Saudi Fund for Development signs two agreements with Pakistan worth $4.2 billion

(Supplied)
Short Url
Updated 30 November 2021
Follow

Saudi Fund for Development signs two agreements with Pakistan worth $4.2 billion

RIYADH: The Saudi Fund for Development on Monday signed two agreements worth $4.2 billion with Pakistan. The deals aim to support the Pakistani economy.

The first agreement includes a $ 3 billion deposit to the State Bank of Pakistan to support the country’s foreign currency reserve levels and mitigate the impact of the coronavirus disease pandemic. The second deal seeks to support Pakistan in financing oil derivatives trade with $1.2 billion.


‘A great day for Saudi-German relations’ - Saudia delegation visits Airbus in Hamburg to celebrate 105-aircraft deal 

Updated 12 sec ago
Follow

‘A great day for Saudi-German relations’ - Saudia delegation visits Airbus in Hamburg to celebrate 105-aircraft deal 

HAMBURG: A delegation from Saudia airline has made a special visit to Airbus’s factory in Hamburg to see for itself the progress of the largest aircraft deal in the Kingdom’s aviation history.

This landmark agreement, signed in May, includes the acquisition of 105 state-of-the-art A320neo and A321neo aircraft, which are to be distributed between Saudia and its low-cost carrier, flyadeal.

The deal is the latest in the longstanding relationship between Saudia and Airbus, which began in the early 1980s when Saudia became the launch customer for the Airbus A300-600, delivered in March 1984, coinciding with the start of operations to Colombo, Sri Lanka.

The most recent aircraft deal, valued at $19 billion, aligns closely with Saudia Group’s Vision 2030 objectives, aiming to transport 330 million travelers, accommodate 150 million visits, and serve 30 million pilgrims.

Speaking to Arab News at the event, Michael Kindsgrab, German Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, said: “This is a great day for German-Saudi economic relations. This is the biggest aircraft deal we’ve ever signed between Airbus and Saudi Arabia and Saudia airlines, so this really leads into the future for more sustainable, ever more safe, more comfortable aviation.” 

He added: “This is a very big sign of the trust Saudia places into Airbus into the possibility of Airbus to make Saudia a happy customer. It’s a very good day for Saudi-German relations. I’m happy to be part of it.”

The deal significantly strengthens Saudi Arabia’s position as a hub for entertainment, sports, and major events, bolstering its global influence. It also boosts local content, fosters business entrepreneurship, and fuels sustainable economic growth for the Kingdom.

The aircrafts each take six months to complete. AN

Strengthening capabilities and workforce

Emphasizing a holistic investment strategy, the deal prioritizes local workforce development and technology transfer, fostering innovation across the aviation sector, and contributing to local content worth an estimated SR2.5 billion ($670 million).

Additionally, the agreement will transform the Saudi small and medium enterprise sector into an essential contributor within Airbus’ global supply chain.

Addressing the Saudi delegation in Hamburg, President of Airbus International Wouter van Wersch described the deal as “a fantastic opportunity for us to strengthen our cooperation”.

He continued: “We are ready right here and right now to grow with the Kingdom through its ambitions. We can turn many opportunities into realities.”

Van Wersch said that each aircraft takes six months to finish, and added: “We have many Saudis working in our teams, and our cooperation is built on a strong partnership through various activities.” 

Another significant outcome of this deal is that it will promote strong economic and diplomatic collaboration between Saudi Arabia and European countries, reinforcing commitments to

regional stability and global cooperation.

This will create investment opportunities and foster the creation of high-caliber, direct and indirect jobs in the Airbus manufacturing countries across Europe, particularly in Germany.

Reflecting on the 40-year relationship between his company and Airbus, director general of Saudia Ibrahim Al-Omar said the latest agreement was a “historical deal.”

Al-Omar also stressed that the partnership will reflect a robust effect that goes beyond just the immediate participants, benefiting regions in Germany and Europe by creating high-quality jobs.

Moreover, the partnership exemplifies how international collaborations can spur innovation and economic growth globally.

Speaking to Arab News, Al-Omar said: “Our visit today has provided us with a special opportunity to witness the efforts and processes that define Airbus leadership in the industry. 

