Saturday, 19 June 2010
Kingdom Holding Co. (4280.SA), owned and run by Saudi Arabia's billionaire Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal, said Saturday it has discussed future potential business collaboration with Qatar Holding, the prime vehicle for strategic and direct investments by Gulf state.
Prince Alwaleed held a meeting in Riyadh with Ahmad Al-Sayed, the chief executive of the investment arm of the Qatar Investment Authority, the Gulf state's sovereign wealth fund, the Saudi firm said in an emailed statement.
In April, Qatari Diar, the property investment arm of the QIA, paid 3.2 billion Saudi riyals ($847 million) for a 40% stake in Fairmont Raffles Holdings International, a subsidiary of Kingdom Holding.
Prince Alwaleed, who owns 95% of Kingdom Holding, has focused his investments on banks, hotels and media firms, building sizable stakes in companies like Citigroup Inc. (C), News Corp. (NWSA), Apple Inc. (AAPL), and Time Warner Inc. (TWX).
Alcoa (AA.N: Quote) and state-controlled Saudi Arabian Mining Co (1211.SE: Quote) (Maaden) have started work on a plant that would be the world's largest fully integrated aluminium complex, Maaden said on Saturday.
The $10-billion Maaden-Alcoa joint venture will start by developing a fully integrated industrial complex, consisting of a bauxite mine at Ba'aitha and an alumina refinery, aluminum smelter and rolling mill at Ras Al-Zour, it said in a statement.
"Groundbreaking has now officially begun to pave the way for construction of the smelter and rolling mill that will serve the packaging and other industries".
Last night the annual dinner debate of the Oxford University Business School alumini, meeting at the World Trade Centre Club in Dubai, argued the motion that ‘This house believes that the corporate reputation of the UAE is unchanged’.
The motion was roundly defeated, although a small minority asked to vote that ‘it was too early to say’. ArabianMoney editor Peter Cooper spoke against the motion and veteran Gulf banker Richard Stockdale presented the case in favour.
In the end Mr Stockdale’s powerful marshalling of historic facts supporting the idea of continuity could not over come the simple analysis of the recent past. Namely that a shift from boom to bust over the past two years has quite self-evidently changed the corporate reputation of the UAE.
An administrator appointed to run a bank that defaulted on more than $2 billion in debts said Thursday it was suing the bank's former parent company over unpaid foreign exchange transactions — adding a new twist to a multibillion dollar fraud dispute between two Saudi families.
The International Banking Corporation's administrator, Trowers & Hamlins, said it filed a $720 million claim with the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency Committee on Wednesday against Saudi conglomerate Ahmad Hamad Algosaibi & Bros. The committee, linked to the Saudi central bank, has jurisdiction in such cases.
TIBC, which was owned by AHAB, was placed in administration by Bahrain's central bank last year after it, and Awal Bank, which is owned by Saudi billionaire Maan al-Sanea, defaulted on billions of dollars in debts. AHAB has claimed in court filings that al-Sanea, a major stakeholder in banking giant HSBC, defrauded the company of billions of dollars — claims he has repeatedly denied.
The Middle East’s biggest corporate scandal has raged for more than a year now and still shows little sign of abating, nor of resolution.
If anything, the confrontation between the al Gosaibi dynasty and their estranged family member Maan al Sanea is becoming more intractable, as positions on each side become more entrenched.
What began as an explosive fight over US$10 billion (Dh36.72bn) of allegedly stolen money, which may be twice that amount at stake in the form of bank borrowings from about 100 creditors, has turned into a war of attrition largely fought in the courts in New York, London, the Cayman Islands and the Gulf.
Middle Eastern visitors are often seen browsing London’s high-end boutiques when in the UK, but the Qataris literally bought the shop when they came to town.
That shop happened to be Harrods and a bigger buy than most at £1.5bn, but it was this scale and prestige that helped make it top of the shopping list for the Qatari sovereign wealth funds, which are building a trophy case of high-profile real estate and hotel assets in the UK.
This spending spree has already taken real estate investment in the capital to more than £5bn ($7bn) since 2006, and in an interview with the Financial Times on Friday, Ghanim bin Saad al-Saad, managing director of Qatari Diar, said the group would continue its investment drive in the UK.