Saudi Arabia, Russia sign strategic oil pact

Updated 05 September 2016

Saudi Arabia, Russia sign strategic oil pact

HANGZHOU: The world's two largest oil producers, Russia and Saudi Arabia, on Monday agreed to act together to stabilize global oil output.
Energy ministers Alexander Novak and Minister Khalid Al-Falih met Monday on the sidelines of the Group of 20 nations' summit in China. A joint statement released by Russia said both ministers "recognized the need to restrain an excessive volatility of the oil market" and agreed to act together "in order to stabilize the oil market."
“Of course, strategic works with Russia will be important given that they are one of the two largest producers of oil along with the Kingdom. There is no doubt that Saudi Arabia to see OPEC and non-OPEC countries to follow our lead in joining this strategic working group,” Saudi Arabia’s Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih.
Novak and Al-Falih said they would chair the first Russia-Saudi task force on oil and gas in October.


Translation: "The Ministries of Energy in both countries will work collectively to exchange technologies and develop the petroleum industry in both countries" — Khalid Al-Falih

Russia, which is not a member of the oil producing nations' group OPEC, this year supported calls to freeze production, but the efforts fell through after OPEC member Iran opposed the plan.
“Both Russia and Saudi Arabia, as the two largest oil producers in the world, have the heaviest burdens to see the oil markets stabilize,” Novak said.
Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates welcomed the agreement by Saudi Arabia and Russia to try jointly to stabilise oil prices.
Kuwait "welcomes the consultations between Saudi Arabia and Russia about oil markets... and backs the outcome of these consultations for the sake of achieving a balance in the markets", acting oil minister Anas al-Saleh told the official KUNA news agency.


STC postpones its acquisition of Vodafone Egypt for second time

Updated 13 July 2020

STC postpones its acquisition of Vodafone Egypt for second time

  • Kingdom’s largest telecom company says it will need an additional two months to complete the deal

CAIRO: The Saudi Telecom Company (STC), the Kingdom’s largest telecom company, said that it will need an additional two months to complete a deal to purchase a 55 percent stake in Vodafone Egypt.

In January, STC was in agreement to buy the stake for $2.4 billion. In April, it extended the process for 90 days due to logistical challenges stemming from the spread of COVD-19. The company said in a statement that it would extend the period again to September for the same reason.

The Public Investment Fund, the Saudi sovereign wealth fund, owns a majority stake in STC. The ownership of Vodafone Egypt is divided between 55 percent for Vodafone International, which is the target percentage of the Saudi purchase offer, 44.8 percent for Telecom Egypt, and the remaining 0.2 percent for small shareholders.

Telecom Egypt is awaiting the results of Vodafone’s evaluation of the final share price to announce its position on the deal. A Telecom Egypt official stated that the company is still awaiting STC’s position regarding the purchase of the share. If the deal is not completed, it may be presented with its rights to acquire Vodafone’s share, which would allow it to take over 99.8 percent of the company’s shares, leaving 0.2 percent for small investors.

Ashraf El-Wardany, an Egyptian communications expert, pointed out the importance of waiting until the procedures between STC and the Vodafone Group are complete. The results will determine the next steps by Telecom Egypt.

El-Wardany said that the Saudi operator must, after completing the relevant studies, submit a final binding offer at the share price and any conditions for purchase. If approved by Vodafone, it must submit the offer with the same conditions and price to Telecom Egypt, provided that the latter responds within a maximum period of 45 days to determine its position regarding the use of the right of pre-emption and the purchase, or lack thereof, of Vodafone’s share.

According to El-Wardany, there are other possible scenarios. Vodafone International may not be convinced of the offer or the conditions presented by the Saudi side and the sale may be withdrawn, or the Vodafone group may be ready to sell and has prepared another buyer for its stake in Egypt in the event of rejecting the Saudi offer. It may also it back away from the deal and continue to operate in Egypt for a few more years.

El-Wardany said that if Telecom Egypt decides not to use the right of pre-emption to acquire the remaining Vodafone shares for any reason, it will continue with its 44.8 percent stake.
It may also resort to selling all of its shares or part of it to the Saudi side or to any company that wants to acquire its stake.

“This raises the question of whether STC can acquire all of Vodafone’s shares,” El-Wardany said, adding that the coming months “will make the answer clear.”