UAE’s Tabby gets ready to relocate HQ to Saudi Arabia ahead of IPO on Tadawul

UAE’s Tabby gets ready to relocate HQ to Saudi Arabia ahead of IPO on Tadawul
UAE-based e-sports startup Fanzword has secured a $1.2 million pre-seed funding round led by XVC Tech and other regional angel investors. (Supplied)
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Updated 30 September 2023
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UAE’s Tabby gets ready to relocate HQ to Saudi Arabia ahead of IPO on Tadawul

UAE’s Tabby gets ready to relocate HQ to Saudi Arabia ahead of IPO on Tadawul
  • Buy now, pay later fintech prepares for its IPO on Saudi stock exchange

CAIRO: In recognition of Saudi Arabia’s booming financial technology sector, UAE’s Tabby, a forerunner in the buy now, pay later fintech space, is shifting its headquarters to Saudi Arabia as it gears up for its initial public offering.

The decision comes as the company inked a memorandum of understanding with the Kingdom’s Ministry of Investment.

Concurrently, Tabby is laying the groundwork for its IPO on the Saudi stock exchange.

The company intends to strategically strengthen its presence in its largest market, given that 80 percent of its customers hail from the Kingdom.

“With this move, we aim to amplify our reach and impact, reinforcing our commitment to deliver unparalleled financial solutions to our customers in the region. We’re equally dedicated to fostering local talent and contributing to the growth of the Saudi economy,” as stated by Tabby’s official account on X, formerly known as Twitter.

Moreover, Tabby recently received the green light from the Saudi Central Bank after obtaining a permit to expand its operation into the Kingdom.

“Millions of people in Saudi Arabia rely on Tabby today, so it’s an incredibly important step to crystalize our foundations in the Kingdom and continue building toward financial freedom for our community,” Tabby’s CEO Hosam Arab told Arab News in August.

Tabby’s strategies perfectly align with the Kingdom’s aspirations to drive financial inclusion and literacy as a cornerstone of the country’s economic growth.  

Arab also lauded the Saudi government’s measures to help boost the fintech sector. The CEO said the encouraging regulatory landscape will help instill confidence in Tabby to introduce innovative services in the Kingdom.

Currently operational in Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Kuwait, Tabby holds a valuation of $660 million following its latest funding round from investors including Sequoia Capital India, STV, PayPal Ventures, Mubadala Investment Capital, Arbor Ventures, and Endeavor Catalyst.

Furthermore, the company has over 15,000 worldwide brands and small enterprises, including H&M, Adidas, IKEA, SHEIN, noon, and Bloomingdale’s, that utilize its technology to stimulate growth and build a faithful customer base by offering flexible payment options both online and in-store.

UAE’s esports Fanzword raises $1.2m in a pre-seed round

UAE-based esports startup Fanzword has successfully raised $1.2 million in a pre-seed funding round, spearheaded by XVC Tech, and supported by several regional angel investors.

Launched in 2021 by Ibrahim El-Mohdar and Amr El-Beheiry, Fanzword positions itself as a unique football fan engagement platform. It envisions creating a virtual stadium experience where aficionados can not only track their favorite teams but also connect, interact, and accrue rewards.  

“We believe that it’s the perfect time to leverage a Football Fan Engagement Platform in the Middle East,” said El-Mohdar, CEO at Fanzword.

“Especially after the resounding success of the World Cup in Qatar and the Saudi Pro League’s blockbuster signings of football legends like Ronaldo, Neymar Jr., and Benzema,” he added.

With capital in hand, Fanzword aims to amplify its regional footprint and further tap into its web3 gaming capabilities.

The company claims to have over 250,000 downloads while achieving more than 100 percent growth in 2022.

“We believe that the partnership with Fanzword will not only reshape web3 gaming but also accelerate the adoption of NextGen Technology Solutions in the Middle East and beyond,” Johan Lundberg, founding partner and board member at XVC Tech, said.

Cypherleak raises $750k seed round to simplify cyber risk monitoring  

UAE’s cyber risk monitoring and scoring startup, Cypherleak, has successfully secured $750,000 in a seed funding round.  

The investment attracted notable participation from entities spanning Abu Dhabi, Morocco, and Qatar, including the Maroc Numeric Fund II and the Qatar Insurance Company.  

Incepted in 2022 by Mohamed Belarbi, Cypherleak offers advanced risk monitoring solutions tailored for smaller businesses, effectively obviating the need for in-depth cybersecurity technical knowledge. 




Mohamed Belarbi’s Cypherleak offers advanced risk monitoring solutions. (Supplied)

This infusion of capital is set to bolster Cypherleak’s growth ambitions across the Middle East and Africa.

