Saudi Events Investment Fund acquires stake in Tahaluf to harness global exhibition opportunities 

Saudi Events Investment Fund acquires stake in Tahaluf to harness global exhibition opportunities 
Tahaluf is a strategic alliance between Informa PLC and the Saudi Arabian Federation for Cyber Security and Programming and organizes events such as LEAP and Black Hat Middle East. (File)
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Updated 27 July 2023
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Saudi Events Investment Fund acquires stake in Tahaluf to harness global exhibition opportunities 

Saudi Events Investment Fund acquires stake in Tahaluf to harness global exhibition opportunities 

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Events Investment Fund has acquired a significant stake in Tahaluf, the organizer of major expos like LEAP and Black Hat Middle East, to expand the scope of developing world-class events in the Kingdom.  

The first such major joint venture in the events sector is aimed at positioning the Kingdom as a global hub for hosting international exhibitions, programs and other gatherings. 

A strategic joint venture, Tahaluf is co-owned by London-based Informa PLC and the Saudi Federation for Cyber Security, Programming and Drones. 

The Public Investment Fund-backed event production company Sela, which is known for creating iconic destinations, is also expected to join the joint venture in the near future. 

“Tahaluf will scale up at a rate rarely seen in the events industry as it continues to employ some of the region’s best events talent to deliver record-breaking, award-winning events like Black Hat MEA and LEAP,” said Tahaluf CEO Mike Champion.   

He added: “With EIF, SAFCSP and Informa as shareholders, the company is strategically positioned to deliver outstanding quality events, that help to transform and develop the Kingdom’s MICE sector.”   

The partnership will see Tahaluf leveraging the expertise of all its investors to launch new B2B and B2C events, which will be focused on important sectors such as technology, real estate, pharmaceuticals, food, health and beauty, tourism and hospitality. 

The company plans to launch further diverse original concept events, including the Saudi Maritime Congress, Global Health Exhibition, and Inflavour, for the food industry.  

For EIF, which falls under the umbrella of the National Development Fund, the investment is part of its strategy to create a resilient infrastructure for the Kingdom's cultural, tourist, entertainment, and sporting industries.  

“We at EIF are delighted to be part of this joint venture with such an internationally renowned industry leader and look forward to working closely with Tahaluf as we develop the nascent MICE ecosystem in the Kingdom together and move forward in our mission to develop a world-class entertainment and events infrastructure,” Ahmed Al-Jasser, EIF Acting CEO, said. 

This partnership aligns with the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 goals to achieve economic diversification, expanding the country’s events and entertainment sector while creating employment opportunities for Saudi citizens.    

“We’re passionate about delivering stand-out events and this is an exciting opportunity to expand our presence in this growing sector,” said Sela Managing Director and CEO Rakan Al-Harthy. 

In a move to serve the longer-term strategy, the partners of the joint venture also plan to establish an events training academy to bring globally recognized certification and training for young Saudi nationals.


Egypt to increase funds for health sector by 25% in upcoming budget

Egypt to increase funds for health sector by 25% in upcoming budget
Updated 10 sec ago
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Egypt to increase funds for health sector by 25% in upcoming budget

Egypt to increase funds for health sector by 25% in upcoming budget

RIYADH: Egypt will increase health sector allocations in the next general budget to 495.6 billion pounds ($10.4 billion), according to the country’s finance minister. 

The North African country’s upcoming fiscal year is set to begin in July. Mohamed Maait said in a statement that this reflects an annual growth rate of 24.9 percent compared to the funds allocated for the sector in the current fiscal. 

This is in line with the nation’s goal to improve medical services for citizens, which is also an objective of Egypt’s Vision 2030.

Moreover, the minister added that allocations for the education sector will also be raised to 858.3 billion pounds, with an annual growth rate of 45 percent. 

Scientific research reserves are also on track to increase to more than 139.5 billion pounds in the next budget, reflecting an annual growth rate of 40.1 percent.


Oman’s top 5 ports handle over 93.2m tonnes of cargo in 2023

Oman’s top 5 ports handle over 93.2m tonnes of cargo in 2023
Updated 6 min 42 sec ago
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Oman’s top 5 ports handle over 93.2m tonnes of cargo in 2023

Oman’s top 5 ports handle over 93.2m tonnes of cargo in 2023

RIYADH: Oman’s top five ports saw a 1.5 percent annual increase in cargo handling in 2023, surpassing 93.2 million tonnes, underscoring their growing significance in maritime trade.  

The terminals of Sultan Qaboos, Salalah Sohar and Khasab as well as Shinas, and A’Suwaiq handled approximately 91.8 million tonnes of general, liquid, and bulk cargo in 2022, according to the Oman News Agency. 

It also highlighted a significant increase in the number of berthed ships in 2023, reaching approximately 11,005 vessels compared to 10,553 watercraft in 2022, marking a 4.3 percent rise. 

Cruise ship passengers at the Sultan Qaboos, Salalah, and Khasab Ports have increased considerably. This achievement reflects the government’s collaborative efforts with tourism partners to enhance hospitality traffic to Oman. 

