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Hong Kong’s Lee in Saudi Arabia, aims to encourage Aramco to list in city

Hong Kong Chief Executive John Lee is seeking to convince oil giant Saudi Aramco and its units to consider a secondary listing in the Asian financial hub as he embarks on his first official visit to the Middle East, according to the South China Morning Post.

Lee is kicking off a campaign to attract new investment to the city following almost three years of pandemic isolation. The leader will meet top executives of Saudi Aramco and highlight what Hong Kong has to offer as an international financial center, according to the report, which quoted the leader as saying he will try his best to encourage the oil producer to list in the city.

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Hong Kong has been a popular center for sovereign funds and companies to list, the report cited Lee as saying on Sunday after arriving in Saudi Arabia’s capital, Riyadh. Aramco’s businesses are “very diversified with its different subsidiaries and the plan is to “encourage them to come to Hong Kong for participation, in-cluding listing in the city,” the South China Morning Post quoted him as saying.

Saudi Arabian Oil Co., as the $2 trillion company is formally known, listed in Saudi capital Riyadh in 2019. Prior to the compa-ny’s $29 billion share offering, the world’s largest on record, it opt-ed to shun an international listing.

Lee was welcomed at the airport by Badr AlBadr, deputy minister of Saudi Arabia’s ministry of investment; Hamad Aljebreen, con-sul-general of Saudi Arabia in Hong Kong; and Yin Lijun, deputy chief of mission of the Chinese Embassy in the country, according to the report.

He is visiting Saudi Arabia and then will head to the United Arab Emirates until February 11. During that time, he’ll meet with local political and business leaders to promote new development op-portunities and “foster Hong Kong’s exchanges and co-operation with Saudi Arabia and the UAE on all fronts,” according to a gov-ernment statement released before the trip.

The chief executive said before leaving that Saudi Arabia’s and the UAE’s development vision and needs are “exactly in line with Hong Kong’s advantages,” Radio Television Hong Kong reported.
His trip comes as local Hong Kong officials seek to promote the city and attract new investment opportunities to boost its battered economy, which contracted last year for the third time since 2019 as a prolonged exit from isolating COVID-19 curbs weighed on the city.

Since Hong Kong began reopening up last year, Hong Kong officials have sought to increase engagement with the Middle East and their Asian neighbors as relations with traditional western allies have cooled amid authorities’ crackdown on dissent.

Last October, Financial Secretary Paul Chan visited Bahrain and Saudi Arabia to develop potential business opportunities, while Lee and other government officials have since traveled to Vietnam and Thailand for similar purposes.

The financial secretary said at the time of his visit that bourse operator Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing reached out to Saudi Aramco about a secondary listing, according to the South China Morning Post.

China has been actively pursuing investment opportunities in the Middle East amid heightened Sino-US tensions. In December Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Saudi Arabia for a summit where some $50 billion of investment agreements were signed.

Read more: Hong Kong to return as a top property investment location: Property consultancy

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Credit Suisse managers could face disciplinary action, Swiss regulator says

Swiss financial regulator FINMA said it was considering whether to take disciplinary action against Credit Suisse managers after Switzerland’s second largest bank had to be rescued last week by UBS.
FINMA President Marlene Amstad told Swiss newspaper NZZ am Sonntag it was “still open” whether new proceedings would be started, but the regulator’s main focus was on “the transitional phase of integration” and “preserving financial stability.”

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UBS agreed to buy Credit Suisse for 3 billion Swiss francs ($3.26 billion) in stock a week ago and to assume up to 5 billion francs in losses in a merger engineered by Swiss authorities during a period of market turmoil in global banking.
Credit Suisse on Sunday declined to comment on the FINMA President’s comments when asked by Reuters for a response.
Asked whether FINMA is looking into holding current Credit Suisse managers accountable for the collapse of Switzerland’s second-largest bank, Amstad said it is “exploring the options”.
“CS had a cultural problem that translated into a lack of responsi-bilities,” Amstad was quoted as saying by NZZ, adding: “Numerous mistakes were made over several years”.
FINMA had conducted six public “enforcement proceedings” against Credit Suisse in recent years, Amstad said.
“We have intervened and used our strongest instruments,” she said of its previous moves.
Amstad also defended Switzerland’s decision to write down 16 billion Swiss francs of Credit Suisse Additional Tier 1 (AT1) debt, to zero as part of the forced rescue merger.
“The AT1 instruments contractually provide that they will be fully written off in the event of a trigger event, in particular the granting of extraordinary government support,” Amstad said.
“The bonds were created precisely for such situations.”

Read more:

UBS seeks dealmaking revival in Middle East with Credit Suisse takeover

Credit Suisse buyout was for financial stability: Bank chief

Credit Suisse, UBS deal: What you need to know

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Aramco affirms support for China’s energy security

Saudi Arabian oil giant Aramco affirmed on Sunday its support for China’s long-term energy security and development, the company’s CEO Amin Nasser said in remarks made before a forum in Beijing.

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Nasser said that the company has partnerships and emission-reducing technologies with China to make lower carbon products.

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Kuwait Oil Co dealing with ‘limited fire’ at well where oil leak occurred last week

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Kuwait Oil Co dealing with ‘limited fire’ at well where oil leak occurred last week

Kuwait Oil Company said on Sunday it is dealing with a “limited fire” that erupted at a well where oil leaked last week.
The company said in a statement that no injuries had been reported at the scene.
“The company’s operations in the area have not been affected,” the statement read.
Kuwait Oil Company declared a state of emergency last Monday due to an oil leak in the west of the country.


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