Entrepreneurs in Bahrain to benefit from new crowdfunding investment plan

Entrepreneurs in Bahrain to benefit from new crowdfunding investment plan
Tamkeen will finance loans by using a portion of its profits to support eligible Bahraini MSMEs. BNA.
Short Url
Updated 01 November 2023
Follow

Entrepreneurs in Bahrain to benefit from new crowdfunding investment plan

Entrepreneurs in Bahrain to benefit from new crowdfunding investment plan

RIYADH: Micro, small and medium-sized enterprises in Bahrain will soon have access to alternative financing support thanks to a new agreement signed by the Labor Fund, also known as Tamkeen.   

The fund partnered with Safaghat, a crowdfunding investment platform licensed by the Central Bank of Bahrain, to empower the country’s startups and MSMEs, the Bahrain News Agency reported. 

This move will further foster growth in Bahrain’s entrepreneurship ecosystem and economy. 

“Tamkeen is dedicated in supporting Bahraini entrepreneurs and helping them access financial solutions needed to scale their ventures, particularly when traditional banking options might be out of reach,” said Labor Fund CEO Maha Abdulhameed Mofeez. 

He added: “This collaboration with Safaghat aligns perfectly with our mission to foster innovation and entrepreneurship and to stimulate high-potential growth sectors such as ICT (information and communication technologies ).”  

Under the new agreement, Tamkeen will finance loans by using a portion of its profits to support eligible Bahraini MSMEs, helping them to raise funds from local and international consumers and investors.    

These funds will be facilitated through Safaghat’s crowdfunding platform, ensuring compliance with Shariah principles.   

“Safaghat is proud to be at the forefront of financing-based crowdfunding investment platforms in Bahrain,” said CEO Husain Ali Sayed. 

He continued that the program is projected to address critical challenges faced by startups and MSMEs in securing funds for their businesses, especially those in the tech sector. 

“Our alignment and compliance with Sharia laws position us as a trusted partner for businesses seeking financing,” Sayed said. 

The program provides access to debt-based financing that is specifically tailored for tech businesses as well as those that are heavily dependent on intangible assets. 

It offers rapid access to capital and imposes minimal collateral requirements, which guarantees that even small businesses with limited assets can benefit. 

In addition to this, the program is also open to MSMEs operating for less than three years. 

Established in 2006, Tamkeen’s mission is to drive economic growth in the country by providing programs and support for enterprises and individuals. 


Saudi Arabia ranks 3rd in Global Retail Development Index: Kearney 

Saudi Arabia ranks 3rd in Global Retail Development Index: Kearney 
Updated 10 sec ago
Follow

Saudi Arabia ranks 3rd in Global Retail Development Index: Kearney 

Saudi Arabia ranks 3rd in Global Retail Development Index: Kearney 

RIYADH: An increase in non-cash transactions has helped Saudi Arabia rise nine places to third in the Global Retail Development Index.  

The GRDI leverages a comprehensive set of criteria, including economic health, consumer wealth, and regulatory framework, to gauge the retail potential of 35 to 40 emerging economies, according to a statement. 

The 2023 edition of the bi-yearly survey findings, launched by the US consulting firm, mirrors the upward trajectory of global retail development in the Middle East and North Africa region.

They also cement the country’s strategic pivot away from oil dependency, which currently accounts for approximately 40 percent of its gross domestic product, and the establishment of a favorable business climate.

“The MENA region, and notably the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, are at the forefront of retail’s next wave of growth,” said Debashish Mukherjee, partner at Kearney Middle East and Africa and Consumer and Retail Practice Lead.

“The 2023 GRDI illustrates how these markets are redefining the retail ecosystem with strategic digital adoption and consumer-centric approaches,” Mukherjee added. 

Mukherjee also stressed that the rise in this year’s GRDI is a clear indicator of its dynamic retail environment as well as its strategic initiatives to foster a competitive and diverse economic landscape. 

Moreover, the report attributed the Kingdom’s climb in the index to non-cash retail transactions surging from 16 percent in 2016 to 62 percent in 2022, aiming for 70 percent by 2030.

