Φόρμα αναζήτησης

Daily Press Review – 20/5/2019

IT elite to attend the Cyprus IT Forum

Cyprus IT Forum 2019, one of the biggest IT and tech conferences in Cyprus, will be held for a second consecutive year on 20 and 21 May at the Parklane Resort & Spa by Mariott in Limassol. It is expected to attract more than 300 elite IT and tech professionals. Cyprus IT Forum is a convention that allows business owners, investors and government officials to communicate and discuss further development of Cyprus as one of the main hubs of IT business in Europe. It is held in Russian, with simultaneous interpretation for non-Russian speakers and guests. Speakers this year include CEOs from some of the biggest global companies based in Cyprus such as Nexters Global, Servers.com, Haxus Al Incubator, Ecommpay, giants from the gaming world, as well as famous speakers from household names such as Google, Yandex, Wargaming and Hollywood.

 

Hellenic Bank has been funding Eco-Schools for 20 years

For the last 20 years, Hellenic Bank has been actively and dynamically supporting the “Eco Schools” project. For yet another year, the Bank sponsored the Pancyprian Awards Ceremony for the Programme “Eco Schools”, which was organised on 16 May 2019 at the Head Office of Hellenic Bank in Nicosia. The ceremony was organised by Hellenic Bank, CYMEPA, the Ministry of Education & Culture and was attended by the Environment Commissioner, Mrs Ioanna Panagiotou. Hellenic Bank’s Commercial Manager, Mr Anderas Papadopoulos thanks the students for their enthusiasm and CYMEPA for their cooperation. “By raising awareness and educating students, can create conditions and lays the foundations for environmentally sensitive future citizens. We rest our hope in them that they will respect the environment more than we have”, he said. Hellenic Bank, has been funding the Foundation for Environmental Education since 1999, with a view to educate children on the protection of the environment. The Programme is addressed to kindergartens, primary schools, junior schools and high schools and some of the subjects studied are: Energy, Water Resources, Waste, Biodiversity, Environment, Culture etc. The programme aims to make the citizens of tomorrow more environmentally conscious and take action for the Environment and Sustainability. The driving force of the Eco-Schools is the Environment Commission in each school that carries out an Environmental Report and an action plan. All this takes place in cooperation with CYMEPA, the National Coordinator of the Programme. Each Eco-School creates its own Eco Code. Students, teachers, local administration and parents participate in the different activities of the programme, helping raise awareness and sensitise the public. The project aims to bring as many schools as possible into the programme. This year, the number of Eco Schools amounted to 260.

 

“Internal Audit: the new era”

The 4th Cyprus Internal Audit Forum, which was organised by the Cyprus Institute of Internal Auditors on Thursday, 16 May at the Hilton Cyprus hotel in Nicosia, under the title «Internal Audit: The New Era». Distinguished speakers from Cyprus and abroad, addressed the future challenges that the internal audit sector will be facing, ways to upgrade the quality of the sector’s services, the role that an internal auditor can play in tackling money laundering, the development and usage of technology for internal audits etc. The Minister of Transport, Communications and Works, Vasiliki Anastasiadou gave a welcome address. Distinguished speakers included the member of the Audit Committee of the European Confederation of Institutes of Internal Auditing (ECIIA) Mr Norbert Wagner, the Acting chair of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW), Mrs Fiona Wilkinson, the chairwoman of the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission, Demetra Kalogirou, the Chairman of the Audit Committee of Hellenic Bank, Evripides Polykarpou and others.

 

Hellenic’s CEO expresses concerns over too many insurance companies

Speaking at the 4th Conference of the Cyprus Association of Actuaries, Hellenic Bank’s CEO, Ioannis Matsis, expressed his concerns over the large number of insurance companies operating in Cyprus. Specifically, he referred to the 41 insurance companies operating in Cyprus and questioned whether their existence can be justified in the Cypriot market, which has 800.000 residents. All the while, he said, we are going through a period of increasing global challenges, with European demands through specific directive (such as Solvency II) increasing the pressure for creditworthy companies. It should be noted that the insurance sector in Cyprus includes 41 insurance companies with 4000 employees, while the sector contributes 4% to the GDP and its investment activity exceeds €2.5b. The CEO of Hellenic Bank, said that for measure, Greece which has a 12 times our population and an economy that its 10 times bigger, only has 55 insurance companies. He argued whether mergers or even the closure of some insurance companies, would help increase the effectiveness of the sector as a whole. He also expressed his concerns as it comes to expertise in the insurance sector, questioning whether Cyprus has enough qualified people to be absorbed by the sector or if the companies has a deficit of talent, resulting in inefficiency, putting the whole sector in danger. He also wondered whether the products that the insurance companies offer, are able to respond to the needs of a developing Cypriot economy. He also listed specific examples for products that Cypriot insurance companies could provide. He also posed another question, whether Cypriot insurance companies could cooperate with international reinsurance companies, creating one or more Cypriot reinsurance companies. Such a development, as he noted, would have multiple positive consequences for the Cypriot economy, as it would create job positions, would retain money that now goes to other countries and would improve the country’s balance sheet. Finally, he wondered whether insurance companies can educate the public as well as the state about the need for insurance. He also gave an extreme example that in the case of a disaster for example an earthquake, the economy could collapse and once again need to be financially supported by the IMF and troika.

