SAGIA Governor Holds High-Level Meetings in Paris to Explore Investment Prospects

Published June 6th, 2005 - 06:38 GMT

The Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA) Governor, HE Amr Abdullah Al Dabbagh, held a series of high-level meetings with key French government economic leaders, potential corporate investors and a forum of French businessmen during a short stopover in Paris on his way back to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia after wrapping up a United States business trip.

Governor Al Dabbagh met with Mrs. Clara Gaymard, Ambassador and Special Representative of France for International Investment, and President of the Invest in France Agency. The two sides exchanged views on a wide range of issues and discussed mutual areas of cooperation to enhance bilateral investment flow between France and Saudi Arabia. The Governor also accentuated the necessity for increased cooperation by both parties to best serve investor needs from both countries. Composed of a network of 22 foreign branches with 75 business advisors in North America, Asia, and Europe, Invest in France offers support to investors while keeping them abreast of evolving legal, fiscal and social environment issues in markets of interest.

In line with SAGIA’s new investment strategy that aims to match investor profiles with targeted opportunities, the Governor also held one-to-one meetings with French investors from the energy sector, Air Liquide and Veolia Water. Air Liquide’s senior executive team spoke to the Governor about Saudi Arabia’s investment objectives. Highlighting positive developments, Governor Al Dabbagh cited the Saudi government’s commitment to creating a pro-business environment as well as SAGIA’s commitment to serving the investor well through measures such as streamlining business start up procedures in the country.

Air Liquide, the world leader in industrial and medical gases and related services, is listed on the Paris Stock Exchange and a component of the CAC 40 and Eurostoxx 50 indices. Boasting a net profit of 778 million Euros in 2004, Air Liquide remains the leading supplier of gases such as Oxygen, Nitrogen and Carbon Dioxide to various industries ranging from industrial customers to healthcare and electronics.

Topping the Governor's meeting agenda with the CEO and senior team of Veolia Water were opportunities in the energy sub-sector of power and water generation. Veolia Water is the water division of Veolia Environnement and its activities focus on the essential priorities of safeguarding public health by providing a clean water supply, conserving resources and protecting the natural environment.

With 2004 revenues at 9.8 billion Euros, the group is already international with more than two-thirds of its human resource based outside France and revenue symmetrically distributed between France and the rest of the world. Following Veolia Water’s recent acquisition of 49% of Metito Arabia Industries--the water treatment company in Saudi Arabia--the Ministry of Water and Electricity signed a contract for comprehensive review with Veolia Water in May 2005 to evaluate the water and sewerage sector in the city of Riyadh.

At an Arab-French Chamber of Commerce dinner reception held in honor of the Governor, HE addressed more than 90 decision makers from the industrial, business and diplomatic sectors. His address focused on SAGIA as an example of the increased transparency the Saudi government is bringing to its processes, and the efficiencies in operations the government is instituting to meet the needs of the business community, all the while protecting the public interest.

The Governor showcased the over US$500 billion in investment opportunities existing in the energy, transportation, and knowledge-based industry sectors in the Kingdom and answered questions on services offered by SAGIA as well as strategic initiatives in specific sectors.

The Governor concluded the French leg of his international tour with an address to students at INSEAD. HE spoke on the process of Responsive Government and Responsible Governance in Saudi Arabia, and answered questions on a range of issues including the development of public economic policy. INSEAD is a top-tier international business school with full-fledged campuses in Fontainebleau, France and Singapore. Currently, it has 144 faculty members who teach more than 870 MBA students, 6,400 executives and 71 PhD students from over 75 countries. The Dean of INSEAD hosted the Governor for a luncheon during which the Governor discussed SAGIA’s investment strategy for the knowledge-based industry sector.

About SAGIA

Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA) is a service entity aiming to provide services and facilities to promote investment and economic development in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA). SAGIA was established in April 2000 under the directives of the Supreme Economic Council (SEC) as a catalyst to promote inward investments, facilitate exchange of best practice between the public and private sectors, as well as act as an intermediary between the global community and the Saudi Government and its ministries and agencies. It also aims to contribute to economic policy-making substantiated by research and strategic criteria.

SAGIA’s role is complementary and supportive to the bodies directly concerned with the various investment sectors and working to finalize the investors’ procedures. The mission of SAGIA is to create a pro-business environment while providing comprehensive services to investors, and fostering investment opportunities in energy, transportation and knowledge-based industries. For more information on SAGIA please visit www.sagia.gov.sa


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