Saudi industrial investments hit over $460bn in August – Arab News
RIYADH: Saudi industrial sector investments amounted to SR1.73 trillion ($460.3 billion) in August, up 0.17 percent compared to the previous month, official data showed.
The total number of existing factories reached 10,707, an increase of 0.21 percent within a month, according to the Ministry of Industry and Mineral Resources’ monthly bulletin.
The number of workers in the industrial sector reached about 1.054 million workers, while the number of mining licenses in force in the sector at the end of August reached 2,159.
These included 1,367 quarrying licenses for building materials, 558 exploration licenses, 168 exploitation licenses, in addition to 37 exploration licenses and 29 licenses for surplus mineral ores.
As many as 646 new industrial licenses were issued by the ministry from January 2022 until the end of August, with investments of SR18 billion.
About 811 factories started production operations during the same period with investments amounting to SR22.4 billion, while the industrial sector provided during the same period more than 35,000 job opportunities.
During August, 115 new licenses were issued, with investments amounting to SR4.1 billion, bringing the number of workers to 3,272 employees.
The food products industry acquired the largest number of new licenses in August with 21 licenses, followed by the chemicals and chemical products industry with 14 licenses.
Formed metal products, excluding machinery and equipment, followed with 13 licenses, followed by the furniture industry, and the rubber and plastics products industry with 10 licenses each.
Capital Riyadh acquired 41 new licenses in August, followed by the Eastern Province with 26, Makkah with 22, and Al Madinah with 8 licenses.
Qassim followed with seven licenses, Asir with four, then Tabuk and Hail with three licenses each, while Jizan region obtained one license.
The number of factories that started production last August reached 68 factories with investments estimated at SR2.4 billion, and the number of workers reached 2,587.
The Minister of Industry and Mining Resources Bandar Al-Korayef told Reuters on Friday that Saudi Arabia considers a new mining index in a diversification push.
“The idea is to help the sector grow faster. We definitely see a need for small and medium firms in the sector to access capital through capital markets,” he said.
Al-Khorayef is at the International Mining and Resources Conference in Sydney this week to drum up investment interest.
The minister already announced on Wednesday at the same conference that the Kingdom plans to award over a dozen mining exploration licenses to international investors as it looks to enter the mining sector in a big way to diversify away from hydrocarbons.
Five new exploration sites are up for licensing and the Kingdom will release details of an additional 10 opportunities next year, the minister said in a speech.
More than 145 licenses have been issued so far and the country has seen a 27 percent year-on-year growth in its mining revenue, the minister said.
“We have an ambitious strategy to attract investments worth $32 billion to the mining and mineral sector. So this is only the beginning,” he added.
RIYADH: Saudi Arabia and Finland have agreed to form a new bilateral organization to boost the SR1.9 billion ($510 million) trading relationship between the two countries.
Representatives from the Federation of Saudi Chambers and the Finnish Chamber of Commerce signed a memorandum of understanding in Helsinki to establish a joint Saudi-Finnish Business Council.
The new body will focus on developing new areas of economic cooperation and promoting links between the Saudi and Finnish business sectors, according to the Saudi Press Agency.
The Federation also signed a memorandum of understanding with the governmental organization “Business Finland”, which will see a focus on financing and promoting trade and investment between the two countries — particularly in the sectors of technology, digitalization, energy, circular economy, mining, transport and logistics services, health care and water.
Alongside the agreements, a delegation of 27 representatives of Saudi companies held intensive discussions and meetings with the Finnish business sector to further develop partnerships and trading deals.
The announcement comes in the same week as Saudi Arabia and Finland signed an agreement to bolster air services between both countries in a bid to improve trade.
The Kingdom’s General Authority of Civil Aviation and Finland’s Ministry of Transport and Communications signed a memorandum of understanding to monitor air transport, Saudi Press Agency reported.
The MoU aims to further boost Saudi-Finnish economic partnerships, with the GACA, along with a total of 12 government agencies and 27 firms, already participating in cross-country business.
The agreement tackles air transport-related organizational clauses, the designation of national carriers, defining the regular number of flights between both countries, and the commercial representation of airlines.
The MoU also paves the way for regulatory framework cooperation and safe and secure air transport between the two sides.
Saudi aviation figures tend to exceed those of Finland, with the number of passengers carried by Saudi aviation in 2020 standing at 26.9 million, compared to 3.5 million for Finland, according to latest data from the World Bank.
RIYADH: The Power and Utility Co. for Jubail and Yanbu, known as Marafiq, completed its retail offering with 632 percent oversubscription, the initial public offering financial advisors, HSBC Saudi Arabia and Riyad Capital, said.
The firm attracted total orders of nearly SR6.37 billion ($1.7 billion).
A minimum of 10 shares were allocated per individual subscriber, while the remaining shares will be allocated pro-rata, with an allocation factor of 4.91 percent, according to a bourse filing.
Fractional shares were collated and allocated in a descending manner at one share per order.
On Sept. 26 the Saudi Capital Market Authority approved the company’s request to float a 29.24 percent stake, or 73.09 million shares, in an IPO.
Retail investors started the subscription of about 21.93 million shares of Marafiq, or 30 percent of total offered shares, at SR46 each on Oct. 26, and the offering was closed on Oct. 30.
The company’s institutional offering, which ended last week, was 59 times covered.
The Jubail-headquartered utility was established in October 2000. Its capital stands at SR 2.5 billion.
Marafiq’s core business is focused on water supply, sewage, waste management and treatment, electricity, gas, steam supply, air conditioning, and construction.
