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Daily Review – 20/2/2019

In today’s press:

Who were advertised the most in TV, Radio and print media

InBusinessNews presents the companies that were advertised the most in December 2018, in TV, Radio and print media. Total expenditure in TV advertising for the top 10 advertisers reached €15.5m, with Alphamega supermarkets spending the most (€4,081,579), followed by Lidl with €2,078,639. In radio, the first 10 advertisers spent €3m, with Cyta leading the way with €521,655, followed by Electroline with €388,257. Advertising in print media was considerably lower in December, barely reaching €0.5m. Bank of Cyprus led the way with €82,206, followed by Vassos Eliades with €61,175, Hellenic Bank with €55,191 and Cyta with €52,072.

KEDIPES will continue with Altamira

It appears that KEDIPES will continue its cooperation with Altamira and not proceed with a new tender, Kathimerini Economy reports citing sources. The most likely scenario is that the terms of the existing contract with the Spanish company will be renegotiated. KEDIPES president Andreas Charalambous said that the collaboration with the company will be assessed and the best possible option will be chosen. The paper reminds how the government, as the Co-op’s biggest shareholder in the summer of 2017, proceeded to sidestep the tender process and directly appoint Altamira to manage €7.2b’s worth of the bank’s NPLs, which led to intense criticism and was raised when the decision was made to split the Co-op and sell part of it to Hellenic Bank.

Where the money will go

The procedure to raise €1b with a new 15-year bond is part of the government’s effort to manage the public debt. Politis reminds how the island’s public debt came under strain in 2018 due to the government’s support towards Hellenic Bank when it acquired part of the Cyprus Co-operative Bank. By end-2018, public debt reached €21.4b (provision) or 104% of GDP, while it is forecasted to drop to 85% by 2021. Financing needs for 2019 total €1.6b, which will be financed through raising €1.5b to €2b, of which €1b to €1.5b will come from tapping the markets. The current available liquidity is enough to cover the country’s financing needs for the first nine months of 2019.

RCB Bank – Expanding in the local market

RCB Bank has strengthened its portfolio of digital products through premium card acquiring services and expanded its servicing dynamic to some of the biggest merchant clients in Cyprus, including IKEA. In 2018 the card acquiring business of the Bank has shown strong development with monthly growth rates exceeding 20%.

Wish we had more of the same

Financial Commissioner Pavlos Ioannou recently announced that foreclosures of primary residences belonging to potential beneficiaries of the Estia scheme would be suspended until the end of June by KEDIPES/ALTAMIRA. Alithia comments that at a time when all we see is fancy statements and no actions, Ioannou is working behind the scenes, quietly and without conflict, responsibly finding solutions to the problems and helping people. He is reaching out to the most remote communities as well, says the paper, adding that it wishes there were more people like him.

 KEDIPES throws the ball at the FinMin over Co-op assets

The discussion over the requests by municipalities and communities to be granted Co-op properties to use as public buildings has turned into a ball being thrown between KEDIPES and the Finance Ministry. KEDIPES CEO Stavros Iacovou said yesterday that a list had been prepared with all of the Co-op’s assets that municipalities/communities have applied for, or which could potentially be granted for public use, but he added that it is not within KEDIPES’ authority to dictate the state’s social policy. He added that if the government wished to concede some of the assets to municipalities and communities, it will have to purchase them from KEDIPES, either by paying or by reducing KEDIPES’ debt to the state. In fact, Iacovou said that the Finance Ministry must purchase the assets at their market value, which will be determined by an independent firm.

Bank of Cyprus offers the best Private Banking

The magazine “Euromoney” has named Bank of Cyprus as the island’s best provider of Private Banking for 2019, for the fourth consecutive year.

Apply to the bank for settlements

The bondholders’ association has informed its members that they can apply to Bank of Cyprus to seek out-of-court settlement of their cases. In an announcement, it said that following consultations with BoC, holders of securities and bonds of the bank (not ex-Laiki) can visit any branch and ask for a settlement, provided that they have not filed a lawsuit against the bank. Members living abroad can submit their request in writing to the bank’s administration.

