ACWA Power signs agreement with Bank of China

ACWA Power signs agreement with Bank of China
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Updated 05 September 2023
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ACWA Power signs agreement with Bank of China

ACWA Power signs agreement with Bank of China

RIYADH: ACWA Power has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Bank of China, the Saudi-listed company has announced.    

In a post on X, formerly known as Twitter, the power generation and desalination firm said the move represents a “deepening (of) our strategic partnership and strengthening (of) our long-term cooperation with the Chinese entity.”  

Last December, ACWA Power signed a $1.5 billion agreement with Power China, marking a series of MoUs with Chinese entities during President Xi Jinping’s visit to the Kingdom.  

These MoUs covered financing, investment, engineering procurement and construction contracts, and renewable energy equipment procurement for clean and renewable energy projects. 

Strategic partners from China included the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, Bank of China, SPIC Huanghe Hydropower Development Co., and China Southern Power Grid International.  

Additionally, Power China International Group, China Energy International Group, Jinko Solar Co, Sungrow Power Supply Co, and Jolywood Solar Technology Co. joined forces for collaborations. 

On Monday, ACWA Power inked six agreements in the fields of green hydrogen, water desalination, and research and development at the Saudi-Italian Investment Forum in Milan.  

These agreements involve six Italian organizations, including Confindustria, a federation representing small, medium, and large enterprises; Eni, a prominent energy firm; and utility and waste management company A2A.  

The other three companies are Industrie De Nora, a provider of industrial solutions; Italmatch Chemicals, a manufacturer of specialty additives; and RINA, which is into offering classification and engineering solutions. 

ACWA Power CEO Marco Arcelli believes this step will contribute to the increased integration of Italian companies in Saudi Arabia and lay the groundwork for a strong collaborative effort in research and development.  

The agreement further solidifies ACWA Power’s objective of creating significant prospects for Italian and European businesses within Saudi Arabia. It also aligns with their mission of promoting sustainable advancement through the provision of green hydrogen and technical knowledge, Arcelli explained.  


Qatar unveils its first VC fund of funds with $1bn worth of investments

Qatar unveils its first VC fund of funds with $1bn worth of investments
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Qatar unveils its first VC fund of funds with $1bn worth of investments

Qatar unveils its first VC fund of funds with $1bn worth of investments

RIYADH: Local and regional entrepreneurs are set to benefit from an investment exceeding $1 billion through Qatar’s new venture capital fund of funds.

According to the Qatar Investment Authority, the initiative aims to nurture innovation within the country, with the assets allocated to international and regional venture capital funds.

The endeavor, as outlined in a statement by QIA, has two primary objectives. 

Firstly, it seeks to yield market-level commercial returns, aligning with the authority’s overarching mission to secure sustainable, long-term gains for the people of Qatar. 

Simultaneously, it seeks to bolster the sustainable growth of a dynamic VC and startup ecosystem in accordance with Qatar’s National Development Strategy. 

The authority said: “The program will aim to attract leading international VC funds and entrepreneurs both to Qatar and the wider GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) region, bringing deep VC and startup expertise and contributing to the growth of a local and region base of venture capitalists and founders.”

QIA CEO Mansoor Ebrahim Al-Mahmoud underscored the significance of establishing a dedicated capital pool for companies beyond seed funding, saying: “Building a well-connected startup ecosystem network in Qatar is fundamental to diversifying the country’s economic base in the long-term.”

This influx is anticipated to inject profound expertise in VC and startup realms, thereby nurturing a local and regional cadre of venture capitalists and founders.

The program is slated to prioritize investment in sectors such as technology, including fintech and edtech, alongside healthcare. 

While its primary mode of investment will be through indirect channels via other VC accounts, it retains the flexibility to engage in targeted co-investments with participating funds. 

The fund of funds program is exclusive to VC reserves and will abstain from investments in private equity, debt, or alternative capital.

