Experts to discuss future of finance at Saudi Capital Market Forum

Top officials and experts discuss the development of the financial sector during a panel discussion at the forum last year. File
Top officials and experts discuss the development of the financial sector during a panel discussion at the forum last year. File
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Updated 18 February 2024

Experts to discuss future of finance at Saudi Capital Market Forum

Experts to discuss future of finance at Saudi Capital Market Forum

RIYADH: Global financial experts will gather in Riyadh on Monday to discuss the future of finance, evolving strategies, and innovative ideas to boost the sector’s growth at the third Saudi Capital Market Forum.

The two-day event organized by Saudi Tadawul Group, to be held under the theme “Powering Growth,” will serve as a nexus for transformative dialogue and innovation, fostering the convergence of emerging markets with established financial frameworks.

Emphasizing the pivotal role of such events, Mahmoud Khairy, an economist and policy adviser, told Arab News that “the forum facilitates essential dialogue among key stakeholders, fostering collaboration and innovation within the financial sector.”

He added: “By providing a platform for discussions on innovative financial instruments, and strategies, and fostering strategic collaborations, the event contributes to the overall efficiency and attractiveness of the capital markets.”

Khairy said the event also aligns with Vision 2030’s goals by promoting transparency, and good governance, and attracting domestic and international investments.

The educational opportunities offered at the forum also play a vital role in developing a skilled workforce necessary for the effective functioning of capital markets, according to the economist.

Khalid Al-Hussan, CEO of Saudi Tadawul Group, remarked in a statement: “As a pivotal entity in Saudi Arabia’s financial domain, Saudi Tadawul Group spearheads the development of the Kingdom’s capital market, propelling economic metamorphosis forward.”

The chairperson of Saudi Tadawul Group, Sarah Al-Suhaimi, said at the last forum that the Kingdom’s capital market is one of the strongest and fastest-growing investment destinations in the world, with a value exceeding $2.7 trillion.

Saudi Arabia has strategically positioned its capital markets to attract foreign investment by implementing comprehensive reforms, according to Khairy. “These include aligning regulatory frameworks with international standards, achieving inclusion in major global indices, diversifying financial products, conducting extensive investor outreach programs, and investing in technology and infrastructure,” he said.

Khairy added: “The liberalization of foreign ownership and the establishment of strategic partnerships with international institutions further contribute to enhancing the attractiveness and competitiveness of the Saudi capital market on the international stage.”

Culminating in the 2023 Saudi Capital Market Awards ceremony, the forum will laud market participants across 17 categories, recognizing their contributions to the evolution of the Kingdom’s market.

Speaking on the success of market participants in Saudi Arabia, Khairy said that it is contingent on a “combination of factors aligned with the goals of Vision 2030 and the Financial Sector Development Program.”

He went on to explain that “regulatory reforms and enhanced governance contribute to a transparent and stable environment, while the embrace of technology and innovation fosters efficiency and customer-centricity.”

Khairy added: “Inclusivity and talent development contribute to a skilled and diverse workforce, international collaboration enhances market competitiveness, and a focus on sustainable and responsible investing aligns with broader environmental and social objectives.”

Categories such as “IPO of the Year 2023 (Main Market & Nomu – Parallel Market),” “ESG Relations Program of the Year,” and “Broker of the Year” will be spotlighted, celebrating excellence and innovation.

In the Saudi financial sector, there is a notable trend toward integrating environmental, social, and governance considerations into investment practices. Khairy emphasized that it “is evident through increased awareness, regulatory initiatives from entities like the Capital Market Authority, and a growing emphasis on sustainable and responsible investing.”

He explained that “companies and investors are incorporating ESG criteria into decision-making processes, with a particular focus on disclosure and transparency. This trend has influenced market dynamics, driving investments toward entities demonstrating strong ESG practices, and contributing to the broader global shift toward sustainable finance.”

According to the adviser, the government’s initiatives, such as the Saudi Green Initiative and the Green Financing Program, also underscore the commitment to fostering a more sustainable and environmentally conscious financial ecosystem.

The Saudi Capital Market Forum serves as a beacon for global financial luminaries, fostering dialogue and innovation at the intersection of emerging and established markets.

Khairy said: “As the market becomes more transparent and integrated into global indices, portfolio diversification gains prominence, allowing investors to strategically allocate assets across sectors such as technology and renewable energy.

“However, the evolving nature of emerging markets introduces inherent risks, demanding careful risk assessment and dynamic risk management strategies. Currency considerations also play a crucial role, and investors must navigate potential fluctuations to optimize returns.”

