Madinah governor inaugurates sugar refinery in Yanbu   

Madinah governor inaugurates sugar refinery in Yanbu   
Madinah Gov. Prince Faisal bin Salman formally opened the Durrah Sugar Factory. Supplied.
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Updated 07 November 2023
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Madinah governor inaugurates sugar refinery in Yanbu   

Madinah governor inaugurates sugar refinery in Yanbu   

RIYADH: A sugar manufacturing facility has been inaugurated at the King Fahd Industrial Port in Yanbu in keeping with the Kingdom’s drive to enhance national food security and diversify non-oil exports. 

Madinah Gov. Prince Faisal bin Salman formally opened the Durrah Sugar Factory, a subsidiary of Durrah Advanced Development Co. The event was also attended by Saudi Minister of Industry and Mineral Resources Bandar Alkhorayef, along with several businesspeople and government officials.

The factory covers an area of 150.000 sq. meters and has an annual production capacity of 900,000 tons. 

This plant is the result of a strategic partnership between national development companies and global leaders in refined sugar manufacturing, all sharing a vision to establish a top company in the food and beverage industry in the Kingdom.  

Abdulmajeed Al-Sultan, chairman of the board, delivered a speech at the inauguration ceremony, emphasizing that the assets of sugar refineries in the Kingdom have surpassed SR1.5 billion ($400 million) and are considered among the most efficient sugar refineries globally.  

Al-Sultan expressed his gratitude to the Saudi government for its continued support and highlighted the strategic location of the project within the port’s infrastructure. 

According to a statement by the Saudi Ports Authority, commonly known as Mawani, Al-Sultan clarified that the pivotal contributions of the project’s strategic partners and financiers, which include the Industrial Development Fund, local banks, and regional and foreign partners, have significantly helped them achieve their goals. 

He also acknowledged the invaluable support from the Ministry of Energy, which was crucial in ensuring that the plant met and exceeded production capacity while adhering to the highest quality standards. 

He further noted that his company is determined to expand in the food industry sector by implementing a vegetable oil factory and a rice processing plant, as well as doubling the production capacity of sugar. 

DADC is one of the largest producers of refined sugar in the Kingdom. With the expertise of COSUMAR and Wilmar, the global leaders in sugar production and manufacturing, the company has the strategic advantage of being located in a region with a sound and growing demand for white sugar. 

In its statement, Mawani affirmed that the inauguration of the Durra Sugar Refinery underscores the port’s advanced infrastructure, adding that it spans an expansive area of 6.8 sq. meters and boasts 34 berths and 10 terminals, with a remarkable capacity exceeding 210 million tons. It was further highlighted that the port can accommodate ships of up to 500,000 tons. 


Saudi Fund for Development set to enhance Tunisia’s railway network with loan

Saudi Fund for Development set to enhance Tunisia’s railway network with loan
Updated 7 sec ago
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Saudi Fund for Development set to enhance Tunisia’s railway network with loan

Saudi Fund for Development set to enhance Tunisia’s railway network with loan

RIYADH: Tunisia’s railway network is set to improve as the Saudi Fund for Development is expected to finalize a loan agreement during its visit to the African country’s capital.

The development came as Sultan Al-Marshad, CEO of SFD, and Saudi delegates initiated their Tunisia visit on Feb. 21, focusing on discussions to enhance development collaboration between the two sides. 

SFD’s visit to the country aims to finalize a development loan agreement for the renovation and development of the phosphate transport railway, the Saudi Press Agency reported. 

Welcomed by Tunisian Prime Minister Ahmed Al-Hachani, Al-Marshad engaged in talks to strengthen cooperation, and support social and economic growth in various Tunisian regions.  

During his visit, the CEO also participated in a housing unit handover ceremony in Zaghouan governorate. 

SFD has been extending financial aid and development loans to Tunisia since 1975. 

In July 2023, Saudi Arabia granted $400 million as a soft loan and $100 million as a grant to bolster Tunisia’s economy.  

Established in 1974, SFD has funded over 800 development projects valued at $20 billion across more than 100 countries globally. 

In December 2023, during the Tunisian-Saudi Joint Commission held in Tunis, Finance Minister Sihem Boughdiri Nemsia said that her country is ready to consolidate constructive cooperation with the Kingdom to achieve the development goals of both nations.  

During the same event, Saudi Minister of Industry and Mineral Resources Bandar Alkhorayef noted that the Kingdom wishes to become an active partner in Tunisia’s economic activities.  