The initiative aims to make important strides toward closing the current funding gap for local and regional entrepreneurs.

Al-Mahmoud added: “QIA is launching this program to help ensure that innovative businesses can readily access capital and support from VC funds, enabling them to scale operations and expand market presence in Qatar, across the GCC, and ultimately onto the international stage.”

Fund managers vying to secure capital will be tasked with demonstrating a robust track record characterized by consistent commercial performance. 

Moreover, a commitment to Qatar and active engagement within the GCC VC and startup landscape will be prerequisites, necessitating the establishment of an operational presence in Qatar and outlining expansion plans across the region.

Reflecting the dual investment mandate, the program will embrace international, regional, and emerging local fund managers. Close collaboration with Qatar’s wider VC and startup ecosystem will be fostered to harness synergies and maximize participation in various initiatives.

This strategic endeavor is poised to accelerate the evolution of Qatar’s venture capital ecosystem, infusing financial resources while importing global best practices and networks into the local market.


Dubai’s Parkin to sell 24.99% stake in IPO 

Dubai’s Parkin to sell 24.99% stake in IPO 
Updated 30 min 5 sec ago
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Dubai’s Parkin to sell 24.99% stake in IPO 

Dubai’s Parkin to sell 24.99% stake in IPO 

DUBAI: The Dubai government is selling a 24.99 percent stake in Parkin, which oversees public parking operations in the emirate, through an initial public offering in the emirate’s first privatization deal this year, Parkin said in a statement on Tuesday. 

Parkin’s shareholder, Dubai Investment Fund, plans to sell all of the 749.7 million shares in the offering, the firm said, adding it expects to make its bourse debut next month. 

The offering begins on March 5, with a price range announced on the same day, and the subscription period ends on March 12 for retail investors and on March 13 for qualified investors. 

Reuters was first to report in June last year that the Roads & Transport Authority was considering strategic options for its parking business and invited banks to pitch for roles in a potential IPO. 

Parkin operated about 179,000 paid public parking spaces across the Dubai emirate of the end of last year, of which 4,000 or so were at multi-storey car parks. It also manages an additional 18,000 spaces at developer-owned facilities, it said. 

The RTA is monetizing assets on behalf of the Dubai government as part of a wider privatization program to list state-linked companies and boost attention to its exchange. 

The RTA raised $1 billion from the sale of a 25 percent stake in toll-road operator Salik in 2022 and another $315 million in December from the sale of another 24.99 percent stake in Dubai Taxi Corp., its public taxi business. 

Both deals garnered strong demand from investors; books were oversubscribed multiple times. 

A post-COVID economic rebound, neutral political stance, ease of doing business, convenient time zones, and tax-free status have all contributed to Dubai's attracting droves of wealthy individuals in recent years. 

The number of residents in the city jumped by 100,240, official statistics show, reaching 3.65 million people at the end of last year, compared with 3.55 million people on Jan. 1, 2023. 

Rothschild was appointed as an independent financial adviser while Emirates NBD, Goldman Sachs and HSBC are acting as joint global coordinators and joint bookrunners. 

After the offering, Parkin plans to pay a semi-annual dividend in April and October, Chief Financial Officer Khattab Abu Qaoud said. He added that the minimum dividend payout for 2024 would be more than the net profit for the year, or exceed free cash flow to equity. 

Companies domiciled in the Gulf Cooperation Council raised $11 billion in IPO proceeds in 2023, down 45 percent from 2022. GCC IPOs accounted for 40 percent of proceeds raised in EMEA during 2023, down from 56 percent during 2022, LSEG data showed. 

Parkin reported revenues of 779 million dirhams ($212.11 million) in 2023, up 14 percent from a year earlier, while its core profit rose 23 percent to 414 million dirhams. 


