Saudi Arabia’s Industry 4.0 initiative drives economic diversification

International collaborations could import best practices and tailor innovative solutions, setting Saudi Arabia as a leader in the region’s technological transformation and supply chain excellence. (SPA)
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Updated 09 June 2024

Saudi Arabia’s Industry 4.0 initiative drives economic diversification

  • Kingdom leverages its abundant energy resources for cost-effective, energy-dependent production

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia has embarked on an ambitious journey to embrace the Fourth Industrial Revolution, commonly associated with the period around the late 2000s to the early 2010s.  

Recognizing its transformative potential for economic diversification and societal advancement, the nation unveiled its ambitious Vision 2030 plan on April 25, 2016, highlighting the strategic National Industrial Development and Logistics Program, or NIDLP. 

This initiative aims to cultivate high-growth sectors domestically and foster an open economy receptive to foreign capital infusion. Additionally, it serves as a catalyst for integrating Industry 4.0 technologies across diverse sectors. 

Speaking to Arab News, Harsh Kumar, chief strategy officer and co-founder of Shipsy — a software platform that helps logistics companies and shippers manage their cargoes —explained that Saudi Arabia is well-positioned to become a regional hub for Industry 4.0. The Kingdom leverages its abundant energy resources for cost-effective, energy-dependent production and its strategic geographic location as a crossroads for Asia, Europe, and Africa to develop advanced supply chain infrastructure. 

From investments in the tech sector to fostering an innovation ecosystem, the Kingdom has laid the groundwork for a thriving knowledge-based economy poised for the challenges and opportunities of the digital age.  

As a G20 member, Saudi Arabia actively fosters a progressive environment to nurture entrepreneurship and drive technological advancement. 

The establishment of innovation hubs, startup accelerators, and research institutions creates fertile ground for collaboration and creativity. Initiatives like the Saudi Venture Capital Co., the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, and the King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology are fueling the development of cutting-edge applications.  

By fostering a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship, Saudi Arabia empowers its youth and workforce to harness the opportunities presented by the Fourth Industrial Revolution and contribute to its economic prosperity. 

Kumar added that Saudi Arabia can adopt smart manufacturing and supply chain technologies such as AI, predictive intelligence, automation, as well as IoT, and robotics to enhance efficiency and capitalize on growing domestic demand. 

“A supportive policy framework offering incentives, investment in education to cultivate a skilled workforce, and fostering research and development through partnerships with global tech leaders will be crucial,” Kumar said. 

He further noted that international collaborations could import best practices and tailor innovative solutions, setting Saudi Arabia as a leader in the region’s technological transformation and supply chain excellence. 

Assessing the current level of digitalization and technological maturity within Saudi Arabia’s industrial sector, Kumar noted that, according to tech giant Ericsson, the Kingdom has an impressive 98 percent internet penetration among its over 32 million people.  

“The nation is on the cusp of significant transformation. Then, initiatives like the Digital Government Authority and Vision 2030 will fuel smart city projects, enhance digital healthcare, upgrade infrastructure, and help roll out autonomous supply chain technologies,” Kumar said.  

He added that the e-commerce sector is expected to exceed $13 billion by 2025, introducing immense opportunities to enhance end-to-end warehouse and delivery operations using AI. 

“Furthermore, the government has initiated a $1.2 billion program to boost the digital capabilities of 100,000 students by 2030,” he said. Highlighting the specific subsectors within the Saudi industrial landscape leading the adoption of Industry 4.0 technologies, Kumar emphasized that robust and resilient supply chain and logistics networks are critical across manufacturing, trade, retail, and other industries. 

He explained that a nation’s gross domestic product is directly linked to its supply chain performance. Therefore, it is unsurprising that the supply chain industry is expected to embrace advanced technologies like AI, machine learning, as well as IoT, automation, and analytics, along with predictive intelligence and blockchain.  

These technologies are anticipated to reduce costs, drive sustainability, improve customer service, balance demand and supply, control prices of everyday items like groceries, vegetables, and meat, and ultimately enhance Saudi Arabia’s global competitiveness.  

