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Alwaleed bin Talal (Kingdom Holdings)

PostPosted: Mon Nov 24, 2008 4:42 pm
by winston
Alwaleed Buys Citigroup Stock as Loss Exceeds Buffett (Update2)
By Ben Holland

Nov. 20 (Bloomberg) -- The Warren Buffett of the Gulf is taking a bigger hit from the credit crunch than the original.

Prince Alwaleed bin Talal was lauded by Time magazine as the Middle East's answer to the Sage of Omaha after a 1991 investment in Citigroup Inc.'s predecessor helped make the Saudi billionaire one of the world's five richest people.

This year, Alwaleed's investments aren't keeping pace with regional benchmarks, let alone Buffett. His Riyadh-based Kingdom Holding Co. has slumped 63 percent -- more than Saudi Arabia's Tadawul All-Share Index or Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc. -- wiping out $13 billion in value.

Kingdom today said Alwaleed will boost his Citigroup stake, his largest holding, to 5 percent, even after the shares fell more than 80 percent since Jan. 1.

When people nail their colors to the mast in such an obvious way, if then it all blows up, then that's very damaging to your reputation, said Ken Murray, chairman of Blue Planet Investment Management in Edinburgh, who says he shorted shares in Citigroup last year.

Alwaleed and his companies are buying Citigroup shares because the prince believes they are dramatically undervalued, Kingdom Holding said in a news release. The combined stake stands at less than 4 percent after recent Citigroup share sales diluted the holding, Kingdom said.

Prince Alwaleed is fully confident that Citigroup's universal banking model and global franchise will make it a long- term winner in the financial services industry, Kingdom said.

The announcement failed to halt Citigroup's slide. The shares slumped 17 percent to $5.30 as of 10:10 a.m. in New York trading, extending this week's drop to 45 percent on concern banks will post further losses next year as the economy falters.

A Billionaire's Life

Like Buffett, Alwaleed, 53, built his fortune by investing in brand-name companies he considered were undervalued, including Apple Inc., News Corp. and Time Warner Inc. Forbes magazine estimated he was worth $21 billion in March, ranking him 19th among the world’s billionaires.

A nephew of the late King Fahd bin Abdulaziz al-Saud, Alwaleed stands out among more than 2,000 Saudi princes because he’s made money. After earning a bachelor’s degree from Menlo College near San Francisco, he returned to the Persian Gulf and parlayed an inheritance of less than $1 million into a billion- dollar fortune in the 1980s, mostly through real estate investments, according to Riz Khan’s biography “Alwaleed: Businessman, Billionaire, Prince” (William Morrow, 2005.)

Alwaleed’s arrival as a celebrity investor came with the Citicorp stake, for which he paid the equivalent of $2.98 a share after adjusting for stock splits, acquisitions and spinoffs, according to Bloomberg calculations. In the decade through 2007, the stock averaged $42.

$319 Million Plane

Unlike Buffett, who for years drove a 2001 Lincoln Town Car, Alwaleed enjoys the trappings of wealth. His garage contains two of everything -- including a pair of Rolls Royce Phantoms -- as the prince buys a matching model for his bodyguards whenever he picks a new car, according to Forbes. Buffett paid $31,500 for the home in Omaha where he’s lived for 30 years; Alwaleed spent $100 million on his 317-room Riyadh palace.

And when Airbus SAS put the world’s biggest aircraft, the A380 superjumbo, on sale last year, Alwaleed was the first private customer to order one. That cost him $319 million, and fitting out the plane’s interior may cost “several hundred million” more, Airbus said.

Also in contrast to Buffett, Alwaleed’s investments are underperforming in the credit crunch. The prince’s reluctance to exit positions may be one reason.

‘Never Sell’

“There are some assets I would never sell,” he told the U.K.’s Independent newspaper in 2005, citing Citigroup, News Corp. and the luxury hotel group Four Seasons Hotels Inc.

In another 2005 interview with Charlie Rose of the U.S. Public Broadcasting Service, Alwaleed outlined his criteria for buying stocks. “The return on investment in the coming five to 10 years has to be within our acceptable conditions,” he said. That means “at least 20 to 25 percent” annual returns.

Few investors, including Buffett, are making that kind of money this year.

Berkshire Hathaway fell the most in at least 23 years yesterday, dropping for the eighth straight day since reporting a 77 percent decline in third-quarter profit.

Still, the stock has beaten the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index this year, falling 41 percent compared with a 45 percent drop in the U.S. benchmark.

Those who bought Kingdom Holding shares when Alwaleed took his company public in a July 2007 initial share sale have lost 55 percent. The Tadawul index fell 45 percent in the same period. Alwaleed still owns 94 percent of Kingdom Holding.