“The facility and the skilled workforce at Airbus demonstrate a commitment to excellence that aligns perfectly with Saudia Group’s vision to enhance our guest experience and expand our capability. We are excited about the future and the promising production timeline.”

He added that together the firms are “not only shaping the future of aviation but also building a legacy of excellence and innovation.”

Also speaking to Arab News, Khaled Tash, the group chief marketing officer for Saudia, noted that as Airbus is a key economic driver in Europe, other countries on the continent will see benefits from the order.

“A deal like these 105 aircraft – imagine what kind of job opportunities it creates here in Germany, in France, in Spain, in the UK where the different parts are being manufactured, but also back in Saudi Arabia,” he said.

Tash further explained that each new aircraft requires about six to eight pilots and co-pilots, along with over 20 cabin crew members.

Additionally, a significant number of technicians and engineers are needed to maintain and perform all necessary maintenance work on the aircraft.

“The amount of job opportunities that such deals create, make it a social economic deal, much more than just an airline deal with a manufacturer,” Tash said.

A new experience 

The $19 billion deal, announced at the Future Aviation Forum in Riyadh in May, will see Saudia acquire 54 A321neo planes, while flyadeal will receive 12 A320neo and 39 A321neo aircrafts .

The agreement was announced in the presence of Minister of Transport and Logistic Services Saleh bin Nasser AI-Jasser, Director General of Saudia Group Ibrahim Al-Omar, and Benoît de Saint-Exupéry, executive vice president of sales of Airbus.

Speaking at the forum, Al-Omar stated that over the next five years, 88 new aircraft will be added to the fleet, adding: “If we refer to the renovation of the guest cabin, we promise everyone a new experience in the business and hospitality classes based on privacy and the innovation of new products as this project will include new aircraft in addition to the current fleet.”

He went on to say that the first plane will be equipped with new seats by the end of 2025.

Starting in the fourth quarter of 2024, Saudi Airlines will begin offering fast and high-quality internet services on its flights.

Additionally, the airline will equip its aircraft with high-resolution screens that are Bluetooth-enabled and compatible with most smart devices. This upgrade will be implemented on both new and existing aircraft.

Saudi Arabia’s Aviation Strategy aims to triple passenger numbers, connect to over 250 destinations, and manage 4.5 million tonnes of cargo by 2030.


Saudi Arabia, Thailand to enhance opportunities in energy fields amid top ministerial meeting

Updated 59 min 30 sec ago
Follow

Saudi Arabia, Thailand to enhance opportunities in energy fields amid top ministerial meeting

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia and Thailand are on track to enhance opportunities in various energy fields thanks to a top ministerial meeting between officials from both countries. 

The gathering, attended by the Kingdom’s Minister of Energy Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman and Thailand’s Deputy Prime Minister and Energy Minister Pirapan Salirathavibhaga, who is currently visiting Saudi Arabia, shed light on many energy fields.

Topics of discussion included oil and gas, renewable energy, and hydrogen, as well as carbon extraction, use and storage, and energy efficiency, according to a statement. 

This falls in line with the ongoing efforts between both sides to further propel economic ties between them. 

Trade relations between the two nations saw business soar to $8.8 billion in 2023, up from $7.5 billion following the countries restoring ties in 2022. 

This represents nearly 22 percent of Thailand’s total trade with the Middle East, underscoring a flourishing economic partnership.

Moreover, during the meeting, the two sides discussed the Kingdom’s efforts to lead the transformation in the field of energy through projects such as the “Saudi Green Initiative” and the “Middle East Green Initiative.” 

Earlier this week, the Kingdom’s Minister of Investment Khalid Al-Falih highlighted that Saudi Arabia is set to enhance private sector cooperation with Thailand as the Southeast Asian nation opens its first board of investment office in Riyadh. 

On the sidelines of the business forum in the Saudi capital at the time, Al-Falih emphasized that this marks Thailand’s inaugural office in the Middle East, encouraging stronger bonds and new investment opportunities in both countries.