The second edition of the Global Machinery & Equipment Report 2024, released by Bain & Co., reveals significant opportunities for machinery and equipment manufacturers worldwide.  

The study indicates that these manufacturers can achieve immediate and substantial improvements in productivity, with potential gains ranging from 30 to 50 percent. 

This transformation can be accomplished by leveraging AI, lean methodologies, digital advancements, and sustainability innovations, essential components of the envisioned “Factory of the Future.” 

The same report added that many machinery executives increasingly consider AI adoption urgent. According to Bain’s research, 75 percent of executives from the broader advanced manufacturing industry said that adopting emerging technologies such as AI is their top priority in engineering, research, and development. 

Discussing the future path of Saudi Arabia’s industrial sector in the era of Industry 4.0 and the key opportunities, challenges, and uncertainties ahead on this transformative journey, Kumar stated that the Kingdom’s industrial sector is set to evolve through the digitalization and automation of supply chain operations, enhancing efficiency and fostering innovation. 

Saudi Arabia’s commitment to Vision 2030 provides a solid foundation for embracing Industry 4.0, positioning it as a leader in technological advancement in the Middle East.

Harsh Kumar, chief strategy officer and co-founder of Shipsy

“Key opportunities include the development of smart factories, growth in demand for e-commerce, enhanced data integration across the supply chain, and increased global competitiveness through advanced technologies like AI and IoT,” he said.  Kumar anticipates that the Kingdom will witness additional investments in workforce upskilling, cybersecurity risk management, and development policies that safeguard customer information, especially as AI is booming. 

“Overall, Saudi Arabia’s commitment to Vision 2030 provides a solid foundation for embracing Industry 4.0, positioning it as a leader in technological advancement in the Middle East,” he said. 

Commenting on the strides made by Saudi industrial companies in embracing advanced analytics and data-driven decision-making, Kumar said: “We see a rapid transformation occurring when it comes to embracing advanced technologies like AI, ML and automation.” 

He added that businesses are increasingly becoming aware of the benefits these technologies can deliver in terms of productivity, cost savings, risk mitigation, and preparedness for unprecedented events. 

Under Vision 2030, the Saudi government will invest $20 billion in AI by 2030 to develop the country’s digital sector.  

According to a recent report by the professional services firm PwC, the projected economic impact of AI in the Middle East by 2030 is $320 billion, with an estimated $135.2 billion attributed to Saudi Arabia. The analysis also highlights an annual growth rate in AI contribution ranging between 20 percent and 34 percent across the region, with the Kingdom experiencing the second fastest growth. 

Kumar concluded that Saudi Arabia’s ambition to become a global leader in Industry 4.0 technologies and innovation has significant geopolitical and geoeconomic implications.

NEOM leading path to tech, economic prosperity 

Saudi Arabia has witnessed several success stories in its journey to embrace innovation, entrepreneurship, and 4IR, with its $500 billion future city, NEOM, as a prime example.  

The flagship project of Vision 2030 aims to create a futuristic, technologically advanced city in the northwest of Saudi Arabia. It is envisioned as a hub for innovation, sustainability, and economic diversification, leveraging 4IR technologies to drive progress across various sectors.  

The initiative has attracted significant investment and partnerships from global companies and is set to become a model for prospective smart cities.

Ceer driving innovation future  

Announced by Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman in 2022, Ceer is poised to catalyze a nascent industry and ecosystem, promising an array of innovative vehicles, attracting both international and domestic investments, generating local employment opportunities, and bolstering Saudi Arabia’s GDP.  

In collaboration with Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., or Foxconn, Ceer will spearhead the design, production, and distribution of electric vehicles tailored for consumers across Saudi Arabia and the broader MENA region.  

According to the annual report on Vision 2030, these cars will undergo rigorous testing to meet the highest global standards of quality control and safety.  

Moreover, Ceer will lead the way in infotainment, connectivity, and autonomous driving technologies, leveraging Foxconn’s expertise in developing the vehicles’ electrical architecture and incorporating components sourced from BMW. 

