Saudi Aramco lists RIL investment, expansion in India in monster IPO prospectus

Agencies
November 11,2019

Riyadh, Nov 11: Saudi Aramco launched has its prospectus for the worlds biggest IPO with a potential largest ever company valuation of estimates ranging wildly from $1.2-2.3 trillion, with an India angle-acquiring 20 per cent in Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) oil to chemicals business and an expansion of its upstream business in high growth markets.

In the 658 page prospectus launched on Sunday, Saudi Aramco highlighted its proposed investments in RIL in the column for proposed acquisitions

"The Company has recently entered into non-binding agreements regarding the expansion of its downstream business in Asia, including entering into a non-binding letter of intent with Reliance Industries Limited on August 12, 2019 to purchase a 20 per cent stake in its oil to chemicals division," it said.

In addition, Aramco will be expanding into India among the high growth markets as a key growth strategy.

"Furthermore, the Company intends to enhance its domestic and global marketing businesses to support the position of its upstream business in key, high-growth geographies, including China, India and Southeast Asia, which are integral to the Company's existing business and future expansion strategy."

Saudi Aramco has issued the prospectus for its initial public offering (IPO) on the Saudi Stock Exchange (Tadawul).

Saudi Aramco, the world's largest integrated oil and gas company, is wholly owned by the government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. It is the most profitable company in the world and its valuation at the upper end of the range of $2 trillion which Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has been targeting to be the double that of Microsoft, the most valuable company in the world and seven times that of Exxon Mobile, the most valuable oil company.

The largest IPO has been $25 billion and the Aramco IPO size would depend on the number of shares and price.

The company's crude oil production accounted for approximately one in every eight barrels of crude oil produced globally from 2016G to 2018G.

Aramco said that it has high operating cash flow, Free Cash Flow, EBIT, EBITDA and Return on Average Capital Employed (ROACE) than each of the five major international oil companies -- collectively, the "Five Major IOCs", comprising ExxonMobil, Shell, Chevron, Total and BP.

The prospectus also said that it has a lower gearing (ratio of net debt (total borrowings less cash and cash equivalents) to net debt plus total equity) than each of the Five Major IOCs.

Amin H. Nasser, President and CCEO of Saudi Aramco, said: "Saudi Aramco's vision is to be the world's pre-eminent integrated energy and chemicals company. Over the last three years, we were responsible for one in every eight barrels of crude oil produced globally and our proved liquids reserves, at the end of 2018, were five times larger than the combined proved liquid reserves of the Five Major IOCs. We are a steadfast contributor to the world's energy security."

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Benjamin Netanyahu corruption trial resumes

Agencies
July 19,2020

Occupied Jerusalem, Jul 19: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s corruption trial resumed on Sunday.

Netanyahu is charged with fraud, breach of trust and accepting bribes in a series of scandals in which he is alleged to have received lavish gifts from billionaire friends and exchanged regulatory favors with media moguls for more agreeable coverage of himself and his family.

Netanyahu denies wrongdoing, painting the accusations as a media-orchestrated witchhunt pursued by a biased law enforcement system.

The trial opened in May. Just before appearing in front of the judges, Netanyahu took to a podium inside the courthouse and flanked by his party members bashed the country’s legal institutions in an angry tirade.

Netanyahu was not expected to appear at Sunday’s hearing, which is taking place at an occupied Jerusalem court and is mostly a procedural deliberation.

The trial resumes as Netanyahu faces widespread anger over his government’s handling of the coronavirus crisis.

While the country appeared to have tamped down a first wave of infections, what’s emerged as a hasty and erratic reopening sent infections soaring. Yet even amid the rise in new cases Netanyahu and his emergency government — formed with the goal of dealing with the crisis — appeared to neglect the numbers and moved forward with other policy priorities and its reopening plans.

It has since paused them and even re-impose restrictions, including a weekend only lockdown set to begin later this week.

Netanyahu’s government has been criticized for a baffling, halting response to the new wave, which has seen daily cases rise to nearly 2,000. It has been slammed for its handling of the economic fallout of the crisis.

His trial thus comes at inopportune timing. Netanyahu had hoped to ride on the goodwill he gained from overcoming the first wave of infections going into his corruption trial, but the increasingly souring mood has affected his approval rating and may deny him the public backing he had hoped for. The anger has sparked protests over the past few weeks that have culminated in violent clashes with police.

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Abu Dhabi's ADC Bank likely to lay off hundreds of employees

Agencies
July 28,2020

adcb.jpg

Dubai, Jul 28: Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank (ADCB) (ADCB.AD) is letting go hundreds of employees, sources said, the latest in a round of lay-offs by regional banks as pressure mounts to cut costs amid lower oil prices and the coronavirus crisis.

The UAE’s third-biggest lender is laying off 400 employees, two sources familiar with the matter said, after it had committed to not cutting staff because of the crisis.

In a statement, a spokesman said ADCB had pursued efficiency over the last decade by managing out its lowest underachievers after regular reviews, while ensuring talent was deployed in high-growth areas, such as digital banking.

“A certain number of redundancies are therefore expected every year in the normal course of business,” the bank spokesman added.

The sources said the cuts would involve ADCB’s consumer business and several in top management were among those being let go. One source said the bank was looking to close 20 branches.

In March, ADCB had declared, “No employee will be made redundant during 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

UAE banks have been hit by government measures to rein in the spread of the virus, forcing many businesses to shut temporarily.

Last week, Dubai’s largest bank, Emirates NBD, reported a slump of 58% in profits. In June, sources told Reuters the bank started a new round of hundreds of lay-offs.

In May, ADCB reported a fall of 84% in first-quarter net profit as it took impairments of $292 million on debt exposure to troubled hospital operator NMC Health and payments group Finablr.

It was a major lender, with an exposure of about $981 million, to NMC Health, which went into administration this year after months of turmoil following questions over financial reporting.

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Saudi Arabia's King Salman in hospital for medical tests

Agencies
July 20,2020

Riyadh, Jul 20: Saudi Arabia's King Salman has been admitted to a hospital in the capital, Riyadh, for medical tests due to inflammation of the gallbladder, the kingdom's Royal Court said Monday in a statement carried by the official Saudi Press Agency.

The statement said the 84-year-old monarch is being tested at the King Faisal Specialist Hospital. The brief statement did not provide further details.

King Salman has been in power since January 2015. He is considered the last Saudi monarch of his generation of brothers who have held power since the death of their father and founder of Saudi Arabia, King Abdulaziz.

King Salman has empowered his 34-year-old son, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, as his successor. The crown prince's assertive and bold style of leadership, as well as his consolidation of power and sidelining of potential rivals, has been controversial.

With the support of his father, Prince Mohammed has transformed the kingdom in recent years, opening it up to tourists and eroding decades of ultraconservative restrictions on entertainment and women's rights as he tries to diversify the Saudi economy away from reliance on oil exports.

The prince has also detained dozens of activists and critics, overseen a devastating war in Yemen, and rounded up top members of the royal family in his quest for power.

The Saudi king has not been seen in public in recent months due to social distancing guidelines and concerns over the spread of the coronavirus inside the kingdom, which has one of the largest outbreaks in the Middle East.

He has been shown, however, in state-run media images attending virtual meetings with his Cabinet and held calls with world leaders.

King Salman, who oversees Islam's holiest sites in Makkah and Medinah, was a crown prince under King Abdullah and served as defense minister. For more than 50 years prior to that, he was governor of Riyadh, overseeing its evolution from a barren city to a teeming capital.

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