UK’s Bioniq enters Saudi Arabia with strategic partnership

UK’s Bioniq enters Saudi Arabia with strategic partnership
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Founded in 2019, Bioniq offers Bioniq PRO and Bioniq GO which are based on algorithms developed from a large and diverse biochemical database. (Supplied)
UK’s Bioniq enters Saudi Arabia with strategic partnership
2 / 2
Founded in 2019, Bioniq offers Bioniq PRO and Bioniq GO which are based on algorithms developed from a large and diverse biochemical database. (Supplied)
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Updated 02 May 2024
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UK’s Bioniq enters Saudi Arabia with strategic partnership

UK’s Bioniq enters Saudi Arabia with strategic partnership
  • CEO shares insights into company’s strategic objectives and expansion

CAIRO: Personalized supplements based on blood test data are set to become available in key Saudi cities as Bioniq brings its patented algorithm to the Kingdom. 

Through a partnership with Al Borg Diagnostics, a provider of diagnostic health services in Saudi Arabia, Bioniq has set a strategic expansion plan into the Kingdom. 

In an interview with Arab News, Vadim Fedotov, CEO and founder of Bioniq, shared insights into the company’s strategic objectives and expansion plans in Saudi Arabia and the broader Middle East and North Africa region. 

“Our immediate goals in Saudi Arabia include establishing a strong presence in key cities, enhancing access to personalized health solutions, fostering strategic partnerships, and consistently delivering exceptional customer experiences,” he said.

The advantage 

Looking ahead, Fedotov explained Bioniq’s long-term vision in the Saudi market, focusing on product efficacy and transparency.  

“We believe it’s crucial to showcase the benefits of a quantifiable product that demonstrates how it works and its effectiveness,” he noted.  

He criticized the prevailing market trends where companies fail to substantiate their claims. “Many companies in the market promise results without concrete evidence, essentially selling a dream. Bioniq, on the other hand, delivers tangible results.” 

“We have already established strategic partnerships in the medical and wellness space that we have not announced yet. Moreover, we have already started integrating our solutions in some of the most prominent athletic organizations of Saudi Arabia,” he revealed, indicating an aggressive approach to embedding Bioniq’s solutions into key health and sports ecosystems. 

Although specifics were not disclosed, Fedotov hinted at future collaborations that could involve governmental bodies. 

The Saudi market is pivotal for Bioniq’s expansion strategy due to its significant growth potential and its position as a key player in the healthcare industry within the Gulf region.

Vadim Fedotov, CEO and founder of Bioniq

“Unfortunately, I cannot disclose details at the moment, but the plans are indeed significant,” he mentioned, suggesting potential engagements that could influence policy or regulatory frameworks within the health sector. 

Regarding growth objectives for the next year, Fedotov said: “Strategic partnerships with nationwide medical institutions as well as leading athletic organizations are already in place to build brand awareness and trust.” 

Fedotov stated that the company does not plan to offer exclusive products for the Saudi market and that all its products are shipped worldwide, emphasizing a unified product strategy across global markets. 

Discussing the partnership with Al Borg, Fedotov further detailed how this alliance would enhance Bioniq’s operational capabilities.  

“We plan to leverage our partnership with Al Borg to enhance our presence by expanding accessibility to personalized health solutions,” he explained. 

“We aim to collaborate closely with Al Borg to optimize customer experience and provide seamless healthcare solutions to individuals throughout the country,” he added. 

Legal standards 

Fedotov highlighted Bioniq’s approach to navigating the regulatory environment in Saudi Arabia indicating it is a crucial aspect of their operations.  

“We’re working closely with strategic partners in the region who have been established for decades, including nationwide partners who guide us in ensuring compliance with current and new regulations,” he explained.  

“We’re fully committed to adhering to these guidelines. As our strategic partners include government entities and medical institutions, we’re confident that our offering is and will be in line with all current and future regulations,” the CEO added. 

When asked about the significance of the Saudi market in Bioniq’s global strategy, Fedotov’s response underscored the strategic importance of the region.  

“The Saudi market is pivotal for Bioniq’s expansion strategy due to its significant growth potential and its position as a key player in the healthcare industry within the Gulf region,” he stated.  

“With its large population and substantial healthcare expenditure, Saudi Arabia presents a ripe opportunity for Bioniq to introduce its personalized health solutions and contribute to advancing healthcare standards in the region,” he explained.  