“Given that Tunisia enjoys important mineral resources such as iron, copper, lead, and a significant phosphate reserve, we hope to explore more investment opportunities in these areas and obtain operational concessions in Tunisia,” said Alkhorayef, as reported by the Tunisian News Agency, Tunis Afrique Presse. 

 

During the December visit, Alkhorayef engaged in meetings with Tunisian officials, including Minister of Trade and Export Development Kalthoum ben Rejeb. The discussions focused on exploring avenues to boost Saudi non-oil exports to Tunisia. 

 

He also met with Tunisia’s Minister of Agriculture, Water Resources, and Fisheries, Abdelmonem Belati, to discuss plans for formalizing a memorandum of understanding in the field of water resources. 


PIF to acquire stake in Saudi construction giant Binladin Group – reports

PIF to acquire stake in Saudi construction giant Binladin Group – reports
Updated 30 min 38 sec ago
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PIF to acquire stake in Saudi construction giant Binladin Group – reports

PIF to acquire stake in Saudi construction giant Binladin Group – reports

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund is set to take a 36 percent stake in the Kingdom’s construction giant Binladin Group, according to Bloomberg.

While PIF did not offer an official response to the report, Bloomberg said the fund is “working with Morgan Stanley on a potential deal to buy into Saudi Binladin Group,” citing people with knowledge of the matter.

“The PIF, as the $700 billion wealth fund is known, is considering acquiring part or all of the 36 percent stake owned by the ministry of finance, the people said, asking not to be identified because the discussions are private,” reported Bloomberg.

It added that the sovereign wealth fund is looking to local firms to build the infrastructure needed to host showcase events such as the World Expo.

Spokespeople for Morgan Stanley and PIF declined to comment. Representatives for Binladin couldn’t be reached for comment, according to the outlet.

The Kingdom’s fund is helping Saudi Arabia boost its transition from oil and overseeing several giga-projects such as NEOM.

Bloomberg said PIF spent $1.3 billion last year to acquire stakes in four local construction companies to bolster the Kingdom’s domestic construction industry.

In a press statement, PIF revealed earlier this month that it had acquired a 40 percent stake in the Zamil Offshore Co., one of the largest Saudi-based offshore support vessel operators. 

According to the wealth fund, this transaction is a part of the fund’s wider strategy to contribute to the development of the Kingdom’s energy base.

In January, PIF increased its stake in Japan-based video game firm Koei Tecmo to 6.60 percent from 5.56 percent. 

Similarly, in February 2023, PIF raised its stake in Nintendo Co. to 8.26 percent from 7.08 percent, making it the largest outside investor in the Japanese gaming company. 

Last month, the fund also acquired a 23.8 percent stake in Middle East Paper Co., one of the leading manufacturers specializing in producing and recycling paper products in the region.


Pakistan is aiming to increase trade with Saudi Arabia to $20bn: minister

Pakistan is aiming to increase trade with Saudi Arabia to $20bn: minister
Updated 53 min 14 sec ago
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Pakistan is aiming to increase trade with Saudi Arabia to $20bn: minister

Pakistan is aiming to increase trade with Saudi Arabia to $20bn: minister

RIYADH: Pakistan is aiming to increase its trade capacity with Saudi Arabia to $20 billion through enhancing business conditions, according to a top official.

The Saudi-Pakistani Business Forum kicked off in Riyadh on Feb. 22 under the patronage of Minister of Commerce Majid bin Abdullah Al-Qasabi, organized by the Federation of Saudi Chambers, according to the Kingdom’s official press agency.

During the event, Pakistan’s Minister of Commerce Gohar Ejaz highlighted the role of the Free Trade Agreement between the Gulf Corporation Council countries and his nation in opening up opportunities for investors from both regions. 

He expressed his ambition to increase trade volume to $20 billion by improving the business environment between the two countries and encouraging the private sector, especially since Pakistan represents a significant market and opportunity for Saudi investors.

Chairman of the Federation of Saudi Chambers Hassan Al-Huwaizi noted the leaps in trade exchange between the Kingdom and Pakistan, which reached $5.7 billion, adding that Pakistan now ranks 20th in the list of Saudi trading partners, with broader prospects for partnership and Pakistani investors in Vision 2030 projects.

Ejaz pointed out that the agreement provides protection and guarantees for Saudi and Gulf investments, explaining that the forum comes within Pakistan’s interest in developing its relations with the Kingdom and benefiting from Vision 2030 projects.

The minister of commerce emphasized in a speech, conveyed by Acting Deputy Governor of the Foreign Trade Authority’s Deputyship of Private Sector Affairs and Global Presence Fawaz bin Rafaah, the significant role played by the private sectors of Saudi Arabia and Pakistan in developing the volume of trade exchange, as reported by the Saudi Press Agency.

