Saudi Arabia achieves highest evaluation level in UN’s Competition Law Systems Report

Saudi Arabia achieves highest evaluation level in UN’s Competition Law Systems Report
Saudi Arabia achieves highest evaluation level in UN’s Competition Law Systems Report

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Jeddah - Yasmine El Tohamy - RIYADH: Saudi telecom giant stc Group has obtained official approval for the soft launch of its new banking sector subsidiary, aiming to provide Shariah-compliant fintech solutions. 

The Saudi Central Bank has given the green light for the beta launch of stc Bank, with a full rollout to all customers anticipated later this year, revealed the company's CEO, Olayan Al-Wetaid, while announcing the financial results of the first quarter. 

The new entity will offer banking services and financial solutions compliant with Islamic Shariah, prioritizing high security and customer protection through advanced fintech. This aligns with the ambitious goals of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 for a prosperous diversified economy. 

In its financial results announcement for the period ending March 31, the CEO explained that stc Group has strengthened its position in the telecommunications sector through a strategic partnership with the Public Investment Fund.   

Earlier in April, the two entities finalized agreements for PIF to acquire a 51 percent stake in the Telecommunications Towers Co., also known as Tawal, valuing the company at SR21.94 billion ($5.8 billion).  

This transaction is part of a broader merger with Golden Lattice Investment Co. to form a new entity that aims to lead the national telecommunications infrastructure, with stc Group retaining a 43.06 percent stake.  

These developments are part of stc’s DARE 2.0 strategy, which focuses on unconventional growth paths and leading digital transformation in the region, Al-Wetaid stated.   

The strategy has already yielded significant results, with stc’s network experiencing its highest volume of voice calls during the recent Ramadan, a 35 percent increase compared to the previous year, supported by modern digital voice technologies.  

Further embodying its growth strategy, stc Group has engaged in numerous strategic partnerships and agreements, notably at the LEAP 2024 conference with global tech giants such as Huawei, Ericsson, and Samsung.   

These collaborations are designed to enhance innovation and speed up digital transformation across the region.   

Additionally, the group’s subsidiary, Solutions, signed a memorandum of understanding with the French Devoteam Group in February to explore IT investment opportunities globally, following Solutions’ acquisition of a 40 percent stake in Devoteam Middle East.   

In its financial report, stc Group highlighted a notable growth in revenues for the first quarter of 2024, which increased by 7.76 percent compared to the previous quarter and by 5.07 percent compared to the same quarter last year, totaling SR19.1 billion.   

This revenue growth was primarily driven by a 1.2 percent increase in stc Saudi Arabia’s revenues, supported by a 6.7 percent rise in commercial unit revenues and a 5.7 percent increase in carriers and wholesale unit revenues, despite a decline in business unit revenues.   

Additionally, revenues from stc’s subsidiaries saw a significant rise of 13 percent.  

The company also reported growth in gross profit, which rose by 5.13 percent compared to the previous quarter and by 1.65 percent compared to the same quarter last year, reaching SR9.3 billion.   

Earnings before interest, taxes, zakat, depreciation, and amortization similarly showed a robust increase, rising by 16.3 percent compared to the previous quarter and by 2.07 percent compared to the same period last year, reaching SR6.4 billion.   

Notably, net profit for the quarter surged by 44.50 percent compared to the previous quarter and increased by 5.69 percent compared to the same quarter last year, totaling SR3.2 billion.   

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