Unlocking the genetic code 

The Saudi Genome Program embarks on a groundbreaking endeavor to build a pioneering database. This initiative aims to map Saudi society’s genetic makeup and transform healthcare by enabling personalized medicine, reducing costs, and enhancing quality of life.  

Initiated in 2018 by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, it epitomizes a distinctive national initiative. It harnesses state-of-the-art genomic technologies to effectively diminish the occurrence of genetic diseases, advance diagnostics, therapy, and prevention strategies.  

As per the Vision 2030 report, the first phase of strategy development was set in motion in 2022, unveiling the ambitious roadmap for SGP 2.0. This transformative vision seeks to establish the Kingdom as a globally recognized leader in genomics through a series of bold yet feasible objectives.

Solar oasis for sustainable thirst 

The Al-Khafji Desalination Plant, celebrated as the world’s largest solar-powered water desalination project, meets the region’s water needs through groundbreaking and sustainable methods.  

Unveiled in 2018, this facility employs progressive technology to convert saltwater into potable water while generating renewable energy for the Kingdom. With a remarkable capacity of producing up to 90,000 cubic meters of clean water daily, it relies on innovative solutions developed by KACST.  

By harnessing solar panels, the plant contributes to Saudi Arabia’s efforts to curtail carbon emissions and embrace a future powered by clean, sustainable energy.

Empowering entrepreneurs 

Misk Innovation, an initiative launched by the Misk Foundation to support and empower young innovators and entrepreneurs in Saudi Arabia, nurtures talent, fosters creativity, and accelerates the development of progressive solutions to address societal challenges and drive economic growth through various programs, competitions, and funding opportunities.  

The initiative has helped launch several successful startups and technology ventures, contributing to the vibrancy of the Saudi innovation ecosystem. 

Revolutionizing Red Sea tourism 

The Red Sea Development Co., responsible for designing one of the world’s most ambitious tourism projects along the Red Sea coast of Saudi Arabia, is building a sustainable luxury tourism destination that leverages 4IR technologies to minimize environmental impact, enhance guest experiences, and drive economic diversification.  

The company is setting new standards for eco-friendly tourism development in the region through advanced design approaches, technology integration, and sustainable practices. 

Quest for global biotech supremacy 

The National Biotechnology Strategy is poised to position Saudi Arabia as a regional and global biotech hub with a far-reaching impact on biomanufacturing and medical innovation.  

According to the 2023 report on Saudi Vision 2030, the strategy marks the beginning of a transformative journey, not only for the Kingdom but also for the global biotechnology landscape. 

It aims to advance Saudi Arabia’s self-sufficiency in vaccines, biomanufacturing, and genomics, unlocking a high-growth sector, fostering innovation, and improving the health and well-being of its citizens.  

Moreover, the country harbors ambitious aspirations to emerge as the premier biotech hub in the MENA region by 2030, further advancing to attain global prominence by 2040. This endeavor is projected to contribute over $34.6 billion to the non-oil sector. 

According to Abdullah Al-Swaha, chairman of the board of directors of the Research, Development, and Innovation Authority, this strategy sets the stage for dynamic prospects to develop and empower Saudi Arabia’s talented researchers, entrepreneurs, and innovators while driving groundbreaking discoveries and propelling the country toward a prosperous future. 

The successes stem from broader initiatives in Saudi Vision 2030, with 87 percent of programs on track or completed, showcasing significant progress. 

Fostering digital technologies and AI in Saudi Industries 

Highlighting the strategies his ministry is embracing to promote the adoption of digital technologies and artificial intelligence in Saudi industries, the spokesman for the Ministry of Industry and Mineral Resources, Jarrah Al-Jarrah, told Arab News that the industrial sector is considered a key driver in developing a prosperous economy.  

Saudi Vision 2030 supports the increase of non-oil exports, attracting foreign investment, stimulating investment in research and innovation, and providing high-quality jobs for the nation’s citizens. 

“In this regard, the Kingdom is working on several fronts to develop strategies and roadmaps related to the industrial sector, aiming to transform the country into a major industrial power. Among these plans is the National Industrial Strategy, which was launched in 2022,” Al-Jarrah said. 