He added: “Additionally, by establishing a strong presence in Saudi Arabia, we can leverage our strategic partnerships and innovative technology to further solidify our position as a leader in personalized nutrition and supplementation across the Middle East market. 

Regarding the timing of Bioniq’s entry into the Saudi market, Fedotov shared that the company had already made its debut.  

“Our partnership with Borg AI marked our launch in the region in April of this year,” he noted.  

This launch introduced Bioniq’s products, including Bioniq GO and Bioniq PRO, to the Saudi marketplace, marking a significant milestone in their regional strategy. 

“We are certainly considering establishing an office in the Kingdom,” he said, hinting at a significant operational expansion.  

“Currently, we have over 80 employees globally, including headquarters in London, offices in Berlin, Dubai, and New York. Saudi Arabia appears to be a very promising option for one of our future locations. Regarding key members for the region and global expansion, we will be based there, given the strategic importance of Saudi Arabia and the Middle East,” he added.

Business fundamentals 

“Our primary mission in the region is to address the challenge of personalized health and wellness in Saudi Arabia’s healthcare industry,” Fedotov stated.  

He highlighted that the collaboration with Al Borg is set to boast personalized health across the Kingdom, making Bioniq’s blood test panel available in 28 cities across Saudi Arabia. 

“Now, consumers from Riyadh, Jeddah, Alkhobar, or any other cities across the country, can achieve optimal health levels much easier.”  

The partnership allows consumers to utilize a 50-parameter blood test offered by Al Borg Diagnostics, after which they can opt for a personalized supplement formula created by Bioniq, based on their specific health data. 

“We closely monitor metrics related to customer satisfaction, such as feedback scores and testimonials. We aim to deliver the most personalized supplements, so we are a super consumer-centric company,” he said. 

“Of course, as a business, we also focus on revenue growth, customer retention rates, market penetration, and the number of personalized supplement formulas delivered,” the CEO added. 

“In the Saudi market specifically, we pay close attention to metrics related to market penetration and customer acquisition. Given the strategic importance of this region for our expansion efforts, we track the number of customers adopting our personalized supplement solutions,” he stated. 

The CEO further elaborated on how this approach leverages comprehensive blood tests and tailored supplement formulas to meet individual health needs and optimize overall well-being, marking a significant advancement in personalized health management. 

Founded in 2019, Bioniq offers Bioniq PRO and Bioniq GO which are based on algorithms developed from a large and diverse biochemical database. 

Bioniq PRO, as Fedotov described, offers personalized supplements derived from extensive biochemical data and combined with health questionnaires and blood tests.  

In contrast, Bioniq GO provides a more generalized personalization based on health questionnaires alone. “The cost of Bioniq supplements varies depending on the package the customer chooses,” Fedotov added, with Bioniq GO priced at $75 per month and Bioniq PRO at $199 per month. 

On the financial front, Fedotov shared insights into the company’s profitability. “After five and a half years, we have achieved market profitability in all our priority markets,” he revealed. 

Bioniq’s inception 

“The idea of Bioniq came from my sports background and a subsequent corporate career that left me burnt out at 30,” Fedotov explained.  

Despite being medically healthy, he felt unwell, which led him to realize that “wellness goes beyond just the absence of illness.”  

Identifying a gap in the market for personalized health solutions, he noted, “In 2018, there were no companies providing personalized solutions for people like myself.” This revelation prompted him to establish Bioniq in London in 2019. 

The company has raised $15 million since its inception, and Fedotov revealed:“Given the fact that the Middle East is one of our key regions, there’s a high level of proportionate investment into the Middle East, including Saudi, to develop strategic partnerships, onboard key opinion leaders and share and demonstrate the key advantages of a personalized approach.” 

He added: “Additionally, we are leveraging our investment to enhance our technology platform and data analytics capabilities, ensuring that our personalized supplement formulas are backed by the latest scientific research and insights.”

A growing market 

“We see significant opportunities for growth and innovation in Saudi Arabia, which is why we are entering this market,” he stated.  

Regarding the broader trends in the health tech industry, Fedotov shared his company’s forecasts and strategic plans.  

“Our forecasts suggest continued growth and increasing demand for personalized health solutions in our operational markets,” he noted.  

Bioniq intends to capitalize on these trends by investing in research and development to enhance its products and services further.  

Additionally, the company plans to expand its strategic partnerships with healthcare providers and technology companies and continue innovating in the field of precision health. 