“The funding injection will enable us to accelerate our expansion across the Middle East and Africa, fortifying our position as a leading player in the rapidly evolving field of cyber risk management and ratings,” Belarbi said.

“With the backing of these strategic investors, Cypherleak is well-positioned to continue developing cutting-edge technologies and delivering unparalleled cyber risk insights to businesses and organizations across the region and the world,” he added.

The company claims to have successfully marketed subscriptions to over 1,000 corporate clients across Europe and the Middle East and North Africa region, targeting small and medium enterprises that are frequently priced out of enterprise-grade cybersecurity solutions.

“Cyber security risks are a serious threat for MENA SMEs who are mostly unprepared to face this new reality. Thanks to their strong experience, Mohamed Belarbi and his co-founders are building a strong and user-friendly platform that is able to address these serious threats, and help MENA SMEs get insured accordingly,” Dounia Boumehdi, managing director of MITC Capital, the management company of Maroc Numeric Fund II, said.

Lars Gehrmann, chief digital officer at QIC, also stressed the importance of cybersecurity for underserved MENA SMEs.

“Cyber security is a growing topic in the MENA region. SMEs are among the companies that are the most vulnerable. Cyber insurance for SMEs is already needed and is poised to grow in the months to come,” Gehrmann added.

UAE’s fintech BILRS raises pre-seed round

UAE’s emerging fintech player, BILRS, has secured a pre-seed investment from venture capital firm Haatch, although the exact amount remains undisclosed.  

Founded in 2022 by Rupert Shaw, BILRS has quickly positioned itself as a reliable facilitator, empowering both online and offline merchants to extend bill payment services to their customers.  

Notably, the company claims to have customers across a portfolio of over 30 countries, showcasing the firm’s vast reach in a short span. 

Millions of people in Saudi Arabia rely on Tabby today, so it’s an incredibly important step to crystalize our foundations in the Kingdom.

Hosam Arab, Tabby CEO

“We are incredibly excited about the future of BILRS and the opportunity this partnership with Haatch represents. This investment will empower us to enhance our platform’s capabilities, better serve our customers, and continue our mission of enabling purposeful remittance,” Shaw said.

“We are grateful for the confidence that Haatch has shown in our vision, and we look forward to the remarkable progress we will achieve together,” he added.

The recent funding is expected to provide BILRS with the requisite fuel to expedite its ambitious mission of introducing greater transparency and accountability into the world of money remittances.  

The move aligns with the broader industry trend of leveraging fintech solutions to simplify and streamline complex financial transactions for the end-users.

Canada’s ClearPier acquires UAE’s Media Quest Group for $35m

Canadian performance advertising giant ClearPier has marked a significant milestone in its growth strategy by acquiring UAE’s Media Quest Group, also known as MQuest, in a deal valued at $35 million.

ClearPier was established in 2010 by the duo Jignesh Shah and Sunil Abraham, while MQuest was formed in 2020 by John Rowe, Jay Bhojani, and Lorraine Hall.

The latter uses data to pinpoint consumers with a notably high propensity to make purchases, acting as a conduit between advertisers and potential buyers.

The strategic move to integrate MQuest into ClearPier’s operations is anticipated to bolster ClearPier’s foothold, not just in the Gulf Cooperation Council region, but also across the European markets.


Fossil fuel use, emissions hit records in 2023, report says

Fossil fuel use, emissions hit records in 2023, report says
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Fossil fuel use, emissions hit records in 2023, report says

Fossil fuel use, emissions hit records in 2023, report says

LONDON: Global fossil fuel consumption and energy emissions hit all-time highs in 2023, even as fossil fuels’ share of the global energy mix decreased slightly on the year, the industry’s Statistical Review of World Energy report said on Thursday, according to Reuters.

Growing demand for fossil fuel despite the scaling up of renewables could be a sticking point for the transition to lower carbon energy as global temperature increases reach 1.5 degrees Celsius, the threshold beyond which scientists say impacts such as temperature rise, drought and flooding will become more extreme.

“We hope that this report will help governments, world leaders and analysts move forward, clear-eyed about the challenge that lies ahead,” Romain Debarre of consultancy Kearney said.

Last year was the first full year of rerouted Russian energy flows away from the West following Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022, and also the first full year without major movement restrictions linked to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Overall global primary energy consumption hit an all-time high of 620 Exajoules, the report said, as emissions exceeded 40 gigatons of CO2 for the first time.

“In a year where we have seen the contribution of renewables reaching a new record high, ever increasing global energy demand means the share coming from fossil fuels has remained virtually unchanged,” Simon Virley of consultancy KPMG said.