Bargain Hunter

There’s every chance the prince will unearth fresh bargains in the current slump, says John Rossant, executive chairman of Publicis Live, which organizes World Economic Forum events in the Middle East and elsewhere.

When Alwaleed bailed out Citicorp in 1991, the New York- based bank “was very close to going bankrupt, the stock price was a fraction of what it is even today,” says Rossant, who has worked with Alwaleed since the mid-1990s and calls the Citicorp investment “one of the smartest of all time.”

“You’ve got to think, if you look over the equity landscape today, that there are similar situations,” he says. “If you’ve got capital now, and you have to assume that someone like Alwaleed does, he would stand to make a lot of money.”

Right now, he isn’t. Kingdom Holding has stakes in 15 publicly traded non-Gulf companies, according to its Web site. Only four have outperformed their national benchmark this year, according to Bloomberg data.

Those four are among Kingdom’s smaller stakes: it owns 1 percent or less of Hewlett Packard Co., PepsiCo Inc., Walt Disney Co. and Procter & Gamble Co., according to the Web site.

Jeddah Skyscraper

Alwaleed’s larger holdings are faring worse.

Kingdom holds 7 percent of New York-based News Corp., Rupert Murdoch’s media company, which has fallen 69 percent this year. Songbird Estates Plc, the majority owner of London’s Canary Wharf financial district, plunged 82 percent as tenants such as Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. went bust. Alwaleed owns 21 percent of Songbird, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Alwaleed is also one of two Middle Eastern investors racing to build the world’s first kilometer-high skyscraper in the Persian Gulf. On Oct. 13, Kingdom Holding announced plans for the Kingdom Tower, part of the $27 billion Kingdom City real-estate project in the Red Sea city of Jeddah.

Such attention-grabbing projects are under review throughout the Gulf, as oil prices plunge and borrowing costs rise. On Nov. 17, Nakheel PJSC, the Dubai-owned developer that’s Alwaleed’s rival to break the 1,000-meter barrier, announced it was “scaling back” some projects, without saying which ones.

“Real estate is bound to correct downward, and a lot of projects are going to get delayed,” says John Sfakianakis, chief economist at Saudi British Bank in Riyadh. “The region’s going through the final stages of what I call the ‘mine is bigger’ syndrome.”

Re: Alwaleed bin Talal

PostPosted: Wed Jan 21, 2009 9:13 pm
by winston
Saudi Kingdom group posts US$8b loss for Q4

DUBAI - The Saudi investment company that bet big on now-ailing Citigroup and other major global companies said on Tuesday it lost more than US$8 billion in the last three months of 2008.

Prince Alwaleed Talal's Kingdom Holding Co attributed the drop to losses stemming from the company's investments in capital markets, according to a statement posted on the Saudi Tadawul exchange's website.

Kingdom Holding said it lost 30.98 billion riyals (S$12.4 billion) in the fourth quarter of 2008. That compares with a gain of 255.6 million riyals in the same period a year earlier.

'It's significant,' said John Sfakianakis, chief economist at SABB, the HSBC Holdings PLC affiliate formerly known as Saudi British Bank. 'I don't think that we have seen such a loss in the recent corporate history of Saudi Arabia.'

Kingdom Holding was established in 1980 and initially focused on construction projects before evolving into one of the largest investment companies in the United States and elsewhere.

The firm invests in a number of well-known companies, such as Apple Inc and News Corp.

A nephew of Saudi Arabia's king, Mr Alwaleed, 52, is ranked as the world's 13th-richest person by Forbes magazine. He has recently taken a big hit in his holdings, however.

Dubai-based magazine Arabian Business reported last month that Mr Alwaleed's net worth fell to US$17.08 billion from US$21 billion in 2007. The magazine, at the time, said he remained the world's richest Arab.

In November, Mr Alwaleed announced he would raise his stake in Citigroup Inc to 5 per cent, from less than 4 per cent - a move that came as the banking giant was facing a possible collapse.

Citigroup last week posted a loss of US$8.29 billion, its fifth straight quarterly deficit, and laid out plans to reorganise itself.

The company's shares have lost more than 80 per cent of their value in the past year.

Mr Sfakianakis said that although Kingdom Holding's loss was substantial, it doesn't come as a complete surprise given the declines in markets around the world.

'I wouldn't downplay it, but at the same time ... you can fairly say that the top 50 businessmen throughout the world have seen similar, significant losses taking place throughout 2008,' he said.

Kingdom Holding said its 2008 losses totaled 29.91 billion riyals. That compares with a profit of 1.21 billion for the prior year. -- AP

Re: Alwaleed bin Talal

PostPosted: Thu Jan 22, 2009 1:39 am
by kennynah
i am puzzled that for some one with such immense investments in equities, one would imagine they must have some risk management discipline in place, no?

