Saudi Public Investment Fund raises Nintendo stake again to becomes biggest outside investor

Saudi Public Investment Fund raises Nintendo stake again to becomes biggest outside investor
Nintendo is one of the most prominent names in the global video games industry, with a portfolio of titles including Pokemon, The Legend of Zelda, and Mario (Shutterstock)
Short Url
Updated 17 February 2023

Saudi Public Investment Fund raises Nintendo stake again to becomes biggest outside investor

Saudi Public Investment Fund raises Nintendo stake again to becomes biggest outside investor

TOKYO/RIYADH:  Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund raised its stake in Nintendo Co. to 8.26 percent from 7.08 percent, a regulatory filing showed on Friday, making it the largest outside investor in the Japanese gaming company.

It is the the second stake increase disclosure this week following one on Wednesday.

Nintendo is valued at $52 billion, and the company's stock closed slightly down Friday on the Tokyo Stock Exchange at $40.50 a share.

The sovereign wealth fund has been expanding its investments in the Japanese gaming giant as well as Sweden’s Embracer and China’s VSPO backed by Tencent Holdings Ltd..

It was in May 2022 the PIF acquired a 5 percent stake in Nintendo, and in January 2023 it increased that to 6.07 percent in line with the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 goal to emerge as a global hub in the gaming industry.

Nintendo is one of the most prominent names in the global video games industry, with a portfolio of titles including Pokemon, The Legend of Zelda, and Mario.

The PIF also has stakes in noted video game companies which include Nexon, Capcom and Koei Tecmo.

Saudi Arabia is aiming to become a global gaming hub, and the most crucial step to achieve this mission was made in September 2022, as the Kingdom’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman launched the Savvy Games Group’s strategy.

The Saudi wealth fund holds stock worth $2.9 billion in Activision Blizzard, $1.7 billion in Electronic Arts, a $1.2 billion stake in Take-Two Interactive, according to data from the Nasdaq Stock Market.


Brent plunge fails to displace Russian crude for Asian buyers

Brent plunge fails to displace Russian crude for Asian buyers
Updated 9 sec ago

Brent plunge fails to displace Russian crude for Asian buyers

Brent plunge fails to displace Russian crude for Asian buyers
  • Middle East crude prices in Asia appear to be resilient as the market bets on robust demand from China
  • With Russian crude so cheap, a move of a few dollars on Brent-Dubai EFS or even freight would not make a difference

SINGAPORE/LONDON: A plunge in Brent crude prices has narrowed the spread between Atlantic Basin and Middle East benchmarks but has failed to spur interest from Asian refiners, which are instead buying up discounted Russian oil, leaving an overhang in African supply.
Global oil benchmark Brent tumbled more than 10 percent over the past two weeks, touching a 15-month-low of $70.12 a barrel on Monday, as investors have fretted over banking sector turmoil in the US and Europe and as strikes in France have dented oil demand.
Middle East crude prices in Asia appear to be resilient as the market bets on robust demand from China, which is rebounding from zero-COVID restrictions that formerly squeezed its economy.
The Brent-Dubai Exchange for Swaps (EFS), representing the premium of light sweet Brent over Middle East sour crude Dubai, shrank to $1.40 a barrel this week, its narrowest in more than two years.
A tighter EFS typically means Brent-linked crude produced in the Atlantic Basin, including from West African countries, becomes more economical for Asian buyers.

But traders have not seen a significant uptick in Asian demand for West African crude, because the cargoes remain much more expensive than Russian oil, even though they have gained competitiveness over Middle Eastern crude.
With Russian crude so cheap, a move of a few dollars on Brent-Dubai EFS or even freight would not make a difference, other than providing Chinese buyers with a tool to drive prices lower, said a West African crude trader.
Russia’s light sweet ESPO crude for May delivery is traded at a discount of about $6.80 a barrel against the ICE Brent on the deliver-ex-ship (DES) basis to northern China, trading sources said. Meanwhile, Congo’s Djeno, a medium sweet crude favored by Chinese refiners, is assessed at a premium of $1.50 a barrel above ICE Brent for May delivery on DES basis.
The pattern is similar in India, where Russian crude is delivered at discounts to Dubai quotes while West African oil is loaded at parity or a slight discount to dated Brent, an Indian trader said.
Russia became the top crude supplier to China and India in recent months, eroding the market share of other suppliers such as West African countries.
Just over 30 million barrels of West African crude have been loaded for Asia in March, the smallest volume since 2014 or earlier, shipping data from Refinitiv and Kpler showed.
The slowing exports of West African crude are exacerbating a supply overhang in the West of Suez market and weighing down the Brent prices that the West African grades are pegged to.
On Tuesday, about 20 million barrels of Nigerian crude for April loading were still unsold, just as the trade cycle for May cargoes was about to kick off. About four April-loading Angolan crude cargoes were also awaiting buyers.
In the past three months, Nigeria has exported around 42 million barrels of crude on average each month while Angola’s average monthly exports have been around 33 million barrels.


