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Daily Press Review – 20/11/2019

Hellenic will announce Q3 results on 2 December

Hellenic Bank is expected to announce its third quarter results on 2 December. According to an announcement by the bank, its Board of Directors will convene on Friday, 29 November 2019, to examine – among other – the group’s financial results for the first nine months of year, up until 30 September. The results will be announced on the Cyprus Stock Exchange and Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission on Monday, 2 December 2019. HB announced profits of €319.3m in 2018, compared with losses of €45.7m in 2017 due to the large negative goodwill recognised in its books by the absorption of the “good” assets of the Co-operative Bank. In Q3 of 2018, HB announced profits of €295.9m compared with losses of €17.8m in the corresponding period of 2017.

 

“The Future of Healthcare in Cyprus” conference on its way

The completion of reforms in the health sector with the aim of comprehensive healthcare coverage and the provision of quality healthcare services to the public, the role of the new unified health insurance provider in Cyprus, epidemiological characteristics as well as Cyprus’ risk factors will be the main topics of discussion at the 3rd annual “the Future of Healthcare in Cyprus” conference which will take place on 5 December at the Filoxenia Conference Centre in Nicosia. The theme this year will be “Recent Health System Reforms and Quality of Care”. The conference’s Gold Sponsor is Hellenic Bank.

 

Real estate worth €2.5b entering the market

Real estate worth €2.5b will enter the Cypriot market through the sale of banks’ portfolios over the next few years. The banks have amassed a very large real estate portfolio, which was acquired through debt-to-property swaps; a measure that helped seriously curb Cyprus’ NPL rate from the peak of €28b in 2015, to €10b today. There are concerns that the mass disposal of the real estate will lead to a reduction of prices, which would also mean that the assets acquired by the banks will not be worth what they initially thought they would. This is why experts suggest their strategic disposal, telling Kathimerini newspaper that even though there are risks behind the mass disposal of real estate, in the case of Cyprus, it may not lead to a drop in prices but it may intercept the upward course prices are currently on. The main players who have real estate in their possession, and not a form of real estate as collateral behind loans, are Gordian, REMU, Hellenic Bank and Altamira. Astrobank and AlphaBank also have real estate, but it is worth a joint €150m.

 

 

 

Bank charges and the theatre of the paradox

Opinion article by Green Party member Loukas Stylianou, who claims among other that it wasn’t as easy and simple to get Bank of Cyprus to postpone introducing new charge hikes as DISY’s Averof Neophytou and the Cypriot media tried to make it look. He also says that if they really cared about the people, they would dig further into the developing banking dictatorship. But why would they do that, when with their votes they gifted the good part of Laiki Bank to Bank of Cyprus and the good part of the Co-op to Hellenic?

 

Young Entrepreneurs Awards: CCCI awards best young entrepreneurs

The Cyprus Chamber of Commerce and Industry in cooperation with the magazine Thessalonikis Dromena is organising the Young Entrepreneur Awards for the second year running, which awards young entrepreneurs who are under the age of 40 and who have stood out for their leadership and business skills. The ceremony will take place on 21 November at 8pm, at Hellenic Bank’s central offices in Nicosia. Hellenic Bank is the event’s official sponsor.

 

Everything for the banks

Main opposition AKEL’s Harris Polykarpou yesterday reacted to the launch of e-auctions, accusing the government of taking one more step in its effort for swifter and less personal foreclosure procedures. He said the banks asked for fewer obstacles in the foreclosure process, swifter procedures, fewer rights for borrowers and e-auctions, and the Nicos Anastasiades and DISY administration gave it all. In contrast, borrowers asked for protection of the right to housing, respect of the right to appeal to justice, protection from illegal charges and transparent information procedures by the banks, but the government did everything in its power to prevent it.

 

Cyprus going from list to list

An office block in Limassol is listed as the primary address of the vast majority of the 272 companies that were included in the leaked list of 1,448 clients of Cayman National Bank and Cayman National Trust on Man Island. The leak echoes that of the Panama Papers and reveals a banking network-vessel for tax evasion, with the subsidiary of Cayman National Corporation on Man Island at its centre. Cyprus is the jurisdiction with the second highest number of companies-clients of Cayman National Bank.

