Al Khobar – MENA Herald: The CEO of Saudi Arabian Industrial Investments Company (SAIIC) today outlined the major role the newly formed organisation will play in promoting the Kingdom’s economic diversification by establishing profitable companies that will stimulate private sector industrial investments.
In a speech at the Saudi Downstream conference in Jubail, Rasheed Al-Shubaili also explained how SAIIC will support the national diversification agenda of Saudi Arabia’s leadership.
SAIIC is a joint venture between the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund (PIF), Saudi Aramco and SABIC (Saudi Arabia Basic Industries Corporation) with a mandate to support the establishment of globally competitive industrial sectors. The company will focus on investments in the Kingdom through joint venture partnerships with global industry leaders, with each investment designed to be sustainable and actively contribute to the development of strategically important industrial value chains.
The Saudi Downstream conference was selected for this important speech given the petrochemical’s sector significant contribution towards economic diversification in Saudi Arabia over the last decade. It was also the conference where Prince Faisal Bin Turki Al Saud first outlined the requirement for an investment and development company like SAIIC.
Al-Shubaili said: “The notable accomplishments of the Kingdom’s petrochemical sector are both an inspiration and a roadmap for SAIIC as we begin to deliver on our critical mandate. Inspired by the words of Prince Turki bin Faisal and in line with the vision laid out by the leadership of the Kingdom, SAIIC is now operational and ready to develop sectors that will provide quality, skilled jobs for Saudi nationals for generations to come.”
During his speech, Al-Shubaili noted that while the Kingdom’s diversification has increased in recent years, including through the greater participation of the private sector and numerous government initiatives, there remains room to advance the agenda.
“As a country, we still import a large portion of our downstream equipment and services in sectors where we have large demand. SAIIC will work to close this gap,” he said. “We will do this by addressing several barriers. For example, we know that the long-term capital intensive nature of such industrial investments does not meet the preferred risk appetite of private investors, and that diversified industrial sectors require cluster enabling investments. We also understand that potential partners require a trusted, active equity partner in the Kingdom that can facilitate access to the developing sectors.”
Although SAIIC is a new investment and development company, Al-Shubaili confirmed that industrial investments – including those made in and around manufacturing – would be priority for initial investments. Some of the sectors SAIIC will pursue include: Oil & Gas Equipment and Services and Power, Water and Utilities Equipment. Al-Shubaili announced that other sectors will follow.
“We also know that a key driver of our investments will be to complement and enable the work of the private sector in Saudi Arabia and create new opportunities for growth at the SME level,”he said.
Al-Shubaili was appointed SAIIC CEO in 2015 following more than two decades spent in senior leadership roles in the Kingdom’s industrial sector, with a particular focus on building and delivering joint ventures and mega projects. He began his career with SABIC in the early 1990s, holding multiple roles before being named Vice-President Engineering and Project Management.
Al-Shubaili concluded: “We in SAIIC have been entrusted with an exciting and challenging mission. With the backing of the government of Saudi Arabia and our shareholders, we have all of the elements needed to develop new economic opportunities that will benefit the Kingdom and its people for decades to come.”