Re: Alwaleed bin Talal

PostPosted: Thu Jan 22, 2009 3:25 am
by b0rderc0llie
He follows his own model of investment which is different from the "norm". There is no "cut loss" and he seems to be buying more of those assets which had not been doing well, like Citigroup.

I find it pretty impressive that he "parlayed an inheritance of less than $1 million into a billion- dollar fortune in the 1980s, mostly through real estate investments". Let's see if his model works well for him in the future years.

Re: Alwaleed bin Talal

PostPosted: Wed Dec 02, 2009 2:25 pm
by winston
Alwaleed Says ‘Mature’ Banks Made Wrong Assumptions on Dubai
By Erik Schatzker and Matt Townsend

Dec. 2 (Bloomberg) -- Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, the billionaire Saudi investor, said banks that loaned money to Dubai World can’t claim to be victims of the emirate’s debt crisis because they should have understood the risks.

“These banks are very mature banks, and they have to differentiate between a corporate loan and a sovereign loan,” Alwaleed, 54, said yesterday in an interview on Bloomberg Television. “When things go sour, you can’t have some banks in the West going to Dubai and saying ‘oops’ and crying wolf and saying, ‘You should have guaranteed those loans.’”

Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc was the largest underwriter of loans to Dubai World, JPMorgan Chase & Co. said in a Nov. 27 report. HSBC Holdings Plc, Europe’s biggest bank, has the “largest absolute exposure” in the United Arab Emirates, according to JPMorgan.

Alwaleed said confusion over whether the Dubai government would back Dubai World’s debt “was not helpful at all” and damaged investor confidence in the region.

“However, you have to understand that other countries such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar and neighboring Abu Dhabi are countries to be reckoned with,” Alwaleed said. “With the price of oil where it is now, I don’t think their economies will be shaken at all.”

Alwaleed’s own company, Riyadh-based Kingdom Holding Co., has investments in the Gulf region, including banks and real estate in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. He said Dubai’s woes don’t pose risks to his holdings or those of his partners.

Alwaleed was ranked the richest Saudi national by Arabian Business in August, even after losing 4.6 percent of his personal wealth in the previous year. The Dubai-based magazine valued his assets at $16.3 billion, compared with $17.1 billion in 2008. ... LFA8A9tURc

Re: Alwaleed bin Talal

PostPosted: Mon Dec 21, 2009 7:50 am
by winston
Alwaleed Bin Talal emerges Middle East richest

Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, Citigroup's largest individual investor, was ranked the richest Arab businessman by Arabian Business magazine, after adding about US$1 billion (HK$7.8 billion) to his personal wealth this year.

Alwaleed's assets were valued at US$18 billion, the Dubai-based magazine said yesterday in its 2009 Arab Rich List, adding that the figure was confirmed by the Saudi Arabian prince's office in Riyadh.

Alwaleed, 54, has seen his wealth recover as the global financial crisis shows signs of easing and share valuations recover from lows earlier in the year.

In August, his assets were valued at US$16.3 billion, Arabian Business reported, citing the accounts of the prince's Riyadh-based Kingdom Holding. In pure cash in banks - and an upgrade in the valuation of companies outside the Kingdom Holding umbrella by several hundred million dollars - puts him on US$18 billion.

Citigroup shares have more than tripled from a low of US$1.02 in March. Shares of Kingdom Holding have gained 1.1 percent this year, while the largest bourse in the Middle East has advanced 29 percent.

Alwaleed's Kingdom Holding was not hurt by the credit woes that struck Dubai, even with investments in the Gulf region, the prince told Bloomberg TV.

The prince built his fortune by investing in brand-name companies he considered undervalued, including Apple, News Corp and Time Warner.


Re: Alwaleed bin Talal

PostPosted: Mon Jan 11, 2010 9:09 pm
by winston
Investor Alwaleed says Citigroup "on right path"

RIYADH (Reuters) - Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, head of Kingdom Holding and shareholder in Citigroup, said the U.S. bank had put the worst behind it and was now on the right path.

Alwaleed said last week that Kingdom would slash its capital by almost half while agreeing to transfer free-of-charge 180 million Citi shares -- which he valued at $3.31 each -- from his own pocket on to Kingdom's balance sheet.

Alwaleed, one of the world's wealthiest individuals, said that the worst was now behind Citigroup, that global markets were close to the end of the crisis, and that he expected positive results at the U.S. bank in 2011.

The global financial crisis and economic slowdown have had a severe impact on the profitability of Kingdom Holding, which derives the bulk of its revenues from shareholdings' dividends and its hotel business.

The firm's investment in Citi is worth some $4.3 billion, based on Citi's closing price on Friday. Kingdom also held investments in real estate, property and equipment and intangible assets which it estimated at $7.1 billion by end-September.

