Largest Saudi gym operator swings into highest ever profit in 2021 – Arab News

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RIYADH: The operator of the largest Saudi gym chain Fitness Time, has swung into its highest ever annual profit in 2021 as more Saudis went back to sport after the lockdowns of 2020.
Leejam Sports Co. reported a net profit of SR206 million ($54.9 million) after erasing losses of SR58.7 million from a year ago, according to a bourse filing.
This was buoyed by a growth in revenues of SR223 million, a SR9.75 million decrease in the cost of revenue, and a fall in other costs by SR32.3 million, the company said in a statement.
As sporting activity resumed in the Kingdom, the fitness company saw its subscriptions and renewals recover from pandemic-hit 2020, generating SR193 million in income.
Further, income from personal training was up SR20.5 million and rental income surged due to new rental contracts during the year.
 
DUBAI: The UAE’s hospitality market is set to expand by 25 percent by 2030, with a further 48,000 rooms adding to the nation’s extensive 200,000 key portfolio, according to a study conducted by Knight Frank.
The global property consultancy said in its report that Dubai will account for the lion’s share of these new rooms, with 76 percent coming to the emirate, which already boasts more than 130,000 rooms.
“The emirate has cemented its status as a city with universal appeal, in large part to the world-leading government response to the pandemic and some of the world’s most visited and incredible attractions,” Faisal Durrani, partner and head of Middle East Research at Knight Frank said.
It is estimated that the hotel room supply will cost approximately 117.5 billion dirhams ($32 billion).
Dubai develops hydrogen strategy
Dubai will soon unveil its green hydrogen strategy, MEED reported quoting the managing director of the Dubai Electricity & Water Authority as saying.
Saeed Mohammed Al-Tayer made the revelation at a press conference held to announce the World Green Economy Summit on Sept. 28-29.
Rental market
The Dubai Land Department has signed a memorandum of understanding with Dubai Chambers to enhance the emirate’s rental market’s investment environment, according to Dubai Media Office.
As a result of the MoU, Dubai Chambers will be able to offer real estate and office space to business councils and groups.
It will also facilitate market research and joint training workshops related to the rental sector in Dubai.
In a statement, Abdul Aziz Al-Ghurair, chairman of Dubai Chambers, said the partnership complements Dubai Chambers’ 2022-2024 strategy and the ongoing efforts to boost confidence in the real estate sector, which remains a key contributor to the emirate’s economy.
A constructive dialogue between the public and private sectors is essential to Dubai’s sustainable economic growth and development, he said.
 
RIYADH: The Saudi Fund for Development is pumping $63 million into a coastal road project in Senegal, it has been announced.
The agreement with the African country will see the construction of a 12 km, two-lane highway in Dakar.
The project will also contribute to raising the level of road safety, meeting the needs of residents of cities and villages, and reducing the rates of injuries and deaths resulting from traffic accidents.
The move is the latest cash injection the Saudi Fund for Development into Senegal, having previously financed 27 loans to contribute to 25 projects and programs, with a value of about $447 million.
It has also awarded grants worth $19 million in the sectors of transportation, transportation, infrastructure, health, housing, urban development, energy, education, water and sanitation.
In August, the Fund signed an agreement with the Cameroonian government to finance the construction of the Mbalmayo Regional Hospital Project, by providing a soft development loan of $12 million.
The agreement was signed by SFD CEO Sultan Al-Marshad, and the Cameroonian Minister of Economy, Planning, and Regional Development, Alamine Ousmane Mey.
The agreement will help to build and equip the hospital with 200 beds and develop specialized medical departments, centers, and buildings spanning a total area of 14,000 sq. meters. 
The development plan also comprises rehabilitating the roads that connect the hospital to the main roads to ensure easy access.
RIYADH: The Central Bank of Kuwait has named Sahar Al-Rumaih as its deputy governor in a first-ever such appointment of a woman to this position in the Gulf state.
Al-Rumaih, who was the deputy CEO for corporate banking at Ahli Bank of Kuwait, replaced Yousef Al-Obaid as his term had expired, according to Bloomberg. 
With this new appointment, the central bank’s board now includes two women. 
This comes following a similar development in Saudi Arabia in June when the Kingdom’s Central Bank named Sheila Al-Rowaily, who worked as a financier with Saudi Aramco, as its first woman board of directors. 
In recent years, Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 has focused on women’s empowerment and workforce, with efforts directed towards increasing female employment in diplomatic and governmental services. 
Women joining the workforce in Saudi Arabia has been a key development of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 social and economic reforms, which has seen their participation jump from 19 percent in 2016 to 33 percent last year.
RIYADH: The US Federal Reserve’s most aggressive interest hikes since the 1980s have pulled several currencies across the world to new lows.
On Sept. 21, the US Federal Reserve hiked the short-term interest rates by 75 basis points to 3 to 3.25 percent.
Since the announcement, several investors took their money out of other markets to invest in the US, thus pulling global financial markets to a state of volatility.
The Chinese onshore yuan is sliding toward 7.2 per dollar, down 10.9 percent from the same date last year, while the People’s Bank of China is setting up defenses to protect the currency, according to Reuters data.
On Sept. 26, the Indian rupee plunged 8.7 percent year-to-date to an all-time low of 81.67 against the US dollar.
Soon after the Fed hike, the British pound started falling, and it reached an all-time low on Sept. 26 before showing signs of recovery. The fall of the British pound is also due to the tax cuts announced by the new Liz Truss government.
At one point on Monday, the pound sank as low as $1.0327, surpassing the previous record low reached in 1985, before recovering some of its value. 
The Pakistan rupee also nosedived following the Fed hike, with one US dollar now equal to 233.79 Pakistani rupees.
Other major currencies like the Egyptian pound and the Australian dollar fell 19.5 percent and 11.1 percent year-to-date respectively.
Meanwhile, Chicago Fed President Charles Evans said on Tuesday the Federal Reserve will need to raise interest rates to a range between 4.50 percent and 4.75 percent.
Saudi Arabia has a fixed exchange rate regime, with a dollar peg.
The spot dollar/riyal exchange rate has remained unchanged at 3.75 since June 1986, as the Saudi Central Bank provides dollars to the domestic banks to meet the commercial and financial demand of the private sector.
RIYADH: Riyad REIT Fund has invested SR62 million ($17 million) in a private closed-end real estate fund that is income-generating and Shariah-compliant, according to a bourse filing.
The private fund, which is managed by Riyad Capital, seeks to achieve stable current income and long-term capital growth by investing in top-tier institutional real estate assets located in prime Saudi Arabian locations.
The private real estate fund has a target size of SR3 billion, and the initial closing amount is SR315 million.
The fund has a term of 20 years that can be extended for an additional five years.
The investment will generate 8.5 percent per year in return over a five-year period if it is invested semi-annually, it added.

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