Abu Dhabi's Borouge to Sell 10% of Shares in IPO, List on ADX

One of Borouge’s industrial units in Abu Dhabi. (WAM)
One of Borouge’s industrial units in Abu Dhabi. (WAM)
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Abu Dhabi's Borouge to Sell 10% of Shares in IPO, List on ADX

One of Borouge’s industrial units in Abu Dhabi. (WAM)
One of Borouge’s industrial units in Abu Dhabi. (WAM)

Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) and its Austrian chemicals partner Borealis plan an initial public offering of their petrochemicals joint venture Borouge, the latest step in the Abu Dhabi state energy group’s asset monetization program.

Borouge, which is a specialty plastics firm that produces polyolefin, said on Wednesday it planned to list its shares on the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange (ADX).

Founded in 1998, Borouge could be worth $20 billion, which means an IPO size of $2 billion, two sources familiar with the deal told Reuters.

The company said its offering will consist of approximately three billion existing shares, representing 10% of the company’s issued share capital.

The offer, subject to regulatory approvals and other relevant considerations, will begin on May 23 and run to May 28 for retail investors and May 30 for institutional buyers, the company said in an intention to float (ITF) document.

It expects its shares to be admitted for trading on the ADX on June 3.

The Borouge portfolio of products comprises polyethylene and polypropylene, the two most common types of polymers, which are used for various applications such as sustainable packaging, pipes and fittings, wires and cables, automotive, and medical applications.

“ADNOC continues to consistently unlock and maximize value across its integrated upstream and downstream asset base to drive sustainable growth for the benefit of Abu Dhabi and the UAE,” said Sultan bin Ahmed al-Jaber, ADNOC’s managing director and Group CEO.

The offering will be open to all citizens and residents of the UAE and international and local institutional investors.

“Through Borouge and our recently announced 25% equity investment in Borealis, ADNOC is poised to capitalize on the significant industrial and consumer-led growth in the petrochemicals sector over the coming decades,” Jaber explained.

He pointed out that the proposed listing, the fourth subsidiary to come to market, is another significant milestone in ADNOC’S highly successful value creation and strategic growth journey.

Over the past six years, ADNOC has actively managed its businesses and capital, as well as successfully developed a more open, flexible, and innovative partnership model across its integrated upstream and downstream value chain.

This value creation and growth strategy is enabled by a $122 billion (AED447.7 billion) capital investment program across the Group between 2021 to 2025.

ADNOC is broadening its investor base and access to capital by listing minority stakes in select operating businesses, while also supporting the continued growth and expansion of the UAE’s private sector and capital markets.

This was initiated with the successful IPO of ADNOC Distribution in 2017 and followed by the largest and third largest-ever ADX listings to date with ADNOC Drilling and Fertiglobe respectively in October 2021.



Egypt to Raise Minimum Wage to $113 Month from January

Butter, oil, and flour on the shelves in a grocery store in Cairo, Egypt (Reuters)
Butter, oil, and flour on the shelves in a grocery store in Cairo, Egypt (Reuters)
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Egypt to Raise Minimum Wage to $113 Month from January

Butter, oil, and flour on the shelves in a grocery store in Cairo, Egypt (Reuters)
Butter, oil, and flour on the shelves in a grocery store in Cairo, Egypt (Reuters)

Egypt's government will raise the minimum wage paid by the private sector to 3,500 Egyptian pounds ($113) a month as of Jan. 1, according to a decision published in the official gazette on Monday.

The last time the government increased the minimum wage was on July 1, when it set it at 3,000 pounds, Reuters reported.

Headline inflation in Egypt has risen sharply over the past two years, reaching a record 38% in September before slipping to 35.6% in November.


NEOM Launches TOPIAN to Create Sustainable Food Systems

Topian aims to create sustainable food systems and redefine the ways food is produced, distributed and consumed. (SPA)
Topian aims to create sustainable food systems and redefine the ways food is produced, distributed and consumed. (SPA)
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NEOM Launches TOPIAN to Create Sustainable Food Systems

Topian aims to create sustainable food systems and redefine the ways food is produced, distributed and consumed. (SPA)
Topian aims to create sustainable food systems and redefine the ways food is produced, distributed and consumed. (SPA)

NEOM on Sunday announced the launch of Topian, the NEOM Food Company, which aims to create sustainable food systems and redefine the ways food is produced, distributed and consumed.
In a statement, NEOM said that Topian will seek to redefine food production, distribution, and consumption through the creation of sustainable and innovative food solutions across five vertical pillars: climate-proof agriculture, regenerative aquaculture, novel foods, personalized nutrition, sustainable food supply and environmental, social and institutional governance.