Saudi PIF initiates sale of 7-year dollar sukuk: Reuters 

Saudi PIF initiates sale of 7-year dollar sukuk: Reuters 
Updated 57 min 14 sec ago
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Saudi PIF initiates sale of 7-year dollar sukuk: Reuters 

Saudi PIF initiates sale of 7-year dollar sukuk: Reuters 

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund has commenced the sale of US dollar-denominated sukuk with priority payment for a seven-year term, as reported by Reuters. 

According to a banking document viewed by the agency, the initial indicative price for the bond sale has been set at a premium of around 115 basis points above US Treasury bonds. 

The Kingdom’s sovereign wealth fund, managing assets exceeding $700 billion, has appointed Goldman Sachs, HSBC, and Standard Chartered to arrange meetings with potential investors. 

PIF, along with the government of Saudi Arabia, last month joined a wave of emerging market issuers seeking to take advantage of rising demand for debt before central banks are expected to lower interest rates later this year.  

A sukuk is a financial offering that complies with Islamic religious rules regarding interest. PIF accounted for about a quarter of the $124 billion spent by sovereign wealth funds worldwide last year, according to a report in January from industry specialist Global SWF.  

The fund plans to ramp up its deployment of capital to $70 billion a year after 2025, from $40 billion to $50 billion currently, PIF Gov. Yasir Al-Rumayyan said last week in Miami. 

It raised $5 billion through the sale of a triple-tranche conventional bond in January and $3.5 billion from a sukuk deal in October 2023.  

Last month’s $5 billion bond issuance successfully concluded pricing, drawing demand that propelled order books to reach $27 billion, marking an oversubscription of more than five times, as stated in an official announcement. 

It comprised three tranches — one valued at $1.75 billion with a five-year coupon maturing in 2029, another for the same amount with a 10-year coupon, and the final valued at $1.5 billion over a 30-year period. 

Fahad Al-Saif, head of PIF’s global capital finance division, said: “Continued strong demand from international institutional investors is testament to the ongoing success of PIF’s medium-term capital raising strategy.” 

Loans and debt instruments represent one of PIF’s four sources of funding. The wealth fund is rated A1 by Moody’s with a positive outlook and A+ by Fitch with a stable outlook. 


Oil Updates – crude prices cling to gains amid concerns about Red Sea attacks on shipping

Oil Updates – crude prices cling to gains amid concerns about Red Sea attacks on shipping
Updated 27 February 2024
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Oil Updates – crude prices cling to gains amid concerns about Red Sea attacks on shipping

Oil Updates – crude prices cling to gains amid concerns about Red Sea attacks on shipping

RIYADH: Oil prices on Tuesday mostly held onto gains made a day earlier amid attacks on shipping in the Red Sea that have exacerbated supply worries, according to Reuters.

Brent crude futures fell 1 cent to $82.52 a barrel by 7:35 a.m Saudi time, while US West Texas Intermediate crude futures rose 1 cent to $77.59 a barrel.

“Concerns around shipping disruptions in the Red Sea have supported a rebound in the price of crude oil overnight, offsetting a more hawkish Fed currently weighing on the demand side of the equation,” said Tony Sycamore, an analyst at IG in Sydney.

The attacks by Iran-aligned Houthis in support of Palestinians have increased freight rates and shipping times. On Monday, US Central Command said that the Houthis had unsuccessfully fired a missile at the US flagged oil tanker Torm Thor in the Gulf of Aden on Feb. 24.

US President Joe Biden said on Monday he hopes to have a ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas conflict in Gaza start by next Monday. In public, Israel and Hamas continued to take positions far apart on a possible truce, while blaming each other for delays.

Both oil benchmarks settled more than 1 percent higher on Monday which followed declines of 2 percent-3 percent over the previous week as markets factored in a greater likelihood that rate cuts might take longer to come.

Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank President Jeffrey Schmid on Monday used a debut speech on policy to signal that he, like most of his central banking colleagues, is in no rush to cut interest rates. High borrowing costs typically reduce economic growth and oil demand.

Oil prices were also supported on Tuesday by indications of improved demand in China.