Oil up 1% to one-week high despite crude build

Oil up 1% to one-week high despite crude build
Updated 22 March 2023

Oil up 1% to one-week high despite crude build

Oil up 1% to one-week high despite crude build

NEW YORK: Oil prices rose about 1 percent to a one-week high on Wednesday despite a surprise weekly build in US crude inventories, as the dollar slid to a six-week low ahead of the Federal Reserve’s decision on interest rates which could affect the fuel demand outlook.

Brent futures rose 74 cents, or 1 percent, to $76.06 a barrel by 11:14 a.m. EDT (1514 GMT). US West Texas Intermediate crude rose 64 cents, or 0.9 percent, to $70.31. Each benchmarks was on track for the highest close since March 14.

The US dollar fell to its lowest level since Feb. 3 against a basket of other currencies, supporting oil demand by making crude cheaper for buyers using other currencies.

The US Energy Information Administration said crude stockpiles rose 1.1 million barrels during the week ended March 17. Analysts in a Reuters poll had forecast a 1.6-million barrel withdrawal. But the official data showed a smaller build than the 3.3-million barrel increase reported on Tuesday in industry data.

“The big story here is that build ... in crude, which is enough to get us to the 22-month high in crude oil storage. We just have a lot of crude oil in storage and it’s not going to go away anytime soon,” said Bob Yawger at Mizuho, a bank.

US crude stockpiles have grown during 12 of the past 13 weeks, boosting inventories to their highest since May 2021.

WTI and Brent prices last week fell to their lowest since 2021 on concern that banking sector turmoil could trigger a global recession and cut oil demand. An emergency rescue of Credit Suisse Group AG over the weekend helped revive oil prices.


Moody’s affirms ratings of 10 Saudi banks

Moody’s affirms ratings of 10 Saudi banks
Updated 22 March 2023

Moody’s affirms ratings of 10 Saudi banks

Moody’s affirms ratings of 10 Saudi banks

RIYADH: Amid a challenging global financial environment, global credit ratings agency Moody’s on Wednesday affirmed the long-term deposit ratings on 10 banks in Saudi Arabia and the senior unsecured and subordinated debt ratings of their affiliated entities.

Moody’s changed the outlook on the long-term deposit and senior unsecured debt ratings (where applicable) to positive from stable on nine banks while the long-term deposit rating outlook for one bank remained stable.

“The outlook on the long-term deposit and senior unsecured debt ratings (where applicable) was changed to positive from stable for Saudi National Bank, Riyad Bank, Saudi British Bank, Banque Saudi Fransi, Arab National Bank, Bank AlBilad, the Saudi Investment Bank, Bank AlJazira and Gulf International Bank — Saudi Arabia,” the report said.

The ratings agency said the outlook for Al Rajhi Bank on the long-term deposit rating remains stable.

The rating action was primarily driven by Moody’s affirmation of the A1 Saudi government issuer rating and change in outlook to positive from stable.


Closing bell: Tasi slightly slips amid oil prices uncertainty  

Closing bell: Tasi slightly slips amid oil prices uncertainty  
Updated 22 March 2023

Closing bell: Tasi slightly slips amid oil prices uncertainty  

Closing bell: Tasi slightly slips amid oil prices uncertainty  

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Tadawul All Share Index slipped slightly on Wednesday and lost 9.23 points – or 0.09 percent – to close at 10,350.51, as oil prices were down following fresh indications of weak demand and the market awaited a crucial interest rate decision by the US Federal Reserve.  

MCSI Tadawul 30 Index dropped by 0.12 percent to 1,408.99, while the parallel market Nomu gained 165.55 points or 0.87 percent to close at 19,094.44.  