 

 

 

BoC to give 1bank access to other banks

Alithia reports that Bank of Cyprus in the framework of its Digital Transformation, offers services and products that improve the clients’ experience. 1Bank provides clients with the capacity to follow the accounts they hold with other banks. This service is at the moment only offered to clients who have accounts in 8 British banks. However, the Bank will soon offer the possibility to its clients to access and transfer money to all the bank accounts they hold in other Cypriot banks. The Bank is now waiting for the other two Cypriot banks to ready their technical infrastructure in order to be able to provide permissions and codes. The service offers transparency and simplified procedures as well as an easier and safer way to transfer money between bank accounts in different banks. Clients will be able to use 1bank on their phones, and access statements, latest transactions and loans in different banks.

 

Competition Commission cancels fines imposed on banks

The Competition Protection Commission, cancelled its decision for fines in excess of €23m against six banks and JCC. As a first stage, around a year ago, they cancelled the fines that were imposed on Bank of Cyprus and JCC, while with a recent ruling, the Court cancelled the administrative penalties for the remaining five banks. The Commission had imposed the fines, as it considered that because of the banks’ shareholder structure or the relevant agreements of the banks with JCC, there was a violation of the competition laws. This case was examined by the Commission, after a complaint by FBME Card Services L

 

OEB-IDEA become partners for innovation

The Employers and Industrialists Federation (OEB) and the IDEA innovation centre, reached an agreement with a view to promote startups and entrepreneurship in Cyprus. IDEA is sponsored by Bank of Cyprus and other partners. On the basis of the agreement, OEB will provide prospective entrepreneurs with guidance and training in relation to labour and other issues that fall under OEB’s mandate as well as help them contact the appropriate entrepreneurs. It is expected that the cooperation between the two bodies, is expected to boost the entrepreneurial system since it will facilitate the rational development of new innovative businesses and help their integration in the system.

 

NPLs amounted to €10.3b in end of January

NPLs in the Cypriot banking system remained stable in the end of January 2019, compared with the previous month. However, loans with more than a 90-day delay increased to 23.3% from 22.5% in December. According to Central Bank data, NPLs increased by €47m in January, while loans with more than a 90-day delay increased by €325m. In the end of January 2019, NPLs reached €10.3b, while loans with more than a 90-day delay, reached €7.94b. It should be noted that €4.6b worth of NPLs, are still considered as NPLs, even though they were restructured and will continue to be steadily repaid.

 

Estia platform almost ready

According to Phileleftheros’ sources, the ESTIA scheme platform will be ready within the next few days. Through the platform, interested borrowers will be able to submit their applications. The platform is prepared by a private company and will be managed by the Labour Ministry. It is expected that by June, the Scheme will record some progress. The article notes that the government is not concerned about any likely delays, since it will submit the first payments at the end of the year.

 

Games of Power at Hellenic

The Board of Directors of Hellenic which met on Friday, is considering changing the date of the Annual Board Meeting originally scheduled for May 26.  It is possible that Stock Exchange Commission may make an announcement as early as tomorrow morning.  Hellenic Board is going through significant changes at this time due to the changes in its composition. Demetria Investments is expressing interest in gaining 3-4 new positions on the Board.

 

All elite at the same place

For the second consecutive year, one of the major IT conventions in Cyprus, the Cyprus IT Forum 2019, will take place at Parklane Hotel in Limassol on May 20th and 21st 2019, which attracts more than 300 participants every year, who consist the elite of the IT world on the island. Cyprus IT Forum 2019 is a convention that allows business owners, investors and government officials to communicate and discuss the opportunities of cooperation as well as further development of Cyprus as one of the main hubs of IT business in EU. This year’s speakers list includes CEOs from Cyprus’ largest international IT companies such as gaming giant Nexters Global, Servers.com, Haxus Al Incubator, Ecommpay and a few of the world’s most famous guest speakers from Google, Yandex, Wargaming and Hollywood.

