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COMO ARABIA ESTABLISHED TO PROVIDE LOGISTICS, SERVICES FOR MEGA PROJECTS

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COMO ARABIA Established To Provide Logistics, Services For Mega Projects

Saudi Qudurat Holding for Development and Spanish COMO company recently entered into a joint venture agreement to form a new company called “COMO Arabia” specialized in supplying logistics and operational services for mega projects such as, but not limited to, railway, water, energy and generation, mining and offshore platform projects even in remote areas, in addition to other infrastructure projects in the GCC countries.

Qudurat Holding owns 51% of the new company while Spanish COMO gets 49% ownership, a joint statement said. Headquartered in Riyadh, “COMO Arabia” targets projects in the GCC countries valued at SR500 million in the first three years of its operation.

The agreement was signed by Qudurat Holding CEO Eng. Ibrahim Al-Asseri and COMO’s CEO Alejandro Alvarez on the sidelines of Airline Catering Exhibition held in Hamburg, Germany.

Qudurat Holding CEO Eng. Ibrahim Al-Asseri (Left ) and COMO’s CEO Alejandro Alvarez (Right) during the signing of agreement

Qudurat Holding CEO Eng. Ibrahim Al-Asseri (Left ) and COMO’s CEO Alejandro Alvarez (Right) during the signing of agreement

The joint statement also disclosed that the new company has won the logistics and operation of Al-Haramain Rail project in Makkah and Madinah – the first public means of transport with modern technology in Saudi Arabia. The SR6 billion ($1.5 billion) project awarded in 2009 is expected to partly go into operation by the start of next year.

Moreover, “COMO Arabia” aims to clinch the logistics and operation contract for the metro and public transport projects which the Kingdom had lately approved, in addition to opportunities available in the industrial complexes particularly in “Waad Al-Shamal” city which strategic projects were launched earlier this year.

COMO Arabia also anticipates participation in ambitious projects in the GCC countries especially in the UAE and Qatar as part of their preparations to host Expo 2020 and the 2022 World Cup, respectively.

Eng. Ibrahim Al-Asseri noted that Qudurat Holding is on the verge of a quantum leap in the type and size of its projects, especially in light of alliance with international companies that possesses the technical experience and financial capacity to achieve the aspirations of company’s shareholders.

 “We’re really delighted to partner with COMO Spanish Company for the establishment of ‘COMO Arabia’. In its first phase, the new company will focus mainly on the GCC countries given the market enormity in the private sector, development of infrastructure projects and also in order to fulfill the local requirements.  The company will later expand its scope of activities to cover the Middle East and North Africa countries,” Al-Asseri added.

COMO CEO Alejandro Alvarez expressed his happiness and gratitude to Qudurat Holding for selecting COMO to participate and contribute to the promising market in the Arab Gulf region.  He confirmed that COMO had previously implemented major contracts in Europe, Asia and South America and that it currently seeks to geographically expand in order to start establishing successes in the Middle East and North Africa under the umbrella of “COMO Arabia” and with the effective participation of “Qudurat Holding.”

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Car sector seeks more UK government support as output tumbles

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Car sector seeks more UK government support as output tumbles 1

LONDON (Reuters) – British finance minister Rishi Sunak should use next week’s budget statement to help boost the car industry’s competitiveness, a trade industry body said on Friday, as production tumbled to its lowest January level since 2009.

Sunak is due to detail how he will further support the economy amid COVID-19 restrictions on March 3.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said the furlough scheme that protects jobs should be extended, more support for training was needed and manufacturing investment should be encouraged through reform of the business rates tax.

“Next week’s budget is the chancellor’s (finance minister) opportunity to boost the industry by introducing measures that will support competitiveness, jobs and livelihoods,” SMMT Chief Executive Mike Hawes said.

“We need to secure our medium to long-term future by creating the conditions that will attract battery gigafactory investment and transform the supply chain.”

Output in January fell by 27% year-on-year to 86,052 vehicles, hit by factors including dealership closures during a latest COVID-19 lockdown, international supply chain problems and the change in trading terms with the European Union.

(Reporting by Costas Pitas; Editing by William Schomberg)

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Exclusive: Portugal sees green hydrogen output by end-2022, $12 billion in investment lined up

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Exclusive: Portugal sees green hydrogen output by end-2022, $12 billion in investment lined up 2

By Sergio Goncalves

LISBON (Reuters) – Portugal will start producing green hydrogen by the end of 2022 and already has private investment worth around 10 billion euros ($12 billion) lined up for eight projects that are expected to move forward, Environment Minister Joao Matos Fernandes said.

He told Reuters in a telephone interview there were also several “pre-contracts for the purchase and assembly of electrolysers” to produce the zero-carbon fuel made by electrolysis out of water using renewable wind and solar energy.

