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Daily Press Review – 23/7/2019

Attracting tech companies is a strategic priority

Article by George Campanellas the General Director of Invest Cyprus in InBusiness where he reports on the importance of attracting tech companies. He argues that many people are rather indifferent in regards to the choice of big companies such as Wargaming, eToro, NCR, 3CX, AMDOCS, UTX to establish their headquarters in our country even though these are companies who added value to the Cypriot economy. He asks why did these companies choose Cyprus and how could we attract more companies so that they transfer their activities to our country. He argues that the companies did not choose Cyprus by chance; in fact, Cyprus combines a series of characteristics and advantages that make it an ideal headquartering destination, especially for tech and IT companies. He reports that Invest Cyprus is promoting Cyprus as an ideal choice for headquartering, for companies active in this sector. They are convinced that through targeted actions, they can further increase the number of companies choosing Cyprus and for this purpose, they are implementing various promotional actions around the world. The author goes on to say that Invest Cyprus, recently visited London’s tech hub at Canary Wharf, where he promoted Cyprus’ advantages for this kind of companies. The keynote speaker of the event was the founder and CEO of Wargaming, Mr Victor Kilsyi, who shared his personal experience of establishing his company’s HQs in our country. At Invest Cyprus, we will continue to work methodically in order to highlight the advantages that out country can offer, he argues. In the coming period, the Agency is organising roadshows in order to attract tech companies from India, the UK, Ukraine, the USA as well as Scandinavian countries. I have no doubt that Cyprus can attract more companies like Wargaming in the companies years, companies counting the country’s advantages, which – with their presence – will contribute to building long-term conditions for economic growth.

 

Foreclosures at full speed

While banks and credit recovery companies are taking a little break from foreclosures in August, auctions are predicted to intensify in general. According to data published by the Ministry of Interior, auctions will intensify until 9 August, returning at a full speed from 19 August onwards. The foreclosures list for July and some days of August, concerns all the districts of Cyprus and includes fields, plots, residences and shops. One of the most expensive properties being foreclosed is a ground-floor house in Aglantzia taking up 1.236sqm. The property will be auctioned off by Gordian Holdings at €1.928.000. Altamira is auctioning off a hotel unit of 6.021sqm in Polis Chrysochous for €2.638.50. Another property that stands out is the foreclosure of a ground-floor home in a 713sqm area, for €428.925. Hellenic Bank is auctioning off a two-storey house in Anthoupoli at a 268sqm plot for €216.000. Hellenic Bank is also foreclosing a 558sqm plot in the Apostles Petros and Pavlos district of Limassol, without a tentative price. Within the plot, there is a medium-sized apartment block with 107-113sqm apartments. Hellenic is also auctioning off a 264sqm plot in Yermasogia for €315.600. Hellenic is also auctioning off a €218.000 apartment in Larnaca. Phileleftheros goes on to report on many other properties being foreclosed by Altamira, Gordian Holdings, Bank of Cyprus and Alpha Bank in all the districts of Cyprus.

 

Credit recovery companies in Cyprus increase to 7

Following the licensing of APS Loan Management by the Central Bank of Cyprus, there are now 7 credit recovery companies in Cyprus. According to the CNA, APS is the latest company to receive a license by the Central Bank of Cyprus, with a permit issued on 21 June. It should be reminded that APS acquired a small portfolio of uninsured NPLs worth €33.7m from Bank of Cyprus. The licensed companies include B2 Kapital Cyprus (100% subsidiary of the Norwegian B2 Holdings ASA) which acquired an NPLs portfolio worth €144m from Hellenic Bank, CAC Coral to which the National Bank of Greece has transferred its NPLs and the two companies of Bank of Cyprus, CYMC III Limited and Gordian Holdings (former CYMC I Limited), where the Helix NPLs were transferred. The list also includes the Cyprus Asset Management Company (KEDIPES), which is a subsidiary of the Cooperative Asset Management Company Ltd (former Co-op). KEDIPES was founded in order to manage the NPLs of the former Co-op with a nominal value of €6.9m.

