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Saudi Stock Exchange 3Q-2012 Review

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The market remained under the firm grip of volatility compared to last quarter, specifically by the end of the quarter. The market which began its 3Q journey on a strong foot, and rallied for consecutive 2 months (starting from July 18 till mid-September) witnessed heavy profit booking during the last sessions of September. Earnings estimations of either side together with uncertain economic aspects of Euro zone and oil prices fluctuations continued to add volatility to the market. TASI’s initial 3Q bull-run remained quite ephemeral as better expectations of 2Q earnings initially lifted market but soon profit booking actions spoiled the party. However, from this low level, the market got a flood of bulls and started-off one of its best journey from July 18. The benchmark gained 609.95 points within a span of two months, in lieu of all positive news inflow from corporate side as well as from economic circle. Investors remained upbeat during September, ahead of the FOMC’s monetary policy decision with expectations of more monetary easing growing. Sentiment also boosted by hopes that a ruling by a German Constitutional Court on the legality of the ESM will act as catalyst for positive developments. By September 15, 2012, the market board was showing a gain of around 9% over June 30 closing. As the party was cheering all these gains, the benchmark came under the firm grip of bears, mainly due to earning concerns and Muthanna-logouncertainty in oil markets, which in turn affected sentiment; particularly in the banking and petrochemical sector. The falling spree-post September 15, gained a further pace by the month end and the market lost 326 points (4.56%) within last two weeks of the month. Saying so, by 3Q end, TASI managed to save some of its earlier gains and ended the period with a 1.94% (129.92 points) gain only. In totality, Year 2012 is witnessing a sort of alternate session of peak and trough as in 1Q, it added 22.09% but lost 14.36% in 2Q. The index touched its quarter-peak on September 01, to reach 7,179.49 and touched its low on July 18, at 6,555.91, reflecting a range bound of 623 in the quarter, which is clearly reflected in its double digit volatility. On the country news side, government has drawn mega plans across the board for the public welfare. The Kingdom has approved USD 72 billion worth of infrastructure projects in Year 2012 and see no full stop. In the Healthcare, Saudi Arabia plans to open 132 new hospitals – adding 26,700 beds to its current healthcare landscape, in next two years. On the construction side, the list is too long in terms of water, residential, solar and roads construction projects, especially for 3 big cities of Mecca, Riyadh and Jeddah. In a nutshell, despite of IMF projecting a small deficit by 2017 and growing affiliation of the Saudi market to Global downfall and slowdown, we believe the long term story for the country remains intact given the emerging role of private industry as well as improving job scenarios, living standard and controlled inflation.
 
Across the Market
Despite 1Q-12 strong earnings, the market embraced a downswing mainly due to Eurozone crisis as well as by sliding oil prices.

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a. Of tabulated 15 sectors, with an exception of the Banks & Financial Services plus Cement sector, all 13  sectors witnessed black signs on their boards, mainly buoyed by strong oil prices and active interest of Saudi government on infrastructure plans.

b. The benchmark witnessed one new listing; Catering in the Agriculture & Food Industries on July 09, 2012, thus taking total tally to 156.

c. On the Sector Indices front, the Cement was the worst performer, as it lost 4% on the Index front as well as 0.8% on the market capitalization front. Out of 10 listed stocks, 7 witnessed a quick erosion in their market cap, especially sector’s bellwethers like Southern Province (sharing 21% of sector market cap), Saudi Cement (sharing 20.5% of sector market cap) and Yamamah Cement (sharing 13.6% of sector market cap) lost 0.75%, 2.49% and 11.45% respectively. Hail cement was the only double digit gainers for the month as it added 11.18% in the market cap. During the quarter, Southern Province announced about the delay of the operation of the third mill in Jazan Plant, which dragged down the price level.