Addressing the business delegation at the Saudi-Thailand Investment Forum, Al-Falih said at the time: “Representative offices from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and your country will do a great deal of facilitating private sector to private sector cooperation and allowing us to reach the potential that I mentioned.”    

The minister also stressed at the time the common parallels between the two countries, noting they share a “great deal of complementarity.”

Thailand has its National Strategy 2037, whereas Saudi Arabia has its Vision 2030.   

“Which naturally leads me to emphasize the energy sector, including its multifaceted branches downstream: biofuels, biochemicals and CCUS (carbon capture utilization and storage), hydrogen, and renewables,” he said at the time.


Closing Bell: Saudi main index closes in green at 12,080

Updated 16 July 2024
Follow

Closing Bell: Saudi main index closes in green at 12,080

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Tadawul All Share Index continued its upward trend for the third consecutive day on Tuesday, gaining 132.67 points or 1.11 percent to close at 12,080.37.

The total trading turnover of the benchmark index was SR7.25 billion ($1.93 billion), with 140 of the listed stocks advancing and 73 declining. 

Similarly, Saudi Arabia’s parallel market Nomu edged up by 0.27 percent to 25,919.13. 

The MSCI Tadawul Index also gained 15.72 points to close at 1,513.57. 

The best-performing stocks of the day were AYYAN Investment Co. and Al Sagr Cooperative Insurance, whose share prices surged by 9.96 percent each. 

Other top performers on the benchmark index were Miahona Co. and Makkah Construction and Development Co., as their share prices soared by 7.70 percent and 6.40 percent respectively. 

The worst performer of the day was Al-Baha Investment and Development Co. The firm’s share price slipped 7.69 percent to SR0.12. 

On the announcements front, Lana Medical Co.’s fully owned subsidiary Lana Investment Co. said it acquired a 50 percent stake in Solar Laser Systems Co. and Solar Maccom Co.

Lana said in a statement to Tadawul that the SR6 million deal would be financed from the company’s own resources. 

The statement added that the impact of the deal will be visible in the company’s financial performance from Jan.1, according to the terms and conditions of the agreement. 

Meanwhile, Al-Hokail Academy Specialized Digital Polyclinics Co. announced that it has decided to cancel its initial public offering in Saudi Arabia’s parallel market. 

“This is in order to ensure the interest of investors and shareholders. This comes with the aim of ensuring the best possible conditions for listing, and the company aims with this decision to enhance the confidence of investors and shareholders in the strength and sustainability of its business,” the company said in a statement to Tadawul. 

Additionally, LIVA Insurance Co. said that it received approval from Banque Saudi Fransi to provide insurance services to the bank for one year starting from July 16. 

In a Tadawul statement, the insurance provider said that the deal will provide positive impacts on the company’s financial results for 2024 and 2025. 


Saudi banking sector set for 9% Q2 earnings growth, analyst forecasts 

Updated 16 July 2024
Follow

Saudi banking sector set for 9% Q2 earnings growth, analyst forecasts 

RIYADH: The Saudi banking sector is poised to witness an earnings rise in the second quarter of 2024, with an anticipated 9 percent annual growth, a financial analyst has forecast.

In an interview with Al Ekhbariya, Hussein Al-Attas voiced confidence in the upcoming performance of the banking division, anticipating significant improvements for the petrochemical industry.

He also noted that consulting firms hold a positive outlook for the second quarter’s results, specifically in the banking, communication, and retail divisions. 

However, while optimism prevails for these three sectors, there are divergent opinions regarding the performance of the cement and petrochemical fields.

The analyst indicated that despite differing views, the sector is expected to show improved performance in the second quarter compared to the same period last year, albeit slightly less than the first three months of this year.

He attributed this slower growth to the fact that many companies underwent periodic maintenance closures in the first quarter, impacting their performance.

In Saudi Arabia, amidst its position as one of the world’s fastest-growing economies, plans for revenue diversification offer banks opportunities to invest in relatively low-risk public and private sector projects. 

The private sector, comprising around 90 percent of total bank assets, continues to expand due to a robust economy, higher oil prices, and ongoing government support, all contributing to anticipated growth in banks’ asset bases.