An additional reason for the jump was the country’s growth in the employment of Saudi nationals in high-skilled jobs and doubling female workforce participation, exceeding Vision 2030 targets.

On top of that, the growing popularity and adoption of buy now pay later services and the significant increases in investment deals and licenses in 2022 aided the Kingdom’s jump in the index. 

Other reasons entailed digital and artificial intelligence integration within the Saudi consumer market, the entry of international brands, and the expansion of entertainment and lifestyle sectors. 

The GRDI acts as a guide for retailers looking to navigate the complexities and capitalize on the prospects within these emerging markets.


Closing Bell: TASI closes in green with trading volume at $2.2bn

Closing Bell: TASI closes in green with trading volume at $2.2bn
Updated 21 February 2024
Follow

Closing Bell: TASI closes in green with trading volume at $2.2bn

Closing Bell: TASI closes in green with trading volume at $2.2bn

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Tadawul All Share Index concluded Wednesday’s trading session at 12,634.33, marking an increase of 27.83 points or 0.22 percent. 

MSCI Tadawul 30 Index also increased slightly by 1.84 to close at 1,628.17 points. On the other hand, the parallel market, Nomu, closed the day at 25,507.66 points, reflecting a decrease of 80.45 or 0.31 percent.

TASI reported a trading volume of SR8.60 billion ($2.294 billion), with 90 stocks gaining and 130 losing steam. 

The best-performing stock was Saudi Arabian Amiantit Co., whose share price surged 9.83 percent to SR26.6.  

Today’s second top performer was Al-Baha Investment and Development Co., whose share price soared 7.14 percent to SR0.15.   

Other gainers included Salama Cooperative Insurance Co. and Etihad Atheeb Telecommunication Co., as their share prices increased by 4.89 and 4.41 percent to SR26.80 and SR101.8.

The worst performer was Al Gassim Investment Holding Co., whose share price dropped by 3.96 percent to SR19.40. It was followed by Maharah Human Resources Co., whose share price decreased by 3.26 percent to reach SR6.83.

On the parallel market, Nomu, WSM for Information Technology Co., emerged as the top gainer, with its initial share price surging by 26.53 percent to SR62, as it was the company’s first day of listing and commencement of trading.

International Human Resources Co. was the major loser on Nomu, as its share price slipped by 3.76 percent to SR4.10.  

On the announcement front, the Saudi National Bank announced the completion of its US dollar-denominated sukuk offer under its international sukuk program.

The bank raised $850 million from the sale of five-year dollar bonds. 

The financial institution received applications amounting to $3.6 billion, bringing the issuance coverage to more than four times or 4,250 total bonds.

According to a statement on Tadawul, these bonds’ final yield came in at 5.129 percent per annum with five years of maturity.

“The sukuk may be redeemed prior to the scheduled maturity date in certain cases and the sukuk will be listed on the London Stock Exchange’s International Securities Market,” the bank stated.


Saudi retail sector expected to have experienced robust net profit growth: Al Rajhi Capital

Saudi retail sector expected to have experienced robust net profit growth: Al Rajhi Capital
Updated 21 February 2024
Follow

Saudi retail sector expected to have experienced robust net profit growth: Al Rajhi Capital

Saudi retail sector expected to have experienced robust net profit growth: Al Rajhi Capital

RIYADH: The retail sector in Saudi Arabia is projected to have experienced robust net profit growth in the fourth quarter of 2023, driven by strong sales, according to Al Rajhi Capital.  

In its latest report covering earnings previews for leading firms in Saudi Arabia, the Riyadh-based investment advisory service provider anticipates there was a 44.3 percent year-on-year increase in the fourth-quarter net profit of supermarket chain BinDawood Holding, reaching SR85 million ($22.66 million). 

The financial services firm added that this substantial increase in the net profit of BinDawood Holding is attributed to a surge in sales from its Harmain stores. 

It forecasts that Leejam Sports Co., another key player in the Kingdom’s retail sector, is expected to have achieved a net profit of SR124 million in the last three months of 2023, indicating a 15.3 percent increase compared to the preceding year. 