Nadhmi Al-Nasr, CEO of NEOM, said: “NEOM is an accelerator of human progress and Topian reflects our dedication to creating a positive, long-lasting transformation to lives in Saudi Arabia and the rest of the world.”
He continued: “Topian’s innovative approach will be a key driver in shaping the future landscape of a sustainable and secure food industry. We look forward to working closely with investors, partners, and food industry experts in turning ambitious ideas into reality, supporting economic diversification in the Kingdom and aligned with Saudi Vision 2030.”
For his part, Dr. Juan Carlos Motamayor, Chief Executive Officer of Topian, said: “As a wholly-owned subsidiary of NEOM, Topian is fully aligned with NEOM’s commitment to providing high-quality food products to the market, and promoting food security and sustainability, while contributing to the Kingdom’s self-sufficiency objectives and long-term economic goals.”
He added: “Topian is leading the food-security conversation to create a resilient food supply in line with the Saudi Green Initiative and the United Nations Sustainability Development Goals. We are not only committing to shaping a transformative global food system, but also to setting a global benchmark by pioneering new technologies and innovative solutions to overcome food-related challenges and create a more secure, sustainable, and prosperous future for all.”
Topian has signed many local and international strategic partnership agreements with organizations and companies that share its commitment and dedication to reshaping the future of food.
These agreements include King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), Tabuk University, as well as Tabuk Fish Company, BlueNalu, Van der Hoeven Horticultural Projects, and Cargill.

 

 

 

 


Oil Extends Gains on US Strategic Reserve Purchases

Pumpjacks are seen in an oil field. (Reuters)
Pumpjacks are seen in an oil field. (Reuters)
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Oil Extends Gains on US Strategic Reserve Purchases

Pumpjacks are seen in an oil field. (Reuters)
Pumpjacks are seen in an oil field. (Reuters)

Oil prices rose on Monday, extending gains for a second session as US efforts to replenish strategic reserves provided some support, although concerns of crude oversupply and softer fuel demand growth next year persisted.
Brent crude futures rose 0.7%, or 56 cents, to $76.40 a barrel by 0735 GMT, while US West Texas Intermediate crude futures were at $71.71 a barrel, also up 0.7%, or 48 cents, Reuters said.
Both contracts jumped more than 2% on Friday but fell for the seventh straight week, their longest streak of weekly declines since 2018, on lingering oversupply concerns.
The recent price weakness drew demand from the US, which has sought up to 3 million barrels of crude for the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) for delivery in March 2024.
"We know the Biden Administration is in the market looking to refill the SPR, which will provide support," IG analyst Tony Sycamore said in a note, adding that prices were also being supported by technical chart indicators.
Despite the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies, together called OPEC+, having pledged to cut 2.2 million barrels per day (bpd) of production in the first quarter, investors remain sceptical supply will drop. Output growth in non-OPEC countries is seen leading to excess supply next year.
RBC Capital Markets expects stock draws of 700,000 bpd in the first half but only 140,000 bpd for the full year.
"Prices will remain volatile and directionless until the market sees clear data points pertaining to the voluntary output cuts," RBC analysts said in a note.
With cuts not implemented until next month and country level production data to follow subsequent to January, it will be a volatile two months before there is preliminary clarity on quantifiable data on compliance, the analysts added.
The latest consumer price index data from China, the world's top oil importer, showed rising deflationary pressures as weak domestic demand cast doubt over the country's economic recovery.
Chinese officials pledged on Friday they would spur domestic demand and consolidate and enhance the economic recovery in 2024.
This week, investors are watching for guidance on interest rate policies from meetings at five central banks, including the Federal Reserve, and data on US inflation, for their impact on the global economy and oil demand.


Global Financial Company Northern Trust Moves its Regional Headquarters to Riyadh

The regional headquarters program has so far attracted 200 foreign companies. (Asharq Al-Awsat)
The regional headquarters program has so far attracted 200 foreign companies. (Asharq Al-Awsat)
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Global Financial Company Northern Trust Moves its Regional Headquarters to Riyadh

The regional headquarters program has so far attracted 200 foreign companies. (Asharq Al-Awsat)
The regional headquarters program has so far attracted 200 foreign companies. (Asharq Al-Awsat)