The report recorded shifting trends in fossil fuel use in different regions. In Europe, for example, the fossil fuel share of energy fell below 70 percent for the first time since the industrial revolution.

“In advanced economies, we observe signs of demand for fossil fuels peaking, contrasting with economies in the Global South for whom economic development and improvements in quality of life continue to drive fossil growth,” Energy Institute Chief Executive Nick Wayth said.

Industry body the Energy Institute, together with consultancies KPMG and Kearney, has published the annual report since 2023. They took over from BP last year, which had authored the report, a benchmark for energy professionals, since the 1950s.

Fossil fuel accounted for almost all demand growth in India in 2023, the report said, while in China fossil fuel use rose 6 percent to a new high.

But China also accounted for over half of global additions in renewable energy generation last year.

“China adding more renewables than the rest of the world put together is remarkable,” KPMG’s Virley told reporters.

Report Highlights

Consumption

  • Global primary energy demand rose by 2 percent in 2023 from 2022, to 620 EJ.
  • Fossil fuel use rose 1.5 percent to 505 EJ, which accounted for 81.5 percent of the overall energy mix, down by 0.5 percent from 2022.
  • Fossil fuel use did not increase in a single European country in 2023.
  • Electricity generation rose by 2.5 percent in 2023, up slightly from 2.3 percent of growth the previous year.
  • Renewable fuel generation – excluding hydro – gained 13 percent to a new record high of 4,748 terawatt-hours.
  • Renewables’ share of the overall energy mix excluding hydro was 8 percent, up from 7.5 percent in the 2022 report.
  • Including hydro renewables accounted for 15 percent of the global mix.

Oil

  • Oil consumption exceeded 100 million bpd in 2023 for the first time ever, following a 2 percent year-on-year rise.
  • Oil supply growth was met by non-OPEC+ producers, with US output gaining 9 percent on the year.
  • China overtook the US as the country with the largest refining capacity in the world last year at 18.5 million bpd, though refining volumes still lagged behind at 82 percent utilization vs the US’ 87 percent.
  • Global gasoline consumption hit 25 million bpd last year, just above its 2019 pre-pandemic level.
  • Biofuels production increased by 8 percent to 2.1 million bpd in 2023, driven by gains in the US and Brazil.
  • The US, Brazil, and Europe accounted for 80 percent of global biofuels consumption.

Natural Gas

  • Global gas production and consumption remained relatively flat on the year in 2023.
  • LNG supply rose by almost 2 percent to 549 billion cubic meters (bcm).
  • The US overtook Qatar as the leading global supplier of LNG after a 10 percent rise in production.
  • Overall European gas demand was down 7 percent on the year in 2023.
  • Russia’s share of European gas supply was just 15 percent in 2023, from 45 percent in 2021.

Coal

  • Coal consumption hit a new high of 164 EJ in 2023, up 1.6 percent on the year, driven by China and India.
  • India’s coal consumption exceeded that of Europe and North America combined.
  • US coal consumption fell by 17 percent in 2023 and has halved in the last decade.

Renewables

  • The record high in renewable generation was driven by higher wind and solar capacity, with 67 percent more additions in those two categories in 2023 than 2022.
  • As much as 74 percent of net growth in overall power generation came from renewables.
  • China accounted for 55 percent of all renewable generation additions in 2023, and was responsible for 63 percent of new global wind and solar capacity.

Emissions

  • Emissions grew by 2 percent on the year to exceed 40 gigatons.
  • Emissions rose despite the slight drop in fossil fuels’ share of the energy mix, because emissions within the fossil fuels category became more intense as oil and coal use rose and gas held steady.
  • The report notes that since 2000, emissions from energy have increased by 50 percent.

Oil Updates – Brent stable as market eyes Middle East war jitters, US inventory data

Oil Updates – Brent stable as market eyes Middle East war jitters, US inventory data
Updated 32 min 41 sec ago
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Oil Updates – Brent stable as market eyes Middle East war jitters, US inventory data

Oil Updates – Brent stable as market eyes Middle East war jitters, US inventory data

SINGAPORE: Brent oil futures were little changed in Asia on Thursday, hovering slightly below seven-week highs, as the market weighed geopolitical developments in the Middle East while waiting for US inventory data.

August Brent rose 9 cents to $85.16 per barrel by 9:30 a.m. Saudi time.

Meanwhile, US West Texas Intermediate futures for July, which expire on Thursday, dipped 15 cents at $81.42 per barrel.

There was no WTI settlement on Wednesday due to a US holiday, which kept trading largely subdued. The more active August contract fell 15 cents to $80.56 per barrel.

