Top UK and US businessmen discuss investment strategy in Riyadh conference

Visitors watch a 3D presentation during an exhibition on "Neom", a new business and industrial city, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, in this October 25, 2017 photo. (REUTERS)
Updated 28 October 2017

Top UK and US businessmen discuss investment strategy in Riyadh conference

RIYADH: Top British and American businessmen discussed strategies in investing on the last day of the Future Investment Initiative conference in the Saudi capital on Thursday.

They were panelists in the session “The world in 2030: Creating value for the next generation” with Rima Maktabi, Lebanese TV presenter and award winning journalist, as the moderator.

The panelists comprised Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group; Steve Case, American entrepreneur and co-founder and chairman of America Online; and David Bonderman, American businessman and founding member of the TPG Capital and its Asian affiliate, Newbridge Capital.

Branson said that that as a businessman, he started when he was only 17 by editing a magazine for students, followed by dealing in music tapes which gave way to Virgin Records. Now, he heads a business empire comprising over 300 companies after 50 years of being in business.

Asked if how he copes with the ups and downs, he said that he draws support from his family as well as close friends, adding that he’s close to his wife and two children with whom he goes on vacations.

“I am very lucky with my family, children, grandchildren and friends. With good health and close family, you can cope with the ups and down in life,” he said.

He said: “I have a rule, and that’s starting something and do it better than the competition,” adding that for two years, Virgin Cola was outselling the two biggest industry players.

He also disclosed that he likes Saudi Arabia which intends, he said, to invest in Virgin Group space companies.

The contract is described as a “partnership on spaceflight, satellite launch and space-centric entertainment,” backed by the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia.

The venture will fuel three Virgin companies — Virgin Galactic, The Spaceship Company and Virgin Orbit — and includes an option for an additional $480 million.

On the other hand, Branson is the first international investor to commit to the Kingdom’s Red Sea project, a 200-km. development that will transform the coastline into a luxury destination.

For his part, Case said that he believes in “purpose-driven investing,” describing NEOM as a “good idea.”

NEOM is the world’s first independent special zone stretching over three countries and set to become a new vibrant destination in the northwestern region of Saudi Arabia.

Case also mentioned his “Third Wave” book, where he takes the reader behind the scenes of the most consequential and riveting business decisions of our time and predicts that we’re at the dawn of the next technological revolution unlike anything we’ve seen before — the Third Wave of the Internet — that will transform the economy and the way we live.

On the other hand, Bonderman said that in creating value for the next generation, he believes in health care as an area of investment.

He noted the drugs available in the market in treating leukemia. These could be reasons for cancer to be on the way out, adding that “we’ll see more of that in the future.”

He described the investment and growth in the Kingdom under Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman as “unbelievable.”


Houthis, Iran condemned over new drone attacks on KSA

Updated 26 October 2020

Houthis, Iran condemned over new drone attacks on KSA

  • One civilian injured by shrapnel after Saudi-led coalition intercepts four flying bombs launched from Yemen

JEDDAH: Houthi militias and their Iranian backers were condemned on Sunday after the Saudi-led coalition intercepted four explosive-laden drones in two attacks launched from Yemen targeting the south of the Kingdom.

Three of the drones were destroyed early on Saturday and a fourth on Sunday. Shrapnel that fell in Sarat Abidah governorate injured a civilian, and damaged five homes and three vehicles, said civil defense spokesman Capt. Mohammed Abdu Al-Sayed.

Iran was increasing its support to the Houthis to undermine efforts for peace, Dr. Hamdan Al-Shehri, the political analyst and international relations scholar, told Arab News.

“They want the Houthis to sabotage all they can in Saudi Arabia, regardless of whether their target is a populated area, oil facilities or even a sacred place. This adds tension to the area, and that is what Iran is working on.”

Iranians want the Houthis to sabotage all they can in Saudi Arabia, regardless of whether their target is a populated area, oil facilities or even a sacred place. This adds tension to the area, and that is what Iran is working on.

Dr. Hamdan Al-Shehri, political analyst and international relations scholar

Al-Shehri said the situation in Yemen would remain the same unless the legitimate government was returned to Yemen, Security Council Resolution 2216 was put into practice and the Houthi militia were removed.

“Without these things, the Yemen crisis will not end and the whole region will remain in tension.”

The Houthis did not differentiate between military sites and civilian locations, he said.

“Their objective is to damage all places they can reach in Saudi Arabia, and their latest attempts to attack a populated area are nothing new.

“They have also targeted airports and some Aramco oil facilities. If the Aramco attack had not been contained, the damage would have affected the whole Eastern region. They have also attempted to target Makkah, where pilgrims and worshippers were performing their rituals.

“They don’t care. If you look back at what the Revolutionary Guards did at the Grand Mosque, you will realize it is not strange that the Houthis are trying to destroy everything in Saudi Arabia. The strange thing is the silence of the world toward what is happening.”

 

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