Saudi Wealth Fund Is Upbeat on Deals for Local Manufacturing

Saudi Arabia aims to agree on deals this year or next to expand local manufacturing, the head of the kingdom’s wealth fund, Yasir Al-Rumayyan, told a briefing in Riyadh.

“Now we’re in the process of looking at electric appliances,” he said Tuesday. “In relation to cars, there is more than one project that we’re now looking at, and they will be executed this year or next year at the latest.”

Saudi Arabia is trying to become a Middle Eastern hub for manufacturing electric vehicles as it diversifies its economy from oil. Bloomberg reported earlier this month that Lucid Motors Inc. is in talks with the $400 billion Public Investment Fund to build a factory, potentially near the Red Sea city of Jeddah. The PIF, as the fund is known, is already a shareholder in Lucid.

Al-Rumayyan said the PIF is in a “very advanced stage” of negotiating joint ventures as part of a partnership that could ease the path for foreign companies.

“We would open and pave the way for them in dealing with regulations, laws, tax holidays or even off-takes -- either from us or from the government,” he said. “We negotiate a lot of things for them. So it makes perfect sense of those companies to come and really be with us in Saudi Arabia.”

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