Northern Trust Corp. has become one of the first major global financial institutions to establish its regional headquarters in Riyadh, which strengthens the Saudi government’s efforts to have international companies manage their operations in the Middle East from the Kingdom.
The American financial services company, which manages assets worth $1.3 trillion, obtained a license from the Saudi Ministry of Investment to establish its Middle Eastern base in Riyadh.
Speaking to Bloomberg, a company spokesman said that Northern Trust continues to achieve “significant growth” throughout the region through its offices in Abu Dhabi and Riyadh, explaining that the establishment of the regional headquarters for the Middle East and North Africa region in Saudi Arabia reflects the continued investment in infrastructure, capabilities and expertise in the region.
The Kingdom announced on Tuesday that it would provide a new tax incentive package for a period of 30 years to foreign companies whose regional headquarters are located in the Kingdom, including exemption from income tax.
The Saudi News Agency (SPA) said that the Ministry of Investment - in coordination with the Ministry of Finance and the country’s Zakat, Tax and Customs Authority - announced “the provision of a new tax incentive package, for a period of 30 years, to support the program to attract the regional headquarters of international companies.”
This step comes to “encourage and facilitate the procedures for international companies to open their regional headquarters in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” the agency added.
The Regional Headquarters Program was launched in 2021, which is a joint initiative between the Ministry of Investment and the Royal Commission for the City of Riyadh, which calls on international companies to move their regional headquarters to Saudi Arabia, to transform the country into a leading regional hub for multinational companies.

 

 

 

 


COP28 Sees Calls for Balance, Realism in Dealing with Energy File

Expo Dubai hosts the COP28 summit (Reuters)
Expo Dubai hosts the COP28 summit (Reuters)
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COP28 Sees Calls for Balance, Realism in Dealing with Energy File

Expo Dubai hosts the COP28 summit (Reuters)
Expo Dubai hosts the COP28 summit (Reuters)

As the negotiations in COP28 entered the heated stages, discrepancy between countries regarding the position on traditional fuels increased.
While Western states are pressing to adopt a position towards getting rid of fuel, another front appears to be resisting this course, and pushing towards a solution based on treating traditional fuels and the resulting emissions, in order to achieve balanced economic growth.
The latest trend is led by OPEC member states, and is approved by countries with developing or small economies. These countries indicate that their position does not stem from opposition to environmental and climate protection agendas, but rather from the fact that getting rid of traditional fuels will result in a major economic blow that the world will be unable to bear.
A number of officials told Asharq Al-Awsat that this position has nothing to do with the interests of oil producers alone, but rather with the wellbeing of other countries as well.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, an official from a sub-Saharan African country said: “We do not have sufficient development, and we barely produce electricity using gas and diesel... Now they are asking us to dispense with traditional fuel... Shall we live in the darkness? This is not a fair agreement.”
In the corridors of the conference, news was circulated about an internal memorandum from the OPEC secretariat dated Dec. 6, in which OPEC Secretary-General Haitham Al-Ghais called on the members of the organization to reject any agreement targeting fuel and not emissions.
“It seems that the undue and disproportionate pressure against fossil fuels may reach a tipping point with irreversible consequences, as the draft decision still contains options on fossil fuels phase out," the letter said, as reported by Reuters.
The letter urged delegations at COP28 to “proactively reject any text or formula that targets energy i.e. fossil fuels rather than emissions.”
Although OPEC refused to comment on the matter, Al-Ghais stressed during a session on Wednesday evening the need to pay attention to the idea of tackling emissions, especially since it achieves good results “on the ground” and can lead to the same final results.
On Saturday, an OPEC official said on behalf of the organization’s Secretary-General that the COP28 summit must find “realistic methods” to reduce emissions that need to involve all “energies” and technologies.

 


Egypt's Headline Inflation Dips to 34.6% in November

A woman balances her bowl as she walks in the Old Cairo district of Cairo, Egypt, Friday, Dec. 8, 2023. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)
A woman balances her bowl as she walks in the Old Cairo district of Cairo, Egypt, Friday, Dec. 8, 2023. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)
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Egypt's Headline Inflation Dips to 34.6% in November

A woman balances her bowl as she walks in the Old Cairo district of Cairo, Egypt, Friday, Dec. 8, 2023. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)
A woman balances her bowl as she walks in the Old Cairo district of Cairo, Egypt, Friday, Dec. 8, 2023. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)

Egypt's annual urban consumer price inflation dropped to 34.6% in November from 35.8% in October, pulled down by a slowdown in the rate of food price increases, data from the statistics agency CAPMAS showed on Sunday.
Annual inflation was slightly lower than predicted by analysts. The median forecast of 18 analysts polled had expected a reading of 34.8%, reported Reuters.
Month-on-month, prices rose by 1.3% in November, up from 1.0% in October. Food prices rose by 0.2% but surged 64.5 year on year.
Annual inflation had been working its way upwards for two years, hitting a record high of 38.0% in September. The November figure was the lowest since May.


