: Saudi Arabia Economical and other News

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31-05-11, 08:18 PM
Saudia pledges to improve services

JEDDAH: A new training program is scheduled to be announced soon to improve services at the Kingdom's major airports, Engineer Khalid Al-Molhem, Director General of Saudi Arabian Airlines told Okaz/Saudi Gazette.
He said they have trained 140 young people for front-line and support positions at the airport terminals. Al-Molhem called on passengers to use self-services at the airports for the purchase of air-tickets through SADAD and the Internet.
As for pilot incentives, Al-Molhem said they are continuously reviewing incentives. He said this program stopped for 27 years from 1401 to 1428H (1981 to 2008). The first amendment to the incentives package was in 2008 (1428H). It was a distinctive amendment for pilots including salary increments and incentives.
He said this amendment was undertaken after studying the market and competitors. "We studied the needs of Saudi Arabian Airlines and its future vision and on the basis of these studies, the incentives were laid down. The incentives have a lot of privileges for pilots including increased housing allowances and salaries so that the pilot does not stop at a certain grade.
Also, his salary will increase when he is promoted from assistant pilot to pilot with an increase in incentives for flying at night. We have laid down better incentives for pilots who fly at the required rates," Al-Molhem said.
He confirmed that all the current incentives and salaries have not been touched.
About medical insurance, Al-Molhem said the majority of Saudia employees outside Jeddah are covered by medical insurance. Those in Jeddah receive treatment at Health Services at the airline. If there is a need for hospitalization, this service is insured as Saudia has bought insurance coverage for all navigators, pilots, assistant pilots, hosts and hostesses in the Kingdom. These Saudia staff can get treatment at any of the health facilities mentioned in the insurance policy.
Al-Molhem denied that procedures to accept pilots have been complicated. Everything was being done in conformity with international criteria.
This includes the requirement that a pilot is fluent in English and has the capability to deal with all matters and situations. "We have Saudi youths who meet these requirements and a large number of applicants have passed the requirements." English training is also provided. If anyone fails that person is given three chances to fulfill the requirements, he added.
Al-Molhem said Saudia has numerous training programs, an internal scholarship program for assistant pilots, foreign scholarship programs for pilots and post-graduate studies for Saudia employees. An applicant undergoes 18 months of training before he is placed on the front-lines.
Source: Saudi Gazette

31-05-11, 08:19 PM
Saudi inflation to rise in 2011

High rents will ally with a weakening US dollar and a rise in global commodity prices to boost inflation in Saudi Arabia above 5.5 per cent in 2011, its second highest level since 208.
Despite a decline in the previous months, inflation in the world's oil superpower was as high as 4.7 per cent in March but monetary data published during that month indicates inflation could rise again, said National Commercial Bank (NCB), the largest Saudi bank.
"A glance at Saudi Arabia's monetary variables in March 2011 ignites fears of inflationary pressures as the monetary base expands. Coupled with high commodity prices and the weak performance of the dollar so far this year, increase worries of rising local prices in the short-term," NCB said in a study sent to Emirates 24/7.
It said the latest monthly report by the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA) shows a significant pick up in money supply (M3) by 13.8 per cent, the highest increase since July 2009.
The main contribution is attributed to demand deposits due to the royal decree of paying out two monthly salaries to all government workers, which was soon followed by a similar decision from most of the private sector, the study noted.
"The current inflation rate stands at 4.7 per cent during March, marking the seventh consecutive monthly decline. Furthermore, food and beverage prices have cooled to the slowest pace in twelve months at 4.9 per cent while renovation, rent, fuel and water prices increased by eight per cent," it said.
"We expect the inflation rate to average higher than 5.5 per cent this year as global commodity prices remain elevated. Additionally, the expected pick up in credit facilities will drive private consumption as consumers seek to spend their royal 'gifts'.
Moreover, rent will act the leading factor to this year's price increases as demand continues to grow albeit at a slower pace due to the 500,000 units to be constructed as one of the latest royal decrees announced over the past few weeks, the study added.
Saudi Arabia, the largest Arab economy, reeled under its highest annual inflation rate of 9.9 per cent in 2008 as a result of a surge in rents, global commodity prices, strong domestic demand during the height of the oil boom and weak US dollar, to which the Saudi riyal and other Gulf currencies are pegged.
Inflation eased to 5.1 per cent in 2009 before edging up to about 5.3 per cent in 2010. In a report this week, the Riyadh-based Jadwa Investments expected inflation to slip to four per cent in 2012.
Source: Emirates 24/7

31-05-11, 08:23 PM
Schlumberger inaugurates state-of-the-art technology at King Abdulaziz University in Jeddah

Jeddah, May 13, 2011 - Global oilfield services provider Schlumberger today donated the state-of-the-art "Petrel seismic to simulation collaboration technology" valued at SR21 million to the Faculty of Engineering at King Abdulaziz University (KAU), in a commitment to bring on-ground experience and support skills development of future oil and gas professionals in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
The technology, originally created to help increase reservoir performance by improving asset team productivity, will enable engineering students gain experience in developing collaborative workflows and integrate operations to streamline processes in upstream oil and gas operations.
Schlumberger Information Solutions (SIS) Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Bahrain Manager, Mr. Abdel Wahab Chebata, said: "Education is the foundation for building generations of professionals who will have a role in sustaining natural resources and bringing energy to people. However, we believe that sustainable development can be best accomplished with the partnership between theoretical education and professional training, or in other words, between education and the industry. We look forward to working closely with the universities and students here to help them acquire experience and develop their capabilities for the benefit of the industry in KSA."
The donation follows a series of technology donations made by Schlumberger geology, geophysics, petrophysics, drilling, and reservoir engineering at King Abdulaziz Universityand King Fahad University.
The Faculty of Earth Dean at King Abdulaziz University, Dr. Amar Ameen, said: "This marks another milestone in the relationship between our University and Schlumberger, and we look forward to further collaborations for the advancement of research and development in the oil and gas industry and apprenticeship of students in the Kingdom."
King Abdulaziz University one of the top universities in KSA offering educational programs in sciences, engineering, earth sciences, marine sciences, meteorology and environmental sciences, medicine, environmental designs, economics, arts and humanities. The university was also the first Saudi university to set up a Deanship for Distance Learning, allowing the student to study according to a flexible schedule and balance professional and family obligations.
Schlumberger and KSA have over 65 years of partnership in oilfields servicing, technology sharing and social involvement.
Schlumberger Middle East Vice President, Mr. Sherif Fouda, said: "Schlumberger has a long-standing commitment to supporting educational institutions with the latest technologies in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf. In 2006, it inaugurated the first Center for Science and Technology Research at King Fahad University of Petroleum and Minerals. Schlumberger also inaugurated the first center in KSA for the manufacturing of oil reservoir custom equipment in 2009."

"Today, the company employs 2200 Saudi national, 120 of which are serving in global areas of operations side by side with Schlumbergeremployees from across the world," said Fouda.
Schlumbergerhas made several software donations to universities in KSA as well as in Kuwait, Oman and other countries. The oilfields services leader also organizes yearly internship programs for students in the Middle East, workshops and seminars at universities, and contributes to local high schools with the Schlumberger Excellence in Education Development (SEED) program, a worldwide program that engages students in science education".
Source: Zawya

01-06-11, 04:12 PM
Saudi to have fiscal surplus in 2011

Saudi Arabia is expected to overshoot planned spending by a staggering 45 per cent in 2011 but a projected surge in its oil income will turn a fiscal deficit into a surplus by the end of the year, the Gulf Kingdoms largest bank said on Monday.
Raising its revenue projections for the year boosted the break even price required to balance the countrys budget to nearly $84 a barrel from $65 in 2010 but oil prices are expected to average much higher through the year and the Kingdom could be pumping as high as 8.8 million barrels per day during 2011, National Commercial Bank (NCB) said in a study sent to Emirates 24/7.
The study said the sharp rise in the Kingdoms oil export earnings would be a key factor in widening its real GDP by 5.3 per cent this year while the domestic debt will be cut further and foreign assets will climb to record high levels.
Announcing its 2011 budget just before the end of 2010, Saudi Arabia assumed revenue at SR540 billion and spending at SR580 billion, leaving a deficit of SR40 billion compared with an actual surplus of SR109 billion in 2010.
But NCB forecasts showed revenue could rocket to SR909 billion this year mainly because of a big leap in oil export earnings, which it projected to rise to SR828 billion from a budgeted estimate of SR459 billion.
It expected actual expenditure to jump to SR846 billion despite a forecast decline in capital spending to SR186 billion from SR256 billion.
NCB said the decline would be more than offset by a surge in current spending to SR660 billion from SR324 billion, basing its assumption to the recent massive financial handouts announced by King Abdullah, involving spending nearly SR500 billion. The figures showed there will be a surplus of SR63 billion in 2011.
"Initially, our assumptions centered on actual expenditures registering an eight-year low growth rate of just five per cent in line with 2011 budget that planned to reduce overspending and ensure long-term fiscal sustainability," NCB said.
"Ostensibly, the upsurge in current expenditures that more than doubled since 2002 has necessitated the move to curb discretionary spending. In fact, the 7.4 per cent and five per cent increase in 2011 budgeted expenditures and actual expenditures for 2010, respectively, were the lowest since 2002."
But the report noted that the fiscal stance has changed dramatically with the announcement of the royal decrees which it said would add more than SR180 billion to actual expenditures this year.
It expected oil export revenues to increase by 33 per cent to a near record of around $269.7 billion in 2011. Non-oil exports are also expected to rebound this year, but will grow at a slightly slower pace of around 11 per cent to $36.8 billion due to higher international prices for petrochemicals and other by-products.
"There is a downside risk to our projection that can arise from further deterioration in regional growth, especially that the Middle Easts share of non-oil exports have taken a nose dive from 54.6 per cent in 2009 to 43.5 per cent in 2010, yet the intensity of the decline renders such a scenario less likely."
On aggregate, total exports are forecast to rise to $306.5 billion in 2011, the second highest on record, compared with $236.4 billion in the previous year. Imports are expected to grow by around 15.2 per cent to $100.2 billion in 2011, which is the highest growth rate since 2008.
"This is based on robust domestic demand supported by supplementary government spending and higher global prices for food, raw materials and capital equipment this year. Accordingly, we expect the current account surplus to reach a significant $108.4 billion this year, much larger than the $69.6 billion in 2010, and at about 20.9 per cent relative to GDP."
According to NCB, the economy's robust external position will be reflected in higher net foreign assets this year. In 2010, these assets grew by 8.6 per cent to reach SR1.65 trillion, and a historical high of SR1.73 trillion in 2011YTD.
"We expect net foreign assets to reach nearly SR1.86 trillion by the end of this year and to cover more than 59 months of imports, with a larger proportion to remain USD-denominated and fairly liquid," the report said.
"Government debt will remain entirely domestic and one of the lowest on a global scale. Most of the debt is owed to two pension funds (GOSI and the Public Pension Agency), while the remaining is held at commercial banks.
In 2010, the stock of debt was reduced further, from around SR225 billion to SR167 billion, nearly10.2 per cent relative to GDP."
NCB noted that although the Saudi government has more than enough reserves to pay off the entire debt, it opted out from such direction, especially that the cost of servicing the debt is currently low.
"We do still believe that the government, justifiably, prefers rather to spend money to finance expenditure plans at home or to diversify investments abroad.
Evidently, it is important to keep a level of sovereign debt as a monetary tool to manage money supply and as a benchmark for pricing private corporate bonds."
Turning to the economy, NCB projected real GDP growth to accelerate to 5.3 per cent in 2011, following last years 3.8 per cent growth.
"The year 2010, in our opinion, was an inflection point with the domestic economy gaining traction and the growth this year expected to be the highest since 2003...attributed to the rebound in crude oil output and anticipated private investment in the non-oil sectors, the economy is expected to gather pace," it said, adding that the oil sector remains the core of economic activity.
OPECs reduced quotas over the last two years. But with higher meanwhile, non-oil GDP has become an increasingly important driver of economic growth, and will be supported directly and indirectly by the series of royal decrees issued by the King earlier in February and March.
"Moreover, we estimate that real oil GDP will expand by around 5.7 per cent in 2011, higher than 2.1 per cent posted in 2010, and the fastest pace of growth since 2005. The abovementioned projections will, of course, be contingent on the direction of the war conflict in Libya, the resilience of global demand conditions and stability in the international financial environment."
Source: Emirates 24/7

01-06-11, 04:34 PM
Riyadh demands real reforms at Security Council

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia has called for accelerated negotiations to achieve the goal of much-needed reforms of UN institutions, especially the UN Security Council, citing significant changes in the world over the last 60 years.

"There must be real reforms of the UN Security Council, not mere cosmetic changes here and there," said head of the Media Section at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Osama Nugali here Sunday.
Nugali was speaking prior to a major ministerial meeting of UN member states to be opened Monday in Rome. He said the Kingdom's delegation at the UN conference would be led by Nizar Obaid Madani, minister of state for foreign affairs. The Rome meeting has the mandate to discuss expansion of the Security Council, with emphasis on the need for consensus in deciding reforms of this apex 15-member UN body.
Asked about the Saudi position on UN reforms, Nugali said Riyadh supports the call for reforms to secure broader membership of the Security Council to improve geographical representation, promote transparency, avoid application of double standard and ensure the adoption of measures to enhance the credibility of its work.
"We want real reforms of the UN institutions including the Security Council ... we don't want any mechanical reforms," he added. "We are happy to share our views and interact with countries as well as global institutions in this regard."
He said there should be reforms with an aim to make the Security Council more representative and more transparent as the council is the only body that can demand and enforce action on the global level.
Saudi Arabia has been of the view that tremendous global changes and the magnitude of challenges facing the international community today make imperative a reevaluation of the structure and mechanisms of the UN, with the aim of enhancing its capabilities for conflict resolution and prevention in order to preserve world peace and security. The Kingdom has been one of the largest contributors to different UN agencies through the years.
Not only this, Saudi Arabia made an unprecedented contribution of $500 million to the UN World Food Program to respond to rising food and fuel prices a couple of years back.
Also, Riyadh has been consistently supporting the campaign for real reforms of the UN institutions including the UN Security Council. In fact, "The Security Council reform is the most fundamental and difficult of all UN reform issues," said a European diplomat, adding that real negotiations to reform the UN Security Council may begin this year.
Source: Arab News

01-06-11, 04:40 PM
Tadawul in talks to join global index providers

JEDDAH: Abdul Rahman Al-Tuwaijri, chairman of the Capital Market Authority (CMA), said Sunday that his organization was holding talks with several index providers, including influential index compiler MSCI, to become one of MSCI's component.
"Saudi Arabia is eligible to join emerging markets indicators like some of other markets in the region," Al-Tuwaijri said while addressing the first forum for financial papers in Riyadh.
Prince Muhammad bin Salman, personal adviser to Riyadh Gov. Prince Salman opened the forum on Saturday.
"Saudi bourse is one of the largest and most important emerging markets in the world in terms of volume, organization and response," SPA quoted Al-Tuwaijri as saying.
"The Saudi stock market enjoys high rate of transparency in the region. It's the only stock market whose listed companies publish their financial results regularly at the required time," he pointed out.
Saudi Arabia is the largest stock market in the Gulf Arab region and fund managers have been scrambling to get an exposure in the market, considered more diverse than most other Gulf markets.
Al-Tuwaijri said three new regulations related to financial sufficiency, solvency and credit classification of companies and agencies would be issued this year. "We participated in the organization of the forum in order to shed light on new developments in the Saudi stock market," he said.
"Being admitted to an index run by an international provider such as MSCI, would result in large inflows of foreign funds into the stock market. There are many funds that track the indexes run by MSCI and if Saudi Arabia became a component of the MSCI emerging markets index, for example, those funds would also need to invest in the Kingdom. These investors are primarily institutions and so they would bring greater stability to the market," Paul Gamble, head of research at Jadwa Investment, said.
However, he said, before the Kingdom can join the MSCI emerging markets index it needs to undertake various stock market reforms, including a greater opening up to foreign investors.
Commenting on the Tadawul move, Jarmo T. Kotilaine, chief economist at the National Commercial Bank, said: "Because of the technicalities involved in the application and vetting process, as well as obstacles such as limitations on foreign ownership, inclusion in the MSCI benchmark indices is unlikely to become reality in the near term for Saudi Arabia. However, it is an extremely important strategic objective and something that has made a critical contribution to the development of many emerging capital markets."
He said: "Inclusion in such indices amounts to a formal recognition of the development, sophistication, and openness of a stock market. But its most important value comes from the use of such benchmarks by many institutional investors the world over in their asset allocation decisions. Gaining this status would give Tadawul access to precisely the kind of sticky, institutional, long-term money that the market needs and wants. This would reduce volatility, improve access to new capital sources, and inform the decisions of retail investors as well."
Meanwhile, petrochemicals and banking stocks weighed on the Tadawul All-Share Index (TASI), which slipped 0.34 percent to 6,690.68 points on Sunday. The value of Saudi traded shares crossed SR6.62 billion.
Source: Arab News

01-06-11, 05:30 PM
Nasair pays SR 600 million a year for fuel

JEDDAH: Nasair officials say the regional carrier is forced to pay ten times the price for fuel annually compared with its competitor Saudi Arabian Airlines and are demanding "justice and fairness" in the market.
"We pay 600 million riyals (annually) for fuel compared to what Saudi Airlines pays, which is 60 millions riyals," said Suliman Al-Hamdan, CEO of Nas Holding, during a press conference recently in Istanbul where Nas announced three new destination there. "We demand justice and fairness by receiving the same treatment as Saudi Airlines when it comes to fuel prices."
The CEO said fuel prices in the Kingdom are between 18 and 22 percent higher compared to prices in neighboring Gulf countries.
"Its even cheaper in Sudan by 20 percent," he added, pointing out that the cost of purchasing and importing that fuel is prohibitively expensive.
"This is the main reason behind the expansion to international destinations," said Al-Hamdan. "The domestic problems we face forced the shareholders to inject and expand internationally to cover up for the losses, and to gain from international flights."
Al-Hamdan called on Saudi authorities to find solutions to the problem the domestic air transport industry is facing.
"We have been talking about this problem at open events, economic forums and to the media, but unfortunately we have not found a solution and the accumulated losses has worn out the company's capital -- but nevertheless I'm still optimistic," he said.
Nasair consumes about 13 million liters of fuel per month at a cost ranging between SR47 million and SR50 million.
Nasair began flying to Istanbul, Adana and Antakya in March as part of the carriers strategy to offset domestic losses with regional expansion outside of Saudi Arabia. The airline operates 11 weekly flights from Riyadh and Jeddah airports reaching the three Turkish locations.
"We are now adding four more flights to the schedule in accordance with travelers' demand," said Al-Hamdan.
Source: Arab News

01-06-11, 05:32 PM
Euromoney meeting to discuss Saudi Arabia's financial landscape

RIYADH: Over 1000 delegates have already registered to attend the sixth Euromoney Saudi Arabia Conference 2011 that will be opened in Riyadh Tuesday under the patronage of Dr. Ibrahim Al-Assaf, Minister of Finance.
The two-day Euromoney Saudi Arabia Conference will explore the new financial landscape and the role Saudi Arabia is playing on the global stage.
The conference will discuss the impact of international investors on the Kingdom's economy and how the Kingdom looks to open its markets to the world, and diversify sources of finance.
Euromoney is one of the most important financial conferences in the region, drawing participation from the most prominent governmental, financial, and industrial decision makers.
Some of the prominent figures from public and private sector that will speak as keynote speakers in the conference include Dr. Ibrahim Al-Assaf, Minister of Finance, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Dr. Muhammad Al-Jasser, Governor, Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency, Khalid Al-Gosaibi, Minister for Economy and Planning, Mohamed Al-Kharashi, Governor, Public Pension Agency, Eng. Mr. Mubarak Al-Khafrah, Chairman, National Industrialization Company (Tasnee), Ali Al-Barrak, President and Chief Executive Officer, Saudi Electricity Company, Mark Garvin, Chairman, J.P. Morgan Europe Ltd, Michel Madelain, President and Chief Operating Officer, Moody's Investors Service, Frdric Janbon, Global Head of Fixed Income, BNP Paribas, Blythe Masters, Head of Global Commodities, J.P. Morgan, David Smart, Global Head of Sovereign Funds and Supranationals, Franklin Templeton, Max King, Portfolio Manager, Investec Asset Management.
Ahmed Al-Khateeb, Managing Director and CEO of Jadwa Investment one of the sponsors of the event said Euromoney Saudi Arabia Conference comes at a time when national economies and financial markets are facing big changes, challenges and opportunities.
"Jadwa recognizes that events of such magnitude help build bridges between providers and users of capital on both local and international levels," said Al-Khateeb.
He said event is crucial, considering the importance and impact it can have on the growth of the Saudi economy. The conference will explore and explain the new financial landscape and the place which Saudi Arabia is taking on the global stage.
Jadwa Investment will take an active part in discussions of conference's sessions. Brad Bourland, Chief Economist, Jadwa Investment will present a paper on "Diversifying sources of finance: How can the Kingdom create access to different sources of capital and what are the challenges?"
Source: The Saudi Gazette

01-06-11, 05:34 PM
Moroccan FM welcomes offer to join GCC

ABU DHABI, May 15, 2011 (AFP) - Morocco's foreign minister on Sunday welcomed a Gulf Cooperation Council invitation for his country to join the six-member grouping of Arab monarchies, the Emirati news agency WAM reported.
Taieb Fassi Fihri, visiting the United Arab Emirates on a Gulf tour which took him to oil-kingpin Saudi Arabia, welcomed "the sincere GCC invitation to Morocco to join" the council, WAM said.
In an interview published Sunday in Al-Hayat newspaper, Fihri said his country had "responded positively to the Gulf invitation and it is important for it to take place gradually."
Joining the grouping of the six oil-rich Arab monarchies of the Gulf "needs time and no timeframe has yet been set for it to begin," the foreign minister said.
The Moroccan official met UAE President Khalifa bin Zayed Al-Nahayan on Sunday, a day after talks with Saudi King Abdullah.
The GCC states last week "welcomed" a Jordanian request to join the organisation and invited Morocco to do the same.
Morocco and Jordan are the only Arab monarchies outside the Gulf grouping, which brings together Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
The monarchies have been relatively unscathed by the wave of pro-democracy revolts sweeping the Arab world since January.
Fihri also defended the Gulf troop deployment to help put down protests in Bahrain and accused Iran of meddling, in comments to Al-Hayat. "Nobody can say 'no' to the intervention" by Bahrain's Arab neighbours, he told the Saudi daily.
On March 14, a Saudi-led joint contingent moved into Bahrain, freeing up local security forces in the Sunni-ruled state to crush a month-old protest led by the kingdom's Shiite majority.

Morocco has repeatedly denounced "Iranian interference in the Gulf," especially after the protests in Bahrain, which has accused Shiite-dominated Iran of interference.
"We cut our relations with Iran nearly two years ago after it attempted to interfere in our affairs. Morocco is a united country and we have no Shiites," said Fihri0.
Asked if Iran had become a "burden" for its Arab neighbours, Fihri, whose country has also been the scene of pro-democracy protests said "no doubt it has."
Morocco's King Mohammed VI on March 9 announced comprehensive constitutional reforms, including the independence of the country's judicial system and the separation of powers.
Source: France Press Agency

01-06-11, 05:36 PM
SABIC and ExxonMobil Chemical award contracts

Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC) and affiliates of ExxonMobil Chemical announced that Front-End Engineering Design (FEED) contracts were awarded and that all components are in FEED phase for the proposed new elastomers project at their Al-Jubail Petrochemical Company (KEMYA)* joint venture petrochemical plant.
FEED contracts were awarded to Jacobs Engineering Inc. and Mitsui Engineering & Shipbuilding for process units and to Fluor Transworld Services Inc. for associated support facilities.
"This elastomers project will be the basis for the creation of a world-class rubber value chain in Saudi Arabia and a valuable extension of our offering of products and services to our customers in key markets," said Koos van Haasteren, SABIC executive vice president, Performance Chemicals.
"In addition to supporting local industry, the expansion at the KEMYA joint venture in Al-Jubail would provide additional new capacity of butyl rubber and EPDM (ethylene propylene diene monomer) specialty elastomers to meet the growing global demand for these products," said Neil Chapman, senior vice president, Polymers, ExxonMobil Chemical Company.
The project is expected to establish a domestic supply of more than 400,000 metric tons of rubber[butyl, styrene butadiene rubber (SBR), butadiene rubber (BR) and EPDM], thermoplastic specialty polymers and carbon black to serve emerging local and international markets in Asia and the Middle East. The project also includes the establishment of a vocational training center and product application development and support center, aligned with Saudi Arabias National Industrial Clusters Development Program to grow and diversify the manufacturing sector in Saudi Arabia.
Third-party license agreements have been signed with Continental Carbon Company for its carbon black production technology and with The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company for its SBR and polybutadiene rubber technology.
The University of Akron Research Foundation was selected to design, train and support the vocational training center, The High Institute for Elastomer Industries* , in Yanbu, Saudi Arabia. The training center will utilize the University's expertise in polymer science and education to provide elastomers technology vocational training for workers to support a planned downstream elastomers conversion industry in Saudi Arabia.
Additionally, a separate product application development and support center will be part of the new SABIC facilities at the Riyadh Techno Valley research complex at King Saud University.
The final decision to implement the elastomers project requires the approval of KEMYAs Board of Directors.
Source: Zawya

01-06-11, 05:55 PM
MODON signs Planning Agreements for Four New Industrial Cities

His Excellency the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Saudi Industrial Property Authority (Modon), H.E. Abdullah Ahmed Zainal, signed agreements for planning four new industrial cities; as Phase 2 of Sudair City for Industry and Business, Completion of the design of Al-Kharj Industrial City, Dammam 3rd. Industrial City and Jeddah 3rd. Industrial City at a cost of SR61m.
The total area of the lands that will be designed is 167 km as a master plan and 65 km as a detailed plan.
Modon contracted with major international and local companies such as Halcrow Group, Monitor Group, Mouchel company, Buro Happold company, Atkins Company, CH2M company and IBI company. More than 28 local and international advisory offices applied to compete in the implementation of these projects because of Modon's interest in the application of the highest standards of planning and designing with specialized companies in the planning of industrial cities and major projects.
The scope of work includes:
Project management
Marketing studies
Feasibility study
Master plan
Infrastructure design
Environmental studies
Traffic studies.
Modon Director General, Dr. Tawfig bin Fawzan Alrabiah, announced that Modon has begun planning for the largest expansion in the history of the industrial cities, where new industrial cities will be established and the existing ones will be expanded. Therefore, the current area of the industrial cities will be more than double during the next five years, from 74 million square meters that have been developed over 40 years, to 150 million square meters.
Dr. Alrabiah added, "The industrial cities where the expansion projects have been developed or implemented during the period from 2008 to 2010 in Dammam 2nd. Industrial City, Jeddah 2nd. Industrial City, Al-Kharj, Sudair, Madinah, Ar'ar and Jazan, all witnessed great interest by businessmen and lands have been allocated in record time and before the completion of the development works."
On his part, Eng. Khamees Bin Saleh Al-Ghamdi, the Director Projects Dept. at Modon, identified Modon's interest in the application of the highest standards of planning and designing with the organizations specialized in the planning of the industrial cities and major projects, to ensure the upgrading of infrastructure and services within the industrial cities and to achieve sustainable development that will reduce energy consumption and decrease harmful pollutants emissions through development of integrated environmental studies to create an appropriate work environment within the Industrial cities.
On his part, Eng. Abdullah Bin Fahad Al-Fassam, the project manager, advised that the scope of work includes all economic studies which include selection of value-added industries, those would increase the participation of industry sector in GDP by 20% for 2020, taking into account the comparative advantages of each region, as well as to determine support services from commercial, residential and logistical areas. The scope of work also includes a study of traffic of people and goods to be connected with future transportation network including roads and trains to ensure ease of traffic and the expected impact on the existing transportation network.
Modon is currently overseeing 20 existing industrial cities in different regions of the Kingdom such as Riyadh (1st. & 2nd.), Jeddah (1st. & 2nd.), Dammam (1st. & 2nd.), Makkah, Madinah, Qassim, Ahsa', Assir, Al-Jouf, Tabuk, Ha'il, Najran, Jazan, Al-Kharj and Ar'ar, in addition to Sudair City for Industry and Business and Petro Rabigh complex).
The industrial cities are considered the infrastructure to accommodate industrial projects which have contributed to the accommodation of 3000 Industrial projects, representing 60% of the Saudi factories with investments exceeding SR250bn. Modon receives on line applications for obtaining land through its website www.modon.gov.sa; where areas of land are available for the industrial projects, residential purposes, commercial activities, marketing exhibitions, service Center and public facilities that provide services at incentive prices, which provides multiple options for all local, Gulf and foreign businessmen to invest in various available opportunities, whether in industrial, residential, commercial or service fields.
Source: Ame info

01-06-11, 05:56 PM
Saudi needs to invest SR 330B in Power Sector in 10 years-Minister

RIYADH (Zawya Dow Jones)--Saudi Arabia needs to invest 330 billion Saudi riyals ($88 billion) in electricity generation and distribution over the next 10 years to meet the kingdom's growing demand, state-run Saudi Press Agency, or SPA, reports Sunday.
The country's power and water sector needs a total investment of SAR500 billion in the next decade," the country's water and electricity minister Abdullah Al Hussayen on SPA.
He added the maximum power load will reach 75,000 megawatts in the next ten years, while water demand in the kingdom is "growing by more than 7% a year."
Source: Zawya

01-06-11, 05:57 PM
Petrofac Saudi Arabia partners with Asharqia Chamber Training Centre

Petrofac Saudi Arabia is sponsoring young Saudi graduates enrolled in a diploma training programme at the Asharqia Chamber Training Centre in Dammam.
With financial support being provided by Petrofacs Saudi office, the Chambers training centre is currently supervising and conducting the diploma training programme for high school graduates, which is fully inclusive and attended by both able-bodied and physically challenged young women and men. Given the success of the current diploma course, plans are already underway to expand the programme.
Petrofac Saudi Arabia is also offering its resources and expertise to support the efforts of the young graduates so they are well equipped to enter the workplace on final graduation.
Imad Shanan, Petrofac senior vice-president and general manager of Saudi operations, along with Mohammed Bashar Al-Ghrawi, home office manager, recently visited the centre to review the trainees academic achievements. Shanan and Al-Ghrawi both spoke about the importance of Petrofacs role in supporting social affairs initiatives in Saudi Arabia and the value this has for young Saudi men and women. They also talked about out Petrofacs own training programmes which include supervisory skills courses for its Saudi engineers, technicians and administrators.
Reflecting on the association with the centre, Shanan went on say: "Petrofac Saudi Arabia is fully committed to and supports the employment of Saudi nationals. In this respect, our local operation provides a varied and progressive competency development programme which aligns well with the objectives of the Asharqia Chamber Training Centre
Source: Zawya

01-06-11, 05:58 PM
Aramco plans to double power supply

Saudi Aramco has unveiled plans to double its power-generating capacity to 4,000 megawatts from the current 2,000 megawatts by 2015 to supply all the electricity it expects to need to produce crude and natural gas, Bloomberg has reported. The company is expanding power plants at existing oil and gas sites and aims to build generators for refineries and other facilities that are under development, Ziyad Al Shiha, the executive director of Aramco Power Systems, told reporters at a conference in Dhahran.
Source: Ame info

01-06-11, 06:00 PM
Saudi Stock Exchange retreats slightly

The Tadawul bourse closed 0.34% lower at 6,690.68 points. Market bellwether Saudi Basic Industries Corporation, known as Sabic, declined 0.69% to SR107.50. As oil prices stabilise, the Saudi stock market has been trading sideways. "Oil fell 15% when news came through that Osama Bin Laden had been killed. Oil price weakness precipitated a general sell off that had traders scrambling to liquidate positions," Gary Dugan, CIO Private Banking at Bank Emirates NBD in Dubai writes in his weekly market comment. Dugan adds: "However the pace of the rise in prices has at times exceeded the fundamentals. West Texas oil back below $100 at $97 starts to look interesting again given the likely continuing supply shortages facing off to still strong demand."
Source: Ame info

03-06-11, 12:11 AM
Saudi Investment in ICT to reach SR 50 bllion

RIYADH: Khaled Al-Gosaibi, Saudi Minister of Economy and Planning, said Monday the Kingdom's total investment in information and communication technologies (ICT) sector is expected to reach SR50 billion by 2015.
Investment will hit around SR37 billion ($9.9 billion) in 2013, he added. He said investment in boosting and developing the sector had reached SR22.3 billion in 2009. Al-Gosaibi's remarks came during the first day of the GITEX Saudi Arabia 2011 at Riyadh International Convention and Exhibition Center.
"The Kingdom's ICT sector (in products and services) has registered a growth rate of 18.5 percent between the period of 2001 and 2009. The size of the total investment both in public and private sector has SR22.3 billion by 2009," the minister said.
Al-Gosaibi said the investment in the ICT market's services and applications is expected to reach SR37 billion by 2013, which will offer further impetus for growth and development.
Al-Gosaibi said Gitex Saudi Arabia 2011 has international participations from leading IT companies will serve as a platform for Kingdom's ICT sector to promote local industry and help transfer of expertise. "Saudi Arabia is the region's largest ICT market, which is reflected from the participation of some of the leading international industry players," he said.
A large number of officials from various government agencies and representatives of ICT companies, organizations and top business executives were present in the opening ceremony.
Around 400 exhibitors from 16 countries are to showcasing the latest ICT technology, the developments taking in the industry and portraying emerging trends within the buoyant Saudi ICT sector.
The four-day event is under the patronage of Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT). GITEX Saudi Arabia 2011, the 10th International Information Technology Exhibition is the Kingdom's premier ICT event, which attracts some thousands of visitors every day.
The countries that have set up national pavilions are Egypt, Taiwan, Pakistan, China, the UAE and Jordan.
Dr. Abdulrahman Al-Arainy, Ministry's consultant, said the MCIT regards GITEX Saudi Arabia as an important platform that will contribute to realizing the Kingdom's ICT goals.
The General Secretariat of the National Plan for Communications and Information Technology (NPCIT) will conduct lectures aimed at creating a digital culture in the country on the sidelines of the event. It will also launch an e-training project on the occasion.
The lectures from public sector officials will make presentation on e-trading program while highlighting Saudi e-gate and other e-trading concepts and trends.
"GITEX Saudi Arabia has proved to be one of the leading specialized events in the region, and we are committed to support and participate in such shows to capitalize on our development plans," said Al-Arainy.
Riyadh Municipality has recently underscored its future vision to develop an e-municipality concept that is equivalent to the e-government initiative, in addition to developing over 50 services through its e-gate (http://eservices.alriyasdh.gov.sa), including internal services for its employees.
The e-services include instant issuance of building permits.
Source: Saudi Gazette

03-06-11, 12:13 AM
Saudi market for luxury fragrances biggest in Mideast

JEDDAH: Growth in demand for premium fragrances in the Saudi Arabia continues unabated, with sales of high-end, the male fragrance category was valued at SR1,438.3 million ($383.5 million) with an expected CAGR of 4.9 percent between 2009 and 2014.
Recent market research, estimates that the Saudi market for premium fragrances is worth SR4 billion per annum while sales of mass fragrances are expected to grow. This is a key indicator that the Saudi market has a marked preference for high-end perfumes and other luxury goods.
"The fragrance market in the Gulf and in Saudi Arabia and the wider region remains an exciting one with tremendous potential for growth," said Ahmed Pauwels, chief executive officer of Epoc Messe Frankfurt, organizer of Beautyworld Middle East, the foremost trade event in the region for beauty products, fragrances, haircare and wellness. "The average spend on premium perfume is relatively higher than in other parts of the world as fragrances and perfumes are an important part of the Gulf lifestyle and there is a higher disposable income."
"Beautyworld Middle East, with its region-wide footprint, gives leading perfume houses and fragrance products a first-hand look at this burgeoning market. Retailers and wholesalers from the region also use the event to scout for new deals, sign up new suppliers and place purchase orders," Pauwels added.
Oriental and Gulf fragrances also have a significant presence in the region, as the markets of the GCC have traditionally been big consumers of Oud, Ittar and other native fragrances.
Regional perfume houses such as Ajmal and Swiss Arabian have been making their presence felt too, with a range of exotic and designer fragrances that have moved them into the mainstream market.
Leading perfumers and fragrance manufacturers from the region participating in Beautyworld Middle East this year include: Nooranji Perfumes, Swiss Perfumes, Oud Al Anfar, Eurofragrance, Amalia Perfumes, and Swiss Arabian from UAE; Al Atarji and Al Khuraiji from Saudi Arabia; Zahreddine Trading and Al Awani from Lebanon and Al Masmoun Aquador and Al Masmoun Oyunico, from Syria.
Beautyworld Middle East 2011 will be held at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre on May 24-26. The exhibition is the largest international trade fair for beauty products, hair, fragrances and wellbeing in the Middle East and has played a major role in the growth and development of the industry in the region over the last 15 years.
Meanwhile, according to research firm Euromonitor with over 30,000 hair salons trading across the countries of the region, manufacturers and suppliers of hair care products and cosmetics are looking to make further inroads into what is a potentially huge marketplace.
The hair care market in Saudi Arabia and the UAE combined is expected to be worth a staggering $524.2 million in 2012, and this figure is expected to reach $566 million by 2014, making the countries of the Gulf a key target for international hair care majors.
Source: Saudi Gazette

03-06-11, 12:14 AM
Saudi stocks extend losses

JEDDAH: Losses across most sectors sent Saudi Arabias stock benchmark Tadawul All Share Index slipping 0.85 percent Monday to 6,634.03 points, its lowest close since May 8, with petrochemical stocks touching a four-week low amid declining oil prices.
The petroche
index fell 1.3 percent. Yanbu National Petrochemical Co. lead losses and was down 2.5 percent. Saudi Basic Industries Corp, the largest company by market value in the Gulf, fell 0.9 percent.
Oil fell more than $1 per barrel Monday as worries over the restructuring of euro zone debt and doubts about the pace of global growth encouraged investors to reduce risk.
Agricultural sector drew investor interest with National Agriculture Development Co. and Tabuk Agriculture Development Co. rising 2.2 and 9.9 percent respectively.
"Retail players positions have shifted to locally driven small to mid caps, especially construction and agriculture stocks, and will continue to stay so to avoid relative exposure to global commodity markets," said Amro Halwani, a senior trader at Shuaa Capital in Riyadh.
Banking stocks added further weight with Samba Financial Group slipping 0.5 percent.
Elsewhere in the Gulf, Dubais benchmark ended 1.4 percent lower at 1,563 points, its lowest closing since April 7.
Emaar Properties a shareholder in Dubai Bank, fell 2.2 percent, while other property stocks also closed lower.
"The market is seeing a knee-jerk reaction to this, but on a less immediate term basis, this is a positive development for Emaar because it removes uncertainty," said Ibrahim Masood, senior investment officer at Mashreq Bank. "The investment didnt really jell with Emaars business.
Active stocks Arabtec and Deyaar slid 2.2 and 3.2 percent.
Emaars 30 percent stake in Dubai Bank may have to be written down because a rescue by the government would not follow a normal course of business. Banking and property stocks weighed on Abu Dhabis index with Aldar Properties dropping 2.1 percent in high activity.
Competitor Sorouh Real Estate fell 2.2 percent, while heavyweight National Bank of Abu Dhabi was down 1.8 percent. Losers outweighed gainers four to one. The benchmark fell 0.5 percent to 2,641 points, its lowest close since April 12.
Omans index MSI fell to an 11-month low as local investors were thin and first-quarter earnings continued to weigh.
The benchmark fell 0.3 percent to 6,134 points, its lowest close since June 20.
Volumes hit a month-low.
"Were are seeing very low contribution from investors... you can see the sentiment is negative," said Adel Nasr, United Securities brokerage manager.
Source: Saudi Gazette

03-06-11, 12:15 AM
SABIC signs accord for new elastomers project

JEDDAH: Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC) and affiliates of ExxonMobil Chemical announced that Front-End Engineering Design (FEED) contracts were awarded and that all components are in Feed phase for the proposed new elastomers project at their Al-Jubail Petrochemical Company (Kemya) joint venture petrochemical plant.
Feed contracts were awarded to Jacobs Engineering Inc. and Mitsui Engineering & Shipbuilding for process units and to Fluor Transworld Services Inc. for associated support facilities.
"This elastomers project will be the basis for the creation of a world-class rubber value chain in Saudi Arabia and a valuable extension of our offering of products and services to our customers in key markets," said Koos van Haasteren, SABIC executive vice president, Performance Chemicals.
"In addition to supporting local industry, the expansion at the Kemya joint venture in Al-Jubail would provide additional new capacity of butyl rubber and EPDM (ethylene propylene diene monomer) specialty elastomers to meet the growing global demand for these products," said Neil Chapman, senior vice president, Polymers, ExxonMobil Chemical Company.
The project is expected to establish a domestic supply of more than 400,000 metric tons of rubber[butyl, styrene butadiene rubber (SBR), butadiene rubber and EPDM], thermoplastic specialty polymers and carbon black to serve emerging local and international markets in Asia and the Middle East. The project also includes the establishment of a vocational training center and product application development and support center, aligned with Saudi Arabia's National Industrial Clusters Development Program to grow and diversify the manufacturing sector in the Kingdom.
Third-party license agreements have been signed with Continental Carbon Company for its carbon black production technology and with The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company for its SBR and polybutadiene rubber technology.
The University of Akron Research Foundation was selected to design, train and support the vocational training center, The High Institute for Elastomer Industries, in Yanbu. The training center will utilize the university's expertise in polymer science and education to provide elastomers technology vocational training for workers to support a planned downstream elastomers conversion industry in Saudi Arabia.
Additionally, a separate product application development and support center will be part of the new SABIC facilities at the Riyadh Techno Valley research complex at King Saud University.
Implementation of the elastomers project requires the approval of Kemya's board of directors.
Source: Saudi Gazette

03-06-11, 12:59 AM
Metito to build new wastewater treatment plant in Saudi Arabia

DUBAI: Metito, a leading provider of total intelligent water management solutions in emerging markets, is to design, supply, deliver and install the latest water treatment plant in the company's growing portfolio of projects in Saudi Arabia.
The Al Ruqai Border Center wastewater treatment plant will be located in the north-east of the Kingdom.

The contract valued at SR4.2 million, will be executed under the main contractor, Sanam Contracting Company, and upon completion in May 2012 will service 10,000 people in Al Ruqai and the surrounding area with treated wastewater for irrigation.
As Salah El Ackad, general manager - Dubai, Northern Emirates, Oman, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, said: "We have a long history in the region lasting over 50 years and this project is part of a long line of ongoing initiatives we are looking at and signing on with in the Kingdom.
"Al Ruqai represents a key area, as it is located right on the border with Kuwait and is home to many thousands of people. We are dedicated to constantly innovating water treatment technology and we aim to offer safe water for all those areas that need it."
The plant will utilize the latest in Membrane Bio Reactor (MBR) technology for the treatment of the domestic wastewater, in order to yield the highest standards of Treated Sewage Effluent (TSE) with minimum use of area.
Metitois taking part in the 2011 WEPower Exhibition being held in Dammam, where it is interacting with industry leaders and government officials to unveil new projects and discuss the latest topics pertaining to the water industry in the region.
El Ackad added: "This event is very important to the industry and particularly to Metito, as it allows us to enhance our presence in the Saudi Arabian market through participation in such essential events."
Source: Arab News

03-06-11, 01:01 AM
Shoura suggests institute to train Saudi miners

RIYADH: The Shoura Council recommended on Monday that the Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources should consider setting up a training institute for Saudis in oil, gas and the mining industry.
The suggestion was made when the annual report of the ministry was tabled at a session of the Shoura Council held under the chairmanship of Abdullah Al-Asheikh on Monday.
Following the Monday's session, Shoura Council Secretary-General Muhammed Al-Ghamdi said the members felt that young Saudis should be trained in the oil, gas and mining industry so that they could find suitable employment in local and foreign companies that are licensed to operate in the Kingdom.
During the reading of the annual report, the house said that the ministry should explore better mode of transport for the supply of oil within the Kingdom. It also suggested that the ministry should consider resuming the operation of the oil pipeline to the north of the Kingdom which ceased some time ago.
The members also felt that the Kingdom, being the largest oil producer in the world, should have a comprehensive policy which could look after the interests of both the producers and consumers throughout the globe. " A balance must be maintained between supply and demand so that the oil producing and oil consuming countries would not be affected at any cost," Al-Ghamdi said.
The council also said that a definite plan must be chalked out with a timeframe for the establishment of more branches of the Central Bureau of Investigations and Prosecutions. The government also should man these agencies with efficient and qualified professionals to offer better services for the people. The house requested the government to allocate adequate funds for construction of new complexes and to train the human resources that would be deployed in the new branches.
The house approved a draft memorandum of understanding of cooperation between the Institute of Public Administration (IPA) and the National School of Administration based in Paris. The agreement would provide for the organization of seminars in the field of public administration in both countries for senior civil servants and exchange of experiences in the field of job training, information exchange in research studies, publications and training materials.
On Monday Shoura Council Chairman Al-Asheikh received the ambassador-designate of Belgium to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Marc Vinck. The Speaker welcomed the new ambassador and wished him success in his mission in contributing to strengthening the bilateral relations between the two friendly countries, particularly at the parliamentary level.
During the meeting, they reviewed bilateral relations and explored means of enhancing cooperation in various fields, especially parliamentary relations between the council and the Belgian Parliament and activating the role of the Saudi-Belgian Parliamentary Friendship Committees to serve the interests of the two friendly nations .
The meeting was also attended by Abdul-Rahman bin Othman Al-Sughair, director general of Public Relations and Information of the Shoura Council.
Source: Arab News

03-06-11, 01:02 AM
Saudi investors warned against fresh debt trap

RIYADH: Economists and banking experts are warning small-scale investors against falling victim to a possible fresh debt trap as they recover from financial losses incurred during the stock market crash in February 2006.
Analysts, however, criticized the concept of taking loans to invest in the stock market as a negative and failed experiment.
Banking sources said a large number of investors -- who obtained five-year bank loans in 2006 -- had been successful in settling a lion's share of their dues before the maturity period.
The sources also that said local banks started receiving about SR10 billion per month as loan repayments since the beginning of the year.
They expect almost all these investors to clear their dues before the end of the current year, said a report in Al-Eqtisadiah business daily.
Some economists and banking experts, however, warned citizens against another possible economic and social crisis in case they moved to take advantage of new credit facilities from banks that are currently flushed with liquidity.
The "February Catastrophe" or "Black February," as some analysts describe it, was a major turning point in the economic and social history of a large number of Saudis in 2006.
Influenced by a market-euphoria, young men and women raised funds from property sales and bank loans to invest in the capital market.
But their investments were wiped out when the market crashed suddenly in February 2006.
A major segment of the Saudi society, including women and youngsters, could not escape from the fallout of the market crash as they suffered big losses in the stock market.