Moreover, the Kingdom ranks among the world’s leading petrochemical producers, accounting for approximately 7 percent of global supply, as reported by the International Trade Administration.

The industry has grown substantially, solidifying the nation’s role as a primary exporter of petrochemical resources.

However, the sector grapples with challenges, including an uncertain demand recovery amidst high interest rates and weak macroeconomic fundamentals, elevated shipping costs and logistical challenges from ongoing Red Sea issues, and seasonal factors affecting demand.

Al-Attas forecast that notable improvements are anticipated for companies such as SABIC, Advanced, and Yansab, which saw increased sales volumes and completed their first-quarter maintenance.

The analyst noted that these companies were nearly fully operational in the second quarter. Moreover, there have been improvements in certain petrochemical products despite unstable global demand stemming from geopolitical tensions.

According to Al-Jazira Capital’s forecast report, the sector is expected to experience a 95 percent earnings growth compared to the previous quarter, which saw multiple plant shutdowns. SABIC is projected to lead this increase, benefiting from volume recoveries following the first quarter turnarounds.

Additionally, Tasnee and Advanced are anticipated to return to profitability during this period, contributing to the sector’s overall earnings.


Chinese investors embrace Saudi equities as 2 ETFs debut in Shanghai, Shenzhen

Updated 16 July 2024
Follow

Chinese investors embrace Saudi equities as 2 ETFs debut in Shanghai, Shenzhen

RIYADH: Chinese investors showed strong interest in Saudi equities as two new exchange-traded funds focused on the Kingdom’s stocks debuted in Shanghai and Shenzhen.  

The feeder funds, operating under the Qualified Domestic Institutional Investor program, began trading on July 16, with both briefly hitting the 10 percent daily limit on their launch day.    

The first fund, CSOP Saudi Arabia ETF QDII, managed by China Southern Asset Management, is listed on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange after raising 634 million Chinese yuan ($87 million).   

The second fund, the Huatai-PineBridge managed CSOP Saudi Arabia ETF QDII, started trading on the Shanghai Stock Exchange after raising 590 million Chinese yuan, Bloomberg reported.   

The new offerings mark a significant step in the deepening economic ties between China and Saudi Arabia, allowing mainland investors to diversify their portfolios with exposure to the Kingdom’s stock market.     

This comes as investor relations between the two nations flourish with China becoming the top greenfield foreign direct investor in Saudi Arabia with investments amounting to $16.8 billion in 2023, a 1,020 percent rise from the previous year.      

The two ETFs indirectly invest in the Kingdom’s stock market through the CSOP Saudi Arabia ETF, which was listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, marking the first Saudi Arabia-focused ETF in the Asia-Pacific region.   

Following their approval from the China Securities Regulatory Commission last month, these funds are designed to facilitate greater international diversification for Chinese investors, particularly in sectors where Saudi Arabia has considerable influence, such as energy and oil.   

“People will pay more attention to Saudi Arabia looking at the energy and financial sector compared with US or Japan investment options,” Mao Wei, chief equity investment officer at China Southern Asset Management Co., told Bloomberg.   

Mainland investors will find it easier to build exposure to Saudi stocks using the funds as they can invest in yuan and find information in Chinese, according to Melody Xian He, deputy chief executive officer at CSOP Asset Management.   

About 20,000 individuals and funds took allocations in the ETFs during an offer period of seven days, she said in an interview.   

As investment links between China and Saudi Arabia deepen, Hong Kong could be “the largest beneficiary of the Saudi China ETF connect program because ETFs that are listed in Saudi Arabia and mainland China could feed back into the Hong Kong ETF,” said Rebecca Sin, an analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence in Hong Kong.   

“The next step of the Saudi China ETF Connect could be that Saudi Arabia asset managers launch a feeder fund,” she added.  

This fund tracks the FTSE Saudi Arabia Index and counts the Kingdom’s sovereign wealth fund among its major investors.  

The Saudi China ETF program aims to facilitate the cross-listing of funds in both countries and the launch of feeder funds, further cementing financial cooperation between the two nations amidst evolving geopolitical landscapes.