“The strategy has established a comprehensive roadmap to support the industrial development process in the Kingdom at an accelerated pace, in order to build a competitive, resilient, and sustainable industrial economy,” he added.  

Regarding specific undertakings aimed at enhancing research and development in Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies in Saudi Arabia, Al-Jarrah said that his ministry has a set of integrated undertakings supporting research, development, and innovation activities. 

“There is no doubt that modern, strategic, and vital technologies are prioritized in terms of support and empowerment. However, in general, all initiatives aim to promote a culture of innovation within the industrial sector and support all research, development, and innovation activities, whether they involve products, processes, or technologies,” he said. 

Providing examples of successful national 4IR initiatives in Saudi Arabia, Al-Jarrah highlighted that various entities within and beyond the industrial ecosystem offer numerous programs to support the adoption and development of Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies. 

“For example, the Ministry of Industry and Mineral Resources in Saudi Arabia launched the ‘Future Factories’ initiative, aiming to advance 4,000 facilities in Saudi Arabia by adopting best global practices in the 4IR technologies and advanced manufacturing, thereby enhancing production efficiency and offering incentives to participating factories,” he said. 

He added that some of their key ambitions encourage factories to adopt modern manufacturing technologies and support projects focusing on automation, digitization, and energy efficiency. 

As an example, Al-Jarrah mentioned the National Productivity Program offered by the Saudi Authority for Industrial Cities and Technology Zones, known as MODON.  

This initiative, he said, helps small and medium-sized industrial companies achieve high production efficiency through free consulting services, maturity assessments, and operational excellence plans. 

Al-Jarrah explained how the Kingdom has benefited from countries that have made significant progress in this new industrial revolution, highlighting that the country has adopted the Smart Industry Readiness Index methodology, which is used in over 30 countries and endorsed by the World Economic Forum.  

“This has enabled us to measure the average level of smart maturity in factories, identify transformation priorities, and address gaps through the launch of the Future Factories program,” he said.

Saudi Arabia’s PIF showcases achievements in balancing biodiversity conservation and investments

Updated 13 June 2024

Saudi Arabia’s PIF showcases achievements in balancing biodiversity conservation and investments

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund has detailed its successful balancing of biodiversity conservation with its investment initiatives.

The Public Investment Fund highlighted its undertakings spanning diverse sectors, with a focus on sustainable, eco-friendly, and luxurious tourism, as well as responsible mining practices.

According to the UN, human activity, driven largely by unsustainable practices, is the primary driver behind an ongoing biodiversity crisis, with 44,000 species endangered, 70 percent of coral reefs at risk, and fertile land loss surging by 29 percent since 2000.

Saudi Arabia, home to a vast array of plant and animal species, is actively addressing these challenges. 

In a statement, PIF emphasized its role as a major contributor to the Kingdom’s goals for protecting the environment, climate, natural resources, and biodiversity.

The fund pointed out that “it is possible to align successful and realist investment with environmental priorities.”

This holistic approach also promotes responsible investment in protected areas, particularly in nations rich in biodiversity – a commitment echoed by PIF as it strives to achieve Saudi Arabia’s environmental and biodiversity conservation goals.

One of the Kingdom’s wealth fund’s initiatives is Red Sea Global, which was established to develop tourist destinations in harmony with sustainable practices. 

The giga-project has conducted extensive baseline studies of marine biodiversity in the Red Sea and Amala regions to inform strategic planning aimed at nurturing the region’s tourism sector while preserving its ecological balance.

Building on its environmental database, Red Sea Global aims to achieve a 30 percent positive biodiversity conservation return by 2040.

Its initiatives include species protection and habitat restoration efforts, supported by accolades such as the “Regional Sector Leader” award from the Global Real Estate Sustainability Index.

PIF is keen to preserve Saudi Arabia’s wide range of biodiversity. Supplied

PIF’s commitment extends beyond tourism to initiatives like Dan Co., which is dedicated to eco-friendly tourism projects across Saudi Arabia. 