Fitch Affirms Tunisia at CCC-, Expects Growth to Fall to 0.9%

A square in the Tunisian capital (Reuters)
A square in the Tunisian capital (Reuters)
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Fitch Affirms Tunisia at CCC-, Expects Growth to Fall to 0.9%

A square in the Tunisian capital (Reuters)
A square in the Tunisian capital (Reuters)

Fitch Ratings on Saturday affirmed Tunisia's Long-Term Foreign-Currency Issuer Default Rating (IDR) at "CCC-," also expecting growth to fall to 0.9% of GDP in 2023 from 2.4% in 2022.
The agency said Tunisia's 'CCC-' rating reflects the heightened uncertainty around the government's ability to meet its large budget financing needs - revised up in the absence of progress on key subsidy reforms - and increasing debt maturities.
It added that the affirmation balances Fitch’s revised assumption that an IMF program is unlikely to be reached in 2024 with the better than expected resilience of international reserves despite the limited availability of external funding.
Also, Fitch expects GDP growth to fall to 0.9% of GDP in 2023 from 2.4% in 2022, as a result of the sharp contraction of the rain-fed wheat production, impacted by rain shortfalls.
“We project a mild recovery to 1.5% average in 2024-2025, supported by a favorable base effect,” it said.
The agency expects growth will remain constrained by the high sovereign risk impacting the business environment and investor sentiment, high inflation (expected to average 9.3% in 2023), and the increasing crowding-out impact on the private sector from the government's high financing needs.
Fitch also assumed that fiscal financing needs to be consistently at or over 16% of GDP (over $8 billion) per year in 2023-2025 compared with 14% (about $6 billion) in 2022, and well above the 2015-2019 average of 9%.
This, it said, results from persistent wide budget deficits, and increasing domestic and external debt maturities, at about 10% of GDP per year in 2024-2025.
The agency also noted that domestic maturities are pushed up by the government's increasing reliance on shorter-term domestic financing to compensate for scarce external financing. External maturities are higher, partly because of upcoming Eurobond repayments (850 million euro in February 2024, and $1 billion in January 2025).
Therefore, Fitch said it expects external financing to reach about $2 billion by year-end.
“We do not expect Tunisia to access an IMF program in 2024, constraining external financing prospects."
In its baseline assumptions, Fitch also said the Tunisian government would need to raise the equivalent of 12% of GDP in domestic financing in 2023-2024 to cover the financing gap.
“We see this as a stretch to the domestic market capacity to absorb the public sector financing needs. Exposure to the public sector already represents more than 20% of the banking system's total assets, reaching up to 40% for some public banks,” it said.
The agency then noted that the sector has limited liquidity and banks' ability to fund the government increasingly relies on central bank purchases of government debt on the secondary market.


China-Saudi Investment Conference to Kick off in Beijing Next Tuesday

Saudi Arabia is seeking to increase investments and trade exchange worldwide. (Asharq Al-Awsat)
Saudi Arabia is seeking to increase investments and trade exchange worldwide. (Asharq Al-Awsat)
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China-Saudi Investment Conference to Kick off in Beijing Next Tuesday

Saudi Arabia is seeking to increase investments and trade exchange worldwide. (Asharq Al-Awsat)
Saudi Arabia is seeking to increase investments and trade exchange worldwide. (Asharq Al-Awsat)

China will be hosting the China-Saudi Investment Conference in Beijing next Tuesday, SPA said on Saturday.
The Ministry of Investment is organizing the event in coordination with the China Chamber of Commerce for the Import and Export of Machinery and Electronic Products (CCCME).
The event will take place on the sidelines of a visit by Saudi Minister of Investment Khalid bin Abdulaziz Al-Falih to China and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region from 7 - 12 December 2023.
This conference aims to enhance the existing strategic partnership between Saudi Arabia and China in investment, trade, and the economy. It is aligned with the Kingdom's Vision 2030, which seeks to strengthen strategic partnerships and advance trade and investment activities in various fields.
The conference also supports the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative, which aims to connect Asia with Africa and Europe.
More than 700 attendees, including high-level government representatives, senior officials, CEOs, investors, and entrepreneurs, are anticipated at the conference. Their focus will center on reviewing and discussing investment opportunities and initiatives aimed at fostering increased cooperation between the two countries.
The conference agenda includes dialogue sessions covering various topics, such as clean energy, finance, investment, mining, metals, tourism, entertainment, food security, agriculture, logistics services, shipping, supply chains, digital economy, artificial intelligence, modern manufacturing industries, and advanced technology through workshops.
In addition to the conference, the minister will embark on visits to several Chinese cities to meet with business leaders in those regions. Technical teams from the Ministry will conduct workshops and field visits in these cities to explore cooperation opportunities aimed at enhancing economic and investment relations. Participation is expected from representatives in both the government and private sectors.
During the recent Asia Future Investment Initiative (FII) Priority Summit held in Hong Kong, the Minister of Investment took part in a symposium. Here, he emphasized the pivotal role of the Middle East region in fostering prosperity among Southern countries. He stressed the significance of energy and digital transformation as tools for achieving development leading the region towards globalization.
The diplomatic ties between the Kingdom and China span over 30 years, with China currently being Saudi Arabia's largest trading partner. The trade and investment between the two nations have shown significant growth in recent years.