d. On the market capitalization side, the market cap mirrored the overall index performance; as out of 15, baring 3 namely – the Cement, Petrochemical and Banks 12 sectors added value in their market cap in a range of 1.5% to 43.9%. The Petrochemical sector remained an exception as it grew by 0.2% on Index level but contracted by 0.3% on the market cap side. Such odd behavior is mainly due to fall in SABIC and Saudi Kayan which reported a dip of 1.89% and 12.08% q-o-q basis. Overall market capitalization soared to SAR 1.371 trillion, from SAR 1.337 trillion a quarter ago. 3 major sectors namely, Banks & Financial Services, Petrochemical and Telecommunication continued to account for 66% of total market capitalization. Lower than 68% a quarter ago.

e. The Insurance sector remained the best performer on both the fronts; as it surged 35% on Index level while added 44% on the market cap corner. Amana Co-Operative reported a whopping gain of 662.76% in the quarter while Allied Co-Operative Insurance almost tripled its market cap in the period. In addition, Gulf General and Saudi Arabian Co-Ops Insurance inflated by 124% and 100% respectively, thus provided a booming impetus to Insurance.

f. Following the Insurance, Multi-Investment sector remained another outperformer in the period, gaining 19% in its market cap, mainly due to robust performance of its bellwether Kingdom Holding Co. which added SAR 8.71 trillion alone (19.42%) in the total sector addition of SAR 9.46 trillion.

g. Out of 156 stocks, as of October 11, 39 stocks announced their 3Q earnings. As per Gulfbase, total market earnings (announced so far) reached SAR 25.28 billion, up by 2.55 from a year ago. The improvement in earnings is a clear proof that market remained a lead indicator of better sentiments in the course.

Latest 9M-FY2012 Earnings Snapshot
Earnings Remain Flat Till Report Writing

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Banking, the market heavyweight, remained the biggest booster for total market earnings by sharing 58.74% of total announced earnings till the report writing date. As per the latest earning status (source: Gulfbase), in the banking space, Bank Al Jazeera was the best outperformer as it reported a growth of 10.9.35% in its bottom line on y-o-y basis. On contrary, Banque Saudi Fransi was the lone lender to witness a drop in its net profit by 1.87% on annual basis. Islamic lender, Alinma bank, reported a robust growth of 78.3% in its bottom-line for the 9M-2012. In the Petrochemical space, Methanol Chemical Co. remained an exception to the matrix by reporting a surge of 63% in its net profit whereas all other reported a dip, led by Saudi Kayan and Sahra Petrochemical. Saudi Kayan reported a net loss of SAR 577.82 million as against a net loss of SAR 59.5 a year ago whereas Sahara reported a net profit of SAR 139 million, way down from a net profit of SAR 407 million a year ago. In totality, these two sectors jointly shared 77% of total market earnings so far. The Cement sector also performed quite well as 6 out of 10 listed entities announced their earnings for 9M and reported a surge of 17.45%, in which Yanbu outshined all others in terms of profit growth during the period. In the Agricultural side, Almarai continued to dominate the sector with its robust earnings, as the dairy products producer reported a total net profit of SAR 1.07 billion, up by 5.67% from a year ago.

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Market Movers
Small Caps Dominated Both the Ends

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Market Momentum

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a. The top gainers remained a diversified group; with a combination of companies from the Real Estate; Telecommunication; Banking and Petrochemical sector. However; activities across the above counters were largely driven by news flows (either Q2FY12 earnings or specific company announcements)

b. Dar Alarkan Real Estate Dev Co was the most active stock as it reported a jump of 9.2% in its 6M-2012 net income, which was welcomed by investors. In other development, the company disclosed that it had fully repaid USD 1 billion Sukuk- due in July. These two news acted as catalyst for the company’s market cap, which saw a run of 23.5% during the quarter.

c. Mobile Telecommunications Co – Zain KSA followed Dar Al Arkan post the capital restructuring during the quarter. The mobile operator increased its capital through a rights issue to dilute its accumulated losses as well as to ease the “debt to equity” stretching ratio.