Such hydrogen is more expensive to extract than the heavily polluting conventional method of using heat and chemical reactions to release hydrogen from coal or natural gas, known as brown and grey hydrogen respectively.

Hydrogen is now mostly used in the oil refining industry and to produce ammonia fertilisers, but sectors such as steelmaking, transportation and chemicals are beginning to develop large-scale hydrogen applications to gradually replace fossil fuels as countries try to reduce pollution.

The European Commission has mapped out a plan to scale up green hydrogen projects across polluting sectors to meet a net zero emissions goal by 2050 and become a leader in a market analysts expect to be worth $1.2 trillion by that date.

“By the end of 2022, there will certainly be green hydrogen production in Portugal,” Matos Fernandes said. “Green hydrogen will, over time, allow Portugal to completely change its paradigm and become an energy exporting country.”

He said seven groups had submitted applications under Europe’s IPCEI scheme for common-interest projects to make part of a planned export-oriented “hydrogen cluster” near the port of Sines, from where hydrogen could be shipped to Rotterdam. Total investment there is estimated at some 7 billion euros.

A consortium including Portugal’s main utility EDP, oil company Galp, world’s largest wind turbine maker Vestas, among others, is behind one of the projects.

In Estarreja in north Portugal, local firm Bondalti Chemicals aims to invest 2.4 billion euros in a hydrogen plant.

Altogether, these envisage an installed capacity of over 1,000 megawatts (MW).

Matos Fernandes said Portugal was also negotiating with Spain the construction of a pipeline for renewable gases, including hydrogen, from Sines to France, crossing Spain.

LITHIUM PLANS

Spain and Portugal also want to develop an ambitious cross-border lithium project taking advantage of the geographical proximity of their lithium deposits and aiming to cover the entire value chain from mining to refining, cell and battery manufacturing to battery recycling, he said.

Portugal is already a large producer of low-grade lithium mainly for the ceramics industry, but is preparing to make higher-grade metal used in electric car batteries.

A much-awaited licensing tender for lithium-bearing areas that has been delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic should take place by the year-end, Matos Fernandes said.

He promised the tender would address environmental concerns by local communities and there would be no lithium mining “at any cost”.

The minister also said Portugal would use its six-month presidency of the Council of the European Union to finalise a landmark law that would make the bloc’s climate targets irreversible and speed up emissions cuts this decade, expecting it to be approved in the first half of 2021.

(Reporting by Sergio Goncalves; Editing by Andrei Khalip and David Evans)

 

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Under fire in EU, AstraZeneca CEO says ‘hopefully’ will meet vaccine supply goals

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Under fire in EU, AstraZeneca CEO says 'hopefully' will meet vaccine supply goals 3

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – AstraZeneca boss Pascal Soriot said on Thursday he hoped to meet the European Union’s expectations on the number of COVID-19 vaccines the company can deliver to the bloc in the second quarter, after big cuts in the first three months of the year.

The Anglo-Swedish drugmaker has been under fire in the EU for its delayed supplies of shots to the 27-nation bloc, which ordered 300 million doses by the end of June.

“We are working 24/7 to improve delivery and hopefully catch up to the expectations for Q2,” Soriot told EU lawmakers in a public hearing.

Under its contract with the EU, the company has committed to delivering 180 million doses in the second quarter.

Soriot did not mention the 180 million target, but said he was confident the company will be able to increase production in the second quarter using factories outside the EU that had no production problems, including in the United States.

He confirmed the company was trying to get 40 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to the EU by the end of March, which is less than half the amount it promised for the quarter in its contract.

The EU, which has fallen far behind the United States and former member Britain in vaccinating its public, has repeatedly urged the firm to deliver more.

Lower-than-expected yields – the amount of vaccine that can be produced from base ingredients – at its factories hurt output in the first three months.

Asked about supplies to Britain, which relies on the same factories used by the EU, Soriot said the former EU member with a population of around 66 million was smaller, and noted that most doses produced in the EU were used to serve the EU which has a population of about 450 million.

Executives from rival drugmakers that have developed or are testing COVID-19 vaccines, including Moderna Inc and CureVac NV were also part of the panel.

But most questions were directed at Soriot amid anger that the company has failed to deliver promised vaccine quantities to the bloc on schedule.

Moderna Chief Executive Officer Stephane Bancel said the company has experienced fluctuations as the U.S. biotech group ramps up output of its COVID-19 vaccine.

He said usually a company would stockpile product ahead of a launch, but it is shipping every dose it makes, leaving it without any spare inventory.

His comments came a day after the company increased its output target for this year and 2022 as it invests in additional manufacturing capacity.

(Reporting by Josephine Mason in London and Francesco Guarascio in Brussels; Editing by Susan Fenton, Bill Berkrot and Keith Weir)

 

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