 

  1. Matsis: Integration in Hellenic complete by September

Ioanis Matsis, CEO of Hellenic Bank, speaks in Brief (DigitalTree) and explains how Hellenic Bank manages the 550,000 new customers transferred from former Co-op, stressing that integration will be completed by the end of September. At the same time he analyzes the latest data on NPLs as well as on the excess liquidity of the Bank.

 

Banks eager to give out loans

The article refers to the increased cash flow at the banks.  A bank that does not invest its excess cash, looses money in effect. Hellenic is searching for opportunities abroad according to sources, clarifying that it is seeking investments. Finance Ministry has not given the final word on the issuance of bond here at home, although this possibility is left open.

 

  1. Loizidis: We are in talks with several banks

Constantinos Loizides in his first interview as Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Executive Committee of Astrobank reveals that discussions are underway with various banks. Although with regard to the case of the National Bank of Cyprus he states that there is no legal agreement, he reveals that the large number of banks that still exist in the Cypriot banking system is the reason for the ongoing consultations between Astrobank and other banks.

 

Housing programs – traps

More than 264 million overdue loans to a state-owned Housing Financing Organization and Cyprus Land Development Corporation. Data regarding older housing loans given out to lower to middle class individuals lead to the conclusion that the non-performing loans are not exclusive privilege of financial institutions. Around € 227 million is the amount of arrears which were granted by the state-owned Housing Financing Organization and Cyprus Land Development Corporation Agency.  Three cases have been recorded in fact for which not a single payment has not been made toward the loan. So although the programs have ended, the outstanding amounts still remain pending.

 

The delay in the ESTIA scheme has contributed to an increase in NPLs

The delay observed in the implementation of the ESTIA scheme, which a year following its announcement is still at the Legal Service for review, appears to be the reason for the decrease in the rate of the NPLs repayment, according to data published by the Central Bank of Cyprus. All these at a time  when the Central Bank of Cyprus and its new leadership is sending clear messages to speed up efforts to reduce debt by private households.

 

Pending Lawsuits and their negative impact on public finances

Pending lawsuits for several millions against the state may have a negative impact on public finances. Although the Finance Minister is making efforts to succeed in maintaining a balanced budget with costs to be fully offset against revenues. Recent example was the case with civil servants, who won the case against the Republic, but the Government has announced that it will appeal the decision. Older examples were the cases of MIG and FBME, of which however the Republic managed to win, and it therefore did not have to pay the huge amounts involved exceeding 1 billion.

 

The shareholders of the biggest companies

InBusinessNews reports on the major shareholders of large companies that are listed in the Cyprus Stock Exchange. It also refers to Hellenic Bank and gives its shareholding structure: Wargaming Group – 20,61% Demetra Investment – 21,01% (from 18,42) Poppy SARL – 17,30%, Third Point Hellenic Recovery Fund LP – 12,59%, 7Q Invest Ltd Multi Opportunities – 8,89%, Public Equity – 21,68%.

 

  1. Matsis: Hellenic’s strategy for the reduction of NPLs

Hellenic Bank’s CEO, Ioannis Matsis, spoke to Digital Tree and analysed everything that has to do with NPLs as well as the excess liquidity of the Bank. At the same time, he mentioned that the bank is managing 550.000 new customers that it got from the former Co-op, stressing that the integration will be complete in the end of September. He also answered questions about the bank’s labour issues, stressing that there will be raises, but these will not be automatic. Finally, he notes that Hellenic Bank trusts the different sectors of the Cypriot economy, in which it invests, such as Tourism, Education, Health. He didn’t rule out the possibility that the bank will invest in Energy. He mentions that with the acquisition of the former Co-op, Hellenic Bank helped avoid a banking crisis, as it bought all the deposits of the Co-op’s former clients. In this way, the bank managed to reinstate trust in the banking system and as such, customers are returning to Hellenic Bank. The next strategic priority is to complete the integration of the two banks. “We are now in the middle of the process and unfortunately there are operational problems”, Matsis admits. He said that the congestion at the Bank’s branches, with long queues will be solved as the bank is working hard. They aim to complete the integration procedure, by the end of September. This means that the bank will have a uniform culture, an upgrade of branches as well as integration of IT and data, so that all the customers will be able to receive services from highly-educated personnel. “We are not there yet, but I’m feeling hopeful that we will achieve this goal and by the end of September, we will be able, as a single bank, to tend to the needs of our customers, as a guardian of their deposits as well as the exposures and credit needs that they have”, Matsis said. On the NPLs, Matsis said that the total of the bank’s exposures (including capitalised interest), amounts to €2b. However, he explained that the reality is that the bank cannot recover all of it. The real value of the €2b exposures, amounts to €700m. As such, he argues in a balance sheet of €16.1b, we are merely referring to 4%. Therefore, he argues that the bank does intend to continue with deleveraging, but stresses that even though we are hearing about percentages like 26% of total exposures, but these compare to the entirety of loans and not the entire balance sheet. He also mentioned that he doesn’t believe that NPLs will be reduced to 4-5% by next year. He also said that while loans are transferred outside the Banking system, they do not disappear, but are merely acquired by investment funds that are not supervised like credit institutions. On the bank’s excess liquidity, he said the bank in ready to invest and give out loans in the sectors of tourism, health, energy, education, large-scale investment projects and large infrastructure projects. He also said that the bank may even invest in hydrocarbons, depending on how the hydrocarbon explorations go. He further mentioned that he supports that horizontal and automatic annual raises are anachronistic since they don’t reward the effort and performance of the employees.