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What Lies Ahead
The Saudi economy is bursting by surplus despite few economic issues surfacing to hinder economic pace. Let’s look-upon some promising key economic developments of this economy:
? As per SAMA (Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency), the current account surplus has widened to USD 158bn in 2011, equivalent to 27.5% of GDP; up by 137.4% on y-o-y basis.? The Construction sector is booming, primarily driven by new contracts awarded totaled USD 72bn, up by 140.0% y-o-y.
? The country’s external position remains safe, by two P’s – Price and Production pertaining to Oil. Firstly, oil prices is about to remain strong in near term and even if it drops, the fall will limit oil price near USD 100/barrel. Secondly, the country increased its production by around 11% in 2011 and continue to enhance it further by 5% approximately in 2012, in a bid to ease out pressure on oil prices. Jointly, these two factors are poised to strengthen the economic position of Saudi Arabia.
? Total foreign reserves reached USD 605bn by July 2012, up by 19.7% y-o-y basis, meaning that SAMA is continued to divert majority of its surpluses towards reserve assets.
? Overall PMI continue to hang above 50, which separates expansion from contraction. Definitely, this PMI number is in sharp contrast to recently figures appeared on the board from China and Euro Zone, which are firmly below 50.
? Concern: Economic growth with this pace is certain to slow down based upon certain assumptions like declining oil prices post a stability in the ME region, stabilizing oil production after 2 years of spurt to meet demand and continuity of rising import bill to quench the thirst of infrastructure needs. In totality, Saudi Arabia is doing her best to diversify its economy away from oil. Keenness to approve and quick implementation of major infrastructure projects in three big cities; namely Riyadh, Jeddah and Mecca in addition to kick-off several housing projects to eliminate housing issues are live examples of government determination. Not only this, the country is also searching new avenues to generate electricity through solar channel so as to reduce oil consumption for electricity generation. As per a recent report from Business Monitor Index, clearly states that BMI’s infrastructure team expects this growth to average 9.2% in real terms in 2012 and further estimate this sector to grow by average 5.6% from 2012 to 2016. Need not to say that activation of new Mortgage Law from October 2012, will further boost the lending sentiments.
We reiterate our last report wordings the Saudi economy is certainly showing a lot of improvement and discipline as reflected in a smart growth of non-oil related sectors. The economy has marked a real GDP of 4.1% and 7.1% in 2010 and 2011 respectively, and we believe it will continue to grow with all corners contribution.
However, as a concern, this growth may slow down- backed by certain issues as highlighted in our foresaid paragraph and the economy may grow within a range of 5 to 5.5% in 2012 and may decelerate“below 5%” in 2014.
 
Finally
 
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Report Contributor
Muthanna-logo
 

Prepared by:
Shoyeb Ali, Vice President, [email protected]

Muthanna Research
For further enquiries, kindly contact us at:
Muthanna Investment Research
Safat Square, Baitak Tower, 32nd Floor, Kuwait
Tel : +965 2298 7000
mail: [email protected]

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Finance

How payments can help streamline operations and boost customer satisfaction in the vending industry

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How payments can help streamline operations and boost customer satisfaction in the vending industry 1

By Darren Anderson, Business Development Manager, Self Service, Ingenico Enterprise Retail

The COVID-19 pandemic has had an astounding impact on the payments industry, causing cash usage to plummet as contactless and card-not-present volumes soared. Of course, this phenomenon was not unforeseen by payments professionals, who had predicted such a movement away from cash, but not at the speed the virus guidelines facilitated. In fact, due in part to the hygiene perks of contactless payment methods increasing its adoption, 50% of customers think that cash will disappear completely at some point in the future.

The unattended market was ahead of the pandemic in terms of contactless alternative payment method (APM) adoption, and it continues to upgrade its offerings to suit a wider range of industries. Nevertheless, the pain point for vending operators is that they’re often not sure exactly how these technologies work, or how to implement them. And with payments offerings constantly evolving, it’s becoming harder for vending operators to know which solution would be the best fit for their business.