Brent crude futures edged up in early trade on Thursday as the market digested news of Israeli tanks advancing into Gaza.

Israeli troops, backed by tanks, warplanes and drones, moved farther into the city of Rafah, killing eight people, residents and Palestinian medics said.

“Markets anticipate an escalation in the Gaza crisis to dent the oil supplies from the key producing region,” said Priyanka Sachdeva, senior market analyst at Phillip Nova.

However, the concerns over an inventory build appear to be overshadowing fears of escalating geopolitical stress for now, Sachdeva said.

WTI crude slipped ahead of the US government’s oil inventories report, which was delayed by a day due to the national holiday.

The Energy Information Administration is due to release last week’s oil stocks data at 6:00 p.m. Saudi time on Thursday.

An industry report released on Tuesday showed US crude stocks rose by 2.264 million barrels in the week ended June 14, market sources said, citing American Petroleum Institute figures, while gasoline inventories fell.

“EIA’s weekly oil inventory report will be scoured for any signs of weak demand,” said ANZ Research analysts on Thursday. 


Saudi Arabia set to welcome 300 millionaires in 2024: Henley & Partners

Saudi Arabia set to welcome 300 millionaires in 2024: Henley & Partners
Updated 19 June 2024
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Saudi Arabia set to welcome 300 millionaires in 2024: Henley & Partners

Saudi Arabia set to welcome 300 millionaires in 2024: Henley & Partners

RIYADH: As many as 300 millionaires will flock to Saudi Arabia in 2024 as the Kingdom continues to attract high-net-worth individuals, according to a study. 

In its latest report, Henley & Partners said that Saudi Arabia’s capital Riyadh as well as Jeddah are becoming “increasingly popular” with immigrant millionaires,especially from North Africa and the Middle East. 

“In our view, these two cities have the potential to mimic Dubai and Abu Dhabi in attracting large numbers of wealthy expats in the future,” said the British consultancy firm in the release. 

According to the analysis, the UAE is continuing its run as the top destination of choice for HNWI, with an estimated 6,700 millionaires expected to make the country their home by the end of 2024.

“For the third year running, the UAE looks set to take first place as the world’s leading wealth magnet, with a record-breaking 6,700 moneyed migrants expected to make the Emirates home by the end of the year, significantly boosted by large inflows from the UK and Europe,” said the British consultancy. 

According to the report, the UAE’s tax-free income, golden visa residency program, and geographic location have made it a favorite destination for migrating millionaires. 

The Group Head of Private Clients at Henley & Partners, Dominic Volek, said that 2024 is shaping up to be a watershed moment in the global migration of wealth. 

“An unprecedented 128,000 millionaires are expected to relocate worldwide this year, eclipsing the previous record of 120,000 set in 2023. As the world grapples with a perfect storm of geopolitical tensions, economic uncertainty, and social upheaval, millionaires are voting with their feet in record numbers,” said Volek. 

He added: “In many respects, this great millionaire migration is a leading indicator, signaling a profound shift in the global landscape and the tectonic plates of wealth and power, with far-reaching implications for the future trajectory of the nations they leave behind or those which they make their new home.” 

The UAE is followed by the US and Singapore, with 3,800 and 3,500 millionaires set to live in these countries by the end of this year. 

Canada grabbed fourth place in the list, with a projected 3,200 HNWI flocking to the country, followed by Australia and Italy with 2,500 and 2,200 millionaires coming to these nations, respectively. 

Switzerland came in the sixth spot in the list, with an estimated 1,500 millionaires relocating to the country, followed by Greece and Portugal at 1,200 and 800, respectively. 

The report highlighted that the UK is expected to see an unprecedented net loss of 9,500 millionaires in 2024 — second only to China worldwide and more than double the 4,200 who left the country last year. 

According to the analysis, China is expected to be the biggest millionaire loser globally, with an anticipated net exit of 15,200 HNWIs this year, compared to 13,800 in 2023.


Egypt’s exports surge 9.8% to $16.55bn amid global trade expansion

Egypt’s exports surge 9.8% to $16.55bn amid global trade expansion
Updated 19 June 2024
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Egypt’s exports surge 9.8% to $16.55bn amid global trade expansion

Egypt’s exports surge 9.8% to $16.55bn amid global trade expansion

RIYADH: Egypt’s merchandise exports soared by 9.8 percent year-on-year in the first five months of 2024 to reach $16.55 billion, according to a top official.     

Exports increased every month over the period, underscoring the north African country’s ongoing expansion in global trade, according to Egypt’s Minister of Trade and Industry Ahmed Samir.   