These investors are now heaving a sigh of relief after settling most of their bank loans.
This positive development is now encouraging banks to expand their credit facilities.
Economists, however, warned citizens against becoming loan defaulters for a second time.
They stressed that citizens should be fully aware of the fallout of any similar developments in future.
A prominent economist, who requested anonymity, told the newspaper that almost all the loans taken by Saudis to invest in the stock market had been settled over the last five years.
"This has boosted the liquidity of Saudi banks so that they can extend more credit facilities to the citizens in future. However, the citizens are not fully aware of the risks that involved in taking such loans without having required arrangements and planning for the same," he said.
"The social and economic fallout of the stock market crash that devoured most of the personal loans taken by the citizens over the past years is a telling example of how people could fall into problems after making investments without a proper strategy and understanding of market conditions," he added.
The economist suggested investors, eyeing fresh loans to invest in the market, should be based on lessons learned from the past failed experiment.
Abdul Rahman Al-Sultan, professor of economics at Imam Muhammad bin Saud Islamic University, said some citizens were still not in a position to erase personal loans in view of their difficult financial conditions, and it would take some more years to clear those debts.
The noted economist and writer also did not rule out the possibility of a section of the Saudi people turning to the real estate market, leading to a price surge in the sector.
Al-Sultan urged fresh borrowers to adopt make decisions on their investments.
"The stock market had lured a large number of people to pump huge investments into this sector over the past years and losing their investments and consequently suffering from numerous social and economic woes," he said, while expressing regret over the poor awareness among some citizens about the negative impact of loans.
Some people, who had settled their bank arrears, are now planning to obtain loans again for vacation trips, he said.
Some experts, however, ruled out the repeat of the 2006 crisis.
Hamad Al-Sheikh, undersecretary for quality and development at King Saud University, said the level of banking credit facilities has returned to normal levels by the end of last year.
"There are several citizens who have the capacity to make investments in the stock market either through their revenues or through taking banking loans. But the stock market crash that happened in the Arab world as a whole has prompted them to shun new investments as they lost faith in it," he said.
Dr. Al-Sheikh also said the changes in the Kingdom's financial regulations and the measures taken by financial organizations had contributed to a substantial improvement to the current financial conditions.
"I believe that some people may turn to the real estate market to cash in on the current boom witnessing this sector. But there is also a possibility that some of them may turn strongly to the stock market." he said, while predicting a possible boom in the stock market in near future.
He said a number of positive factors such as soaring oil prices, higher earnings in the banking sector and strong economic conditions would boost the stock exchange.
Source: Arab News

03-06-11, 01:03 AM
Saudi Arabia: World's largest university for women opened

RIYADH: Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah inaugurated Sunday the SR20-billion Princess Nora bint Abdulrahman University (PNU), 25 km east of the Saudi capital, amid cheers of over 2,000 students and faculty members. With a capacity to enroll about 50,000 students, the PNU is the largest women-only university in the world and part of an ambitious education plan of the Saudi government.
On arrival on the university campus, King Abdullah was escorted by Riyadh Gov. Prince Salman and Finance Minister Ibrahim Al-Assaf. The three boarded a university train for a tour of the sprawling campus, which sits on a site that exceeds 800 hectares.
"Princess Nora University is a symbol of women's education and women's participation in the building of this nation," said Al-Assaf while giving an overview of the campus, which includes a medical facility, a research center and a library with about five million books and journals.
"A residential area at PNU has about 1,400 villas, and massive hostel facilities to accommodate 12,000 students," said the minister, adding that a sports city for girls is another major attraction besides a service tunnel along the university campus. This education facility has set up major facilities complying with environmental guidelines, said Al-Assaf.
To this end, he noted that the PNU has a solid-waste treatment plant, wastewater treatment facility, warehouses and maintenance workshops.
The inaugural ceremony was attended by several members of the royal family, high-ranking Saudi officials, foreign diplomats and a large number of guests. Prominent among those present on the occasion was Minister of Higher Education Khalid Al-Anqari.
"The presence of King Abdullah today and his consistent support is evidence of his keen desire to educate and train women of this country with an aim to open all avenues for them," said Al-Anqari.
"King Abdullah was greeted by a large number of our female students and faculty members," said PNU spokeswoman Thana Algabashi.
PNU President Huda bint Mohammad Al-Ameel said PNU had become a major symbol of gender equality and women's education in Saudi Arabia. She added that the university campus has modern infrastructure facilities, including a high-tech transport system that links all important facilities on the campus 24 hours a day. The highlight of the transport system is an elevated railway that will facilitate the smooth flow of traffic inside the campus.
Taking advantage of the energy-saving technology, the campus buildings have been designed in a way that use sunlight as a source of light. The 40,000 square meters of solar paneling will provide 16 percent of power for campus heating and 18 percent for air-conditioning.

The new campus includes a 700-bed university hospital, 15 colleges, a central library, a conference hall, laboratories and three research centers for nanotechnology, information technology and bioscience.
Speaking on this occasion, British Ambassador Sir Tom Phillips said: "Today is an important day and I want to pay tribute to the wisdom and leadership of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah for opening the new campus of the university, which makes it the largest women's university in the world. The creation of the magnificent campus demonstrates the commitment of the Saudi government to extend educational opportunity to Saudi society."
The British envoy added that "the UK is immensely proud of the academic links which unite our two kingdoms." He said that such collaborations in the field of education benefit students in both countries. There is also the excellent English language teaching being provided by the British Council in Jeddah, Al-Khobar and Riyadh, he noted.
Source: Arab News

03-06-11, 01:05 AM
Regulated healthcare for all in the Kingdom

JEDDAH: Al Arabia Cooperative Insurance Company, one of Saudi Arabias leading cooperative insurance companies, has renewed its cooperation with various Saudi authorities, in line with its series of noteworthy achievements and accomplishments.
The recent move signifies its efforts to further enhance health insurance services across the Kingdom.
Saad Khabbaz, general manager of Al Arabia Cooperative Insurance Company, said "we are pleased to renew our cooperation and further our ties with our customers, reactivating our services and programs through our various branches and brokers across Saudi Arabia. We are also proud to have launched several new services as we expand our health insurance programs and cater to the needs of our customers in adherence to the Council of Cooperative Health Insurance."
Khabbaz added: "We would like to express our gratitude to the Minister of Health, the Secretary General and the members of the Boards working committee for their efforts in stimulating the activities of both the health and cooperative insurance sectors in the Kingdom."
Al Arabia Cooperative Insurance Company is known for its keenness to provide its health insurance services according to established industry standards through high-quality products, offering its customers valuable investment opportunities in compliance with the provisions of the Kingdoms rules and regulations.
Source: Saudi Gazette

06-08-11, 01:29 PM
Prince Alwaleed sings deal to build world's tallest tower

Kingdom Holding, the Saudi firm owned by billionaire businessman Prince Alwaleed, has signed a construction contract to build the worlds tallest tower in Jeddah.
Binladin Group, one of the kingdoms biggest contractors, won the $1.2bn deal for the one-kilometer tall Kingdom Tower, which is set to steal the crown from Dubais Burj Khalifa.
The tower will include a hotel, serviced apartments, luxury condominiums and offices, and will occupy a 500,000 sq m area, Kingdom said in a statement on the Tadawul Tuesday,
It will be located in the first phase of Kingdom City, a 5.3m mixed-use development north of Jeddah, which overlooks the Red Sea and Obhur Creek.
The Binladin deal was signed by Jeddah Economic Company (JEC), one of Kingdoms associate firms. The giant contractor also takes a 16.63 percent ownership of JEC.
Kingdom Holding holds 33.35 percent of JEC, alongside Abrar International Holding (33.35 percent) and Abdurrahman Sharbatly (16.67 percent).
No further details as to when construction will begin, or when the project will be completed, were provided.
The construction deal marks a significant step forward for the Jeddah project, which has been in the pipeline for some years. Last year, Kingdom signed up US-based Adrian Smith & Gordon Gill Architecture to design the building.
Media reports earlier this year had suggested that the tower could be as large as 1,600m tall, which would have made it twice as high as its nearest competitor.
The world's tallest building at present is Dubai's 828m high Burj Khalifa, developed by Emaar Properties. Completed in January 2010, the tower was designed by Skidmore, Owings and Merrill.

Source: Arabian Business

06-08-11, 01:33 PM
Hilton Hotels and Resorts opens resort overlooking Red Sea in Marsa Alam

Hilton Hotels and Resorts has opened its first resort in Egypt's Marsa Alam region. Hilton Marsa Alam Nubian Resort, a 370-room resort overlooking the Red Sea, is the seventeenth Hilton Hotels and Resorts property in Egypt.
The resort is part of an integrated mixed-use development, which includes an entertainment village, a congress centre and a residential town. Hilton Marsa Alam Nubian Resort is specifically designed to reflect the ancient history and heritage of the Nubian culture, which dominated this area of Egypt for centuries.
Dave Horton, global head, Hilton Hotels & Resorts said, "As the largest international hotel brand in Egypt, we take great pride in opening our latest Hilton Resort in this region. Marsa Alam is a fantastic location for travellers seeking rich local culture and authentic experiences. The area is an ideal gateway for tourists seeking the ever popular Nile cruise, ancient sites and temples."
Marsa Alam is emerging as a key leisure destination in Egypt. The 2001 opening of Marsa Alam Airport has seen tourism become increasingly important to this relatively unspoilt area. A favourite with divers as well as holidaymakers seeking peaceful tranquility, Marsa Alam is rapidly becoming a popular destination for travellers.
Hamada Aboul Enein, chairman of Concord Co. for Tourist Development, the owners of the hotel, explains, "The Red Sea Riviera, and Marsa Alam in particular, is famous for its beaches, coral reef barriers and the abundance of marine life found in its waters. We're proud of our region and extremely pleased that Hilton, Egypt's most recognised hospitality brand, will now play a part in helping to promote Marsa Alam to a worldwide audience."
The property is part of the Hilton Resorts portfolio, a distinguished group of more than 70 properties located throughout 26 countries - each encompassing specific requirements above and beyond the Hilton Hotels & Resorts standards. The hotel features a wealth of sporting and leisure facilities including a fitness centre, diving lodge (located on the Abu Dabab Bay), four outdoor swimming pools, tennis court and a kids club. Guests of Hilton Marsa Alam Nubian Resort will also find nine restaurants and bars.
Rudi Jagersbacher, area president, Middle East and Africa, Hilton Worldwide said, "Egypt and our Hilton Hotels & Resorts brand enjoy a long and successful history and I'm delighted that our latest hotel will be located in such a beautiful and diverse area of the country. This is the second hotel we have opened in Egypt this year and we look forward to welcoming tourists from all over the world as they explore the best of what Egypt has to offer."
Hilton Worldwide has 18 hotels in total in Egypt (17 Hilton Hotels & Resorts and one Conrad hotel). The company has 53 properties across the Middle East and Africa with 35 more in the development pipeline due to open in the next three to four years.
Source: Ame Info

06-08-11, 01:37 PM
Two Saudi firms seek licenses for local fights

The General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) has received new applications from two Saudi companies seeking licenses to operate domestic flights. GACA has already received applications from other Saudi and Gulf companies in this regard, said Khaled Al-Khabiri, GACAs spokesman, in a report carried by Al-Watan Arabic newspaper.
Al-Khabiri said the authority is still waiting for the Supreme Economic Council chaired by King Abdullah, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, to reply to a study dealing with opening up the domestic air transportation market to other companies.
Al-Khabiri said GACA is eagerly looking forward to the day when the local air transportation market is liberated. "In fact the authority is looking forward to attracting foreign companies to run international flights and not only domestic flights as is the case in Tabuk airport where flights are scheduled to Cairo directly without the need to fly via Riyadh or Jeddah."
He said the congestion resulting from the shortage of international flights is a thing of the past because some foreign companies have been allowed to run flights from some of the Kingdoms airports.
He said the involvement of foreign companies bring several advantages, including jobs for Saudis and increased air traffic. "Needless to say, the passengers benefit from this because they can find seats to travel any time without restrictions."
Al-Khabiri said GACA has a special toll-free number passengers can call if they have complaints. Passengers are also compensated if flights are delayed. If a flight is delayed between one and two hours passengers get beverages, after three hours they should be served a free meal at the expense of the company, and after six hours passengers should be given accommodation.
He said GACA has received several complaints from passengers against some air companies but this has been resolved with compensation.

Source: Saudi Gazette

A total of 14,200 Umrah flights, an increase of 61 percent compared to last year, arrived at King Abdul Aziz International Airport (KAAIA) up until Tuesday, said Dr. Faisal Bin Hamad Al-Suqair, President of the General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA).
He said 2.4 million Umrah pilgrims arrived on these flights representing an increase of 109 percent compared to last year. Al-Suqair said the heavy traffic requires all workers to double their efforts in the service of the Guests of Allah.
He made the comments while inspecting the Haj and Umrah terminals at (KAAIA) Tuesday. The objective of the tour was to check the preparations made by the government for the arrival and departure of pilgrims during Ramadan.
On the first day of Ramadan the Haj terminal complex received 227 flights 139 incoming and 88 outgoing flights. He said GACA was working with all government bodies to ensure pilgrims perform their rituals in ease and comfort.
Al-Suqair was accompanied by Muhammad Ahmad Abed, Director General of KAAIA, who briefed him on the arrival and departure work plan and the flight statistics.

Source: Saudi Gazette

06-08-11, 01:50 PM
Umrah flights up 61 percent: GACA chief

A total of 14,200 Umrah flights, an increase of 61 percent compared to last year, arrived at King Abdul Aziz International Airport (KAAIA) up until Tuesday, said Dr. Faisal Bin Hamad Al-Suqair, President of the General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA).
He said 2.4 million Umrah pilgrims arrived on these flights representing an increase of 109 percent compared to last year. Al-Suqair said the heavy traffic requires all workers to double their efforts in the service of the Guests of Allah.
He made the comments while inspecting the Haj and Umrah terminals at (KAAIA) Tuesday. The objective of the tour was to check the preparations made by the government for the arrival and departure of pilgrims during Ramadan.
On the first day of Ramadan the Haj terminal complex received 227 flights 139 incoming and 88 outgoing flights. He said GACA was working with all government bodies to ensure pilgrims perform their rituals in ease and comfort.
Al-Suqair was accompanied by Muhammad Ahmad Abed, Director General of KAAIA, who briefed him on the arrival and departure work plan and the flight statistics.

Source: Saudi Gazette

06-08-11, 01:54 PM
Vegetables and fruits in Jeddah costlier by 30-50%

The price of vegetables and fruit rose by 30 to 50 percent at the Vegetable and Fruit Market in Jeddah, Monday. Potatoes and tomatoes showed the biggest price hike.
A Hail-produced potato sack rose to SR22 to SR23 from its pre-Ramadan price of SR11 to SR12. The price of tomatoes increased 20 percent.
The prices of popular vegetables followed suit. Parsley, dill and coriander rose from SR3 to between SR 6 and SR 7.
The pre-Ramadan price of fruit has remained the same with a slight increase of five to 10 percent, especially oranges, apples and carrots. Some suppliers predicted a gradual decrease.
Many citizens went to the Vegetable and Fruit Market after Asr prayer. Many more go on Thursdays and Fridays causing traffic congestion which the traffic police tackle by blocking the main street and turning it into a one-way street.
Beggars are everywhere at the market following shoppers and begging for money. Some have amputated hands or legs.
Okaz/Saudi Gazette met some shoppers at the market who confirmed there was a spike in the prices of tomatoes, potatoes, onions and some fruit.
The high temperature had a negative impact on some fruit, they added.
Shoppers demanded that the market be moved to air-conditioned halls. Prices will stabilize as the fasting month progresses, they predicted.
Traders attribute the high prices to increased cost of labor and the increased prices in the countries exporting the goods.
Ministry of Commerece and Trade inspectors have been regularly inspecting markets to monitor the prices of essenetail foodstuffs during Ramadan.
The ministry has also warned traders against indulging in price manipulations

Source: Saudi Gazette

06-08-11, 02:05 PM
JCCI and Al-Ahli Bank provide 14-day entrepreneurship course

Helping entrepreneurs seeking to start small businesses is a key part of developing the national economy, Adnan Bin Hussein Mandourah, secretary general of the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said at the closing ceremony after a 14-day training to help people who hope to launch companies.
The course, organized by the Chambers Small Enterprises Development Center and Al-Ahli Bank, was conducted Abu Bakr Bin Aboud Baeshen, a trainer and consultant.
Mandourah congratulated attendees on the advent of the holy month of Ramadan and participants in the training course.
The JCCI has held lectures and courses to stimulate young entrepreneurs to continue their activities in different businesses, based on its belief in the importance of free enterprise and the need to help beginning businessmen become successful, he said.
The courses give young entrepreneurs scientific and practical knowledge to start small projects, he added.
Their success is an important element in pushing the wheel of development and the national economy, which abounds with successful young entrepreneurs, Mandourah said.
He stressed that organization fully realizes that disseminating the culture of free enterprise and developing a commercial sense among the Saudi youth is everybodys responsibility.
Mandourah pointed out course included a direct focus on the characteristics of investors and gaining basic skills to determine investment ideas.
He cited the fruitful cooperation between JCCI and Al-Ahli Bank in providing programs and services that benefit the community, lauding the Social Responsibility Circuit in Al-Ahli Bank for supporting entrepreneurs that own small enterprises.
Source: Saudi Gazette

06-08-11, 02:11 PM
80m square meters of land allocated for housing

The Ministry of Housing, in collaboration with the Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs, has allocated more than 80 million square meters of land across the Kingdom to build 500,000 residential units at a total cost of SR250 billion, in line with an order from King Abdullah, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques.
An official source said the ministry has received several plots of land from the regions' emirates. The Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs will be issuing tenders for a number of projects. These are the nucleus of the huge housing project which will be carried out in stages. The ministry has already signed a contract for the implementation of the first stage covering 11 sites in Riyadh, Al-Kharj, Dammam, Al-Ahsa, Al-Qatif, Jeddah, Madina, Tabuk and Khamis Mushayt.
A total of 35 housing projects have been awarded to contractors in various regions.

Source: Saudi Gazette

06-08-11, 02:14 PM
Saudi Arabia to forgo customs duties on Palestinian goods for another year

Saudi Arabia has decided to continue shouldering the cost of customs duty on imports of Palestinian products for another year.
The decision was made at a meeting of the Council of Ministers chaired by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah at Al-Salam Palace in Jeddah on Monday.
"The council also ordered to settle all financial claims against Saudi citizens in foreign countries, including damage payments, fines and blood money," Minister of Culture and Information Abdul Aziz Khoja said in a statement to the Saudi Press Agency.
The order, however, does not cover the liabilities resulting from an accused pleading guilty to crimes such as violation of honor, breach of honesty and drug-related crimes, as well as traffic accidents caused while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Saudis who are permanent residents in other countries will not, apparently, benefit from the decision.
At the opening of the meeting the king congratulated the people of Saudi Arabia and Muslims around the world on the occasion of the blessed month of Ramadan.
"While instructing government and private organizations to offer the highest level of service to Umrah pilgrims and visitors to Makkah and Madinah, the king called on all worshippers to follow the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) during the blessed month and to help the needy," the minister said.
"The council prayed to Almighty Allah to enable the Muslim Ummah patch up their differences and grant the people peace and tolerance in the blessed month of Ramadan."
The council also reiterated the Kingdom's stand on the ongoing turmoil in several Arab countries that all disputing parties should bury their differences and let wisdom and peace prevail.
The king briefed the council on discussions with world leaders, including United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon last week.
The council approved the recommendations made by Deputy Premier and Minister of Defense and Aviation Crown Prince Sultan, who is also chairman of the Ministerial Committee for Administrative Organization, on the hierarchy of employees in the judiciary sector.

The council appointed Abdullah Al-Fasili director general of the Asir office of the Ministry of Civil Service, Hadhlool Al-Hadhlool as consultant planning engineer at the Ministry of Transport and Muhammad Al-Qarawi director general at the office of the minister of water and electricity.

Source: Arab News

07-08-11, 11:34 AM
Emaar Economic City amends tower contract with Saudi Oger

Emaar Economic City, a unit of Dubai-based developer Emaar Properties, said it amended a contract with Saudi Oger to build four residential towers in the King Abdullah Economic City.
Under the revised deal, the contract value will be SR726m compared with the previous agreement of SR494m, Emaar Economic City said in a statement to the Saudi bourse Sunday.
It said SR301m will be paid as cash and SR425m settled in the form of land.
The increase in the value of the contract is due to modifications in the design of the towers, it said.

Source: Bloomberg

07-08-11, 11:36 AM
Rajhi Steel to build 4 billion dollars steel complex; to IPO 50%

Saudi-based Rajhi Steel plans to set up a SR15bn ($4bn) heavy steel complex in King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC) and will get dry gas from Aramco, the state news agency said on Monday.
The firm will later offer 50 percent of the new project to the public through an initial public offering, SPA said.
"The Saudi Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources agreed lately to allocate 70 million cubic feet a day of dry gas to Rajhi Steel to build a heavy steel complex in King Abdullah Economic City," the statement said.
Emaar Economic City, an affiliate to UAE-based Emaar Properties, is spearheading the development of King Abdullah Economic City, one of the kingdom's most ambitious projects aimed at diversifying its oil-based economy.
The project, aimed at building a new high-tech city on the Red Sea coast with businesses, industrial, leisure and residential estates as well as a giant port, has been dogged by delays and lower-than-expected interest from local and foreign investors.
The new Rajhi Steel complex will cover 4 million square meters in the industrial area at KAEC and will contain a number of plants including a direct reduction iron plant with a capacity of 1.8 million tonnes a year.
It will also include a hot briquetted iron plant with a capacity of 650 thousand tonnes a year and a melt shop with a capacity of 2 million tonnes a year, the statement said.

Source: Arabian Business

07-08-11, 11:50 AM
SABB Bank says bad loans 3.9%,covered over 100%

HSBC' Saudi affiliate SABB Bank has provided for more than 100 percent of its bad loans, representing 3.9 percent of its loan portfolio and will continue to book reserves in 2011, an executive said on Alarabiya TV.
"There is no doubt that in the end of last year we reached our full reserves for the bad loans and the level will continue this year," said the bank's chief risk officer Alaa Jabri on Alarabiya TV on Sunday.
"Bad loans represent 3.9 percent of the total loans portfolio," he said, adding that the bank will continue to cover them by over 100 percent

Source: Reuters

07-08-11, 11:55 AM
Rajhi Steel to build 4 billion dollars steel complex

Saudi-based Rajhi Steel plans to set up a 15 billion riyals ($4.0 billion) heavy steel complex in King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC) and will get dry gas from Aramco, the state news agency said on Monday.
The firm will later offer 50 percent of the new project to the public through an initial public offering, SPA said.

'The Saudi Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources agreed lately to allocate 70 million cubic feet a day of dry gas to Rajhi Steel to build a heavy steel complex in King Abdullah Economic City,' the statement said.
Emaar Economic City, an affiliate to UAE-based Emaar Properties, is spearheading the development of King Abdullah Economic City, one of the kingdom's most ambitious projects aimed at diversifying its oil-based economy.
The project, aimed at building a new high-tech city on the Red Sea coast with businesses, industrial, leisure and residential estates as well as a giant port, has been dogged by delays and lower-than-expected interest from local and foreign investors.
The new Rajhi Steel complex will cover 4 million square meters in the industrial area at KAEC and will contain a number of plants including a direct reduction iron plant with a capacity of 1.8 million tonnes a year.
It will also include a hot briquetted iron plant with a capacity of 650 thousand tonnes a year and a melt shop with a capacity of 2 million tonnes a year, the statement said.

Source: Trade Arabia

07-08-11, 11:57 AM
Nokia Siemens Networks to establish Saudi Arabia joint venture

DUBAI: Telecommunications services enabler Nokia Siemens Networks announced that it has signed a strategic partnership agreement in Saudi Arabia to develop local market opportunities in the telecommunication services sector by enabling operators to optimise their networks.
The agreement, with Al Sarya Telecommunications Company and Belal Company , both members of the Ghazzawi Group of Companies in Saudi Arabia, will establish Nokia Siemens Networks al Saudia as a joint-venture company.
Under the terms of the joint-venture, NSN Saudi will offer operators four distinct services, such as network implementation services, including for fixed, mobile and IP technologies.
Dr Talal Al-Ghazzawi, the chairman of Nokia Siemens Networks al Saudia, said the joint venture is a step further in the company's strategy to further grow its business in Saudi Arabia.
"We bring in the local knowledge and infrastructure, whilst Nokia Siemens Networks brings in their scalability, global delivery model and network services expertise.
"This is an excellent combination to deliver cost effective services to the local clients and we believe through this joint-venture, we will be able to better service Nokia Siemens Networks' customers who are keen to grow their businesses in the kingdom," he said.
Jorg Erlemeier, Head of Middle East region for Nokia Siemens Networks, said this is a major milestone for Nokia Siemens Networks as it looks to expand its footprint within Saudi Arabia, where it has been working with all major operators.
"This partnership should allow us to pursue new directions such as the possibility of offering multi-vendor services and will unlock fresh revenue streams. This is a unique opportunity at a time when the Saudi telecom sector continuous to grow at an impressive pace," he said.
"Although the telephony penetration rate is already one of the highest in the Middle East region, double-digit growth in mobile subscriptions is projected for the coming two years," he added.
Source: Zawya

09-08-11, 12:57 PM
Earadat, Aramco sign transport contract

DAMMAM: Earadat Transport has signed an eight-year transportation contract with Saudi Aramco -- with a possible extension for another two years -- to operate 416 transport vehicles for employees and company staff.

Earadat Transport was among seven companies that bid in the tender and was awarded the value contract.
Earadat Transport Chairman Tariq Abdel Hadi Al-Qahtani said the contract would enhance the company's performance.
The company has worked with Saudi Aramco since 2003 with both public transport and the transport of sulfur extracted during petroleum processing.
The new agreement also calls for high levels of Saudi work force.
Saudi Aramco Transportation Manager Khalil Joherjy said the oil giant was always seeking to improve transport options for employees and their dependents both in terms of commuting and accessing company facilities. He noted the emphasis the company puts on traffic safety and that it encourages employees to use the public transport for commuting.
The transportation will be equipped with GPS location equipment and feature modifications for persons with special needs.
Earadat was established in 1992 by Tariq Al-Qahtani as a transportation company for the commodities and materials all over the Kingdom.
The Dammam-based company provides cartage and direct transportation to all major cities in the Kingdom and across the Gulf region.
Source: Arab News

09-08-11, 12:59 PM
TigerSwan International in Riyadh project

JEDDAH: TigerSwan International was awarded a contract from the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Middle East District, to perform construction services for the South Gate Entry Control Point, Eskan Village, Riyadh.
The one-year contract consists of four projects: a South Gate Overwatch Position; Two Security Guard Gate Houses; a Vehicle Inspection-Search Facility; and a Visitor Control Center.
The project also includes supporting infrastructure (utilities, roadway pavements, signs and sidewalks) to produce a complete and usable facility.
"We are grateful for the opportunity to work with the USACE on a project of this magnitude and importance to the entire Eskan Village Military Community, said Tony Turpin, president TigerSwan International.
"A project of this size and complexity affords TigerSwan International the ability to once again showcase the professional talents of our experienced staff and project management team and our dedication to complete this project with the highest standards of quality, safety and client satisfaction."
TigerSwan International, based in Riyadh, is licensed with the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA).
TigerSwan's work in Saudi Arabia focuses on contract services to the US, the Saudi Arabian Government and international businesses establishing a presence in the Kingdom.
TigerSwan International provides a wide range of integrated Business, Logistics, Construction and Security Services to include full-spectrum architectural design, total systems integration, program management supervision and design and build services with integrated security measures.
TigerSwan International is a subsidiary of TigerSwan. (TSI).
TSI is a global leader in vulnerability management.
TSI provides comprehensive solutions to Global Instability support, Construction and engineering, Training, Security Services, Logistics, Crisis Management, IP protection and business continuity implementation.
TSI employs more than 350 multi-cultural personnel worldwide with offices in the US, Iraq, Jordan, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia and Japan.
Source: Saudi Gazette

DAMMAM: Earadat Transport has signed an eight-year transportation contract with Saudi Aramco -- with a possible extension for another two years -- to operate 416 transport vehicles for employees and company staff.

Earadat Transport was among seven companies that bid in the tender and was awarded the value contract.
Earadat Transport Chairman Tariq Abdel Hadi Al-Qahtani said the contract would enhance the company's performance.
The company has worked with Saudi Aramco since 2003 with both public transport and the transport of sulfur extracted during petroleum processing.
The new agreement also calls for high levels of Saudi work force.
Saudi Aramco Transportation Manager Khalil Joherjy said the oil giant was always seeking to improve transport options for employees and their dependents both in terms of commuting and accessing company facilities. He noted the emphasis the company puts on traffic safety and that it encourages employees to use the public transport for commuting.
The transportation will be equipped with GPS location equipment and feature modifications for persons with special needs.
Earadat was established in 1992 by Tariq Al-Qahtani as a transportation company for the commodities and materials all over the Kingdom.
The Dammam-based company provides cartage and direct transportation to all major cities in the Kingdom and across the Gulf region.
Source: Arab News

09-08-11, 01:01 PM
Foreign Umrah pilgrims expected to cross 4 million mark

JEDDAH: The number of foreign pilgrims coming to the Kingdom for Umrah is increasing year after year and is expected to reach four million next year, said Haj Minister Fouad Al-Farsy on Saturday while meeting with Makkah Gov. Prince Khaled Al-Faisal.
Al-Farsy said Prince Khaled, who is chairman of the Central Haj Committee, urged Haj-related institutions and top officials of Tawafa organizations who attended the meeting to provide the best possible services to pilgrims.
"The governor instructed us to exert maximum efforts in the service of the guests of God and work as one team to provide pilgrims with better services, realizing the hopes and aspirations of the Saudi leadership," the minister said.
Prince Khaled also urged Al-Farsy and officials of Tawafa organizations, Zamzam office and United Agencies to make continuous efforts to improve their services to pilgrims, Al-Farsy said.
"The number of pilgrims coming for Umrah this year will be 700,000 more than last year's figure," the minister said. Makkah is already crowded with Umrah pilgrims from different parts of the world, especially Iran, Pakistan, Egypt, Turkey, India, Malaysia, Indonesia and Bangladesh.
According to a report issued by NCB, the Kingdom's tourism industry earnings from international travelers would reach SR80 billion by 2015.
"The largest share of inbound tourism is religious tourism as people from across the world visit Makkah and Madinah to perform Haj and Umrah. During 2009, religious tourism trips accounted for 47.1 percent of all trips to the Kingdom," the NCB report said.
The government's decision during 2009 to relax Umrah and Haj visas to cope with demand has allowed more visitors to perform religious rituals. In 2010, the Ministry of Haj increased the number of Ramadan visas for foreign pilgrims by 16 percent, reaching 911,000 visas against the planned 792,000.
A study by the Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities said the accommodation capacity of licensed hotels in Makkah and Madinah exceeded the number of Umrah visas issued so far. There are 75,000 rooms in Makkah that could accommodate more than one million pilgrims every month, while there are nearly 35,000 rooms in Madinah that could house 400,000 pilgrims.
Meanwhile, a number of foreign pilgrims have urged the Haj Ministry to improve the services at King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah.

At present some Umrah company officials collect passports of pilgrims on arrival at the airport and ask pilgrims to follow them. This is a bad system and should be changed, they said.
Many pilgrims refuse to hand over their passports to such individuals fearing they would be lost. "Thousands are now arriving for Umrah, and it is high time the authorities introduced a better system to make pilgrims feel comfortable," said a Canadian pilgrim.
Source: Arab News

09-08-11, 01:07 PM
Separate authority for real estate "will spur investments"

RIYADH: The Riyadh-based Council of Saudi Chambers of Commerce and Industry (CSCCI) will recommend the establishment of a separate authority for real estate in the Kingdom.
"We are conducting a detailed study about this proposal and the final report is to be released within a period of two months," said Real Estate Committee Chairman Hamad Al-Shuweir during an event here on Saturday.
Al-Shuwair explained that the report of the study calling for the establishment of an authority for real estate would be forwarded to the Shoura Council for necessary action.
He said the CSCCI had agreed on the concept of the authority, but the details of its role and its functions would be worked out by the consultancy firm.
He said the recommendation is to be made considering the latest developments in the real estate sector, such as the setting up a separate ministry for housing, supplementary allocations offered through royal decrees to the Real Estate Development Fund (REDF) and the interests shown by private investors in real estate financing. Such an authority will attend to the needs of the land owners, consumers and local and foreign investors.
Recalling the unprecedented response for the Real Estate Exhibition that concluded in Riyadh last week, Al-Shuwair pointed out such an authority could manage the private and public sectors' interests for the benefit of the people.
The authority could frame regulations for this fast developing sector and be a window for real estate industry of the Kingdom to both local and international markets.
It could also reduce the workload of the governmental bodies such as Ministries of Justice, Municipal and Rural Affairs and Commerce and Industry and Finance and the Saudi Arabia Monetary Agency.
The National Real Estate Council of the CSCCI has been entrusted with the task of formulating the regulation for the real estate industry, promoting investments for the real estate sector in the Kingdom, recruiting professionals for the trade and trying to give the right picture of the real industry to the investors as well as the consumers.
Recently, the Shoura Council approved the state mortgage law which has been sent for royal assent through the council of ministers.

The REDF started its activities in 1975 to provide loans to citizens to help them construct their own homes and for investment purposes.
It commenced operations with a capital of SR250 million.
During the first 25 years from its inception, the REDF has granted 443,842 private loans and 2,488 investment loans, resulting in the construction of 555,866 residential units. REDF's services have so far reached 3,976 cities, villages and remote areas all over the Kingdom.
Source: Arab News

09-08-11, 01:32 PM
MODON develops Industrial City in Shaqraa

Saudi Industrial Property Authority (Modon) started the development project of Shaqraa Industrial City. On this occasion, Dr. Tawfig bin Fawzan Alrabiah, the Director General of Modon said: "We in Modon seek to establish industrial cities in the governorates away from major cities to develop the region and create job opportunities for residents of the governorates.
The Industrial City will be a basis to attract supporting Investment projects such as, logistical, residential and commercial projects.
Dr. Alrabiah added: The phase 1 area of Shaqraa Industrial City is 1 million square meters and the development of phase 1 shall include:
- Soil leveling works
- Establishment of linking roads.
- Establishment of local roads and implementation of the 7 cm thick asphalt layer.
- Implementation of sidewalks, curbstones and tiles.
- Painting works, planning the streets and installation of cat eyes and ceramics.
- Other different works.
The project will be implemented in 15 months from the date of handover of the site on 13/04/2011. The industrialists can apply for obtaining industrial lands and to establish their projects in conjunction with the development works.
With regards to the site, Dr. Alrabiah said: "Shaqraa Industrial City is located on Labkha and Huaita along Shaqraa -Dawadmi Road intersection with Labkha Road towards the south".
It is worth mentioning, that Modon currently oversees 20 industrial cities existing in different regions of Saudi Arabia (Riyadh 1st. and 2nd., Jeddah 1st. and 2nd., Dammam 1st. and 2nd., Makkah, Madinah, Qassim, Al-Ahsa, Assir, Al-Jouf, Tabuk, Hail, Najran, Jazan, Al-Kharj and Ar'ar, in addition to Sudair City for Industry and Business, and Rabigh complex for plastic industries). Development contracts of five new cities were signed which include: Riyadh 3rd., Zulfi, Shaqraa, Taif, and Baha. Development of designs and plans for other cities are currently underway to include Jeddah 3rd., Dammam 3rd., Salwa, Al-Ahsa 2nd. and Hafr Al-Batin.
The industrial cities are regarded as the infrastructure to accommodate industrial projects which have contributed to the accommodation of 3000 industrial projects, which represent 60% of the Saudi factories with investments exceeding SR250bn. Modon receives applications for obtaining land electronically through its website modon.gov.sa, where land is available for industrial projects, residential uses, commercial activities and marketing exhibitions, services centers and public facilities that provide its services at promotional prices, which provides multiple options to all local businessmen, Gulf and foreign businessmen to invest in various available opportunities, whether in industrial, residential, commercial or service sectors.
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Source: Ame info

09-08-11, 01:34 PM
Hilton Worldwide Sings First Hilton Hotels and Resorts Property in Al Jubail, Saudi Arabia

DUBAI, UAE and MCLEAN, Va. - May 23, 2011 (www.hospitalitybusinessnews.com)- Hilton Worldwide today announced the signing of a management agreement with Dar Al Bayan Real Estate Development Co. for the first Hilton Hotels & Resorts property in Al Jubail, Saudi Arabia. The 430-key Hilton Al Jubail is scheduled to open in Q1 2014.
Dave Horton, global head, Hilton Hotels & Resorts said: "Hilton Al Jubail marks our entry into a new key city in the Kingdom. With 93-years of experience, global expertise, and the ability to tailor to our local communities, Hilton Al Jubail will ably support the city's development into a business and tourism center."
The hotel, located on the Al Jubail corniche, will be one of the few waterfront developments being built, adjacent to the upcoming marina and in close proximity to Industrial Zone 1, the city's business hub. Construction of the 400-room and 30-suite chalets hotel is scheduled to start early next year. The property will feature two specialty restaurants, an all-day dining restaurant and a lobby lounge. The facilities will include four meetings rooms, two boardrooms, a 700-sq m ballroom, business centre, executive lounge, private beach, outdoor swimming pools and a health club.
"Al Jubail is of strategic importance to Hilton Worldwide's development plans in Saudi Arabia - its growing significance to the economy and its coastal location, makes it one of the most dynamic cities in the region, attracting both regional and international. We are delighted to partner with Dar Al Bayan Real Estate Development Co. and look forward to expanding our brand footprint into the eastern province," said Rudi Jagersbacher, area president, Middle East & Africa, Hilton Worldwide.
The hotel will be designed as a city resort to meet the requirements of the business and leisure tourism markets. Demand will be driven by the industrial sectors with medium to long-stay business and meetings and conferences, as well the domestic and expatriate weekend vacation market.
"We are happy to partner with Hilton Worldwide to launch the Hilton Hotels & Resorts brand in Al Jubail and bring the brand's world-class hospitality standards to the city. This is our first deal with Hilton Worldwide and we hope it will pave the way for future partnerships that will strengthen Al Jubail's tourism industry and support Hilton Worldwide's presence in the Kingdom," stated Mohamad Obaid Abed Al Rahman Al Hamed, Chairman, Al Bayan Group Holding.
Hilton Worldwide currently has six hotels operating and 13 hotels in the development pipeline in Saudi Arabia.
Source: Zawya

09-08-11, 01:38 PM
CMA announces the approval of offering of investments funds

The CMA Board of Commissioners issued its resolution No. (6-17-2011) dated on 19/6/1432H, corresponding to 22/5/2011G involving its approval for Derayah Financial Corporation Company to offer " Derayah Conservative Fund".
Source: Tadawu

09-08-11, 01:40 PM
Govt envisions Jeddah as tourist-economic hub

JEDDAH: Makkah Gov. Prince Khaled Al-Faisal on Sunday welcomed any complaints from citizens and said they could send them to him either through the governorate or by phone.
"Jeddah will witness the implementation of a number of giant projects in all sectors," he said at a meeting with students at King Abdulaziz University. "Despite criticisms of people and the media, Jeddah will remain prosperous and a major center for tourists."
Khaled said Jeddah receives a large number of domestic and international tourists.
"Government wants to make Jeddah an economic and tourist center by allocating billions of riyals for various infrastructure projects," he said.
Khaled said Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah has given utmost priority to building a state-of-the-art floodwater drainage system for Jeddah to prevent recurrent flooding in the city.
He highlighted the efforts to supply desalinated water in all parts of the province.
"There are two cities in the province where desalinated water has not yet reached. We are now making efforts to make water reach there," he said.
He emphasized the need for building libraries in all residential districts to encourage children to read books. "Work on the King Fahd Library in Jeddah will start in July," he said.
A female student asked whether there was any possibility for a woman minister, Prince Khaled said: "Position should not be a barrier for women to serve the country."
He said he would allocate a day for the disabled to discuss their problems and needs. Khaled presided over the meeting of the local council for the development of the city of Jeddah on Sunday and listened to a briefing about the damage caused by rains and floods in the city in January. He was also briefed about the projects implemented during the years 2008-2010 in addition to the projects approved for the fiscal year 2010-2011 and the future development schemes.

According to the council sources, during the years 2008-2011, a total of 48 development projects of the Jeddah Municipality were completed, 84 under execution and 19 were facing difficulties. They estimated that the city was in need of 27 more development projects in various fields in the future.
According to the sources, a single water project was implemented in the city and three others were under implementation. They added that the city was still in need of four other water projects.
In the field of environmental services, eight projects were executed, 22 others under implementation, one facing difficulties and seven new others needed.
In the field of electricity, 24 projects have been completed, 20 others under execution, 16 new others needed and two faltering projects. A total of 15 projects in electricity were approved in the budget of the fiscal year 2010-2011.
In the domain of roads and transport, the municipality carried out three projects while work was still continuing on 19 others. Four more road and transport projects were still in the need.
In the field of health, 30 projects were executed and 10 others under implementation while 28 others were facing difficulties in implementation. The city is still in dire need for 63 new health projects.
The Red Crescent implemented one project and was working on two others. There is a need for four Red Crescent projects while six schemes were in the offing in the next year budget.
Source: Arab News

09-08-11, 01:43 PM
G8 leaders promise $ 20 billion to new Arab democracies

Group of Eight leaders promised $20 billion in aid to new Arab democracies on Friday when they met in France to endorse a programme aimed at fostering changes sweeping North Africa and the Middle East.
Leaders were concluding their annual two-day summit with the launch of a partnership for the region that ties aid and development cash to progress on democracy and economic reforms by states which have thrown off autocratic rulers.
The G8 leaders, in the northern resort of Deauville for their annual summit, said they "strongly support the aspirations of the Arab Spring as well as those of the Iranian people".
"The changes under way in the Middle East and North Africa are historic and have the potential to open the door to the kind of transformation that occurred in Central and Eastern Europe after the fall of the Berlin Wall," the G8 planned to say in a statement, a copy which was obtained in advance by Reuters.
They said special development banks "could provide over $20 billion, including 3.5 billion euros from the EIB, for Egypt and Tunisia for 2011-2013 in support of suitable reform efforts".
Britain on Thursday announced a 110 million pound ($175 million) package to support the transition to democracy in countries like Tunisia and Egypt. The four-year programme, funding out of existing budgets, will support greater political participation and strengthen the rule of law, officials said.
Prime ministers of Egypt and Tunisia were to meet the leaders of the G8 on Friday to underscore their need for massive international support for economies knocked out of kilter by the popular uprisings against long-serving authoritarian leaders.
In a report to G8 leaders on Thursday, the International Monetary Fund said the external financing needs of oil-importing countries in the Middle East and North Africa would top $160 billion over the next three years.
The IMF says it can provide around $35 billion to help stabilize countries' economies but the bulk of financing will need to come from the international community.
The World Bank on Tuesday unveiled $6 billion in new funding for Tunisia and Egypt, whose revolts have inspired popular uprisings in Yemen, Jordan, Morocco and Syria, and left Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi fighting to stay in power.
Revolts in Tunisia and Egypt triggered popular uprisings across the Middle East and North Africa, including Yemen, Bahrain and Syria, and left Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi fighting to stay in power. Demands for reform have also been heard from Morocco to Saudi Arabia.
G8 leaders demanded Gaddafi stop violence against civilians and said he would be held to account for alleged war crimes being investigated by the International Criminal Court.
"Gaddafi and the Libyan government have failed to fulfil their responsibility to protect the Libyan population and have lost all legitimacy. He has no future in a free, democratic Libya. He must go," the leaders said.
US President Barack Obama, speaking after talks with the summit host, French President Nicolas Sarkozy, said they were determined to stick with the NATO-led intervention in Libya until the crisis there is resolved.
"We agreed we have made progress on our Libya campaign but that meeting the U.N. mandate of civilian protection cannot be accomplished when Gaddafi remains in Libya, directing his forces in acts of aggression against the Libyan people," Obama said.
"We are joined in resolve to finish the job."
On Syria, the heads of state and government said they were "appalled" by the killing of peaceful protesters opposed to the rule of President Bashar al-Assad, and demanded authorities stop using force against them.
They also condemned violence against protestors seeking the removal of Yemen's President Ali Abdullah Saleh, and urged him to respect a pledge to stand down.
The world's crises forced their way on to the agenda of the Group, whose importance has diminished with the rise of emerging economies like China and India.
The G8 leaders, on Thursday discussed nuclear safety and the global economy, noting on Friday in their communique that the recovery was becoming more "self-sustained", although higher commodity prices were hampering further growth.
The pace of world growth could affect the amount countries, many of which are implementing austerity measures at home to rein in budget deficits and trim public debt, are willing to stump up to help the Arab World's emerging democracies.
The European Union executive said it had added just 1.24 billion euros of fresh grant funding to an existing programme that aims to help its neighbours across the Mediterranean.
Diplomatic sources said the summit would also back the extension of the mandate of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development into North Africa and the Middle East.
The bank, created after the Cold War to help former Communist states become market economies, lends about nine billion euros a year to projects anywhere from Croatia in central Europe to China.
Source: Reuters

09-08-11, 01:54 PM
Saudi mortgage sector to reach SR 904 billion in 10 years

Housing industry demand will reach to 230,000 units by 2013
JEDDAH: In anticipation of the Saudi mortgage law being approved this year, Credit SuisseCredit Suisse forecast in a study that 52 percent of Saudi households pass the affordability threshold/test, and 17 percent would be potential mortgage seekers (average income of mortgage seekers will be SR11,160).
It further said the overall size of the mortgage sector could amount to as much as SR904 billion or 23 percent of GDP in 10 years, with our base case assumption at 16 percent of GDP (up from 1 percent currently), estimating "sector penetration to reach 10 percent of GDP in 5-6 years, growing at a 5-year CAGR of 46 percent."
Credit SuisseCredit Suisse moreover forecast that the mortgage business could translate into 17-20 percent or SR75 billion of accretive value to the overall banking sector, with incremental profitability of SR6 billion in current prices, 20 percent of overall sector profits.
However, the study also anticipated potential pitfalls.
"Enforceability of the law, need to intensify development of 'white lands', asset/liability mismatch and the need for other sources of funding (albeit in the long term)," it noted.
The analysis added that Al-Rajhi Bank will be the main beneficiary "with over one third of the retail market share and the largest branch network," with Arab National Bank having a "clear strategy to grow this segment" and Riyadh Bank seen to get "10 percent market share."
According to data released at the Arabian World Construction Summit in Abu Dhabi, Saudi Arabia has swept the United Arab Emirates off the top spot in the regional construction race with plans to generate higher funds toward the Kingdom's construction sector.
The Kingdom plans to generate nearly $450 billion in construction contracts in the next five years compared to $400 billion in the UAE, Over the last five years, the UAE accounted for $380 billion in projects, while Saudi Arabia generated $225 billion, research by data analyst Meed Projects found.
Only last year, the UAE was the biggest construction market in the GCC. It had $28.5 billion projects while Saudi Arabia had $24.5 billion.
At its peak in March 2009, the whole GCC project market was worth $2.6 trillion. Today, it is valued at $1.9 trillion by Meed analysts.
But while UAE projects market collapsed, Saudi Arabia bucked the trend and its market doubled in size last year, Meed found.
Saudi Arabia has an annual GDP of $622 billion, and a GDP per capita of $24,200.
Saudi Arabia has a fast-growing population, currently estimated at 25 million.
A number of UAE construction players have opened Saudi offices as their interest in the Kingdom gains.
UAE developer Emaar and construction company Arabtec already have established projects in Saudi Arabia.
Al Jaber Group, the Abu Dhabi construction company, will soon open an office in Riyadh, its first in the kingdom, said Fatima Obeid Al-Jaber, the company's chief operating officer.
The new branch will focus on infrastructure projects, she said during the summit.
"We are just trying to test the market," Al-Jaber said. "There's a lot of interest in Saudi Arabia."
The Saudi Arabian housing industry has emerged as one of the most vibrant segments of the real-estate industry. Young population-base, government funding, and booming economy have facilitated the region's housing industry to become one of the fastest growing housing industry in the Middle Eastern region. It is expected that the demand for Saudi Arabia housing industry will reach to 230,000 units by 2013, growing at a CAGR of around 20 percent during 2011-2013, RNCOS said in its "Saudi Arabia Housing Sector Outlook" report.
It said the government's assurance toward the improvement of the housing industry and constructive policy framework will result in the high-level of investments in the Saudi Arabian housing industry.
The report forecast that in the coming years, majority of developers will focus on affordable housing projects, instead of luxury villas and projects. Demand for these affordable housing units will account for over 90 percent of the total housing industry's demand in the Kingdom, it added.
The RNCOS report anticipates that the new mortgage regulation in Saudi Arabia will change the real estate market as it will promote young buyers, who presently find it hard to attain finance to acquire property.
"Furthermore, acceptance of the law will open the domestic market, with apparent and definite funding channels giving an additional boost to the sector."
Source: Saudi Gazette