COP28 Nears Crucial Hours as Divergence Takes Center Stage

Sultan Al Jaber, President of COP28, alongside the Singaporean Minister of Environment and the Norwegian Minister of Environment in a press conference on Friday (AP)
Sultan Al Jaber, President of COP28, alongside the Singaporean Minister of Environment and the Norwegian Minister of Environment in a press conference on Friday (AP)
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COP28 Nears Crucial Hours as Divergence Takes Center Stage

Sultan Al Jaber, President of COP28, alongside the Singaporean Minister of Environment and the Norwegian Minister of Environment in a press conference on Friday (AP)
Sultan Al Jaber, President of COP28, alongside the Singaporean Minister of Environment and the Norwegian Minister of Environment in a press conference on Friday (AP)

COP28 president Sultan Al Jaber has urged countries to get out of their comfort zones and work together to reach an agreement before the two-week United Nations climate summit ends.

The scene at COP28 remains dominated by divergence, with the UN Climate Agency releasing a new draft of the conference agreement on Friday.

This draft included a range of options for the future use of traditional fuels, a highly contentious issue at the conference.

In the coming days, countries are expected to focus on this issue in the hope of reaching consensus before the summit concludes on December 12.

Options mentioned in the draft ranged from “gradual phasing out of fossil fuels in line with the best available science” to no inclusion of any language regarding the future use of fossil fuels.

The document also specified the option of “rapid and unconditional phasing out of coal energy this decade, with an immediate halt to the construction of new coal-fired power plants.”

“Let’s please get this job done,” said Al Jaber, opening a plenary session as the summit entered its toughest phase of negotiations.

“I need you to step up and I need you to come out of your comfort zones,” he added.

The President of COP28 appointed eight ministers, half from developed countries and the other half from the Global South, to work on four topics to break the deadlock in negotiations.

Energy Minister Suhail Al Mazrouei of the UAE, on Thursday, on the sidelines of the COP28 summit, emphasized the need for a gradual phase-out of coal.

“I don't believe we should talk about the gradual phase-out of fossil fuels because technologies are also improving. What if we have technology in the future that removes all carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels and makes it as clean as any other fuel type? Why fight it before we have an alternative?” said Al Mazrouei.

Since the adoption of the Loss and Damage Fund agreement on November 30, Al Jaber announced that countries had raised over $726 million to inject into the fund, with more expected by the end of COP28.

Pledges at COP28 are still far from the hundreds of millions needed annually to help developing countries adapt to the warming world, including rising sea levels and increased heat waves.


Morocco Joins International Campaign to Phase out Coal

Morocco's flag with a woman's shadow seen on it. AFP file photo
Morocco's flag with a woman's shadow seen on it. AFP file photo
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Morocco Joins International Campaign to Phase out Coal

Morocco's flag with a woman's shadow seen on it. AFP file photo
Morocco's flag with a woman's shadow seen on it. AFP file photo

Morocco on Friday joined an international campaign to phase out coal, as it plans to secure more than half of its energy needs from renewables in the next seven years.

The Powering Past Coal Alliance (PPCA) now counts 60 national governments united by the desire to make a clean break with coal-fired power generation, Reuters reported.

Earlier at the COP 28 climate summit, the United States, the UAE, the Czech Republic, Cyprus, Dominican Republic, Iceland, Kosovo, Malta and Norway joined the global initiative, PPCA said in a statement.

Morocco "will work together with the PPCA to develop a plan for phasing (coal) out," PPCA said without offering deadlines.

About 70% of Morocco's electricity is generated from coal, with renewable energy representing 20% so far this year, according to official figures.

Morocco plans to raise the share of renewable energy in its energy mix to more than 52% by 2030.