Fahd Al-Bash, president of the Saudi-Pakistani Business Council, revealed several initiatives and projects the council is working on in cooperation with investors from both countries. 

These include launching a portal for rice importers from Pakistan, establishing a technology center in Riyadh, a halal meat center in Makkah, as well as a market for Pakistani products in the Kingdom and joint petrochemical industries to meet the needs of the market.

Forum participants discussed the opportunities and initiatives provided by Vision 2030 for Pakistani investors, as well as the investment options available to Saudi businessmen in Pakistan across various targeted economic sectors.

During the forum, the ministry of investment screened a presentation titled “Invest in Saudi Arabia,” covering the financial environment and opportunities in the Kingdom. 

The Agricultural Development Fund also presented its services and efforts in agricultural sector development. 

Additionally, the Saudi Export-Import Bank showcased its efforts and services in developing Saudi exports and serving exporters, while the Pakistani Investment Council reviewed the investment opportunities available in Pakistan.


Saudi Arabia and China explore investment opportunities in civil aviation 

Saudi Arabia and China explore investment opportunities in civil aviation 
Updated 22 February 2024
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Saudi Arabia and China explore investment opportunities in civil aviation 

Saudi Arabia and China explore investment opportunities in civil aviation 

RIYADH: Economic cooperation in Saudi-China civil aviation is set to strengthen, with top officials meeting in Beijing to discuss investment opportunities and technology transfer for industry advancements.  

This comes as a high-level delegation, led by Abdulaziz Al-Duailej, president of the Kingdom’s General Authority of Civil Aviation, began a visit to the Asian country, convening a joint round table meeting to explore cooperation in connectivity and discuss partnership aspects across various areas. 

Furthermore, both nations discussed the exploration of innovative solutions in aviation, including sustainable fuels, advanced air mobility, and traffic management systems.  

They expressed interest in integrating artificial intelligence and digital technologies to enhance the aviation experience and operational efficiency. 

Additionally, the Saudi delegation emphasized substantial investments in the sector and reiterated the Kingdom’s openness to further opportunities.  

This aligns with GACA’s goal of modernizing the airport system and supports the Kingdom’s tourism sector target of attracting 150 million visitors by 2030. 


Saudi Arabia has 4k firms in entertainment industry thanks to Vision 2030 boom – top official

Saudi Arabia has 4k firms in entertainment industry thanks to Vision 2030 boom – top official
Updated 22 February 2024
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Saudi Arabia has 4k firms in entertainment industry thanks to Vision 2030 boom – top official

Saudi Arabia has 4k firms in entertainment industry thanks to Vision 2030 boom – top official

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s entertainment sector has surged to 4,000 companies from fewer than 10 since the launch of Vision 2030, according to a top official.

Speaking at the Saudi Media Forum in Riyadh on Feb. 21, General Entertainment Authority CEO Faisal Bafarat said the industry has already created over 150,000 local jobs since the Kingdom’s economic diversification initiative was instigated in 2016.

Bafarat also underscored the importance of high competitiveness among business sectors in creating new forms of entertainment, which is now attracting more capital in the Kingdom, the Saudi Press Agency reported. 

Aligned with the economic diversification goals of Vision 2030, Saudi Arabia launched the General Entertainment Authority in 2016. 

The organization is currently working toward the development of entertainment options that fit the needs of people from all walks of life in the Kingdom.

The media sector’s contribution to Saudi gross domestic product reached SR14.5 billion ($3.86 billion) in 2023 and is targeting SR16 billion this year.

For his part, Ahmed Al-Mehmadi, the executive director of operations at the General Entertainment Authority, said that media has become a fundamental pillar in the entertainment industry. 

According to Al-Mehmadi, effective local and regional media partnerships will catalyze the growth of the entertainment industry in Saudi Arabia. 

He added that the authority is committed to diversifying and energizing its platforms to reach various local and global segments of society. 

The third edition of the Saudi Media Forum, hosted by the Kingdom’s Broadcasting Authority, was organized in Riyadh from Feb. 19 to 21. 

The gathering brought together some 2,000 industry specialists and experts from the region and beyond. The event also showcased the latest technologies and innovations from over 200 local and international companies. 

Saudi Arabia has launched multiple initiatives to grow the communications industry, which includes the Media Zone project that provides a dedicated space to gain knowledge of art practices within the industry.

Last week, the Kingdom also launched the Hajj and Umrah Mediathon to improve the quality of coverage of the holy practices.

The Hajj Media Hub was also announced, allowing media professionals to enhance their coverage and showcase their work in an immersive exhibition.