Saudi, UK companies ink deals worth SR8.9 billion


Saudi Gazette report

On the sidelines of the visit of Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman, deputy premier and minister of defense, to London, Saudi and British companies signed agreements worth more than SR8.9 billion ($2.13 billion). The agreements covered health, investment, innovation and energy sectors.

Among the deals signed during the trip is the investment of SR1 billion on healthcare centers in Saudi Arabia.

In a related context, the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority granted 10 licenses for direct investment by UK companies in the Kingdom. Also, British pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca obtained a license to invest in Saudi Arabia.

Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman met on Thursday British Chancellor of the Exchequer Philippe Hammond and a number of CEOs of major British companies. They discussed aspects of cooperation between the two countries in economic and development fields.

The Crown Prince also met with a number of British MPs representing different parties. During the meeting, they discussed means of further enhancing Saudi-British relations in various fields.

Prince Charles of Wales held a dinner banquet in honor of Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman on Wednesday. The dinner was attended by several senior officials from both countries.

PIF to invest $400m in Magic Leap

Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) announced on Thursday that it will invest $400 million in Magic Leap, according to SPA.

Magic Leap, the secretive US stat-up, in the developer of “mixed reality” headsets, races to get ahead of competing efforts from Apple, Microsoft and Facebook. “The Magic Leap team and I are happy to welcome the Public Investment Fund and the other new investors to the Magic Leap family. We look forward to having them join us on our journey to build an amazing future,” Rony Abovitz, the former surgical roboticist who founded Magic Leap, said in a statement on Wednesday.

This funding from Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund along with a further $62 million from a group of unnamed investors takes Magic Leap’s total fundraising to $2.3 billion. Founded in 2010, the Florida-based company has yet to release a single product to market. The PIF joins Magic Leap’s other big-name backers including Google and Alibaba. The total of $462 million comes as an extension to the $502 million round it raised in October, led by Singapore’s Temasek, and values Magic Leap at around $6 billion.

Many of the world’s leading tech companies are working on similar headsets that would blur the line between the digital and physical worlds, building on the “augmented reality” effects already found in mobile apps such as Pokémon Go and Snapchat.

Crown Prince commits to interfaith tolerance, says Anglican church

The crown prince met the head of the Anglican church in London, promising to promote interfaith dialogue as part of the reforms in the Saudi Arabia, the British faith leader’s office said.

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, spiritual leader of the Anglican Communion of millions of Christians globally, received the crown prince at Lambeth Palace in central London, where the two talked for an hour.

“The crown prince made a strong commitment to promote the flourishing of those of different faith traditions, and to interfaith dialogue within the Kingdom and beyond,” a statement from Lambeth Palace said.

The two men viewed a selection of early texts from the Christian, Muslim and Jewish faiths, including fragments of a Qur’an manuscript found in a Birmingham University library in 2015, which are thought to be among the world’s oldest.

Welby also “voiced his distress” at the humanitarian situation in Yemen, the statement said.