products, to serve and meet community needs.”

Also, Ashraf Radwan, CEO of GlobalOne Healthcare, said: “Bioventure is committed to improving access to quality healthcare for patients in the Middle East, and this MoU with AJA Pharma marks a significant step towards achieving that goal. By expanding our licensing and supply capabilities, we can bring a wider range of innovative, effective treatments to the people who need them most. I am thrilled to be working with AJA Pharma to bring these solutions to patients in the Middle East and make a meaningful difference in their lives”.

Bioventure is a biopharmaceutical company with a global network focused on biotech as well as a wide range of pharmaceutical activities.


SAMA among Gulf central banks to mirror US Fed 25 bps interest rate hike  

SAMA among Gulf central banks to mirror US Fed 25 bps interest rate hike  
Updated 35 min 34 sec ago

SAMA among Gulf central banks to mirror US Fed 25 bps interest rate hike  

SAMA among Gulf central banks to mirror US Fed 25 bps interest rate hike  

RIYADH: The Saudi Central Bank has increased its interest rate by 25 basis points to 5.25 percent, echoing Wednesday’s move by the US Federal Reserve to curb inflation. 

A statement from the bank, also known as SAMA, noted its Reverse Repo rate has also increased to 4.75 percent.  

Inflation is on the rise in the Kingdom, with the annual rate rising to 3.3 percent in December, up from 2.9 percent in November.  

The Fed’s quarter-point interest rate hike follows months of larger increases, as it hiked 50 basis points in December, and 75 basis points in November, September, July and June.

Despite recent signs of a slow down in the US economy, prices are running at their highest level since the early 1980s. 

Rising interest rates increase the cost of borrowing for consumers, leading to more expensive mortgage bills and loan repayments – something that can lead to reduced spending on other items as people try to reduce costs.

However, savers benefit from the interest rates rise, with money stored away gaining a greater return. Yet, with inflation across the globe still running hot, any extra interest gained by savings is lower than the rising cost of goods and services.

While the US Central Bank’s decision was driven by its desire to lower high inflation, this played a part in driving the Gulf region’s monetary policy, as most of the region’s currencies are pegged to the dollar.  

Following the US Fed’s decision, regional central banks also swung into action to raise their interest rates – although Qatar chose to hold. 

The UAE's central bank increased its base rate to 4.65 percent, effective on Thursday, while the Central Bank of Oman hiked its Repo rate to reach 5.25 percent.

Bahrain also raised its main rate by 25 basis points, with its one-week deposit facility rate rising to 5.5 percent, while the overnight deposit rate hit 5.25 percent. 

Qatar’s Central Bank said in a press release Wednesday that it would keep its rates unchanged, keeping its deposit rate at 5 percent, its lending rate at 5.5 percent, and its repo rates at 5.25 percent. 

As it was predicted that the country would mirror the Fed in early 2023 by the credit ratings agency Fitch in a report last month, this decision came somewhat as a surprise. 

The Central Bank of Kuwait, which raised its interest rate by 50 basis points last month, often acts separately and does not necessarily follow the Fed’s hikes.  

In addition, the Central Bank of Egypt is forecast to raise its overnight interest rates by 150 basis points at its regular monetary policy committee meeting on Thursday, a Reuters poll showed last Monday.  

The CBE increased its interest rates by an unprecedented 800 basis points over the last year alone, and has been involved in a constant series of currency devaluations.  

A poll of 13 analysts anticipated the bank to increase its deposit rate to 17.75 percent and its lending rate to 18.75 percent.  


Egypt poised to announce detailed plan for state stake sales

Egypt poised to announce detailed plan for state stake sales
Updated 02 February 2023

Egypt poised to announce detailed plan for state stake sales

Egypt poised to announce detailed plan for state stake sales

CAIRO: Egypt's government aims to announce a detailed plan next week to offer stakes in at least 20 state companies over the coming year, Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly said after a cabinet meeting on Wednesday.

An Egyptian plan to sell stakes in public companies, first announced more than five years ago, has gained new urgency since the Russian invasion of Ukraine triggered heavy foreign investment outflows from Egyptian financial markets and threw the economy into crisis.

Egypt in December agreed to a $3 billion rescue plan with the International Monetary Fund in expectation that the state withdraws from some non-strategic sectors of the economy to allow space for the private sector to grow.

"The whole goal is to increase the participation of citizens and the private sector in the development process and their management and participation in public institutions that have been owned by the state," Madbouly said, adding that a detailed plan should be in place after the next cabinet meeting.

The company offerings will be made over the course of a year, with some being sold on the stock exchange and others to strategic investors, Madbouly said.

"Large investors will also participate in restructuring and expanding production lines of the companies while also increasing their capital," he added.


Basra Oil Co. head expects Qatar to take 20-25% stake in TotalEnergies’ Iraq project 

Basra Oil Co. head expects Qatar to take 20-25% stake in TotalEnergies’ Iraq project 
Updated 02 February 2023

Basra Oil Co. head expects Qatar to take 20-25% stake in TotalEnergies’ Iraq project 

Basra Oil Co. head expects Qatar to take 20-25% stake in TotalEnergies’ Iraq project 

BASRA: The head of Iraq's Basra Oil Co. told Reuters on Wednesday that he expects Qatar to acquire a 20-25 percent stake in TotalEnergies' $27 billion cluster of energy projects in the country, with the Baghdad government aiming to hold around 40 percent. 

A major investment in the projects by a Gulf state would be an important win for Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed al-Sudani, who took office last October following more than a year of political turmoil. It would also be considered a step towards countering Iranian influence. 

"Qatar is one of the promising and developed countries in this regard...we determine our percentage as an Iraqi country, and the rest is for Total and QatarEnergy...I don't expect more than 20-25 percent, they are talking about 30 percent," said Bassem Abdul Karim, director general of state-run BOC, referring to Qatar's potential stake. 

"The important thing for us is to set our share...Iraq is talking about 40 percent." 

Talks are ongoing, Abdul Karim added. Sources told Reuters last week that Qatar was looking to acquire a stake of around 30 percent in the project. 

QatarEnergy and TotalEnergies did not immediately respond to requests for comment. 

Abdul Karim said he hopes that the contract with France's TotalEnergies — which was signed in 2021 and requires an initial investment of $10 billion to build four giant solar, gas, power and water projects in southern Iraq over 25 years — would be activated within three months. 

The deal had stalled amid disputes between Iraqi politicians over the terms of the deal, which have not been made public, sources familiar with the situation told Reuters early last year, although the oil ministry said it just "needed time". 

France and Iraq signed a treaty last month seeking to strengthen bilateral relations in anti-corruption, security, renewable energy and culture, while committing to the implementation of the TotalEnergies project. 

Separately, Abdul Karim said that Iraq’s oil production from its southern oilfields currently stands at 3.59 million barrels per day.