“Concerns over Chinese demand are abating, as refineries continue brisk buying in the physical market after a boom in Lunar New Year travel. This is despite them having planned more maintenance halts than usual,” analysts from ANZ Bank said in a note.

A market focus for the day will be the American Petroleum Institute industry group’s weekly data on US crude inventories which is due to be released at 0.30 a.m. on Wednesday.

Analysts polled by Reuters on Monday estimated on average that crude inventories rose by about 1.8 million barrels in the week to Feb. 23. 


WTO conference spotlights global trade challenges and collaborative solutions

WTO conference spotlights global trade challenges and collaborative solutions
Updated 27 February 2024
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WTO conference spotlights global trade challenges and collaborative solutions

WTO conference spotlights global trade challenges and collaborative solutions
  • Established in 1995, the World Trade Organization serves as global authority governing international trade regulations
  • The four-day conference, which kicked off on Monday, will feature trade ministers, senior officials from around the world

RIYADH: Global trading system accessibility, intellectual property, and dispute settlement take center stage as the 13th World Trade Organization Ministerial Conference commenced in Abu Dhabi.   

The four-day event, starting on Feb. 26, will address these issues within the WTO, featuring the participation of trade ministers and senior officials from around the world, the Saudi Press Agency reported. 

The event will bring together 175 member states, private sector leaders, nongovernmental organizations, and civil society representatives.  

The goal is to collaborate on advancing a more efficient, sustainable, and inclusive trading system while enhancing the effectiveness of trade policies and programs. 

Participants in this conference edition aim to build upon the achievements of the previous ministerial conference held in Geneva in June 2022. The event witnessed accomplishments in supporting fisheries, food security, and e-commerce, the SPA report added. 

Speaking on behalf of the Saudi government, Commerce Minister Majid Al-Qasabi began his video address by pointing out that the event provides a pivotal opportunity to mark the WTO’s 30th anniversary.  

“We all look forward to working with you to achieve successful outcomes of the MC 13. Such outcomes would support restoring trust in the multilateral trading system, that is facing significant challenges and headwinds, confirming the essential role of the WTO, and reiterating the global trade agenda,” he said.  

Al-Qasabi warmly welcomed Comoros and Timor-Leste as new members of the WTO, reaffirming the commitment to accelerating the remaining accession.  

He also announced the Kingdom’s approval of the Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies, noting the WTO’s contribution to the economic growth and development of its members.  

The minister emphasized the importance for the Kingdom to achieve constructive and meaningful outcomes in Abu Dhabi and beyond. 

He concluded by reaffirming Saudi Arabia’s commitment to working constructively with all members to ensure the success of the 13th ministerial conference and beyond. 

Established in 1995, the WTO serves as the global authority governing international trade regulations. Its biennial ministerial conference acts as the paramount decision-making platform, bringing together ministers and senior officials from all member nations to assess, revise, and enhance the treaties shaping the global trade framework.  

Ahead of the event, WTO Director General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala unveiled a $50 million initiative aimed at empowering female entrepreneurs in developing countries. 

The new fund looks to unlock the power of the digital economy, helping women exporters overcome financing hurdles and capture untapped opportunities. 

“This initiative embodies our collective commitment to empowering women,” Okonjo-Iweala said, adding that it is a crucial step toward addressing the financing gap faced by women entrepreneurs, who are “key drivers of economic growth and development.” 

Meanwhile, Thani bin Ahmed Al-Zeyoudi, the UAE’s minister of state for foreign trade and chair of the 13th WTO Ministerial Conference 2024, announced that the country allocated $5 million to the $50 million fund.  

Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, the UAE’s minister of foreign affairs, earlier announced that the Gulf country will provide a $10 million grant to support several key initiatives of the WTO.  

He added that the grant would be allocated to the Fisheries Funding Mechanism, the Enhanced Integrated Framework, and the WEIDE fund that will be launched during the event.