HE French President François Hollande and HRH Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Bin Abdulaziz Alsaud, Chairman of Kingdom Holding Company (KHC) and Chairman of Alwaleed Philanthropies (AP) held a meeting at the French presidential Palace, The Elysee.
The meeting was attended by Ms. Hassna Alturki, Senior Executive Manager for International Relations to HRH the Chairman, Mr. Kacy Grine, Advisor to HRH the Chairman and Ms. Shatha Alqahtani, Assistant Manager, Travel and External Affairs Department. The meeting was also attended Mr. David Cvach, Advisor for Middle East Affairs to HE the President of France.
During the meeting, the two discussed economic, cultural matters and topics related to investments. In January, Flynas in which KHC owns a 34.08% stake, finalized a $8.6B deal with Airbus for the purchase of new aircrafts. Moreover, KHC is a 5.8% shareholder in AccorHotels in a $3.2 billion deal. AccorHotels had signed an agreement with KHC and other investors for the acquisition of FRHI Holdings Ltd (FRHI), parent of Fairmont, Raffles, and Swissôtel hotel brands.
They also discussed the bi-lateral relations between Saudi Arabia and France, and the strong relations between HRH and France, especially KHC’s investments in France that are considered to be the largest Saudi Arabian presence in France through the full ownership and the management of the iconic landmark The Four Seasons Hotel George V, the management of Le Royal Monceau Hotel (Raffles), the management of the Grand Hotel du Cap Ferrat in the South of France, in addition to, Disneyland, Paris (Euro Disney), 7 hotels in Disneyland, Paris, and through the presence of Citigroup. Also Prince Alwaleed’s cultural contributions through Alwaleed Philanthropies that is chaired by His Highness that have donated US$20 million in 2005 to establish the center of Islamic Art at the Musée du Louvre.
In 2016 and 2015, HE President Hollande and Prince Alwaleed had also met at The Elysee. Moreover, in January of this year Prince Alwaleed received His Excellency Jean Marc Ayrault, French Minister of Foreign Affairs and an accompanying delegation at his office in Riyadh.
Also, in a strategic alliance between France & KHC, a consortium of France’s big companies led by the CDCIC International Capital, the International investment arm of Caisse des Depots, France’s Sovereign Wealth Fund, announced that they have approved an investment in KHC. The deal constituted the acquisition of KHC’s shares with a minimum amount of $150 million dollars (SR563 million Saudi Riyals) subject to increase. Moreover, HRH Prince Alwaleed retained all the 95% stake in KHC. In a separate deal, KHC & CDC France’s SWF had announced a launch of USD 400M fund. The investment fund will be to seek attractive investment opportunities in small and medium size enterprises in Saudi Arabia with the participation of large French corporates, in addition to diversifying KHC’s investment portfolio.
In 2006, HRH was bestowed the medal of “Legion of Honor,” with the rank of Commander by the former French President, Jacques Chirac during an official ceremony held at the Élysée Palace. The medal is the country’s highest civilian honor, and it was bestowed to the Prince in recognition of his role in strengthening Saudi-French cultural, business and economic relations. In 2009 Former President Nicolas Sarkozy awarded Prince Alwaleed with the “President of France Medal”. In 2007, HRH was awarded the “Golden” medal by the French Minister of Culture and Communication.
Founded in 1980, KHC is a publicly traded company which was listed on Tadawul (the Saudi Stock Exchange) in 2007. Today, KHC is one of the world’s most successful and diversified business organizations with investments across 12 sectors. For over two decades, the company has been a leading player in the global hospitality industry, building shareholder value by acquiring, developing, actively asset managing and monetizing high-quality hospitality assets.