The economist said that the overall effect is likely to reshape investment approaches, emphasizing an understanding of Saudi Arabia’s market dynamics and aligning portfolios with the Kingdom’s ongoing economic diversification efforts.

Among the notable figures slated to grace the event is Saudi Finance Minister Mohamad Al-Jadaan, who will deliver a keynote address, shedding light on the trajectory of Saudi Arabia’s financial sector development and elucidating the government's strategic vision.

In addition to keynote addresses, the summit is set to feature an array of engaging panel discussions covering a diverse range of topics pertinent to the capital markets landscape.

Khairy said: “The discussions focus on strategies to mobilize funds and drive investments into non-oil sectors, emphasizing financial market reforms, technology adoption, inclusivity, sustainability, and international collaboration.”

He added: “Initiatives promoting green finance, partnerships to attract foreign investments, and education for workforce development are anticipated topics.”

Moreover, the summit will facilitate intimate one-on-one sessions, providing attendees with a unique opportunity to engage directly with industry leaders and gain invaluable insights into the strategic priorities of key organizations such as oil giant Aramco, giga-project NEOM, and KAFD.

On the second day, the focus will shift toward an in-depth analysis of global economic trends and forecasts.

The CEO of Saudi Tadawul Group is scheduled to lead discussions alongside a panel of economists from renowned institutions such as Al-Rajhi Capital, Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan, and EFG Hermes.

Saudis spent more money on electronic devices during the 4th week of May: SAMA data

Saudis spent more money on electronic devices during the 4th week of May: SAMA data
Updated 28 May 2024

Saudis spent more money on electronic devices during the 4th week of May: SAMA data

Saudis spent more money on electronic devices during the 4th week of May: SAMA data

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s point-of-sale spending reached SR11.2 billion ($2.98 billion) in the fourth week of May, official figures showed.

The latest data from the Saudi Central Bank, also known as SAMA, revealed that spending on electronic and electric devices surged by 9.5 percent to reach SR240.4 million.

Beverages and food, which accounts for the largest share at 14.9 percent, saw a 5.9 percent decline, reaching SR1.66 billion, during the week from May 19 to 25.

Meanwhile, transactions at restaurants and cafes, holding a 14.6 percent share, recorded a slower decline of 4.8 percent, amounting to SR1.64 billion. 

Saudi spending on miscellaneous goods and services, including personal care items, supplies, maintenance, and cleaning, constituted the third-highest share and witnessed a 5.1 percent decline that week, reaching SR1.36 billion. 

Despite composing only 1 percent of the week’s overall POS value, spending on education recorded a minimal increase of 0.1 percent to SR152.48 million.

In the past few years, this sector has been allocated the largest share of government expenditure in comparison to other divisions of the economy. 

Efforts are underway to revamp the education system, aiming to equip the national workforce with the necessary skills to thrive in a technological and information-centric global economy.

The hotel sector experienced the largest decline in POS transaction value, dropping 10.9 percent to SR227.13 million.

According to data from SAMA, 35.44 percent of POS spending occurred in Riyadh, with the total transaction value reaching SR3.97 billion. However, this represents a 1.6 percent decrease from the previous week.  

Riyadh has undergone considerable expansion, evolving into a pivotal center for growth and progress. The city is witnessing a surge in new businesses setting up operations, drawn by its vibrant economic landscape and strategic prospects for investment and innovation.

Spending in Jeddah followed closely, accounting for 14.3 percent of the total and reaching SR1.60 billion; however, it marked a 3.1 percent weekly drop. 

The two cities that registered the highest declines in POS spending were Makkah and Madinah, with decreases of 11 percent and 6.8 percent, respectively. The value of transactions in Makkah reached SR380.98 million, while in Madinah, it was SR393.26 million.

Saudi healthcare to advance with major digital tech partnership

Saudi healthcare to advance with major digital tech partnership
Updated 28 May 2024

Saudi healthcare to advance with major digital tech partnership

Saudi healthcare to advance with major digital tech partnership

RIYADH: The Saudi healthcare system is set to advance as two of the country’s major companies partner to leverage digital technologies to enhance the Kingdom’s capabilities.

SAMI Advanced Electronics Co., a wholly owned subsidiary of SAMI, the nation’s defense and digital solutions provider, has signed a cooperation agreement with the National Unified Procurement Co., a Public Investment Fund company.

The agreement, signed on May 27, will provide solutions for medication tracking and IT infrastructure and increase local content through medical devices manufacturing and maintenance.