09-08-11, 01:56 PM
Saudi cenbank sees inflation pressures in Q2

Saudi Arabia's central bank expects to see moderate inflationary pressures in the Gulf oil producer in the second quarter of this year, it said in a quarterly inflation report on Wednesday.
Inflation in the world's top oil exporter has eased since touching an 18-month high of 6.1 percent in August 2010 as a rise in food costs subsides.
"Available data ... show possible continued domestic inflationary pressures, at moderate rates, during the second quarter of 2011," the central bank said in the report published on its website www.sama.gov.sa.
Consumer price growth in the largest Arab economy reached 4.8 percent year-on-year in April, still fuelled by high food prices.
The central bank also said construction of new housing units following the king's spending package should contribute to decrease the inflation rate in the medium and long term.
Worried by unrest sweeping the Arab world, the kingdom has pledged to spend an estimated $130bn, or around 30 percent of its annual economic output, on new houses, creating jobs, unemployment benefit and other measures.
Central Bank Governor Muhammad Al Jasser said in March handouts by the king were not likely to exacerbate inflation, although analysts challenged this view, saying the package would fuel household consumption.
Analysts see price pressures building up in the next months mostly due to the traditional pressures on food costs during the holy month of Ramadan, which starts in August, when families enjoy larger and more elaborate meals after daylight fasting.
A poll in March showed analysts expected average Saudi inflation of 5.6 percent this year, up from 5.3 percent last year.
Source: Reuters

09-08-11, 02:20 PM
Saudi university plans engineering programmes for women

The Faculty of Engineering at King Abdul Aziz University (KAU) is set to introduce a training programme for women in industrial and electrical specialisations to meet the 'huge demand' for women engineers in different fields, Saudi Gazette has reported. The faculty also plans to restructure some of its departments, including mining, Dr Abdul Malik Bin Ali Al-Junaidi, Dean of the faculty said.
Source: Ame Info

09-08-11, 02:21 PM
Construction begins on new Jeddah airport

Saudi General Authority of Civil Aviation has launched construction work to build the new King Abdul Aziz International Airport in Jeddah, Saudi Gazette has reported. Expected to increase the capacity of Jeddah airport to 30 million passengers a year, the project includes establishing four terminals totalling 670,000 sq m in area, 200 counters, a luggage system equipped with the latest security systems, 96 jet bridges, 47 gates, four first- and business-class lounges, a transportation centre with a Haramain Train station and a 133-metre high control tower, which will be the world's tallest.
Source: Ame Info

10-08-11, 02:02 PM
Metro plan under study to ease jams in cities

Minister of Municipal and Rural Affairs Prince Mansour bin Miteb told the members of the Shoura Council on Sunday that in order to ease the traffic jams, his ministry is currently conducting a major study to find alternate public transport, such as metro trains and luxury coaches in the major cities.
Prince Mansour was addressing the Shoura council on Sunday at its 34th regular session chaired by Abdullah Al-Asheikh.
"Improving the public transport system in the cities is a pressing need because of the adverse environmental impact due to pollution arising from traffic congestion," the minister said, adding that the Kingdom is keen on maintaining cities free of pollution and environmental hazards.
He pointed out that instead of forming new cities, it is good to develop towns that are located in the vicinity of major cities.
Opening the Sunday's session, Al-Asheikh registered the greetings and good wishes on behalf of the council to Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah who has completed six years of glorious services since his ascent to the throne.
Welcoming Prince Miteb, the chairman appreciated the yeomen services rendered by the Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs under the able leadership of Prince Mansour.
Speaking on the various projects undertaken by the ministry, Mansour said that he was aware of the delay in the implementation of some projects. He assured that he would take remedial action to accelerate the implementation of these projects geared to provide useful services to the people in suburbs and hamlets.
He said projects and necessary funds would be allocated according to the needs of the people considering the size of the population in different places.
"The Ministry of Finance would allocate funds for such projects," he said.
Plans are underway, the prince said, for the ministry to organize programs to involve citizens in some of its programs. The ministry is currently seeking the expertise from private sector bodies such as Saudi contractors association, real estate groups, education and training organizations to find out how best citizens could be embraced for various projects of the ministry.
Speaking on the experience on the cause and effects of the recent floods in Jeddah and Jazan, the minister said his ministry would not allow people to construct buildings in valleys. Effective measures are being taken to expand the existing drainage system and also to make use of the rainwater in 28 locations in the Kingdom, he said.
The prince said the ministry is currently working in partnership with the Saudi Commission of Tourism and Antiquities to preserve the cultural and historical identity of Saudi cities. The ministry has planned a program on environmental sanitation for which an agreement has been reached with a consultant firm, he added.
The minister called for constructive suggestions from the Shoura Council on the activities of his ministry.
Source: Saudi Gazette

10-08-11, 02:07 PM
Saudi maritime investment to reach 50m dollars

Saudi Arabian maritime transport investments are expected to reach $50bn, Asharq al-Awsat newspaper reported on Sunday, May 29, 2011.
"It is possible to estimate that investment in this field will be no lower than $50bn across all its activities," Gulf Capital CEO Issa Al Hamadi told the London-based paper in an interview.
Linked to the development of the mining and oil industries, maritime transport has immense potential for growth in the kingdom, Al Hamadi said. He called on the government to increase sponsorship of the sector, citing Singapore's success in doing so.
Investment in the sector has been growing slowly due to bureaucracy and strategic challenges, Al Hamadi said. He called for the creation of an independent authority aimed at guiding the sector's development

Source: Reuters

10-08-11, 02:37 PM
Saudi money supply rises by 17.2% on year

Saudi Arabias money supply rose 17.2 percent on the year in April, and the central banks foreign assets increased 13.2 percent year on year, data from the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA) data showed.
M3, the broadest measure of money supply, was SR1.175 trillion ($313.4 billion) in April, up from SR1.003 trillion in the same month a year ago and from SR1.150 trillion in March, according to data posted on SAMAs website.
Net foreign assets rose to SR1.756 trillion in April from SR1.729 trillion in March and SR1.552 trillion in April last year, the data showed.
Lending to the private sector edged higher to SR802.5 billion last month from SR798.2 billion in the month earlier and up from SR750.6 billion in April 2010.
Meanwhile, SAMA kept its key interest rates unchanged for June.
SAMA held its overnight reverse repurchase rate at 0.25 per cent and the benchmark repurchase rate at 2 percent.
Sama last cut its overnight reverse repo rate by 25 basis points to 0.25 percent in June 2009
During the boom years, bank claims on the private sector tripled between 2003 and 2008.
Earlier this year, SAMAs Governor Mohammed Al Jasser said bank lending is expected to accelerate this year.
Source: Saudi Gazette/Agencies

10-08-11, 02:39 PM
Kuwait, Saudi sign agreements on air transport services

Kuwait's Directorate General of Civil Aviation has signed an air transport services agreement and memorandum of understanding with Saudi Arabia, Saudi Gazette has reported. According to the agreements, the two countries agreed to increase the number of passenger and cargo weekly flights, allowing national carriers of both countries to launch flights to the Saudi city of Madinah.
Source: Ame Info

10-08-11, 02:40 PM
Saudi-Malaysian firm to 'extract' water from air

Saudi Arabia intends to reduce dependence on bottled drinking water by tapping water in the air.
This is the objective of Saudi businesswoman Nouf Idrees when she recently signed a memorandum of understanding with Malaysia-based Vigilant Managing Director K. Krish Kumar to form Vigilant Saudi Arabia which will act as the sole importer, distributor and agent of the Malaysian entity in the Kingdom.
Vigilant Sdn Bhd is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the QI Group of Companies which has its headquarters in Hong Kong.
The product works by extracting air from the atmosphere and condensing it through several filters to produce clean and safe drinking water.
Krish said in a statement that the product will help Saudis cut their dependence on bottled water, resulting in cost savings of 57 percent.
Since Saudi Arabia has limited water resources and a high evaporation rate, the "Water from Air" product will ensure households and offices have drinking water throughout the day, Bernama news agency reported Saturday.
Nouf said the Saudi Ministry of Water and Electricity had estimated that drinking water consumption in the country has been increasing by 24 percent annually, and Saudi Arabia is now the third largest consumer of water, after the US and Canada.
"Saudi Arabia currently produces drinking water mainly through desalination plants, and this is projected to increase to 10 million cubic meters in the next 20 years. While underground water is available, it is not getting renewed fast enough due to seasonal rainfall of only 70-100 millimeters annually, making Saudi Arabia one of the most water-poor countries in the world. This is precisely why we expect Water from Air to be an instant hit in the market," she said.
QI, chaired by Malaysian entrepreneur Datuk Vijay Eswaran, last year opened its operational headquarters in Petaling Jaya with the purchase of a RM60 million building in PJ8.
"Our 15-liter capacity desktop unit can produce each liter of water at $0.15 compared to $0.35 for a liter of bottled water.
For the 35-liter capacity standup unit, the cost savings is 48 percent based on a production cost of $0.18 per liter, Krish noted.
Source: Saudi Gazette

10-08-11, 03:56 PM
Jabal Omar raises capital to SR 9.3 b

RIYADH: Saudi developer Jabal Omar said Sunday its shareholders approved a 38.4 percent capital increase through a rights issue, as it seeks to finance a major project.
The company will issue one share for each 2.6 outstanding shares at SR10 per share and the firms capital will be raised from the current SR6.7 billion to SR9.3 billion ($2.48 billion), it said in a statement on Saudi Arabias bourse website.
In October, the developer secured a SR1.35 billion ($360 million) bridge loan to finance building the project close to the Grand Mosque in Makkah.
The project will include luxury hotels, shops and houses.
The developer also sought shareholders approval last year for a change in its basic charter that would allow it to borrow more.
Saudi Arabias bourse earlier Sunday amended Jabal Omars closing stock price Saturday to SR14.9 a share from SR16.8 to adjust for the capital increase.
Last week, Saudi developer Emaar Economic City received a SR5 billion loan ($1.33 billion) from the Kingdoms finance ministry to speed up construction of a project.
Source: Reuters

11-08-11, 11:26 AM
Saudi Plans 16 Nuclear Reactors by 2030, Says Official

DUBAI (Zawya Dow Jones)--Saudi Arabia plans to build 16 nuclear reactors by 2030 at a cost of around $7 billion each, English-language daily Arab News reports Wednesday, quoting Abdul Ghaini bin Melaibari, an official at the body responsible for the kingdom's atomic energy program.
"After 10 years we will have the first two reactors. After that, every year we will establish two, until we have 16 of them by 2030," said Melaibari, coordinator of scientific collaboration at King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy, or KA-CARE, according to Arab News.
The newspaper cites Melaibari as saying that each reactor may cost around $7 billion, and that the atomic power stations would eventually account for around 20% of electricity requirements for the world's largest oil exporter. He said local and international companies could bid for the projects.
Saudi Arabia is mulling the use of nuclear and renewable energy sources to address soaring domestic energy consumption, which threatens to one day reduce the amount of crude oil it is able to export.
A new national energy policy will be outlined by KA-CARE later this year, the body has said.
Source: Arab News

11-08-11, 11:27 AM
16 Saudi nuclear reactors to cost $ 300 billion

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia is planning to build 16 nuclear reactors over the next 20 years at a cost of more than $300 billion, according to a top official.
Abdul Ghani bin Melaibari, coordinator of scientific collaboration at King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy, also said that arrangements were being made to offer the project for international bidding and the winning company should satisfy the Kingdoms needs for modern technology.
He made the remarks during the Gulf Environment Forum, which concluded in Jeddah on Tuesday.
Each reactor may cost around $7 billion, he said.
Melaibari said the Kingdom is in the stage of planning for the nuclear project and coordination with specialized companies was currently under way.
He said companies from any country could bid for the projects.
"We will consider expertise that we can benefit from," he explained.
"After 10 years we will have the first two reactors. After that, every year we will establish two, until we have 16 of them by 2030," said the official.
Melaibari said the nuclear reactors would cover about 20 percent of the Kingdoms needs for electricity, adding that the Kingdom would launch a 20-year plan this year to introduce renewable clean energy.
Speaking at the same event, Mayor Hani Muhammad Abu Ras said the municipality was focusing on spreading awareness about the environment in a bid to draw up a road map for waste management with social involvement.
"We recycle waste instead of just dumping it in order to make economic gains. If we just get rid of it, the dumping area will be filled with garbage in less than 10 years," he said.
The municipality currently has four stations to recycle waste and 11 mobile garbage collection units in various parts of Jeddah, he pointed out.
Source: Arab News

11-08-11, 11:29 AM
Ground water privatization suggested

JEDDAH: Water is the most constraining factor in the growth of Arab countries and remains the Kingdom's greatest challenge. Added pressure comes from population growth and climate change. The outcome of climate change is uncertain but, said Mohammed Al-Saud, deputy minister for water and electricity: "Change is certain."
Al-Saud said that the strategic challenges were varied and included supply and demand management, environmental protection and water governance policy.
"What is needed is some 'what if?' thinking," he said.
He included among the strategies the "implementation of an optimal productivity strategy that leads to the import of water through virtual water."
This refers to importing food that is grown in water-rich countries and saving the importer's national resources. Its inclusion in possible planning hints at a possible reduction of water-hungry agriculture in Saudi Arabia and a greater reliance on imports.
He supported this in his key presentation by noting that; "current abstractions (of groundwater) led to water shortages in the agricultural and urban areas."
He said that privatization of groundwater use was needed.
If it were privatized, it poses the question of whether agricultural users -- which constitute 82 percent of total water use according to the latest figures -- would be charged a commercial rate for water use. If so, it predicates change in the national agriculture industry.
Al-Saud suggested that agriculture be oriented toward the production of "high value cash crops" as part of a drive toward more efficient water use.
CEO of the National Water Company Loay Al-Musallam stated that Saudi Arabia will not be able to meet its water supply needs by 2025 and that the use of recycled water was essential. Only six percent -- 300 thousand cubic meters per day -- was recycled in the Kingdom up to 2009.

"The benefits of recycled water should influence policy makers and institutions," he said. "It will help a lot in facing the water challenges and scarce water resources."
He noted that using recycled water is commercially viable and environmentally beneficial. Over the last two years, he had seen a 25 percent increase in demand for recycled water. Sewage effluent sold in the last two years totaled 500 thousand cubic meters, "but we expect this to reach 5 million cubic meters over the next ten years."
Effluent is a valuable resource as it not only yields water, but dissolved metals and chemicals that can be removed and used in industry and agriculture, the solid waste being used for agriculture or detoxified for landfill.
Riyad Al-Ahmed, Resident Coordinator and Representative of the UNDP, supported Muallim in principle.
"Water is an economic good," he said. "We must think about it as a an economic resource."
Referring to leakages across the network, Muallim said that 20 percent of the network's water was lost in transmission, 80 percent of it from domestic connections to the mains. The loss from the 67 million cubic meters a day supplied to the network was the equivalent to the output of nine desalination plants. He added that he wanted to see that reduced to five percent over the next six years or so. In private, two expert conferees put the leakage figure very much higher, particularly in Riyadh and Jeddah.
In response to a question from the floor concerning the delayed charging of an economic price for water to users, Musallim said that he continues to believe that it is "imminent."
"It is the only way to control the ever increasing demand and to make sure that the consumer - agricultural, domestic, industrial and government."
He added that to do this "you have to make sure your services are good."
Source: Arab News

11-08-11, 11:31 AM
International Copper Association strengthens presence in Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia; May 31, 2011: International Copper Association (ICA), the apex body promoting the use and application of copper across various sectors, and AMAD, Saudi Arabia-based specialists in engineering, industry and IT, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to serve as local partners to implement the initiatives of ICA in the Kingdom.
The partnership was formalised on the sidelines of the Electricity Efficiency Forum that was held recently at Riyadh International Convention & Exhibition Center, where ICA highlighted the practical applications of copper and its importance in driving energy efficiency in Saudi Arabia.
Sanjeev Ranjan, Chief Executive Officer at ICPCI, and Saud Al- Jibreen, General Manager of AMAD, signed the agreement.
Ravinder Bhan, the regional representative of ICA said: "ICA's partnership with AMAD will strengthen our presence in Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, one of the key markets in the Middle East region with a strong focus on infrastructure development. The Kingdom faces the challenge of meeting the growing requirement of power, projected to increase at an annual 8% over the next five years. Through our partnership with AMAD, ICA will highlight the practical efficiencies that can be achieved through the use of copper in the energy and power sector of the Kingdom."
Saud Al- Jibreen said: "Saudi Arabia is witnessing significant investments in the energy sector. The use of copper in driving the projects will contribute to long-term sustainability and promoting energy efficiency. ICA will introduce a new and concerted level of awareness on the usage of copper to the Kingdom."
Representing ICA at the Electricity Efficiency Forum, Sanjeev Ranjan said: "KSA and GCC will require strong emphasis on technologies and processes that are energy efficient and sustainable. Copper can play a major role in this process, being undoubtedly the most energy efficient material and makes the best economic sense on a life cycle cost basis. This will eventually make tomorrow's systems more efficient and safe."

GCC is projected to spend US$252 billion on energy and power projects in the next few years. Saudi Arabia alone is expected to invest US$100 billion to meet the needs to electrify homes envisaged as part of plans to strengthen the Kingdom's housing infrastructure and to meet the growing demand for power.
Electricity Efficiency Forum 2011 is a scientific platform for energy leaders organized by the Saudi Ministry of Water & Electricity. The forum takes place alongside Saudi Energy 2011, the 14th International Show for Electricity, Lighting, Power Generation, Water Technology and HVAC for Saudi Arabia.
Source: Zawya

11-08-11, 11:32 AM
Target Fair Share Price for STC is at SR 52

In a report issued by Riyadh Capital Group this week, STC's International Operations are expected to contribute some 50% of the total revenues, up from the current 34%.
To achieve this, STC will invest in high growth markets, increase its stake in existing subsidiaries and seek attractive acquisition opportunities. The report also reiterated that the buy rating at SR 52 is currently under its fair price.

The Riyadh Capital report sees that the reduction of the distribution of dividends does not reflect reduction or diminishing profits as much as it is a sound decision to achieve further growth in the future. The Company's sound strategic investment in conserving cash will facilitate long-term growth.
The report projects that STC will make more acquisitions in the short term in the Middle East and will undergo reinvestment operations despite its ability to borrow after the Company announced last week a $1.2 billion Shariah compliant financing deal for its Indonesian operation AXIS to finance its mega expansion plan there.
Source: Zawya

11-08-11, 11:34 AM
SABIC and Mitsubishi Rayon announce new joint venture to build MMA and PMMA plants .....

Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (Sabic) and Mitsubishi Rayon Company (MRC) have announced the formation of a 50/50 joint venture company, to build and operate two plants - one for Methyl Methacrylate (MMA), and the other for Polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA) - at one of Sabic's manufacturing affiliates in Jubail, Saudi Arabia.
The next phase of this project will focus on the basic engineering design, completion of: supply agreements, regulatory approvals and necessary details for the JV incorporation, implementation and execution activities.
The MMA plant will be the largest ever built, with a 250,000-metric- ton annual capacity. It will use Lucite International's (LI) Alpha technology, which was first commercialised with its Alpha 1 plant which began operation in Singapore in November 2008. LI is a subsidiary of MRC acquired in 2009. The PMMA plant will be based on MRC technology and will have an annual capacity of 40,000 metric tons.
Sabic and MRC have entered into this new partnership to further their strategic goals. Sabic will broaden its specialty portfolio by drawing on the technological expertise of MRC. MRC, the global leader in the methacrylates industry, will strengthen its leadership position by utilizing readily available raw materials in Saudi Arabia and building up a new production facility in the Middle East region.
Commenting on the partnership deal, Koos Van Haasteren, Sabic Executive Vice President, Performance Chemicals, said the joint venture operation will be the basis for a strategic entry into the acrylics business. "We will be building on a breakthrough technology, with a strong partnership and integrated feedstock," he said. "Moreover, the global market for MMA is growing at a rapid pace. New applications are driving this increase in demand and we are committed to meeting our customer growth requirements worldwide."
Masanao Kambara, MRC President, commented, "This partnership with Sabic will help us to meet long term supply commitments to our MMA and PMMA customers. As the global leader we have a responsibility to ensure reliability of supply and this investment will enable us to deliver continuous improvement."
The MMA/PMMA joint venture will introduce new high-value products, manufactured for the first time in the Middle East. These will diversify materials used in industrial clusters, thus allowing expansion and further diversification in Saudi Arabia's industrial sector; creating new opportunities in the downstream industries such as construction, automotive, electronics, medical technologies and appliances. It can therefore be concluded that this project will have a positive impact on value creation in Saudi Arabia, enabling industry to move further downstream.
Source: Ame info

11-08-11, 11:36 AM
Dar Al Arkan signs a new five-year renewable agreement with Dar Al Bandar International Trading Group

Dar Al Arkan Real Estate Development Company announces that it has signed, among a recent series of agreements, a new five-year renewable agreement with Dar Al Bandar International Trading Group, one of the outstanding companies in fashion and retail trade in the Kingdom, whereby the Group leases a 10,000 square meters space in Alqasr Mall of Al Qasr project developed by DAAR in Riyadh city.
According to the agreement, signed by Mr. Abdulrahman Al Dakheel manager of Property Management Dept, on behalf of Dar Al Arkan, and Mr. Abdullah Al Ahmad, CEO, on behalf of Dar Al Bandar Group, the Group will showcase its world brand products, including Center Point, Iconic, City Max, Shoe Express, Bossini and Carpisa at Al Qasr Mall.
Mr. Al Dakheel described the success achieved by Dar Al Arkan to cause the presence of the big local and international companies in Al Qasr Mall, the biggest shopping center in the mid-south of Riyadh city and one of the biggest trading centres in Riyadh in terms of leased space, emphasizing that this step and others taken previously come under the company's strategy targeting the provision of the best world brands and integrated luxurious services for the residents of a neighborhood where such type of shopping centers is rare.
Moreover, Mr. Al Dakheel highlighted the company's strategy which aims to boost its income-generating assets with the objective of achieving sustainable financial resources that secure liquidity and enhance company's credit stance.
He ensured the attainment of a conspicuous success that will enable the company to push ahead with the implementation of its mega development projects.
Mr. Al Dakheel considered the Dar Al Bandar input as an additional appealing element that will revive the mid-southern area of Riyadh, given the world brands that would be marketed by the Group. By this, in the words of Mr. Al Dakheel, Dar Al Arkan has acquired a new strategic partner beside its other success partners.
Mr. Abdullah Al Ahmad, CEO of Dar Al Bandar International Group, on the other hand, said that its Group is in enfranchisement of many world brands like Center Point, City Max, Iconic and Home Center beside many other world brands that are highly demanded by consumers.
Mr. Al Ahmad ensured the concern of the Group to cater to all social strata, specially in the densely populated areas, and to be present in the trading centers with alluring investment opportunities. In this regard, he favorably valued the strategic location and modern features of the mall outfitted for the comfort of the shoppers that will make it one of the most prominent trading centers in the city of Riyadh.
Source: Ame info

11-08-11, 11:37 AM
Saudi Industrial and Petrochem delay merger

Saudi Industrial Investment Group (SIIG) and its unit National Petrochemical Co (Petrochem) have announced the postponement of their planned merger, Reuters has reported. The merger is to be delayed until the petrochemical company's project 'Saudi Polymers Company' starts up and reaches a stable state of production, the firms said in a joint statement.
Source: Ame info

11-08-11, 11:38 AM
Petrochem soars on postponed merger

The Saudi Stock Exchange's lead index Tasi ended up 0.04% on Monday, closing at 6,735.98 points. Shares of National Petrochemical Co., known as Petrochem jumped 6.10% to SR24.35 after Saudi Industrial Investment Group (off 0.21% at SR23.65) said it would delay a merger with Petrochem until Petrochem's Project, "Saudi Polymers Company", starts up and reaches a stable state of production. "This postponement will help provide a better valuation of the companies involved, as it will rely on actual figures," the statement to the Tadawul bourse says. Sixty-one stocks gained, 55 lost and 29 ended flat.
Source: Ame info

11-08-11, 11:39 AM
Jordan receives $400 million grant from Saudi Arabia

Amman, June 2(Petra) -- Finance Minister Mohammad Abu Hammour announced that Jordan received a cash payment of 400 million dollars as a grant from Saudi Arabia.
He said in a statement that His Majesty King Abdullah's efforts and contacts with Arab and world nations had paid off as those countries came to understand the Kingdom's economic difficulties and offer it various forms of support.
The Minister thanked Riyadh for its ongoing support of Jordan in various spheres, emphasising the close and brotherly ties between the two Kingdoms.
Abu Hammour said the grant is particularly needed for implementing capital projects on the state budget and would reflect on the level and quality of services and ease some of the budgetary strains.
The sum is part of grants projected by the 2011 budget.
Source: Jordan News Agency

11-08-11, 11:42 AM
KSA: Mortgage law a boon to first-time home buyers

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia's housing market continues to wrestle with a shortage of supply and mounting demand, which has placed home ownership affordability out of reach for many young Saudis.

While there is a shortage of housing, especially in the low and middle-income segment of the market, there are clear indicators that both the public and private sectors are working to narrow the gap, said Deep Marwaha, group director of Cityscape Saudi Arabia.

"There is a strong drive in the private sector, particularly among developers, to build housing units not only to tackle existing demand for low and middle-income housing but because it is also seen as a good source of profitability," Marwaha added.

Also, apart from the provision of affordable housing, the government's holistic approach to strengthen the economy, tackle unemployment and provide overall better business conditions will have a positive impact on the real estate market, Marwaha said.

Most importantly, he said, the fact that the Shoura Council has approved a long-awaited mortgage law will increase the capabilities of people to buy homes. The mortgage law has to be implemented through efficient regulations and supported by other market segments, of which the relevant government authorities are acutely aware.

Yasser Abu Ateek, CEO of Dar Al-Tamleek, said the passage of the mortgage law should be viewed as a pivotal event in Saudi Arabia's history. He added there is no question that this law will give rise to the birth of an industry that is dedicated to providing options for home ownership throughout the Kingdom.

Perhaps the most positive outcome will be competition among existing financial institutions and potential new entrants to the market, he said, adding this competition will benefit the consumer either in the form of availability of financing options or the reduction in profit rates.

In addition, consumers will have more protection against poor construction quality, as new regulations will dictate standards of construction that are a much needed evolution in the development of housing standards and zoning restrictions. Current government functions such as the notary process will dramatically improve as demand presses current establishments.

Secondary industries such as appraisal/inspection companies, material supply companies and others will directly benefit from legislation that will be beneficial to the consumer. "New competition will bring new standards and more available choices to consumers who are seeking home ownership," Ateek said.

The passage of the new mortgage law, however, will take three to five years to have an impact on the industry. The net effect of the law will be to increase the contribution of the financial sector to overall GDP (gross domestic product) and to raise the average standard of living of consumers in Saudi Arabia. This will be especially meaningful among young Saudis who are trying to establish themselves and provide for their families, Ateek said.

However, Fahad Al-Mutawa, CEO of Ewaan Global Residential Company, said alongside any new residential projects there should be a holistic approach that covers various aspects including sustainable investment, home financing and major infrastructure investments.

Ewaan's vision is to build modern residential communities with integrated facilities that meet the requirements of the middle-income. "We do believe there is need for more real estate developers to shift focus from luxurious and commercial projects to affordable housing," he said.

Al-Mutawa said following the orders of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah for the establishment of 500,000 low-cost housing units and the allocation of SR250 billion to implement mega projects to solve the country's housing problem, "we think it is high time for the private sector companies to assume their responsibilities in order to cater to the real estate market needs."

Khaled Tash, vice president marketing & sales for Knowledge Economic City (KEC), said the economic cities in Saudi Arabia are envisioned to be catalysts for economic as well as social development in the Kingdom.

"In Knowledge Economic City we consider the residential aspect an integral component of the overall proposition and offering. Attracting investments and economic activities requires not only world-class infrastructure, but supporting products and services as well -- and a good place to live is certainly on the top of that list. Our residential developments are planned as communities, with integrated amenities such as open space, community facilities, parks etc., and services including smart infrastructure, facility management etc., which is a new trend in Saudi Arabia and we are trying to be at the forefront of it," Tash said.

Marwaha said that Cityscape, which is holding a major event in Jeddah from June 11-13, has been active in the Middle East for 10 years and it is the biggest and only event that comprises an exhibition, a conference and a series of award ceremonies.

He said the conference attracts high-level decision makers from Saudi Arabia, the region and the entire world. It is an industry-leading platform for knowledge transfer where delegates, experts and attendees can discuss local issues with an international audience. In effect, it is a learning and networking event for the entire real estate community.

The Cityscape exhibition is an arena for companies to showcase their projects and services to an audience of local and international stakeholders, and is open to developers, leading architects, designers, consultants and all senior professionals involved in the design and construction of real estate, Marwaha said.

The response to Cityscape has been positive from the very start. "Last year, we had close to 10,000 participants and we are expecting to top that number this year," he added.

Source: Arab News

11-08-11, 11:44 AM
TVTC, GE ink MoU to train Saudi engineers

DAMMAM: A memorandum of understanding providing for a technical and vocational training program for Saudi engineers and other professionals in the energy sector was formally signed Wednesday between General Electric (GE) and the Technical and Vocational Training Corporation (TVTC) during the grand inauguration of the SR1 billion GE Energy Manufacturing Center at the Dammam Second Industrial City.
The five-year MOU was signed by Dr. Ali Bin Nasser Al-Ghafis, Governor of TVTC, and John Krenicki, GE Vice Chairman.
"The joint training program supports the national Saudization goals, and aims to train up to 100 Saudi professional engineers annually to further support the Kingdom's expanding energy sector," Krenickisaid after signing the agreement.
The first batch of the 100 Saudi engineers, who were selected from leading technical colleges across the Kingdom, graduated this month. All were offered the opportunity to join GE's energy business at the GE Energy Manufacturing Technology Center, according to Krenichi.
Al-Ghafis said the agreement with GE reflects TVTC's strategy of building partnership with the private sector to implement programs that will help meet the Kingdom's need for trained professionals and technicians.
"In addition to supporting Saudization goals, the MOU demonstrates the importance of working with leading global companies such as GE as we work towards implementing our country's Vision 2020 initiative to boost domestic manufacturing as well as exports," Al-Grafis said.
GE has expanded its energy presence in the Kingdom through public-private partnerships for the nearly 80 years of its experience in Saudi Arabia. The company has over 800 employees in the Kingdom, providing service repair support and customer training centers in power, water and oil and gas.
Source: Saudi Gazette

11-08-11, 11:46 AM
Shoura ready to discuss women driving if requested

JEDDAH: Speaker of the Shoura Council Abdullah Al-Asheikh said on Thursday, June 2, 2011, the council was ready to discuss the issue of women driving if it was asked to.
"The issue has not so far been tabled with the council for discussion," he said, adding that not every issue in the public domain was discussed by the council.
Explaining the mechanism of tabling issues for discussion at the council, Al-Asheikh said a motion must either come from the government, at least one member of the council or when the council itself expressed a desire to deliberate a certain issue, reported local Arabic daily Al-Jazirah.
Saudi writer and columnist Abdullah Abdul Sattar Al-Alami said he and a group of other people formally asked the council to discuss the issue of women driving.
"We sent our request in a letter sent by express mail on Feb. 8, 2011," he said in a statement to Arab News Thursday.
Al-Alami said the request was signed by a large number of academics, literary figures, media professionals, businessmen and women, housewives, students, government employees, a former ambassador, a former undersecretary to the UN secretary-general, a deputy CEO of a big company in the Eastern Province and a prominent member of the National Society for Human Rights.
He said the council's committee called them to discuss the issue on pleas on March 15, but the invitation was canceled the same day without any reason.
"While we appreciate the council's efforts to consider the issues of society, we urge it to review the project that we have submitted to it and contains the advantages of allowing women to drive cars and the negative effects resulting from the presence of a large number of foreign drivers socially and economically as well as from a security point of view," he said.
The issue has become the subject of hot debate since Saudi woman Manal Al-Sharif drove her car openly in the eastern city of Alkhobar and was detained for 10 days.
A number of views for and against were expressed in local media and websites. A number of women launched an Internet campaign to allow them to drive their own cars. A number of scholars and writers were in agreement that allowing women to drive was not against Islam.

Muhammad Abdullatif Al-Sheikh, a Saudi writer, said in an article in Al-Jazirah on Thursday that the ball was now in the court of the political leadership since the issue was political rather than religious.
"Islamic teachings, which did not prevent women from mounting camels and horses, would not forbid them from driving cars," he wrote.
Al-Sheikh expressed astonishment at why a decision had not been taken on the issue so far and said it was something society was more prepared to accept than ever.
Source: Arab News

11-08-11, 11:47 AM
GE opens manufacturing centre in Dammam

US conglomerate also plans to make an additional investment of 600m Saudi riyals in a special equipment unit
GE to invest SR1 billion in Kingdom
Riyadh In a major step to provide quality energy services to its customers in Saudi Arabia and the region, US manufacturer General Electric launched its Energy Manufacturing Technology Centre (Gemtech) in the Eastern province.
Prince Mohammad Bin Fahd, Governor of the Eastern province, opened the centre at Dammams second industrial city at a ceremony on Wednesday.
It was announced at the ceremony that the centre would create over 2,000 jobs, half of which will be for Saudis.
Announcement was also made about GEs plan to make an additional investment of 600 million Saudi riyals (Dh587.6 million) to set up a centre to manufacture specialised equipment for the energy industry. This would increase the total investment by GE at Gemtech to one billion riyals.
The launch ceremony was attended by more than 400 prominent personalities such as senior Saudi government officials, business leaders and top GE executives.
They included Labour Minister Adel Fakeeh, GE Vice-Chairman John Krenicki, Joe Anis, president and chief executive officer of GE Energy in the Middle East, and GEs joint venture partner Tariq Al Tamimi of Ali A. Tamimi Co.

Gemtech is considered one of the most advanced and specialised GE facilities in energy technology.
In his opening speech, Krenicki said that the centre will provide the best quality services and highly advanced technical and industrial energy solutions to GE customers not only in the kingdom but throughout the Middle East, in addition to other countries in Asia, Africa and Europe.
The centre is also expected to generate a large number of indirect jobs in addition to the 2,000 direct jobs in the industrial sectors associated with it, and thus would be instrumental in financially supporting a large number of Saudi families.
Gemtech consists of three key main components: A manufacturing facility for high-technology equipment for the power, water and oil and gas industries; a service and repair centre for advanced turbine equipment; and a training centre that will offer the latest technology and managerial courses for college students, field engineers and other power industry professionals throughout the region.
Krenicki, who is also deputy chairman of the board of Gemtech, said that the launch of the centre reflects the deep commitment of GE to developing Saudi human resources and providing Saudi youths with the necessary expertise and skills to enable them to play an active role in meeting the growing energy requirements in the region, especially in the electricity sector.
"We will provide high technology training and quality jobs to Saudi Arabias talented youth and support the kingdoms manufacturing and export ambitions. The companys objective is to make available highly advanced technologies to support our partners in confronting tough challenges," he said, adding that Gemtech would not only be a key Saudi achievement but also a major global achievement in the energy sector.
The GE deputy chief unveiled plans to make investments of 600 million Saudi riyals to reinforce its capability to manufacture specialised equipment for energy sectors such as electricity, water, oil and gas.
"With this, the total investment of GE in Gemtech will reach one billion riyals," he said.
Krenicki also announced that the centre, for the first time in the history of the region, would make available advanced turbines in the category of F featuring zero gas emission technology.
While emphasising that GEs global strategy is to be close to its customers, he said that Gemtech would translate this strategy into action as far as its customers in the kingdom and the region as a whole are concerned.
"GE is also proud of its rich heritage with Saudi Arabia and its infrastructure, a journey that started 80 years ago with the first GE turbine for oil exploration in the kingdom ... to over 500 GE turbines today supporting the generation of over 50 per cent of Saudi Arabias electricity. We are also helping the generation of over 180 million litres of clean water per day in the kingdom," he said.
Krenicki described the new centre as a regional hub for the energy industry.
"It will effectively complement and boost current energy service capability, and this facility will provide localised support in all engineering and commercial aspects, which is important for long-term sustainability.
"As Saudi Arabia forges ahead with its ambitious development plans, GE will exert all efforts in serving the kingdom to realise its vision for the year 2020," he said.
Anis said the company launched more than 22 projects in the field of energy to cope with the unprecedented growth in the region, by pumping in investments totalling more than $300 million.
Source: Gulf News

11-08-11, 11:49 AM
Saudi economy to grow at 6.5% this year, IMF says

Dubai: Saudi Arabias overall real GDP growth is expected to reach 6.5 per cent in 2011 with inflation likely to rise to about 6 per cent as a result of both domestic and imported factors, the International Monetary Fund said on Tuesday.
Masoud Ahmad, Director of the Middle East and Central Asia Department, said, "The Saudi economy has continued to strengthen in 2010 and early 2011, driven by a strong increase in non-oil GDP reflecting a rebound in the private sector supported by increased government spending and a recovery in global demand and higher oil prices as the world economy emerges from the global financial crisis."
Real GDP growth rose from 0.1 per cent in 2009 to 4.1 per cent in 2010. Profitability of corporates listed on the stock exchange also improved significantly. In 2010 net profits were 56 per cent higher than in 2009. The banking sector, he said, continues to hold capital above statutory requirements and credit growth is rising.
"With government spending and oil production now also increasing, available leading indicators point to a further strengthening of activity in the first quarter of 2011," he said.
Saudi Arabia has identified improving quality of living standards, sustainable development as key strategic goals for the 2025 vision by using oil proceeds. Looking ahead, the economy is poised for continued robust growth. Oil production is increasing further to compensate for lower output in the region. As a result, both fiscal and external balances are likely to register surpluses. Reflecting the positive momentum, overall real GDP growth is projected by the IMF to reach 6.5 per cent in 2011 with inflation likely to rise to about 6 per cent as a result of both domestic and imported factors."
Source: Gulf News

11-08-11, 11:50 AM
SR 176 million contract for Madinah villa project

JEDDAH: Knowledge Economic City (KEC) announced Wednesday that its affiliate company Al-Marifa Al-Akaria LLC, which is 50/50 percent owned by KEC and Saudi Real Estate Co. (Al-Akaria), awarded Tuesday a construction contract for 206 villas worth SR176 million to Al-Dar Al-Arabia Company.
The project, which will start immediately, represents the first phase of the residential gated community located in the northwestern area of Knowledge Economic City in Madinah, and is set for delivery in phases during 2012.
Ali bin Othman Al Zaid, chairman of both Al-Akaria and Al-Marifa Al-Akaria LLC, said the project fell under the strategic partnership between Al-Akaria and KEC, which was announced in January this year to develop and sell real estate projects in Madinah starting with this gated villa community the first gated residential community in Madinah within the boundaries of Al-Haram zone.
The gated community is the first project in Madinah by the Tadawul-listed Saudi Real Estate Company (Al-Akaria), 64.5 percent of which is owned by the Saudi Public Investment Fund.
Sami Mohsen Baroum, chairman of KEC, said the project was designed to reflect Madinahs architectural style, distinguished by quality infrastructure, attractive landscape, cafes, retail shops, vibrant community facilities, and smart connectivity.
It also features, among others, green areas, playgrounds and parks for children, walking tracks, gyms and swimming pools for men and women.
The community is planned on a total land area of 586,000 square meters and will be developed in four phases for a total of 900 villas with investments exceeding SR1 billion.
The entire project completion is targeted in 2014.
This is concurrent with the significant progress achieved on the KEC infrastructure projects that include linking electricity, water and sewage networks under various contracts valued at more than SR250 million, in addition a SR305 million contract was awarded to Al Rajhi Construction Company, part of Al Rajhi Holding Group, to develop KECs Northern Area infrastructure and site works have commenced a few weeks ago.
The project is synchronous with other projects within KECs first phase being undertaken in the next four years, including the infrastructure requirements, residential and commercial units, and social amenities.
It also features a cultural zone, which will be a destination to Madinahs visitor and inhabitants, and educational facilities comprising model schools for boys and girls, and an international university, and an integrated compound to accommodate visitors.
Nasser Hassan Naseef was appointed CEO of Al-Marifa Al-Akaria.
The company also announced an agreement with Midrar Company to supervise the implementation of the 1st phase of villas.
KEC is among the economic cities launched to enhance economic knowledge through building a master-planned city featuring integrated infrastructure that benefits from the unique characteristics of Madinah to attract knowledge and economic investments. It is also an addition to the real estate market in Madinah as it includes residential, commercial and hospitality sectors for Madinahs visitors due to its proximity to the Holy Mosque, Al Haramain High Speed Train Station, and Prince Mohammed bin Abdul Aziz International Airport.
Source: Arab News

11-08-11, 12:36 PM
Saudi cement firms register 16% increase in sales

JEDDAH: Cement companies in Saudi Arabia recorded 16 percent increase in sales in April, the highest in more than a year.
Domestic cement sales grew to 4.2 million tons in April, compared with 3.61 million tons in the same period last year, said analysts from NCB Capital. Private projects, notably those for housing and schools, are boosting demand for the basic material.
"Last year, people were very wary. The last thing they wanted to do was commit money, but now the outlook is looking brighter," said Farouk Miah, an analyst at NCB Capital in Riyadh. "There is also a lot of activity for plans to develop the rest of the region, in Makkah, Madina and Jeddah," he added. Officials in Riyadh last week instructed the municipality to allocate 19.52 million square meters of land for housing projects in the city and 18 others and townships in the Riyadh province.
Saudi Arabia is expected to need two million homes by 2014 to keep up with the demands of a population that has quadrupled in 40 years. Shares of cement companies have already had a decent run this year, up an average of 24 percent on the same period last year and outperforming the country's benchmark Tadawul All-Share Index, which is up 2 percent in the same period.
"Saudi Cement, Southern Province Cement and Yamama Cement should benefit from the demand because they are the ones who have the biggest volume.
"Smaller cement companies can't benefit because they can't produce much more."
Source: Saudi Gazette

11-08-11, 12:37 PM
Saudi Arabia: SR 1bn GE technology center to creat 2,000 jobs

DAMMAM: Eastern Province Gov. Prince Muhammad bin Fahd on Wednesday opened General Electric's SR1 billion GE Energy Manufacturing Technology Center, which is popularly known in the energy industry by its acronym GEMTEC.
The launch, at Dammam's 2nd Industrial City, was hosted by GE Vice Chairman John Krenicki, and in attendance were more than 400 high-level government officials and dignitaries, including Labor Minister Adel Fakeih, key GE executives and GE's joint venture partner Tariq Al-Tamimi of Ali A. Tamimi Co.
"Our global strategy at GE is to be close to our customers," said Krenicki in his opening remarks.
"With its location right here in Dammam, the center will support us in providing quality services to our customers in the Kingdom and across the region. Because of the advanced technology it services, the center will support customers as far as Europe and Africa as well," he said.
More importantly, he announced the center will create over 2,000 jobs.
"This center will provide high technology training and quality jobs to Saudi Arabia's talented youth and support the Kingdom's manufacturing and export ambitions," he said. Fifty percent of the work force will be Saudis.
"GE is proud of its rich heritage with Saudi and its infrastructure, a journey that started 80 years ago with the first GE turbine for oil exploration in the Kingdom ... to over 500 GE turbines today supporting the generation of over 50 percent of Saudi Arabia's electricity. We are also helping the generation of over 180 million liters of clean water per day in the Kingdom," he pointed out.
He described the new center as a regional hub for the energy industry.
"It will effectively complement and boost current energy service capability, and this facility will provide localized support in all engineering and commercial aspects, which is important for long-term sustainability," he said.
The new center is being described as one of the largest of its kind by the company worldwide. It consists of three key main components: A manufacturing facility of high-technology equipment for the power, water and oil and gas industries; a service and repair center for advanced turbine equipment; and a training center that will offer the latest technology and managerial courses for college students, field engineers and other power industry professionals throughout the region.

"As Saudi Arabia forges ahead with its ambitious development plans, the opening of the GE Energy Manufacturing Technology Center underscores GE's commitment to be closer to our customers who trust us to deliver the latest technologies and services across the full spectrum of the energy landscape," said Krenicki.
The new technology center is developed in association with Ali A. Tamimi Co., GE's long-term joint venture partner. Both companies have been working closely together for almost 60 years.
Tariq Tamimi said: "We see this new center as a regional hub for the energy industry which will effectively complement and boost current energy service capability. The Dammam facility will provide localized support in all engineering and commercial aspects, which is important for long-term sustainability."
The center will have the capability to manufacture high technology equipment supporting the power generation, electrification and oil and gas industries. It is part of GE's expanded investment in energy equipment manufacturing which includes critical components for GE gas turbines for the generation of electricity, control units for the reliable transmission of electricity, low and medium voltage motors for heavy industries as well as drilling and production equipment for the oil and gas industry.
In line with the Kingdom's focus on boosting public private partnerships to drive Saudi human resource development, the advanced training center hosted within GE's new facility will offer the latest technology and managerial courses for college students, field engineers and other power industry professionals throughout the region.
The technical education that will be offered will be key to providing young Saudi and regional talent with the skills and qualifications to contribute to the Kingdom's growing energy sector. GE training efforts include comprehensive co-op programs with leading Saudi universities, including King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals, Prince Mohammed bin Fahd University as well technical colleges under the Technical and Vocation Training Corporation (TVTC).
According to Joe Anis, president and chief executive officer of GE Energy in the Middle East, the center comes at a time when the region is undergoing an era of unprecedented growth. "Saudi Arabia experienced 4 percent GDP growth in 2010 and the expected GDP growth for 2011 is to be north of this figure. This growth has led to also a record rise in demand for power and water. The demand for power in Saudi Arabia is expected to double and water to triple by 2020," he said at a press conference before the official inauguration.
It was a proud moment for Hisham Bahkali, country executive, GE Energy in Saudi Arabia. "As a Saudi national, I am proud of the promising career opportunities that the center offers young talented Saudi nationals to support our country's continued growth," he said. "All this is thanks in good part to the innovative partnerships we have established over the years with the country's finest universities and technical colleges."
Source: Arab News

11-08-11, 12:39 PM
Saudi Arabia: Plan to set up 121 new hospitals

JEDDAH: The Health Ministry intends to establish 121 hospitals and renovate 66 hospitals in various parts of the Kingdom during the next five years, said Dr. Muhammad Khasheem, deputy minister for planning and development.