Launched in December 2023, Dan Co. aims “to achieve leadership in the field of rural and environmental tourism” through partnerships with local communities, offering visitors experiences that showcase Saudi Arabia’s diverse cultural values.

Moreover, Soudah Development Co. focuses on creating luxury mountain tourism destinations in Asir, integrating environmental sustainability with cultural preservation and community empowerment. 

By partnering with local wildlife and vegetation conservation authorities, Soudah Development plays a crucial role in advancing Saudi Arabia’s ambitious Green Initiative to combat climate change and promote sustainable development.

In tandem with these efforts, mining company Ma’aden has embarked on environmental undertakings, including projects for vegetation improvement and mangrove preservation along coastal areas—crucial for community livelihoods and ecological stability. 

Ma’aden’s commitment to biodiversity management sets benchmarks for responsible mining practices across its operational spectrum.

According to PIF, these collaborative models illustrate that robust investment strategies can coexist with environmental conservation imperatives. 

The fund stated: “PIF is moving toward achieving sustainable economic and social development capable of ensuring continued economic growth while protecting natural diversity through an integrated system of vital initiatives and projects that shape the future for generations to come.”

The Kingdom boasts rich biodiversity, including 499 species of birds, 117 mammals, 107 reptiles, 266 coral, 1,230 types of fish, eight amphibians, and over 2,400 flowering plants, according to the National Center for Wildlife.

Recent events, such as Saudi Arabia’s participation at the High-Level Event on Ocean Action in San José, Costa Rica, on June 10, underscore the Kingdom commitment’s in this field. 

The event, attended by the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and Climate Affairs Envoy Adel Al-Jubeir, focused on sharing expertise in ocean governance and safety, addressing critical challenges marine environments face. 

At the accompanying exhibition, the Saudi delegation showcased national initiatives under the banner of “Blue Saudi,” highlighting efforts such as assessing and rehabilitating environmental habitats in the Red Sea and Arabian Gulf. 

Emphasizing the importance of preserving biodiversity, the delegation presented plans to designate protected areas and ambitious programs to plant mangrove trees and combat plastic pollution through legislative measures and waste management initiatives. 

Saudi Arabia reiterated its commitment to sustainable practices under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, underscoring its dedication to conserving marine biodiversity.

In May of this year, the King Salman bin Abdulaziz Royal Natural Reserve in Saudi Arabia achieved accreditation as “the first major biodiversity site in the Kingdom,” confirmed by Key Biodiversity Areas. 

The reserve, spanning 130,700 sq. km, meets three global standards, including the presence of endangered species, qualifying it for this prestigious recognition, which coincides with the International Day for Biological Diversity on May 22 each year.

Managed by the King Salman bin Abdulaziz Royal Natural Reserve Development Authority, the Saudi reserve aims to safeguard endangered species, enhance natural habitats, promote environmental awareness, and mitigate threats from natural and human factors. 

This area is recognized as the largest nature reserve in the Middle East.

Closing Bell: Saudi main index closes in red at 11,498 

Updated 13 June 2024

Closing Bell: Saudi main index closes in red at 11,498 

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Tadawul All Share Index dipped on Thursday, losing 152.88 points, or 1.31 percent, to close at 11,498.93.   

The total trading turnover of the benchmark index was SR10.97 billion ($2,92 billion) as 62 of the listed stocks advanced, while 165 retreated.    

Similarly, the MSCI Tadawul Index decreased by 18.86 points, or 1.29 percent, to close at 1,437.54. 

However, the Kingdom’s parallel market Nomu increased by 104.55 points, or 0.39 percent, to close at 26,753.99. This comes as 30 of the listed stocks advanced, while as many as 27 retreated.  

The top-performing stock of the day was Rasan Information Technology Co., which saw its share price surge by 30 percent to SR48.10. 

Other top performers included Al Taiseer Group Talco Industrial Co. and Al Moammar Information Systems Co., whose share prices soared by 14.42 percent and 7.24 percent, to stand at SR49.20 and SR163, respectively. 