This partnership demonstrates SAMI-AEC’s unremitting efforts to build a harmonious and applicable healthcare system in Saudi Arabia based on digital technologies.

Ziad Al-Musallam, CEO of SAMI-AEC, commented on the agreement, saying that they are honored to collaborate with NUPCO, as this deal underscores the unwavering commitment of both entities to bolstering efforts aimed at enhancing the healthcare ecosystem in Saudi Arabia.

“At SAMI-AEC, we firmly believe in the significance of augmenting public health services through digital solutions and delivering e-health services. This involves integrating effective, fast technologies to empower the healthcare sector, aligning with the objectives of Saudi Vision 2030,” he said.

Fahad Al-Shebel, CEO of NUPCO, highlighted the agreement’s importance and its role in fortifying the healthcare infrastructure and facilitating access to the integrated technology offered by SAMI-Advanced Electronics Co.

Aiming to upgrade the healthcare sector by improving its facilities in all public hospitals and medical centers in the Kingdom, NUPCO is the country’s largest central company providing medical purchasing, storage, and distribution services for medicines, devices, and supplies.

With a workforce of over 3,320 individuals, 85 percent of whom are Saudi nationals, SAMI-AEC has positioned itself as a leader in electronics, technology, engineering, and manufacturing. Its services span sectors such as defense and aerospace, digital, energy, and security.

Over 800 of the company’s employees are engineers and certified experts, reaffirming the dedication of SAMI-AEC, which was established in 1988, to excellence and innovation.

On the other hand, NUPCO was established in 2009 with SR1.5 billion in capital. It is the leading company in Saudi Arabia in procurement, logistics, and supply chain management for pharmaceuticals, medical devices, and supplies for governmental hospitals.

Closing Bell: Saudi main index continues downward trend to close at 11,660

Closing Bell: Saudi main index continues downward trend to close at 11,660
Updated 28 May 2024

Closing Bell: Saudi main index continues downward trend to close at 11,660

Closing Bell: Saudi main index continues downward trend to close at 11,660

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Tadawul All Share Index continued its downward movement for the third consecutive session this week, as it shed 171.28 points to close at 11,659.94 on Tuesday. 

The total trading turnover of the benchmark index was SR5.34 billion ($1.42 billion), with 23 stocks advancing and 202 declining. 

The Kingdom’s parallel market, Nomu, also slipped by 0.81 percent to 26,234.79, while the MSCI Tadawul Index shed 20.97 points to close at 1,449.44.

The best-performing stock on the main index was Sustained Infrastructure Holding Co. The firm’s share price soared by 6.2 percent to SR34.25.

Other top performers were the Mediterranean and Gulf Insurance and Reinsurance Co. and AYYAN Investment Co., whose share prices edged up by 3.98 percent and 3.63 percent respectively. 

The worst-performing stock on the benchmark index was Saudi utility giant ACWA Power, as its share price slid by 4.68 percent to SR456.60. 

On the announcements front, Etihad Atheeb Telecommunication Co. said that it was awarded two projects worth SR45.51 million by Technical and Vocational Training Corp. to provide dedicated Internet services in 77 locations. 

In a Tadawul statement, the telecommunication provider said that the first project has a value of SR23.64 million, while the second one amounts to SR21.87 million. 

Meanwhile, Mouwasat Medical Services Co. announced that its shareholders have approved the board’s recommendation to distribute a 17.5 percent cash dividend, or SR 1.75 per share for 2023. 

In March, Mouwasat Medical Services Co. had revealed that its net profit witnessed a growth of 10 percent in 2023 to SR657.7 million, compared to the previous year. 

Al Moammar Information Systems Co., on Tuesday, revealed that it received new orders to increase the capacity of data centers at a total value of SR 75.2 million. 

In a statement to Tadawul, the company added that further developments of the order will be unveiled in due course. 

PIF’s Halal Products Development Co. invests in Singapore-based cosmetics firm

PIF’s Halal Products Development Co. invests in Singapore-based cosmetics firm
Updated 28 May 2024

PIF’s Halal Products Development Co. invests in Singapore-based cosmetics firm

PIF’s Halal Products Development Co. invests in Singapore-based cosmetics firm

RIYADH: In a bid to localize the Kingdom’s cosmetics and personal care industry, the Halal Products Development Co. announced an investment in a Singapore-based fast-moving consumer goods conglomerate.

The Public Investment Fund-owned company signed a binding agreement with Believe — a company specializing in the halal cosmetics and personal care field.

As per the agreement, the company will relocate its headquarters from Singapore to Saudi Arabia and establish a factory to manufacture its products, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

The new headquarters will also serve as a major center for exporting the company’s products to various countries of the world.