 

BoC, Hellenic, KEDIPES preparing €2.5b loans for ESTIA

The two biggest banks of Cyprus, Bank of Cyprus and Hellenic as well as KEDIPES, are preparing to join the Estia Scheme with loans amounting to €2.5b. The Scheme is expected to officially open for applications on 2 September, but the two biggest banks and the former Co-op have already begun contacting potential beneficiaries in order to be able to handle the huge workload in a timely manner. Furthermore, the website of the Ministry of Labour has already uploaded the application document as well as guidelines on how to complete it. The document numbers 34 pages, while for its submission a total 51 supporting documents are needed. Haravgi reports that Bank of Cyprus proceeded with an in-depth analysis of its portfolio and identified 4.000 potential beneficiaries who have loans amounting to a total €850m. Hellenic Bank identified 1.650 accounts, corresponding to 1.200 clients, who seem to be eligible for Estia. The aggregate balance of the loans in question amounts to €298m. As a member of Hellenic Bank told the paper, the bank has already contacted 30% of potential beneficiaries. It should be noted that Hellenic Bank has set up a call centre (22690434) and an email address (cy-estia apsholding.com) while they also opened a mail box for written communication APS Debt Servicing Cyprus Ltd 20 Amfipoleos, 2025 Nicosia Cyprus. KEDIPES has identified 7.300 accounts, worth a total €1.3b, which seem to be eligible for Estia.

 

Ashiotis: Education sector needs to be redesigned

According to Andreas Ashiotis, who is chief economist at Hellenic Bank, the educational system needs to be redesigned, so as to reduce the discrepancy between the qualifications of recent university graduates and the needs of the labour market. He spoke to Active radio station about this problem on the basis of the first report of the Economy and Competitiveness Council. Ashiotis, who is a member of the National Economy and Competitiveness Council said that the Council with the help of foreign experts will create a National Strategy, with funding from the European Commission in order to identify the economic sectors with the most needs, over the next 10-15 years. The study will be announced next September and will be completed in the next one-one and a half years, he underlined. Finally, Ashiotis reported that we must put greater emphasis on research programmes as well as parternships between the private sector and higher education.

 

Demetra Investment’s revenue takes off

Demetra Investment’s profits rose to €11.7m in the first six months of 2019 and mainly due to the company’s investments in the Cyprus Stock Exchange. Specifically, €11.5m of their profits resulted from their investments in CSE. Profits from dividends amounted to €553K, while profits from deposits amounted to €110K, compared to €170K in the same period last year, due to the reduction of deposits and the reduction of interest rates. At the same time, the  costs incurred by the company also rose, amounting to €1.1m in the first semester of 2019, compared to €727K in the same period in 2018. As the company explains, this increase is due to unusual costs incurred and is mainly related to their investment in Hellenic Bank. The company explains that the total new investment they made in Hellenic Bank amounts to €49.3m and that they are currently examining the accounting treatment of the investment.

 

ETYK sees traps in KEDIPES’ proposal for collective agreement renewal

The latest proposal by the Cyprus Asset Management Company (KEDIPES) for the renewal of the collective agreement of former Co-op employees, who stayed on at KEDIPES was met with strong opposition by the bank employees union, ETYK. According to a circular addressed to KEDIPES’ staff, ETYK believes that the company’s proposal has hidden traps, which aim to bypass the current agreements as well as abolish the permanency of the employees. The union notes that they have studied the proposal and arranged a meeting with KEDIPES’ management on Wednesday 24/07/2019. ETYK also notes that they decided to call all KEDIPES and Altamira employees in regional general meetings, in order to be better informed and take final decisions.

 

BoC Cultural Foundation awarded contract for post-doctoral research

Bank of Cyprus’ Cultural Foundation, for the first time in its history, has been awarded a contract to carry out post-doctoral research on” Aspects of multiconfessionalism and human geography in early modern Cyprus from the Venetians to the Ottomans” (CyChrist). According to an announcement by Bank of Cyprus, the project secured funding through the “Didaktor” Post-Doctoral Researchers programme of the RESTART 2016-2020, which is implemented by the Research Promotion Foundation of Cyprus.

 

AKEL and EDEK do not accept the President’s vetoes

Phileleftheros reports that DISY will face problems as it comes to the veto of the foreclosures legislation by the President. On Monday, the House will examine the vetoes and the parties have already demonstrated their intentions. The MPs are still waiting for some additional information by the Ministry of Finance, so as to give their final opinion. With an announcement AKEL, stressed that they had no doubt that the President of the Republic would veto the foreclosure laws that were passed by the Parliament, adding that the specific vetoes cannot be accepted. They argued that the President acted similarly on the laws that aimed to protect primary residences and small businesses. EDEK called on all involved parties to freeze the foreclosure procedures, until the discussion the House completes its deliberations.

