TAKING A MAJOR ROLE

Oman 2017 | FINANCE | INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Rashid S. Al Saadi, CEO of TANMIA & Chairman of A'Saffa Foods, on enhancing key sectors of the economy, new investments, and the outlook for the future.

 Rashid S. Al Saadi
BIOGRAPHY
Rashid S. Al Saadi has been the CEO of TANMIA since 2000. He holds a degree in business administration from Rollins College, US. He has enjoyed nearly 30 years’ working experience in the field of finance, investments, economics, and management. During his career, he worked with Diwan of Royal Court for nearly a decade, his final role being Deputy Director General. He later moved to the Interarab Fund as General Manager. He holds senior positions in Oman’s leading finance and industrial sectors, such as Chairman of Board at Takaful Oman, Chairman of Board at A’Saffa Foods Oman, and Member of the Board at Oman Orix Leasing Co.

As a state investment firm, TANMIA has been working to promote the mining sector. What form have your efforts taken?

We are working on Mining Development Oman Company (MDO), which is currently under formation and of which 60% is owned by four government entities: the State General Reserve Fund (SGRF), Oman Investment Fund (OIF), Oman Oil Company (OOC), and TANMIA. The remaining 40% will be offered for public subscription via an IPO proposed to be floated on the MSM in 2017. MDO envisions a major role for itself in attracting international investment and technical know-how in the monetization of the Sultanate's prodigious mineral resources to ultimately help to drive the employment generation, economic development, and GDP growth. In the mining sector, TANMIA also has a floated company with Jindal Shadeed for quarrying limestone and manufacturing limestone products. Currently, we are working with the authorities to obtain dedicated limestone quarries for the project.

What are your plans and expectations for TANMIA in the next year?

TANMIA has been successfully partnering with new ventures, assisting businesses by ensuring availability of resources and providing experience and skills, as well as capital to various ventures. In line with this vision, TANMIA board decided to increase the capital to USD650 million, and of which USD285 million has already been capitalized. Our plan for next year is to focus and identify new opportunities and newer investment areas. Currently, we are reviewing various opportunities within diverse sectors that would further strengthen economic goals of the country. We are extremely selective in the opportunities and are being careful about due diligence, while at the same time being more opportunistic than aggressive. Further capital infusion would be dictated by the annual business plan and the strategic vision being rolled out by the company in consultation with the shareholders and the Board of Directors.

Will the Tanfeedh program change the way business is done in the country?

Definitely, we expecting a great deal from Tanfeedh. This National Program for Enhancing Economic Diversification has set objectives to expedite the process to diversify Oman's GDP away from oil while creating sustainable jobs for Omanis with a focus on manufacturing, tourism, logistics as well as the two enablers, namely, finance and human capital development. Labs are regularly held for discussions to streamline the necessary changes and how to improve regulations, making them friendlier and less restrictive. All the involved parties are working with determination to succeed and with such partnership we all expect Tanfeedh to be a success. The government is focused on establishing the right climate for a public-private partnership (PPP) framework so as to solve the funding challenges and attract much-needed investment to deliver the prioritized projects. Such determination with absolute transparency and firmness is important to move ahead.

As Chairman of A'Saffa Food Oman, can you explain how the USD117 million investment to expand poultry production at A'saffa fits into the larger growth pattern of the company?

A'saffa grew as a farm and has reached a capacity of about 25 million chickens per annum. It has progressively invested and diversified in food processes whereby it now produces quality snacks and other foods. A'saffa also established a logistic company to serve its business due to the distribution challenges it faced and the lack of quality storage required for food industry. It now has storage and distribution centers of its own around the region, which help its business grow and capture a wider market. Coming to expansion plans of A'saffa, the board decided to double the current size of production in the coming three years under two phases. There is also a plan to invest with other investors in similar or related areas of business that would expand the product offerings from A'Saffa. We are proud to add that A'saffa is unique because we use hormone-free feed and halal practices across the company.