Riyadh-After a long day, Arab Petroleum Investments Corporation (APICORP) and The National Shipping Company of Saudi Arabia (Bahri) announced the launch of a landmark shipping fund with total investments of up to $1.5 billion composed of debt and equity.
In an interview that lasted for more than 40 minutes, APICORP Chairman of the Board of Directors Dr. Aabed bin Abdullah al-Saadoun confirmed that the impact of sharp declines in oil prices did not affect APICORP’s financial and operational performance.
Notably, APICORP was created by the Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries (OAPEC) in 1975 as a commercially-focused financial institution that can help provide nuanced and efficient financing options to the Arab energy industry.
Dr. al-Saadoun explained in his interview with Asharq Al-Awsat that APICORP always seeks to seize rewarding investments’ opportunities once available.
He also confirmed that investing in the petrochemical sector is still promising, specifically in regard of manufacturing and subsidiary industries despite low oil prices.
APICORP’s CEO said that the corporation manages assets that worth around $6 million distributed among the company’s three main business sectors, which are investments, corporate finance, treasury and securities, whereas the value of the current direct investment portfolio for APICORP is around $1 billion.
On the other hand, the loaning portfolio amounted up to $3 billion while the volume of treasury and securities sector was estimated to $2 billion.
In a direct question for Dr. al-Saadoun regarding the size of expected opportunities as a result of privatizing the Saudi oil sector and whether it will create larger investment opportunities, he said: “Because we are close to this sector, we, in
APICORP, will not hesitate to grab every opportunity whether in Saudi Arabia or any other country.”
He added that the company manages its activities in the framework of a strategy adopted by the board of directors in 2014.
“We have come a long way since then in implementing the basics of this strategy, which aims at diversifying risks’ levels, thus expanding geographical scope in targeted assets and varying financial products to meet the needs of our agents,” he said.
Answering a question on targeted markets by APICORP in its operational activities, Dr. al-Saadoun said that the company’s work focuses on investing and funding projects in the Arab world in general while giving the priority for joint Arab projects.
He also said that in April the company successfully concluded the acquisition of a stake in the capital of a company in Britain. This company, he said, “provides critical technical services for a wide range of companies working in the offshore oil field services.”
He explained that APICORP aims at diversifying investments, attracting these experiences to the region and expanding the circle of agents. He also confirmed that the company is tries take advantage of every opportunity provided in order to let the company benefit economically and the region developmentally regardless whether these opportunities are in the region or abroad.
Regarding the agreement between APRICORP and Bahri, Dr. al-Saadoun said that this step aims at acquiring approximately 15 Very Large Crude Carriers (VLCCs) over three phases.
APICORP will invest 85% in the Fund with Bahri investing the remaining 15%. The Fund will be a closed-end fund with a 10 years life period, and it will deliver returns derived from the commercial employment of the VLCCs.
Chairman of APICORP said: “We are delighted to be launching this fund in partnership with an esteemed organization like Bahri; a leader in the shipping industry. APICORP continues to support the transformation of the energy industry and seeks to raise the sector’s profile, both locally and internationally through such investments.”
When asked if AIRCORP has funded any projects dealing with renewable energy, he answered that the company has funded a great number of renewable energy projects and has examined a number of projects in order to directly invest in them; however, it has not had any appropriate opportunity.
Moreover, Dr. Aabed bin Abdullah al-Saadoun said that petrochemical sector is still promising and the lowest in the world in terms of manufacturing cost due to the advanced government support, such as any other sector that is connected to the fluctuated oil prices.
He explained that APRICORP invests with a long-term outlook, following a clear strategy, and before starting with any investment the company studies the feasibility and takes into consideration all possible hypotheses.