The report projects that the net profit of Abdullah Al-Othaim Markets, another prominent entity in the Kingdom’s retail sector, is expected to have experienced a marginal 0.8 percent year-on-year decline in the fourth quarter, reaching SR170 million. 

The investment advisory firm also noted that the revenue of energy firms in the Kingdom was likely to have fallen in the last quarter of 2023, with Saudi Aramco expected to report a net profit of SR113 billion in the period, reflecting a 9.8 percent year-on-year drop. 

The projection attributes the decline to the crude production cuts implemented by Saudi Arabia, in alignment with the decision of the Organization of the Petroleum Production Countries and its allies, known as OPEC+.  

In an effort to maintain market stability, Saudi Arabia reduced oil output by 500,000 barrels per day from April 2023, a measure that has been extended until the end of December 2024. 

The Kingdom also committed to an additional oil output cut of 1 million bpd in July, which continued until the end of December 2023.  

On the other hand, ADES Holding, which went public in 2023, is expected to report a net profit of SR1.29 billion in the fourth quarter, compared to the same period of the previous year. 

However, Al Rajhi Capital pointed out that the net profit of Saudi Basic Industries Corp. is anticipated to have declined by 24.6 percent year-on-year over the final three months of 2023, reaching SR704 million.  

On a positive note, the projections suggest that SABIC’s net profit will have experienced a 31.3 percent increase in the fourth quarter compared to the previous three months. 

Saudi International Petrochemical Co., also known as Sipchem, is expected to register a significant decrease in net profit, with a decline of 52.1 percent to SR229 million in the fourth quarter of 2023 compared to the same period in the previous year.  

Additionally, several prominent names in the Saudi cement sector are anticipated to have seen a decline in net profit during the same period. 

Al Rajhi Capital predicts there was a significant drop in the net profit of Arabian Cement Co. by 49.9 percent to SR18 million. Similarly, Yamama Cement Co.’s net profit is expected to have declined by 40.4 percent to SR80 million by end of 2023. 

In the fourth quarter of 2023, Saudi Telecom Co.’s net profit is anticipated to have stood at SR2.69 billion, reflecting a 2.4 percent decrease compared to the same period in 2022 and a 36.9 percent decline from the previous quarter. 

Meanwhile, Mobily’s net profit report is expected to show an increase of 0.4 percent to SR608 million during the last three months of 2023 compared to the same period in 2022. 

In the food and agriculture sector, National Agricultural Development Co.’s net profit is projected to have risen by 201.8 percent year-on-year to SR76 million, and Savola Group’s net profit is anticipated to have surged 88.2 percent, reaching SR88.2 million. 


GCC keen on working with OPEC to ensure stable global oil markets

GCC keen on working with OPEC to ensure stable global oil markets
Updated 21 February 2024
Follow

GCC keen on working with OPEC to ensure stable global oil markets

GCC keen on working with OPEC to ensure stable global oil markets

RIYADH: The Gulf Cooperation Council has reiterated its resolve to collaborate with oil-producing nations to stabilize global energy markets and ensure secure and stable supplies.

The confirmation was made during a gathering hosted by GCC Secretary-General Jasem Al-Budaiwi in Riyadh for the secretary-general of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, Haitham Al-Ghais.

The reception took place on Feb. 20 at the General Secretariat headquarters in Riyadh, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

During the meeting, ways to enhance cooperation between the GCC and OPEC in several areas were discussed, specifically the continuous coordination of oil policies between the GCC and the organization.

This coordination aims to ensure secure and stable energy supplies, especially in light of the rapid regional and international developments, as well as circumstances that have impacted global energy markets.

Al-Budaiwi praised OPEC for its significant contributions and indispensable role in ensuring stability and equilibrium in the oil markets and for its proactive approach to addressing future challenges in collaboration with member nations.

On Feb. 20, the price of OPEC basket of 12 crudes stood at $82.82 a barrel, compared with $82.89 the previous day, according to calculations by the organization’s secretariat, published on its website on Feb. 21.

The Brent crude oil benchmark has risen about 6 percent since the start of the year as attacks on shipping in the Red Sea have raised supply fears, with January outages in major non-OPEC oil-producing countries such as the US adding to concerns.