 

Top companies in Limassol

Gold magazine presents the top Limassol-based companies in its special 100th issue. These include DP World Limassol, which exclusively operates the multi-purpose terminal in Limassol. The terminal’s activities, comprising of three multi-purpose quays, include break-bulk, general cargo, Ro-Ro, oil & gas services and the brand-new passenger terminal.

 

Let’s talk business

Limassol business stakeholders are asked three questions: How has Limassol changed over the last 10 years? What makes Limassol an attractive business and investment destination? And, What needs to be improved in Limassol if it is to become an even more attractive place for business? Among those asked is DP World Limassol General Manager Charles Meaby, who says among other that Limassol has become a vibrant international business centre over the years, while it is also being reinstated as a quality holiday destination.

 

DP World Limassol

DP World Limassol was honoured with the “Most Efficient Cruise Terminal” award at the recent prestigious MedCruise Award Ceremony in Genoa. DP World Limassol port is the main cruise port of Cyprus and is designed to accommodate the largest operating cruise vessels. DP World Limassol’s General Manager, Charles Meaby, said, “Establishing the Limassol port as a manor regional cruise hub is a top priority for DP World Limassol. We are working hard to promote the sustainable growth of Cyprus’ cruise sector and contribute to the development of its tourism industry.”

 

Talk about a ‘Yavuz’ supporting ship entering Limassol port

According to the article, the ship has been in the Limassol port since last Saturday pending the arrest warrants for the staff. According to Sigmalive information, the Turkish Energy Minister had stated that the particular ship is one of the two supporting ships of “Yavuz” conducting the illegal drilling in the occupied Karpasia area. The ship has been in the Limassol harbour since last Saturday, while arrest warrants for ship personnel supporting illegal Turkish drilling in the Cypriot EEZ are pending. This particular ship allegedly began its journey on July 14 from the port of Egypt to arrive in Limassol on the 19th of the month. According to a source, there’s been a great deal of trouble until the Authorities realized that this particular ship, located in Limassol, is the support vessel of “Yavuz”. The second version of the same story from another source, claims that the Republic’s authorities were moved taking the necessary actions and ultimately confirming that it will not support the Turkish drilling.  The ship remains anchored in the port of Limassol.

 

 

At the heart of the new European Riviera

The Leptos Group presented its new innovative project Limassol Blu Marine to a 350-strong audience of the business and professional community. Group CEO Michael Leptos made a brief address, thanking those who contributed to the fruition of the project; including Limassol Mayor Nicos Nicolaides, who in his own address described the Limassol Blu Marine complex of seafront luxury residences as particularly important, as this is the first large development to take place between the marina and new port. Nicolaides said that the area west of the marina is very interesting and has a huge dynamic, capable of shaping the final character of the town centre but also Limassol in general.

 

Gas a threat

Politis newspaper cites sources to report that the Labour Inspection Department has rejected an application by the VLPG PLANT LTD consortium to build a new gas storage terminal in Vasilikos, saying that the prospective 3,500-cubic-metre storage tank would pose a threat to surrounding communities in the event of an accident or leak. Residents have been up in arms over plans to move the gas storage units from Larnaca to Vailikos, fearing the health impact this will have. The Department’s decision was announced during a meeting of the special ministerial committee that has been set up to monitor the issue on a political level. It said that the sheer volume of the tank’s capacity extends the risks from an accident to within the Seveso directive parameters as regards the potential impact on neighbouring communities. The consortium has rejected this, however, saying that there are no plans to build a tank of such capacity. Either way, this lack of communication has led to delays in the procedure to move the oil storage tanks from Larnaca, which is causing concern for the town. A second issue that has arisen concerns the reservations voiced by the Cyprus Ports Authority over whether it can service Petrolina’s new terminal at Vasilikos port. This needs to be resolved as soon as possible as Petrolina will also be offering gas storage services to the companies that do not intend to build their own facilities.