Fedotov also emphasized the importance of consumer education in Bioniq’s strategy. “We will continue focusing on educating consumers about the benefits of personalized nutrition and wellness, empowering them to take control of their health journey,” he explained.


Saudi Arabia’s annual inflation rate rises to 1.5% in June 2024: GASTAT

Saudi Arabia’s annual inflation rate rises to 1.5% in June 2024: GASTAT
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Saudi Arabia’s annual inflation rate rises to 1.5% in June 2024: GASTAT

Saudi Arabia’s annual inflation rate rises to 1.5% in June 2024: GASTAT

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s annual inflation rate reached 1.5 percent in June 2024 compared to the previous year, driven primarily by rising housing costs, according to the latest data.

The report from the General Authority for Statistics highlighted that the 8.4 percent increase in the prices of housing, water, and electricity, as well as gas, and other fuels significantly contributed to the inflation rate.


SNB Capital among banks set to lead IPO of Nupco

SNB Capital among banks set to lead IPO of Nupco
Updated 15 July 2024
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SNB Capital among banks set to lead IPO of Nupco

SNB Capital among banks set to lead IPO of Nupco

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund has appointed SNB Capital as one of the banks leading on a planned initial public offering of the Kingdom's largest medical procurement firm, Arab News can confirm.

A spokesperson for SNB Capital verified its involvement in the listing process of the National Unified Procurement Co., which could raise up to $1 billion from the sale of a 30 percent stake in the company.

The bank was one of three mentioned in a report by Bloomberg, which also claimed JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Morgan Stanley would be involved in the IPO, although neither of those institutions could be reached by Arab News for a comment.

The deal could come as soon as this year, Bloomberg said.

The IPO reflects investor confidence in Saudi Arabia’s economic reforms and the healthcare sector’s growth potential.

It also underscores the Kingdom’s commitment to attracting foreign investment and promoting private sector participation in its economy.

Founded in 2009, Nupco plays a crucial role in Saudi Arabia's healthcare sector by centralizing procurement and logistics services for medical supplies and pharmaceuticals.

This initiative aligns with the Kingdom’s Vision 2030, which aims to diversify the economy and reduce its dependence on oil revenues.

The IPO of Nupco is part of a broader strategy by the PIF to monetize its assets and invest in various sectors to drive economic growth and development.

The PIF, chaired by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, has been at the forefront of transforming Saudi Arabia’s economic landscape through substantial investments in sectors such as technology, entertainment, and tourism.

Healthcare development is one of the key pillars of Vision 2030 including boosting the pharmaceutical sector.

In June, Saudi healthcare group Dr. Soliman Abdel Kader Fakeeh Hospital Co. raised $763 million in a Riyadh IPO in June, closed at 10 percent above its offering price of SR57.5 ($15.3) in Riyadh.


Oman sees hotel revenue rise 10.2% thanks to European-led tourist surge 

Oman sees hotel revenue rise 10.2% thanks to European-led tourist surge 
Updated 15 July 2024
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Oman sees hotel revenue rise 10.2% thanks to European-led tourist surge 

Oman sees hotel revenue rise 10.2% thanks to European-led tourist surge 

RIYADH: European travelers to Oman helped fuel a 10.2 percent rise in hotel revenue in the first five months of 2024, official data has revealed.

Figures from the National Centre for Statistics and Information show that three to five-star facilities in the country pulled in over 108.3 million Omani rials ($281.5 million) over the period, compared to 98.3 million rials in 2023.

Revenue growth was fueled by a 13.7 percent surge in the total number of hotel guests, with 286,980 European visitors — a 19.6 percent increase over the first five months of 2023.

Simultaneously, the hotel occupancy rate rose by 6 percent to reach 51.5 percent, compared to 2023.

Oman’s substantial increase in European visitors and strong local and regional turnout mirrors the broader strategy of diversifying tourist demographics and bolstering the hospitality sector seen across the GCC.

Similar to Oman, Saudi Arabia has topped the UN Tourism’s ranking for the growth of international tourist arrivals in 2023 compared to 2019 among large destinations, achieving an increase of 56 percent over that tiem, according to the World Tourism Barometer report released in January.

The NCSI report provides a detailed breakdown of the nationalities among the hotel guests in Oman during the first five months of 2024.. 

Among them, 306,255 were Omani citizens, reflecting a substantial local turnout with an 11 percent surge.

The number of Gulf Cooperation Council citizens visiting the Sultanate also increased, reaching 58,572 guests, up 6.8 percent comparted to the same period in 2023.