As such, one easy way for vending operators to ease this load is to partner with a knowledgeable payments advisor who can not only provide the best solutions for their business, but guide them through the process and any need-to-knows. It’s also important to investigate the payments trends across the vending market, what the future might bring and what vending operators need to know about newer payments technology and the value it can bring to their unattended retail business operations.

Vending through the pandemic

Coronavirus has impacted the unattended market in various ways. In some cases, vending machine use has decreased as a result of lower footfall and closed premises. However, the nature of vending being self-service, for many it’s just been a case of upgrading systems to meet new guidelines and hygiene recommendations to start boosting their usage again. As cash usage decreased over the course of the pandemic, cards and APMs stepped in to provide a host of benefits, and as customers use and enjoy these seamless technologies, they are fast becoming the preference.

These developments have provided the opportunity for vending operators to embrace newer technologies which, although ultimately positive, can prove daunting if such retailers are not accustomed to working closely with payments. Fortunately, the vending market is in a great position to take advantage of new contactless technologies, being already low on human interaction and having 24/7 capabilities.

Darren Anderson

Darren Anderson

What’s more, the market can not only cater to consumers’ evolving needs, but it can also provide the flexibility and reliability that consumers are relying on as the world around them is changing. Many new technologies can also improve the general operations and management of vending, offering features such as easier on-the-go stock management and maintenance notification technology.

Keeping the consumer in mind

Consumers today want to enjoy the latest innovations and best-in-class customer experiences. These shoppers believe that self-service is a time-saver, and they also view cashless and contactless as faster and more seamless ways to pay – a fact which is reflected in the recent consumer demand for a wider variety of APMs. Customers now expect even more options to pay for their goods and services, from QR codes, to in-app payments and more.

Alongside the cashless trend, data-security and customer experience are two other factors driving the vending market evolution. With constantly evolving fraud developments in the online world, good security is more pertinent than ever, and has to be a central consideration to vending operators – as well as ensuring a seamless customer experience.

From a customer usage standpoint, mobile payments are becomingly increasing popular, as driven by the Gen Z market. According to our research, 63% of Gen Zers have said they would pay more for a mobile experience[1].

Trust and a good experience are also considerable factors across all customer groups, with 95% of customers claiming their loyalties lie with a company they trust[2], and 86% willing to pay more for a positive experience[3].

To appeal to ever-hungry consumers, vending operators need to provide the options they want. In the unattended market, this is relatively simple – not only do they provide a convenient and reliable method of payment for customers, but they also avoid face-to-face interaction. They can also supply a range of different products and accept a variety of payment methods to appeal to all customers, no matter their preference.

Using payments to drive revenue

Driving revenue is a two-pronged approach – you need to appeal to customers to keep them coming, and streamline operations to reduce overheads. In order to meet both parties’ expectations, it’s important to respond well to new vending challenges, taking note of the solutions that enable merchants to provide their customers with the payment methods they prefer.

Payments are complicated, so there’s no need to worry if you’re not hugely familiar with the offering out there, or unsure where to start – that’s where a payment service provider (PSP) can assist. With the expertise that a PSP brings, along with the technological solutions they offer, vending operators can improve customer journeys in all unattended environments.

Such technological solutions are flexible and can cater to specific business needs, while providing easy, quick, and secure payment methods that protect both the business and the customer’s personal data. They can also improve operational efficiency, increasing business performance with features such as real-time reporting and smart transaction management, to provide a best-in-class customer experience.

With smart devices, a secure gateway and advanced acquiring capabilities, PSPs can help vending operators design a flexible vending solution tailored to their individual and specific needs. To find out more about unattended retail and how your company can benefit from Ingenico’s unique expert knowledge, get in contact with Ingenico Enterprise Retail today at www.ingenico.com/smartselfvending.

