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Top Saudi Arabia Business News

Saudi foreign investors over USD1bn

December 14th, 2000
Saudi Arabia took the next step towards promoting foreign investment in its booming economy with the announcement of 14 licenses for new industrial projects. Total investment was USD24m, said the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority, with five projects 100 per cent foreign owned and nine others as joint ventures with Saudi investors. Since the SAGIA was set up in April, it has issued 53 investment licenses worth USD1bn, and licenses for the investment of USD160m in existing projects.

Saudi non-oil trade finance

December 13th, 2000
Saudi Arabia is to introduce trade finance of up to 85 per cent for non-oil exports, the Saudi Press Agency reported yesterday. Finance minister Ibrahim Al Assaf said priority would go to companies with a high percentage of Saudi personnel, and would apply to firms adding a minimum of 25 per cent of local value.

Saudi unemployment fears

December 12th, 2000
Saudi officials told Gulf News that a recent survey had highlighted the resistance to employing Saudi citizens among small businesses, which preferred cheaper expatriates. Labour Council research head Mohammad Habib said small businesses comprised 97 per cent of the private sector, so this was a big problem. He said that policy allowing companies with less than 20 people to avoid Saudization of the workforce might have to be changed to cut unemployment which has jumped from 12 to 27 per cent in the past five years.

Saudi names 25 foreign projects

December 11th, 2000
Saudi Arabia has handed international oil companies a list of 25 energy projects, and asked bidders to respond to requests for clarification by the end of the year, reported MEED. This is the first official feedback to the companies since they submitted proposals to invest up to USD100bn in August.

Early retirement for Saudis

December 10th, 2000
Saudi citizens are to be allowed to retire at 60 after 25 years' work, Labour minister Ali bin Ibrahim Al Namlah told Gulf News in an interview. Women and workers in hazardous sectors will be able to retire at 55

Saudi farmers paid USD240m

December 10th, 2000
Saudi farmers will be paid USD240m in arrears starting this week to clear monies owed to them for 1997-98 barley and wheat crops, reported the Al Hayat newspaper. Arrears to farmers have grown since the Gulf War and a period of low oil prices.

Saudi wants foreign gas investors

December 7th, 2000
Saudi Arabia is assembling three consortiums of foreign investors for three different projects in its gas sector, industry sources told Reuters. The largest is the Haradh project, and the smaller ones are Kidan/Shaybah and the Red Sea area. MoUs are expected earlier next year.

STC abandons SBC partnership

December 7th, 2000
Saudi Telecom has ended its brief partnership with SBC Communications, which was to have led to the US firm taking a 20-40 per cent stake in the USD12bn Saudi company. Asharq Al-Awsat reported the breakdown followed the failure of STC to provide detailed accounting information, though STC officials had no comment.

328,600 jobs for Saudi nationals

December 7th, 2000
Saudi Arabia's new five-year plan aims to create 328,600 jobs for nationals, including Saudi women, reported Reuters. Non-oil growth of four per cent is forecast for 2000-2005, and private sector investment is to reach 71 per cent of a SR478bn total by 2005. Replacing expatriates with nationals will be a priority.

Car imports in first half of 2000 valued at SR 6.73 billion

Riyadh, 6 December 2000
The number of cars imported to the Kingdom in the first half of 2000 was 120,898, worth SR 6.73 billion, according to a report of the Customs Department. The figure included both new and used cars imported by authorized car dealers and showrooms, as well as by individuals. Japan, United States and Australia respectively took the lead positions in car exports to Saudi Arabia.

The Kingdom also re-exported 5,129 cars during the period.

Saudi budget for development

December 6th, 2000
The 2001 annual budget for Saudi Arabia will focus on development projects and services to citizens, King Fahd told a cabinet meeting on Monday night, Reuters reported. Economists are also waiting to hear the size of the 2000 budget surplus, which is expected to be over USD15bn.

Saudi foreign investors feedback

Posted December 5th, 2000
Saudi Arabia sent a group of 11 oil and gas companies an information pack on Sunday explaining where they stand with their proposals to invest up to USD100bn in the energy sector. The companies said the information was short on detail but saw the development as a positive indication. The firms are, Shell, Phillips, Chevron, ExxonMobil, Texaco, Conoco, Enron, BP, Eni, Marathon and TotalFinaElf.

USD667m Saudi Telecom loan

December 4th, 2000
Saudi Telecom has mandated Arab National Bank, Riyad Bank, Saudi British Bank and Arab Bank to arrange a USD667m four-year loan to finance a huge expansion of its telephone, mobile phone and Internet services. The USD12bn Saudi company is a prime candidate for early privatization, and bankers told Reuters the next step is to find a strategic investor.

Merger forms MIS Arabia

December 3rd, 2000
Maritime Industrial Services of the UAE has acquired control of a Saudi Arabian company in a deal worth USD3m to create MIS Arabia, Gulf News reported. The new company will operate from Jubail, and manufacture pressure vessels, heat exchangers and other steel fabrications, while Sharjah will remain the group's main manufacturing location.