The news agency added that the government succeeded in attracting major cruise ship operators to several Omani connection points, including Salalah, Khasab, and Sultan Qaboos Port. 

It also reported that in 2023, 229 cruise ships brought 599,000 passengers to Omani terminals, compared to around 87 ocean liners carrying over 205,000 travelers in 2022. This represents an increase of over 190 percent in commuters. 


Saudi ADES secures $93.3m contract to operate jack-up rig in Qatar

Saudi ADES secures $93.3m contract to operate jack-up rig in Qatar
Updated 30 min 45 sec ago
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Saudi ADES secures $93.3m contract to operate jack-up rig in Qatar

Saudi ADES secures $93.3m contract to operate jack-up rig in Qatar

RIYADH: Saudi drilling firm ADES is set to operate a SR350 million ($93.3 million) jack-up rig in Qatar, having secured a contract from TotalEnergies.  

ADES noted in a statement to Tadawul that the letter of award from the French petroleum company includes a mandatory and optional extension period of up to 18 months. 

The project is expected to commence in the second half of 2024, utilizing the firm’s fleet of jack-up offshore drilling units. 

Additionally, ADES indicated that the contract will enable it to maintain its market share in Qatar by operating three drilling rigs. This comes after the relocation of its Emerald Driller platform to Indonesia, anticipated to take place in the second half of 2024. 


 


Najran Municipality introduces 20 investment opportunities in Yadamah governorate 

Najran Municipality introduces 20 investment opportunities in Yadamah governorate 
Updated 58 min 59 sec ago
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Najran Municipality introduces 20 investment opportunities in Yadamah governorate 

Najran Municipality introduces 20 investment opportunities in Yadamah governorate 

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Najran Municipality has unveiled 20 diverse investment opportunities across the governorate of Yadamah, encompassing commercial, sports, recreational, shopping, and event activities. 

These prospects are dispersed across various locations within the locale, including parks, squares, main roads, and public walkways, as reported by the Saudi Press Agency. 

The municipality clarified that the investment opportunities range from temporary agreements to investment deals spanning five to 25 years in various activities. It invited interested investors to review the possibilities and details of the competition through the Forsah platform, which translates to “opportunity” in English.


Saudi Arabia’s point-of-sale transactions grew 20% to reach $14.33bn in February  

Saudi Arabia’s point-of-sale transactions grew 20% to reach $14.33bn in February  
Updated 14 April 2024
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Saudi Arabia’s point-of-sale transactions grew 20% to reach $14.33bn in February  

Saudi Arabia’s point-of-sale transactions grew 20% to reach $14.33bn in February  

RIYADH: Payments made through point-of-sale terminals in Saudi Arabia experienced a notable 20 percent annual increase in February, totaling SR53.72 billion ($14.33 billion), the latest data showed.   

According to data released by the Saudi Central Bank, the largest portion of POS spending in February was allocated to beverages and food, comprising 15.7 percent of the total at SR8.43 billion. This was followed by spending on restaurants and cafes, accounting for 15 percent of the total and reaching SR8.02 billion. 

A POS is where purchases are made in a store, like when items are paid for at the cash register or when a card is swiped.  

The rise in POS payments mirrors the Kingdom’s drive toward digital transformation and its investments in a technology-centric future. The nation is actively seeking initiatives to nurture sustainable urban development and a thriving digital economy.  

More than 93 percent of those sales use near-field communication technology through mobile phones and cards. 

NFC methods have transformed contactless payments in Saudi Arabia, enabling transactions to be completed with a mere tap of a card or smartphone. Its popularity stems from its rapidity and hygienic benefits, minimizing the necessity for physical contact.  

As consumer acceptance grows, businesses are quickly incorporating NFC technology into their payment systems. This approach aligns with customer desires for efficiency and speed, and integrates sophisticated security features to safeguard against fraud.  

Data from the central bank revealed the closure of 349 ATMs since February 2023. Conversely, the issuance of 5.4 million cards during this period suggests a shift from physical cash toward digital methods.  

The data also showed a notable increase in spending on miscellaneous goods and services, including personal care items, supplies, maintenance, and cleaning, which made up the largest share at 20 percent of the total rise in POS sales during the mentioned period. This category constituted 12 percent of the total expenditure in February 2024, amounting to SR6.5 billion and experiencing a growth rate of 39 percent.  

The POS payments for miscellaneous goods showed the highest growth rate among all categories, with hotels following closely behind, increasing by 28 percent during this period to reach SR1.52 billion.  

Additionally, beverages, food, and jewelry each experienced a boost of 23 percent and 21 percent, respectively.   

Riyadh dominated the POS sales, accounting for 34 percent of the total, followed by Jeddah with 14 percent. 

The capital city’s population surged from half a million in 1972 to over 7.8 million in 2024. This growth, coupled with increased urbanization and the concentration of numerous international headquarters, has positioned the municipality as a bustling hub where most sales transactions occur.