Saudi investment meet may witness deals worth $50 bn

Aramco alone signs business agreements worth $34 bn at Future Investment Initiative (FII)

RIYADH: The Future Investment Initiative (FII) conference being held in Riyadh, the capital city of the Kingdom of Saudi, is expected to become a platform for Saudi to sign deals worth more than $50billion in the oil & gas, industries and infrastructure sectors on the opening day of the conference with companies including Trafigura, Total, Hyundai, Norinco, Schlumberger, Halliburton, and Baker Hughes, according to published reports.

Hosted and organized by Public Investment Fund (PIF), Saudi Arabia’s main investment arm and one of the world’s leading sovereign wealth funds, the FII is taking take place from October 23-26 2017 in Riyadh.

The State-run Saudi Aramco has signed about 15 agreements worth $34 billion, including deals with French oil giant Total SA, oil-services provider Halliburton Co. and Hyundai Heavy Industries Co. Commodities trading house Trafigura Group and an affiliate of Riyadh-based Modern Industrial Investment Holding Group announced a joint venture to develop a smelter and refining complex, according to reports flowing from the Saudi capital.

Last October, the inaugural Future Investment Initiative (FII) saw the birth of NEOM, a $500bn development off the Red Sea coast, reaching into Jordan and Egypt, which was followed up this year with the first construction of Royal palaces on the site.

It was followed by the announcement that the Saudi Public Investment Fund would seek assets under management of $2trn by 2030.

The Artificial Intelligence (AI) world was given a thrust forward with Sophie, the Humanoid, who astounded audiences and was granted Saudi citizenship, in a unique such occurance in the Kingdom.

Last year’s event brought together participants from more than 90 countries. The 2018 version of FII promises to unleash ideas, initiatives, and projects sure to reshape the business landscape of Saudi and likely the globe.

Strong support

Despite the failure of several key figures to attend FII, 2019, a pre-event meeting between US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Monday, was a positive development, media reports said.

Saudi state media reported that they had stressed “the importance of the Saudi-US strategic partnership”.

This year’s version of FII comes amidst a Saudi-led investigation around the October 2, 2018 disappearance and recent announcement of the murder of Jamal Khashoggi.

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