Leisure group ‘walks the walk’ with biggest cinema in Saudi Arabia: Chief executive

Time: October 31, 2019

Alain Bejjani (R) CEO of Majid Al Futtaim appeared on the stage at FII 2019 on Tuesday with will.i.am. (Social Media)

  • New 18-screen cinema in Riyadh Front mall part of commitment to eventually launch 600 more screens across the Kingdom
  • MAF has been one of the most enthusiastic business partners of the Saudi Vision 2030 strategy to diversify the economy away from oil dependency

RIYADH: Opening the biggest cinema in Saudi Arabia’s history “is a sign that Vision 2030 is real and unstoppable,” according to the man in charge of Vox Cinemas.

Alain Bejjani, the chief executive of the Majid Al Futtaim (MAF) leisure and retail group that owns Vox, told Arab News on the sidelines of the Future Investment Initiative (FII) forum in Riyadh that the new 18-screen cinema in Riyadh Front mall was part of his commitment to eventually launch 600 more screens throughout the Kingdom.

There are 71 screens now open with plans for 250 more by the end of 2021. “It shows that we walk the walk at MAF; we do what we say we will do,” Bejjani said.

MAF has been one of the most enthusiastic business partners of the Saudi Vision 2030 strategy to diversify the economy away from oil dependency.

“Saudi Arabia has been through a tough period of reform, but few countries would have stuck to it and been so true to the reform agenda in social, cultural and economic terms. Nobody can now ask whether the vision is going to happen or not, it is happening,” the CEO added.

MAF is planning more malls in the Kingdom with family entertainment and retail facilities, along the lines of its highly successful shopping centers in Dubai, such as the Mall of the Emirates with its world-famous indoor ski slope.
Majid Al Futtaim (MAF) has been one of the most enthusiastic business partners of the Saudi Vision 2030 strategy to diversify the economy away from oil dependency. MAF is planning more malls in the Kingdom with family entertainment and
retail facilities. (AN photo)

Bejjani spoke after appearing in a panel session at the FII with American rapper will.i.am to discuss artificial intelligence (AI) and a new AI-powered service and voice assistant. He said that MAF and the US singer were long-term partners in the project.

MAF’s business in the Gulf is highly dependent on consumer spending patterns, which have come under pressure in both its home market, the UAE, and Saudi Arabia as economic growth slows mainly because of the fall in the oil price.

Bejjani predicted that the Saudi economy would soon bottom out and start to improve next year.

In the UAE, he said that some sectors were “challenging” but there were still positive signs there. UAE consumers were becoming more price sensitive and were looking for value, but he noted that growth in tourism was still good, and that there could be a boost from visitors in the run-up to the Expo 2020 business exhibition next year.

“Saudi Arabia could also benefit from the Expo effect if visitors to the UAE make use of easier tourism visas to visit the Kingdom while they are in the region, and of course it is the year of the G20 for Saudi Arabia,” he added.

HIGHLIGHT

Majid Al Futtaim (MAF) has been one of the most enthusiastic business partners of the Saudi Vision 2030 strategy to diversify the economy away from oil dependency. MAF is planning more malls in the Kingdom with family entertainment and retail facilities.

The leisure industry chief pointed to Egypt as a very positive market. MAF recently opened its fourth mall in the country and has spent $2.7 billion of the near $3 billion it pledged in investment four years ago. “Now we are looking for more investment opportunities,” he said.

MAF is also aiming to extend its snow-themed leisure activities to China with the first ski slope outside the Middle East, in a mall near Shanghai.

Bejjani will be a co-chairman of the World Economic Forum at its Davos meeting next year, with responsibility for the Middle East and North Africa, and he is preparing a major policy initiative in a bid to boost the region’s growth via greater integration of its economies.

“The region has 8.5 percent of the world’s population, but only 3.4 percent of global GDP, and only 4 percent of the total foreign direct investment. Trade between regional economies is very low as a percentage of GDP compared to other big economic blocs like the European Union and South East Asia. This is something that really needs to change,” Bejjani said.

He is working on the final stages of a detailed policy study with international consulting group McKinsey on a “new vision for economic integration” as well as a group of “like-minded” businesses from the Middle East that will make recommendations at Davos to increase regional cross-border trade.