In addition to this, other top performers included Saudi Cable Co. and Chubb Arabia Cooperative Insurance Co. 

The worst performer of the day was Saudi Manpower Solutions Co., with its share price dropping by 8.51 percent to SR8.28. 

Other poor performers included ACWA Power Co. and Miahona Co., with their share prices declining by 5.31 percent and 5.19 percent to reach SR331.80 and SR21.56, respectively. 

Furthermore, other underperforming stocks included Sahara International Petrochemical Co. and Savola Group. 

On the announcements front, Rasan Information Technology Co. surged in its Riyadh debut, raising SR841 million with its shares peaking at SR48.1, a 30 percent increase from the offer price of SR37. 

Bloomberg reported that the IPO saw strong demand, with orders totaling $29 billion, making it oversubscribed 129 times, reflecting Saudi Arabia’s push to diversify its stock exchange beyond traditional sectors like banking and industry.  

“Rasan, which operates online insurance platforms such as Tameeni and Treza, will be among the first fintech firms to go public in the kingdom, which has only seen a few tech listings so far,” Bloomberg added. 

Besides Rasan, buy-now-pay-later firm Tabby and online cosmetics retailer Nice One are considering IPOs, according to Bloomberg News. 

Flyadeal receives first fully-owned aircraft in landmark moment 

Updated 13 June 2024

Flyadeal receives first fully-owned aircraft in landmark moment 

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s low-cost airline flyadeal has taken delivery of its first-ever wholly-owned aircraft in a “milestone” moment, according to the CEO.

The airline received the Airbus A320neo, named Al Sama after an Arabic constellation star in Toulouse, Airbus’ main assembly site.

This acquisition is also the company’s first new aircraft in 2024 and marks the beginning of a delivery plan that includes adding four vessels this year and eight A320neos in 2025.

The newly acquired aircraft will join the airline’s expanding domestic and international route network, serving nearly 30 destinations across Saudi Arabia, the Middle East, Europe, and North Africa.

Flyadeal CEO Steven Greenway, along with colleagues Ahmed Bakadam, director of maintenance and engineering, and Ali Al-Zahrani, senior manager technical fleet, gathered in France for the official exchange. 

“The addition of aircraft number 33 represents a symbolic double milestone for flyadeal, bringing in our first fully owned aircraft and inducting the first new aircraft into the fleet this year. Until now all flyadeal aircraft are leased,” Greenway said.

He added: “With a plan targeting around 50 aircraft by the end of 2025 that will double to 100 by 2030, we are on course for a dynamic delivery schedule over the next few years. An incredible growth path that is being accelerated by the shear demand for inbound and outbound travel catering to a diverse profile of travellers.”

Greenway expressed satisfaction with their partnership with Airbus and highlighted the aircraft’s comfort and eco-friendliness, emphasizing their commitment to providing passengers with a positive flying experience. 

As part of future fleet requirements, flyadeal placed its largest ever order last month for a further 51 Airbus A320 family aircraft comprising 12 A320neos and 39 larger A321neos. 

Sporting a spacious cabin of 186 seats in a three–three configuration that features seating of the highest standards and specifications for a low-cost airline and larger than normal overhead bins, the A320neo is the backbone of flyadeal’s fleet, which is among the youngest in the industry averaging just over two years old. 

Saudi Aramco partners with NextDecade for 20-year LNG supply deal

Updated 13 June 2024

Saudi Aramco partners with NextDecade for 20-year LNG supply deal

RIYADH: Energy giant Saudi Aramco has signed a non-binding agreement with US-based NextDecade to supply 1.2 million tonnes per annum of liquefied natural gas for 20 years.

According to a press statement, LNG will be supplied from the fourth liquefaction train at NextDecade’s Rio Grande Facility at the Port of Brownsville in Texas. 

“Aramco and NextDecade are currently in the process of negotiating a binding agreement, and once executed, the effectiveness of which will be subject to a positive final investment decision on Train 4,” said Aramco in the press statement. 

Aramco’s Upstream President Nasir K. Al-Naimi said the company is exploring opportunities to expand its presence in the global energy market. 