Notable items that contributed to the growth included fresh and dried citrus fruits valued at $721 million, wires at $353 million, and manufactured petroleum oils at $186 million.      

Key export sectors also included building materials, valued at $3.86 billion, the food industry at $2.64 billion, and chemical products and fertilizers estimated at $2.49 billion.   

Agricultural crops were worth $2.26 billion, according to a statement.   

The ministry aims to bolster exports across all sectors to diverse global markets in the coming phase, emphasizing collaboration between government entities, business communities, and Egyptian exporters to enhance product quality and competitiveness. 

This effort supports Egypt’s target of achieving $100 billion in annual merchandise exports.   

Moreover, the statement revealed that Saudi Arabia emerged as the top market for Egyptian merchandise exports during this period, totaling $1.39 billion. 

Following Saudi Arabia, Turkiye accounted for $1.31 billion, the UAE at $1.13 billion, Italy with $974 million, and the US at $904 million.   

In May, Egypt’s Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics revealed that the value of Egyptian exports to Arab countries surged 8.7 percent year-on-year, reaching $13.6 billion in 2023. 

Saudi Arabia led among Arab nations in importing from Egypt, with exports totaling $2.7 billion during the year, according to the statement issued last month. 

This trend underscores the substantial growth in trade relations, partnerships, joint projects, and development investments between the two countries in recent years.     

Last month, the International Monetary Fund projected that Egypt’s foreign cash inflows would come from five sources, including commodity exports, tourism and Suez Canal revenues, as well as private transfers and net foreign direct investment.      

The fiscal year 2023-2024 total will be around $107.3 billion, compared to about $93.6 billion in 2022-2023.      

However, the IMF anticipates inflows to decrease again in the next fiscal year, dropping below the previous year’s level to approximately $91.2 billion. 


King Abdulaziz Port boosts infrastructure with new cranes, enhancing global maritime hub status

King Abdulaziz Port boosts infrastructure with new cranes, enhancing global maritime hub status
Updated 19 June 2024
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King Abdulaziz Port boosts infrastructure with new cranes, enhancing global maritime hub status

King Abdulaziz Port boosts infrastructure with new cranes, enhancing global maritime hub status

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s King Abdulaziz Port’s crane capacity has been boosted by 9.7 percent as part of an SR7 billion ($1.86 billion) investment deal.

The facility, operated by Saudi Global Ports Co., has received three automated quay and three rubber-tired gantry cranes, increasing its handling infrastructure.

According to a press release from Saudi Ports Authority, also known as Mawani, this addition brings the total number of quay cranes to 18 and gantry cranes to 50, enhancing the Dammam port’s workflow and enabling it to handle large ships efficiently.

These enhancements are made under commercial contracts between Mawani and Saudi Global Ports Co. 

This development is part of ongoing efforts to strengthen King Abdulaziz Port’s position as a competitive and sustainable global hub.

The new cranes can reach a minimum of 25 rows, which facilitates the efficient handling of advanced and large ships. 

Additionally, the use of modern cranes contributes to improving the skills of the workforce, supporting the Saudi ports system and solidifying the Kingdom’s growing role in the global logistics chain.

This upgrade aligns with the goals of the National Transport and Logistics Strategy, which aims to establish the nation as a global logistics center and a key link between continents.

Saudi ports are experiencing a constant surge in handling shipments. In March, terminals in the Kingdom recorded a 12.48 percent increase in the number of received containers compared to the same period last year, according to official data from Mawani.

The Authority disclosed that terminals in Saudi Arabia received 265,148 standard containers in the third month of 2024, marking an annual increase from 235,738.  

Furthermore, the maritime facilities experienced a 3.77 percent uptick in the volume of handled tonnage, reaching 19.64 million tonnes, in contrast to 18.93 million tonnes recorded in March 2023.    

“This reflects the scale of efforts made to develop port infrastructure and provide the highest levels of logistics services,” Mawani stated in a statement.

The Kingdom’s general shipment volumes reached 804,837 tonnes, solid bulk cargo reached 3.94 million tonnes, and liquid bulk freight reached 14.74 million tonnes.

A report from the UN Conference on Trade and Development revealed that Mawani climbed from 76.16 points in the second quarter of 2023 to 77.66 points in the third quarter of last year, affirming Saudi Arabia’s progress in the maritime sector.

Moreover, the Kingdom has consistently pursued global collaborations in the maritime sector, the latest of which occurred at the second edition of Vision Golfe 2024, held in Paris on June 4.

At the event, Mawani signed an agreement with the French Ministry of Economy, Finance, and Industrial and Digital Sovereignty and its Marseille counterpart as part of France and Saudi Arabia’s commitment to excellence in trade and maritime transport.