Arab News partners with BMG Financial for high-level Saudi investment forum

Faisal J. Abbas, Editor-in-Chief of Arab News, left, and Chairman and CEO of BMG Financial Group, Basil M.K. Al-Ghalayini.
Updated 10 July 2018
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Arab News partners with BMG Financial for high-level Saudi investment forum

  • International investors and global private equity fund managers will also attend the 12th BMG Economic Forum
  • The theme of the forum is ‘Invest In Saudi’

DUBAI: Investment opportunities in Saudi Arabia will top the agenda at a high-level meeting in Britain next week of government officials, regulators, and industry chiefs.

International investors and global private equity fund managers will also attend the 12th BMG Economic Forum, held in partnership with Arab News, on July 11 at the London Stock Exchange. The BMG Summer Retreat will conclude the following day with the BMG Foundation Polo Cup at Cambridge County Polo Club, where Arab News will host the participants’ lunch traditionally attended by British and Saudi royalty and other dignitaries. 

This year’s theme for the annual forum is “Invest in the Saudi Vision 2030 — opportunities for UK and European companies.”  It is a unique gathering to discuss Saudi Arabia’s vision for the future and the status of issues such as the Kingdom’s “giga projects,” the Aramco IPO, and geopolitics.

The chairman and CEO of BMG Financial Group, Basil M.K. Al-Ghalayini, who will make the opening remarks at the forum, said: “At the event this year, we are expecting many business leaders, senior officials, very high-profile delegates, those from emerging markets and several fund managers to attend.

“The theme of the forum is “Invest In Saudi,” as under Vision 2030 we have seen the launch of several 'giga projects’ by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, aimed at diversifying the Kingdom’s economy. At this event visitors can expect to hear updates of what is happening in Saudi Arabia from professionals from different business sectors in the country.”

Saudi Vision 2030, the Kingdom’s blueprint for its future, was announced in April 2016 and aims not only to diversify the economy and address the challenges brought by low global energy prices, but also to implement far-reaching social and lifestyle changes. 

Vision 2030 will underpin discussions at the forum, which will be given extra gravitas by its location — the London Stock Exchange. "It will be an excellent platform to promote Saudi Arabia in such a professional setting,” Al-Ghalayini said. “Any platform to promote Saudi Arabia is value-added.”

The event follows news that the Saudi stock market will join FTSE Russell’s emerging market index in March 2019, a move expected to attract billions of dollars of fresh foreign portfolio investment to the Kingdom. 

“We expect a lot of Saudi and Gulf investors,” said Al-Ghalayini. “It is a timely opportunity to have this platform to promote the country.”

Senior Saudi officials, international sovereign fund officials, emerging fund managers, CEOs, investment bankers, and lawyers are among the speakers at the forum.

Faisal J. Abbas, Editor-in-Chief of Arab News, who will also address the forum, said: “With the massive transformation happening in Saudi Arabia as Vision 2030 attempts to diversify the economy away from oil, we are very happy to be partnering with BMG capital to host this business conference at the London Stock Exchange to shed light on challenges and the emerging opportunities currently available in the Kingdom."

Other key speakers are Donald Brydon, chairman of the London Stock Exchange Group; Yaser Alshareef, CEO of the Jabal Omar Development Company; and Carmen Haddad, CEO of Citigroup Saudi Arabia.


Kuwait Projects Co. hires Goldman Sachs for sale of OSN — sources

Updated 12 min 40 sec ago
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Kuwait Projects Co. hires Goldman Sachs for sale of OSN — sources

DUBAI: Kuwait Projects Co. (KIPCO), the Gulf state’s largest investment company, has hired Goldman Sachs to advise it on the sale of its majority stake in pay-television operator OSN, sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.
OSN, which this year signed the first partnership deal in the region with Netflix, posted a 71 percent drop in income in the three months to Sept. 30, according to KIPCO’s latest financial results.
KIPCO and Goldman Sachs declined to comment.
KIPCO said in the results, released last week, that the company’s board had approved initiating a plan to divest its 60.5 percent equity interest in Panther Media Group, also known as OSN, and had engaged an international investment banker for the purpose. It did not disclose the name of the banker.
With the rights to broadcast into countries across the Middle East and North Africa, OSN has more than 180 channels, according to its website. Its other shareholder is Mawarid Group.
OSN faces subdued demand in its core markets due to piracy, geopolitical factors and fiscal reforms by governments which have led to sizeable expatriate populations leaving some of its core markets, said Anuj Rohtagi, director of group financial control at KIPCO in KIPCO’s third-quarter earnings conference call on Nov. 15. He added OSN was taking action to cut costs and attract new customers.
It is not the first time KIPCO has explored offloading at least some of its stake in OSN. In 2014, it said it planned to start the process for an initial public offering of OSN shares.