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Billionaire Alwaleed’s Kingdom Profit Up on Hotel Revenue Boost

July 21 (Bloomberg) -- Saudi billionaire Alwaleed bin Talal’s Kingdom Holding Co. said first-half profit jumped 16 percent as hotel revenue and the value of its investments improved.

Net income in the first six months of 2014 increased to 338.1 million riyals ($90 million) from 291.3 million riyals in the same period last year as revenue from hotels gained, the company said in a statement to the Saudi stock exchange today. Profit in the second quarter increased 17 percent to 211.7 million riyals as investments and dividend income climbed while financial costs fell.

“The second payment of dividends has been deposited in shareholders’ accounts," Mohammed Fahmy, Kingdom Holding’s chief financial officer, said in an e-mailed statement. ``The outlook for the company’s profitability remains strong.”

Alwaleed, who owns 95 percent of Riyadh-based Kingdom, has built a fortune of $32.5 billion amassing stakes in Citigroup Inc., News Corp., Twitter Inc. and Apple Inc., according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. The company owns a controlling stake in the Plaza Hotel in New York, the Savoy Hotel in London and acquired the George V Hotel in Paris in 1996, according to Kingdom’s website. Kingdom also owns 45 percent of Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, which manages the George V.

Kingdom shares rose 0.3 percent to close at 23.82 riyals in Riyadh.

The company is also planning to build a kilometer-high (0.62 mile-high) skyscraper in the Red Sea port city of Jeddah, seeking to surpass the Burj Khalifa in Dubai as the world’s tallest tower.

To contact the reporter on this story: Deema Almashabi in Riyadh at dalmashabi@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Shaji Mathew at shajimathew@bloomberg.net James Doran, Jon Menon

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