This article was first published in Arab News

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Why luxury shopping platform Farfetch is so serious about the Middle East

Time: October 30, 2019  

Farfetch prides itself on its Arabic language setting. (Shutterstock)

DUBAI: Luxury e-retailer Farfetch launched in the Middle East last year to fanfare from fashionistas from across the region.

We sat down with Edward Sabbagh, managing director at Farfetch Middle East, to understand more about the platform’s offerings in the region.

According to Sabbagh, localizing content to the region at hand — in addition to offering a shopping experience in both English and Arabic —is of particular importance.

“We do a range of things to appeal to a local customer. For example, we tailor our marketing to customers of the region. We use a mix of global and local content, produced locally, to ensure we portray the global angle of fashion and address the individuality aspect of our shoppers,” he told Arab News, emphasizing the platform’s use of regional influencers and models in marketing campaigns.

“Since its inception almost 11 years ago, Farfetch has stood as a platform connecting the world’s creators and curators to fashion lovers across the globe. We decided earlier this year to extend this aspect of our DNA to our content and storytelling with the launch of Farfetch Communities,” he said.

“The Communities content experience on Farfetch allows the Middle Eastern customer to shop selects and edits chosen by the global Farfetch community, sharing inspiration from around the world. It also allows us to put a spotlight on our own regional community to share their inspiration with the global Farfetch network,” Sabbagh added.

Farfetch prides itself on its Arabic language setting, something Sabbagh says is extensively used in Saudi Arabia.

“Throughout the whole region, English visits are still higher although Arabic visits are growing faster, namely due to the fact that we launched Arabic in April 2018. This said, the split is very different from one market to another. For example, Saudi Arabia has much higher Arabic visits contribution when compared to the UAE and this can be attributed to the expat populations of each market.”

Considering Sabbagh called Saudi Arabia Farfetch’s “fastest growing market,” it should come as no surprise that the platform ensures “Saudi consumer(s) shopping on Farfetch can have access to pieces from around the world that they would otherwise not find in an offline store and exclusive product only available on Farfetch.com. Further to this, we also have a team of Private Client Stylists who work closely with their Saudi clientele to ensure they are able to find exactly what it is they are looking for.”

This article was first published in Arab News

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Abdullah Al-Othaim opens 231st branch in Saudi Arabia

Time: October 23, 2019  

Abdullah Al-Othaim Markets Company opened its 231st Saudi store in Diriyah, located in the Riyadh region.

The opening ceremony was attended by Abdullah Al-Othaim Markets Company CEO Abdul Aziz Al-Othaim, the company’s
staff, suppliers and a number of customers.

“The new opening is a clear demonstration of the aggressive expansion strategy that our company adopts to achieve growth in its branch network both domestically and on the international level,” said Al-Othaim. He added: “This
valued addition to our network along with the continuous development of the existing branches is in harmony with customers’ expectations and confidence that was gained over the years of our hard work to meet the customers’ growing demand and provide a
wide portfolio of products and services.”

The new branch is spread across an area of 1,087 square meters, and is equipped with the latest technologies and manned by dedicated staff members.

A number of products were on sale during the opening of the store. Abdullah Al-Othaim Market’s loyal customers holding “Iktissab Card” can enjoy special deals designed specifically for them. It can be subscribed to at various points of sales as well as online through the company’s website and app.

“We are fully committed to meet the customers’ growing demands at the best optimized cost that satisfies the needs of the families as well as various consumer segments in society,” Al-Othaim said.

This article was first published in Arab News

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Global logistics provider Agility invests SR1bn in KSA

Time: October 20, 2019  

The new facility was inaugurated on Oct. 17.

Agility, a global logistics provider, has announced the opening of a new 900,000-square-meter logistics park in Riyadh, part of a series of investments in the country valued at SR1 billion ($267 million).

The new facility, inaugurated on Oct. 17, was developed by Agility Logistics Parks (ALP) and includes 250,000 square meter of built-up, high-standard warehousing and logistics facilities. The Riyadh ALP will serve leading multinationals as well as small and medium-sized businesses operating in Saudi Arabia.

Dr. Nabeel Alamoudi, Saudi minister of transportation, said: “The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has focused on developing the logistics sector by building infrastructure and directing capital investments toward increasing logistics capabilities. Saudi Arabia is also enhancing and simplifying import and export procedures and easing restrictions, to facilitate and open investment opportunities in the country. The Logistics Committee and the National Industrial Development and Logistics Program are working toward achieving the goals set out in the Kingdom’s Vision 2030, and are proud to partner with the private sector to accomplish this.”

