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Daily Press Review – 12/7/2019

Kristofer Richard Kraus appointed to HB’s board

Hellenic Bank has announced the appointment of Kristofer Richard Kraus as an non-independent, non-executive member of the bank’s Board until 19 June 2019. According to a relevant announcement, his appointment has been approved by the European Central Bank. Born in 1970 in California, United States of America. Studied Economics (B.Sc. with Majors in Multinational Management and Finance) at the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania in the USA. Commenced his career in 1994 at Credit Suisse First Boston, based in New York. During his eleven years at the investment bank, he focused on fixed income structuring and trading; product areas included commercial and residential real estate, asset-backed securities and structured products. From 2003 until May 2005, he was Managing Director and co-head of the Global CLO/CDO Group. Was appointed Member of the Board of Directors of Hellenic Bank on 19 June 2019.

 

Must Fashion the Anniversary Event

In Business presents the Must Fashion The Anniversary Event, which was held at the Old Town Hall of Nicosia. 11 designers presented their creations in an impressive setting that was specifically designed for the event. Maria Korinthiou and Savvas Poumbouras were the presenters of the evening, while music by 48 Hours accompanied the fashion shows. The Must Fashion Anniversary Event was presented by LUX, Hellenic Bank and BMW. Evian, Papaphilipou Ice-creams, Moet & Chandon, Trends Make-up Stores, L’oreal Professionnel and Occhio Catering.

 

Designed Unique

The designer who collaborated with Hellenic Bank for the Must Fashion Anniversary Event Polyxeni Pazarou, gives an interview to Must Magazine, where she says that her collaboration with Hellenic Bank resulted from www.exeistidynami.com after a very good friend of hers contacted the Bank and informed them of her situation. She adds that Hellenic Bank’s effort is remarkable and gave her the opportunity to make 8 girls from Hope for Children happy. “We made graduation dresses for them and each girl had the option to ask for what she really wanted.”

 

From banks, real estate agents

Banks have collected properties worth over €2b, in the framework of their debt cancellation policies. This has made them the biggest realtors in Cyprus and their portfolio includes many different types of properties. Fields, plots, apartments, houses, commercial properties, large housing developments. The data that Bank of Cyprus, Hellenic Bank and KEDIPES announce from time to time, demonstrate that within 5 years, they have become property managers. This has mainly resulted from debt-to-asset swaps. If one visits the websites of REMU, APS and Altamira, they will find many choices, especially if they wish to purchase a property. BoC’s REMU, is managing 1.542 properties, of which 915 are plots and fields, 275 are offices and other commercial properties, 197 houses, 119 industrial properties, 35 hotels and a property that is still under construction. In the first quarter of 2019, REMU completed the sale of €30m worth of properties, receiving €4m in profit. APS Debt Servicing Cyprus manages 800 properties of Hellenic Bank, of a total worth of €250m, with the biggest part being fields, while there are fewer commercial and housing properties. At the same time, APS is servicing Hellenic’s NPLs, which are worth €1.8b. Altamira, apart from the €7.4b Co-op loans that it is servicing, it is also manging all the properties of the Co-op (3 thousand title deeds, worth around €600m).

 

Be careful with foreclosures framework

Alithia reports that sources close to the developments, have said that the foreclosures framework should not be negatively impacted by the new legislative proposals, noting at the same time that the new legislations that were passed at the EU level, are forcing the banks to make predictions for 100% of their NPLs, if they are not in a position to recover the collateral. These remarks were made at the same time when the parties have submitted bills in order to amend the foreclosures framework, leading to a more time-consuming procedure. Alithia notes that the Foreclosures legislation did not intend to be beneficial for the banks; it sets an effective and cheaper framework. If there is no repayment culture in the banking sector, then there will be a new crisis and the NPLs will increase even more, the same sources have said speaking to the CNA. Also, with the new EU Directive, there will be capital impact on the banks, since the banks will not be able to recover the collateral, they will have to strike off the loan and this will have an effect on their capital, the same sources added. They said that the current legislative framework, as it was amended in the summer of 2018, is supportive for the reduction of NPLs, adding that they must avoid an amendment that will hinder the procedure. According to the same sources, they recognise that the banking sector has been stabilised because of two factors: the sale of the good part of the Co-op to Hellenic Bank and the subsequent transfer of the Co-op’s NPLs to KEDIPES, as well as the sale of the BoC’s bad loans portfolio (helix). They add that these developments shouldn’t disorient us with regards to the efforts that must be carried out, since the banking sector has an NPLs rate of 31%, compared with 3.8%, which is the EU average.

 

Talent shortages cost European private businesses around €414b per year

Talent shortages cost European private businesses around €414b per year, according to a study by PwC. According to a Press Release by PwC Cyprus, in a PwC survey across 31 European countries demonstrates that the skills shortage is  costing the region’s private businesses €414b annually in lost revenues. This sum corresponds to 2.6% of the EU GDP and exceeds the annual GDPs of Greece and Portugal combined. Peter Englisch, Global Family Business and EMEA Entrepreneurial and Private Business Leader said that the skills shortage in Europe is even bigger structural issue for private businesses. The study also shows that in general, private businesses across Europe still forecast an increase in turnover in the next 12 months. However, they are less hopeful than they were last year. In 2018, 65% of private businesses was forecasting an increase in turnover, compared to only 57% in 2019. Mark Smith, EMEA clients and markets leader at PwC, said that the companies which consider their digital transformation as the key for their next stage of development, proceeding to successfully achieve their goals have a greater chance to grow at an event faster rate.

 

GHS pharmacists cry for help

Phileleftheros reports that pharmacists who are registered with the GHS are in a really tough situation, according to Eleni Piera-Isseyegh, the President of the Cyprus Pharmaceutical Association (CPA), “they are waiting for GHS’ software upgrade as well as for the redistribution of pharmaceutical stock in state warehouses, in order to better serve the GHS’ beneficiaries”. Meanwhile, the HIO has recorded the pharmacists complaints and is promoting the necessary reforms which are reportedly going to be implemented within 10 days. Indeed, Mr. Isseyegh stated that the emergency general meeting held on Wednesday lasted for 7 hours but revealed many of the pharmacists’ daily struggles that the HIO must solve immediately. The pharmacists attribute these problems to the software which have resulted in drug shortages.

 

Army doctors are quitting

Four more army doctors have quit, creating gaps in the army’s healthcare system. Army doctors are quitting at an alarming rate, while the House Defence Committee is trying to put an end to this situation by submitting reforms which in order to prohibit army doctors from setting up a private practice. EDEK leader, Marinos Sizopoulos also expressed his concerns about doctors quitting, noting that the number of doctors that have resigned is already too high. He stressed the difference in the salaries of state doctors and army doctors and suggested that army doctors should be given incentives, in order to stay on as army doctors.