 

Hellenic Bank has been supporting Eco-Schools for 20 years

For the last 20 years, Hellenic Bank has been actively and dynamically supporting the “Eco Schools” project. For yet another year, the Bank sponsored the Pancyprian Awards Ceremony for the Programme “Eco Schools”, which was organised on 16 May 2019 at the Head Office of Hellenic Bank in Nicosia. The ceremony was organised by Hellenic Bank, CYMEPA, the Ministry of Education & Culture and was attended by the Environment Commissioner, Mrs Ioanna Panagiotou. Hellenic Bank’s Commercial Manager, Mr Anderas Papadopoulos thanks the students for their enthusiasm and CYMEPA for their cooperation. “By raising awareness and educating students, can create conditions and lays the foundations for environmentally sensitive future citizens. We rest our hope in them that they will respect the environment more than we have”, he said. Hellenic Bank, has been funding the Foundation for Environmental Education since 1999, with a view to educate children on the protection of the environment. The Programme is addressed to kindergartens, primary schools, junior schools and high schools and some of the subjects studied are: Energy, Water Resources, Waste, Biodiversity, Environment, Culture etc. The programme aims to make the citizens of tomorrow more environmentally conscious and take action for the Environment and Sustainability. The driving force of the Eco-Schools is the Environment Commission in each school that carries out an Environmental Report and an action plan. All this takes place in cooperation with CYMEPA, the National Coordinator of the Programme. Each Eco-School creates its own Eco Code. Students, teachers, local administration and parents participate in the different activities of the programme, helping raise awareness and sensitise the public. The project aims to bring as many schools as possible into the programme. This year, the number of Eco Schools amounted to 260.

 

 

Low rate of debt restructuring

Debt restructuring schemes marked a reduction in the last quarter of 2018, amounting to a total of €5.1m compared with €5.8m in the previous quarter. According to Central Bank data, the €5.1b debt restructuring schemes make up 21.1% of the total exposures that banks gave to the local economy which amounted to €24.4b. Out of the total debt restructuring schemes that were carried out in October – December 2018, the €2.8b concerned household debt restructuring schemes and €2.2b concerned non-financial corporations. The €5.1b debt restructuring schemes were carried out as below: Bank of Cyprus with a total €2.85b worth of debt restructuring schemes (€1.32b concerned non-financial corporations loans and €1.47b concerned households loans. Hellenic Bank carried out a total debt restructuring schemes of a total value of €1.34b, of which €533.6m concerned non-financial corporations and €797.7m concerned household loans. The article goes through the corresponding numbers for AlphaBank, AstroBank, House Finance Corporation, CDB, Eurobank, National Bank, USB, Société Générale.

 

Banks send out many notice letters in view of upcoming e-auctions

Haravgi reports that banks have been sending many letters to borrowers, in view of the e-auctions that are expected to start after the European Elections. According to the Central Bank, many of the foreclosures that the banks are preparing have to do with primary residencies, confirming that most of the applications for the Estia Scheme will be rejected. Banks sent letters for a total of 7.768 properties, worth over €2b.

 

Salamis new era is ahead

Salamis’ 60 years of service is only the beginning; a new era is ahead. They expect the next few years to be more creative and interesting. This is what the General Manager of Salamis, Mr. Kikis Vasiliou said during a speech about Salamis’ 60 years anniversary. He said, that he only looks forward, based on their timeless values they strive for development. With an understanding of yesterday and by utilising today, they are better prepared for tomorrow, he said.

 

The “TAXIDI” Exhibition was a great success

This year’s “TAXIDI” exhibition attracted a large number of travellers, which was held between 3-5 May 2019. Approximately 8.500 Cypriots and foreign nationals visited the exhibition and were informed of the various opportunities and packages for summer holidays. Visitors were also provided with the opportunity to participate in contests.