The development of the new Riyadh ALP is consistent with Saudi Arabia’s intent to become a regional and global logistics hub.

Henadi Al-Saleh, chairperson, Agility, said: “Agility is committed to building infrastructure that will strengthen the business environment for both multinationals and small and medium-sized businesses in the Kingdom. Our investments, valued at SR1 billion, are aimed at driving the development of logistics facilities across Saudi Arabia. The Agility Logistics Park in Riyadh represents our commitment to supporting the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 to become a regional and global logistics hub.”

This article was first published in Arab News

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Samaco opens Bentley service center in Jeddah

Time: October 22, 2019  

The Bentley Service Center Jeddah is equipped with the latest equipment — including nine car hydraulic lifts — and is capable of serving 10 cars a day.

Samaco Automotive Company, the authorized dealer for Bentley in Saudi Arabia, has opened a new service center for Bentley in Jeddah.

The Bentley Service Center Jeddah is equipped with the latest equipment — including nine car hydraulic lifts — and is capable of serving 10 cars a day. The center consists of a Quick Service zone, a reception area fitted with various entertainment facilities and high-speed internet to keep the customer in touch with their business while awaiting the completion of their car service.

Wayne Banoub, COO of Samaco Automotive, said: “Bentley’s new service center confirms the practical strategy of Samaco Automotive, which has been adopted to serve our customers throughout Saudi Arabia. We are constantly working to refine and develop the latest service technologies in line with the international standards, as well as to enhance trust with our customers. We are also proud of the skilled technicians of the center, who are highly experienced and qualified to deal with all requirements of the Bentley brand service.”

He added: “The new car service center includes a special section for the delivery of cars after completion of service, where the employees provide a detailed explanation to the customer about the maintenance and service work provided.”

This article was first published in Arab News

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Tawuniya recognized as ‘best Takaful company’ for 2019

Time: October 17, 2019  

Tawuniya’s head office is located in Riyadh. The company has introduced a range of innovative insurance services and products.

The Company for Cooperative Insurance (Tawuniya) has been recognized as “Best Takaful Company for 2019” by Global Islamic Finance Awards (GIFA), which specializes in classifying Islamic finance and insurance establishments.
Tawuniya won this award as a result of its implementation of the cooperative insurance concept since its foundation in 1986, its success in introducing Shariah-compliant Takaful insurance products and its investments, its commitment to Islamic standards in the accounting field, and its role in enhancing the innovation concept, governance and social responsibility.
Adel Al-Hamoudi, Tawuniya’s senior vice president (sales and marketing), said this success reflects Tawuniya’s efforts and commitment in introducing innovative services and products as well as its efforts to adjust its investments so that they are Shariah-compliant.

Adel Al-Hamoudi, Tawuniya’s senior vice president for sales and marketing.

Al-Hamoudi added that that this award will be an addition to distinctive awards and rankings Tawuniya obtained this year — the awards for the best electronic general insurance company, best innovative insurance company, and the golden award for quality and business prestige, as well as Tawuniya’s rank among top 10 brands.
He said that Tawuniya has several factors that qualify it to be the best Takaful company — its pioneering position in the Saudi insurance market; it is the first cooperative insurance company in the Kingdom and first Saudi company that applied the cooperative insurance concept by sharing the insurance surplus with clients for the first time in 1990.
He said Tawuniya has many competitive capabilities, such as its strong financial position, technical experience, insurance portfolio, including 60 types of insurance products in three main operating segments — medical insurance, motor insurance and property and casualty insurance, to meet the need of its clients, from major companies and small and medium enterprisers. Tawuniya also provides the largest network of sales in the Saudi market. Tawuniya developed its strategy for the future focusing more on the customer and has introduced more innovative insurance services and products.
The Global Islamic Finance Award is prestigious in the Islamic finance sector. It aims at encouraging Islamic finance excellence by honoring best practices.

This article was first published in Arab News

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Hyundai Palisade to accompany BTS in Riyadh

Time: October 07, 2019  

The seven-member boy-band, who are Hyundai Global Brand Ambassadors, will perform during Riyadh Season.