 

Credit insurance conference

The conference “How to Leverage Credit Risk Through Credit Insurance and Factoring Solutions”, which was organised by Ellinas Finance and TFI Brokers on 13 November in Nicosia, was a great success. The conference was addressed by Finance Minister Harris Georgiades, who congratulated Ellinas Finance and TFI Brokers and noted that such initiatives contribute positively and constructively to the joint effort of the state and business world to find the best possible solutions for matters that concern them.

 

Ferry link with Greece close

The Deputy Ministry of Shipping is currently evaluating a questionnaire sent by the European Committee with regards to financing the ferry link between Greece – Cyprus as state aid. The Deputy Minister Shipping Natasa Pilides noted that they’ve completed the evaluation of the study to determine the emerging funding gap, in cooperation with the state aid commissioner.

Waiting on Ankara’s response

The article in Phileleftheros points out that Minister of Foreign Affairs Nicos Christodoulides in addressing the conference ‘Southeast Europe & East Med: New strategies – new perspectives’ in Washington on Monday, reiterated the proposal that has been made to Turkey for restarting the negotiations with the aim of delimitating the seas while he informed the participants about the recent sanctions decided by the EU against Turkey for its violations of the Cyprus’ EEZ. He went on to say that he believes that the cooperation agreements that we have built in the eastern Mediterranean could help secure stability and security. Whether through bilateral cooperation with the countries of the region or through the tripartite mechanisms already established and others being developed, this framework shapes the political environment in our neighbourhood continued Mr. Christodoulides. Characterizing the decision for setting up a permanent secretariat for the tripartite partnerships in Cyprus as an important step in the direction for further development of multilateral cooperation, Christodoulides said an important message of the participants’ commitment to promote a common vision for Eastern Mediterranean was sent. Thanks to these agreements, major oil and gas companies decided to invest and do business in the Eastern Mediterranean, and have signed production sharing contracts with Cyprus, he said. He stressed that the presence in the area of energy giants like ExxonMobil, Eni, TOTAL, Noble, Shell and so on, support the energy prospects of the region.

 

Efforts to enhance Cyprus-China tourism

Apart from activities in the energy sector, Cyprus also wants to strengthen its ties with China as it comes to the tourism sector. In recent statements, the Deputy Minister of Tourism, Savvas Perdios had referred to the opportunities offered by the Chinese market in Cyprus. However, Cyprus is not chosen by the Chinese as a tourist destination. According to Perdios, around 4-5 thousand Chinese tourists visit Cyprus every year. Apart from the estimates and opinions about branching out to the Chinese market, it shouldn’t be considered that the situation will change any time soon, since there is no direct flight connection with the country. Zhou Jiangrong, deputy director of the tourism department of the Sichuan district, has said that there is a choice to fly from Cyprus to the Chinese city Gengdu with one stop-over. Anthi Spathi, deputy chief of the mission of the Cyprus Embassy in Beijing has said that in order to establish a direct flight, there needs to be viability. The matter has been discussed during the last visit of the House President, Demetris Syllouris in China. Specifically, he discussed the direct connection of Cyprus with the district. “A proposal was accepted and a study will be conducted by a specific Chinese company, on the basis of advanced proposals that we have discussed”, the House President underlined.

 

Green light for new 4-star hotel in Engomi

The Department of Environment green-lit the construction and operation of a four-star hotel in the Municipality of Engomi. According to the Environmental Impact Studies, which has been submitted by DOMS GROUP last March. It is a 4-star hotel, with 144 rooms and is 150m southeast from the Hilton Park and next to the satellite casino of Nicosia. For the construction of the hotel, a part of the current construction needs to be demolished.

 

Infocredit Group and ARQ reach agreement with National Gaming and Casino Supervision Commission

Infocredit Group and the ARQ group recently signed an agreement-framework with the National Gaming and Casino Supervision Commission, for the provision of due diligence services. Specifically, the agreement refers to the conduct of an advanced due diligence study at a global level, for people or entities that submit an application for a permit or ask an approval by the Commission, as well as other relevant partners or private actors, in order to certify the identity, the background, the financial background, the source of funds and the estimation of the relevant risk of corruption, terrorism, legalisation of revenue from illegal activities, political sanctions and their reputation in general. Both Infocredit Group as well as ARQ Group specialise in risk management and regulatory compliance. Their main services focus on innovative solutions against money laundering as well as the conduct of Due Diligence & KYC studies, which help the organisations mitigate business risk, by conducting in-depth background investigations by controlling third parties in accordance with the relevant regulations.