RIYADH: British firm Rolls-Royce has fired up the first six Kinetic PowerPacks to provide an energy supply for the Middle East’s largest supercomputer facility located in King Abdullah University for Science and Technology.
The firm has shipped 12 of the huge batteries, known as maximum transmission units, to KAUST from its factory in Liege, Belgium, in order to aid its Scientific Computing Data upgrade and power the supercomputer known as Shaheen III.
A maximum transmission unit sets the amount of data that can be transmitted in bytes over a network.
The devices have a power output of 1.6 MW each, and should a power outage occur, the systems – which are designed for humid conditions and temperatures as much as 50 degrees Celsius – will secure critical load and ensure the starting of the diesel engine via their continuously rotating sturdy kinetic energy accumulators.
The first six are now switched on, with the remaining switch to be activated at a later date.
“The mtu Kinetic PowerPacks are state-of-the-art, uninterruptible electrical power systems that are designed for operating in extreme environments and provide the highest reliability of back-up power for the most critical and essential systems,” the statement said, citing the Vice President of Facilities for KAUST, Matthew Early.
The systems include healthcare facilities, airports, data centers, and Shaheen III.
Projected to be the Middle East’s most powerful supercomputer, Shaheen III will enable KAUST to further enhance its ability for scientific discovery and artificial intelligence innovation, the vice president added.
Shaheen III is set to be operational in 2023, and is set to be 20 times faster than KAUST’s current existing system.
Earlier this year, KAUST partnered with the Saudi Data and Artificial Intelligence Authority to increase human capacity and innovation in the field of AI in Saudi Arabia and the region.
“The SDAIA-KAUST Center of Excellence in Data Science and Artificial Intelligence will focus on educational development and upskilling the new generation of Saudi citizens in AI,” KAUST President Tony Chan said.
RIYADH: Industry experts used the final day of an international payments and commerce technology conference in Riyadh to urge businesses to think more like their customers and make products as simple to use as possible.
More than 6,000 attendees descended on the Seamless exhibition, held over two-days at the Riyadh International Convention and Exhibition Center, and took part in lectures, panel discussions, keynote interviews that highlight the latest technologies in retail, fintech, payments, and e-commerce.
Day two, on Nov. 2, kicked off with keynote speaker Nora Albakr, the senior vice president of strategy and excellence at Saudi Payment.
She discussed the changing dynamics of the payment industry and the future of payment technology.
Her speech was followed by an interview with Gunjan Bhow, a global e-commerce leader and veteran of Amazon, Disney, and Walgreens Boots Alliance.
He touched upon the strategies to strengthen customer experience capabilities in e-commerce.
“The customer has a very specific need and they are naturally impatient and dominated by so many impulses,” Bhow said.
“If you know, truly, why they are engaging with you, what is even piquing their curiosity and (you) then build an experience to optimize that,” he said.
“My advice is to know your customer, and by knowing, I mean you should be able to think their thoughts and not just ask them to fill a survey,” Bhow said.
“Trust is earned by solving really difficult problems for the customer repeatedly…it could be as simple as the speed of our tech support operations or the personalization of a login or registration,” he advised the crowd.
Following Bhow’s keynote interview, Hazem Alrashed, the vice president of business support for Mobily Pay, hosted a discussion on the digital wallet’s role as an enabler for innovations in financial service, just one month following the launch of Mobily Pay.
Tamim Alqusair, vice president of business for Saudi Payments, used his speech to discuss e-commerce payments in Saudi Arabia and the impacts on consumers, businesses, and the economy.
He highlighted the growth in the e-commerce market, e-commerce payments, and services by Saudi payments, and also discussed the new e-commerce and payment ecosystem of 2023 by Saudi payment.
Seamless concluded with a panel discussion on the silent revolution in B2B payments and how digitalization is enabling profitability.
Reflecting on the two-day event, Khawlah AlShehri, cybersecurity officer of Saudi finTech and digital broker startup Arib, said: “This is the first year we have participated in this conference and it was an interesting experience.
“We benefited a lot from being in Seamless, there were a lot of opportunities and many companies contacted us.”
Arib was launched in 2019 and acts as a mediator between the client and financing agencies such as banks in order to get the customer the best personal financing services in personal financing, real estate financing, and car financing
“Users register on Arib based on their information and salary and budget that they are able to purchase a choice of car, real estate or personal loan, then it will show them the best financing offers from banks based on where they are,” said AlShehri.
RIYADH: Capital increase requests from companies amounting to SR100 billion ($26.6 billion) were approved by the Saudi Capital Market Authority from January 2018 until the end of the first half of 2022, it has been revealed.
Some 116 firms applied to increase capital over the period, the Undersecretary of the CMA for Listed Companies and Investment Products Abdullah bin Ghannam explained.
CMA gave approval for a variety of requests, including capitalization, offering of priority rights shares and the transfer of debt
The requests to increase capital by issuing a capitalization topped the list of applications, with 60.3 percent, followed by 37.1 percent rights issue applications, while debt conversion constituted 2.6 percent of the total approvals.
One of the most prominent approved capital increase requests this year was Aramco’s request to increase its capital through bonus shares issuance in April, to SR75 billion from SR60 billion, through issuing one bonus share for every 10 existing shares.
The CMA will work on the development of suitable procedures and initiatives to enable different types of companies, including government-owned companies and other types of government-owned assets, to offer and list their shares in the capital market, SPA said.
This aims to reflect the true contribution of these companies to the national economy, without jeopardizing investor protection.