“We look forward to finalizing the terms of a long-term LNG offtake agreement with NextDecade as we explore opportunities to expand our presence in international energy markets,” said Al-Naimi in the release.  

“We expect LNG to play an important role in meeting the rising demand for secure and efficient energy,” he added. 

Matt Schatzman, chairman and CEO of NextDecade, said he is “pleased to have reached a heads of agreement with Aramco for LNG from Train 4, as Aramco seeks to expand its LNG portfolio.” 

Saudi Aramco, one of the biggest energy firms in the world, has been taking crucial steps in recent months to expand its global presence. 

In May, Aramco completed the acquisition of a 40 percent stake in Gas & Oil Pakistan, officially marking the Saudi company’s entry into Pakistan’s fuel retail market.

In April, Saudi Aramco disclosed that it is in talks to acquire a 10 percent stake in China’s Hengli Petrochemical, aiming to strengthen Aramco’s growing downstream presence in the Asian country. 

In February, speaking at the India Energy Week in Goa, Faisal Faqeer, Saudi Aramco’s senior vice president of liquids to chemicals development downstream, revealed that the energy giant is engaged in investment discussions with several Indian companies. 

Earlier this month, Saudi Aramco also retained the leading spot in Forbes Middle East’s Top 100 listed companies for 2024, with $660.8 billion in assets and $1.9 trillion in market value.

Moreover, Saudi Aramco continued its strong fiscal performance in the first quarter of this year amid global economic uncertainties and geopolitical tensions. 

On May 12, Saudi Aramco revealed that its net profit for the first quarter of this year reached $27.27 billion, representing a rise of 2.04 percent compared to the last three months of 2023. 

According to a statement, the oil firm’s total revenue for the three months to the end of March stood at $107.21 billion, with total operating income for the period reaching $58.88 billion.  

NEOM welcomes Capella’s wellness-focused resort in Magna region

Updated 13 June 2024

NEOM welcomes Capella’s wellness-focused resort in Magna region

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s future city, NEOM, is poised to welcome an 80-room wellness-focused resort after Capella Hotels and Resorts announced its first coastal destination at Elanan in the Magna region. 

This new offering from the Singapore-based hospitality group provides a fresh option for travelers to the area, supporting the Kingdom’s ambitions to establish itself as a tourism hub in the region. 

The resort is part of the sustainable development unfolding in northwest Saudi Arabia, the company said in a press release. 

Cristiano Rinaldi, president of Capella Hotel Group, said: “Combining Saudi Arabia’s breathtaking natural landscapes with NEOM’s innovative technology, we are poised to provide guests with an unparalleled wellness experience that promises delight and discovery.”  

He added: “This sanctuary will elevate Capella Hotels and Resorts’ esteemed wellness offering, featuring a curated series of exciting programs.” 

In February, NEOM announced Elanan, a new guest retreat focused on luxury and well-being experiences, nestled in a natural setting. 

This announcement adds to NEOM's recent sustainable tourism destinations in the Gulf of Aqaba, including Leyja, Epicon, and Siranna. It also includes Utamo and Norlana, along with Aquellum, Zardun, and Xaynor. 

Jeremy Lester, NEOM's executive director for Magna, expressed delight in collaborating with Capella Hotels and Resorts at Elenan. He described it as a “stunning haven that blends luxury with the spectacular landscape,” offering an exclusive sustainable retreat dedicated to holistic wellness. 

“It’s a fusion of aligned values and aspirations. Together, we’ll craft an environment to set a new standard in luxury guest experiences.” Lester said. 

The release emphasized that guests experience tranquility in a modern environment that blends contemporary design with natural beauty. 

It also noted that Capella enhances hospitality with a focus on wellness and innovative design through Capella Wellness, providing a relaxing sanctuary infused with modern aesthetics. 

On June 5, NEOM revealed its luxury lifestyle destination Magna. The development is part of NEOM’s sustainable portfolio in the region, focusing on integrating cutting-edge technology, world-class architecture, and modern amenities with the natural environment, according to a press release.