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Market’s ‘negative’ response to Saudi Building Code is temporary

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The recently amended and implemented Saudi Building Code has slowed down the market, but experts and stakeholders see this downturn as a transitory period.

Ali Al-Saif, CEO of Tabuk Cement Co., said the negative impact is temporary and once the sector overcomes teething issues, the new regulations will have a positive impact on the construction sector.

Saudi Arabia’s Commerce Ministry amended the code last Friday to streamline the mechanism governing penalties against violators. It came into effect on Oct. 15, according to the Umm Al-Qura newspaper.

SBC National Committee General Secretary Saad bin Shuail told CNBC Arabia in an interview that the effective implementation of the amended code would guarantee the quality of buildings and construction work.

The SBC is a set of legal, administrative and technical regulations and requirements that specify the minimum construction standard for buildings in the Kingdom to ensure public safety and health.

The codes apply to all construction works in the public and private sectors, whether new buildings — including their design, execution, operation, maintenance and any changes — or existing ones that undergo renovation or expansion work.

Recently, the SBC National Committee announced the establishment of a training academy to offer courses in building code design and the operation of safety solutions to enhance building code conduct in the Kingdom.

The academy’s mandate includes safe design, building code awareness, implementation, and educating people on safety and loss prevention through the building code’s successful implementation.

Bin Shuail said: “The academy is planned to be set up within one year. The Saudi Building Code Committee will establish the SBA in line with the Vision 2030 program.”

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France’s Natixis to finance $2bn ACWA Power projects in 2 years

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France-based Natixis Corporate and Investment Banking has signed an agreement to finance ACWA Power projects over the next two years – with funding of up to $2 billion.

The MoU will allow both parties to “explore opportunities to develop new projects in the region,” the Saudi clean energy provider said in a bourse filing.

Natixis has previously underwritten some of ACWA Power’s high-profile projects, including the Sakaka solar project.

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Saudi, French firms sign 27 MoUs as Macron visits the Kingdom

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A group of leading Saudi and French companies signed 27 memorandum of understanding at an investment forum in Jeddah as French President Emmanuel Macron met with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman today during his official trip to the Gulf region, where he is visiting Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Qatar between Dec. 3 and 4.

Around 101 Saudi companies and 84 French companies attended six workshops at the forum, which was opened by Khalid Al Falih, Minister of Investment, Saudi Arabia and Franck Riester, Minister Delegate for Foreign Trade and Economic Attractiveness.

“The memorandums of understanding signed today were a cause for optimism and satisfaction,” Al Falih said in a tweet after the event.

Represenatives of French companies and banks including EDF Renewables, Engie, Sanofi, and BNP Paribas are meeting with chairmen and CEOs of leading Saudi firms including ACWA Power, Banque Saudi Fransi, Riyad Bank, and Saudi Military Industries Co. Officials from the Public Investment Fund and Royal Commission of AlUla among others are also participating in the forum.

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UAE, France sign $18 billion deal for 80 Rafale jets as Macron starts Gulf tour

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French President Emmanuel Macron, left, is greeted by Abu Dhabi's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan at the Dubai Expo on the first day of his Gulf tour on December 3, 2021.

French President Emmanuel Macron met Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed on Friday at the start of a two-day Gulf tour that saw France sell the UAE 80 French-made Rafale warplanes for $18.08 billion (€16 billion).

France’s Defense Minister said the deal was France’s largest-ever weapons contract for export while the Minister for the Armed Forces hailed the deal as “historic.”

There was no immediate confirmation of the deal from Emirati officials. Macron was greeted at the leadership pavilion at Dubai’s Expo site for talks with Sheikh Mohammed.

“I don’t want to reveal the Christmas present” before the meeting, UAE presidential adviser Anwar Gargash told journalists in the build-up to the talks in Dubai.

Macron arrived in the early hours of Friday for a brief Gulf tour where he will also visit Qatar, host of next year’s World Cup, before traveling to Saudi Arabia on Saturday.

The UAE, which celebrated its 50th anniversary on Thursday, is expected to order dozens of Rafale jets to replace its Mirage 2000 aircraft acquired in the late 1990s.

The Emirates is the fifth biggest customer for the French defense industry with $5.31 billion (€4.7 billion) from 2011-2020, according to a parliamentary report.

Macron is accompanied by a large delegation in Dubai including Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire and Defense Minister Florence Parly.

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