Billions in deals already announced at Saudi FII

October 23, 2018 2:18 pm


Saudi is expected to sign deals worth more than $50bn in the oil, gas, industries and infrastructure sectors on opening day with companies including Trafigura, Total, Hyundai, Norinco, Schlumberger, Halliburton, and Baker Hughes, according to published reports.

Speaking at the opening session, prominent Saudi businesswoman Lubna Olayan said the killing of the Washington Post columnist was “alien to our culture” and voiced confidence that the kingdom will “emerge stronger”, Gulf Business reported.

(L-R) Lubna Olayan, Chief Executive Officer and Deputy Chairperson of Olayan Financing Company and Yasir al-Rumayyan, Chief Executive and Managing Director of Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, attend the investment conference in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia October 23, 2018.

Last October, at the inaugural Future Investment Initiative (FII) we all saw the birth of NEOM, a $500bn development off the Red Sea coast, reaching into Jordan and Egypt, which was followed up this year with the first construction of Royal palaces on the site.

It then announced that the Saudi Public Investment Fund would seek assets under management of $2trn by 2030.

The AI world was given a thrust forward with Sophie, the Humanoid, who astounded audiences and was granted Saudi citizenship, in a unique such occurance in the kingdom.

Last year’s event brought together participants from more than 90 countries.

The 2018 version of FII promises to unleash ideas, initiatives, and projects sure to reshape the business landscape of Saudi and likely the globe.

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Strong support

Despite the failure of several key figures to attend FII, 2019, a pre-event meeting between US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Monday,  was a positive development.

Saudi state media reported that they had stressed “the importance of the Saudi-US strategic partnership”.

This year’s version of FII comes amidst a Saudi-led investigation around the October 2, 2018 disappearance and recent announcement of the murder of Jamal Khashoggi.

“We are determined to find out all the facts and we are determined to punish those who are responsible for this murder,” Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir told Fox News.

“The individuals who did this did this outside the scope of their authority,” he added. “There obviously was a tremendous mistake made, and what compounded the mistake was the attempt to try to cover up.”

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BBC reported Saudi officials as saying they have arrested 18 people, sacked two aides of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and set up a body, under his leadership, to reform the intelligence agency over the unfortunate incident.

Bloomberg reported that Patrick Pouyanne, chief executive of French oil company Total, plans to attend this week’s Future Investment Initiative conference in Riyadh.

“Total has never been in favor of sanctions and isolation — for example, against Russia, Iran or Qatar — and nor do we support boycotts,” Pouyanne said in a statement published Monday on the company’s website.

“Total believes it is preferable to engage in frank, assertive dialogue, in which we make our values clear, with our partner countries,” the executive said.

Bloomberg said Total has been a partner with oil group Saudi Aramco for 40 years and recently announced a major joint investment project in the petrochemical sector in Saudi Arabia, a $5 billion deal signed a few weeks ago.

Senior investment bankers from HSBC and Credit Suisse are planning to attend the conference even though their chief executives have canceled their attendance, Bloomberg News reported.

Companies from China and Russia have also shown little interest in withdrawing from the event, an organizer said.

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The Russian Direct Investment Fund said in a statement that it welcomes the decisive actions taken by Saudi Arabia as a result of the official investigation of Jamal Khashoggi’s case to punish and prosecute those who are responsible for this tragedy.

“RDIF strongly supports the process of transformative and historical reforms in Saudi Arabia undertaken by its leadership, including Vision 2030, which is of true significance for the Middle East and for the whole world. RDIF and many of its partners will continue close investment cooperation with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to promote partnership and friendship among our great nations.”

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan will be there.

Top executives from Asia including Japan’s SoftBank, South Korea’s Samsung, Citigroup, Raytheon, Mubadala, Investcorp, McKinsey, Roland Berger, Oliver Wyman, Glencore, and France’s Total are among those slated to attend.

Report: 3 million Saudi female drivers to hit the road by 2020

Speakers

Executives from Saudi Aramco, Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority, the kingdom’s sovereign investment vehicle the Public Investment Fund, the Saudi Stock Exchange, Neom, and the country’s Economy Minister Mohammed Al Tuwaijri will feature on different panels during the three-day event, according to the UAE daily The National.

Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih speaks during the investment conference in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia October 23, 2018.

FII has more than 150 speakers from 140 different organizations and 17 global partner entities.

“The message is clear: Opec’s top oil exporter is pressing ahead with its reform agenda with an emphasis on building a knowledge-based economy and developing the country’s non-oil sector, whose revenue it aims to boost to 1 trillion Saudi riyals ($266bn) by 2030, from $44bn,” reported The National.

The discussions, it said, will focus on a myriad of topics that range from: The value and development of human capital; how the shifting geography of investment will change the future of innovation; how the convergence of money and data changes global commerce; and how technology and globalization are impacting the business of entertainment.

Most importantly, business leaders and government officials will discuss what economic models of privatization the kingdom can present to bring foreign direct investment to an economy where oil still accounts for about 90% of state revenues.

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AMEinfo Staff
By AMEinfo Staff
AMEinfo staff members report business news and views from across the Middle East and North Africa region, and analyse global events impacting the region today.