 

Economic protocol a package of destruction

The so-called agreement of economic and fiscal cooperation signed between the Turkish president and Turkish Cypriot “prime minister” last Saturday has not been made public; however, Murat Kanatli of the TC ‘New Cyprus’ party issued a written statement yesterday describing it as a “package of destruction/catastrophe”. According to the TC press, the agreement is considered of vital importance in the occupied areas, as it includes funds aimed at accelerating investments and other projects. Among other, it includes funds for a financial and technical study into developing and upgrading Famagusta port and the tourist port of Kyrenia. Kanatli said that these are included under the category for auctions with the cooperation of the public and private sectors.

 

WISTA Cyprus – Empowering the next generation

The Women’s International Shipping and Trading Association (WISTA) is going from strength to strength and, especially since being granted IMO consultative status in the second half of 2018, is richer than even in presence and voice.

 

Cypriots increased traffic at the airports and ports

Cypriots’ travels have increased traffic at the island’s ports and airports, according to figures released by the Statistical Service (Cystat) yesterday. Traveller arrivals increased an annual 4.9% in May 2019, reaching 596,520 from 568,546 in May 2018. This was mainly down to returning Cypriot residents (36.5%). According to Cystat, the arrival of travellers increased 4.6% year-on-year in the period January-May 2019, going from 1,712,246 to 1,790,511. There was also a 13.6% yearly increase in returning Cypriot residents during that same time. Traveller departures also recorded an increase of 4.9% in May 2019, compared with the same month the previous year, and a y-o-y increase of 5.3% in January-May 2019. In a separate announcement, Cystat said the Industrial Turnover Index increased 8.4% in April compared with the same month of 2018, reaching 130.0 units. In January-April 2019, the index increased by 7.7% year-on-year. In the manufacturing sector, the index reached 137.1 units in April 2019, marking an 8.8% increase compared with the same month last year.

 

All foreign staff left ‘Fatih’

According to Phileleftheros, the Turkish drill rigs, ‘Fatih’ and ‘Yavuz’, were left with no staff following the departure of the last two international contractor companies providing services for Turkey’s illegal drillings. Turkish drill rig ‘Fatih’ west of Paphos was left without the necessary specialist technical support in the last days following the complete departure of the last two international companies that had remained providing partial support for the illegal drilling. The two companies had withdrawn a large part of their staff from the first days, in particular those who were European citizens. Faced with legal and diplomatic pressures from the Cypriot side their response was that they essentially have equipment in the drill rig which is not easy to transport elsewhere and it’s done gradually.  On Friday they advised that they have left the drill rig completely and that they have neither staff nor equipment left for the illegal activities of ‘Fatih’ to be conducted.

 

PASYNO: Patients are in danger in state dialysis departments

The Pancyprian Nurses Association, in an announcement, warned about the current situation of the dialysis departments in OKYPY hospitals. They highlighted that “staff and space shortages create direct and serious problems for the health and safety of hemodialysis renal patients”. In a relevant announcement they said the dialysis departments are generally understaffed, and these issues are only heightened with more adverse and direct consequences on the patients’ health, during summer. Staff is obliged to work overtime, can’t take their summer leave of absence, there are more patients etc. They underline the importance of dialysis treatment, and that it significantly improves both the quality and the longevity of patients, thus, PASYNO asks those who claim to care for the patients’ health to help solve these issues immediately, as these threaten the health of renal patients.

 

Number of GHS doctors continues to rise

Phileleftheros reports that, specialized doctors registered with the GHS are now more than 700, and that the number of private doctors has very little difference from the number of public doctors. Meanwhile, the issues of drug shortages in private pharmacies have been dealt with to a large extent, despite the fact that everything has been solved. The issue with pharmaceuticals remains unresolved, as HIO hasn’t yet delivered the catalogues of product sales for June, to the suppliers who are waiting for them in order to put forward the new orders in time. The HIO is in the process of evaluating applications for GPs who chose to collaborate with one another and are now eligible for HIO funding. Additionally, the process for announcing offers for implementing on-call doctors (both GPs and pediatricians) for nights, weekends and bank holidays is in a substantially advanced stage. Up until yesterday afternoon, there were 1,219 registered doctors in total, out of which 702 were specialized doctors, 390 GPs for adults and 127 pediatricians. 608 are state OKYPY doctors and the other 611 are private doctors. It is worth noting that the GHS now has doctors registered in its catalogues from all specializations (except for allergists while there is only 1 state cytologist). In Cyprus in general, there are many specializations that have substantial shortages.