He said the ministry's quality development program would begin from its staff. "We want to improve the standard of our workers in order to provide better services," he said. He disclosed plans to establish a new research center north of Riyadh.
Khasheem made this statement while opening a quality training program for staff of laboratories. Employees of 166 laboratories from different parts of the Kingdom took part in the program, which was held in Riyadh.
Ibrahim Al-Omar, director general of laboratories and blood banks at the ministry, emphasized the need for developing a culture of quality in health service.
Source: Arab News

11-08-11, 12:40 PM
Land allotted for new Jeddah industrial city

JEDDAH: The Jeddah Mayoralty has allocated 25 million square meters of land south of the city to establish a new industrial city. The new industrial city managed by Saudi Industrial Property Authority (Modon), will house a large number of new factories.
Adnan Mandoura, secretary general of the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JCCI), said the new industrial city would contribute to increasing the number of industries in the city by 30 percent.
"According to preliminary estimates there will be about 400 industries in the new city, especially those specialized in computers, information technology and communications," he added.
Mandoura said the JCCI spearheaded the new industrial city following demands by businessmen to establish new industries. "We had presented an application to Second Deputy Premier and Interior Minister Prince Naif in this respect about one and a half years ago," he said.
He said the new industrial city would create thousands of new job opportunities to Saudis. It will also help acquire more technology in various industries. "We expect setting up of giant industries in the future."
The present industrial city in Jeddah, which has undergone five phases of development, currently houses more than 1,000 industries, which produce a variety of consumer goods including foodstuffs, plastic products, household utensils and medicines.
Abdul Khaliq Saeed, an industrial investor and a member of JCCI, said he was planning to establish industries for perfumes and medicines in the new city. "Establishment of new factories in the Kingdom will help reduce imports," he pointed out. He said the Saudi Industrial Development Fund has given soft loans worth SR6.5 billion to new industrial projects in the Kingdom.
Source: Arab News

11-08-11, 12:43 PM
Time bar on expats 'may hit economy'

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia's plan to limit foreign worker visas in an effort to boost local employment will have negative effects on the economy and could lead to higher inflation, Citi's Middle East Chief Economist Farouk Soussa said Wednesday.
Companies in the Kingdom have until Sept. 7 to achieve a prescribed quota of Saudi employees, under a new program announced by Labor Minister Adel Fakeih on Tuesday.
"There is the possibility that many private sector companies will be shut down as a result of strict implementation ... their possible failure will likely have an impact on economic growth, as the private sector goes through an adjustment period," Soussa said in a research note.
The Kingdom's new program may also lead to higher inflation as businesses try to attract Saudis to jobs that they tend to refuse by offering them higher wages than they would offer foreign laborers.
"This will raise the cost base of doing business in Saudi Arabia, eroding local corporate competitiveness and raising domestic inflation," Reuters quoted Citi as saying.
John Sfakianakis, chief economist at Banque Saudi Fransi, told Arab News: "Certainly if the measures are fully implemented, the impact on productivity will be felt in those sectors and companies that would be most affected by the new measures. Productivity is very important and Saudi Arabia has to make important headway on this, especially for private and public sector productivity and efficiency gains. This is crucial as Saudi Arabia's growth potential has to rise via productivity gains,"
He said certain sectors could be impacted more than others but it all depends how the law is implemented. For instance, expatriate workers account for 90 percent of employees in the construction sector, and 80 percent in retail. It is unlikely that private sector firms will be able to find Saudi employees willing to take low-paid jobs in these sectors over the medium term.
"Overall, the prospect of further complications in Saudi labor regulations will add to business uncertainty, which may also impact foreign investment. The government has made some positive steps toward foreign investors in recent years, which resulted in a twentyfold increase in FDI (foreign direct investment) from 2004 to 2009. This trend is at risk of reversing," Sfakianakis said.
Jarmo T. Kotilaine, chief economist at the National Commercial Bank, said the main concern here is naturally the extremely heavy reliance of the Saudi private sector on expatriate labor, especially low-cost labor.
One of the consequences of this dependency has been the emergence of highly labor-intensive but ultimately fairly inefficient modes of production. The relatively ample availability of low-cost labor has in turn engendered a high and growing dependency on low-cost labor. It is clear that this pattern is not the only economically viable arrangement available to these companies, but it is equally obvious that the current environment offers few economic incentives for companies to voluntarily change their way of doing things. It is this deadlock that the government's policy seeks to address and to do so for a very legitimate reason, namely the desire to create more job opportunities for Saudis in the private sector. This, ultimately, is a necessary precondition for ensuring sustainable growth into the post-oil era.

He said the international experience from a number of countries suggests that overcoming entrenched practices in the labor market can only happen by combining the proverbial carrot with the stick. Such a combination has in many cases produced positive results. "Saudi Arabia has in recent years pursued a number of laudable reforms which have engendered growth and thereby new job opportunities. It has also invested very heavily in education. In spite of this, the balance of employment in many sectors has not changed meaningfully. Under the circumstance, new approaches merit consideration," Kotilaine added.
He said it is doubtless the case that some companies will struggle to adjust to the new policies. But just as obviously, many will adjust and thereby boost their competitiveness and efficiency. "I believe that a great deal of good can be accomplished by publicizing the success stories, specifically structures and solutions that have enabled companies in different sectors to increase their numbers of Saudi employees. Just as much as the goal of the government's policy is to boost sustainable employment opportunities, it needs to reward companies that do this well. With this in mind, it is important to enable as many companies to succeed as possible," Kotilaine added.
Nitaqat, meaning categories in Arabic, was launched earlier in May and classifies firms by green, yellow and red colors according to how they fulfill "Saudization" rules. It also sets penalties for noncompliance.
Source: Arab News

11-08-11, 12:45 PM
Saudization House signs strategic partnership agreement with SCOPI

JEDDAH: Lapauw International has received a major contract in Saudi Arabia.

The counterparty is BinLadin Group, a construction company based in Jeddah, with subsidiaries and outstanding references across the Middle East.
The BinLadin Group has ordered 60 Combi 2000 type industrial washing machines from Lapauw.
The machines are designated for a new compound to be built for pilgrims on their way to Makkah.
"This is the largest contract that has ever been signed in our sector," said Philippe D'heygere on behalf of Lapauw International.
This commercial deal was preceded by nine months of negotiations through Lapauw's sales office in Dubai.
The 60 industrial washing machines will have to be delivered by the end of this year.
The Saudi contract has a counter value of three million euros (or $4 million) and therefore immediately accounts for one-sixth of the annual turnover.
Lapauw International, formerly a family business founded in 1945, was sold to Philippe D'heygere (formerly of Stow International) in the third generation of the company.
Source: Arab News

11-08-11, 12:46 PM
Jordan's membership in GCC win-win deal: Judeh

Amman - Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh on Tuesday said Jordan and Kuwait enjoy strong and deep ties in various domains.
At a meeting with visiting Kuwaiti reporters and editors-in-chief of Kuwaiti dailies, Judeh said the two countries see an eye-to-eye on various Arab, regional and international issues.
The minister noted the recent visit of His Majesty King Abdullah to Kuwait and his meeting with Emir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Jaber Al Sabah, stressing that the visit helped cementing ties.
Jordanians, Judeh said, appreciate Kuwait's stances towards the Kingdom as well as Kuwaiti investments, which hit $8 billion. These investments underline Kuwaiti investors' confidence in Jordan's security, stability and investment-friendly environment, he added.
The foreign minister reiterated the importance of Jordan's expected membership in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). He welcomed the recent GCC leaders' declaration, in which they welcomed Jordan's request to join the six-nation grouping.
Jordan's request to join the GCC is not a new issue, Judeh said, adding that the two sides enjoy deep-rooted common grounds and identical political stances. He stressed that the Kingdom's membership is a win-win situation for all sides.
Source: Jordan News Agency

11-08-11, 12:49 PM
MODON Installs Smart Traffic Lights Worth SR 17.4 Million in Riyadh Second Industrial City

Riyadh - The Saudi Industrial Property Authority (MODON) has concluded a contract worth SR 17.4 million to install smart traffic lights in Riyadh Second Industrial City within the framework of its projects to rehabilitate the City.
The Authority's Director General Dr. Tawfiq Al-Rabiah pointed out in a press statement today that the City has been witnessing a number of municipal projects in the fields of water, drainage system, roads and lightning.
It is noteworthy that the Second Industrial City in Riyadh is considered as the largest industrial complex in the Middle East and the number of industrial projects in the City amounts to more than 1,000 employing 120,000 workers.
Source: Saudi Press Agency

11-08-11, 12:51 PM
Sheikh Saleh Kamel to invest $ 2m in Tatarstan

JEDDAH: Sheikh Saleh Kamel announced that he will invest $2 million in the Republic of Tatarstan's Technology Investment Fund which will have an initial capital of $10 million. The capital will then be increased to $100 million. Officially, the establishment of the Fund is expected to be announced at Kazasummit 2011.
Kamel, the chairman of the Council of Chambers of Commerce of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and chairman of the Islamic Chamber of Commerce of Jeddah, heads the delegation from the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry that is currently visiting Tatarstan. During a meeting with the President of Tatarstan Rustam N. Minnikhanov, they discussed the prospects of the Republic to become a major center of Islamic Finance in Russia.
Earlier, Sheikh Saleh Kamel proposed opening a bank in Tatarstan, which would work within the Islamic tradition. The global financial crisis has shown everyone that such banks are less exposed to the risks, he said.
During the meeting with Linar Yakupov, the chairman of Small and Medium-size Enterprises Development Committee of Tatarstan (Russian side) presented a number of investment agriculture, construction and Halal industry development projects.
Tatarstan is actively engaged in cooperation with the Arab countries and believes that the visit of the business delegation will give a major boost to future bilateral relations.
Source: Saudi Gazette

11-08-11, 12:52 PM
US giant to invest extra $ 150m in Saudi manufacturing hub

US giant General Electric has announced it will invest an additional $150m in a new regional manufacturing hub in Saudi Arabia to build equipment for the energy industry.
The hub will support more than 2,000 GE jobs, in addition to catalysing the growth of ancillary industries that support the facility, the company said in a statement.
The announcement came as General Electric opened its Energy Manufacturing Technology Centre in Dammam, which offers services to the energy value chain in the wider Middle East region, Europe and Africa.
The new centre is one of the largest of its kind in the world and shows GE's commitment to Saudi Arabia, Ali Saleh Al Barrak, president and CEO of Saudi Electricity Company (SEC) said.
It includes a manufacturing facility of high technology equipment for the power, water and oil and gas industries; a service and repair centre for advanced turbine equipment; and a training centre that will offer the latest technology and managerial courses for college students, field engineers and other power industry professionals throughout the
Al Barrak added: "As part of GE's commitment to Saudi Arabia, we are looking forward to this high quality integrated service facility where GE can repair advanced technology gas turbine-related parts locally, rather than send them out of the country, to save time and cost.
"We are also pleased to see the realization of GE's promise to expand the training of young Saudis and giving them the opportunity to know more about the operation and maintenance of the GE units with the advanced training center. We look forward to the future of more cooperation and partnership with GE."
John Krenicki, vice chairman, GE said: "As Saudi Arabia forges ahead with its ambitious development plans, the opening of the Energy Manufacturing Technology Centre underscores GE's commitment to be closer to our customers.
"The additional investment we have announced is designed to accelerate the localisation of our capabilities, boost the manufacturing and export sectors of the kingdom and empower Saudi youth with promising career opportunities. This centre is another step forward in our energy partnership with the region and a milestone towards its continued growth and success."
The new technology center is developed in association with Ali A Tamimi Co, GE's long-term joint venture partner.
Source: Arabian Business

11-08-11, 12:54 PM
Speculation may have added $ 30 a barrel to crude, HSBC says

HSBC Holdings said speculative trading may have added $30 a barrel to oil prices last month as a gain in futures holdings by commodities funds outweighed higher production by Saudi Arabia, OPECs biggest producer.
An increase in Saudi output starting in November, after New York-traded crude rose above $80 a barrel, failed to stabilize prices even before the loss of production from Libya in the wake of political turmoil in the North African nation, according to a report dated June 1.
"Part of the reason may be speculative activity," HSBC analysts Sonia Song and Paul Spedding said in the report.
The number of oil futures contracts held by funds has doubled since February 2010 and nearly tripled since September 2009, the analysts said, citing data from the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Based on the correlation between the increase in holdings and the price of oil, the HSBC analysts estimate that speculative activity may have added up to $30 a barrel to prices from October to May.
Crude traded at $99.76 a barrel at 3:45 p.m. Singapore time today in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Price have risen 37 percent the past year.
The Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries spare capacity, excluding Libya, is around 3.6 million barrels a day currently, HSBC estimated. The increase in production by Saudi Arabia suggests the Middle Eastern nation is seeking lower prices, the analysts said.
"We expect that it is wary of deflating what it sees as a speculative bubble too quickly," Song and Spedding said in the note.
OPEC will probably maintain production levels when it meets in Vienna on June 8, resisting calls to ease the pressure on the global economy from oil at $100 a barrel, according to a survey of analysts by Bloomberg.
The group wont announce any supply increase and will keep its formal quota unchanged for an eighth consecutive meeting at the June 8 gathering, said 27 of the 30 analysts surveyed.
OPECs 12 members are Algeria, Angola, Ecuador, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya, Nigeria, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Venezuela. Iraq is outside the quota system.
HSBC also raised its forecast for Brent crude this year by 34 percent to an average $110 a barrel and by 8.4 percent for 2012 to $90 a barrel, according to the report. Brent traded at $114.25 today on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange.
Prices may gain on risk of supply curbs in the Middle East and North Africa, HSBC said. Oil has climbed 21 percent in London and 9 percent in New York this year as unrest toppled leaders in Tunisia and Egypt and spread to Libya, Algeria, Bahrain, Iran, Syria and Yemen.
Source: Arabian Business

11-08-11, 12:56 PM
Saudi Arabia's tourism revenues exceed $ 8 bn in 2010

HSBC Holdings said speculative trading may have added $30 a barrel to oil prices last month as a gain in futures holdings by commodities funds outweighed higher production by Saudi Arabia, OPECs biggest producer.
An increase in Saudi output starting in November, after New York-traded crude rose above $80 a barrel, failed to stabilize prices even before the loss of production from Libya in the wake of political turmoil in the North African nation, according to a report dated June 1.
"Part of the reason may be speculative activity," HSBC analysts Sonia Song and Paul Spedding said in the report.
The number of oil futures contracts held by funds has doubled since February 2010 and nearly tripled since September 2009, the analysts said, citing data from the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Based on the correlation between the increase in holdings and the price of oil, the HSBC analysts estimate that speculative activity may have added up to $30 a barrel to prices from October to May.
Crude traded at $99.76 a barrel at 3:45 p.m. Singapore time today in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Price have risen 37 percent the past year.
The Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries spare capacity, excluding Libya, is around 3.6 million barrels a day currently, HSBC estimated. The increase in production by Saudi Arabia suggests the Middle Eastern nation is seeking lower prices, the analysts said.
"We expect that it is wary of deflating what it sees as a speculative bubble too quickly," Song and Spedding said in the note.
OPEC will probably maintain production levels when it meets in Vienna on June 8, resisting calls to ease the pressure on the global economy from oil at $100 a barrel, according to a survey of analysts by Bloomberg.
The group wont announce any supply increase and will keep its formal quota unchanged for an eighth consecutive meeting at the June 8 gathering, said 27 of the 30 analysts surveyed.
OPECs 12 members are Algeria, Angola, Ecuador, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya, Nigeria, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Venezuela. Iraq is outside the quota system.
HSBC also raised its forecast for Brent crude this year by 34 percent to an average $110 a barrel and by 8.4 percent for 2012 to $90 a barrel, according to the report. Brent traded at $114.25 today on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange.
Prices may gain on risk of supply curbs in the Middle East and North Africa, HSBC said. Oil has climbed 21 percent in London and 9 percent in New York this year as unrest toppled leaders in Tunisia and Egypt and spread to Libya, Algeria, Bahrain, Iran, Syria and Yemen.
Source: Arabian Business

11-08-11, 12:58 PM
Saudi Arabia eyes16 nuclear reactors by 2030

Saudi Arabia is planning to build 16 nuclear reactors over the next 20 years, according to a top official.
Abdul Ghani bin Melaibari, coordinator of scientific collaboration at King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy, also said that arrangements were being made to offer the project for international bidding.
He made the remarks during the Gulf Environment Forum, which concluded in Jeddah on Tuesday.
Each reactor may cost around $7 billion, he told the Gulf Environment Forum, Saudi daily Arab News reported on Wednesday.
"After 10 years we will have the first two reactors. After that, every year we will establish two, until we have 16 of them by 2030," said the official in comments published by the paper.
Melaibari said the nuclear reactors would cover about 20 percent of the kingdoms needs for electricity.
Earlier this month, the kingdom's water and electricity minister, Abdullah Al Husayen, said Saudi Arabia needed to invest SR330bn ($88bn) over the next 10 years as demand for electricity continues to grow 7-8 percent annually.
He said the water and power sector would need investments of SR500bn in the next ten years, and that demand for water was growing by more than seven percent per year.
Source: Arabian Business

11-08-11, 12:59 PM
KEC affiliate awards construction contract in Saudi Arabia

Al-Marifa Al-Akaria, an affiliate of Saudi Arabia's Knowledge Economic City (KEC) has awarded a construction contract for 206 villas worth SR176m to Al-Dar Al-Arabia Co, Saudi Gazette has reported. The project is the first phase of the residential gated community located in the north-western area of Knowledge Economic City in Madina, and is set for delivery in phases during 2012. Category: Retail
Source: Ame info

11-08-11, 01:14 PM
GE sees Saudi energy revenues doubling in 5 years

General Electric expects to double energy revenue from Saudi Arabia in the next five years by increasing sales of gas power turbines, curbing the amount of oil needed locally to produce electricity.
With oil prices around $100 a barrel, Saudi Arabia and other oil producers in the Middle East will try to free more of their crude for exports rather than burning it to generate electricity, GE Vice Chairman John Krenicki, who heads the Fairfield, Connecticut-based companys Energy Infrastructure division, said in an interview.
"The GDP here is growing by 5 to 6 percent and there is a huge need to be energy efficient, so I see no reason why our business will not double in the coming five years," Krenicki said in Dammam, Saudi Arabia, where the company started up a $250 million plant to build and repair turbines for power generators.
GE has 500 installed gas turbines in Saudi Arabia that generate about half of the countrys electricity, he said. Saudi Arabia is GE Energys biggest equipment customer.
Saudi Arabias energy demand may double in 10 years, and GE stands to retain its current market share by continuing to provide more efficient power-generation equipment, Krenicki said.
Saudi Arabia has an overall generating capacity of about 45,000 megawatts, according to the state utility Saudi Electricity Company. Thats likely to climb to 75,000 megawatts by 2018 and more than 120,000 megawatts by 2030, according to the utility.
The worlds largest crude exporter may need to burn as much as 3 million barrels of oil a day by 2020 from 800,000 barrels of now to generate power if it doesnt improve efficiency, Ziyad Al Shiha, the executive director of Aramco Power Systems, told reporters May 15 at a conference in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia.
"My job is to see the future and 10 years from now the biggest trend in this region will be energy efficiency," Krenicki said. "Using hydrocarbon fuel more efficiently for power generation will lead to a big market for GE."
In addition to boosting gas-turbine sales in Saudi Arabia, GE will focus on winning contracts from the oil, petrochemical, and mining sectors, Krenicki said.
Saudi Aramco, the worlds largest state-owned oil company, plans to double its power-generating capacity to 4,000 megawatts by 2015 to supply all the electricity it expects to need for crude and natural-gas production.
The additional capacity wouldnt be part of the national power grid and would make Aramco independent in power by 2015, Aramcos Al Shiha said.
GE, the worlds biggest provider of power-generation equipment and services, said today it had agreed to sell four of 9FB gas turbines to Harbin Electric to use at wind and solar projects in China.
Two of the turbines will incorporate so-called FlexEfficiency technology that enables them to ramp up twice as fast in response to fluctuations in wind or solar power.
Source: Bloomberg

11-08-11, 01:15 PM
Saudi firm buys stake in Jordan's largest power generator

A Saudi Arabian company said on Saturday it has completed a deal to take a stake in Jordan's Central Electricity Generation Company (CEGCO).
ACWA Power International, which develops privately owned and financed power generation and desalinated water production plants, said it had inked an agreement with Jordan Dubai Capital (JDC) which owns a 65 percent stake in Enara Energy Investments, which in turn holds 51 percent ownership of CEGCO.
ACWA Power, which first expanded outside Saudi Arabia with a deal in Oman last year, said the transaction values 51 percent of CEGCO at $144m.
CEGCO is the largest power generator in Jordan, with seven power generation complexes nationwide totalling about 1,700 megawatts (MW) of power capacity, meeting around 59 percent of the country's current electricity consumption.
"We are excited about this acquisition, after establishing in Saudi Arabia a strong asset base with a contracted production capacity of about 6,485MW," said Mohammad Abunayyan, chairman of ACWA Power.
"This acquisition marks our entry into the second market in line with our regional expansion plan, following last year's successful acquisition of Barka I IWPP in the Sultanate of Oman. The stable investment climate of Jordan and the socio economic growth potentials give us a perfect platform to build our regional growth ambitions."
Upon completion of the acquisition, ACWA Power will own a 65 percent controlling stake in Enara, while Malakoff, the Malaysian electricity company, and the Athens-based Consolidated Contractors Company, each will continue to own 25 percent and 10 percent respectively.
CEGCO will continue to be owned 40 percent by the Government of Jordan; 9 percent by the Social Security Corporation of Jordan and 51 percent by Enara.
Paddy Padmanathan, president and CEO of ACWA Power, said that power generation capacity in Jordan needed to double, adding that ACWA Power is currently prequalified for power projects in Jordan.
Source: Arabian Business

11-08-11, 01:17 PM
Why apartments are not popular among nationals

JEDDAH: To have houses of their own, many Saudis have, in recent years, purchased apartments in buildings, something that was initially very popular, but with the absence of a law specifying who is responsible for the buildings overall maintenance and utility charges the popularity of such houses has dropped considerably.
According to a survey carried out by Al-Eqtisadiah newspaper, about 75 percent of the owners of such homes which also include certain types of villas expressed regret over purchasing them. On the other hand, 25 percent of people said they were happy with their homes and appreciate the opportunity to become homeowners.
The survey was carried out among some 50 owners of residential apartments and villas who share their utility services for periods ranging from two to five years. Around 85 percent of those interviewed supported the idea of a law that identifies who is responsible for what. This, they say, would enable them to safeguard their interests as well as give them a longer period of access to utility services at nominal rates.
Yaser Abu Ateeq, executive chairman of Dar Al-Tamleek, said people do not like purchasing such apartments because of the poor way they are built and the absence of a law governing who is responsible for the maintenance of things like elevators and bills to dispose sewage.
"Buildings in the Kingdom usually last between 30 and 40 years. However, in other countries, they can last for up to 100 years. This is mainly because of the existence of laws governing the quality and standards of construction," said Abu Ateeq. "Enacting such laws would stop the growing problems between the two parties and ensure proper maintenance of these buildings at reasonable rates. This would also help create job opportunities," he added.
Abdullah Al-Ahmari, chairman of the real estate committee at the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said such projects are facing huge problems in the absence of a proper law governing such buildings. "These projects lack the working mechanism even though they are beneficial for many low-income citizens. The formation of such federations is crucial for the success of such projects. The municipality is mainly responsible for enacting such laws," he said, adding that a number of residential towers in Jeddah have been turned into commercial offices because of the absence of such a law.
Al-Ahmari underlined the need to ensure the participation of the private sector in enacting and implementing such a law. "They should encompass all types of residential units and villas without any exception. There should be specific terms and conditions after taking advantage of the experiments undertaken by other countries in this respect," he said, adding that this would resolve most problems and legal disputes.
Realtor Muhammad Al-Khoja said such a law would help increase awareness among owners of residential apartments to take adequate measures to ensure quality and standards when constructing buildings. They would also help solve around 95 percent of problems that exist with regard to such residential apartments.
Aymen Peshawri said a law such as this could not materialize with the absence of a construction code that sets a specific standard of construction. "Most buildings are lacking in their quality of construction, thus increasing the cost of maintenance," he said, while suggesting a proposal to open a special department for projects with common utility projects.
Talal Jameel, executive chairman of Talal Khaleel Trading and Contracting Group, said that the Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs should enact a law to form a federation of owners with provisions binding on owners of all residential apartments with common utility services.
"This would help solve about 90 percent of legal disputes involving such properties," he added. Jameel carried out the first study on the formation of such a federation after studying the experiences of several countries.
Source: Arab News

11-08-11, 01:19 PM
STC plans big buys in MENA region

RIYADH: Saudi Telecom Company (STC) will embark on a major acquisition drive in the Middle East region in the short term, according to a top financial expert.
Riyadh Capital Group in latest report said STC will also undergo reinvestment operations despite its ability to borrow after it announced recently a $1.2 billion Shariah deal for its Indonesian operation Axis to finance its mega expansion plan in that country.
The report also pointed out that STCs global operations would contribute some 50 percent of the total revenues, up from the current 34 percent. To achieve this, the STC will invest in high growth markets, increase its stake in existing subsidiaries and seek attractive acquisition opportunities, the Riyadh Capital Group said in its report.
The report noted that the buy rating at SR52 is currently under its fair price.
Riyadh Capital further said the cut in the distribution of dividends does not reflect reduction or diminishing profits as much as it is a sound decision to achieve further growth in the future.
The companys sound strategic investment in conserving cash will facilitate long-term growth, the report added.
Source: Saudi Gazette

11-08-11, 01:20 PM
Saudi spending to rise by $ 48 billion this year

Saudi Arabia's National Commercial Bank has said the kingdom's public expenditure is expected to rise by SR180bn ($48bn) in 2011 due to a massive financial package for citizens announced by King Abdullah, Emirates 24-7 has reported. "The government's 2011 budget plan of reducing overspending and ensuring long-term fiscal sustainability has been somewhat disregarded after the regional political turmoil as King Abdullah set to spend almost SR500bn ($135bn)," NCB said. Despite the surge in spending, the budget will record a surplus of around 3.2% of GDP as the average price of Arabian light is expected to reach elevated levels coupled with higher production by the kingdom, it said.
Source: Ame info

11-08-11, 01:22 PM
Saudi Electricity teams up with Showa to build power plant

Saudi Electricity Co and Japanese refiner Showa Shell Sekiyu are planning to build a 500 kilowatt solar power plant in the south of the kingdom, Reuters has reported. Showa Shell will own the project for 15 years or less, after which the assets will be transferred to SEC, the state-utility said.
Source: Ame info

11-08-11, 01:23 PM
Lending to private sector grows 6.9% in Saudi Arabia

According to a report by Samba Financial Group, private sector credit has continued to track higher, albeit gradually, as the Saudi Arabia's well-capitalized and liquid banks respond to increasing demand from an expanding private sector, Arab News has reported. Bank lending to the private sector grew by 6.9% in the twelve months to April. This represents a reasonable pickup on the 5.7% growth registered in December, particularly given the backdrop of regional political uncertainty, Samba said in its Economic Monitor for June.
Source: Ame info

11-08-11, 01:24 PM
Accor expands presence in Saudi Arabia

Accor has signed a management agreement with Saudi-based Al Mohammadia Almotahda for Real Estate Investment to develop a multi-segment property in Jeddah. The deal involves an ibis hotel and an Adagio hotel, both of which are set to open in 2014. Ibis Jeddah will be the brand's third hotel in the kingdom, after ibis Riyadh and Ibis Yanbu, both to open next year. The hotel will feature 180 well-equipped rooms, while the Adagio City Aparthotel will have 80 serviced apartments targeting mainly the long-stay customers as well as the local leisure clientele.
Source: Ame info

11-08-11, 01:32 PM
'E. coli poses no threat to Saudi Arabia'

RIYADH: The Ministry of Agriculture has moved to reassure the public that the E.coli "cucumber bacterium" outbreak that has struck Europe poses no threat to the Kingdom.
"The Kingdom imports no vegetables from Europe," said Minister Abdul Rahman Balghunaim in light of the announcement Saturday of an import ban.
"That's why there are no fears. Measures in both the legislation of official bodies and at entry points into the country through which fresh agricultural products come are in place to protect the public."
Balghunaim said the ministry was in constant touch with the Saudi Food and Drug Authority (SFDA) and that emergency measures were ready to confront "any problem that occurs in the world".
Saudi Arabia, he said, produces 85 percent of its own vegetable consumption. "Most of our imports come from Turkey, Egypt, Syria, Yemen and Jordan," he said.
He added that the ministry is making serious steps towards the production of organic produce and that the initial phases of the strategy include selecting a group of farmers and providing them with proper training.
A further group will be selected in the second phase and 20 organic farm projects will be introduced in various parts of the country.
"Currently we are concentrating on training and building the skills needed for specialized farmers in organic farming management and in a research center in Qassim," Balghunaim said.
The ministry held a workshop in Riyadh Sunday with the collaboration of the Saudi Organic Farming Society and the FIBL Institute from Switzerland, which specializes in organic farming research, to look at organic farming activity in the Kingdom and the marketing of organic products and discuss a plan for the development.
Source: Saudi Gazette

11-08-11, 01:33 PM
Saudi Arabia: Ministry signs contract for water works

RIYADH: The Minister of Water and Electricity has signed a number of contracts for water and sewer works across the country at a cost of SR112 million.
The contracts, signed by Minister Abdul Rahman Al-Hussayen with Saudi firms, entail sewage plants and water networks in Qatif, water networks and operations and maintenance works for plants in Al-Quriyat, a dam construction in Dhibaa', and manual and pipe wells in towns and villages in the north of Makkah.
Other contracts were signed for water facilities in Najran, irrigation projects in the town of Al-Ramaliya and the village of Al-Mutairifi, dam works in Riyadh, and drinking water supplies in various regions of Najran.
Source: Saudi Gazette

11-08-11, 01:34 PM
Solar plant to rise in Farasan Island

JEDDAH: Saudi Electricity Company (SEC) and Showa Shell Sekiyu have signed a memorandum of understanding to develop a 500kW PV plant in Farasan Island, Saudi Arabia. The pilot system, located at the Farasan Diesel Power Generation Plant of SEC, will be the first remotely installed plant in the Kingdom to be grid connected when it comes online in July. Annual electrical output is estimated at 864,000kWh.
Project installation on the site was carried out by Solar Frontier, a subsidiary of Showa Shell Sekiyu, using its CIS technology, which is ideally suited to the arid climes of Farasan Island. Solar Frontier will also provide year-round technical support through its newly established Saudi Arabia Office, although primary responsibility for operation and maintenance rests with SEC.
"The completion of this pilot plant paves the way for intensive collaboration on solar initiatives between Showa Shell Sekiyu, Solar Frontier, and leaders in both Saudi Arabian and Japanese government and industry," Solar Frontiers senior vice president of global marketing and power generation, Atsuhiko Hirano, said. "Our soon-to-be established office in Saudi Arabia will work closely with SEC as the plant comes on line and will serve as our hub for expanding development projects in Saudi Arabia going forward."
The solar array will eliminate the need for 28,000 barrels of diesel over its lifetime, according to Solar Frontier, which is a subsidiary of Showa Shell Sekiyu. Diesel is now shipped to Farasan to generate power for the popular diving spot.
"The sunlight thats available in the region is one of the highest around the world," Hirano added. "The electricity demand matches very well with solar power."
Saudi Arabia has 52 gigawatts of installed capacity and will need to increase that to 120gw in the next two decades if it is to meet projected demand, Dr Abdullah Al-Shehri, the governor of the Electricity & Co-Generation Regulatory Authority, said.
"We have a good level of solar radiation in the country, and we think it can contribute not only to producing solar energy but also clipping the peak load," he added.
Source: Saudi Gazette

11-08-11, 01:35 PM
IDB contemplates future resource mobilization strategy

As the $3.5 billion Islamic Trust Certificates Program of the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) nears completion, the multilateral development bank (MDB) of the Muslim world, is faced with the dilemma of introducing a new program or increasing the ceiling of the existing one or deciding on other ways to raise funds for its future resource mobilization purposes.
The IDB has thus far issued a $400 million debut sukuk; followed by a $500 million sukuk and an $850 million sukuk in 2009; an $500 million sukuk in 2010 and the recent $750 million in May 2011, thus bringing the total volume of IDB sukuk offerings to date to $3 billion - the largest volume of sukuk issuances by any supranational. The IDB's ceiling of its current Trust Certificate Issuance Program is $3.5 billion. This leaves $500 million of issuances to come.
According to market sources, this remaining tranche could be raised either through another sukuk issuance or through a private placement. However, the IDB's funding requirements for 2011 is estimated at $1.4 billion, and with the current $750 million sukuk, this leaves another US$650 million to be raised.
The crucial meeting will take place during the upcoming IDB Board of Governors Annual Meeting which is scheduled to be held at the end of this month in Jeddah. Some of the senior members of the MDB such as Saudi Arabia, by far the largest equity subscriber of the IDB, argue that the bank is sufficiently capitalized and that armed with its zero risk weighting for an MDB by the Basel Committee and its AAA rating by all three top international agencies Moody's, Standard & Poor's and Fitch - it should raise funds from the capital markets.
At the same time, the Board of Governors meeting this year is expected to sound out member countries regarding callable capital. The suggestion is that there should be 50 percent cash callable in 2012-2013 if any motion to that effect is supported and carried at next year's Board of Governors meeting. The only problem is with the transmission of funds from a minority of member countries that are subject to sanctions such as Iran, Sudan and Libya. The IDB's current authorized capital is 30 billion Islamic Dinars (ID), (one ID is equivalent to one Special Drawing Right (SDR) of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Its subscribed capital is ID15 billion.
No doubt Abdul Aziz Al-Hinai, vice president, finance, IDB was delighted with the outcome of the deal, "which achieved our main objectives for the transaction to build on the success of last year's deal to establish another liquid benchmark and further position IDB in line with its Supranational peer group. I am particularly happy to see a number of new accounts come into an IDB trade for the first time, and would like to thank the lead managers for delivering a deal that met all our objectives."
But, market players suggest that the AAA-rated IDB could do much better in terms of its resource mobilization strategy especially in the professionalism and articulacy of its presentation to investors which primarily include central banks, sovereign wealth funds (SWFs), pension funds and financial institutions.
For instance, they cannot understand why the IDB pre-announced that it was raising $1 billion though a sukuk issuance under its $3.5 billion Trust Certificates Program, when in reality it was forced to downsize the issuance to $750 million. According to one market source who attended one of the road shows, the total applications for the issuance was very disappointing and hardly reached $900 million. The presentation too, he added, was a big disappointment and not befitting a major MDB such as the Islamic Development Bank, which in terms of capitalization, for instance, is way above its peers including the World Bank.
In fact, this issue of pre-announcing a $1 billion issuance backfired in the previous offering in 2010 when the IDB had to downsize to $500 million. This simply adds to the market perception that somewhere along the line the IDB Sukuk issuance strategy is ill-thought out, rushed and bordering on the amateurish.
The latest issuance like the previous one was restricted by its pricing of MS (mid swap) plus 35 basis points (bps), which compared to peer institutions, remains fairly expensive. For instance, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) has just closed a 3-year $1.5 billion bond with a pricing of LIBOR (London Interbank Offered Rate) minus 7, which translated into a 5-year offering such as the IDB one would most likely be priced at LIBOR minus 2.
The profit rate of the IDB sukuk is 2.35 percent paid semi-annually with a maturity date of May 25, 2016. The ADB bonds have a coupon rate of 0.875 percent per annum, payable semi-annually and a maturity date of June 10, 2014, and were priced at 99.767 percent to yield 23 basis points over the 1 percent US Treasury notes due May 2014.
The IDB however did learn one lesson from its 2010 issuance. This time it appointed HSBC, Deutsche Bank, BNP Paribas and Standard Chartered Bank as lead arrangers, which meant that the distribution was more evenly spread between the Middle East, Asia and Europe. For the $500 million sukuk last year there was hardly any subscription from European institutions because there were no banks appointed as lead managers with a distribution reach in Europe. As such both Deutsche Bank and BNP Paribas were omitted in the 2010 issuance.
This time round CIMB Investment Bank was not appointed as a co-lead arranger, perhaps to the chagrin of the Malaysians. It is usually a policy of the IDB to involve institutions from its member countries as far as possible. CIMB is probably the only investment bank with the proven track record in the Islamic fixed income and debt market to compete with the likes of the global banking majors. Its distribution reach however is largely confined to Malaysian institutions and to a limited extent to the GCC and ASEAN region.
The issue, however, saw strong participation from the Asia and the MENA region with good interest from European and US offshore investors. In terms of allocation, the distribution was diversified with 53 percent allocated to MENA, 26 percent to Asia, 16 percent to Europe and 5 percent to the Americas, respectively. In the previous sukuk, Europe's allocation was less than 5 percent.
There are also some questions related to the IDB's road show strategy. This time round it comprised 17 days taking in 11 cities including for the first time Frankfurt and Paris. The IDB might stress that the first leg was more to do with investors meetings as opposed to road shows, but market sentiments are that this strategy is much to long. It may suggest the fragility of the IDB brand as an issuer of commercial paper in the international markets. The obvious comparison is with peer institutions which do not have such extended road shows.
The implication here is that the IDB has still some way to go to building itself as an issuer with an internationally recognized brand which would mitigate the reliance on any major road show, because orders can be settled with a mere phone call because investors would be so comfortable and familiar with the risk of the institution.
The IDB has too other challenges in its sukuk program. Market players suggest that the papers are not very liquid due to the lack of secondary trading and perhaps the pricing. Even on the London Stock Exchange it can take sometimes take two weeks for an investor to offload the trust certificates, which is of no use to any institution in urgent need of raising liquidity.
The IDB is also having difficulties locating new assets. It has about $1 billion worth of assets remaining which is not enough for a future Trust Certificates Program. This despite the fact that the asset pool for the existing $3.5 billion Program comprises a mix of 50 percent assets and 50 percent receivables such as Ijara (leasing) and Istisna (forward sale construction and equipment finance) receipts.
Another distribution challenge is for the issuances to reach the direct US dollar market, which is by far the largest market in the world. However, this will raise new questions because US investors, in compliance with their government's regulations, will need to know where and how the proceeds of the Trust Certificates will be utilized. For instance, if the money is used for development projects say in Syria, Iran or even Sudan, then that would raise serious issues for US investors in IDB papers, because of the US sanctions and restrictions on relations with these countries. One market player however stresses that the IDB should not shy away from such challenges. The aim should be to articulate and promote the IDB as an issuer par excellence and on par with other major international issuers.
According to the IDB, overall the deal saw strong participation from real money accounts and official institutions "providing credence to IDB's credit strength". In addition, the deal also saw first time participation from other Supranational institutions, which were not identified. Some 48 percent was allocated to central banks/official institutions including the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA), Bank Negara Malaysia and the Central Bank of Kuwait; followed by a 33 percent allocation to banks; 15 percent to fund managers and 4 percent to retail investors.
The Trust Certificates are listed on the London Stock Exchange and Bursa Malaysia.
Source: Arab News

11-08-11, 01:37 PM
Saudi Arabia: SAGIA strives to boost competitiveness

JEDDAH: Amr Al-Dabbagh, governor of Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA), on Sunday emphasized his organization's efforts to strengthen the competitiveness of both public and private sectors.
Addressing the Social Development Forum at Jeddah Hilton, he emphasized the need to activate the role of national and foreign companies in boosting social and economic development.
"The Saudi Responsible Competitiveness Index is one of the many initiatives launched by SAGIA to enhance the competitiveness of both public and private sectors in the Kingdom," the governor told the forum, which was opened on Saturday.
He said SAGIA wanted all government departments to adopt "competitiveness" as their common language, especially those departments that are related to investment.
Al-Dabbagh called for greater efforts to remove the obstacles facing the private sector by comparing investment procedures in the Kingdom with global best practices and taking steps to develop them.
He also referred to SAGIA's efforts in the service of Saudi society in cooperation with a number of strategic partners. "Our policies related to foreign investors are based on incentives not force."
Saudi Arabia, which is a member of World Trade Organization, offers a variety of incentives to national and foreign companies. "We are committed to facilitating investment procedures."
Al-Dabbagh said the percentage of Saudis working in companies licensed by SAGIA has reached 27. "At the same time, it's not more than 10 percent in other private companies."
He said SAGIA in association with King Khaled Charitable Foundation developed international standards to assess the performance of companies, especially in the areas of training manpower, protecting environment and ensuring transparency.
He also spoke about SAGIA's 10x10 vision, which aims at achieving rapid and sustainable economic growth in Saudi Arabia, capitalizing on the Kingdom's competitive strengths as the global capital of energy and as a major hub between East and West. Its strategy that is already in play is expected to draw investments worth SR300 billion and create more than a million jobs.
Source: Arab News

11-08-11, 01:38 PM
Saudi Arabia considering proposal to finance construction of SR 600m Albanian parliament

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia is currently discussing a proposal to finance the construction of a new SR600 million parliament complex in Albania, a nation with a predominantly Muslim population in southeast Europe.
The Kingdom, in a gesture of solidarity and support for Albania, is willing to finance the parliament project, which will cover an area of 28,000 square meters in the capital city of Tirana, said a senior Albanian parliamentarian in Riyadh Sunday.
Dr. Sherefedin Shehu, chief of the economic & finance committee of the Albanian parliament, unveiled some details of the parliament project and gave an overview of Riyadh-Tirana relations in an interview on Sunday. Shehu, accompanied by three other Albanian parliamentarians, were speaking on the sidelines of a business meeting hosted by Waruz (Food and Rice Trading Company). Albanian Ambassador Admirim Banaj and Waruz Sales Manager Amir Qayyum were also present.
Referring to his talks with senior Saudi officials including Shoura Council Chairman Abdullah Al-Asheikh, Shehu said "details of the plan to finance the parliament project would be announced during the visit of Albanian Parliament Speaker Jozefina Topalli Coba to Riyadh within a few months from now."
Shehu also held talks with Minister of Health Dr. Abdullah Al Rabeeah, Minister of Higher Education Dr. Khalid Al-Anqari and Managing Director of Saudi Fund for Development (SFD) Yousef I. Al-Bassam.
Asked about new Saudi aid and loan facilities extended to Albania, he said his countrys Parliamentary Committee on Economy has approved the agreement between the Albanian government and the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) for financing construction of the SR1.4 billion Tirana-Elbasan Highway Project.
"The IDB is providing the core financing of SR862 million," he added. "This project is also being supported by the SFD and a few other Gulf institutions," said the Albanian parliamentarian.
"The total length of the Tirana-Elbasan Highway will be 28 kilometers, which will in fact shorten the driving distance between the two large cities of Albania by 30 km because of the tunnels to be carved out of the mountains," said Shehu.
He pointed out that the old road linking Tirana with Elbasan was a curved narrow passage through slanted mountain surfaces. He said the Albania state budget is already overstretched because of the massive need of funds to support necessary plans and projects.
To this end, Shehu sought the support of the Kingdom to co-finance the SR2.2 billion "Rural Roads Project of Albania," which will improve the quality of life in rural areas there.
He pointed out that the IDB and the OPEC Fund for Development together with a few international organizations including the World Bank have pledged support for this project.
The SFD, he said, had also committed to co-finance this road project. The two sides are also working on proposals to recruit workers from Albania such as nurses and skilled workers, said the Albanian parliamentarian. Riyadh and Tirana are also looking to boost cooperation in the education sector.
Source: Arab News

11-08-11, 01:40 PM
We are laboratory of knowledge, not gas station of world: Alireza

RIYADH: Despite the unrest in the region, the Kingdom forges ahead because of its stability and solid economic foundation, said Commerce and Industry Minister Abdullah A. Zainal Alireza in Riyadh on Sunday.
The minister was inaugurating the meeting of the Saudi-British Joint Business Council at the headquarters of the Council of Saudi Chambers (CSC).
Khaled Al-Seif led the Saudi team, while Baroness Symons headed the visiting group. British Ambassador Sir Tom Phillips was also present. "Saudi Arabia is moving away from being a gas station of the world toward a sophisticated laboratory of excellence, innovation and knowledge," the minister stressed.
"The real wealth of any nation is its human capital. Saudi Arabia is investing in this asset at an unprecedented rate. Education has consistently received more than a quarter of our national budget. We are building two schools a day. At the end of 2006, there were only eight government funded universities, and by the end of 2009 the number jumped to 25."
The number of Saudi students studying abroad has increased to 80,000. The number of Saudi students in the UK has increased from 6,000 to 20,000, he added.
Comparing the atmosphere in the Kingdom to the turmoil in Libya, Syria and Yemen, the minister said that instead of introducing security measures to meet the wave of crises in the region, Saudi Arabia introduced social and economic reforms.
"Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah opted to reinvest in the Kingdom's future and fulfill the needs of citizens," he noted. The investment, he said, totaled 22 billion and covers various sectors such as housing development, expansion of social insurance and other social service-support programs for needy students through the Ministry of Education. There was a recent increase of 15 percent in salaries for government employees, he added.
"We have excellent understanding and cooperation between the people who govern and are being governed," the minister said, adding that this is the key to the progress and prosperity of the Kingdom.
"The welfare of Saudi citizens has always been the prime concern of King Abdullah. The monarch is loved and appreciated by his people because of his wisdom and foresightedness to meet the needs of citizens and take the country's economy to greater heights."
"Our focus is on building intellectual capital, a knowledge-based economy and a continuation of our industrialization process," Alireza said. However, he added that at the core of this would be the development of the education system.