 

Cyprus flight capacity is increased

British Airline Company Jet2 has increased their flight capacity for Cyprus for this year’s summer season by 16% in comparison to the respective period of last year, according to TTG’s inspection. The relevant announcement claimed that approximately 550.000 seats are available to book for the summer. Meanwhile, it is worth noting that capacity for the winter period has also increased by 45% with 200.000 additional seats.

 

Cyprus Casinos “C2” sponsors the Exclusive Superyachts Event

Demonstrating its ongoing commitment to actively support the Cypriot tourism industry and enhance the entertainment sector for both locals and tourists, Cyprus Casinos “C2” participated in the highly anticipated Limassol Boat Show 2019 as the main sponsor of the Exclusive Superyachts Event.

 

Negotiating an extension

The consortium that will develop the casino-resort in Limassol, is currently negotiating with the government in order to ensure an extension for the launch date of the casino-resort. The launch date had been set on 31 April 2021, but the Integrated Casino Resorts Cyprus believes that the final permits were delayed and this is why it is requesting an extension of a few months. It should be noted, that for every day that the operation is stalled, the state is allowed to oppose a penalty, which could go up to €1m, and even proceed to revoke their license, after a specific period of time.

 

Casino contractors announced vacancies

The TERNA-AVAX consortium has announced they are seeking for specialised personnel for the construction of the casino-resort in Limassol. According to the information they gave in the past, during the construction phase, 4.000 job positions and later on 2.400 permanent positions will be created. The specialised positions include architects, civil engineers, land surveyors, administrative staff, an accountant etc. It should be noted that the construction for the casino will last around 2 years.

 

Citrine Estates by CNS Group: invest in luxury, live in nature

Limassol’s exclusive premier development, located near the highly-anticipated City of Dreams Mediterranean casino-resort, is a delicate blend of natural beauty and modern design offering a holistic experience in a cosmopolitan city. Citrine Estates is an exclusive property development located within Cyprus’ majestic Akrotiri Peninsula, to the west of Limassol. Cyprus’ most cosmopolitan city is an international business hub with a booming real estate market, making it the perfect location for a luxury investment. In response to the growing demand for high-end residential properties, Citrine Estates is expected to become a key international destination for luxury living and a hotspot for real estate investors.

 

Long waiting times

In Larnaca, many people are filing complaints against the old Larnaca hospital, calling upon MPs, and the Health Minister to intervene. According to the complains, the problem seems to have to do with General Practitioners (GPs), as they have too many patients waiting in line to see them. This number of GPs is insufficient since sometimes patient registrations end as early as 10 am,. This means that hundreds of patients who were waiting to register, are forced to leave empty-handed.

 

Limited use of Xeljanz

Pharmacovigilance Risk Assessment Committee (PRAC) and the European Medicine Agency (EMA) have announced that doctors should not prescribe Xeljanz (tofacitinib) on a dosage of 10mg twice daily, to patients with an increased risk of developing blood clots in the lungs. Tofacitinib is taken as tablets and can be prescribed by a consultant rheumatologist for adults with rheumatoid arthritis or psoriatic arthritis. The Health Ministry announced that doctors must carefuly consider any factors that could potentially increase the risk of developing blood clots, including age, obesity, smoking or immobility.

 

Concerns about specialised doctors

Up until now, not enough specialised doctors have registered in the GHS, despite increased registrations (a total of 140 specialised doctors joined the HIO so far). Another 600 specialised doctors will be offering services in the framework of the GHS (hospitals, health centres etc.) Furthermore, new incentives that will be announced in the upcoming weeks are expected to persuade more to join. At the same time, cardiologists and gynaecologists have expressed particular interest in joining the GHS. However, no ENTs have joined so far. At the same time, the maximum capacity of doctors’ patient lists remains at 2.500, despite increased requests from the doctors to increase their limit. The article reports that according to the HIO’s guidelines, patients with chronic conditions will be able to receive a long-term prescription from their personal doctors, without needing to visit a specialised doctor.

 

BAT Hellas invests millions

British American Tobacco Hellas (BAT) made new investments worth €150m in the Greek economy, and ensured €4m in services-benefits for their employees. They decided to provide the whole range of potentially reduced-risk products in Greece, which include the heated tobacco product Glo and the vaping product Vype. According to a relevant announcement, they chose to invest in Greece to create 100 new jobs, following their commitment to develop human resources and support Greece Economy. More specifically, the last couple of years the group has invested approximately €4m in bonuses and other benefits for their employees, such as private pension schemes, private healthcare schemes and other services and rewards.