Hyundai Palisade, the new flagship SUV from Hyundai, will provide a ride for global superstars BTS during their much-anticipated visit to Saudi Arabia to perform as part of Riyadh Season.
The seven-member boy-band, who are Hyundai Global Brand Ambassadors, will perform during Riyadh Season as part of their “Love Yourself: Speak Yourself” world tour.
“We are very excited to be collaborating with BTS — one of the most globally popular music groups from Korea, the home of Hyundai — and to be supporting Riyadh Season,” said Mike Song, Hyundai’s head of operations for the Middle East and Africa.
“Saudi Arabia is giving its people new entertainment opportunities, and BTS will help us reach out to the younger generation of music fans in the Kingdom.”
With BTS gaining explosive global attention for their music and videos, their collaboration with Hyundai is the perfect platform to highlight Palisade’s bold, cutting-edge design and functions, including the masculine, ironclad-looking exterior and spacious, classy interior, the automaker said.

HIGHLIGHTS

• BTS are playing during Riyadh Season on their ‘Love Yourself: Speak Yourself’ world tour.

• Hyundai Palisade was launched in June, now available in Saudi Arabia

Launched regionally in June, Hyundai Palisade is riding a new SUV chassis, which is longer, taller and wider than the popular Santa Fe. The exterior design and interior finish are both worthy of a premium model, combined with new levels of all-road, all-weather capability, technology, safety, roominess and efficiency.
Established in 1967, Hyundai Motor Company’s range of vehicles and mobility services are available in more than 200 countries. Employing more than 110,000 employees worldwide, Hyundai sold more than 4.5 million vehicles globally. In 2018 the company revealed its new design philosophy “Sensuous Sportiness,” which will be embodied by all upcoming Hyundai vehicles.

This article was first published in Arab News

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Target Engineering wins $74.67mn Saudi Aramco EPC contract

Time: October 07, 2019  

Arabtec Holding announced that its wholly-owned subsidiary Target Engineering Construction Company has been awarded a $74.67mn EPC contract from Saudi Aramco for the upgrade of a produced water disposal facility at Qatif’s gas oil separation plant (GOSP-1) in Eastern Province, Saudi Arabia.

Target’s scope of works includes the installation of a water oil separation vessel; water disposal pumps; water injection pumps; low-pressure de-gassing tank water draw-off pumps; and a pipeline to transfer oily water from Ju’aymah Terminal to Qatif’s GOSP-1.

Arabtec’s group CEO, Peter Pollard, commented: “We are pleased that Target has been awarded another project in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, strengthening our longstanding relationship with Saudi Aramco. This award adds to our pipeline of projects in the industrial infrastructure sector, consistent with our strategic priority to diversify our backlog.

This article was first published in Arabian Industry

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Target Engineering wins $74.6mn EPC contract from Saudi Aramco

Time: October 07, 2019  

Target Engineering, a unit of Arabtec Holding, won a $74.6mn engineering, procurement, and construction contract from Saudi Aramco to upgrade a produced water disposal facility at the Qatif gas oil separation plant in Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province.

The scope of work includes installing a water oil separation vessel, water disposal pumps, water injection pumps, low-pressure de-gassing tank water draw-off pumps, and a pipeline to transfer oily water from Ju’aymah Terminal to the Qatif gas oil separation plant.

“This award adds to our pipeline of projects in the industrial infrastructure sector, consistent with our strategic priority to diversify our backlog,” said Arabtec group CEO Peter Pollard.

This article was first published in Arabian Industry

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Oracle Women’s Leadership initiative launched in KSA

05/10/19

Oracle has launched its global Oracle Women’s Leadership (OWL) initiative in Saudi Arabia. OWL’s mission is to develop, engage, and empower current and future generations of female leaders at Oracle.

“Oracle thrives on diversity. By building diverse and inclusive teams, we think more strategically and work more creatively. That’s why it’s crucial that we continuously leverage our powerful pool of female talent,” said Fahad Al-Turief, country leader — Saudi Arabia, Oracle.

This is yet another initiative by Oracle to support the implementation of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 framework. The Oracle Cloud offers a complete suite of integrated applications for sales, service, marketing, human resources, finance, supply chain and manufacturing, plus highly automated and secure Generation 2 infrastructure featuring the Oracle Autonomous Database.

This article was first published in Arab News

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