Referring to the Saudi-British relations, he said the partnership is strategic, solid and would continue to evolve over the years.
"The partnership is built on shared values, mutual respect and a commitment to work together," he said.
Currently, he said, there are 200 joint ventures between the two countries. British investment in the Kingdom is around 12 billion, while Saudi investment in the UK has reached 3.6 billion.
Baroness Symons said the meeting would re-energize bilateral relations between the two countries.
Source: Arab News

11-08-11, 01:42 PM
Air Arabia Egypt to strat flights to Riyadh and Dammam in Saudi

Alexandria, June 5, 2011: Air Arabia Egypt announced today that it will start direct services to the Cities of Riyadh and Dammam, KSA from the carriers main hub in Burj Al Arab International Airport, Alexandria. The airline will start flights to Riyadh on June 9, 2011 and to Dammam on June 11, 2011.
Roundtrip flights will operate twice per week between Air Arabias Egypt base in Alexandria and the Saudi capital. The flights depart Alexandria on Thursdays and Saturdays at 06:45 and arrive in Riyadh at 10:35. The return flights depart Riyadh at 11:15 (local time) and arrive in Alexandria at 13:10 (local time).
Roundtrip flights between Alexandria and Dammam will operate thrice a week. The flights depart Alexandria on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays at 22:50 and arrive in Dammam at 02:50. The return flights depart Dammam at 03:30 (local time) and arrive in Alexandria at 05:45 (local time).
Commenting on the new service, AK Nizar, Head of Commercial at Air Arabia Group said: "We are delighted to announce the start of our flights to the cities of Riyadh and Dammam. Air Arabia Egypt now serves the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia with 5 weekly flights, offering travellers between the two countries a new option for air travel. We are confident the new services between Riyadh, Dammam and Alexandria will offer customers great value for money to travel between the two cities as well as contribute to the growth of travel and tourism between the two countries."
Air Arabia Egypt only flies new aircraft of the type Airbus A320. On its entire network, Air Arabia Egypt offers full economy class with a spacious average seat pitch of 32 inches and a free baggage allowance. Food and beverages can be bought during the flight.
Source: Zawya

11-08-11, 01:43 PM
Saudi private sector job creation at 18 month peak

Job creation in Saudi Arabia accelerated to its fastest rate for a year and a half in May, according to the latest Saudi British Bank HSBC Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI).
PMI data for May signalled a further improvement in business conditions across the Saudi Arabian non-oil private sector.
Output and new business continued to grow sharply, the index showed, while job creation accelerated to the fastest rate for a year-and-a-half.
However, overall input cost inflation picked up to an unprecedented rate.
The Index registered 62.6 in May, almost unmoved from April's reading of 62.7, signalling a strong improvement in non-oil private sector operating conditions.
Total new orders taken by Saudi non-oil private sector firms continued to increase during the latest survey period, linked to better economic conditions, advertising campaigns and company expansions.
Despite slowing on the month, growth remained above the series trend while new export work rose at an accelerated rate due to an improvement in foreign demand, particularly from GCC countries, the index said.
Charges rose again in May, and at a near-survey record pace. Anecdotal evidence suggests that tariffs were increased principally to pass through input cost inflation to customers.
Total costs also rose at an unprecedented rate in May, with the acceleration reflecting a sharper rise in staff cost inflation.
Salaries and wages increased as firms both rewarded employees for good company performance and compensated them for rising living costs, the index added.
Source: Arabian Business

11-08-11, 01:45 PM
Haramain Train overhead section to open soon in Jeddah

The first major overhead section of Saudi Arabia's Haramain Train near Jeddah Airport is expected to open 'within days,' Saudi Gazette has reported. The final phase of the project is scheduled to be open for use prior to this year's Haj season. Work has also begun on the five stations for the train in Jeddah, Makkah, Madinah, King Abdullah Economic City and Rabigh.
Source: Ame info

11-08-11, 01:46 PM
Saudi Arriyadh awards warehouse contract

Saudi property developer Arriyadh Development Co has awarded a SR59.3m ($16m) contract to a local firm to build cooling and freezing warehouses in southern Riyadh, Bloomberg has reported. Arriyadh will finance the project, which will be completed within 12 months, from its own resources, the Riyadh-based company said.
Source: Ame info

13-08-11, 10:11 PM
Prince Alwaleed signs new Egypt farm land deal

Egypt settled one of a string of disputes over state land sales under deposed President Hosni Mubarak, revising the terms of a farmland deal with Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, the Egyptian government said on Tuesday.
The Saudi billionaire signed a new contract with the Egyptian government for land allocated to his Kingdom Agricultural Development Holding (KADCO), the cabinet said.
Land sale scandals have torn through Egypt's once booming housing sector and gathered pace after Mubarak's overthrow in a popular uprising.
Courts have scrapped land contracts for Egypt's two largest property developers, Talaat Moustafa Group and Palm Hills and two former government ministers have been sentenced to jail over graft in state land sales.
KADCO, part of Alwaleed's Kingdom Holding Co, bought 100,000 feddans (420 million sq m) at Toshka in southern Egypt in 1998 as part of a project to irrigate reclaimed agricultural land near the Sudanese border.
Egypt's public prosecutor said in April that the sale violated the law and the Saudi company later agreed to give back 75,000 feddans, according to Egypt's government.
The new deal stipulates that the company will own 10,000 feddans while cultivating another 15,000 feddans that it would take ownership of at a later date, a government spokesman said in April.
Egyptian Prime Minister Essam Sharaf described the new deal as a sign the government intended to correct "mistakes" in investment and trade deals signed by previous governments, a cabinet statement said on Tuesday.
"This deal signing ... reflects the government's approach to encouraging Arab and foreign investments through amicable negotiation to reach satisfactory solutions for both parties that agree with the law," Sharaf said.
The government has said it was setting up a committee to settle problems surrounding investment contracts.
Dubai property developer Damac said last month it had filed an international arbitration case against Egypt over a land dispute and the conviction of its chairman and owner Hussain Sajwani.
Source: Reuters

13-08-11, 10:13 PM
Starwood announces plans for two more Saudi hotels

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide on Tuesday announced plans to further expand its presence in Saudi Arabia with the opening of two new hotels.
The properties will add more than 450 rooms to the holy city of Madinah, the company said in a statement.
Owned by Saudi Brothers Commercial Company, the Sheraton Madinah Hotel and Four Points by Sheraton Madinah are both scheduled to open in the fourth quarter of 2012.
Guido de Wilde, senior vice president, Starwood Hotels & Resorts, Middle East, said: "Starwood's continued expansion throughout Saudi Arabia underlines our commitment to continued growth in this region.
"This beautiful city is rich in culture and history and we are confident that the facilities and services offered by our new hotels will be appreciated by the pilgrims visiting the holy city."
Situated in the heart of the Holy city, both hotels will be only 150 metres from the Prophet's Mosque, ensuring maximum convenience for hotel guests.
The Sheraton Madinah Hotel will comprise 297 rooms while the Four Points by Sheraton Madinah will offer 178 rooms.
Starwood Hotels & Resorts currently operates 10 hotels in Saudi Arabia under the Sheraton, Westin and Le Meridien brands.
The Sheraton Madinah Hotel is Starwood's fourth Sheraton hotel in the kingdom while the Four Points by Sheraton Madinah will mark the debut of the brand in Saudi Arabia.
Source: Arabian Business

13-08-11, 10:14 PM
Fund for supporting SMEs launched

JEDDAH: The launch of a fund to support small and medium enterprises (SMEs) was announced during the opening of a two-day Social Responsibility Forum here Tuesday.
Makkah Gov. Prince Khaled Al-Faisal opened the forum in the presence of Jeddah Gov. Prince Mishaal bin Majed and Chairman of the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry Saleh Kamil.
Addressing the conference, Prince Khaled highlighted the government's efforts for social and economic development by carrying out number of giant welfare projects.
He emphasized the need for promoting a culture of social responsibility in the society by encouraging social responsibility programs of companies and organizations.

"Saudis have to play an important role in the qualitative improvement of social development in order to prove that the Islamic system is the best for all times and places," he said.
More than 300 delegates are attending the forum.
Source: Arab News

13-08-11, 10:15 PM
Alshaya, H&M open retail training scheme in Jeddah

JEDDAH: Alshaya International Trading Co., and H&M, one of the world's leading international fashion brands, has teamed up in Saudi Arabia to establish a seven-week retail-training scheme for Saudi women.
The scheme that started in April ran in partnership with the Future Institute of Higher Training for Ladies and aimed to provide women wanting to work in retail with the chance to learn about the sector and develop skills supporting them in future retail career opportunities. Alshaya owns and operates the H&M brand franchise in Saudi Arabia.
With sustained growth predicted for the retail sector in the Kingdom, demand for skilled employees is set to rise and there is a shortage of local candidates. H&M's new training scheme has helped to bridge that gap and is focused specifically on women.
The new course provides an introduction to Saudi women wishing to work in a fashion retail store, but who have little or no experience or knowledge of the sector.
Through a mix of practical and theoretical training, it aims to equip students with all the skills and experience they need to succeed.
Students study the principles of fashion retailing, including product knowledge, customer services, selling skills, store operations and visual merchandising.
In addition, they have been trained in general skills that are important in all working life, including communication skills and problem solving.
As part of the course, which was delivered in English by Arabic speaking tutors, students have also undertaken in-store work placements where they were able to put the skills they learnt into practice.
Following completion of the course, students who can successfully fulfill the necessary requirements will be supported in finding employment, both in H&M stores and in stores managed by other retail companies operating in Saudi Arabia.
Around the world, H&M has been involved for many years in projects that focus on women and education.

Its goal in supporting this training initiative is not only to increase the number of female staff within its own business, but also to increase the number of women working in the overall marketplace. H&M currently operates 17 stores in the Kingdom.
Source: Arab News

13-08-11, 10:16 PM
Speedy completion of key drainage projects ordered

JEDDAH: Makkah Gov. Prince Khaled Al-Faisal on Tuesday urged the speedy completion of Al-Samer and Um Al-Khair rain and floodwater drainage projects in a meeting at the Makkah governorate office on Tuesday.

Al-Faisal met with the subcommittee overseeing the two projects. He urged them to speed up work to finish the projects before the next rainy season. Al-Faisal said the Jeddah municipality had already completed the acquisitions of 85 percent of lands and real estates located on or near the floodwater path in Al-Samer and Um Al-Khair districts.
The authority is waiting for the owners of the remaining 15 percent to come forward with relevant papers of land ownership so they can be compensated. The meeting also included a presentation covering the project's workflow as well as a review of the Jeddah municipality's emergency projects to solve the problem of floodwater drainage in the area.
The meeting was attended by Jeddah Gov. Prince Mishaal bin Majed, Jeddah Mayor Hani Abu Ras and Maj. Gen. Adel Zamzami, director general of Civil Defense in Makkah province.
Source: Arab News

13-08-11, 10:17 PM
SR 17,000 for housemaid's iqama transfer

RIYADH: If you are seeking to employ a Filipino or an Indonesian housemaid, get ready to dish out up to SR17,000 for the transfer of her iqama as recruitment charges have increased dramatically in the past few days.
The shock has come as a result of the problem in the recruitment of maids in Jakarta and Manila, according to Al-Riyadh daily. A number of investors in the labor supply business have put the blame on unlicensed agents who are taking advantage of the current situation and increasing their fees. Their aim is to earn as much as possible from Saudi families which are in desperate need of housemaids before the month of Ramadan, say experts in the industry.
This has come at a time when Saudis are waiting for the unified list of recruitment companies -- a move that was announced by the Ministry of Labor. The list will unify the charges and put an end to the suffering of citizens in addition to bringing all the offices under one umbrella.

Authorities have urged citizens not to submit visa applications for maids from Indonesia until all arrangements are finalized.
Eid Al-Saad, an investor in the recruitment business, said one of the main problems facing the offices in Indonesia was that an application for a maid is not processed until $500 is paid. This has given middlemen an excuse to increase their commission from $200 to $1,500.
He said the current situation was not encouraging the recruitment of maids from Indonesia, which is continually insisting the minimum salary for a maid should be SR800 a month, while maids in Gulf countries are paid an average of SR700. Al-Saad warned people against fake advertisements that claim to provide maids immediately. He said that it sometimes takes more than six months to bring a maid.
Yahya Maqboul, head of the Recruitment Committee at the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said the problem with bringing Indonesian maids would continue until after Ramadan.
Source: Arab News

13-08-11, 10:18 PM
Diabetes in Saudi Arabia might grow by 283% in two decades: Experts

RIYADH: Two British experts on diabetes have warned that the number of diabetics in Saudi Arabia will grow by 283 percent by 2030 due to changes in lifestyle and diet leading to increasing levels of obesity.
"For this reason it is necessary for Saudi nationals to be more careful about their lifestyles, especially as it pertains to the food that is readily available here and which they can well afford," said Philip David Home, professor at Newcastle University, during a news briefing recently in Riyadh.

He added that diabetes and heart disease are the two main causes of death in the Kingdom, which has the second highest rate of diabetes in the GCC after the UAE.
Asked how to control the disease, he said that regular physical exercise, wholesome dietary habits and healthy lifestyle are some of the best ways to protect people in the Kingdom from developing Type 2 diabetes -- a health disorder forerunner to many other medical complications.
Harry Howlett, a London-based specialist in diabetes research and education, outlined the role of metformin in the management of patients with Type 2 diabetes.
It is used as a first-line treatment of Type 2 diabetes in obese people. It is also used when diet and exercise fail to control blood sugar levels. It can also be used in combination with other anti-diabetic medicines to provide better control of blood sugar.
"Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of the disease. Numerous people in the Kingdom have been diagnosed with this kind of disease and many more are not aware that they are at high risk," Howlett said.
A report said that diabetes can cause 39 percent of artery diseases, 32 percent of diabetic patients suffer from kidney diseases that lead to kidney failure and 23 percent suffer from eye diseases.
Source: Arab News

13-08-11, 10:20 PM
Saudi debt seen slightly lower in 2011

Strong oil prices to boost Kingdom's foreign assets by $85 bln
Strong oil prices will ally with higher crude output to depress Saudi Arabia's public debt slightly in 2012 although an expected fiscal surplus could slash the debt by more than half, according to a local investment firm.
But the surge in oil revenue will sharply boost the country's foreign assets as they could gain a staggering $85 billion by the end of 2011 compared with a year earlier, the Riyadh-based Jadwa Investment said in a study.
From SR167 billion at the end of 2010, Saudi Arabia's public debt is projected to shrink by only about SRseven billion to SR160 billion at the end of 2011.
The decline is one of the slowest rates over the past 10 years although the world's oil powerhouse is expected this year to earn one of the highest incomes since it began exporting crude more than 70 years ago.
The debt dived by nearly SR58 billion in 2010 when the Kingdom recorded a fiscal surplus of around SR109 billion. It was also cut by just SR12 billion through 2009 although the budget suffered from a deficit of SR87 billion.
Jadwa said the debt could remain unchanged at SR160 billion at the end of 2012 despite the expected high income during that year.
It gave no reason for its projection about a slight fall in 2011 debt but in a previous study, a key Saudi bank said the largest Arab economy appears to be intentionally keeping part of the debt as a key money supply tool.
It noted that Saudi Arabia, sitting atop 20 per cent of the world's proven oil deposits, slashed its public debt by nearly 25 per cent through 2010 although it has sufficient overseas financial resources to completely eliminate the debt.
"Even though the government has more than enough reserves to pay off the entire debt, it opted out from such direction, especially that the cost of servicing the debt is currently low," National Commercial Bank (NCB) said.

"We do still believe that the Saudi government, justifiably, prefers rather to spend this money to finance expenditure plans at home or to diversify investments abroad. Evidently, it is important to keep a level of sovereign debt as a monetary tool to manage money supply and as a benchmark for pricing corporate bonds and sukuk (Islamic bonds)," said NCB, Saudi Arabia's largest bank.
Saudi Arabia has used strong oil prices over the past 10 years to tackle its festering public debt caused by massive fiscal deficits due to weak crude prices, low oil production by the Kingdom and high public spending during the 1990s.
Official data showed the sovereign debt climbed to its highest ever level of SR689 billion at the end of 1999 before plunging to nearly SR660 billion at the end of 2002. It remained almost unchanged by the end of 2003 before it began its rapid slide in the following years to reach SR614 billion at the end of 2004.
At the end of 2005, the debt plummeted to SR475 billion and continued its plunge to reach about SR267 billion at the end of 2007, nearly 18.7 per cent of Saudi Arabia's nominal GDP of SR1.430 billion.
The debt was sharply cut in 2008 after Saudi Arabia recorded its highest ever budget surplus of SR590 billion as a result of a surge in average oil prides to an all time high of around $95 a barrel.
The decline depressed the ratio of the debt to the GDP from more than 100 per cent to 65 per cent in 2004 and only 13.4 per cent at the end of 2008. But it climbed again to around 16.3 per cent in 2009 due to a sharp drop in GDP because of lower crude prices and output.
Jadwa put the ratio at around 10.2 per cent in 2010 and forecast it to slump to nearly 8.2 per cent in 2011 and 2012.
Its figures showed the surge in Saudi Arabia's income would boost its official reserves to a record high of $605 billion at the end of 2011 from nearly $520 billion at the end of 2010. It expected them to hit another peak of $655 billion at the end of 2012 despite a massive financial handout for citizens announced by King Abdullah over the past week, involving spending of nearly $135 billion.
The report projected the country's revenue to soar to SR916 billion this year from SR735 billion in 2010 and spending to SR821 billion from SR627 billion.
The increase will create an actual fiscal surplus of SR95 billion against a budgeted deficit of SR40 billion, it said.
The report based its high revenue forecasts on an average Saudi oil price of $95.8 a barrel in 2011, the highest ever. The Kingdom's crude production is also expected to climb to 8.8 million bpd from 8.2 million bpd in 2010.
Source: Emirates 24/7

13-08-11, 10:21 PM
Saudi state auditing body under fire

Parliament says body failed to collect waste funds of SR25 bn
Saudi Arabia's appointed parliament devoted most of its debate on Monday to criticize the country's state auditors for their failure to collect waste funds of nearly SR25 billion ($seven billion), newspapers reported on Tuesday.
Shura council said public projects worth in excess of SR31 billion ($8.2 billion) were not carried out in fiscal year 2008-2009 although funds were allocated to government departments for such purposes.
The council said the General Auditing Bureau (GAB) has failed in its task to combat mismanagement of public funds and one member called for either "developing GAB or dissolving it."
"At their debate on Monday, Shura members launched a virulent attack on GAB, saying it had failed to collect nearly SR26 billion in public funds that were not used by some government offices and officials," Almadina newspaper said.
"Around 555 projects in fiscal 2008-2009 worth nearly SR31 were not implemented...it seems that some government parties are still committing the same mistakes while the Bureau is not doing enough."
The council members said GAB must upgrade its systems and staff and coordinate with the country's first anti-corruption body created two months ago on orders by King Abdulla of Saudi Arabia.
Newspapers quoted one member, Mlohammed Al Quwaihis, as attacking key state-owned companies such as Saudi Aramco and the Saudi Telecommunications Company (STC) for wasting funds.
He accused these firms of losing part of their investment abroad, adding that some of them invest overseas without informing their shareholders.
"Some of these companies have suffered from losses in investments partly owned by citizens...we wonder on what basis these companies invest abroad without notifying their shareholders," he said.

"We call on GAB to regularly review the closing accounts for these companies.....over the past 10 years, the Bureau has highlighted the same problem and its reports are the same...the Bureau must take a tough position to stop the waste of public funds...either it develops itself or it is dissolved."
In a statement presented to King Abdullah last year, GAB reported massive financial offences at public establishments in the Gulf Kingdom.
GAB said some government offices are involved in illegal spending of public money while others are holding up projects or do not comply with budgets.
GAB's Chairman Osama Al Faqih also told the Monarch that many pubic institutions have failed to heed a cabinet decision and set up in-house auditing units to ensure discipline and curb financial malpractices.
Faqih said there was a pressing need for all public establishments to implement that decision to ensure financial discipline, governance and transparency.
GAB itself was locked in a week-long heated debate with Shura last year over a presumed wastage of a staggering $29 billion (Dh106 billion) in public money
The debate between the two bodies and other government institutions coincided with moves by the Gulf Kingdom to promote itself as one of the best and safest investment destinations within a long term diversification programme intended to reduce its reliance on unpredictable oil sales.
Source: Emirates 24/7

13-08-11, 10:22 PM
Riyadh's real estate market set for strong demand

RIYADH: Jones Lang LaSalle, a major international real estate investment and advisory firm, on Tuesday released its latest "Riyadh Real Estate Market Overview - Q1, 2011" covering the Riyadh office, residential, retail and hospitality market segments. According to the report, the Riyadh real estate market is expected to experience strong demand on the back of improving economic indicators like oil prices and real GDP growth now projected at 5.7 percent. This positive outlook is further strengthened by the government's recently announced stimulus package that aims to invest significant public capital into a broad range of public sector developments and infrastructure projects.
Considering all real estate asset classes in Riyadh, the residential sector appears most promising because of strong national population growth combined with increasing number of expatriates entering the country to work in 'hot' sectors like construction, health care and education. Consequently, rental growth is rising faster than inflation. In terms of development, more than half of the stimulus package is allocated to housing in order to build 500,000 additional housing units for Saudi families. Market sentiment has been encouraged by the Shoura Council's mortgage law reforms, which will stimulate demand and ultimately result in prices appreciation.
John Harris, co-head of Jones Lang LaSalle Saudi Arabia, said: "Saudi Arabia stands out in the region for its stable environment and large, growing economy. The government stimulus package has helped push the real GDP forecast up to 5.7 percent. The wealth is changing the face of Riyadh, with new road systems, business parks, universities, public parks and communities appearing to the north and east of the city. We are concerned that a lot of investment capital is pushing up peripheral land prices, which will complicate the process of delivering affordable housing. Fortunately, recent announcements indicate the government is taking proactive steps to encourage affordable development, including free land grants."
Even though public and private sector employment is experiencing healthy growth and absorbing new office space, the market continues to move in favor of tenants. The steady stream of new office buildings along King Fahd Road and Olaya Street is now outpacing Riyadh's growing demand for new office space. Since investors and lenders are now aware of vacancy risks, the pipeline of new projects should be turned off, but supply expansion will continue due to a handful of very large previously launched projects with long construction timelines will hit the market in 2013-14. At this time, the options available to tenants will multiply and we expect a "flight to quality" in the office sector, leaving 10+ year old office buildings with an uncertain future.

In 2011, conditions in Riyadh's retail sector stabilized after a period of market saturation in 2009-10. There is very little new supply coming on-stream while increased spending is being driven by employment growth, salary hikes and stimulus-linked bonuses in the public sector. With urban expansion, new opportunities are emerging for good quality, family-oriented retail environments and community focused retail centers that serve local catchments. Since rents having bottomed out and new retail development is limited, management teams are reviewing strategies to enhance existing supply through improving key factors like accessibility, parking and tenant mix of retailers and restaurants.
In Q1, 2011, the Riyadh hotel market has moved into an upward cycle, evidenced by increasing occupancy levels and average daily room rates. In 2009-2010, new supply was limited and our analysis indicates latent demand that will be stimulated by attractive offerings through new hotels anticipated by delivery in 2012-13. Saudi authorities are also trying to stimulate demand for hotels with various initiatives to support expansion of the local tourism industry.
Source: Arab News

13-08-11, 10:23 PM
Hitachi makes bid to expand business in Saudi Arabia

ALKHOBAR: Japanese manufacturing giant Hitachi showcased a number of its products to Saudi industrial executives Monday at the Movenpick Hotel in Alkhobar.

Hitachi makes pumps, compressors and turbines of use in the energy sector along with alternative power generation technologies including solar and nuclear.
"We have been in Saudi Arabia for nearly three decades now," Hitachi Plant Technologies Ltd. Board Chairman Masaharu Sumikawa said while conducting a tour of the exhibition. "We are into the oil and gas industry, water and power business and petrochemical plant engineering and heavy industries. Some of our most important customers are located in this part of Saudi Arabia. Eastern Province is Saudi Arabia's key industrial area. We, therefore, selected this place with a view to introducing our products to our customers."
Major industrial customers were represented there including Saudi Aramco, SABIC (Saudi Basic Industries Corp.) and Marafiq. The stakes are high, as Hitachi competes with General Electric, Siemens and other companies with cogeneration turbines for power, steam and desalination, solar power and cooling systems and even railroad technologies.
The event's focus was heavy industry and social infrastructure.
"At this exhibition, we have some examples of the high-tech compressors and pumps that are required in oil and gas plants and water treatment plants, we have here on display water and oil separation system, solar power technology, power and distribution equipment including substation components," Sumikawa said. "We are going to have local partners in each area of the world, and we are soon going to have high-tech engineering manufacturing and maintenance centers here in Saudi Arabia to take care of our customers. We do realize the importance of engineering centers in this country."
He said Hitachi's engineering and construction expertise could be put to good use in the Kingdom.
"We can provide the best design and installation capability for the setting up of huge petrochemical plants. We at Hitachi can carry out this work with great precision, however big the plant," Sumikawa said, underlining the company's plans to work hand-in-hand with Saudi companies to increase Saudization. "Saudi Arabia is very aggressive in developing its economy. Right now this country needs good jobs for its nationals. Through our projects and initiatives we can provide golden opportunities to Saudis in high-quality engineering production. They can grow up as cutting-edge engineers. We have the expertise, and we can share that with Saudi engineers."
Tatsuo Hori, general manager, Saudi Arabia, Hitachi Plant Technologies Ltd., said: "In the last few years Hitachi's volume of sales in Saudi Arabia has been to the tune of $250 million."
Source: Arab News

13-08-11, 10:25 PM
Accenture to strenghthen capabilities in Middle east through joint venture with Al Faisalia Group

RIYADH, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia; June 7th, 2011: Accenture is enhancing its capabilities in the Middle East through an agreement to form a joint venture with Saudi Arabia-based Al Faisaliah Group (Al Faisaliah) through the acquisition of a majority stake in Al Faisaliah Business & Technology Company (FBTC), an Al Faisaliah subsidiary. FBTC is a leading information technology services business in Saudi Arabia. The transaction is subject to customary closing requirements and is expected to close within 90 days.
FBTC is already one of the leading Enterprise Resource Planning solution providers in Saudi Arabia and provides integrated business and technology services to a wide range of clients.
Once the transaction is completed, Accenture's position in the Middle East market will be strengthened by the combination of FBTC's enterprise architecture, systems implementation and technology consulting skills, with Accenture's broad management consulting, technology and outsourcing experience, industry depth, focus on innovation and global delivery capabilities.
"We are delighted to be entering into this agreement with Al Faisaliah and believe the joint venture will provide an opportunity to bring together the local experience and technology skills of FBTC with Accenture's global network and capabilities," said David Thomlinson, Accenture's senior managing director Geographic Strategy & Operations. "The agreement demonstrates our commitment to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and enhances our ability to provide a much broader range of services for clients in the region."
HRH Prince Mohammed K. A. Al-Faisal, president and CEO of Al Faisaliah Group, said: "I am confident that this joint venture will benefit both Al Faisaliah and Accenture. Over time, we will continue to hire Saudi nationals as the needs of our business evolve. Beyond this, the joint venture will bring global best practices to the Kingdom and support the improved effectiveness and competitiveness of our customers in the private and public sectors."
"Strengthening our presence in Saudi Arabia is a priority for Accenture," said Omar Boulos, managing director of Accenture in the Middle East. "As always, our focus will be on providing our clients with the support they need to meet their business goals. The joint venture with Al Faisaliah will accelerate the execution of our strategy and is another indicator of our commitment to the market."
Source: Zawya

13-08-11, 10:26 PM
Aramco expects full capacity at Manifa oilfield by 2014

Saudi Arabia has said its 900,000 barrels-per-day (bpd) Manifa oilfield is to reach full capacity by 2014, earlier than expected, Reuters has reported. "Significant progress was achieved in 2010 on Manifa, the giant Arabian Gulf offshore field under development," Aramco said in its 2010 annual review. Manifa, which would be brought online in phases, would pump "500,000 bpd of the Arabian heavy crude oil by 2013 and 900,000 bpd by 2014," it added.
Source: Ame info

13-08-11, 10:30 PM
Global award for SABB Securities

RIYADH: The Saudi British Banks (SABB) subsidiary SABB Securities has been named the best sub-custodian in Saudi Arabia by Global Finance magazine in its 2011 survey, according to SABBs announcement.
The survey measures the reliability of custody services provided in local markets and regions to global custodians.
Sub-custodians play a critical role in safekeeping client assets; SABB Securities, a subsidiary of SABB and an associate of HSBC Group provides customers tailored domestic and international equity brokerage services, custody services, securities and clearance services in Saudi Arabia.
SABB Managing Director David Dew said:" We take pride in receiving the award of best sub-custodian for the fifth time as a testimonial to the services we provide in Saudi Arabia, and we are pleased that our clients have expressed the positive experiences they had from dealing with SABB Securities."
Joseph Giarraputo, publisher of Global Finances, said: "Sub-custodians provide the specialized services that make cross-border investing possible. We have identified those banks that do the best job of providing the high-quality services, advice and assistance that todays increasingly sophisticated customers have come to expect."
The annual survey, now in its eighth year, solicits feedback from Global Finance editors, reporters and other expert sources such as analysts, ratings agencies, consultants, customers and others involved in the industry to assess customer relations, quality of service, competitive pricing, technology platforms, smooth handling of exception items, post-settlement operations, business continuity plans and knowledge of local regulations and practices.
The global ratings included key banking and financial institutions operating in nine major regions in the world covering 65 countries in nine regions, and involve a series of advanced evaluation criteria addressing the volume of equities operations, market share, extent of coverage, customer service excellence, and the quality of technology used to provide the service
Source: Arab News

13-08-11, 10:31 PM
Jeddah bans 26 herbal products

Acting on the advice of the Saudi Food and Drug Authority (SFDA), the Jeddah mayoralty has withdrawn 26 herbal products by manufacturers "Al-Basma Al-Dhahabi" for false claims of medical benefits and containing substances harmful to public health, Saudi Gazette has reported. "Some of the products contained high levels of preservatives and cancer-causing agents and harmful substances like mercury, while containing nothing producing the benefits the manufacturers claim," Bashir Abu Najm, head of the mayoralty's commercial licensing and monitoring department, said.
Source: Ame info

13-08-11, 10:51 PM
Methanol Chemicals rises on SR 832m Murabaha refinancing facility

The Saud Tadawul index Tasi advanced 0.46% on Monday, closing at 6,657.63 points. Shares of Methanol Chemicals Co. added 0.70%, ending at SR14.40. Earlier in the day, Methanol Chemicals announced it agreed on a Murabaha Refinancing Facility Agreement compatible with the Islamic Shariah "at a competitive rate" with consortium of banks, namely SABB, Riyadh Bank and Samba for a total loan amount of SR832m. Under Murabaha, banks purchase assets and re-sell these assets to a client above par, which the customer repays in predefined annuities including an agreed margin of profit. "Methanol Chemicals is liable to repay the sanctioned loan of SAR 832 million in 14 semi-annual installments ranging from SR 32m to SR55m commencing from 15 July 2011 and ending 15 December 2017," the statement says. Market bellwether Sabic closed even at SR104.75. Year-to-date the Tasi gained 0.56%, the best performance among all Arab stock markets and the only gaining composite in 2011 (as yet).
Source: Ame info

13-08-11, 10:52 PM
Sabic shares recover half a percent

In Riyadh, the Saudi equity benchmark index Tasi closed flat at 6,626.94 points. Saudi Basic Industries Corp., known as Sabic, rebounded from yesterday's shock and closed 0.48% higher at SR104.75. National Agriculture Marketing Co. or Thim'ar gained the most (up 6.56% at SR26).
Source: Ame info

13-08-11, 10:53 PM
Saudi Aramco sees Karan gas project complete by 2012

State oil giant Saudi Aramco said on Monday it will complete its first offshore non-associated gas field project, Karan, by 2012.
Aramco had previously said it expected work on Karan to be completed in 2013 with the capacity to process 1.8 billion cubic feet per day (cfd) of gas.
"When fully operational in 2012, the project will produce 1.8 billion scfd (standard cfd) of raw gas," Aramco said, adding initial production of 400 million cfd of gas "planned during peak summer demand (will be) starting in 2011", in line with previous announcements while output of unprocessed gas was expected to be 1.5 billion cfd by 2012.
Aramco said it produced 9.4 billion cfd of gas in 2010, up from 8.6 billion cfd in 2009.
The state-owned company continues to focus on raising gas output to meet rising domestic demand for power and petrochemicals.
It is now building two major gas projects, Wasit and Shaybah natural gas liquids (NGL), which should both be completed in 2014.
Domestic demand for gas in the world's largest oil exporter is growing 5-6 percent annually.
Source: Reuters

13-08-11, 10:55 PM
Accor eyes 1,412 new jobs for Saudi nationals

Accor Middle East said on Monday it plans to recruit more than 1,412 Saudi nationals as part of its expansion plan over the next five years.
The company said it has worked closely with the Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities (SCTA) towards a nationalisation plan for Accor hotels in the kingdom.
A comprehensive Saudisation plan has been approved by SCTA which will see the company recruit 1,412 Saudis by the end of 2015, taking the total to 1,757.
The objective is for Saudi nationals to gradually reach 80 people of the total workforce in Accor hotels in the kingdom.
Christophe Landais, managing director Accor Middle East, said: "We fully support the Saudisation programme in its endeavour to solve the growing unemployment in the country and we strongly believe that sustainable hotel development will succeed only through the development of Saudi nationals."
The hotel group's pledge come as Saudi Arabia embarks on a new phase of its Saudisation jobs policy.
Under the new Nitaqat system, companies are split into red, yellow and green categories depending on their level of employment of nationals.
Expat workers in companies failing to meet Saudisation job numbers will not be able to work in the kingdom after spending a maximum of six years in the country.
The new measure will not apply to house servants as their permits will be renewed without considering how many years they stayed in the country.
Earlier this year, the French hotel group said it plans to open five ibis hotels across the Gulf by 2014 as part of a bid to grow its Middle East network to 54 hotels by 2014.
The chain currently operates nine of the budget brand hotels in the Middle East, with new units planned for Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Syria.
Source: Arabian Business

13-08-11, 11:10 PM
Saudi Arabia bans veggies from Europe amid E. coli scare

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia has temporarily stopped importing vegetables from European countries to prevent entry of agricultural products contaminated by the E. coli virus.
Minister of Agriculture Fahd Balghunaim said the import ban comes into effect Wednesday, adding that it would continue until the source of the virus becomes clear.

Jabir Al-Shahri, assistant deputy minister for livestock affairs, said the ban was imposed on the basis of information received from the EU, WHO and the European Center for Disease Control.
In a previous statement Balghunaim confirmed that E. coli infected cucumbers that appeared last week in European countries have not entered the Kingdom. "Due to strict measures taken at the ports no infected produce has been allowed to pass into the Saudi market," Balghunaim said, adding that EU countries are in no way a source for imported produce in the Kingdom.
According to the minister, Saudi Arabia produces 85 percent of cucumbers in the market, with imports of other vegetables mainly from Turkey, Syria, Egypt, Yemen and Jordan.
Nonetheless, Balghunaim stressed that it is the responsibility of the Saudi Food and Drug Authority (SFDA) to prevent the entry of food products with questionable safety.
He said the Kingdom should continue its initiative to develop and market organic vegetables.
He said 53 farmers in Saudi Arabia have already been certified to produce organic produce, 25 of whom were certified last month. The produce is being grown currently on approximately 15,497 hectares.
Source: Arab News

13-08-11, 11:15 PM
Damac Properties' Luxury Portfolio on Display at Cityscape Jeddah

Damac Properties, the Middle East's independent real estate company, will be showcasing its award-winning regional development portfolio at Cityscape Jeddah, at the Jeddah Centre for Forums and Events from 11th to 13th of June.
Damac Properties' highlighted projects at stand L30 will include International Property Award-winning Damac Tower in Beirut, and the iconic Al Jawharah Tower on the Jeddah Corniche.
"Damac Properties is one of the most highly regarded developers in the region, with a proven track record of delivering high quality, luxury properties to market. Through our partnership with Versace Home in Beirut, we have set a new benchmark for luxury residential development in the region, and our display at Cityscape will reflect that," said Niall Mc Loughlin, Senior Vice President of Damac Properties.
Cityscape Jeddah is a major event on Damac Properties' calendar, due to the company's landmark high rise Al Jawharah project on the Corniche. At 48 storeys, Al Jawharah will be one of the tallest towers in Jeddah, and among the tallest developments in the country.
"The height and unique architectural design of Al Jawharah make it an 'iconic' project for the Jeddah Corniche. Visually, it is an awe inspiring development with an architecturally impressive curved facade. The design incorporates a series of aluminium composite panels for privacy which contribute to the spectacular aesthetic appearance of the exterior, by creating shining, silver 'fins'," McLoughlin commented. Construction of Al Jawahrah is progressing well with construction past the second podium level.
Damac Properties is well established in Saudi Arabia, having been one of the first international developers to be granted a license, under the jurisdiction of the Kingdom's new real estate laws, to develop and sell properties off-plan.
Commenting on Al Jawharah, McLoughlin said, "Our core aim is to provide luxury lifestyle concepts in every market in which we operate. Al Jawharah tower is positioned at the high end of the property market, and is targeted at customers who seek comfort, luxury and every modern convenience."
"Al Jawharah will appeal to young professionals, families and retirees alike. It is a stylish, exclusive address which will attract those in search of a luxury lifestyle," he added.
Also on display will be 'Damac Tower,' the first exclusive Versace Home branded residential tower in the region. Situated in the elite marina area of the new Solidiere development in Beirut, the tower has extensive views of the Mediterranean. With spectacular flowing curves and undulating volumes, the 28-storey building was designed to emulate the surging waves of the ocean, and was recently recognised with a prestigious international property award for "Best High Rise Architecture." Enabling works are complete and main construction should commence this summer.
"Damac Tower is a stunning blend of exquisite Versace interiors, unique architectural design, in an enviable location on the shores of the Mediterranean. It has been recognised on the global stage, which distinguishes the project as one of the most highly regarded residential developments in the world," continued McLoughlin.
The Damac Properties' stand at Cityscape will showcase the developer's premium projects across the region, all of which are at various stages of construction. The 'Park Towers' development, situated at the Dubai International Financial Centre, is about 95% complete and is expected to generate keen interest from investors attending the event.
"Damac Properties continued to build, even amid the worst of the global downturn, which means that we are now in a unique position to be able to offer brand new luxury apartments in recently completed or nearly complete developments across the region," Mc Loughlin said.
Damac Properties continues to deliver luxury projects across the MENA region, with 28 buildings, comprising 6045 units, delivered to date. Before the end of the year, Damac Properties will complete a further 8 buildings comprising 1,329 units. Damac Properties' representatives will be available at the stand for more information on exhibited and upcoming projects.
Source: Ame info

15-08-11, 02:08 PM
Saudi Arabia eyeing oil output rise to 10m bpd

Saudi Arabia will raise output to 10 million barrels day in July, Saudi newspaper al-Hayat reported on Friday, as Riyadh goes it alone in unilaterally pumping more outside OPEC policy.
Citing OPEC and industry officials, the newspaper said output would rise from 8.8 million bpd in May. There was no immediate independent verification of the story.
The report suggests Riyadh is asserting its authority over fellow members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries after it failed to convince the 12-member cartel to lift output at an acrimonious meeting in Vienna on Wednesday.
"The Saudi intention is to show that they cannot be pushed around," said Middle East energy analyst Sam Ciszuk at IHS. "Either OPEC follows the Saudi lead or they will have problems."
A proposal by Saudi and its Gulf Arab allies the UAE and Kuwait to lift OPEC production was blocked by seven producers including Iran, Venezuela and Algeria.
The two sides blamed each other for the breakdown in talks. Saudi Oil Minister Ali ali-Naimi called those opposed to the deal obstinate. Iran's OPEC governor Mohammad Ali Khatibi responded by saying Riyadh had been overly-influenced by U.S.-led consumer country demands for cheaper fuel.
"The hawks in OPEC called their bluff and now it is up to Riyadh to show that they were not bluffing -- that they will go ahead unilaterally if pushed," said Cizsuk.
Saudi Arabia has not pumped 10 million bpd for at least a decade, according to Reuters data, production having peaked at 9.7 million bpd in July 2008 after prices hit a record $147 a barrel. It is the only oil producer inside or outside OPEC with any significant spare capacity.
Asked in Vienna on Thursday whether Saudi would reach 10 million bpd Naimi said: "Just send the customers, don't worry about the volumes."
Gulf delegates said Riyadh was planning to pump an average 9.5-9.7 million bpd in June.
Saudi is alrady offering more crude to refiners in Asia, which, led by China, is driving a global rise in oil consumption.
Forecasts from OPEC headquarters show demand will increase about 1.7 million bpd in the second half of the year from recent cartel output of about 29 million bpd.
Brent crude rose to a 5-week high of $120 a barrel after the OPEC talks broke down. Prices eased after Friday's Saudi news, dipping 45 cents to $119.12 a barrel.
Source: Reuters

15-08-11, 02:09 PM
Saudi economic outlook revised upwards by BMI

Saudi Arabia's plan to spend a further $93bn in economic stimulus measures will boost the country's real GDP performance in 2011, Business Monitor International has said.
In a new forecast of the kingdom's economy, BMI analysts said they have revised up their predictions for the economic growth from 3.9 percent to five percent this year.
The BMI report said that the increase in public spending announced by King Abdullah in March had prompted a revision to the forecast for Saudi Arabia's budget.
"The increase in public spending has led us to revise our forecasts for Saudi Arabias fiscal position, forecasting a drop into deficit of one percent," it said.
BMI said the $93bn spending increase highlighted governments "growing concerns about the need to shore up its key bases of support given the growing threat of public unrest".
It added that large-scale protests were "unlikely to occur" in Saudi Arabia but that "large youth unemployment coupled with a lack of political liberties" meant that tensions would continue to linger.
BMI's report said Saudi Arabias non-oil sector would play an increasingly vital role for the economy, as the governments initiative to diversify the economy away from the hydrocarbon sector would bolster private consumption.
It also forecast a resurgence in the country's banking sector with asset growth forecast at about eight percent in 2011, compared to a modest 2.5 percent last year.
Earlier this week, Saudi Arabia's central bank governor said the economy could grow around six percent this year rather than the 4.3 percent currently estimated thanks to a recently unveiled social spending package.
Worried by unrest sweeping the Arab world, the world's top oil exporter has pledged to spend an estimated $130bn, or around 30 percent of its annual economic output, on new houses, creating jobs, unemployment benefit and other measures.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) forecast the biggest Arab economy will expand by 7.5 percent in 2011, while analysts polled by Reuters in March expect it to grow 4.5 percent.
Saudi Arabia relies on hydrocarbons for over 80 percent of budget revenue, and robust oil prices this year have been another spur to growth.
Saudi inflation reached 4.8 percent year-on-year in April, and analysts say demand will be boosted by the package of government handouts.
Source: Arabian Business

15-08-11, 02:11 PM
Ethnic tensions key threat to Saudi businesses, says poll

Simmering social and ethnic tensions are among the biggest threats to businesses in Saudi Arabia, a survey of senior executives in the Gulfs wealthiest economy said.
Some 22 percent of executives cited ethnic hostilities as the top risk to their business in a poll by Oliver Wyman and IBOPE Zogby International, up from three percent in December 2010.
In neighbouring Gulf state Qatar, four percent of executives saw political unrest as a threat to business, a number that rose to 10 percent among UAE respondents.
The worlds No.1 oil exporter has rushed to sidestep the wave of Arab Spring revolts that swept parts of the Middle East, ousting rulers in Tunisia and Egypt.
King Abdullah has pledged to spend $130bn on education, housing and social welfare and ordered the creation of hundreds of jobs for Saudi nationals steps that have helped ease concerns of unrest in the Gulfs most populous state, the survey found.
Only seven percent of Saudi-based executives said they believed an internal change in leadership is a major threat, compared to 21 percent who highlighted the issue in December.
The fear of unrest in the worlds biggest oil exporter helped propel oil to a two-and-a-half year high and any further price hikes risk a serious headwind to the global economy recovery, Cesar Perez, chief investment strategist for JP Morgan Private Bank EMEA told Arabian Business.
"[Saudi Arabia] is vital. More disruption in Saudi and I see the oil price will go to $150 or $180," Perez said. "Do you worry then about inflation? No, I worry about recession If Saudi goes the way of Libya it could trigger another global recession. That would be the nightmare scenario."
A blanket ban on protests in the Gulfs wealthiest state and a heavy police presence in key cities has, to date, quashed rumblings of unrest in the kingdom.
Despite concerns over the impact of the Arab Spring, respondents were broadly confident business conditions were set to improve. In Qatar, 92 percent of those questioned predicted the business environment would improve over the next two years, up from 83 percent in December. In the UAE, it stood at 65 percent, down slightly from 70 percent six months ago and in Saudi 81 percent forecast a rosier two years ahead, up from 76 percent in December.
"Longer term confidence seems mostly untouched by recent regional events. Fear of contagion appears limited," the report said.
Source: Arabian Business

15-08-11, 02:12 PM
Saudi cenbank chief sees 6% economic growth in 2011

Saudi Arabia's economy could grow around 6 percent this year rather than the 4.3 percent currently estimated thanks to a recently unveiled social spending package, its central bank governor was quoted as saying on Wednesday.
Worried by unrest sweeping the Arab world, the world's top oil exporter has pledged to spend an estimated $130 billion, or around 30 percent of its annual economic output, on new houses, creating jobs, unemployment benefit and other measures.
"The economic outlook ...is encouraging and very positive," Central Bank Governor Muhammad al-Jasser said in a speech posted on the central bank's website www.sama.gov.sa.
"The kingdom ... expects an average (growth) rate of 4.3 percent in 2011."
"But the package of decisions ... to enhance the purchasing power of citizens and increase investment in housing and health may lead to higher growth estimates of around 6 percent," he said.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) forecast the biggest Arab economy will expand by 7.5 percent in 2011, while analysts polled by Reuters in March expect it to grow 4.5 percent.
"The Saudi forecasts are fairly conservative, bearing in mind that they are thinking of increasing oil output as part of their OPEC agreement," said Gabriel Sterne, senior economist at Exotix in London .
Saudi energy minister Ali Al-Naimi said last week the country would lift production if there was demand for more crude.
But the kingdom failed to convince fellow members of OPEC at talks in Vienna on Wednesday to lift production to help consumer nations struggling with high fuel costs.
Saudi Arabia relies on hydrocarbons for over 80 percent of budget revenue, and robust oil prices this year - near $100 per barrel for US light crude on Wednesday - have been another spur to growth.
"From the point of view of nominal GDP, including the effects of oil prices, things could even look better," Sterne said.
Saudi inflation reached 4.8 percent year-on-year in April, and analysts say demand will be boosted by the package of government handouts.
Source: Reuters

15-08-11, 02:18 PM
Rising land prices my threaten Saudi housing plans

Riyadhs housing market is set for growth in the second half of 2011, driven by the kingdoms $160bn social spending package and a rise in foreign workers, Jones Lang LaSalle said.
But soaring demand for property may push land prices beyond the reach of many Saudi nationals, complicating state efforts to increase affordable housing, the consultancy said.
"Real estate market is expected to experience strong demand on the back of improving economic indicators like oil prices and real GDP growth now projected at 5.7%," the report said. Driven by a rise in expatriate workers and a burgeoning national population, "rental growth is rising faster than inflation," the report said.
King Abdullah has pledged more than $82bn to fund homebuilding in the kingdom in a bid to address a chronic housing shortage. The worlds largest oil exporter needs about 275,000 units a year to 2015 to meet demand for about 1.65 million new homes, said Banque Saudi Fransi.
However, the absence of a clear mortgage law in the kingdom has deterred foreign banks from lending and private developers from entering the market. Mortgage rates are prohibitively high, as a result of which, less than 35 percent of Saudi nationals own their home.
According to research firm RNCOS, the cost of a mortgage typically represents 41 percent of monthly income for young buyers.
"Saudi Arabia stands out in the region for its stable environment and large, growing economy," said John Harris, the co-head of JLL in Saudi Arabia in a statement. "The wealth is changing the face of Riyadh [however] we are concerned that a lot of investment capital is pushing up
peripheral land prices, which will complicate the process of delivering affordable housing."
Land prices rose in the first quarter of 2011, JLL said, without specifying the size of the rise.
More than half of the governments social spending package has been allocated to delivering 500,000 housing units for Saudi families.
In the retail sector, JLL said very little new supply combined with higher individual spending and stabilising market conditions will be significant in creating urban expansion opportunities.
"Increased spending is being driven by employment growth, salary hikes and stimulus-linked bonuses in the public sector," the report said. "Opportunities are emerging for good quality, family-oriented retail environments and community focused retail centres that serve local catchments."
Riyadhs underserved hospitality market moved into the recovery stage of the property cycle in Q1 2011, with increasing year-on-year occupancy levels and daily room rates.
Demand for hotels is likely to be met in 2012 and 2013 however, with an array of hotel offerings on track for completion next year, JLL said.
Source: Arabian Business