Additional Arab tourists contributed to the growth, with 40,548 travelers, marking a modest but positive 13.2 percent increase.  

Citizens from African countries demonstrated strong interest, with a rise of 1.6 percent, resulting in 4,677 visitors. 

Guests from the US also significantly contributed to the tourism growth, with the number of travelers reaching 28,695.

Additionally, guests from Oceania countries totaled 13,446 visitors.  

In addition, Oman’s airports handled more than 4.9 million passengers and 31,708 flights by the end of April.

Muscat International Airport saw 4.4 million passengers, a 16.8 percent increase, with 4.09 million international and 332,391 domestic passengers.

Indians topped the number of passengers through Muscat International Airport by the end of April, with 89,206 arrivals and 83,855 departures. 

They were followed by Bangladeshi nationals with 12,829 incoming and 20,597 outgoing passengers, and Pakistani nationals with 21,191 arrivals and 19,532 departures.

Sohar Airport served 22,390 passengers on 192 flights, while Duqm Airport carried 20,106 passengers on 208 flights.


Closing Bell: Saudi main index gains 66 points to 11,948 

Closing Bell: Saudi main index gains 66 points to 11,948 
Updated 15 July 2024
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Closing Bell: Saudi main index gains 66 points to 11,948 

Closing Bell: Saudi main index gains 66 points to 11,948 

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Tadawul All Share Index continued its upward movement on Monday, as it gained 66.15 points to close at 11,947.70.  

The total trading turnover of the benchmark index was SR7.18 billion ($1.91 billion), with 105 of the listed stocks advancing and 116 declining.  

On the other hand, Saudi Arabia’s parallel market Nomu edged up by 0.60 percent to close Monday’s trading at 25,849.92.  

The MSCI Tadawul Index also gained 9.83 points to 1,497.85.  

The best-performing stock on the main market was Al Sagr Cooperative Insurance Co. The firm’s share price surged by 10 percent to SR20.68.  

Other top performers were National Gas and Industrialization Co. and Aljazira Takaful Taawuni Co., whose share prices soared by 6.01 percent and 5.32 percent, respectively.  

Similarly, the share prices of Makkah Construction and Development Co. and United Cooperative Assurance Co. also increased by 4.77 percent and 3.72 percent, respectively.  

The worst performer of the day was Al Taiseer Group Talco Industrial Co., as its share price dropped by 7.72 percent to SR65.70.  

On the other hand, the positive performance of Nomu on Monday was driven by Future Care Trading Co. and National Building and Marketing Co., whose share prices surged by 10.34 percent and 10 percent, respectively.  

The worst performer on the parallel market was Ladun Investment Co. The firm’s share price slipped by 7.42 percent to SR2.87.  

On the announcements front, Sure Global Tech Co. said it signed a contract worth SR51.99 million to develop a digital platform for the Entrustment and Liquidation Center, also known as Infath.  

In a Tadawul statement, the company said that the three-year contract will have a positive impact on its financials from 2024 through 2026.  

Meanwhile, Naseej for Technology Co. announced that it signed a contract worth SR11.3 million with the National eLearning Center.  

According to a Tadawul statement, the scope of the contract includes managing and operating NELC’s learning management system to enhance confidence in e-learning and lead sustainable innovation in Saudi Arabia.  

The statement added that the contract which is valid for 36 months is expected to positively impact Naseej Tech’s financial performance in 2024, 2025, and 2026. 


Saudi Arabia leads GCC IPO market with $2.1bn raised in first half of 2024: Markaz

Saudi Arabia leads GCC IPO market with $2.1bn raised in first half of 2024: Markaz
Updated 15 July 2024
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Saudi Arabia leads GCC IPO market with $2.1bn raised in first half of 2024: Markaz

Saudi Arabia leads GCC IPO market with $2.1bn raised in first half of 2024: Markaz

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia led the Gulf Cooperation Council’s initial public offering market in the first half of 2024, raising $2.1 billion in what was an annual increase of 141 percent, an analysis has revealed.

In its latest report, Kuwait Financial Center, also known as Markaz, noted that the Kingdom saw 19 offerings in the six months to the end of June, accounting for 59 percent of the total IPO proceeds in the GCC region. These included $1.95 billion listed in its main market and $143 million in the parallel market, also known as Nomu. 

Saudi Arabia’s ambitious privatization and diversification efforts across sectors such as healthcare, technology, and renewable energy have significantly broadened the market’s appeal.  