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Finance

ISO 20022 migration: full speed ahead despite recent delays, says new Deutsche Bank paper

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ISO 20022 migration: full speed ahead despite recent delays, says new Deutsche Bank paper 2

Today, Deutsche Bank has released the third installment in its “Guide to ISO 20022 migration series, which offers a comprehensive update on the industry shift to the de facto global standard for financial messaging: ISO 20022. This paper comes at a critical time for the ISO 20022 migration, with a number of changes to existing timelines and strategies from SWIFT and the world’s major market infrastructures having been announced this year.

The paper explores the latest developments, including SWIFT’s year-long postponement of the migration in the correspondent banking space. The decision meets industry calls for a delay and also provides ample time to build the new central Transaction Management Platform (TMP) – a core feature of SWIFT’s new strategy that will allow the industry to move away from point-to-point messaging and towards central transaction processing.

It also details the wave of action that has been seen by market infrastructures around the world – with many, including the ECB, EBA CLEARING and the Bank of England, announcing revised migration approaches.

“Now more than ever, with shifting timelines and strained resources, it is vital that banks and corporates alike do not view the ISO 20022 migration as just another project that can be put on the back burner,” says Christian Westerhaus, Head of Cash Products, Cash Management, Deutsche Bank. “The delays in the correspondent banking space, and across several market infrastructures, should not be seen as an opportunity for banks to take their foot off the pedal. The journey to ISO 20022 is still moving ahead at speed – and internal projects need to reflect this.”

The Guide also highlights the implementation issues on the migration journey ahead – most notably surrounding interoperability between market infrastructures, usage guidelines and messaging formats. This is achieved through a series of deep dives, case studies, and points of attention drawn from Deutsche Bank’s internal analysis.

 “As this year has proved, nothing is set in stone, “says Paula Roels, Head of Market Infrastructure & Industry Initiatives, Deutsche Bank. “The ISO 20022 migration involves a lot of moving parts and keeping abreast of the latest developments is critical for banks and corporates alike. As the deadlines near, and the ISO 20022 story develops, this series of guides will continue to highlight key points for consideration over the coming years.”

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Finance

The Psychology Behind a Strong Security Culture in the Financial Sector

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The Psychology Behind a Strong Security Culture in the Financial Sector 3

By Javvad Malik, Security Awareness Advocate at KnowBe4

Banks and financial industries are quite literally where the money is, positioning them as prominent targets for cybercriminals worldwide. Unfortunately, regardless of investments made in the latest technologies, the Achilles heel of these institutions is their employees. Often times, a human blunder is found to be a contributing factor of a security breach, if not the direct source. Indeed, in the 2020 Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report, miscellaneous errors were found vying closely with web application attacks for the top cause of breaches affecting the financial and insurance sector. A secretary may forward an email to the wrong recipient or a system administrator may misconfigure firewall settings. Perhaps, a user clicks on a malicious link. Whatever the case, the outcome is equally dire.

Having grown acutely aware of the role that people play in cybersecurity, business leaders are scrambling to establish a strong security culture within their own organisations. In fact, for many leaders across the globe, realising a strong security culture is of increasing importance, not solely for fear of a breach, but as fundamental to the overall success of their organisations – be it to create customer trust or enhance brand value. Yet, the term lacks a universal definition, and its interpretation varies depending on the individual. In one survey of 1,161 IT decision makers, 758 unique definitions were offered, falling into five distinct categories. While all important, these categories taken apart only feature one aspect of the wider notion of security culture.

With an incomplete understanding of the term, many organisations find themselves inadvertently overconfident in their actual capabilities to fend off cyberthreats. This speaks to the importance of building a single, clear and common definition from which organisations can learn from one another, benchmark their standing and construct a comprehensive security programme.