15-08-11, 02:20 PM
ABB wins $85 million order to supply high-voltage power products in Saudi Arabia

380 kV gas-insulated switchgear for six substations powering the Haramain inter-city railway
Zurich, Switzerland, June 9, 2011 - ABB, the leading power and automation technology group, has won an order worth $85 million from AlFanar Construction Co. to supply 380 kilovolt (kV) indoor gas-insulated switchgear (GIS) that are a key component of new substations that will power the 444-km long high-speed Haramain rail line currently under construction in Saudi Arabia.
ABB will design, supply, install and commission the GIS by the middle of 2013, to meet a challenging project schedule. The GIS solution offers high reliability, ease of operation, low maintenance costs and environmental benefits.
Owned and operated by the Saudi Electricity Company, the country's national power utility, the substations are needed to supply electricity to high-speed (360 kph) electric trains that are expected to help transport about three million passengers annually. The railway will link the pilgrimage cities of Mecca and Medina via the King Abdullah Economic City, Rabigh, Jeddah and King Abdulaziz International Airport. The new rail line is expected to reduce traffic congestion on the roads, and will cut travel time between Medina and Mecca from six hours to two.
"Our GIS is extremely robust and designed to withstand extreme weather conditions. It also has a significantly smaller footprint - a distinct advantage for indoor and urban installations such as these," said Bernhard Jucker, head of ABB's Power Products division."The equipment will facilitate the reliable and efficient supply of electricity to power the new rail network."
Increasing concern for the environment, rapid urbanization and the need to move more people and freight faster, make rail a key infrastructure sector. ABB provides a wide range of reliable, innovative and energy-efficient power and automation technologies for modern urban, conventional and high-speed rail networks.
ABB (www.abb.com ) is a leader in power and automation technologies that enable utility and industry customers to improve performance while lowering environmental impact. The ABB Group of companies operates in around 100 countries and employs about 124,000 people.
Source: Zawya

15-08-11, 02:21 PM
New center opened in Jeddah for Italy Schengen visa

JEDDAH: Saudis are not prone to migration like people from many other countries.
"The Saudi loves his country," said Italian Consul General Simone Petroni at the opening of a new counter at the Etimad Joint Visa Application Center in Jeddah for Schengen visas. "And so they don't run the risk of being potential immigrants while seeking visas for visiting different countries."
The new outsourced facility will be open to the public from Saturday. All applications -- Saudis or expats -- who wish to apply for an Italian Schengen visa, will now have to submit their applications at the Joint Visa Application Centre on Manazil Muttaqin Street at the Madinah Road-King Abdullah Road crossing, Al-Ruwais.
The Schengen visa allows legal travel in 25 European countries. However, the visa must be obtained from the government of the arriving destination. For example, if one plans to arrive in Milan and then travel to Paris and Amsterdam by rented car -- the Schengen visa must be obtained from Italy, not from the governments of France or the Netherlands.
Petroni and Al-Etimad Modern Business Solutions Company President Prince Faisal Al-Abdullah Al-Faisal signed Italy's visa outsourcing agreement in the presence of a large number of invitees including diplomats who included German Consul General Michael Zickerick and Swiss Consul General Hans Stalder.
"This (agreement) gives us an opportunity for us to be able to serve additionally the Italian mission here with excellence," Prince Faisal said. "Our center has been facilitating visas for other countries including France, Malta and Germany, aside from India and the UK. Our bilateral ties are positive, going by the expanding trade and business interests between the two countries.
"By outsourcing our visa services, we hope to devote enough attention to our role in the matter of many other bilateral interests," said Petroni, adding that the Italian mission in Saudi Arabia issues about 20,000 visas a year from the embassy in Riyadh and about 5,000 from the consulate in Jeddah.
Italy is one of the most visited countries in the world, and its tourism sector accounts for about a third of the nation's GDP. Italy also attracts a healthy portion of international students despite lacking the educational premium of being an English-speaking country.
"We have remained behind the US and the UK in attracting students from the Kingdom and elsewhere because overseas students generally go to places where they can pursue education in English," said Petroni.
Mohan V. Mathew, chief operating officer at Etimad, said: "We at Etimad have handled 70,000 visa applications for different countries since the establishment of the center in February 2010. A feature of this place is that there are seasonal fluctuations for visas, depending on vacation and holiday seasons, which poses a challenge for us."
Source: Arab News

15-08-11, 02:22 PM
Opportunities abound in Jeddah's residential sector

JEDDAH: Jeddah's real estate market is benefiting from the Kingdom's recently announced SR500 billion financial stimulus package and massive public sector infrastructure investments, according to Jones Lang LaSalle's latest report "Jeddah City Profile - June 2011".
Opportunities abound in Jeddah's residential sector as the market is expected to continuously experience rent and sale price appreciation. An additional 25 million sq m of land offered by the Jeddah Municipality for future large scale residential developments will encourage market activity by mitigating one of the key barriers to development: The high cost of land. Expanding the supply of land available for development can help address inventory and affordability issues to meet the growing housing demand from both the local and expatriate population. The Jeddah market will be further supported by the government's increased spending on housing and the large capital injection into the Real Estate Development Fund (REDF).
Soraka Al-Khatib, co-head of Jones Lang LaSalle Saudi Arabia, said: "Already one of the region's best performing economies, Saudi Arabia recently received an additional economic boost from the government's multi-billion riyal financial package. Affordable housing was the largest single component, which reflects the government's prioritization of housing its young and growing population. Like the rest of Saudi Arabia, Jeddah is particularly well positioned to benefit from this massive flow of public capital into housing and infrastructure. Although this stimulus package will have several wide-ranging implications, one of the most important is establishing structures - like public private partnerships -- that facilitate delivery of such large scale, critical projects."
Over the past six months, the residential market experienced rents and sale price growth, marking evolution of the market cycle. Supported by increasing demand and limited supply growth, rent and price appreciation is expected to continue through 2011.
The office market continues to become more tenant favorable as market competition escalates leading to lower rents and more options available to occupiers.
New supply handovers in the retail market are increasing options for tenants and pushing owners to revise tenant mix and reposition retail asset. Retail rents are expected to remain relatively stable throughout 2011.
The hotel market has witnessed a growth in performance over the past six months, even though occupancy has marginally declined. Driven by rising investment in tourism infrastructure and development of the city's leisure offerings, long-term prospects for Jeddah's hotel sector remain positive.
In the short term, Jeddah's office sector will remain tenant favorable due to existing oversupply and rent declines. Over the next 12 months, supply handovers will push up vacancy across Jeddah and spark relocation demand by tenants seeking to update to higher quality properties in better locations. Consequently, landlords will improve lease concessions like rent-free period, flexible payments and other terms to attract occupiers.
Limited expansion of retail supply has led stability of retail rents in Jeddah. In the second half of 2011, significant supply will enter the market sparking greater competition, more attractive rents across a wider variety of assets, and improved lease concessions in the coming years. Retailers will also be encouraged by macroeconomic trends -- the government's recent financial stimulus package is boosting consumer spending.
Growth in business travel and domestic tourism will fuel hotel demand in Jeddah. Combined with limited anticipated supply deliveries, strong demand will improve sector performance through 2011. (In terms of room stock, Jeddah ranks behind Makkah and Madinah, but ahead of Riyadh). The expansion of Jeddah's airport, additional infrastructure investment, expansion of the city's leisure offering as well as upgrading of the waterfront areas, will cumulatively have a positive impact on the hospitality sector in the city.
Source: Arab News

15-08-11, 02:23 PM
Alfareeda gets license to sell units

JEDDAH: The Ministry of Commerce and Industry(MOCI) has licensed Ewaan Global Residential Company to organize sales on the map of Alfareeda Residential Project, located northwest of Jeddah. The project's construction started several months ago after the company obtained the necessary permission from Jeddah Municipality.
Ewaan Chief Executive Officer Fahad Al-Mutawa termed Minister of Commerce and Industry Abdullah Zainal Alireza's support as valuable and said the move was in pursuance of the Royal decrees for constructing housing units to meet the citizens' needs for owning homes.
Al-Mutawa also commended Jeddah Municipality for awarding the building permit at a time when the north of the city is witnessing huge expansion. Developments like Alfareeda project will undoubtedly ease the pressure on the Kingdom's major cities in terms of creating neighborhoods with high infrastructure services of high quality.
The Alfareeda project is an integrated plan comprising 2,088 residential units (villas) and aims to create a sophisticated residential environment and integrated services in a bid to meet the requirements and capabilities of middle-income people. It plans to create a social community in conformity with Saudi society.
Source: Arab News

15-08-11, 02:24 PM
3rd Euro-Gulf Economic Dialogue Opens in Riyadh

Riyadh - The Third Economic Dialogue between The Cooperation Council For the Arab States of the Gulf (GCC) and The European Union (EU) began its works this morning at the GCC headquarters in Riyadh.
The Dialogue is convened within the framework of the last meeting during which a deal was reached for the implementation of the joint working program between the GCC and the European Union for the period 2010-2013 as well as the integration of financial markets and the GCC monetary developments and policies in the European Union, in addition to promotion of investment and development assistance in both areas.
It will be attended by a number of experts and senior officials from the European Union and the European Central Bank as well as ministries of finance and monetary institutions and central banks in the GCC states and the Council's general secretariat.
Source: Saudi Press Agency

15-08-11, 02:26 PM
Al Rajhi Holding Increases Bandwidth by 75 percent with SonicWALL

Dubai - June 8th, 2011: Al Rajhi Holding, a diversified business conglomerate with operations across the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), secured and integrated its wide area network (WAN), using SonicWALL's Network Security Appliance (NSA) series. The Group, with distributed server assets across various locations: Jeddah, Jubail, Dammam and Yanbu in Saudi Arabia; and Dubai, Ras Al Khaimah and Sharjah in the UAE, sought to gain enhanced returns on its technology investments by better controlling the cumbersome and expensive maintenance and upkeep of hardware and network infrastructure.
As malware and phishing attacks were growing in strength and frequency globally, controlling peer-to-peer applications, Instant Messaging (IM) and the sharing of multimedia content and applications became critical. With ever-growing Internet security threats and increased vulnerabilities due to employee remote access and branch connectivity issues, Al Rajhi's technology team decided to take decisive action. The group sought an integrated solution to manage and secure traffic across their WAN. They consulted their IT solutions provider Networker Strategy, who suggested SonicWALL's Network Security appliance series.
With SonicWALL, the Group was able to improve bandwidth by 75%, reduce IT costs by 30%, streamline administration with centralized management, lower hardware costs through consolidation and, by training in-house staff on SonicWALL technology, internalize functions they used to outsource.
"The benefits achieved through deploying SonicWALL had a significant impact on our operations. Al Rajhi now has an integrated network with a centralized data centre in our head office in Riyadh and seamless connectivity to network users in different areas." explained Dr. Marwan Al Siddiqi, group ICT director, Al Rajhi Holding Group.
The solutions deployed combine multi-core hardware with Reassembly-free Deep Packet Inspection (RFDPI) for uncompromising protection and performance. Branch offices, central sites and distributed mid-enterprise networks benefited from the reliability and cost-effectiveness of the NSA series' advanced routing, high-availability and high-speed IPSec and SSL VPN technology.
""Instead of one appliance per application, security consolidation aggregates multiple interconnected security applications on a single piece of hardware without compromising security and performance," said Afran Khan, branch manager, Networker Strategy.
Al Rajhi had deployed a SSL-VPN 2000 secure remote access solution and have already upgraded to the more powerful SonicWALL Aventail E-Class SRA EX-6000. The Group is to further update its network security to the high-performance low-latency SuperMassive Next-Generation Firewall. Plans are also underway to adopt the SonicWALL Global Management System (GMS), which allows users to manage and monitor the activity of all its SonicWALL devices from one central console.
"Our partner in Saudi Arabia, Networker Security, worked with the Al Rajhi's team in Saudi Arabia to roll out SonicWALL's NSA 240, 2400, NSA 3500 and NSA 4500 firewalls over the course of a year. We are pleased with this initiative and hope to continue deploying new and improved solutions to strengthen Al Rajhi's network," said Shahnawaz Sheikh, SonicWALL's Regional Director, Middle East, Africa and Turkey.
Source: Zawya

15-08-11, 02:28 PM
Haramain Train station sites handed over to contractors

JEDDAH: The Saudi Railways Organization (SRO) has handed over most of the sites on which Al-Haramain Train stations will be constructed to contractors in Makkah, Madina, Jeddah and King Abdullah Economic City in Rabigh.
This was announced Wednesday by Abdul Aziz Al-Huqail, SRO chief. The remaining sites will be handed over after the completion of expropriation procedures, he said.
Al-Huqail said the design of the stations has taken into account the potential future growth in demand for rail services. Studies have shown that there is likely to be a tremendous increase in demand from pilgrims and visitors in the coming years. It also took into account support services for passengers including shopping centers and restaurants.
Al-Huqail said the station designs reflect Islamic architecture and the historic identity of the cities where the stations will be built, in addition to the latest international specifications for express trains.
Apart from this, the organization has also given due attention to the safety specifications for all the stations facilities.
Al-Huqail pointed out that the first bridge over the lanes of Al-Haramain Train has been completed; and construction work on the trains bridge on the Makkah-Jeddah Expressway is expected to be completed with the advent of the holy month of Ramadan.
Source: Saudi Gazette

15-08-11, 02:32 PM
Saudi Arabia: SR 100m fund set up to back small enterprises and productive families

JEDDAH: The Saudi Corporate Social Responsibility Forum concluded Wednesday after a number of businessmen signed an agreement to set up a SR100-million Endowment (Waqf) fund to support small enterprises and assist productive families finance their projects. It also decided to rehabilitate about 3,000 buildings in various cities and towns of Makkah region to be easily accessible to the disabled.
Makkah Gov. Prince Khaled Al-Faisal opened Tuesday the two-day forum at the Jeddah Hyatt Park Hotel by saying the establishment of the fund was aimed to achieve sustainable development.
"Owners of companies and businessmen who have donated to the fund have shown a great sense of social responsibility toward society, which is now beaming from every Saudi citizen," he said.
Prince Al-Faisal said the feeling of social responsibility would further deepen solidarity among members of the Saudi society. He also said the Saudi man was qualified to prove the values of Islam, that social responsibility was suitable for every time and place.
"This is a unique and unprecedented moment in the history of the Kingdom replete with the spirit of giving and resilience to make the Kingdom a leading country in the world," he said.
He added that the atmosphere was conducive for such initiatives which are always encouraged by the leadership, the security which the Kingdom enjoys, the economic stability and the abundance of liquid cash.
The governor described social responsibility as the basic element in each development project and said the keenness about it is a sign of the civilization which the Saudi man is building.
Chairman of the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JCCI) Saleh Kamel said some businessmen donated SR20 million each for the fund while others donated SR10 million and SR5 million.
Kamel said the resources of the fund were collected in a record time of two months.
"We aim to provide for the weak elements of our society ensuring them with a better life," he added.

Faysal Alaquil, director of business development and administrative affairs at the Construction products Holding Company (CBC), which is organizing the forum, said the concept of social responsibility was gaining rapid ground in the Kingdom but warned against confusing it with charity work.
"Social responsibility should be built on the base of sustainable development in the society," he said.
Alaquil said the challenges impeding the application of the concept of social responsibility were not only limited to the misunderstanding of its meaning and its confusion with charity work but also include the lack of studies and data, insufficient number of qualified cadres and the lack of the culture of social responsibility in the private sector.
The forum held four sessions during which businessmen, researchers and academicians participated talking about their experiences in the domain of social responsibility.
Recommendations were made after each session. They also included:
Establishment of a specialized center in Makkah to teach social responsibility and award degrees on the subject.
Private companies should set aside about 3 percent of their profits for social responsibility projects and activities.
Social responsibility programs should be made and agreed upon.
Cooperation in this field should be augmented between the public and private sectors.
Attorney Khalid Alnowaiser presented a working paper entitled "Regulatory Aspects and their Importance in Activating Corporate Social Responsibility," in which he explained that the importance of corporate social responsibility relies on effective results from companies and society. The evaluation of companies no longer relies on their profitability or financial standing, but upon the extent that they promote social responsibility programs and support society in general.
The major principles addressed in the World Charter on Social Responsibility include corporations' nonviolation of human rights locally and internationally, in addition to their promotion of fair work standards based on the freedom of association, the establishment of equality, environmental protection, the development of technology that is friendly to the environment, and anti-corruption policies.
Given that current Saudi law does not have an independent statute or regulation on corporate social responsibility or any means of imposing a civil or criminal penalty for violations, such social responsibility must arise from the Islamic Shariah and basic human rights principles.
Alnowaiser recommended that the government promptly enact rules of corporate social responsibility, but in the meantime, amend any existing regulations and statutes to add the goal of social responsibility. He called for the establishment of a governmental commission to evaluate the performance of companies and their obligations resulting from social responsibility and the formation of a social responsibility fund in every company.
He further encouraged companies to develop legal departments to organize and establish ways of activating the principles of social responsibility according to the needs of every company. Finally, he called on the media to spread the culture of corporate and individual social responsibility in a way that serves Saudi companies, their employees, and the national economy.
Source: Arab News

15-08-11, 02:38 PM
Saudi Arabia: SAR 1.22 bn to modernize judicial facilities

JEDDAH: Justice Minister Muhammad Al-Eissa signed a contract worth SR1.22 billion on Wednesday with a national company to establish 32 new buildings for courts and other judicial facilities.
The contract was signed with Asaad Saeed National Company as part of the King Abdullah Project to upgrade judicial facilities in the Kingdom. The project will be completed in two years.
Al-Eissa said the construction of new buildings for courts and notaries public would cover most regions of the Kingdom.
"The contract was signed in line with the ministry's efforts to modernize judicial facilities across the country and in accordance with the requirements of the new judicial law," he said.

He said the project would contribute to speeding up judicial procedures in the Kingdom and help citizens and residents receive quick justice. "The buildings will be constructed following modern architectural designs and will be equipped with advanced facilities," the minister said. He said the ministry prepared the designs of the new buildings after reviewing similar facilities in other parts of the world and after consulting experts.
Al-Eissa said the new buildings would be constructed in Makkah, Madinah, Riyadh, Qassim, Jazan, Asir, Hail and Tabuk provinces.
Source: Arab News

15-08-11, 02:40 PM
Kuwait and Saudi Arabia Rank High in Global Retail Development Index

Dubai, 8 June 2011: A.T. Kearney today released its 2011 index of top ranked emerging markets for global retail expansion. In the 10th annual Global Retail Development Index (GRDI), seven countries in the MENA region make it into the top 20. Kuwait on 5th place remains the Middle East's highest ranking country. Globally South American countries occupy the top three positions, China slips to 6th place and India drops to 4th place in terms of attractiveness for retail expansion.
The key leanings from the analysis of the last ten year's GRDI rankings highlight that to succeed; retailers must have an optimal mix of countries, formats and operating models. The GRDI results support the decision making of regional retailers looking to expand their business and assists international retailers devising their Middle East expansion strategies.
The 2011 GRDI ranking mirrors the dramatic changes that have taken place in global markets, and the varying impacts they have on different emerging economies. The MENA region has fared well this year and includes seven of the top 20 countries in the GRDI; and despite the region's political turmoil it remains a promising retail growth opportunity.
"Saudi Arabia, on 7th position in the GRDI this year, is clearly a retail hot spot worth watching. With the largest population in the GCC, Saudi Arabia offers retailers many opportunities," said Dan Starta, partner and managing director, A.T. Kearney Middle East.
New brands and international players arrived in Saudi Arabia in 2010, and current operations expanded in most retail sectors, including fashion, electronics, digital products, furniture, home products, automotive, health and beauty products. Several international retailers also entered the market in the past year. Boots, the U.K. health and beauty retailer already present in the UAE, Kuwait, Bahrain and Qatar, opened its first Saudi store in Jeddah in 2010.
The UAE is recovering quickly from the economic downturn, reflected by the second-highest ranking in market attractiveness of all countries in the GRDI. Tourism, sizable household consumption and ample retail space is boosting the retail sector. Still, the UAE dropped from 7th to 9th place this year. One cause is a rapidly maturing market as many foreign entrants have already set up operations in the country.
"For many international retailers the UAE remains the preferred entry point into MENA for new products and brands, and we now see this market maturing and retailers expanding into the northern Emirates and Al Ain and Abu Dhabi," added Dr. Omar Sawaya, principal, A.T. Kearney Middle East.
The economic downturn gave UAE retailers pause for thought. Until recently, many of them established outlets in whatever mall space was available, failed to consider the market position, adjacent facilities or store location within the mall, and as a consequence paid the price. Now, retailers are paying more attention to consumer profile and location and the selection they offer in each location.

Lebanon, new to the GRDI-ranking, entered at an 11th place. It is an attractive market for many retailers, thanks to the liberal mindset of its consumers and recent investment in new malls. While GDP grew at a 7 percent CAGR for the past five years, several challenges remain. Additional infrastructure investment is needed to repair insufficient road networks and communications lines outside of Beirut, and disposable income remains fairly low. Further, Lebanon's stability, measured by the country risk score, is lower than most of its neighbors on the GRDI--a factor to gauge when evaluating the market for entry.
Egypt moved up one spot this year, to 12th place. Egypt's retail market is expected to grow 10 percent over the next five years, driven by a large, active and growing population of more than 80.4 million that is gaining purchasing power. Still, Egypt has a low share of modern retailing compared to other North African countries such as Morocco and Tunisia. This, coupled with low levels of market consolidation and growing consumer demand, continues to make Egypt attractive for large global retailers, as stability of the country evolves.
"The GRDI is a great study to assist global and local retailers identifying new markets and expansion opportunities, concluded Starta.
Source: Zawya

15-08-11, 02:41 PM
Primary healthcare strategy approved

RIYADH/JEDDAH: The Executive Council of the Ministry of Health has approved its primary healthcare strategic plan at a meeting chaired by Dr. Abdullah Al-Rabeah, Minister of Health, on Monday.
Dr. Khalid Al-Marghalani, the ministry's spokesman, said the strategy includes a number of goals including providing world class preventive, therapeutic and rehabilitative services that will ensure quality of life for all patients. He said the classification and distribution of primary healthcare facilities in the Kingdom's regions, governorates, towns and villages was made on the basis of population density and cost effectiveness.
The council members had also reviewed other relevant issues including cooperation with local and foreign universities to help improve the quality of service provision. The Ministry of Health will be setting up special teams to provide home-care for citizens who are unable to visit hospitals and clinics for treatment, said Al-Rabeah.
He disclosed this on Sunday night during the Okaz Media Forum in Jeddah. He said the ministry is making a huge effort to ensure world class services for the country. He would not disclose the number of teams and patients to be treated, but stressed that the Ministry of Health provides 60 percent of all health services in the Kingdom.
He said the ministry has completed an ambitious strategy for the country's health sector to be carried out in 10 years, including better governance, human resources development, information systems, administration and financing. To realize these goals, the minister said hospitals' infrastructure would be restructured and reformed and an effective system for the transfer of patients between health facilities would be developed.
Source: Saudi Gazette

15-08-11, 02:43 PM
SAMA chief predicts 6 percent growth

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia's economy is likely to grow by around 6 percent this year following a recently unveiled social spending package, up from an estimated 4.3 percent, its central bank governor was quoted by Reuters as saying Wednesday.
The Kingdom has pledged to spend an estimated SR488 billion ($130 billion), or around 30 percent of its annual economic output, on new houses, creating jobs, unemployment benefits and other measures.
"The economic outlook for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in 2011 is encouraging and very positive," Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA) Gov. Muhammad Al-Jasser said in a speech posted on the central bank's website.
"The Kingdom posted a real gross domestic product growth of 4.1 percent in 2010 and expects an average rate of 4.3 percent in 2011. But the package of decisions taken by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah recently to enhance the purchasing power of citizens and increase investment in housing and health may lead to higher growth estimates of around 6 percent for the current year," he said.
Al-Jasser said there is cautious optimism about economic growth in most G20 countries. "There is a balanced economic recovery in the US while Japan is still passing through depression. Many European countries are facing financial challenges due to public debts," he said.
Al-Jasser said the rise in prices of foodstuffs and other essential commodities posed a challenge to economic recovery, adding that inflation in advanced countries would reach 2.2 percent and developing countries 6.9 percent this year.
He highlighted the contribution of Saudi Arabia and other developing countries to boosting world economic growth.
John Sfakianakis, chief economist at Banque Saudi Fransi, said there is little doubt that the economy this year will perform better than 2010 given that oil output is on the rise, oil revenues are expected to remain robust and higher than last year and the government is spending large sums to ensure long-term sustainability.
"The increase in 2010 real GDP from 3.8 percent to 4.1 percent is a pleasant surprise which shows the economy's resilience as well as the strength of the government and private sector. Although we don't have clarity as to the reasons for the 2010 uptick, I won't be surprised if non-private growth showed a small uptick," he said.
"Private sector growth will remain solid but has room to grow more as investment, credit and confidence are helping create strong economic conditions," Sfakianakis said.

Paul Gamble, head of research at Jadwa Investment, said: "The package of royal decrees will make an important contribution to the economy this year. Recent data show that the spending of the two-month's salary bonus for public sector workers is boosting the retail sector. For example, the value of cash withdrawals from ATMs in April was 46 percent higher than in February. The huge new housing construction planned will not have such an immediate impact on the economy, but it will provide a long-lasting stimulus."
The other factor supporting higher economic growth this year is oil production. Oil output is already running well above last year's levels and in light of OPEC's (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) decision not to formally raise production quotas, which the Kingdom did not support, there could well be further unilateral increases in oil production this year, Gamble added.
Jarmo T. Kotilaine, chief economist at the National Commercial Bank, said: "SAMA's projections are very much in line with general market expectations which foresee a significant acceleration in GDP growth this year. While there is still a lack of clarity on the pace of government spending as well as the private sector response, it is clear that the additional spending commitments, supported by the favorable outlook on oil prices and production, will boost aggregate demand and also private sector sentiment."
Previous central bank estimates showed the Saudi economy had grown by 3.8 percent in 2010 constant 1999 prices.
Saudi inflation reached 4.8 percent year-on-year in April, and analysts say demand will be boosted by the package of government measures.
Source: Arab News

17-09-11, 02:41 PM
Saudi Arabia has signed a nuclear energy with Argentina

Saudi Arabia has signed a nuclear energy cooperation deal with nuclear desalination specialist Argentina, the Saudi government said on Tuesday.
Argentina's Atomic Energy Commission and technology firm INVAP have a simplified pressurised water reactor design aimed at small-scale electricity generation and water desalination projects, which are both urgent needs for the oil-rich Kingdom.
"Saudi Arabia is very pleased to have entered into a cooperation agreement with Argentina, a country that has exhibited continued leadership in the transfer of technology, the sharing of best practices, and the safe operation of atomic reactors," said Hashim bin Abdullah Yamani, president of the King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy.
"With Saudi Arabia's local power demand expected to nearly triple in the next 20 years, it's critical that the Kingdom use atomic and renewable energy technologies to meet this growing demand in a safe, sustainable and clean manner."
Saudi is struggling to keep up with rapidly rising power demand, especially for energy intensive seawater desalination, and wants to build nuclear reactors to cut gas and oil burning in the power generation sector.
It has signed similar agreements with several other countries with experience in nuclear energy.
INVAP has built research reactors in Algeria and Egypt.

Source: Reuters

17-09-11, 02:43 PM
US firm wins deal for Saudi real estate mega project

US-based Jacobs Engineering Group said on Tuesday it has been picked to work on a massive real estate project in Saudi Arabia.
It has been selected by Injaz Development Company to provide infrastructure and construction supervision services for its Al Marina project in the kingdom.
Officials at Injaz Development Company, one of the largest real estate developers in Saudi Arabia, did not disclose the contract value.
Jacobs Group vice president Mike Coyle said: "Jacobs is proud to be associated with this state of the art development in Saudi Arabia, and we look forward to establishing a long term partnership with Injaz."
The Al Marina project is a 36 million square feet development that includes luxury villas, multi-use towers, buildings, coastal houses, hotels, schools, mosques and a variety of public and tourist facilities.
Upon completion, Al Marina will be a new destination between Dammam and Khobar that will rival both in its public facilities, which will include a 300,000 sq m lagoon with elaborate fountains, waterfront shopping mall, open air recreational areas and high-rise commercial strips.
Injaz has previously said that the project will consist of about 636 single-family villas and 15-storey luxury apartment blocks spread over 250 plots.
The total land area for the project is split between residential and commercial (41.4 percent), public spaces (42.2 percent) and government services (16.4 percent).
Jacobs is one of the world's largest and most diverse providers of technical, professional, and construction services.

Source: Arabian Business

17-09-11, 02:45 PM
Sabic recovers, lifts Tadawual market

The Saudi Stock Exchange's lead index Tasi climbed 0.37% to 6,531.17 points, despite 70 declining shares outnumbered 52 gaining stocks (43 shares ended flat). Shares of petrochemical giant Sabic added 074%, finishing at SR102.75. Saudi Integrated Telecom Company, also known as Almutakamela, rose significantly on its losed at it first trading day and finiashed as a top gainer at SR12.60.

Source: Ame Info

17-09-11, 02:47 PM
Saudi Arabia says no plan to buy European debt

Saudi Arabia is not concerned about US debt and the world's No. 1 oil exporter is also not looking into buying euro zone debt, its central bank governor Muhammad Al Jasser said on Wednesday.
Gulf Arab crude exporters, which mostly peg their currencies to the dollar, are major holders of Treasuries and other US assets, with oil - priced in dollars - their main source of government income.
Asked if the OPEC member was worried about the US debt and was considering purchasing euro zone sovereign debt, Jasser said: "No."
Ratings agency S&P cut last month the US long-term credit rating by one notch in an unprecedented blow due to concerns about the nation's budget deficits and climbing debt burden.
Fears of debt contagion in the euro zone have been shaking the global markets over the past months. On Wednesday, the euro and European stocks were lifted by an announcement by the head of the European Commission that it would soon present options for issuing a common euro zone bond.
Jasser also told reporters after meeting central bank governors of Qatar, Kuwait and Bahrain in the Qatari capital that the economic situation in the four countries aiming to form a monetary union was "excellent" and that a plan to launch a Gulf single currency was on track.
"There was no postponement, and I have said from the beginning that there will not be a specific date [for the single currency launch]... the economic situation in our countries is excellent and nothing is delaying the currency," he said.
Besides the four countries, the United Arab Emirates and Oman are members of the Gulf Cooperation Council, a loose political bloc emulating the European economic integration. The UAE and Oman have withdrawn from the Gulf single currency plan in the past.

Source: Reuters

17-09-11, 02:49 PM
Saudi, UAE cenbank heads say happy with interest rates

Saudi Arabia's central bank governor said on Thursday that he was happy with current interest rate levels in the OPEC member country.
Asked whether he was happy with current interest rates, Muhammad Al Jasser said: "Yes, we are happy about it."
The Saudi central bank has been keeping its repo rate at 2 percent since January 2009 and the reverse repo rate at 0.25 percent since June 2009.
Saudi Arabia's currency is pegged to the US dollar, which limits the central bank's scope to combat inflation because it needs to keep interest rates closely aligned with US benchmarks to avoid excessive pressures on the riyal.
Sultan Nasser Al Suweidi, the central bank governor of the United Arab Emirates, which also runs a currency peg to the greenback, said on the sidelines of a meeting of Arab central bank governors that current interest rates were "good".
Asked whether there was any plan to change them, Suweidi said: "If they are good, why should we change them."

Source: Reuters

17-09-11, 02:55 PM
Saudi Mobily's 4G launch to spur data surge, says CEO

Etihad Etisalat's (Mobily) new long-term evolution network will spur exponential growth in data traffic, the Saudi Arabia telecoms operator's chief executive said Wednesday.
"What we did in 3G over the past three years, we will maybe have the same traffic (over LTE) in six months," said Khaled al-Kaf, chief executive of Mobily, an affiliate of the UAE's Etisalat.
"Mobile broadband penetration is increasing day by day. Exponential growth is happening. (LTE) is a major milestone in providing higher speeds that customers need for applications today or in the very near future."
Mobily and former monopoly Saudi Telecom Co (STC) this week both launched LTE, or 4G, which offers download speeds more than twice that of 3G. Both claimed to be the first Middle East operator to do so.
The carriers' push for LTE reflected stagnating mobile subscriber growth, with the kingdom claiming the third-highest mobile penetration globally. In response, they are no longer chasing more subscribers, seeking instead to move pay-as-you-go customers onto contracts.
Contract customers provide more predictable revenues, higher usage and are less likely to switch operators.
Contract mobile subscribers provide 30 percent of Mobily's revenue, Kaf said, predicting further "huge growth coming".
Analysts said LTE was a game changer for Mobily and STC, allowing high-definition video streaming on mobile devices and narrowing the gap in quality between fixed line and mobile broadband, with the latter's actual download speeds at present often much lower than advertised, especially at peak times.
Data provides about 20 percent of Mobily's revenue, Kaf said.
"We see that moving faster and faster in the near future. With the deployment of LTE we have a stronger proposition. In 3-4 years, there will be a ubiquitous type of network and services - the content will move with you."
To achieve this, fixed and mobile broadband networks will be integrated so a user can switch from watching the same content on a high definition television to a mobile handset and then another device - a laptop, tablet or in-car device - without interruption.
This would create "a seamless handover of your services and applications and huge bandwidth between multiple screens," Kaf said.
LTE will not alter Mobily and STC's impending tower-sharing agreement, he said, reiterating that he hoped this would be completed by year-end.

Source: Reuters

17-09-11, 02:57 PM
Abu Dhabi's Eshraq eyeing UAE, Saudi property markets

Newly-listed Eshraq Properties plans to focus on three real estate projects in the United Arab Emirates and expand into Saudi Arabia in the short-term, its chairman told Reuters.
Eshraq, which secured listing on the Abu Dhabi Securities Market on Thursday, will launch two Abu Dhabi-based projects, Marina Rise and Abu Dhabi Gate, as well as another project in Dubai's Jumeirah by the end of the year, Salah bin Nasra said on the sidelines of a bourse launch ceremony.
He declined to give a value for the projects.
"We believe the market will recover, it will be strong and we can get good returns. We are looking at natural growth," he said. "We have strong financials, enough liquidity and good support from banks."
The UAE's real estate sector has yet to recover from the collapse it suffered after a five-year boom that ended in 2008.
Eshraq is also planning to enter the Saudi real estate market over the next three to five years where demand is strong, he said.
The firm raised AED825m ($225m) in an over-subscribed initial public offering (IPO) earlier this year. It offered 55 percent of its capital through the IPO.
Eshraq, with total assets of AED1.5bn, became the 66th company to be listed on the Abu Dhabi bourse.

Source: Reuters

17-09-11, 03:00 PM
Saudi Telecom introduces LTE service

Saudi Telecom has launched next generation long-term evolution (LTE) network services in the Kingdom, as the battle for fourth-generation supremacy intensifies, Reuters has reported. The move follows a high-profile LTE announcement from rival operator Mobily; both operators claim to be the first telecom firm in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region to commercially launch a network based on LTE technology.

Source: Reuters

17-09-11, 03:06 PM
Private education to cost Saudis SR 8.5bn yearly - official

Saudis are expected to spend more than SR8.5bn yearly on the education of their children in private schools and universities, according to a Riyadh Chamber of Commerce official, Saudi Gazette has reported. Ibrahim Bin Abdullah Al-Salim, head of the Committee for Private Sector Education in the Riyadh Chamber of Commerce has also told Arabic daily Al-Hayat that the number of male and female students in private schools surpasses 500,000 adding that the yearly fee of each student is between SR10,000 to SR12,000. He said that Around 100,000 male and female students study in private universities, and they pay approximately SR25,000 in fee every year.

Source: Arabic Daily Al-Hayat

19-09-11, 04:12 PM
Google to offer free websites to Saudi SMEs

Google plans to launch a series of events aimed at getting more Gulf firms online as it looks to increase its business in the Middle East, its regional managing director said.
The worlds largest internet search engine estimates that just 15 percent of GCC businesses are currently online. Google aims to bolster numbers by developing free websites for small-to-medium-sized firms (SMEs) in Saudi Arabia and offering advice on how to monetise their digital presence, said Ari Kesisoglu.
The idea is that we want to help businesses get online. [We want to] make it extremely easy for businesses, he said. E-commerce is just in its infancy [in the GCC]. Businesses need to be online before they can do any online business.
The concept follows a pilot scheme launched in the UK that offered around 1,500 businesses in Liverpool one-to-one advice about building a website and maximising their search potential.
Google, which has rolled out a host of free initiatives in a bid to shake off allegations it has grown too powerful, said it would host its G-UAE Day on October 19-20in Dubai.
G-Days are Google-hosted developer and tech business days that aim to introduce the tech community to the latest technologies.
One of the key things [about G-Days] is us brining the latest technology in the world to the region. We want to give people who are interested in doing things online and we want to help them. If at the end, we have a couple of new implementations of the latest technologies for the region that is a success, said Kesisoglu.
The Middle East is one of Googles biggest growing markets, spurred by its burgeoning youth population. Two thirds of the Arab world is under the age of 25 and among the fastest adopters of new online technology.
Google told Arabian Business in June it was aggressively hiring staff and boosting investment in both its English and Arabic-language products in the region.
Google in February said internet usage in the Middle East grew 39 percent in 2010, to 86 million people, up from 64 million the previous year.
The digital advertising business led by search engines, banner ads, mobile texts and social media, will swell to $170m this year (of a $3bn MENA advertising pie), up from $120m.

Source: Arabian Business

19-09-11, 04:15 PM
Saudi slips from 6-week high as investors book profits

Saudi Arabia's index fell as investors locked in gains from Saturday's rally.
Petrochemicals led declines, but banking stocks also ended lower despite advancing in early-trade.
Bellwether Saudi Basic Industries Corp (SABIC) slipped 0.8 percent, Yanbu National Petrochemical Co retreated 0.9 percent and Saudi Kayan Petrochemicals fell 1.2 percent.
SAAB weighed on the banking sector, down 3.2 percent, while Banque Saudi Fransi dropped 4.1 percent.
The main benchmark slipped 0.5 percent to 6,144 points, slipping from Saturday's six-week high. It had risen following an upbeat end to the trading week on global markets.
Qatar's bullish economic outlook helped the gas exporter's share index ended at a two-week high, while Abu Dhabi's benchmark slumped to a four-week low as newly-listed Eshraq Properties declined.
Qatar's measure rose 1 percent to 8,432 points, its highest close since Sept 4. Qatar is the best performing regional market this year, falling 2.9 percent. A Reuters poll of analysts in June forecast Qatar's economy would expand 16.7 percent in 2011.
Islamic bank Masraf Al Rayan gained 1.4 percent, accounting for nearly half of all shares traded. Industries Qatar climbed 2.8 percent and Barwa Real Estate advanced 1.9 percent.
"Qatar will likely continue to outperform the region - it is one of the fastest growing economies in the world and has a lot of liquidity in the system," said Shahid Hameed, Global Investment House head of asset management for the Gulf region.
In December, Qatar was chosen to host the FIFA World Cup 2022, which is expected to boost its economy.
The Qatari government has allocated 40 percent of its budget between now and 2016 to infrastructure projects, including $11bn on a new international airport, $5.5bn on a deepwater seaport and $1bn for a transport corridor in the capital, Doha. It will spend $20bn on roads.
Elsewhere, Abu Dhabi's Eshraq falls 2 percent, while banks also slide. Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank dropped 1.3 percent and National Bank of Abu Dhabi slipped 1.4 percent.
Abu Dhabi's index fell 0.2 percent to 2,571 points, its lowest close since Aug 22.
Meanwhile, Dubai's measure gained 0.3 percent to close at 1,472 points, easing 1.4 percent so far in September.
Takaful Emarat added 1.4 percent, accounting for nearly half the traded shares on the index. Short-term retail investors often target insurance stocks.
Oman's bluechips lifted the country's bourse for a fourth straight session, boosted by gains in world stocks on Friday, but buying interest remained muted.
Renaissance Services gained 0.4 percent and Bank Muscat closed 1.2 percent higher.
"The market expected a rally after a week of consolidation, but overall activity is still lower than our anticipation," said Kanaga Sundar, Gulf Baader Capital Markets head of research. "Hopefully, further clarity in the global picture and emerging Q3 results should help with the improvement in market volumes."
The index ended 0.3 percent higher at 5,743 points, with its next resistance at 5,900 points.
Investors are following developments in the euro zone as it tackles a spiralling debt crisis, while looking for cues on US' economic outlook.
Oman's companies were expected to post fourth-quarter earnings growth on the previous quarter, driven by banks, according to Sundar.
Elsewhere, Kuwait's index ended 0.4 percent lower at 6,003 points, giving back early-session gains.
Telecoms operator Zain was the main drag on the index and had the highest turnover as it slipped 2 percent. National Investment Co shed 1.8 percent Kuwait Finance House declined 1.1 percent.
In July, Kuwait's newly formed regulator Capital Markets Authority (CMA) gave investment funds until March 2012 to impose a cap on their ownership in individual financial securities.
"People are blaming the lacklustre trade on the CMA rules but I don't see major challenges in the market" said Shahid Hameed, Global Investment House head of asset management for the Gulf region.
"Q3 results are expected to be generally muted and fairly in-line with Q2 results. People don't expect much fireworks or negative surprises."

Source: Reuters

19-09-11, 04:17 PM
Saudi delays moving operations to Najran airport

Saudi Arabian Airlines has delayed moving its operations to Najran's new airport from Sunday until Tuesday due to the uncompleted preparations for handling flights there, Saudi Gazette has reported. Abdullah Bin Mushbib Al-Ajhar, Saudia's Assistant Director General for public relations has said that the national carrier has finished the preparation of its offices, counters and service points at the new airport.
Source: Saudi Gazette

19-09-11, 04:28 PM
HSBC Saudi introduces new commodity fund

British-based HSBC has said its Saudi Arabia wholesale and investment banking unit has introduced a new open-ended Shariah compliant fund - HSBC Amanah Commodity Index Fund, Saudi Gazette has reported. HSBC Saudi has said the fund is aimed at generating capital growth over the long term by investing in commodities in a Shariah compliant manner, whereby the Fund will track the performance of a commodity index.

Source: Saudi Gazette

19-09-11, 04:30 PM
Banque Saudi Fransi dives after resignation of board member

The Tadawul bourse in Riyadh declined half a percent, closing at 6,144.35 points. Banque Saudi Fransi posted the second largest decline, ending off 3.89% at SR39.50. Earlier in the day Saudi Fransi announced that Mr. Alain Massierra, the representative of the foreign partner, Banque Calyon, in the bank's board of director, has submitted his resignation as a director in the Banks Board of Directors, with effect from 15.9.2011. "The name of the new director will be announced after securing the approval of the concerned authorities for his appointment," the statement posted on the Tadawul site says.

Source: Ame Info

19-09-11, 04:34 PM
Sabic plans $1bn polycarbonate plant in China

The Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (Sabic) has announced plans to build a $1bn advanced polycarbonate technology plant in China's Tianjin City, with an annual capacity of 260K tons to meet the growing demand for plastics in the country, the Saudi Gazette has reported. Sabic has said that the new project will help boost its growth in the market for high performance engineering thermoplastics, and meet the growing demand for Sabic advanced polycarbonates in China.

Source: Saudi Gazette

20-09-11, 02:04 PM
Saudi index leads Gulf decline; euro crisis, oil weigh

Saudi Arabia's index slumped to a three-week low, halting a three-session rally, with jittery investors booking profits as fears of a debt default by Greece and tumbling European equities weighed on local sentiment.
World shares fell 2 percent on Monday, with European stocks down 3 percent for a more than 20 percent loss this year.
In Saudi Arabia, banking and petrochemicals - the two heavyweight sectors - slid.
Newly-listed Integrated Telecom Company slumped 7.4 percent and is the most traded stock. Alimna Bank dropped 1.1 percent and bellwether Saudi Basic Industries Corp (SABIC) fell 2.9 percent.
"If the market moves along fundamentals, we should see positive movement in the index going forward but a lot of this depends on the international markets," said Asim Bukhtiar, head of research at Riyadh Capital. "If there are further shocks [internationally], it could affect Saudi Arabia."
Some analysts expected a better second-half in terms of corporate earnings, despite the gloomy picture.
"Banks and telecoms look attractive at the moment. Both have been oversold and offer attractive entry points," Bukhtiar added.
The benchmark declined 1.7 percent to 6,037 points, its lowest close since August 24 and extending its 2011 losses to 8.8 percent.
Oman's Renaissance Services fell after warning it will be tough to recover the $2.9m lost in fraud at its marine unit Topaz and most Muscat shares ended lower, with regional markets weak amid growing concerns about Europe's debt crisis.
The oil services firm, the third-most active stock on Oman's index , closed 0.6 percent lower and was down 38.1 so far in 2011. It has completed an investigation in to the misappropriation of $2.9 m and isolated fraud to one foreign unit, it said on Monday.
"This may be taken as a constructive step towards developing the trustworthiness of the company over a medium to longer term," said Kanaga Sundar, Gulf Baader Capital Markets head of research in a note. "The stock is still trading at a lower valuation for the next fiscal year as compared to the global offshore support vessel players."
Heavyweight Bank Muscat declined 0.2 percent and Bank Sohar slipped 0.7 percent.
The benchmark ended 0.6 percent lower at 5,676 points, extending its 2011 losses to 16 percent.
Elsewhere, Kuwait's index slipped 0.05 percent to 5,977 points, ending a 10-day rally. Large-caps were down, but logistics operator Agility bucked the trend and surged 8.5 percent to its highest close since July 14.
Agility extends gained for a second day since a media report in Kuwaiti daily Al Qabas said the company had formed an alliance to buy into the privatisation of state-owned Kuwait Airways.
Dubai's shares slumped to a three-week low and neighbouring markets also slid as investors eyed losses in world shares amid fears Greece may default and signs of rifts among euro zone policymakers. .
World shares tumbled nearly 2 percent on Monday with European equities at 26-month lows.
Dubai's top traded stocks, the main targets for retail investors who try to profit in short-term trading, head losers. Emaar Properties and builder Arabtec fell 1.4 and 2.2 percent respectively, while contractor Drake & Scull dropped 2.1 percent. The trio accounted for nearly half the total shares changing hands on the index.
"Fears over a US double-dip recession and debt problems spreading from Greece to other European countries is increasing risk in international markets," said Marwan Shurrab, vice-president and chief trader at Gulfmena Investments. "That's why we're seeing a sell-off across the board which is pressuring our markets. There's a lack of interest for taking risk. I would not expect foreigners to head to our markets."
Dubai's benchmark dropped 0.9 percent to 1,460 points, its lowest close since August 24.
Abu Dhabi's index shed 0.4 percent to 2,584 points, its fourth-straight decline to take its 2011 loss to 5 percent. Property stocks slid, with Aldar Properties down 1.6 percent and Sorouh Real Estate dropping 1.7 percent.
Elsewhere, Doha's bourse slipped 1 percent to close at 8,295 points, taking its year-to-date losses to 3.6 percent, the top performing Gulf Arab benchmark. Qatar's stocks have proved more resilient because of the country's robust economy, which is forecast to grow 16.7 percent in 2011.
Doha losers outnumbered gainers 16 to three. Heavyweight Industries Qatar (IQ) slipped 1.7 percent and Qatar National Bank fell 0.6 percent.
"The banking sector is the most eyed in Qatar, as well as petrochems like IQ. Qatar's petrochems are the most attractive in the region at current prices," Shurrab said.