This move is in line with the PIF-owned firm’s goal to strengthen the halal industries in Saudi Arabia and provide high-quality products compatible with Islamic standards.

Halal Products Development Co. CEO Fahad Al-Nuhait said that investing in this sector is a very important first step that serves as a major catalyst for developing and localizing the manufacturing of halal cosmetics and personal care.

In return, this is expected to raise the efficiency of the sector and support research as well as development efforts to improve the services provided locally and globally, Al-Nuhait added.

The CEO said it will also facilitate the transfer of the expertise and resources to the Kingdom.

Moreover, it will also contribute to achieving the goals of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 by creating direct and indirect job opportunities.

Believe CEO Ankit Mahajan said this partnership represents a strategic opportunity to expand the scope of investment and boost manufacturing capabilities.  

The agreement will also provide contract manufacturing services for local brands in the initial stage and will expand to international brands in the future.

In August, Halal Products Development Co. signed a strategic cooperation agreement with the Saudi Exports Development Authority to launch the Halal Products Manufacturing Accelerator Program.

According to a statement, the new program came amid the Kingdom’s efforts to become a global hub for halal food products and accelerate the growth of the sector.

TVM Capital Healthcare launches $250m fund for Saudi medical firms

TVM Capital Healthcare launches $250m fund for Saudi medical firms
Updated 28 May 2024

TVM Capital Healthcare launches $250m fund for Saudi medical firms

TVM Capital Healthcare launches $250m fund for Saudi medical firms

RIYADH: Saudi medical companies stand to benefit as private equity firm TVM Capital Healthcare unveils its second pool of funding valued at $250 million for the Middle East. 

Since 2009, the international growth capital investment fund has operated in the Middle East, expanding to Southeast Asia in 2021. 

The launch of the new fund builds on the firm’s past successes in the region, delivering compelling returns and showcasing its expertise in sourcing deals and nurturing the growth of sustainable enterprises, according to a press release. 

Bandr Al-Homaly, managing director and CEO of Jada Fund of Funds, said that the closing of the deal marks an important milestone in mobilizing private capital into Saudi Arabia’s healthcare sector. 

“We are pleased to lead the investment, providing capital to support the development of the sector in line with Vision 2030,” he said. 

TVM Capital focuses on addressing medical needs through strategic investments in entrepreneurial ventures. 

These efforts bring about lasting positive impacts in local communities and offer significant returns for investors, it said. 

The firm said it has built a reputation as an international fund manager involved in financing and overseeing major medical companies within the Kingdom. 

The company also invests in healthcare growth deals in Europe and the US to support these firms’ expansion plans for Saudi Arabia and the wider Gulf Cooperation Council. 

With this two-pronged strategy, TVM Capital aims to bolster the Saudi economy and enhance the region’s access to cutting-edge products, technologies, and services.

Chairman and CEO Helmut M. Schuehsler expressed pride in attracting a notable consortium of institutional and family investment groups from Saudi Arabia, other GCC countries, and Europe. They are investing in a specialized capital pool dedicated to domestic companies in the Kingdom and international firms entering the market.

 “We are uniquely positioned for success because our leadership team comprises executives with long-standing expertise in Europe and the US, who have built excellent international networks throughout their careers, alongside local Saudi healthcare experts,” he said. 

The chairman noted that their investment journey in the GCC and Egypt spans over 13 years, with a specific focus on Saudi Arabia since 2015 through their previous portfolio companies, ProVita International Medical Center and Cambridge International Medical Center. 

“Today, we are truly excited about our ability to enhance the local and regional healthcare ecosystem at a much larger scale, helping to improve access to high-quality patient care, medical products, and treatment regimens across the Kingdom,” Schuehsler said. 

Among the initial investments of the fund are Baraya Extended Care, a chain of long-term, post-acute care and rehabilitation clinics based in Riyadh; and DEBx Medical, a developer and manufacturer of innovative products for chronic wound treatment based in Amsterdam, which is set to enter the Saudi market. Additionally, neurocare group, a provider of personalized mental health services and products headquartered in Munich, with clinics in the US, the Netherlands, and Australia, is gearing up to enter Saudi Arabia and the GCC. 

According to the statement, additional deals encompass longevity and genomics, oncology and pharmaceuticals, as well as manufacturing and diagnostics. 

TVM Capital operates offices in Riyadh, Dubai, Singapore, and Ho Chi Minh City, with supporting offices in Munich and Boston. 

The multinational law firm Morgan Lewis represented the firm in the fundraiser.