These initiatives offer investors exposure to high-growth industries, positioning the Kingdom as an attractive destination for investment in sectors poised for substantial development and innovation. 

Led by its pivotal Capital Market Authority advancing Vision 2030 goals, the Saudi capital market is on a journey of expanision, and saw net foreign investment reach SR198 billion ($52.79 billion) in 2023 – a 7.7 percent annual increase, according to CMA’s June report. 

Top IPOs 

Among the top five GCC IPOs by proceeds in the first half of this year, the Markaz report noted that Dr. Soliman Abdulkader Fakeeh Hospital Co., listed on Saudi Arabia’s main market, raised $764 million, making it the largest IPO during that period. 

The healthcare firm offered 49.8 million shares, representing a 21 percent stake, and received an oversubscription of 119 times. The IPO proceeds accounted for 21 percent of the total GCC IPO proceeds during the period. 

Alef Education, listed on the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange, secured the second spot with its IPO raising $515 million in proceeds.  

The company offered 1.4 billion shares, representing a 20 percent stake, which was oversubscribed 39 times.  

According to Markaz, Alef Education’s proceeds constituted 14 percent of the total GCC IPO proceeds during the period. 

Parkin Co., listed on the Dubai Financial Market, raised $429 million, making it the third-largest listing in the GCC region in the first half of this year.  

The parking facility provider offered 750 million shares, equivalent to a 25 percent stake. The IPO proceeds constituted 12 percent of the total GCC IPO proceeds during the period and were oversubscribed 165 times. 

Meanwhile, Spinneys Co., also listed on DFM, raised $375 million in proceeds. The supermarket chain offered 900 million shares, representing a 25 percent stake, and was oversubscribed 64 times.  

Markaz revealed that Spinneys Co.’s proceeds constituted 11 percent of the total GCC IPO. 

Similarly, Modern Mills Co., listed on Saudi Arabia’s main market, raised $314 million through the sale of 24.5 million shares, or a 30 percent stake, and was oversubscribed 127 times.  

Modern Mills Company's IPO constituted 9 percent of the total GCC IPO proceeds. 

GCC IPO market 

The overall GCC region experienced a decline in IPO activity in terms of value, with total proceeds amounting to $3.1 billion from 23 offerings in the first half. This represents a 32 percent decline compared to the same period of the previous year. 

In the UAE, IPO proceeds totaled $1.3 billion in the first six months of this year, marking a year-on-year decrease of 67 percent. Of this amount, DFM hosted $805 million, constituting 23 percent of the total GCC IPO funds in the first half. 

Similarly, ADX recorded $515 million in IPO capital, accounting for 14 percent of the total GCC IPO funds during the period. 

Meanwhile, Kuwait saw IPO funds totaling $147 million during the same period, accounting for 4 percent of the total GCC IPO value and listed on Boursa Kuwait. 

The report revealed that the healthcare sector accounted for nearly 22 percent of the total funds raised during the first half of this year through three offerings, totaling $788 million. 

In contrast, the technology sector raised over $515 million during the same period, constituting 14 percent of the total GCC IPO proceeds. 

Similarly, new listings from the industrial sector constituted 12 percent of the region’s total funds, followed by the consumer staples industry and the food and beverages sector at 11 percent and 9 percent, respectively. 

Additionally, the commercial and professional services industry contributed 8 percent to the region’s total IPO funds, closely followed by the insurance sector at 6 percent. 

Middle East IPOs  

Overall, IPOs in the Middle East are set for continued positive aftermarket performance this year, following significant gains in the first quarter, as reported by PwC in May. 

It also highlighted that the Saudi Stock Exchange has emerged as a dominant force in the GCC equity market. 

In the same month, Mohammed Al-Rumaih, CEO of the Saudi Exchange, noted that the introduction of ‘Market Making’ and the debut of ‘Single Stock Options’ have enhanced Tadawul's appeal among international investors. 

Earlier this month, another report released by CMA noted that 42 companies listed in Saudi Arabia’s benchmark index and parallel market benefitted from the nominal value split mechanism in 2023.  

This followed the CMA’s execution of the Companies Law and its Executive Regulations on Jan. 19, 2023, permitting listed firms to split stock par values from SR10 to various lower options. 

Under this mechanism, a company divides its existing shares into multiples to enhance trading volume and accessibility for investors, without altering its total market capitalization.