Saudi bond sale: Top banks among lead managers

Deutsche Bank and Goldman Sachs are among banks hired to act as co-lead managers for the international bond sales, according to reports.
Updated 15 July 2016

Saudi bond sale: Top banks among lead managers

LONDON: Saudi Arabia appointed six banks as co-lead managers on its first international bond sale, according to people familiar with the matter.
The Kingdom hired Bank of China Ltd., BNP Paribas SA, Deutsche Bank AG, Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc. and Morgan Stanley to arrange the sale, the people said.
The banks will hold a meeting later this month to start working on the deal, two of the people said.
The managers will work with HSBC Holdings Plc, JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Citigroup Inc., who were said to have been appointed global coordinators last month for the sale of at least $10 billion of bonds.
Saudi Arabia plans to boost debt as it looks to plug an estimated shortfall of about $100 billion in its budget this year and fund an economic transformation plan.
Government debt levels will increase to 30 percent of economic output by 2020 from 7.7 percent, according to the government.
The plunge in crude is driving bond sales across the six-nation Gulf block as governments seek to fill fiscal gaps the International Monetary Fund says could reach $900 billion by 2021.
Kuwait, which plans to raise as much as $9.9 billion from a bond issue in September, is willing to liaise with Saudi Arabia on the timing of the sale, Finance Minister Anas Al-Saleh said in a phone interview Monday.
Qatar raised a record $9 billion in May and Abu Dhabi sold bonds worth $5 billion in April.
Spokesmen for Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and Deutsche Bank declined to comment.
A spokeswoman for BNP Paribas also declined to comment.
MUFG didn’t immediately respond to an e-mail requesting comment.
A call to the London offices of Bank of China wasn’t immediately answered, while Saudi Ministry of Finance couldn’t be reached for comment outside of office hours.

London-based high-tech company tackling online extremism

Updated 35 min 37 sec ago

London-based high-tech company tackling online extremism

  • Moonshot CVE employs 40 people working in 15 languages, including English, French and Arabic, on 76 projects in 28 countries, with clients ranging from governments to technology firms

LONDON: Vidhya Ramalingam believes it’s always possible to change, even for people deeply involved in the murky online world of extremism.

Her company Moonshot CVE has the ambitious aim of trying to get anyone tempted by violence back on the straight and narrow.

Over the last four years, the London-based startup has grown quietly but not anonymously, if a recent partnership deal with Facebook is anything to go by.

US national Ramalingam and the firm’s co-founder Ross Frenett previously worked as researchers into extremism and believe radical groups are often one step ahead when it comes to technology.

“There was a lot of recognition that terrorists were using the internet in creative ways, that they were reaching young audiences, that they were able to innovate,” she told AFP in an interview.

“Yet those of us that were trying to counter them simply were moving too slowly and had too many constraints to actually replicate those methods for counter-terrorism purposes.”

That led to the idea of a technology startup able to keep up with and fight against all forms of violent extremism to nationalists and even “incels.” But greater visibility has forced the company to take more security measures because of the sensitive nature of its work — and the potential for violence from the people it tracks.

The address of Moonshot CVE’s London offices is kept secret and most of its staff have no visible online presence.

Just to get into its premises in a nondescript building in the British capital, visitors have to pass through heavy armor-plated doors and a security check.

“We take precautions,” said Ramalingam. “We work on high-risk issues and we try and put as much into the public domain as possible.”

The startup’s name refers to the act of launching a rocket to the moon — and gives an indication of its stellar ambition. The CVE stands for countering violent extremism.

It employs 40 people working in 15 languages, including English, French and Arabic, on 76 projects in 28 countries, with clients ranging from governments to technology firms.

One project is a collaboration with the Canadian government against the far-right. Another works with the UN on online extremist content in Asia.

The company has also had a partnership for several years with Google, using online advertising to target people looking up violent extremism on the net.

The Facebook contract involves Moonshot analizing how effective the social network could be to “deradicalize” users looking up extremist content.