Dubai real estate market soars amid record residential transactions in 2023: report 

Dubai real estate market soars amid record residential transactions in 2023: report 
Updated 21 February 2024
Follow

Dubai real estate market soars amid record residential transactions in 2023: report 

Dubai real estate market soars amid record residential transactions in 2023: report 

RIYADH: Dubai’s real estate market experienced robust growth in 2023, reaching an all-time high with residential transactions totaling 118,993 units, a report from CBRE revealed. 

The report highlighted a 29.6 percent year-on-year increase in deal volumes, driven by growth in both the off-plan market and secondary deals. 

Off-plan residential properties are purchased before construction, while the secondary market involves resale properties, existing homes, and established housing areas. 

“The UAE’s residential market ended the year on a strong note, where the elevated levels of demand continue to drive performance,” said Taimur Khan, head of research at CBRE.  

He added that the robust levels of activity and high absorption rates, which have reduced available supply, will “continue to support price growth in both Abu Dhabi and Dubai in the year ahead.” 

The report highlighted a 20.1 percent increase in average apartment prices in Dubai, and a 19.8 percent and 21.8 percent rise in apartment and villa prices, respectively, in the year to December 2023. 

CBRE also noted a moderation in rental rates in Dubai in 2023, despite sustained high demand. 

“The rate of rental growth has softened throughout the year, where in the year to December 2023, average residential rents in Dubai increased by 18.9 percent, down from the 19.2 percent growth registered in November 2023,” stated the CBRE report. 

The real estate consultancy firm added that Abu Dhabi also witnessed robust growth in residential transactions in the previous year. 

The capital city recorded a 77.8 percent surge in the total volume of residential transactions in 2023, reaching 11,235 compared to the previous year. 

This surge was propelled by a 104 percent growth in off-plan market sales and a 27.7 percent increase in secondary deals. 

The report noted a 2 percent increase in average apartment rents in Abu Dhabi, while villa rents saw a marginal rise of 0.8 percent in the year to the fourth quarter of 2023. 

CBRE projects that the average annual rents for apartments and villas in Abu Dhabi will be 64,996 dirhams ($17,695) and 163,098 dirhams, respectively, by the end of 2024. 

“In terms of rental growth, we expect that rental rates in Abu Dhabi will continue to rise, with prime areas set to outperform the market. In Dubai, we expect that rental growth will continue to moderate, however, still remain positive in 2024,” added Khan.  

On the supply side, a total of 39,190 residential units were estimated to have been delivered in Dubai in 2023, with 34.4 percent of this supply located in Meydan One, Downtown Dubai, and Business Bay.

An additional 68,880 units are expected to be handed over in 2024. 

On the other hand, a total of 2,961 units were delivered in Abu Dhabi in 2023, with 59.4 percent of them being handed over in Shams Abu Dhabi and Najmat Abu Dhabi. 

In 2024, CBRE added that an additional 4,438 units are anticipated to be completed in Abu Dhabi, with 69.1 percent of this new stock expected to be delivered in Yas Island and Al Maryah Island. 

In a separate report, UK real estate services firm Savills noted that the industrial and logistics sector in Dubai stood out as one of the most resilient real estate asset classes in the city. The market remained robust in 2023 due to the expansion of the non-oil sector. 

Savills added that in 2023, there continued to be a shortage of good-quality assets, especially larger facilities exceeding 10,000 sq. m., as occupiers expanded their warehouse footprint. 

The report highlighted a particularly strong demand for built-to-suit warehousing space from companies, reflecting their strategic planning for future expansions and investments in modern warehouse facilities. 

“Companies from the FMCG (fast moving consumer goods), 3PL (third party logistics), retail, and e-commerce sectors were the most active occupiers in 2023,” said Michael Fenton, director of industrial and logistics and Savills Middle East.  

He added: “Along with existing occupiers, we saw strong inquiry levels and transactions from new entrants to the market, particularly from the Asia Pacific region, which included the manufacturing sector, as opportunities arose to produce and source locally.”