Alwaleed said the recent capital decrease at Kingdom, in which he holds a 95 percent stake, would cancel all accumulated losses at the diversified investment firm, and that results for the last quarter and full-year 2009 would be positive. ... orethebell

Re: Alwaleed bin Talal

PostPosted: Sun Jan 17, 2010 7:46 pm
by winston
Saudi billionaire eyes new links with News Corp.

Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed eyes expanding alliance with Murdoch's News Corp.

AP News

Jan 17, 2010 06:38 EST

The Saudi billionaire whose investment firm is one of the biggest stakeholders in Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. said he is looking to expand his alliances with the media giant, in the latest indication that his appetite for growth remains robust even as his company retrenches.

Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, a nephew of the Saudi king and who was listed last year by Forbes as the world's 22nd richest person, met with News Corp.'s chief executive Rupert Murdoch on Jan. 14 in a meeting that "touched upon future potential alliances with News Corp.," according to a statement released by his Kingdom Holding Co. late Saturday.

Media reports have indicated that News Corp, parent to Fox News and Dow Jones & Co., among others, may be thinking of buying a stake in Alwaleed's Rotana Media Group, which includes a number of satellite channels that air in the Middle East.

Neither company has commented publicly on the possible deal, but the talks offer an indication yet that such an agreement may yet be in the offing.

Kingdom Holding's statement said Alwaleed is already the second largest stakeholder in News Corp., with 5.7 percent of the shares of the media company. The stake is held through Kingdom Holding, in which Alwaleed holds a 95 percent stake.

The investment company has a diverse portfolio, ranging from hotels to shares in Apple, eBay and Citigroup.

Alwaleed, and the investment firm, were hit hard by the global meltdown.

He has since focused on shoring up borrowing power, in part through a recent decision to transfer 180 million of his shares in Citigroup to Kingdom Holding. In a statement last week, he described the move — valued at about $600 million — as key to facilitating future borrowing and growth.

The Saudi royal also met last week with Citigroup's chief executive Vikram Pandit, according to a statement by Kingdom Holding e-mailed Sunday.

Alwaleed told Pandit that the "honeymoon is now over," a clear indication that one of the banking giant's largest investors wants solid results this year, according to a transcript of an interview that aired Thursday on Fox Business News.

"I told him that clearly the market gave you two years leeway, but I think now it's time to deliver," Alwaleed said. "And 2010 is really for him is year to make it or break it, and he has to deliver. "

Alwaleed raised his stake in Citigroup to 5 percent in late 2008 from less than 4 percent in a move that came as the company was facing a possible collapse. Kingdom Holding says Alwaleed is the single largest shareholder in Citigroup.

Citigroup has repaid the money it borrowed from the U.S. government during the financial crisis, but still faces a new fee to be levied on banks by the Obama administration to recoup $120 billion in taxpayer money used to support faltering companies.

Alwaleed said he was opposed to the move, arguing that "I believe taxing the banks right now is not the right time at all."

"It's like you have a patient just coming out of ICU, intensive care unit, and all of sudden bang him with another tax. I think it's too much, it's too early for that if it's going to have that happen," he said, according to the transcript.

The $120 billion recovery goal is the most that administration officials expect to lose from the government's $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program that bailed out banks, automakers and other financial firms.

Alwaleed's Rotana already has an alliance with News Corp.

In 2008, the two companies teamed up to bring Fox Movies to the Arab world and then last year, Rotana and Fox International Channels signed a multi-year output deal with The Walt Disney Co. to provide a range of programing to viewers in the Middle East, according to the statement by Kingdom Holding.

Alwaleed has also been meeting with officials in Abu Dhabi, the oil-rich emirate that recently bailed out Dubai, its glitzy neighbor awash in debt.

A statement by Kingdom Holding said the Saudi royal met with senior officials in Abu Dhabi, which holds the presidency of the United Arab Emirates, a federation of seven semiautonomous city-states.

Abu Dhabi's largest sovereign wealth fund, the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, alleges "fraudulent misrepresentations" by Citigroup over the fund's $7.5 billion investment in the banking giant. ADIA has said it is seeking compensation or an exit from the deal.

Source: AP News

Re: Alwaleed bin Talal

PostPosted: Fri Jun 25, 2010 10:52 pm
by winston
In the latest Bloomberg Magazine, I'm very surprised that Alwaleed likes to constantly compare himself to WB.

"When he (WB) was my age, he was not as big as me"

Re: Alwaleed bin Talal

PostPosted: Sun Jun 27, 2010 9:23 pm
by kennynah
winston wrote:"When he (WB) was my age, he was not as big as me"

must be more how many centimeters? :lol: