Saudi Arabia’s mall operator Arabian Centres Company (ACC) is helping small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) who are looking to obtain loans.

The company announced on Sunday that it signed an agreement with Quara Finance Company, which specialises in Islamic financing, to “support” SMEs who run businesses in ACC centres. It is expected to benefit ACC’s tenants which are currently renting nearly half of the mall operator’s retail space.

In a bourse filing to the Saudi Stock Exchange (Tadawul), the company said the credit facilities will be under the supervision of “Kafalah SME Loan Guarantee Program”, with a shorter credit review period and lower financing costs.

“[It will reduce] the level of receivables within the company’s balance sheet during the short and medium term, through settling ACC’s dues by these SMEs,” the company said.

“[The move will also] support the occupancy rates within the company’s shopping centres, as this agreement will provide an exclusive financing for the targeted SMEs, which occupy around 45 percent of ACC’s GLA (gross leasable area),” it added.

The kingdom’s lifestyle destination developer holds a portfolio of 21 shopping centres across Saudi Arabia. Its total GLA reached nearly 1.2 million square metres early last year, making it one of the largest players in the retail sector.

The company went public in 2018 with an initial public offering of 2.8 billion riyals ($746 million).

(Reporting by Cleofe Maceda; editing by Seban Scaria)

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