Source: Reuters

20-09-11, 02:05 PM
Saudi prince calls on US to back Plaestinian UN status

Saudi Arabia's former top US diplomat pressed the United States to support a Palestinian bid to upgrade its UN status, saying that its longtime ally would "risk losing the little credibility it has in the Arab world" if it failed to do so.
Palestinians are seeking either full membership or recognition as a non-member state when the UN General Assembly convenes next week, seeking to level the playing field with Israel, which opposes the move.
The United States vowed four days ago to use its Security Council veto against a Palestinian move for membership.
"With most of the Arab world in upheaval, the 'special relationship' between Saudi Arabia and the United States would increasingly be seen as toxic by the vast majority of Arabs and Muslims, who demand justice for the Palestinian people," Prince Turki Al Faisal, former chief of Saudi Arabia's intelligence services and former Saudi ambassador to the United States, wrote in an opinion piece in Monday's New York Times.
"American support for Palestinian statehood is therefore crucial, and a veto will have profound negative consequences," he wrote.
"In addition to causing substantial damage to American-Saudi relations and provoki ng uproar among Muslims worldwide, the United States would further undermine its relations with the Muslim world, empower Iran and threaten regional stability.
"Let us hope that the United States chooses the path of justice and peace."
Saudi Arabia argues that its biggest foe in the region, Iran, will exploit any discord among Palestinians and try to destabilise the region.
Prince Turki said Saudi Arabia would be forced to adopt "a far more independent and assertive foreign policy," threatening that it could break with US policy on Iraq, Afghanistan and Yemen.
In the event of a US veto, Prince Turki, nephew of Saudi Arabia's king, warned "Saudi Arabia would no longer be able to cooperate with America in the same way it historically has."
Saudi support has been crucial for US policy in the Middle East, which has become less predictable as calls for reform toppled leaders and threatened autocratic rulers. This has frayed the traditionally strong ties between the world's top oil exporter and biggest economy.
"The Palestinian people deserve statehood and all that it entails: official recognition, endorsement by international organisations, the ability to deal with Israel on more equal footing and the opportunity to live in peace and security," the prince wrote, adding that the administration of president Barack Obama was "preoccupied with a deteriorating domestic economy and a paralysed political scene."
"Today, there is a chance for the United States and Saudi Arabia to contain Iran and prevent it from destabilizing the region," Prince Turki said. "But this opportunity will be squandered if the Obama administration's actions at the United Nations force a deepening split between our two countries."

Source: Reuters

20-09-11, 02:07 PM
Najran airport first of new generation for Saudi

Faisal Al-Sugair, president of Saudi Arabia's General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) has described the newly established Najran regional airport designed to operate international flights as one of the new generation airports in the Kingdom with state-of-the-art facilities, Arab News has reported. Al-Sugair has added that the airport is designed to receive wide-bodied aircraft and will operate flights to neighbouring countries. It has a capacity of 1.4 million passengers and 15,000 flights annually.

Source: Arab News

20-09-11, 02:08 PM
Saudi school transportation costs drop 30%

School transportation costs in Saudi Arabia fell by 30% after the establishment of 20 new transportation companies, Saudi Gazette has reported. Hussain Al-Olayani, director general of one of the largest companies involved in school transportation has explained that the increase in the number of transportation companies from four 10 years ago to the present 20 has played a vital role in the reduction of transportation costs.

Source: Saudi Gazette

20-09-11, 02:09 PM
Euro-zone debt troubles spoil Tadawul rebound

The Saudi Stock Exchange was not immune against fresh woes in the Euro-zone, where an 'organized default' of Greece is suddenly openly discussed among European governments. The Tadawul index in Riyadh declined 1.69% to close at 6,037.25 points. Investors booked profits at insurers in particular, with AXA Cooperative Insurance Company diving 9.88% to SR36.50.

Source: Ame Info

20-09-11, 02:14 PM
KH to finish Zain Saudi due diligence by September

Saudi Arabia's Kingdom Holding has announced that its signing agreement to finish due diligence for its joint $950m bid to acquire a quarter-stake in telecoms operator Zain Saudi by the end of this month, Reuters has reported. In March, Kuwait's Zain has agreed to sell its stake in indebted affiliate Zain Saudi to joint bidders Kingdom and Bahrain Telecommunications co (Batelco).

Source: Reuters

21-09-11, 11:32 AM
German gov't thwarts bid to block Saudi tank deal

German Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives have thwarted a parliamentary manoeuvre by the opposition that would have halted a secret multi-billion euro tank deal with Saudi Arabia.
The vote just before parliament's summer recess was seen as test of the chancellor's control over her coalition.
The government has faced sharp criticism from opposition lawmakers and even within its own ranks after media reports - confirmed to Reuters by Saudi security sources - said Berlin had agreed to sell 200 Leopard 2 tanks to Saudi Arabia.
Opponents say the deal contravenes the country's export guidelines for military hardware and the tanks could be used to suppress human rights and bolster the ruling royal family in the world's largest oil exporter.
"They are failing a historic situation (in the Middle East)," opposition Social Democratic leader Sigmar Gabriel told parliament. "Germany and Europe must support the democratic movement and not feudal dynasties."
The Germany government cannot acknowledge the deal because exports of military equipment are confidential and disclosure is punishable by a fine or jail.
"Confidentiality protects Germany's relations with potential trade partners and their interests," Merkel spokesman Steffen Seibert said before the vote.
Germany's three opposition parties - the Social Democrats, Greens and Left party - each put forward bills that would have prevented tanks from being exported to Saudi Arabia and, in effect, forcing the government to officially disclose the deal.
Selling armaments abroad is a sensitive issue in Germany due to its Nazi past, as well as the role arms makers such as Krupp played in feeding 19th and 20th century wars with exports to both sides of conflicts.
Germany has imposed strict rules on arms exporters, barring them from selling weapons to countries in crisis zones, with questionable human rights records or engaged in armed conflicts.
"It's known that we have differences over human rights with Saudi Arabia - that's very clear," Seibert said. "Even so, they play a constructive role in the Middle East peace process."
Without addressing the tank deal explicitly, the government has said arms exports to Saudi Arabia help strengthen the Gulf country as a counterweight to Iran in the region.
Media reports also said Israel and the United States were briefed on the deal and voiced no concerns.
"Two hundred tanks for Saudi Arabia has no effect on Israel's security interests," former Israeli ambassador to Germany Shimon Stein told German paper Rheinische Post in a preview of its Saturday edition.
The 2A7+ Leopard tanks said to comprise the Saudi orders are made by Krauss-Maffei Wegmann and Rheinmetall and viewed as among the most effective battle tanks in the world.
In spite of self-imposed restrictions, Germany's arms exports have doubled in the last decade and the country is now the world's third-largest weapons exporter behind the United States and Russia.q

Source: Reuters

21-09-11, 11:45 AM
Doubts cast over Saudi Arabia's $ 613 m ports plan

Analysts have cast doubts over Saudi Arabia's $613m ports expansion plan in light of similar projects under way in other Gulf countries.
Business Monitor International said in a new report that it was "not convinced" by the kingdom's plan to establish transhipment hubs, given the number of rival projects in the region.
Last week, Saudi transport minister Jobarah al-Suraisry confirmed the ports expansion plan, saying particular focus would be on the industrial ports of Yanbu and Jubail.
The country currently has nine primary ports with some 200 docks.
Some cater for both dry-bulk shipments and containers, while others are used for dry-bulk shipping only.
BMI analysts said that as Saudi Arabia looks to diversify its economy away from an overreliance on the export of crude oil to fuel its economy, industrial ports will become ever more important.
These ports will also be essential to feed Saudi Arabia's expansive infrastructure investment programme, which will see $400bn spent in the five years to 2013, BMI added.
With domestic consumption growing, BMI also said it sees a need for increased capacity in Saudi Arabia's container ports.
But it questioned the wisdom of expanding the port of Dammam where capacity will rise to 3 million 20-foot equivalent units (TEUs).
"BMI is wary about this scheme, however, as the expanded port is intended to serve not only the Saudi populace, but to act as a transhipment hub for the wider Gulf region," analysts said,
"Given the large number of ports vying for this crown in the Gulf, either established or in the construction process, we believe that some will have unused capacity for years to come.
"The Khalifa bin Salman Port in Bahrain has already experienced difficulties in attracting transhipment custom, and an international dispute has emerged over neighbouring projects in Kuwait and Iraq," they added.
Saudi Arabia's largest container port is the Jeddah Islamic Port on the country's Red Sea coast, which in 2010 handled 3.83m TEUs, on impressive growth of 23.9 percent.

Source: Arabian Business
Around July 9, 2011

24-09-11, 01:40 PM
Saudi Arabia's crude output hits 2011 high in June

Saudi Arabia's crude output hit a high for the year so far of around 9.5-9.6 million barrels per day (bpd) in June, up nearly 800,000 bpd from May, industry sources said on Monday.
Industry sources previously estimated the world's largest oil exporter could pump around 9.8 million bpd in June, after it pledged to supply all the oil needed when exporter group OPEC did not agree a coordinated increase on June 8.
Some analysts say the subsequent release of strategic oil stocks by the International Energy Agency (IEA) group of major consuming countries could dampen Gulf OPEC countries' efforts to increase output.
An industry source said he expected Saudi production in July to be slightly lower than in June.
Saudi output last rose above 9.5 million bpd in the middle of 2008 after oil prices set a record $147 a barrel.
State oil giant Saudi Aramco [SDABO.UL] cut the official selling price (OSP) of flagship export grade Arab Light by a smaller-than-expected 10 cents for August.
It raised the Arab Heavy OSP by 75 cents, surprising Asian refiners who had hoped for lower prices as part of the kingdom's strategy to sell more in the region.
On Monday the IEA said the amount of oil to be released would be 784,000 barrels lower than an earlier target of 60 million barrels with less barrels coming from Europe.
Ten refiners in China, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan turned down a Saudi offer for more crude in August, traders said on Monday.
Plentiful supply of Russian ESPO crude in the region and weaker Chinese crude imports - which fell 11.5 percent, year on year, in June to their lowest in eight months - have reduced the need for extra Saudi crude.

Source: Reuters

24-09-11, 01:44 PM
For major Saudi banks post sturdy Q2 profits

Four major Saudi banks reported quarterly profits that met or beat analysts estimates on Monday, in a sign the kingdom's lenders have begun to rebound from a punishing bout of a bad loan provisioning.
Al-Rajhi Bank , the country's biggest Islamic lender, posted a 3.6 percent rise in second-quarter profit.
The bank credited higher special commissions, or net interest income, and banking fees income and a decline in expenses for the rise in profits.
Al Rajhi had net profit of SR1.84 billion ($491 million) in the three months to end-June, compared with SR1.78 billion in the prior-year period.
Analysts had forecast average quarterly profit to be flat at SR1.78 billion.
Rajhi Bank said its board recommended a dividend of 1.25 riyals for the first half of 2011.
Meanwhile, Riyad Bank's profits surged 9 percent to SR836 million in the second quarter, up from 766 million last year, topping forecasts for profit of SR789.86 million.
"Riyadh Bank blew away estimates -- if this sparks a (market) rally tomorrow, it will negate the affect of the seasonality affect," said a Riyadh-based fund manager, who asked not to be identified.
"People are a lot more confident on banks, they will see better buyers now."
A massive Saudi government spending plan announced during the peak of regional unrest, which includes building 500,000 new homes, has helped lift sentiment in the kingdom's banks.
Saudi Hollandi Bank , the kingdom's oldest bank, reported a 5.1 percent rise in quarterly profit, beating forecasts, to SR263.6 million.
Hollandi's operational profit for the second-quarter climbed 3.4 percent to SR495.2 million.
Bucking the upward trend, Samba Financial Group posted a 9.7 percent drop on profits but still met estimates.
The country's second-largest lender by market value blamed lower special commissions income for the decline in quarterly profit.
Samba reported net profit SR1.102 billion for the period ended June 30, compared with SR1.22 billion a year earlier.
Analysts had forecast an average profit of 1.11 billion riyals, according to a Reuters survey.
The banks reported results after the Saudi index closed.

Source: Reuters

24-09-11, 01:46 PM
Air Arabia to commence flights to Saudi city of Gassim

Air Arabia, the Middle Easts biggest low-cost carrier, is to commence scheduled flights to the Saudi Arabian city of Gassim on July 15, the carrier announced on Monday.
Operating from its UAE base in Sharjah, Air Arabia will operate four weekly flights to Gassim.
We are extremely pleased to introduce our new service between Sharjah and Gassim, which marks the fifth destination in Saudi Arabia reachable via Air Arabia, said AK Nizar, head of commercial department at Air Arabia.
As we approach the holy month of Ramadan, we are pleased to offer one more way to help bring friends and families together for the holidays.
In May, Air Arabia posted a 12 percent decline in first-quarter net profit as rising fuel costs and political unrest put pressure on margins.
The low-cost carrier saw a net profit of AED44.2m for the three months to March 31, down from AED50m in the same period a year earlier. Revenue for the quarter rose six percent to AED513m, up from AED482m in the year-earlier period.
Air Arabia said it carried 1.2 million passengers in the first quarter, a rise of 11 percent on the same period a year earlier. Average seat load factor rose 6 percent to 85 percent.

Source: Arabian Business

24-09-11, 01:47 PM
Yansab Q2 profit nearly doubles on sales, price hike

Saudi-based Yanbu National Petrochemical Co (Yansab) quarterly profit nearly doubled due to higher product prices and sales, it said on Monday.
Yansab, a unit of Saudi Basic Industries Corp (SABIC), had second-quarter net profit of SAR963.67m ($257m), up from SAR502.38m in the prior-year period.
The results topped analysts average forecasts for profit of SAR731.33m, according to a Reuters poll.
Operating profit jumped 82 percent to SAR1.08bn in the second quarter, Yansab said, adding profits increased from the previous quarter due to the rise in sales.
Yansab made a first quarter net profit of SAR717.85m, according to a statement on the Saudi bourse.
Yansab started commercial operations in March last year.
Brokerage Nomura said last month it expected Middle East petrochemical firms to see another quarter of strong earnings growth due to the continued rise in chemcial prices combined with increased plant utilisations.
Saudi Arabian Fertilizers Co on Sunday reported a 13-percent-drop in second quarter earnings.

Source: Reuters

24-09-11, 01:49 PM
Jeddah airport eyes 80m passenger capacity by 2035

Jeddahs King Abdulaziz International Airport is forecast to see a four-fold surge in annual passenger capacity to 80m by 2035 and has put in place a vast expansion plan to cater to the increased demand, a top executive at the airport said.
At present, King Abdulaziz International Airport (KAIA), which is the home base for Saudi Arabian Airlines and the entry point for the holy cities of Makkah and Madinah, currently has three terminals and three runways.
While it has facilities to handle a capacity of nine million passenger a year, Engineer Muhammad Abed, the airports director general, told Aviation Business magazine the airport handled a massive 20m passengers in the last twelve months.
Which is much, much higher than our capacity, said Abed. It was therefore essential to develop a new terminal for the airport. Luckily we have a significant amount of land available for the project, which will be located between the east and centre runways, without making an impact on current operations.
The development of the airport will be in three phases and Abed has estimated the capacity is set to surge even further over the next few decades.
Three phases of development have been outlined and we expect to reach an ultimate capacity of 80 million annual passengers by 2035, still using the existing three runways.
The project will follow a just in time approach, so after the first phase is completed and the maximum capacity of 30 million annual passengers has been reached, we will automatically start the second phase, with a capacity of 43 million passengers. After that is reached, the third and final phase will commence, leading to the ultimate capacity of 80 million annual passengers, Abed is quoted as saying.
The first phase of development was started in January 2011 and the foundation stone was laid by HRH Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz.
In May, Canadian transportation company Bombardier Transportation said it had inked a $96m deal to build and operate a people mover system at the airport.
The firm has signed a contract with construction giant Saudi Bin Laden Group to design, build, operate and maintain a Bombardier Innovia APM 300 system to ferry passengers between terminals at the Jeddah airport.
Saudi Bin Laden Group is the contractor responsible for the design and construction of the airport project and was awarded its contract by the Saudi Arabian General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) earlier this year.

Source: Arabian Business

24-09-11, 02:00 PM
Samba Financial sees 9.7% slip in Q2 net profit

Saudi Arabia's second-largest lender by market value, Samba Financial Group has posted a 9.7% fall in second quarter net profit, in line with expectations, Reuters has reported. Samba said second quarter net profit stood at 1.102bn ($293.3m) for the period, compared with SR1.22bn in the corresponding quarter a year earlier.

Source: Reuters

24-09-11, 02:03 PM
Saudi bank reduces regulatory age for loans to 18

The Saudi Credit and Savings Bank has reduced the regulatory age for customers seeking a loan to 18 from 21, Arabic Al-Hayat has reported. The bank has also increased the ceiling for loans from SR200,000 to SR300,000, the daily said. The bank said it has approved the measures in order to help young Saudis enter the world of business.

Source: Arabic Al-Hayat

25-09-11, 10:28 AM
anything about gold price?

25-09-11, 10:57 AM
anything about gold price?

Gold price came down 100 dollar per ounce

it is 1600 dollar per ounce yesterday

I don't know in Sauid riyal

I think it is around 180 Saudi riyal per gram

25-09-11, 11:11 AM
Samba chief wins Lifetime Achievement at CEO Awards

Samba Financial Chairman Eisa Al Eisa on Tuesday received a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2011 CEO Middle East Awards.
The event at the Armani Hotel, Dubai saw Eisa acknowledged for his work at the Saudi lender, which opened in 1980.
The highlight of the evening was the award of two special honours made to Russian billionaire Eugene Kaspersky and Arabtec Holding chief financial officer Ziad Makhzoumi.
Kaspersky, who flew in from Moscow for the event, made a speech on his war against cybercrime, before later picking up an award for Outstanding Contribution to Business.
The judges said the award recognised the businessman had he done more than almost anyone on the planet in the battle for online security.
Arabtecs Makhzoumi scooped the Special Recognition Award in recognition of his tireless behind-the-scenes work at the UAEs biggest building company, the judges said.
The years event saw a total of 15 awards handed out to top executives at firms such as Virgin Megastore, UAE telco du, healthcare giant GE Middle East and homegrown hospitality firm Rotana Hotels.
Full list of winners:
Lifetime Achievement - Eisa Al Eisa, Samba Financial Group
Outstanding Contribution to Business - Eugene Kaspersky, Kapersky Group
Special Recognition Award - Ziad Makzoumi, Arabtec Holding
Female CEO of the Year - Nisreen Shocair, Virgin Megastore, MENA
Banking CEO of the Year - V Shankar, Standard Chartered
Retail CEO of the Year, Partrick Chalhoub, Chalhoub Group
Young CEO of the Year - Iskander Najjar, Alpari
Visionary of the Year - Jamal Lootah, Imdaad
Telecoms CEO of the Year - Osman Sultan, Du
Insurance CEO of the Year - Tariq AL-Fayez, Elite Insurance and Reinsurance Brokers
Corporate Social Responsibility - Qtel
Healthcare CEO of the Year - Nabil Habayeb, GE Middle East
Hospitality CEO of the Year - Selim El Zyr, Rotana Hotels
Aviation CEO of the Year - Ghaith Al Ghaith, Flydubai
Construction CEO of the Year - Andrew Elias, Kelee Contracting
Source: Arabian Business

25-09-11, 07:40 PM
Saudi shares plunge as US downgrade fuels fear

Saudi Arabian shares tumbled for a third day, sending the benchmark index to its largest intraday drop since March, amid rising concerns about the global economy after Standard & Poors cut the USs credit rating for the first time.
Saudi Basic Industries Corp, or Sabic, the worlds biggest petrochemicals maker, fell the most in five months. Al Rajhi Bank, the kingdoms largest publicly traded lender by market value, reached its lowest price since March.
The 147-company Tadawul All Share Index slumped 5.5 percent to 6,073.44, the steepest decline since March 1, at the 3:30 pm close in Riyadh. All 15 industry groups fell. The gauge has fallen 10.5 percent from the year-high of 6,788.42 on Jan. 16.
The Saudi market is reacting to the steep declines in global markets over the weekend, said Asim Bukhtiar, an equity analyst at Riyad Capital. Growing concerns of the US relapsing into recession are driving sentiment.
US stocks fell the most in 32 months this week and European stocks posted their biggest weekly loss since November 2008. The S&P 500 slumped 7.2 percent, the biggest weekly drop since November that year. The Stoxx 600 Europe Index tumbled 9.9 percent to 238.88 this past week, the gauges lowest level in 13 months.
Oil tumbled 9.2 percent this week, the biggest drop since the week ended May 6. Crude for September delivery was settled at $86.88 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Saudi Arabia holds 20 percent of the worlds proven oil reserves.
The combination of the global equity and commodities meltdown during the Saudi weekend, and to a lesser extent the expected downgrade by S&P, is having an impact on all sectors of the market, said Fuad Aghabi, a director at Ajeej Capital, in Riyadh.
Standard & Poors downgraded the USs AAA credit rating for the first time since 1941. S&P lowered the US one level to AA+ while keeping the outlook at negative. The US immediately lashed out at S&P, with a Treasury Department spokesman saying the firms analysis contains a $2 trillion error. The rating may be cut to AA within two years if spending reductions are lower than agreed to, interest rates rise or new fiscal pressures result in higher general government debt, the New York-based firm said yesterday.
At this point, the impact of the ratings downgrade is not evident, said Bukhtiar. Regional markets will take their cue from global markets on Monday when they open.
Saudi Arabias holdings of foreign securities rose 12 percent this year to a record SR1.32 trillion riyals ($350 billion) as of June 30, Saudi central bank data show.
Sabic slumped 5.8 percent to 97.75 riyals, the sharpest decline since March 1. Al Rajhi declined 5.2 percent to 68.25 riyals, the lowest price since March 2. National Industrialization Co, known as Tasnee, dropped 7.3 percent, the sharpest fall since April 4, to 39.30 riyals.
A total of 144 shares dropped while one stock gained. Rabigh Refining and Petrochemicals Co sank 9.9 percent to 22.60 riyals and Kingdom Holding Co weakened 9.6 percent to 7.10 riyals.
This is a reaction to global instabilities, however, the fundamentals of the Saudi market remains strong, evidenced by very good first-half results, said Aghabi.
Saudi Arabias stock exchange is the only Gulf Arab bourse open on Saturdays

Source: Bloomberg

25-09-11, 07:58 PM
Kingdom's foreign assets surge

Saudi Arabias foreign assets grew by more than SR40 billion in June to push them to their highest ever level, Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA) said in its monthly bulletin for July, on account of strong oil prices and a surge in the Kingdoms crude output.
Against this backdrop, the Kingdom is expected to register a fiscal surplus by the end of the year.
For 2011, Saudi Arabia announced another record high budget of SR580 billion for 2011, with a deficit of SR40 billion.
National Commercial Bank (NCB) said earlier the 2011 deficit could turn into an actual surplus of around SR77 billion.
"We believe that revenues are underestimated, and the government will still manage to record a surplus in 2011. With our forecast of $80 for the average Arabian light spot prices and an 8.5 million bpd for average oil production in 2011, we project revenues and expenditures at SR753 billion and SR677 billion, respectively. This would lead in turn to a budget surplus of SR77 billion, or 4.2 per cent of estimated GDP in 2011," NCB said.
From SR1,856.2 billion ($495 billion) at the end of June, total foreign assets controlled by SAMA soared to an all time high of SR1,897 billion ($505.8 billion) at the end of June.
As a result, Saudi Arabias foreign assets swelled by a whopping SR192 billion in the first half of 2011, the biggest increase in such a period of time, according to financial analysts.
A breakdown showed SAMAs deposits with banks abroad grew from SR360.1 billion at the end of May to SR372.5 billion at the end of June.
Investment in foreign securities swelled from SR1,293.8 billion to SR1,321.3 billion.
Foreign currencies and gold rose from SR154.5 billion to SR156.5 billion while other "miscellaneous" assets slipped to SR23.3 billion from SR24 billion.
Saudi Arabias foreign assets recorded one of their largest increases of nearly SR513 billion during 2008, when oil prices climbed to their highest annual average of nearly $95 a barrel. But a sharp fall in crude prices depressed them by SR139 billion in 2009.
In 2010, the budget reverted into a surplus of SR109 billion after oil prices increased by at least $15 a barrel.
But analysts believe the shortfall will again revert into a surplus at the end of the year on the grounds the oil price assumed by Riyadh of just under $60 will be far below the expected actual price. In the first six months of 2011, crude prices averaged nearly $100 a barrel and could remain relatively high through 2011
Source: Saudi Gazette

25-09-11, 08:07 PM
Saudi reshapes controvesial anti-terror law

Saudi Arabia has revised an anti-terrorism law and made it less severe than a leaked version that was heavily criticised by human rights groups, a Shura Council spokesman said on Saturday.
"The draft that was published is not the final one," said Mohammed Almohanna, spokesman for the advisory parliament.
"It was discussed in a Shura Council session. It was a draft and some changes were made to it to ensure that the law is compatible with Sharia [Islamic law] and does not violate citizens' rights or the country's existing laws," he said.
He said the Shura would amend the draft further when its summer recess ends in mid-September before sending it to the king for approval.
Amnesty International, which published a draft of the Penal Law for Terrorism Crimes and Financing Terrorism on its website, said on July 22 that the authorities could use the law to stifle dissent and pro-democracy protests in the absolute monarchy.
Saudi Arabia, a US ally and top world oil exporter, follows an austere version of Sunni Islam. It has no political parties. The appointed Shura Council has only limited powers.
The draft law, in the version published by Amnesty, would consider "endangering... national unity" and "harming the reputation of the state or its position" as terrorist crimes, and would allow suspects to be held incommunicado for an indefinite period, if approved by a special court.
It would also stipulate a minimum 10-year jail sentence for questioning the integrity of the king or crown prince.
But an amendment to the draft changes the offence to taking up arms against the king or crown prince or abandoning loyalty to them, Saudi activist Waleed Abu Alkhair said.
He said the Shura Council's changes might be overridden. "There is trepidation that the amendments will not be accepted... It is clear that there was an attempt to pass this quickly and secretly," Abu Alkhair said.
The draft law version on Amnesty's website was marked "secret and urgent" and indicated that the council would have one month from an unspecified date to make changes to the law.
The draft law would also give the Interior Minister broad powers to act to protect internal security without judicial authorisation or oversight.
Activists say thousands of people are held in Saudi prisons without charge or access to lawyers, despite a law that limits detention without trial to six months. The draft law would largely formalise such practices.
"We witnessed severe violations by the Interior Ministry and the executive authorities which we used to criticise as violations of the law. Now, if this law is passed, these criticisms will be considered violations of the law and the former violations will become laws," Abu Alkhair said.

Source: Reuters

25-09-11, 08:09 PM
Makkah projects: Panel to keep an eye on sleaze

The Makkah Mayoralty has established stricter guidelines for supervising large development projects in Makkah including those for developing unplanned districts to ensure that they progress according to plan, without financial or technical corruption.
Dr. Osama Fadl Al-Bar, Mayor of Makkah, issued a decision to form a higher committee of leading mayoralty officials to review mega-projects being executed by the mayoralty, private sector companies and the Al-Balad Al-Amin Company.
The committee has wide powers to summon anyone it wants to attend the meetings and participate in discussions about any project, he added.
Dr. Al-Bar specified that the committee will monitor and follow up on the mega-projects by focusing on several aspects of their execution.
Its key functions include receiving and reviewing documents and studies related to projects; ensuring that the company abides by the building code, according to the approved licenses; establishing urban controls; suggesting building systems for sites presented by the company tasked with executing the projects; giving technical opinions; and coming up with initiatives, ideas and future visions for sites owned by the company.
The seven-member committee, in the form of an accounts-control commission with Makkah Mayoralty, is headed by the deputy mayor for construction and projects, who will serve as its chairman, and the assistant mayor for development, who will serve as its deputy chairman.
Members include the director of urban planning, director general of lands and properties, supervisor general of the consultant studies and pioneering projects unit, director of building licenses administration and secretary of the construction and projects agency.
In his decision to form the committee, Dr. Al-Bar specified that it will meet on a weekly basis to look into subjects referred to it, and that it has the right to hold other meetings at the mayoralty headquarters, the premises of Al-Balad Al-Amin Company or the Makkah Development Authority.
The action was taken by the Makkah Mayoralty to protect its gains and make sure that development projects progress according to the aspirations of the leadership, Dr. Al-Bar added.
Source: Saudi Gazette

25-09-11, 08:10 PM
KSA top financial donor in Gulf

Saudi Arabia topped the list of financial donors in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, representing 55.6 percent of the total donations, the International Center of Research and Studies (MEDAD) report titled "Charitable Works in the Gulf Countries" said.
The report said the government sector in GCC provide 90 percent of the donations.
"This report aims to increase the charitable works as wells as developing the charitable societies in GCC," said Dr. Khaled Al-Suraihi, general director of ICRS.
He added that this report will guide the supervisors of charitable societies to intensify their works especially during the holy month of Ramdan.
The financial donations increased by 539.4 percent in 2011, while the charitable activities at 46.5 percent, was on top of the list among other activities.
"The monthly average of the charitable activities in GCC was 101," Al-Suraihi said.
The report focused on the scientific, cultural and medical conferences and symposium of charitable societies as well as the most recent media means of charitable works in the GCC.
Dr. Al-Suraihi further said the report will help the researchers to create the strategic plan of developing the social and charitable societies and providing good information for those involved in the activities of charitable societies.
The Jeddah-based MEDAD is the first center concerning about the charitable works in GCC. It is founded by scientists, academics and some officials.

Source: Saudi Gazette

25-09-11, 08:11 PM
Saudi landlords forced to get creative in supply glut

Saudi Arabia may be suffering from a shortfall in residential property, but its biggest cities are seeing an oversupply of commercial space forcing landlords to come up with new plans to entice tenants, according to new research.
A report by real estate consultancy CB Richard Ellis (CBRE) showed that high-end office vacancy rates in Riyadh sit at around 20 percent.
New space added onto the market during the first half amounted to just over 100,000 square meetings, outweighing demand of about 50,000 sq m.
As a consequence, landlords are, for the first time, venturing into incentives territory, including such offers as rent-free periods, assistance with fit-outs, professional property management and reduced or zero service charges, the report stated.
Although increasingly employed, the concept of landlord incentivisation remains somewhat embryonic but is likely to be enforced upon landlords as the significant supply pipeline reaches fruition.
In Jeddah, CBRE predicted that around 250,000 sq m of top-end office space would come onto the market, which the agency said would be a significant volume for the market to absorb.
Nevertheless, office space take-up has been healthy in 2011, with many tenants also taking the opportunity to upgrade accommodation in a climate of slightly weakening rental rates, the report said.
Similar to other major markets in Saudi, tenants are typically price-sensitive and focused on the rental rate and number of parking spaces rather than the quality and prestige of new properties.
CBRE also reported a similar situation in Khobar and Dammam, with the growth in demand for office space more than matched by growth in supply, leading to lower rents.
Social spending packages announced by King Abdullah are pumping an estimated $130bn into the Saudi economy. Much of that money will be spent on lowering the unemployment rate, which, in theory, will help boost commercial real estate demand in the medium term.
Source: Arabian Business

25-09-11, 08:14 PM
SCTA: Resorts prices match service quality

A classification system for tourist resorts and villages similar to that imposed on hotels is being finalized, according to an official from the Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities.
Abdullatif Al-Bunaiya, Director of the SCTA's branch in the Eastern Province, said the system includes a comprehensive categorization of resorts in the region, similar to that of hotels and furnished apartments issued by the SCTA
The commission will start classifying and monitoring the places as soon as the regulation is issued. Each resort will be classified based on its level of service and commitment to standards.
The SCTAwill strictly monitor resorts and impose fines on violators, including violations of seasonal pricing, he said, adding that some furnished apartments and hotels were punished with fines and some closed temporarily for violations.

Source: Saudi Gazette

25-09-11, 08:15 PM
Madina airport contract to be awarded soon

Saudi Arabia's General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) is set to announce soon the winner of the tender for the new Prince Muhammad Bin Abdul Aziz International Airport in Madina, Saudi Gazette has reported. Madina's present airport was opened in 1974. It handles mostly domestic flights, although it has limited scheduled international services to regional destinations such as Cairo, Doha, Dubai, Istanbul and Kuwait. It also handles charter international flights during the Haj season

Source: Ame Info

30-09-11, 10:47 PM
Gold price came down 100 dollar per ounce

it is 1600 dollar per ounce yesterday

I don't know in Sauid riyal

I think it is around 180 Saudi riyal per gram

thanx hussan
hope to come soon with good news

02-10-11, 02:55 PM
24 195,746.61 SR
US dollar 52,193.52

2 2011

02-10-11, 03:16 PM
22 179,499.64

02-10-11, 03:16 PM
21 171,278.28 sar

02-10-11, 03:17 PM
18 146,809.95 sar

02-10-11, 03:17 PM
14 114,120.27 sr

02-10-11, 03:19 PM
10 81,626.33 sar

02-10-11, 08:00 PM

03-10-11, 09:22 AM
24 2 2011 : 196,415.66


03-10-11, 10:07 AM
Zain Saudi eyes capital cut after stake sale fails

Zain Saudi will push ahead with a multi-billion dollar capital restructuring following the failure of a $950 million stake sale last week, the chairman of the indebted telecoms operator told Reuters on Sunday.
The firm, which launched services in 2008, must cut its capital to comply with Saudi Arabia bourse rules, having racked up about $2.3 billion in accumulated losses.
On Thursday, Bahrain Telecommunications and Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal's Kingdom Holding withdrew their offer to buy Kuwait Zain's quarter-stake in its Saudi affiliate.
"We expect (to) achieve high growth levels and turn into profit as soon as the period for capital restructuring is completed, which we expect to speed up after the failure of the deal to sell Zain Kuwait's share," Zain Saudi chairman Prince Hussam bin Saud wrote in an emailed response to Reuters.
Zain Saudi's board had proposed to restructure its capital in August 2010 and in February said it would ask shareholders to approve slashing its capital by 55 percent to 6.3 billion riyals ($1.68 billion).
It said it would then issue 4.4 billion riyals of new shares, but this plan was held up as first Zain and then Zain Saudi were the subject of failed takeover bids.
Zain Saudi's debts top $5.5 billion and it has yet to make a quarterly profit. Analysts say Zain Saudi's $6.1 billion licence fee has left it short of cash and struggling to compete in Saudi's Arabia's saturated mobile market.
Mobile penetration was 188 percent in 2010, the third highest in the world, while Zain Saudi's market share fell to 16 percent from 18 percent a year earlier, leaving a distant third to rivals Saudi Telecom Co and Etihad Etisalat.

Source: Reuters

03-10-11, 10:09 AM
Saudi Arabia will pay unemployment benefit from November 2011

Saudi Arabia, which had a 10.8 percent unemployment rate in July, will begin to pay unemployment benefits for the first time from November, Labour Minister Adel Fakieh said on Sunday.
The government from next year also will seek to encourage the hiring of more Saudi nationals in the kingdoms private sector, Fakieh said in comments published by newswire Bloomberg.
The government plans to sign agreements with Saudi banks in 2012 to monitor the wages of Saudis and foreign workers to ensure nationals are earning salaries that increase in line with the cost of living, Fakieh said.
The Ministry of Labour in March initiated efforts to reduce unemployment and offset anger among citizens amid the Arab Spring demonstrations that have swept North Africa and the Middle East.
Separately, Saudi Arabia's Labour Ministry intends to launch 30 new initiatives as part of its drive to create jobs for Saudi university graduates, it was reported on Sunday.
Fakeih said they would include efforts to develop the skills of Saudi workers, informing the private sector about qualified Saudi jobseekers and opening new opportunities for women.
Fakeih made his comments while opening a workshop attended by delegates from companies in Premium and Green categories of the newly introduced Nitaqat system, Saudi daily Arab News said.
Other initiatives planned by the ministry are employment for people with special needs, incentives for working in
remote villages and regions and the development of the Human Resource Development Fund (HRDF), it added.
Fakeih said he did not believe that Nitaqat was a total solution for the unemployment problem in the kingdom.
Last month, it was reported that more than 1.5m applications have been received from Saudi Arabian jobseekers over the past few weeks as the kingdom ramps up its new plan to find employment for nationals.
Fakeih said the list of Saudis waiting for jobs would be finalised in November.

Source: Arabian Business

03-10-11, 10:11 AM
Saudi oil revenues will cover spending pledge, says minister

Saudi Arabian Finance Minister Ibrahim al-Assaf said increased oil-driven revenues will cover the higher spending ordered by King Abdullah earlier this year, the website of al-Eqtisadiah newspaper reported on Sunday.
At the height of the Arab protests this year, Saudi Arabia announced it would spend an estimated $130bn on social benefits and housing, a figure equivalent to nearly a third of its annual gross domestic product.
"The increase in income will cover the increase in spending," the newspaper quoted him as saying at a conference in Riyadh.
"Even as the global economy is going through some challenges, the Saudi economy is one of the few in the world that has healthy growth," he added.
Saudi Arabia's budget spending has more than doubled over the past decade to a record SR580bn planned for 2011 before the announcement of the king's handouts.
The kingdom, which has accumulated a record $500bn reserves thanks to robust oil prices, launched a five-year, $400bn development plan in 2008, the biggest spending package relative to gross domestic product among the world's top 20 developed nations, to upgrade infrastructure, including airports and roads.

Source: Reuters

03-10-11, 10:17 AM
Saudi index ends flat as petchems give back gains

Saudi Arabia's shares ended near-flat with investors sitting back ahead of quarterly earnings, waiting for fresh cues.
The benchmark slipped 0.07 percent to 6,112 points, extending 2011 losses to 7.7 percent.
"Many investors are waiting to see where is the best opportunity for them to invest in right now, liquidity is just from day trading," said Youssef Kassantini, a Saudi-based financial analyst.
"Earnings will be strong especially in petrochemical, cement and agriculture - that should by itself be enough to lift the market."
Petrochemical index slipped 0.08 percent, giving back the day's gains.
Agriculture and food stocks shed 1.3 percent, while insurance stocks supported with a 2.8 percent rise.
Dubai's index slipped to a near seven-month low and volumes also slumped to a milestone low as weak global cues weighed on local risk appetite.
Dubai's benchmark slipped 0.1 percent to 1,430 points, its lowest close since March 8. Less than 20 million shares traded, the lowest total for at least two years.
"Investors prefer to wait and see for a clearer direction from international markets," said Marwan Shurrab, vice-president and chief trader at Gulfmena Investments.
Emaar Properties fell 0.4 percent in the first day's trading since banking sources said the Dubai developer is using four shopping malls as collateral for an $800m two-tranche loan.
UAE bank stocks slipped, with Dubai Islamic Bank down 1.5 percent and Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank slipping 0.7 percent.
"Right now, liquidity is tough for banks. The fear of facing exposure and having to take provisions is causing them to avoid lending. Loan growth has lagged, that's why most banks are suffering," Shurrab said.
Abu Dhabi's index ended 0.1 percent higher at 2,535 points, trimming its 2011 losses to 6.8 percent.
Elsewhere, Qatar's index slipped 0.4 percent o 8,357 points as losers outnumbered gainers 17 to four.
Heavyweight lender Qatar National Bank fell 0.2 percent after sources said it boosted employee salaries by 60 percent.
Some investors were worried about the hike's impact on net profit.
Industries Qatar dipped 1.1 percent.
Banking stocks dragged down Oman's benchmark to a seven-day low, while Kuwait's index rose in late buying.
National Bank of Oman fell 3.9 percent, heavyweight Bank Muscat shed 0.9 percent and Bank Sohar slipped 1.3 percent.
Muscat's index closed 0.1 percent higher at 5,594 points, its lowest since Sept 25.
"Banks in Oman look attractive on valuations, but reaction to earnings will more or less take a backseat to U.S. and European markets," said Joice Mathew, United Securities head of research.
Companies will begin to post quarterly earnings results within two-weeks.
In Kuwait, the index climbed 0.1 percent to 5,839 points.
Telecoms operator Zain rose from Thursday's decline after Kingdom Holding and Bahrain Telecommunications (Batelco) scrapped their $950m bid for a stake in Zain Saudi .
Zain climbed 1.1 percent.

Source: Reuters

03-10-11, 10:18 AM
Saudi cleric warns of "snapping thread" over women's vote

One of Saudi Arabia's most senior clerics said he was not consulted about King Abdullah's decision to grant women more political rights, one of the first signs of discontent from powerful conservatives since the reform was announced.
In a speech last week the Saudi monarch announced that women would vote and run in future municipal council elections and serve in the appointed Shura Council which advises the king on policy.
King Abdullah said his decision was made after consultation with the country's most senior clerics, who have extensive political and social influence.
"I wish the king did not say that he consulted senior clerics... When I heard the speech and what was said about consultation, without a doubt I had no knowledge of it before hearing the king's speech," Sheikh Saleh al-Lohaidan, a member of the senior clerics council, said on the al-Majd television channel on Friday. A recording of the broadcast was available on youtube.
The cleric was careful in his remarks not to criticise the king's decision directly, and did not say whether or not he supported the reform. But he referred to an Arabic proverb which warns that "the thread between a leader and his people" will snap if it is pulled too hard.
Saudi Arabia's clerics, who are generally conservative, are said to be less than pleased about the reformist ideas of the king. A senior cleric criticised the kingdom's first mixed-gender university after its launch in 2009 and was immediately relieved from his position.
Lohaidan himself was removed from his position as chief of the kingdom's highest tribunal, the supreme council of justice, after he issued a religious edict that called for the killing of some television executives. He remained as a member of the senior clerics council, which has about 20 members.
"I am a member of the senior clerics council and [am one of two clerics left] who have been members since the council's first meeting," he said, attesting to his status and influence.
Saudi Arabia, home to Islam's two holiest sites in Mecca and Medina, applies the austere Wahhabi school of Sunni Islam.
The kingdom's ruling al-Saud family have always run the kingdom in close alliance with Wahhabi clerics, trading state support for legitimacy. During the Arab uprisings this year, the clerics backed the government's ban on political parties and protests.
King Abdullah has promised cautious reforms since he ascended the throne in 2005, but the pace of change has been slow.
Women's rights in particular are a sensitive subject, provoking impassioned opposition from many of the country's conservatives, and the decision to allow women to vote came as a surprise.
Women in Saudi Arabia are legally regarded as minors. They cannot travel, work or even undergo certain surgeries without the written permission of a male relative officially recognised as their guardian. They are not allowed to drive.
Earlier this year, a campaign calling for an end to the ban on driving was met by calls for men to assault women who got behind the wheel in public.
On Tuesday a judge in Jeddah sentenced a woman to 10 lashes for driving, which some activists interpreted as an expression of the unhappiness of conservatives over the reform.
"The king is not expected to ask every single cleric... what I am concerned with is that this questions the king's decision and this is a very serious thing to do. He is a government employee," said Hussein Shobokshi, a liberal Saudi analyst.
"Why is this done vocally, publicly and in a TV channel based in Saudi Arabia? This is a worrying sign because this is unprecedented... Usually the clerics don't voice out in public. They do it privately," he said.

Source: Reuters

03-10-11, 10:20 AM
Saudi King gives green light to Fahd bin Sultan University

The Saudi government has approved a request by the board of trustees of Prince Fahd bin Sultan colleges to transform the colleges into a university, Arab News has reported. The Fahd bin Sultan University (FBSU) has colleges for engineering, computer science and business administration. It provides scholarships to orphans and special need students and children of patients suffering from renal failure in addition to students who have shown outstanding academic performance, higher education minister Khaled Al-Anqari said.

Source: Arab News

03-10-11, 10:21 AM
Saudi Kayan starts commercial output as most plants

Commercial operations at most of Saudi Kayan Petrochemical's plants in Jubail Industrial City have started, Reuters has reported. Saudi Kayan, a unit of Saudi Basic Industries Corp (Sabic), started production at its polypropylene plant with an annual capacity of 350,000 tonnes, its 400,000-tonne polyethylene plant, its 260,000-tonne per year polycarbonate plant, and its 566,000-tonne ethylene glycol plant. The company has an annual production capacity of over 4 million tonnes of petrochemical and chemical products including aminoethanols, aminomethyls, dimethylformamide, choline chloride, dimethylethanol.

Source: Reuters

03-10-11, 10:27 AM
Albaik ranked 6 a mong CNN's 8 foreign fast-food chains worth a taste

Saudi Arabia: Albaik
Signature Dish: The four-piece chicken meal (mild or spicy) with garlic sauce, French fries, and bread (12 riyal, or about $3.25)
Albaik was founded in 1974 in the Saudi Arabian city of Jeddah and quickly became one of the most beloved fast-food chains in the Middle East (You might have spotted the business-class travelers on Emirates and Qatar Airways toting containers of Albaik along with their duty-free shopping). Its claim to fame is its breaded chicken, which is pressure fried to keep the meat juicy. The enterprise has 46 permanent locations, which might sound like small potatoes, but when you consider how sparsely populated the Kingdom is, that's a huge accomplishment. The chain is so popular that the company operates a pop-up restaurant once a year in Mina (Makkah), which caters to hundreds of thousands of prayerful Muslims a day while they attend Hajj, a five-day religious pilgrimage that usually takes place in the fall. One passing observation: Only men are allowed to work behind the counters, in deference to local custom.

Source: CNN

03-10-11, 12:56 PM
24 3 2011 :


ϡ . ǡ .

04-10-11, 09:27 AM
Gold still coming up

Price per kilo is SR 201,124


04-10-11, 10:52 AM
Gold price per gram in Saudi Arabia is SR 175.78

21 4 2011

04-10-11, 01:36 PM
NCB expects strong Q3 income for Saudi banks

According to a report from NCB Capital, strong net income growth for Saudi banks in the third quarter of the year will mainly be driven by lower year-on-year provisions. "Saudi banks' non-performing loans (NPLs) declined 13% y-o-y in Q2 and provision coverage increased to 122%. Off the back of better asset quality, we expect provisions in Q3 to decline by 52.8% y-o-y boosting the sector's Q3 earnings," Farouk Miah, acting head of Equity Research at NCB Capital, said. However, low interest rate environment is expected to continue pressuring top-line growth, the report said.

