European Commission Greenlights Saudi Investment in German Electric Vehicle Firm

A self-driving electric vehicle by Holon. (Holon)
A self-driving electric vehicle by Holon. (Holon)
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European Commission Greenlights Saudi Investment in German Electric Vehicle Firm

A self-driving electric vehicle by Holon. (Holon)
A self-driving electric vehicle by Holon. (Holon)

The European Commission announced its approval of the acquisition and joint control of the German autonomous electric vehicle company Holon by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) and Austrian company Benteler International.

The Commission said in a statement that, under European Union merger law, the notified deal, primarily related to a company developing autonomous vehicles, does not raise competition concerns, given that the companies in question are not active in the same or related markets.

Michael Müller, CEO of Tasaru, the Saudi sovereign wealth fund’s vehicle and mobility development arm, revealed in a February interview with Asharq that the company kickstarted investment initiatives by acquiring stakes in three global firms specializing in autonomous vehicles and their technologies.

Müller announced the imminent acquisition of a strategic stake in Holon, a subsidiary of Benteler International.

This move aims to boost the progress of Holon’s self-driving electric vehicle, Holon Mover, accelerate its development and manufacturing process, and pave the way for establishing production facilities in Saudi Arabia, Europe and the US.

Tasaru has also signed a binding agreement to invest in Project 3 Mobility, a company focused on developing next-generation autonomous mobility solutions.

Project 3 Mobility aims to create an integrated system comprising a self-driving electric vehicle, specialized infrastructure, and a mobility services platform, including a mobile app.

The third agreement was made with Recogni, a company specializing in artificial intelligence computing, particularly in the transportation sector.

Tasaru has secured a binding agreement to invest in Recogni, further expanding its footprint in advanced mobility technologies.



UK Borrowing Overshoot Underscores Task for New Government

Larry the Cat sits on Downing Street in London, Britain July 19, 2024. REUTERS/Toby Melville
Larry the Cat sits on Downing Street in London, Britain July 19, 2024. REUTERS/Toby Melville
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UK Borrowing Overshoot Underscores Task for New Government

Larry the Cat sits on Downing Street in London, Britain July 19, 2024. REUTERS/Toby Melville
Larry the Cat sits on Downing Street in London, Britain July 19, 2024. REUTERS/Toby Melville

Britain's government borrowed a lot more than forecast in June, according to official data published on Friday that highlighted the big budget challenges facing the new government of Prime Minister Keir Starmer.
Public sector net borrowing, excluding state-controlled banks, was a larger-than-expected 14.5 billion pounds ($18.75 billion) last month. A Reuters poll of economists had pointed to an increase of 11.5 billion pounds.
Dennis Tatarkov, Senior Economist at KPMG UK, said the data showed "the daunting task" for the new government to fund its agenda without worsening the public finances.
"A combination of high levels of spending and weak growth prospects will present uncomfortable choices – deciding between even more borrowing or substantially raising taxes if spending levels are to be maintained," he said.
New finance minister Rachel Reeves is likely to announce her first budget after parliament's summer recess. She and Starmer have ruled out increases in the rates of income tax, corporation tax and value-added tax, leaving her little room for maneuver to improve public services and boost investment.
Reeves has ordered an immediate review of the new government's "spending inheritance", a move that lawmakers from the opposition Conservative Party say could presage increases in taxes on capital gains or inheritances.
"Today's figures are a clear reminder that this government has inherited the worst economic circumstances since the Second World War, but we’re wasting no time to fix it," Darren Jones, a deputy Treasury minister, said after the data was published.
Starmer's government says it will speed up Britain's slow-moving economy - and generate more tax revenues - via a combination of pro-growth reforms and a return to political stability that will attract investment.
The borrowing figure for June was 2.9 billion pounds higher than expected by Britain's budget watchdog whose forecasts underpin government tax and spending plans.
In the first three months of the financial year which began in April, borrowing was 3.2 billion pounds higher than projected by the Office for Budget Responsibility at 49.8 billion pounds.
The Office for National Statistics said June's borrowing was the lowest for the month since 2019, helped by a big drop in spending on interest paid on bonds linked to inflation which has slowed sharply.
But the deficit was made bigger by a 1.2 billion-pound fall in social security contributions compared with June 2023. They were cut by former Prime Minister Rishi Sunak before the July 4 election that swept Starmer's Labour Party to power.