Russia fund boss sees no drop in foreign investment to Saudi Arabia

Arab News, 23.10.2018

·        We believe Saudi Arabia has a lot of investment potential and supports the process of transformative and historical reforms in the Kingdom, said Dmitriev

·        From the Russian perception, Saudi Arabia is a great partner, said RDIF’s head

RIYADH: The head of the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) believes that the events of the past few weeks have made little impact on Saudi Arabia’s attractiveness to global investors, and is preparing to invest “billions of dollars” in the Kingdom.

KirillDmitriev, the RDIF chief executive, told Arab News on the sidelines of the Future Investment Initiative (FII) in Riyadh that the event was a big success and “a great platform to drive opportunities and transformation.”

He added that the FII’s opening day had been well attended by chief executives from across the Middle East, Europe and the US, with a “big Russian delegation.”

Dmitrievexpressed his regrets at the tragedy in Istanbul, in which journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed at the Saudi Consulate, and welcomed the actions taken by the Kingdom to investigate the case.

“It is too early to talk about any kind of shortfall in Western investment in Saudi Arabia, despite the tragic events in Istanbul. The Saudi market is more attractive now than it was three or four years ago, and I don’t think there has been any change over recent weeks,” he said.

“We believe Saudi Arabia has a lot of investment potential and supports the process of transformative and historical reforms in the Kingdom. In particular, we support Vision 2030, which is significant not only for the economy and people of the Kingdom but for the Middle East region and the whole world.”

Earlier at the FII, Dmitriev told a gathering of business executives and policy-makers that the goal of the RDIF was “economic development through partnership.” He said such partnerships include links with Saudi Arabia’s PIF and Aramco, with which RDIF has embarked on a number of initiatives in energy and infrastructure.

Last year, the three established a platform for Russian-Saudi energy investment, which aims to identify attractive investment opportunities in Russia. This was accompanied by a joint platform for technology investment, Dmitriev explained.

“From the Russian perception, Saudi Arabia is a great partner. It is not just about energy and oil, but about the historic vision and transformation,” he said.

RDIFhas been actively collaborating with PIF since 2015. They have invested over $2 billion together and are now considering over 10 new projects totaling more than $1 billion, Dmitriev said.

“The industries benefitting from these investments range from sectors including … petrochemicals, industrial manufacturing, logistics, infrastructure and technology,” he added.

“Currently, we are discussing the opportunity to jointly implement some projects in Saudi Arabia in different sectors. The projects are related to the localization of petrochemical production, the provision of service contracts and the subsequent creation of joint ventures. RDIF and our partners can bring billions of dollars of investment to the Kingdom.”

Deals worth more than $50bn signed at KSA Future Investment Initiative

23.10.2018, Arab News

RIYADH: At least 25 deals worth more than $50 billion have been signed at Future Investment Initiative (FII) in Riyadh.

The contracts struck on the first day of the event included what were described as 12 “mega deals.”

Among the projects announced on Tuesday in front of an audience of international bankers, investors and thought leaders, was the second phase of Haramain high-speed railway.

The deals were struck across the energy and transportation sectors despite the boycott of the event by several company chiefs following the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi embassy in Turkey earlier this month.

A number of major public transport projects, including the development of the Saudi Land Bridge project, a rail line connecting the Red Sea coast with Riyadh, were among the raft of deals signed.

Such large-scale infrastructure projects form a key part of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 blueprint for economic and social diversifcation. It aims to reduce the country’s historical reliance on oil and gas revenues by investing in new industries that will also provide employment for the Kingdom’s youthful population.

Other deals were struck on Tuesday with Trafigura, Total, Hyundai, Norinco, Schlumberger, Halliburton and Baker Hughes.

Oil giant Saudi Aramco signed 15 initial agreements worth $34 billion.

 Total CEO Patrick Pouyanné, told the gathering that the French oil and gas producer would announce a retail network in the Kingdom with Saudi Aramco.

The $10 billion Russian Direct Investment Fund also had a large presence at the event, led by Kirill Dmitriev.

Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF), the main backer of the event, is driving the Kingdom’s economic reform agenda.

Managing director Yasir Al-Rumayyan said that the fund had invested in 50 or 60 firms via SoftBank Group’s Vision Fund and would bring most of those businesses to the Kingdom. PIF has committed to invest $45 billion in the Vision Fund.

The FII event, which debuted in the Kingdom last year, concludes on Thursday.

Saudi Arabia's Minister of Communications and IT Abdullah Al-Sawahah praised the speed at which Saudi Arabia is progressing in the digital worl, and said: "We are moving at light speed in becoming the tech hub of the region."

Meanwhile, Emirati businessman Mohamed Alabbar said: "There is so much room for technology growth and innovation in the Middle East, especially in Saudi Arabia, the UAE and the whole region."