Source: Ame Info

04-10-11, 01:38 PM
Saudi construction sector set to see 4% growth to 2015

Saudi Arabia's construction industry is set to grow by an average of about four percent to 2015, and will be driven in part by low cost residential housing, Business Monitor International has said.
Analysts said they anticipated that housing will increase as a proportion of total construction spending over the coming years as the kingdom bids to meet the huge and growing housing deficit which is impacting its young and expanding population.
Underpinning this will be the government's pledge to invest half of the $133bn in social spending measures - announced in March - on housing, BMI said in a new report.
The report said a $1.3bn housing project that will see 30,000 low cost homes built in the kingdom over the next five years will provide welcome new supply - in a country where the dire lack of affordable homes.
In March, Saudi Arabia's government announced a raft of social spending measures which included a pledge to build 500,000 new homes over the next few years.

BMI said that anchored by vast public spending, it believed that the kingdom's residential construction sector will be a "regional outperformer over the short-to-medium term".
The latest data from Saudi Arabia's Construction Contracts Index (CCI) revealeds a 156 percent jump in the value of contracts awarded in the first half of 2011 compared to the equivalent period in 2010.
"The surge in activity is even more notable given the political events and popular unrest that have swept across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region since the start of the year," the BMI report said.
"While Saudi Arabia did not escape scenes of unrest and simmering tensions remain, the government's 'iron grip' and ability to spend its way out of trouble have largely shielded the kingdom's construction industry," it added.
Analysts said that with ongoing political uncertainty in Egypt and Bahrain likely to make investors think twice before embarking on major construction projects, investor focus on the kingdom is likely to intensify in the near-term.

Source: Arabian Business

04-10-11, 01:45 PM
Saudi grants licenses to 300 e-newspapers

Saudi Arabia's information minister has announced the ministry is to issue licenses allowing the establishment of newspapers and radio stations throughout the kingdom, Saudi Gazette has reported. "Three hundred licenses have been granted to e-newspapers. The ministry welcomes any application and will grant licenses to those which meet the ministry's requirements and conditions," said Abdul Aziz Khoja.
Source: Ame Info

04-10-11, 01:47 PM
Over 60% of expats in Kingdom invest in gold

About 50 percent of the Arab community in Saudi Arabia considers gold to be a safe investment option compared to 66 percent of non-Arab expatriates, a recent survey indicated.
The survey was also conducted in the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Bahrain and Qatar ahead of the companys promotion offer for its customers to win gold.
For thousands of years, gold has been utilized as both a form of currency and an investment, said Hatem Sleiman, Western Unions Regional Vice President for the Near East, Saudi Arabia and Sudan.
He said concerns about slowing global economic growth and Europes debt crisis have created a demand for gold as an investment instrument.
Western Union is giving away gold for prizes in a raffle promotion draw for its customers.
One interesting highlight in the survey, he said, is that of the total number of respondents in the Kingdom more than 13 percent have purchased gold four times in a year.
The survey also found that 30 percent of the respondents invest 10 percent of their savings in gold.
Source: Saudi Gazette

04-10-11, 01:48 PM
KSA issues directive to combat cyber crimes

The Saudi government has issued new regulations that make it illegal for computers, cell phones or hi-tech devices to be bought or sold without the registration of the customer and suppliers ID numbers, Saudi Gazette has reported. The directive by the interior ministry also requires scanning these devices before selling or buying them for any illegal or dangerous data. The new rules follow a huge surge in the hacking of computers and the theft of mobile phones containing sensitive information such as photos and other confidential material, the report said.

Source: Ame Info

04-10-11, 01:53 PM
SEC set to launch Saudi's first solar power plant

The Saudi Electricity Co (SEC) is set to launch tomorrow the kingdom's first solar-powered electricity-generating power station, Saudi Gazette has reported. Located on Farasan Island, in the kingdom's southern region, the plant is expected to have an annual production capacity of 864,000 kilowatt hours, SEC said.

Source: Ame Info

04-10-11, 01:54 PM
US warns expats of kidnap threat in Saudi

The US embassy in Riyadh has issued a warning to its citizens in the kingdom that it an unidentified terrorist group may be planning to kidnap western nationals in the capital city.
American citizens should exercise prudence and enhanced security awareness at all times, the embassy said on Thursday.
US Embassy in Riyadh advises US citizens in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia that we have received information that a terrorist group in Saudi Arabia may be planning to abduct westerners in Riyadh, the embassy said in a message posted on its website.
The kingdom launched a crackdown on Islamic militants following a wave of attacks in the country between 2003 and 2006. Suicide bombers killed 35 people at a housing compound for westerns in Riyadh in May 2003.
The last reported attack directed at foreign nationals in the kingdom was in 2007, the embassy said in August.

The fact that the warning came out now just shows that there is still al-Qaeda activity in Saudi Arabia that we havent seen in the recent past, Theodore Karasik, a Middle East security expert at the Dubai-based Institute for Near East and Gulf Military Analysis, said.
Its been very safe and secure so this development is very interesting and I think it deserves more attention to the why now part than anything else. In Saudi, we havent had a kidnapping or a beheading for a very long time.
The former leader of Saudi Arabia's intelligence agency Prince Turki al-Faisal on Monday said the political turmoil across the Middle East had created a fertile ground for terrorist groups in the region but said the kingdom remained stable and secure.
Thursdays warning follows a security update issued to US citizens in August which warned of an ongoing security threat due to the continued presence of terrorist groups, some affiliated with al-Qaida.
The issue said the groups may target western interests, housing compounds, hotels, shopping areas, and other facilities where westerners congregate.

Source: Arabian Business

04-10-11, 01:56 PM
Acheivements of Saudi women impress Queen of Sweden

As part of her visit to the Kingdom, Queen Silvia of Sweden and her accompanying delegation visited Dar Al-Hekma College and Al-Faisaliyah Womens Welfare Organization here Thursday.
The tour aimed to highlight the achievements of Saudi women for the visiting delegation.
We are trying to present all the accomplishments of Saudi women from around the Kingdom in one place to help the Swedish delegation learn more about the abilities of Saudi women, said Princess Adelah Bint Abdullah Al-Saud, who accompanied Queen Silvia during the tour.
At Dar Al-Hekma College, the queen was told about the facilities of higher education for women in Saudi Arabia and the increasing work opportunities in the labor market.
Queen Silvia then visited the Sleysla Arts and Crafts Center at Al-Faisaliyah Womens Welfare Organization. She reviewed the traditional handicrafts industry run by women in the Kingdom.
Its the first time that our center has received a guest like Queen Silvia, thats why we have worked hard to represent the Kingdom and its handicrafts industry, said Princess Fahda Bint Saud Al-Saud, Chairman of the organization and President of the Sleysla Arts and Crafts Center.
The queen met a number of ladies working on various arts and handicraft projects. Our center represents the Kingdoms history thats why we are happy with the visit. [We] thank Princess Adelah Bint Abdullah for selecting Sleysla Center for the tour, said Princess Fahda.
In her home country, Queen Silvia is involved in numerous charity activities, especially those involving disadvantaged children. She has in the past made several public statements on human rights and the sexual exploitation of children.
We hope to establish cooperation between Saudi and Swedish social organizations, said Samar Fatani, Coordinator of Al-Faisaliyah Womens Welfare Organization.
Through her visit, the rest of the world will learn about the true and positive status of Saudi women, Fatani added.
We hope the visit is followed by many more that will allow us to establish new bridges between Saudi and Swedish cultures, said Princess Adelah
Source: Saudi Gazette

04-10-11, 01:58 PM
Training Saudis to be carpenters, mechanics

The Program of the General Administration for Strategic Partnerships, run by the General Corporation for Technical and Vocational Training (GCTVT), has announced that the number of its trainees has reached over 20,000.
The program works in partnership with private businesses to provide Saudi workers with skills in carpentry, refrigeration and air-conditioning, general mechanics, metal plates, construction, tile laying, plastering, scaffolds and painting, according to a report published in Al-Watan newspaper.
The program was started in 2005 and each trainee gets a GCTVT and an international certificate upon completion of the program.
The GCTVT has signed over 30 strategic partnership agreements to operate institutes under the supervision of experts from the United Kingdom, Korea, Singapore, Australia, Japan, the United States, Canada and Holland. The GCTVT hopes to sign more than 100 similar agreements over the next five years.
Rashid Bin Muhammad Al-Zahrani, Chairman of the Technical and Vocational Council in Makkah region, said, The council has recently signed a contract with Nesma Company to train candidates in safety procedures at the work place and the avoidance of dangers and catastrophes.
Candidates will also be given basic computer training with 30-hours of theoretical and practical classes weekly in English language, computer and professional conduct.
Source: Saudi Gazette

04-10-11, 01:59 PM
Kingdom Holding abandons bid to buy Saudi Zain

Kingdom Holding Company (KHC) and Bahrains Batelco have abandoned their $950 million joint bid for a quarter of Kuwaiti telecom Zains Saudi division, Zain said in a statement Thursday.
Zain would like to announce that the two parties, Zain and the alliance of the Kingdom Holding and Batelco, have agreed to end discussions and negotiations for the sale of the Zain stake in Zain Saudi Arabia, the company said in a statement posted on the Kuwait Stock Exchange.
The interest of Kingdom Holding Company shareholders is our priority, said Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal, Chairman of Kingdom Holding Company (KHC), in an announcement Thursday.
This follows a period of due diligence and discussions with the Zain Group and other stakeholders.The Consortium concluded that the terms and conditions as set out in its non-binding offer could not be met to its satisfaction. Kingdom Holding Company and Batelco Group stated that this decision is in the best interests of their respective shareholders.
The companies launched their joint bid for the 25 percent chunk of the Zain Saudi unit in March. Zain had been seeking to sell its stake in the Saudi division as part of a separate merger effort that has since fallen through.
Kuwait Zains statement did not give any reason for ending talks with the Bahraini-Saudi consortium, but it reiterated its commitment for the development of Zain Saudi Arabia, one of three telecoms firms in the Kingdom.
The announcement comes after a Kuwaiti court Sunday annulled the election of the board of directors of Kuwaits Zain, citing flawed procedures.
Source: Saudi Gazette

04-10-11, 02:00 PM
Saudi GDP set to grow 7.5% - AMF

Abu Dhabi-based Arab Monetary Fund (AMF) has said high oil prices and production is expected to boost Saudi Arabia's real economy by nearly 7.5% this year, higher than the 6.5% projection by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and above all local forecasts, Emirates 24-7 has reported. The projected growth rate will be one of the highest rates in the kingdom's history and more than 37 times the growth of 0.2% recorded in 2009.
Source: Ame Info

04-10-11, 05:25 PM
Gold price came down little bit this afternoon per gram in Saudi Arabia is SR 172.74

21 4 2011

05-10-11, 11:47 AM
Gold price came down little bit yesterday evening per gram in Saudi Arabia is SR 171.87

21 4 2011

05-10-11, 11:49 AM
Gold price came down
per gram in Saudi Arabia is SR 169.50

21 5 2011

05-10-11, 04:14 PM
Gold price came up
per gram in Saudi Arabia is SR 171.16

21 5 2011 ( )

05-10-11, 04:29 PM
Jordan aims to increase share in Saudi IT market

Abed Shamlawi, CEO of Jordan's ICT Association (Intaj) has said the country is aiming to raise its share in the lucrative Saudi Arabia information technology market, Gulf News has reported. Jordan already exports several IT services to Saudi Arabia, which spends an average of Dhs14bn on IT on an annual basis, he said. However, Jordan's IT exports to Saudi Arabia are estimated at Dhs280m annually, which is still modest compared with the share of other countries, Shamlawi added.

Source: Ame Info

05-10-11, 04:31 PM
Saudi group launches $ 25 m Beirut hotel

Saudi-based KAS Investment firm has soft launched its $25m Le Dix hotel in the Lebanese capital, Beirut. The hotel offers four exclusive types of suites - Royal Penthouse Suite (duplex), Royal Suite, Presidential Suite and Ambassador Suite, offering 10 sea view suites, each spread out on a separate floor, according to Abdulkader Hankir, chief operating officer of KAS Investment - hospitality division.

Source: Ame Info

05-10-11, 04:33 PM
Saudi Kayan starts commercial output at most plants

Commercial operations at most of Saudi Kayan Petrochemical's plants in Jubail Industrial City have started, Reuters has reported. Saudi Kayan, a unit of Saudi Basic Industries Corp (Sabic), started production at its polypropylene plant with an annual capacity of 350,000 tonnes, its 400,000-tonne polyethylene plant, its 260,000-tonne per year polycarbonate plant, and its 566,000-tonne ethylene glycol plant. The company has an annual production capacity of over 4 million tonnes of petrochemical and chemical products including aminoethanols, aminomethyls, dimethylformamide, choline chloride, dimethylethanol.

Source: Ame Info

05-10-11, 04:34 PM
Saudi GACA to unveil abha airport design soon

Saudi Arabia's General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) is set to unveil soon the approved design of the new Abha International Airport, Saudi Gazette has reported. The new airport will feature a 62,000 sq m lounge with a commercial complex and exhibitions and events space, a GACA spokesman said. The airport will have the capacity to handle five million passengers, four million of whom will be domestic passengers. The cargo department will be able to hold 10,000 tonnes of goods, the spokesman said.

Source: Ame Info

05-10-11, 04:35 PM
Grand Mosque officials finalize Haj plan

The General Presidency of the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques has completed all arrangements for the execution of its Haj plan this year.
The plan will come into effect on Oct. 13 and end on Nov. 25, Vice President of the Grand Mosque Affairs Muhammad bin Nasser Al-Khuzaim announced on Monday.
He explained that the plan aimed to enable the guests of God to perform the Haj rites in an atmosphere of peace and security and ensuring the best ambience for worship inside the Grand Mosque and surrounding plazas.
The plan also aims to extend all the required services to the pilgrims, providing the needed facilities and guiding pilgrims on how best to perform the fifth pillar of Islam, he said.
Al-Khuzaim said more than 6,000 employees, including seasonal workers and cleaners, will help execute the plan.
He revealed that more than 350 male and female employees were intensively trained on the etiquette of treating pilgrims and on developing their skills to carry out their supervision assignments perfectly.
According to Al-Khuzaim, a number of committees were established to undertake around-the-clock inspection tours of the Grand Mosque to make sure that the services being provided to the pilgrims were at the desired level.
The supervisors will make remarks and observations about the service and report their findings to their superiors, he said.
He added that specialist consultants would be stationed permanently in the Grand Mosque to check the level of cleanliness there.
Al-Khuzaim said the number of Muslim scholars providing religious lessons and helping pilgrims inside the Haram will be increased.
All rugs will be removed from the mosque during the Haj days for hygienic reasons and to avoid impeding the movement of pilgrims doing Tawaf, he said.
He said the windows at the Masaa (where pilgrims do the Saie ritual between Safa and Marwa) were covered with transparent wooden sheets to preserve its coolness. Water sprinklers were installed in the plazas to cool the air.
Al-Khuzaim said more than 5,000 new Zamzam containers were distributed in the Haram to supply pilgrims with the blessed water. He said the new containers are easy to transport and store and can only be opened by trained workers.
He said more than 120 water taps were installed in 24 locations in the Haram.
Al-Khuzaim said the outside plazas in the southern part of the Grand Mosque were expanded by more than 2,000 square meters to provide more room for prayer. The plazas were supplied with sound systems so that worshippers can easily hear the call to prayer and recitations during the prayer, he said.
Al-Khuzaim said the presidency would carry out its Haj plan in cooperation with many government departments, including the Makkah municipality, the police force of the Grand Mosque, the Saudi Red Crescent, the Civil Defense and others.
He said the presidency also cooperates with the Haj Ministry to establish centers to guide stray pilgrims and with the Geological Survey Department to conduct research on Zamzam water.
We cooperate with the health department in operating the health centers inside the Grand Mosque and with the Makkah police to check any crime that might be committed inside the Haram, he said.
Al-Khuzaim urged pilgrims not to reserve places for themselves and others inside the mosque and said there is enough space for everyone.

Source: Arab News

05-10-11, 04:36 PM
Saudi firm awarded 16 road contacts

Saudi-based Omeir Trade and Contracting Co has been awarded 16 contracts by the transport ministry to construct 969km of roads across the kingdom, Saudi Press Agency has reported. The contracts, which are worth over SR2.24bn, include the completion of Hair-Houta Road, linking it with Hareek, and construction of a 46-km Niam link road at a cost of SR446m. The ministry has also awarded Masharie Al-Watan Co a SR100m contract to build the Hada-Jamoom ring road.

Source: Ame Info

05-10-11, 04:37 PM
Saudi may tap reserves to fuel $ 130bn spending plan

Saudi Arabia, the worlds largest oil exporter, may be forced to tap its reserves to fund spending programs as oil prices drop below the kingdoms breakeven budget price.
King Abdullah this year announced a $130bn plan to create jobs and build homes after uprisings toppled leaders in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya. While officials havent said whether theyll sell debt or draw on reserves, as they did two years ago, an oil price below an $85 to $90 breakeven level as estimated by Citigroup Inc may force them to act.
The central banks total assets fell 0.3 percent to SR1.93 trillion ($515bn) in August from July, according to data from the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency. It was the first monthly decline since February, when the assets fell 0.4 percent. The Riyadh-based bank didnt respond to telephone calls and a fax seeking comment on the reason for the decrease.
The only reasonable explanation is that they have drawn down their assets to help fund government spending as happened earlier during the financial crisis, Jarmo Kotilaine, chief economist at Jeddah-based National Commercial Bank, said in a phone interview.
Lower oil prices dont only explain the decline.
Saudi Arabia, which depends on oil for 86 percent of its revenue, tapped reserves in 2009 to maintain spending as the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression pushed oil prices as low as $34 a barrel. Then, the banks total assets dropped 8 percent to about SR1.6 trillion as the kingdom deployed a five-year $400bn stimulus package.
Finance Minister Ibrahim al-Assaf said government revenue will cover increases in spending this year, al-Eqtisadiah reported Oct 2. In May, al-Assaf said the kingdom wouldnt need to tap its reserves to finance spending, including a five-year $384bn development plan, unless revenue slowed.
When al-Assaf made his comments five months ago, crude oil was trading above $100. Prices have declined more than 30 percent from a high this year of $113.93 a barrel in April and were trading below $78 a barrel in New York.
The reserves provide a buffer for the government to meet its spending commitments in the event of a shortfall in revenues, said Paul Gamble, head of research at Riyadh-based Jadwa Investment Co. Theres no reason to get in debt if you have savings you can use. While they have such huge savings, they will always prefer to draw these down than issue debt.
The cost of insuring Saudi debt against default has dropped 12 basis points from a 19-month high of 143 reached in February, according to data provider CMA.

Source: Bloomberg

06-10-11, 09:37 AM
Gold price came up
per gram in Saudi Arabia is SR 173.25

21 5 2011 -

06-10-11, 11:29 AM
Gold price came up a little bit
per gram in Saudi Arabia is SR 173.42

21 6 2011 -

06-10-11, 02:09 PM
Gold price came up a little bit this afternoon
per gram in Saudi Arabia is SR 174.18

21 6 2011 -

06-10-11, 02:35 PM
Saudi Arabia says 14 hurt in clashes in oil-rich province

Saudi Arabia said on Tuesday that clashes on Monday night that injured 14 people in its oil-rich Eastern province, home to a large Shi'ite population, were the work of an unnamed foreign power, usually code for its rival Iran.
Oil traders said the news helped Brent oil prices pare some of the earlier losses on Tuesday with November contracts rising by around $1 to above $101 per barrel.
Protests in the region in March, inspired in part by uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt, had sent global oil markets reeling.
The area is home to more than 2 million Shi'ites, some of whom have called for better access to jobs and to be treated as equals in the ultraconservative kingdom dominated by a rigid form of Sunni Islam, Wahhabism.
"A group of troublemakers... assembled... some on motorbikes and carrying petrol bombs as they began their actions to disrupt security at the behest of a foreign country which tried to undermine the security of the homeland in a blatant act of interference," an Interior Ministry statement said.
The mention of a foreign country meddling in local affairs is usually a coded reference to Iran, the Shi'ite power and Saudi rival across Gulf waters.
Of the total injured, 11 were security personnel and three were civilians, the ministry statement said.
Qatif, a Shi'ite stronghold on the Gulf coast, and nearby Awwamiya, are in the east which holds much of the oil wealth of the world's top crude exporter and is near Bahrain, scene of protests by majority Shi'ites against their Sunni rulers.
Police came under gunfire as they tried to disperse the crowd. Nine policemen were shot and wounded and two hurt by petrol bombs, the statement said. It also said one man and two women were injured by gunfire.

Source: Reuters

06-10-11, 02:36 PM
Saudi at 6-week low, but earnings seen upbeat

Saudi Arabia's index slumped a to six-week low, breaking below a psychologically important support level as declines on world markets weighed on local sentiment.
The kingdom's benchmark dipped 1 percent to close at 5,965 points, its lowest close since Aug 23, with 6,000 points seen as a key prop by many investors.
All sectors declined. The insurance and petrochemical sectors were the most traded, falling 0.7 and 1.4 percent respectively.
Saudi Basic Industries Corp (SABIC) dropped 1.1 percent, National Industrialisation shed 2.9 percent and Saudi Kayan Petrochemical slipped 0.3 percent.
Some analysts predicted upbeat third-quarter earnings will boost the market in the short-term, with results season expected to start next week.
"In the international markets, most of the negative news is already out," said Youssef Kassantini, a Saudi-based financial analyst. "Earnings will be strong, especially in the petrochemical, cement and agriculture sectors. That should by itself be enough to lift the market."
Abu Dhabi's index tumbled to a 13-month low and Dubai's benchmark dropped as retail-driven stocks weighed.
Local investor confidence is shaken after world stocks slumped to 15-month lows, spurring declines across the Gulf markets as fears over a major banking crisis in Europe mounted.
"Globally, the main vehicle to watch out for is some sort of clarity in Europe, that's the real driver," said Ibrahim Masood, senior investment officer at Mashreq bank. "We haven't seen any clear cut solutions for the Greek problem."
Emaar Properties dropped 3 percent and Dubai Financial Market fell 2.8 percent, together accounting for nearly half of all shares traded on the index.
Builder Arabtec slipped 0.8 percent. These stocks are usual targets of retail investors, trading on short-term volatility, also signalling a lack of participation from foreign funds.
The index ended 1.4 percent lower at 1,387 points, its lowest close since March 7.
Abu Dhabi shed 0.9 percent to close at 2,497 points, September 2010.
Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank fell 3.2 percent, extending losses for a fourth day.
Sovereign fund Aabar, which bought Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank's 25 percent stake in Malaysian group RHB Capital , will get a $1.9bn loan from ADCB to pay for the deal, two sources familiar with the matter said.
Dana Gas dipped 1.9 percent, Aldar Properties shed 3.5 percent and Sorouh Real Estate slipped 3.8 percent. Volume were focused in these stocks.
Elsewhere, Qatar's index ended 1.6 percent lower at 8,157 points, its lowest close since Aug 24.
All stocks were down, with banks the main drag.
Qatar National Bank fell 1.8 percent, Commercial Bank of Qatar shed 3.5 percent and Doha Bank dipped 3.4 percent.
Oman's shares slumped to a six-week low with investor sentiment hit by losses in Europe, taking little support from upbeat third-quarter earnings results that are expected to begin trickling in within the next few days.
The index dropped 0.4 percent to close at 5,557 points, its lowest close since Aug 24.
"The banking sector is expected to show a sharper growth in terms of credit addition, led by higher government investments and retail consumer spending," said Kanaga Sundar, Gulf Baader Capital Markets' head of research. "This, along with the improving asset quality, might result in a decent set of numbers for the banking sector."
Heavyweight Bank Muscat fell 0.6 percent, National Bank of Oman slipped 0.3 percent but Oman International Bank bucked the trend and rises 0.4 percent.
Elsewhere, Kuwait's index ended 0.1 percent lower at 5,804 points, also a six-week low.
World stocks hit a fresh 15-month low on Tuesday and the dollar rose to a nine-month peak as fears over a major banking crisis in Europe mounted along with expectations Greece could soon default, accelerating a global economic slowdown.

Source: Reuters

06-10-11, 02:37 PM
Sipchem starts construction of two plants

Saudi International Petrochemical Co (Sipchem) has started building two plants at a total value of SR3.35bn ($893.3m), as part of its expansion plan, Reuters has reported. The first factory, which will cost around SR3bn, will produce 200 thousand tpa of vinyl acetate, with operations set for launch by the second quarter of 2013. The second plant will cost around SR350m and will produce 100 thousand tpa of ethyl acetate and butyl acetate. The facility is expected to come on stream in the first quarter of 2013.

Source: Reuters

06-10-11, 02:39 PM
KAUST brings Toronto University's solar technology to Saudi Arabia

THUWAL -- King Abdullah University of Science and TechnologyKing Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUSTKAUST) and the University of Toronto have signed a first-of-its-kind license agreement for rights to the quantum dot solar cell technology of the Canadian University.
Developed by Dr. Edward Sargent, Canada Research Chair in Nanotechnology at the University of Toronto, Canada's premier research university, the technology uses quantum dots to convert the sun's power efficiently into electrical energy.
Dr. Sargent's work has been funded by KAUSTKAUST since 2008 as part of its Global Collaborative Research Program, according to a KAUSTKAUST press release.
This technology has made great strides toward the goal of breaking the present-day constraining paradigm between high efficiency and low cost in solar cells.
"This agreement demonstrates a new way for research universities in developing countries to help transform local and regional economies by licensing intellectual property rights for the benefit of industry, especially new companies," said Terence McElwee, KAUSTKAUST Director of Technology Transfer and Innovation.
The exclusive license covers 38 countries in the Middle East, Western Asia, Russia and India -- a rapidly growing market of more than two billion people. While the technology is still in its early stages, KAUSTKAUST views the Sargent team's work as a potential game-changer in solar energy. By securing early rights, KAUSTKAUST is investing long term in Saudi Arabia's commitment to shift from an oil-based to a sustainable energy economy.
The agreement is expected to be the first of many by KAUSTKAUST to help become a premier global technology broker and help develop Saudi Arabia as a regional hub of technology-based economic development.
Inaugurated in 2009, KAUSTKAUST's economic development vision is to become the leading model of technology based development in the Kingdom and to catalyze the transformation of the Kingdom's economy.

Source: Saudi Gazette

06-10-11, 02:40 PM
No real estate loans for Saudis who already own homes

Saudi Arabia's Real Estate Development Fund has decided to stop issuing loans to applicants who already own homes, Arabic Al-Madina has reported, citing an informed source. The fund's branches have started a verification process to determine if loan applicants are homeowners. Applications which do not fulfil the conditions are replaced by those on the waiting list, the source said. Loans will be disbursed in four installments within 10 months to those who own plots of land, he said.

Source: Arabic Al-Madina

06-10-11, 02:43 PM
Residential assets in Saudi Arabia prime investment choice

JEDDAH - Investors in the Middle East showed an appetite for hotel and residential assets above the other asset classes, with residential in Saudi Arabia and hotels in Egypt the most popular investment targets, the 2011 Global Investor Sentiment Survey released by Colliers International, commercial real estate services company, showed.
Majority of investors in the Middle East said they were more than likely to look to increase their real estate holdings over the next 12 months, the survey said.
Seventy percent of the investors in the Middle East believed that the relative value of real estate had improved strongly compared to 10 years previously. Strong increases in output and growing populations in the region making real estate a fundamentally more important asset within their economies. Two-thirds of them targeted returns in the region of 15-20 percent, the survey said.
"Demand continues to outpace supply in the lower end of the residential property sector in Saudi Arabia. However, with government plans to spend nearly $70 billion on low-income housing to satisfy the demand of a growing and financially empowered middle class, the market outlook for Saudi looks particularly strong," said John Davis, chief executive officer, Colliers International MENA.
"In Egypt we are seeing a lot of cautious prospecting with an intention to buy. While investors wait to see if a change in leadership and supporting government will herald in a new era of stability, their conviction in the country's long term fundamentals, especially in the tourism sector, will likely drive opportunistic acquisitions of hotel assets," he added. Looking at the occupational cycle in the Middle East, the second largest portion of respondents (30 percent) took the view that the market is at around five o'clock, with some minor rental falls still to occur.
A further 40 percent stated that they believed that the market had reached the bottom of the cycle, six o'clock, or was showing some minor improvements having reached seven o'clock.
Looking forward, respondents in the Middle East were mildly optimistic with a notable portion (40 percent) suggesting that they thought the cycle may have reached eight o'clock in twelve months' time.
However, 50 percent took the view that the market would be between five and seven o'clock, e.g. still hovering around its floor.

Source: Saudi Gazette

06-10-11, 02:44 PM
Pfizer plant to produce 1 billion pills in Saudi Arabia

RIYADH: Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA) signed an agreement in Riyadh on Monday with leading biopharmaceutical company Pfizer for the establishment of a multimillion dollar manufacturing plant with a capacity to produce around 1 billion tablets and capsules a year.
The agreement was inked between SAGIA adviser Prince Saud bin Khaled Al-Faisal and Guy Lallemand, regional president of Pfizer for Africa and Middle East for Pharmaceutical Businesses, at the Faisaliah Hotel on Monday.
US Ambassador James B. Smith, Secretary General of Economic Cities Authority Mohanud A. Hilal, and Bulent Atlig, vice president, emerging markets leader for Pfizer global supply, were also present at a press conference which preceded the signing ceremony.
Atlig told Arab News that the plant is a multimillion project which will be built on a 65,000 sq. meter area located within the King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC) in Jeddah.
The company plans to produce popular brands that are sold in the local market which would include brands such as Lipitor and Viagra, the vice president said, adding that the raw materials will be found both within the country and outside the Kingdom.
"We hope to do the ground breaking early next year and we would be completing the administrative and the distribution centers in 2014."
The production is expected to begin in 2015 when oral doses such as tablets and capsules will be produced followed by packaging. "We will initially produce 100 million tablets and capsules with an ultimate target of 1 billion a year," he noted, adding that the company's products will be catering to the local market during its early phase of production.
Besides harnessing foreign expertise for production, local manpower will be hired and they will be given adequate training.
"Initially, we will be employing 100 to 200 people for the project," Atlig said, indicating that the company would increase Saudi manpower at every level.
Pfizer has a total of 85 plants throughout the globe and the plant in the Kingdom would have state-of-the-art facilities fully equipped with an end-to-end manufacturing facility which would also include quality testing.
Hilal, who spoke on behalf of the Kingdom's economic cities, said that the proposed project is a world-class facility that brings in foreign investment to the Kingdom.
"Our foreign investment policies have attracted investors from all parts of the world," Hilal said, adding that they have created a conducive environment for foreign direct investments because of the Kingdom's vibrant economy supported with attractive investment opportunities and incentives.
"Besides the local market, the Kingdom could supply goods to 300 million people living in the region and it also has more than 1.2 billion Muslims who visit the holy cities on pilgrimage.
"Saudi patients are expected to benefit from improved access to Pfizer's medicines, the new plant will contribute to the commercial and economic development of the national economy, and its development is also expected to create new employment opportunities for the locals."
Congratulating Pfizer for taking up a new venture in the Kingdom, Smith said that he was happy that US companies are coming into the Kingdom to develop commercial interests. "We have 47,000 Saudi students reading in various US universities and colleges for their higher education, (and) we hope to develop the business relations too with the Kingdom," Smith added.
The United States is the largest single country trade partner to the Kingdom, enjoying bilateral trade worth $33 billion.

Source: Arab News

06-10-11, 04:28 PM
Gold price came down a little bit this afternoon
per gram in Saudi Arabia is SR 173.11

21 6 2011 -

07-10-11, 12:40 AM
thanx hussan for posting information
still waiting 4 the good news

08-10-11, 11:17 AM
thanx hussan for posting information
still waiting 4 the good news

You are welcome Swyrs

I hope that


08-10-11, 11:20 AM
Gold price came down a little yesterday

per gram in Saudi Arabia is SR 172.72

21 7 2011

08-10-11, 02:50 PM
Saudi Oger picks arrangers for $2bn loan

Saudi Arabian construction company Saudi Oger, said it has mandated banks to arrange its first loan to be run by non-Saudi institutions, with syndication expected to begin shortly.
Deutsche Bank, China Development Bank and Emirates NBD are to act as initial mandated lead arrangers and bookrunners for the deal, according to a company statement.
The transaction is split between two facilities - a $800m senior secured term loan and a SR3.97bn advance payment guarantee (APG) - which will partially fund the King Abdullah Project 2 scheme which the company is completing for the Saudi Ministry of Interior.
A regional banking source said the term loan carried a five-year tenor, with the APG lasting for three years. A spokesman for Saudi Oger did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
French lender Natixis has joined in a mandated lead arranger role for both tranches, while Industrial and Commercial Bank of China has joined for the term loan only.
Abu Dhabi's Al Hilal Bank and Barclays Capital have been appointed lead arrangers for the APG only.
Deutsche Bank has been looking to arrange a loan for Saudi Oger since mid-March and banking sources said last month that a senior group of banks was close to being secured for a multi-currency deal worth around $2bn.
The company last tapped the loan market in August 2010, when it completed a $250m loan via Credit Agricole CIB , RLPC data showed. That deal matures in December 2014.

Source: Reuters

08-10-11, 02:51 PM
Revealed: world's cheapest nations for petrol

Saudi Arabia has the cheapest petrol prices in the Gulf region but is behind Venezuela in a global list of the lowest fuel costs, according to a new report.
Home to nearly a fifth of the worlds oil reserves, Saudi Arabia is the largest exporter of petroleum and a major player on the global energy stage. With 90 percent of its earnings coming from oil, it is hardly surprising that citizens only pay an average of around $0.127 per litre at the petrol pumps.
Click here to see the worlds cheapest petrol prices
The list of the worlds cheapest petrol prices was compiled by British car insurance provider Staveley Head, with Venezuela taking the top spot, where prices only cost an average of $0.047 per litre.
With President Hugo Chavez keeping prices low, petrol is cheaper than bottled water in some parts of the South American country.
While four Gulf States are listed amongst the rankings, the UAE was notably absent. The news comes as Dubai-owned oil firm Enoc Group has been plagued by fuel shortages this year, with petrol pumps this summer forced to cease or ration resources.
At one point, the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc) was ordered to help solve the fuel shortage in Sharjah after the UAE suffered its third shortage in less than a year.
Analysts said the problem lies in government subsidies, which look increasingly unsustainable as soaring oil prices drive up the cost of supplying fuel to customers at a cheaper, fixed price.
Enoc and rival state-owned retailer Emarat have suffered because they buy fuel at market prices and sell it at government-set rates. Enoc said in May it would have to meet an additional AED2.7bn ($735.3m) in 2011 to cover the cost of providing subsidised fuel.
Three of the UAE's four fuel retailers - Enoc, Eppco and federally-owned Emarat - have been making losses for years.
The Staveley Head rankings found the Norway was the most expensive country for petrol, costing $2.6 per litre.

Source: Arabian Business

08-10-11, 02:53 PM
Saudi Arabia plans to build 4,000 new schools

Saudi Arabias Ministry of Education will spend SR32bn ($8.5bn) on constructing 4,000 new schools in the kingdom as part of its plan to overhaul the Gulf states education system, it was reported on Sunday.
A total of 600 new schools have been built and 1,200 have been renovated so far this year, a Ministry of Education spokesperson told Saudi daily Arab News.
We have already completed 600 new school buildings this year at a cost of SR9bn, said Muhammad Al Dakhini, spokesman of the ministry.
The kingdom has allocated a budget for appointing 7,700 new teachers this fiscal year, he added. We are now in the process of appointing 8,000 women teachers in various schools, in coordination with the Ministry of Civil Affairs, he said.
Saudi Arabia, concerned that the wave of protests across the Arab world may spread to the Gulf state, has announced two social spending packages amid protests calling for more job opportunities and democracy.
The package, which was announced in March, included plans to spend $67bn on housing, and followed a $36bn handout announced on February 23.
Six years ago King Abdullah bin Abdul-Aziz launched an overhaul of state schools and universities in the kingdom. The efforts are part of a draft of reforms aimed at diversifying the economy away from oil and easing the influence of religious clerics in schools.
Authorities in the kingdom have allocated SR150bn for education and plan to create 52,000 new jobs for Saudis, said Arab News.
The Saudi Gazette newspaper on Sunday said 33,000 schools would be offering preparatory programmes for five million aimed at preparing students for their studies.

Source: Arabian Business

08-10-11, 02:54 PM
ArcelorMittal to start $700m Saudi steel mill next year

The Saudi unit of ArcelorMittal, the worlds largest steelmaker, expects to start producing in the first half of 2012 at its new mill at Jubail in eastern Saudi Arabia, al-Watan reported.
The $700m plant will produce 600,000 metric tons of pipes a year for the oil and petrochemical industry, the Abha- based newspaper reported, citing Mohammed Al Jabr, ArcelorMittals managing director in Saudi Arabia.
Al Jabr was formerly the vice president of Saudi Basic Industries Corps steel unit, according to the report.
The company plans to invest up to $3bn in Saudi steel projects over the next five years and is conducting studies to build a factory north of Jubail at Ras Al Khair, where the government is forming a mining hub, Al Jabr told the newspaper.

Source: Bloomberg

08-10-11, 02:57 PM
Saudi Education Ministry bans transfer of absent teachers

The Saudi Ministry of Education has announced that it will reject any transfer request from teachers who have been absent since the beginning of the new academic year, Saudi Gazette has reported. According to the ministry's decision, the ban will include the teachers who have been absent for more than ten days without a valid reason and whose work performance in the current year is less than 70 marks or its equivalent for lab technicians.

Source: Saudi Gazette

08-10-11, 03:01 PM
Saudi Arabia pledges $10m for anti-terrorism centre

Saudi Arabia has pledged to contribute $10m to set up an anti-terrorism centre for the United Nations.
An agreement was signed at UN headquarters in New York for the establishment of the UN Centre for Combating Terrorism, an initiative proposed by Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz at a conference in Riyadh in 2005.
The agreement was signed by Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon at the 66th session of the UN General Assembly.
Saudi Arabia will contribute $10 million over the next three years to set up the anti-terrorism centre.
Officials in the kingdom will also work to foster international counterterrorism cooperation and capacity-building, the Saudi Embassy in New York said in a statement.
Prince Saud said: Terrorism has no religion. There are more than 1.5 billion Muslims in different parts of the world who represent an age-old culture that calls for peace, cooperation and tolerance.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, the UN Secretary General added: The centre will go a long way in countering terrorism around the world. What I see here today is the start of a new era in counterterrorism cooperation. States recognise that they cannot go it alone.

Source: Arabian Business

08-10-11, 03:02 PM
Saudi builder Binladin's CPC unit eyeing IPO

Construction Products Holding Co (CPC), Saudi Arabia's largest manufacturer of building materials and a unit of Binladin Group, is planning an initial public offering (IPO) and will soon mandate banks for the potential share sale, sources said.
Pitching meetings have taken place in the kingdom and the company is due to appoint a financial adviser for the offering, as well as lead managers and bookrunners, by the middle of next month, according to two bankers with knowledge of the matter.
About 30 percent of the company has been earmarked for public sale, one of the sources said, with a potential IPO taking place on the Saudi bourse Tadawul in either 2012 or 2013.
The value of the IPO will be determined by a bookbuilding process, the source added, although its large size will likely require "two, possibly three banks" to underwrite it.
The underwriting banks will be appointed closer to the time, although they are likely to be the same institutions that are mandated to advisory and lead manager roles, the source said.
The sources declined to be identified as the talks have not yet been made public. Saudi law requires IPOs to be underwritten before their launch.
The pipeline of companies looking to list on the Tadawul exchange is said to be sizeable but unfavourable market conditions have meant that the number of IPOs launching has been limited.
Hail Cement Co, the third public offering of 2011 in the kingdom, is due to complete on Monday. Hail is looking to raise SR489.5m ($130.5m) in a 50 percent offering through local investment bank GIB Capital.
Equity markets are a popular source of funding for Saudi companies, given the nascent bond markets and a slowdown in bank lending in the kingdom, and this is likely to draw a number of large private companies to list as they look to fund expansion plans, bankers say.
"The equity market is huge and companies want to enter it," one of the bankers said. "We are now seeing companies that the public have long waited to list beginning their preparations, including the likes of CPC."
CPC provides up to 80 percent of the building materials required for construction projects in Saudi Arabia and has more than 30 manufacturing facilities across the kingdom.
Last month, Standard Chartered said its private equity arm had brought a minority stake in CPC for $75m, its first investment in Saudi Arabia.
Saudi Arabia has said it will spend $400bn in the five years to 2013 to improve its infrastructure.
Binladin Group is one of the largest construction firms in Saudi Arabia and was appointed last month to construct the SR75bn ($20bn) Kingdom Tower in Jeddah, which is slated to be the world's tallest building.
CPC was not available for comment outside business hours in Saudi Arabia, which is closed for the weekend.

Source: Reuters

08-10-11, 03:03 PM
Al-Sanea sees $9.2bn asset-freeze lifted by court

A Cayman court has ordered a worldwide freezing order on the assets of billionaire Maan Al-Sanea be lifted, as it assesses new evidence in the Saudi businessman's multi-billion dollar legal battle with his in-laws, the Algosaibi family.
The rift in the clan, which has left some of the world's biggest banks nursing billions of dollars of losses, started in 2009 when the Algosaibi financial empire collapsed in the wake of the credit crisis.
The Algosaibi family's Ahmad Hamad Algosaibi & Brothers partnership denied liability for ensuing claims from creditors, blaming Al-Sanea - who is married to Sana Algosaibi, herself an AHAB partner - of setting up a giant scam to defraud them.
The AHAB partnership has decided against a new attempt to freeze Al-Sanea's assets after losing a London court case against five creditor banks in June, admitting liability for the lenders' claims.
"A wrongful $9.2bn freezing order against me has today been lifted, with the courts recognising that it should never have been imposed in the first place," Al-Sanea said in an emailed statement.
"Since AHAB started its litigation scheme over two years ago, I have been resolute in my complete rejection of its desperate claims that I somehow defrauded the Algosaibis.
It was the first time the billionaire - once owner of a 3 percent stake in HSBC - made a substantial public statement since the start of the process.
The Algosaibis lost their fight in June against claims from five banks after new documents showed they knew more about Al-Sanea's activities than they had hitherto said.
The Algosaibis are suing Al-Sanea in the Cayman Islands, where he based many of his companies, for fraud and misappropriating money, but the case has been mired in discussions over jurisdiction.

Source:Arabian Business

08-10-11, 03:04 PM
Kele signs deal for $1.33bn Saudi housing project

Kele Contracting LLC, the joint venture between Dubais Enshaa and Australias Kele International, has signed a $1.3bn deal to develop about 30,000 low-cost homes in Saudi Arabia.
Its an affordable housing project and it has a five-year life, Andrew Elias, CEO of Kele Contracting said on the sidelines of the CEO Awards 2011 in Dubai on Tuesday.
It is a SR5bn ($1.33bn) project and there are 1,127 buildings, so about 30,000 units.
Dubai-based Kele in June paired up with Saudis Al Suwaiket Contracting and Construction in a bid to diversify its operations outside its domestic market, where plunging house prices have spurred the collapse of the construction market.
Neighbouring Saudi Arabia has promised to spend about $130bn, or around 30 percent of its annual economic output, on social projects such as building new houses and creating jobs. Earlier this year, King Abdullah pledged SR250bn ($67bn) to be spent on 500,000 new homes.
This has been a good year. We took advantage of the outcome and it probably forced us to look into new markets so we have been very active in the neighbouring GCC markets, said Elias.
"[Saudi Arabia] is a particularly attractive destination for investors and developers at present, a situation expected to continue over the next few years."
Kele said in June its order book was valued at more than AED2.5bn, including around nine projects in Dubai.
The Middle East and North Africa has an estimated affordable housing shortfall of 3.5 million with nearly half in Egypt, a report by property consultancy Jones Lang LaSalle said this week. High land prices coupled with the cost of infrastructure, limited home finance and poor financial returns have all contributed to a severe shortfall in midmarket housing, the report said.
Among the six Gulf states, the report saw the greatest need for low-cost homes in Saudi Arabia, compared to 40,000 homes in Bahrain, 20,000 in the UAE and 15,000 in Oman.

Source: Arabian Business

08-10-11, 03:36 PM
Saudi power firm signs deal for 4,000 MW plant

State-controlled Saudi Electricity Co signed a deal on Wednesday to build a 4,000-megawatt (MW) gas fired power plant aimed at keeping up with rapidly rising Saudi power demand.
The giant gas plant near Khobar will burn 600 million cubic feet a day (mcfd) of natural gas, Amer al-Swaha, head of Independent Power Projects (IPP) at SEC, told Reuters.
The 10.7 billion riyals ($2.85 billion) power plant deal --signed with a consortium led by Saudi Acwa Power Projects and including South Korea's Samsung C&T -- combines two plant project phases.
Al-Qurayyah, south of the eastern city of Khobar, which had been planned in two parts -- IPP1 and IPP2 -- is the third of five now planned (IPP) that will add a total of around 11,000 MW of capacity.
Saudi Arabia is struggling to find enough gas to meet rampant demand for energy in the kingdom, but the huge plant will not increase Saudi's gas burning by 600 mcfd as older plants will be retired.
"The fuel will be natural gas and part of it will come from the old, retired gas-fired power plants which are already more than 35 or 40 years old and will be shut down and the allocated gas will be diverted to this power plant," Ali bin Saleh al-Barrak, CEO of the Saudi Electricity Co, said.
Under the deal, Saudi Electricity will buy all the power produced by the plant for 20 years for 7 halalas per kilowatt hour from the consortium that will run it on a build-own-operate basis.
Crude oil accounts for 40 percent of the fuel Saudi Electricity burns to generate power, while gas contributes 34 percent, diesel 22 percent and fuel oil 4 percent, according to 2010 data from the Saudi Arabia's Electricity and Co-generation Regulatory Authority (ECRA).
The plant, which will be one of the biggest IPP combined cycle gas-fired power plant in the world, is expected to start production before the summer of 2014.
It will have an efficiency rate of around 52 percent.
Germany's Siemens will provide equipment while Samsung C&T will be the engineering, procurement and construction contractor.
The project will be 77 percent-financed by debt, ACWA, the lead developer, said in a statement.
Demand for power in the kingdom is growing 8 percent annually, Saudi minister of water and power, Abdullah al-Hussayen said in a speech at the same event, but it rose more than 12 percent this summer.
Government officials say demand for power could triple to 120 gigawatts by 2030.
Saudi Electricity alone is spending $80 billion in a 10-year investment plan to 2018 to add around 30 GW of capacity to the 51 GW now.
"We need 3.5 gigawatts every year to meet the demand," SEC chief al-Barrak told reporters.
ACWA chairman Mohammed Abunayyan said the massive projects could be financed without problems.
"Financing is there, around 50 percent of the financing will come from Saudi banks and 50 percent from international institutions," he said at the signing ceremony in the Saudi capital.

Source: Reuters