HRH Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Bin Abdulaziz Alsaud, Chairman of Kingdom Holding Company (KHC) attended a dinner at the French presidential palace, The Elysee on the occasion of the inauguration of the Institutional Investor Roundtable (IIR) headquarters with an official invitation from HE French President François Hollande.
In addition, during the meeting Mr. Hollande and Prince Alwaleed discussed political, economic and cultural matters. They also discussed the bi-lateral relations between Saudi Arabia and France, especially KHC’s investments in France that are considered to be the largest Saudi Arabian presence in France through the ownership and management of the iconic landmark The Four Seasons Hotel George V, the management of Le Royal Monceau Hotel (Raffles), Euro Disney, Paris that was saved from bankruptcy by KHC and Walt Disney and through the presence of Citigroup. Also Prince Alwaleed’s cultural contributions through Alwaleed Bin Talal Foundation that have donated $20m in 2005 to establish the center of Islamic Art at the Musée du Louvre.
Prince Alwaleed’s accompanying delegation included Mr. Sarmad Zok, KHC Board Member and Executive Director of Hotel Investments, Ms. Hassna Alturki, Department Head, Travel & External Affairsand Mr. Fahad Bin Saad Bin Nafel, Executive Assistant to HRH the Chairman and Mr. Kacy Grine, Advisor to HRH the Chairman.
Recently, Prince Alwaleed met Mr. Tom Wolber, President of Euro Disney S.A.S, Paris. The two discussed a number of issues that included KHC’s investment in Euro Disney in which it holds a 10 % stake. In August 2014, French President François Hollande and Prince Alwaleed held a meeting at the French presidential Palace, The Elysee.
In June 2014, KHC and Caisse des Dépôts International Capital (CDC International Capital – CDCIC) have signed a Memorandum Of Understanding (MOU) to establish an investment vehicle jointly managed by CDCIC and KHC seeking to develop Saudi projects and ventures that shall benefit from the involvement of French companies, technologies and know how.
In 2012, HE President Hollande and Prince Alwaleed inaugurated the new center of Islamic Art at the Musée du Louvre in Paris in the presence of Mr. Henrie Loyrette, Director of the Louvre Museum and Ms. Aurélie Filippetti, Minister of Culture and Communications during a ceremony in 2012.
In response to an invitation from the former President Nicolas Sarkozy of France who presided the G8 Summit for 2011, Prince Alwaleed attended the e-G8 forum that was held the eve of the G8 Summit.
The Four Seasons Hotel George V was ranked in Gallivanter’s Guide “Best City Hotel Worldwide” and “Best European City Hotel” for 11 years. Prince Alwaleed acquired the George V in 1996 for $178 million. A two-year $125 million comprehensive renovation was started in 1997. The total cost of acquiring the hotel and renovation amounted to $303 million, reflecting the Prince’s dedication to restore the glory of this landmark.
In 2006, Prince Alwaleed 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 2007, HRH was awarded the “Golden” medal by the French Minister of Culture and Communication.