 

Restrictions in ophthalmology

According to the Cyprus Ophthalmological Society, cataracts operations will be conducted within the GHS, while due to the abuses that were recorded in the GHS software, the HO has implemented additional directives and restrictions in ophthalmology. The restrictions for ophthalmologists follow the restrictions implemented last week for gynaecologists. As was the case for the gynaecologists, ophthalmologists have also started protesting. However, in the case of ophthalmology, the situation is clearer since the HIO has adopted the directives and protocols of the competent scientific society. Superficially, as it comes to ophthalmology, there are restrictions in the OCT examination (scanning computerized ophthalmic diagnostic imaging) where abuses were identified in the previous months. Specifically, referencing international data, the HIO reports that the specific examination is not expected to be carried out more than once per year, apart from some specific cases.

 

PASYKI asks to be informed about death of a citizen

With an announcement, PASYKI has called on the Ministry of Health and the competent Larnaca-Famagusta Directorate of OKYPY to express their opinion and inform the society in relation to the death of a citizen, who received haemodialysis. In an announcement, PASYKI argues has realised that some have tried to transfer liability to the nephrologists of the neurological clinic of the General Hospital of Larnaca. PASYKI asks the Ministry of Health and OKYPY to inform on how they have acted for the smooth operation of the Haemodialysis Department of the Famagusta General Hospital, since they knew and accepted the rest leaves.

 

Hadjipetrou: free healthcare coverage for public employees

PASYDY’s Secretary General, Glafkos Hajipetrou, said that the employees of semi-governmental organisations and municipalities were right to claim their rights. It’s worth noting that the decision only concern employees of the wider public sector and not public employees. Mr Hajipetrou, told Phileleftheros, that the organisation will study the regulation that pertains to the health funds. He also said that employment terms of public employees include a provision for free healthcare coverage. However, since 2013 public employees have been paying for health. According to the Secretary General of PASYSY, public employees have already gone to court when in 2013 they were imposed a 1.5% flat-rate reduction for healthcare coverage. Four public employees and police officers filed an appeal. “We had some rights that were illegal abolished, and this is why we have gone to court”, he added. He also reported that public employees demonstrated goodwill and didn’t react to the implementation of the GHS. He also said that when the GHS law was passed in 2001, PASYDY had launched an appeal to the International Labour Office and got justice. Hadjipetrou notes that they will expect the decision of the court, and if they win then public employees will not be obliged to pay contributions for healthcare.

 

Protest over delays in Larnaca Hospital’s new wing

Opposition parties AKEL, Citizens’ Alliance and Greens organised a protest over the unacceptable delays in delivering the new wing of the Larnaca General Hospital. The decision was taken shortly after the Minister of Transport, Communication and Works announced that they’ve extended the contractor’s deadline yet again. The situation is way out hand, since the project had a 3-year schedule but the project is being implemented for the past 7 years.

 

New recommendations by the HIO

Yesterday, following a series of complaints and reports received by GHS’ beneficiaries, the HIO clarified some issues and made a few recommendations. Specifically, the HIO informed beneficiaries that GPs, according to the relevant GHS provisions, must update the patient’s file following each visit and prior to granting any referral or prescription. Additionally, GPs are obliged to give the patient a hard copy of the referral/prescription. Lastly, it clarified that the GHS doesn’t cover laboratory and imaging examinations relating to the issuance of health certificates for athletes and employees, or for participation in the armed forces and sports teams.

 

Smoking: 6 foods that cleanse the lungs from nicotine

Smoking has proven to have many damaging consequences, but there are 6 foods that can help cleanse the lungs from nicotine. Water is a remedy for everything including smoking, as it aids to excrete nicotine. Oranges are a rich source of vitamin C, they strengthen metabolism and reduce stress (which usually leads to smoking). Carrot juice is rich in vitamins A, B, C and K and has beneficial properties for both the skin and the excretion of nicotine. Broccoli is rich in vitamins C and B5 and helps to balance the body, while spinach is rich in folic acid which also helps balance the damaging consequences of smoking. Lastly, kiwi is rich in vitamins A, C and E which are reduced in the body of a smoker.

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