The total trading turnover of the benchmark index on Wednesday was SR5.01 billion ($1.33 billion).  

The top performer of the day was Mouwasat Medical Services Co., as its share prices surged 10 percent to SR220.  

Other major gainers on Wednesday were Thimar Development Holding Co. and Alinma Tokio Marine Co., whose share prices surged 9.95 percent and 6.98 percent respectively.  

The worst performer of the day was Al-Etihad Cooperative Insurance Co. whose share prices dropped by 8.93 percent, after reporting a fall in total comprehensive income of 73.93 percent in 2022.  

Gulf Insurance Group is another company that saw its shares fall by 7.45 percent as it reported a decrease in net income of SR73.4 million, or 44 percent, in 2022, driven by a lower surplus from insurance operations.  

On the announcements front, Obeikan Glass Co. reported an annual profit of SR177.65 million in 2022, up 2.29 percent compared to 2021, driven by an increase in sales prices as a result of the rise in demand and the expansion of the company in new markets.  

Amid the marginal profit rise, Obeikan Glass Co.’s shares, which are listed in Nomu, dropped by 12.45 percent to SR76.20.  

Basic Chemical Industries Co. announced that its net profit hit SR70.4 million in 2022, up 21.97 percent from the previous year. Even as the profits soared, the share prices of Basic Chemical Industries fell 4.32 percent to SR33.20.   

Driven by the rise in profits, the board of directors of BCI recommended the payment of a cash dividend at 10 percent of capital, or SR1 a share, for 2022.  

Meanwhile, Saudi Printing and Packaging Co. also announced in its financial results that its losses narrowed to SR9.2 million in 2022, from SR59.3 million in the year-ago period. 

Despite narrowing the losses, the share prices of Saudi Printing and Packaging Co. went down 0.24 percent to SR16.86.  

Allied Cooperative Insurance Group also trimmed its loss to SR13.7 million in 2022, from SR114.6 million in 2021. The company’s share prices rose 1.31 percent to SR10.80 at the end of Wednesday’s closing.  

AME Co. for Medical Supplies reported an annual net profit of SR26.6 million in 2022, up 25.73 percent compared to 2021, due to the increase in net revenues driven by a rise in sales of medical supplies.  

As profits surged, AME Co. for Medical Services’ board of directors recommended a 20 percent dividend payout, or SR2 per share, for 2022. The company’s share prices also went up 2.55 percent to SR40.25 on Wednesday’s closing bell.  

Oil prices edged lower on Wednesday. At 04.10 p.m. Saudi time, Brent crude futures, which have risen by almost 3 percent this week, were down 11 cents, or 0.15 percent, at $75.21 a barrel.  

US West Texas Intermediate crude futures were down 9 cents, or 0.13 percent, at $69.58. 


World Bank approves $7bn financing program for Egypt

World Bank approves $7bn financing program for Egypt
Updated 22 March 2023

World Bank approves $7bn financing program for Egypt

World Bank approves $7bn financing program for Egypt

RIYADH: The World Bank has announced that it has approved a $7 billion financing program for Egypt that extends from 2023 until 2027, according to a statement.

The partnership framework is done in collaboration with the International Finance Corp. as well as the global insurance firm Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency.

The financing program is projected to support green and inclusive developments as well as growth activities in the African country.

This money comes as Egypt is struggling with negative factors such as low foreign currency reserves, high interest payments, and high inflation.

It is also feeling the economic impact of the Russia-Ukraine war, as well as reduced tourism, and an increase in food insecurity.

In January, the International Monetary Fund stressed that despite Egypt seeing an “economic recovery” during 2021-2022, “imbalances also started building amidst a stabilized exchange rate.”

The source of World Bank approved funds will be split, with $1 billion annually coming from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, in addition to $2 billion over the entire Central Provident Fund period from the International Finance Corp.

In addition to this, the program will also provide Egypt with guarantees from the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency.

This is not the first time that the lender has approved a green scheme for Egypt.

In October 2022, it signed off on a $400 million development-financing agreement to help boost the African country’s logistics and transportation sectors and facilitate the transition to low-carbon technology along the Alexandria the 6th of October–Greater Cairo Area railway corridor.

In June last year the World Bank also approved a $500 million loan to help Egypt ensure an uninterrupted supply of bread as the country faced food security concerns amid rising prices and supply disruption due to the Russia-Ukraine war.