ZIIC acquires Italian A/C manufacturer

Saudi Arabia's Zamil Industrial Investment Company (ZIIC), the joint stock industrial Zamil powerhouse of three of its building services companies, Zamil Air Conditioners (ZAC), Zamil Steel and Zamil Glass, has announced the acquisition of Geoclima, an air conditioning manufacturing plant based outside Venice, Italy.Full Story

2001 Jeddah Economic Forum

Their Excellencies Helmut Kohl, former Chancellor of Germany, and Valery Giscard d'Estaing and Carlos Menem, respectively past presidents of France and Argentina, will be keynote speakers at the 2001 Jeddah Economic Forum.Full Story

Saudi Al-Safi, Danone deal

November 30th, 2000
Saudi Al Safi Foods' recent 500m riyal contract with Danone of France has boosted French investments in the Kingdom to USD331m, reported the Al-Watan newspaper. It said this made France the largest foreign investor in Saudi Arabia after the USA and Japan.

Prince Al Waleed, USD90m Beirut hotel

November 29th, 2000
Legendary Saudi investor Prince Al Waleed is in negotiations to buy the Carlton seafront hotel in Beirut for USD90m, reported AFP. The hotel has 130 rooms, and an unfinished 235 room annex building. Well known for his bargain basement purchases, the Prince seems to be taking advantage of Lebanon's current recession.

Saudi investment details published

November 29th, 2000
New insight into the opening of the Saudi Arabian economy to foreign investment is provided in a book published by the Eastern Province Chamber of Commerce yesterday, Saudi Arabia - Global Partnership in Trade and Investment. The book highlights current investment opportunities in industry, metals, oil, gas and services, and reviews business relations with 25 countries selected as suitable investors.

Jeddah airport design contract let

November 27th, 2000
A USD24.5m design contract for the expansion of the King Abdul Aziz airport in Jeddah was awarded to an as yet unnamed company yesterday. The project will include a new international terminal, and a new domestic terminal.

Visa opens wholly-owned office in Saudi Arabia

Visa International has become one of the first foreign multinationals to be allowed to open an office in Saudi Arabia under the new 100 per cent ownership rule. Visa also said its member banks in the GCC have issued more than four million cards and that annual spending in the Gulf through the cards has reached Dh80 billion.

"Saudi Arabia is by far our biggest market in the GCC. This commitment by Visa is just the beginning of further activities and investments in the kingdom," Vice-President Rob Clark said.

Saudi Arabia topped card spending in Visa's Central Europe, Middle East and Africa region of 92 countries with expenditure hitting $11 billion, said Peter Scriven, Visa's general manager for the Middle East.

Saudis prepare to build Jubail methanol plant

Construction of the Saudi Petrochemical Co's (SIPC) methanol project will start in early 2002 and production is scheduled to begin in the first quarter of 2004. The plant will have an annual capacity of 850,000 tonnes of methanol and 140,000 tonnes of carbon monoxide.

The facility will be built in the Jubail Industrial City, where SIPC is developing an integrated petrochemical complex. It will comprise maleic anhydride (MAN), butanediol (BDO), acetic acid and vinyl acetate monomer plants.

The methanol plant will supply the raw materials for the acetic acid and BDO plants.
SIPC has issued a letter of intent to Jacobs Engineering, a wholly owned subsidiary of Jacobs Engineering Inc. for process technology. The methanol synthesis is based on ICI technology.

The scope of the technology transfer agreement will include the preparation of the front-end engineering package necessary to prepare the invitation to bid document for the detailed engineering and construction.

"The methanol technology selection and award is another milestone for SIPC following similar agreements with Huntsman Chemicals, Kvaerner Process Technology and DuPont Chemicals for technology transfer and technical service for other projects," said Ahmed Al Ohali, president of SIPC.

Danone's USD266m Saudi JV

French food group Danone inked a USD266m joint venture with Saudi Al Faisaliah to manufacture dairy products in the Kingdom. For the first time, under the new investment laws, a Western partner will hold the 50.1 per cent stake.

Samref deal for SAP Arabia

Saudi Arabian Mobile Refinery Company awarded a contract to SAP Arabia for an R/3 system covering 300 users, for the first time this will run on a Microsoft platform. Hewlett Packard will provide the hardware. Samref is a joint venture between Exxon-Mobil and Saudi Aramco.

Aramco prepares USD1.15bn bids

Saudi Aramco is calling for bids for the USD350m gas/oil separation plant at Haradh by December 31, said MEED. Six contractors in the running are ABB, Amec, JGC, SNC, Snamprogetti and Technip. News of further work on the USD800m Qatif project should follow later.

Just in......

19th December 2000
19th December 2000
19th December 2000
18th December 2000
17th December 2000
 Shell's interest in participating in the Saudi Natural Gas Initiative.
16th December 2000
Foreign investment in the Arab worldFull Story
15th December 2000
King Fahd donates SR53 million for medical complex
15th December 2000
13th December 2000
SAMBA announces 10-1 split in its U.S. Equity Fund
12th December 2000
12th December 2000
Al-Naimi announces discovery of new gas field
9th December 2000
Review of Saudi economy
9th December 2000
Details of the new Publications and Publishing Law issued
8th December 2000
328,600 jobs for Saudi nationals
7th December 2000
Car imports in first half of 2000 valued at SR 6.73 billion
6th December 2000

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04 January 2001 01:24:56 PM