Defining Security Culture: The Seven Dimensions

In an effort to measure security culture through an objective, scientific method, the term can be broken down into seven key dimensions:

  • Attitudes: Formed over time and through experiences, attitudes are learned opinions reflecting the preferences an individual has in favour or against security protocols and issues.
  • Behaviours: The physical actions and decisions that employees make which impact the security of an organisation.
  • Cognition: The understanding, knowledge and awareness of security threats and issues.
  • Communication: Channels adopted to share relevant security-related information in a timely manner, while encouraging and supporting employees as they tackle security issues.
  • Compliance: Written security policies and the extent that employees adhere to them.
  • Norms: Unwritten rules of conduct in an organisation.
  • Responsibilities: The extent to which employees recognise their role in sustaining or endangering their company’s security.

All of these dimensions are inextricably interlinked; should one falter so too would the others.

The Bearing of Banks and Financial Institutions

Collecting data from over 120,000 employees in 1,107 organisations across 24 countries, KnowBe4’s ‘Security Culture Report 2020’ found that the banking and financial sectors were among the best performers on the security culture front, with a score of 76 out of a 100. This comes as no surprise seeing as they manage highly confidential data and have thus adopted a long tradition of risk management as well as extensive regulatory oversight.

Indeed, the security culture posture is reflected in the sector’s well-oiled communication channels. As cyberthreats constantly and rapidly evolve, it is crucial that effective communication processes are implemented. This allows employees to receive accurate and relevant information with ease; having an impact on the organisation’s ability to prevent as well as respond to a security breach. In IBM’s 2020 Cost of a Data Breach study, the average reported response time to detect a data breach is 207 days with an additional 73 days to resolve the situation. This is in comparison to the financial industry’s 177 and 56 days.

Moreover, with better communication follows better attitude – both banking and financial services scored 80 and 79 in this department, respectively. Good communication is integral to facilitating collaboration between departments and offering a reminder that security is not achieved solely within the IT department; rather, it is a team effort. It is also a means of boosting morale and inspiring greater employee engagement. As earlier mentioned, attitudes are evaluations, or learned opinions. Therefore, by keeping employees informed as well as motivated, they are more likely to view security best practices favourably, adopting them voluntarily.

Predictably, the industry ticks the box on compliance as well. The hefty fines issued by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) in the past year alone, including Capital One’s $80 million penalty, probably play a part in keeping financial institutions on their toes.

Nevertheless, there continues to be room for improvement. As it stands, the overall score of 76 is within the ‘moderate’ classification, falling a long way short of the desired 90-100 range. So, what needs fixing?

Towards Achieving Excellence

There is often the misconception that banks and financial institutions are well-versed in security-related information due to their extensive exposure to the cyber domain. However, as the cognition score demonstrates, this is not the case – dawdling in the low 70s. This illustrates an urgent need for improved security awareness programmes within the sector. More importantly, employees should be trained to understand how this knowledge is applied. This can be achieved through practical exercises such as simulated phishing, for example. In addition, training should be tailored to the learning styles as well as the needs of each individual. In other words, a bank clerk would need a completely different curriculum to IT staff working on the backend of servers.

By building on cognition, financial institutions can instigate a sense of responsibility among employees as they begin to recognise the impact that their behaviour might have on the company. In cybersecurity, success is achieved when breaches are avoided. In a way, this negative result removes the incentive that typically keeps employees engaged with an outcome. Training methods need to take this into consideration.

Then there are norms and behaviours, found to have strong correlations with one another. Norms are the compass from which individuals refer to when making decisions and negotiating everyday activities. The key is recognising that norms have two facets, one social and the other personal. The former is informed by social interactions, while the latter is grounded in the individual’s values. For instance, an accountant may connect to the VPN when working outside of the office to avoid disciplinary measures, as opposed to believing it is the right thing to do. Organisations should aim to internalise norms to generate consistent adherence to best practices irrespective of any immediate external pressures. When these norms improve, behavioural changes will reform in tandem.

Building a robust security culture is no easy task. However, the unrelenting efforts of cybercriminals to infiltrate our systems obliges us to press on. While financial institutions are leading the way for other industries, much still needs to be done. Fortunately, every step counts -every improvement made in one dimension has a domino effect in others.

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