 Countdown begins for Co-op inquiry

The term of the Committee of Inquiry into the Co-op’s collapse expires in two weeks, which means the countdown has begun for the findings of its probe to be revealed, Phileleftheros reports.

 Request for separate indictment

The prosecuting authority and defence team in a trial concerning three loan agreements that were made at the Strovolos Co-op disagreed yesterday over which procedure to follow to examine a request by the defence to separate the indictment for some of the 10 plaintiffs. A new date was set for 7 March.

Sea in one place, ships in another

The biggest winner from the privatisation of Limassol port is Larnaca port, according to a brief commentary in Phileleftheros. It says that yesterday for example, Limassol port was servicing one cargo ship and one tanker. At the same time and at the much smaller port of Larnaca, five cargo ships were being serviced, while two tankers were waiting to be serviced. It says this is not just circumstantial; this has been the picture for the past months.

Landmark decision against T/C taxi drivers

The Nicosia District Court yesterday, issued a landmark decision concerning Turkish-Cypriot taxi drivers that transfer tourists from the Larnaca airport towards the occupied areas. The Court imposed a €250 penalty to a Turkish-Cypriot who was transporting tourists with his car for a fee with a car he didn’t declare as taxi. Phileleftheros reports that Greek-Cypriot taxi drivers have been complaining for a long time, that their Turkish-Cypriot colleagues or private representatives of hotels or casinos are stealing their customers by picking up tourists from the airport and dropping them off to hotels in the occupied north.

Kallipoleos or casino?

The author argues that while people are struggling to find their way around Nicosia, in which many streets have been cut-off for road works or revamp works, the government has other priorities. The article argues that the government failed to see what the city needs, by prioritising the casino and the high-rise buildings.

Larnaca Tourism Promotion Company organises excursion

The Larnaca Tourism Promotion Company is organising its annual excursion for employees of the hotel industry. The excursion called “Get to know our charming region” will be led by a licensed tour guide and will take place on 28 February 2019. The aim of the excursion is to educate staff working in the tourist and hotels industry of Larnaca, on the different points of interest in the region and how to encourage tourists to visit these locations.

Cyprus sunshine cup boosts tourism

The 23rd Cyprus Sunshine Cup to be organised on 21-24 February will attract some of the best professional cyclists in the world. The cyclists are already in Cyprus to take part in one of the most important Mountain Bike races in the world. The mountain areas of Larnaca and Limassol will receive around 3.000 bookings due to the event, as many first-class cyclists are preparing for the event in Cyprus. The big international mountain bike event is getting more and more cyclists every year, from different parts of the world giving life to the island’s mountain region.

Smokers are less likely to survive melanoma

Melanoma patients with a history of smoking cigarettes are 40% less likely to survive skin cancer than people who have never smoked, according to new research. A study of more than 700 melanoma patients, mainly from the north of England, provides evidence to suggest that smoking may blight the immune response against melanoma and reduce survival. These new findings from researchers at the University of Leeds, published in Cancer Research, provide another reason why people should try to give up smoking – particularly those who have been diagnosed with malignant melanoma, the most dangerous form of skin cancer. In a subset of 156 patients who had the most genetic indicators for immune cells, smokers were around four and a half times less likely to survive from the cancer than people who had never smoked. Given that reduced survival was found to be greatest for smokers in the group with most indicators of immune cells, the researchers think that smoking could directly affect how smokers’ bodies deal with the melanoma cancer cells. “Based on these findings, stopping smoking should be strongly recommended for people diagnosed with melanoma.”

Should we learn from Cyprus?

Kathimerini’s author, who has lived most of his life in Greece, reports that in Cyprus the non-smoking law is widely respected in restaurants and cafes. The author was surprised that the smoking ban was so well-respected and that even taxi drivers didn’t smoke while driving. He goes on to list other things he saw that impressed him about Cyprus and how advanced it has become in his view.

Revamp of Nicosia city centre continues

Alithia reports that the revamp works that are taking place in the commercial ‘triangle’ of Nicosia’s centre are moving forward at a satisfactory pace, according to the Nicosia Municipality. They did however say that the persistent rain last month, caused delays in the works. In an announcement, the Municipality said that it stands by the business-owners who were affected by the works and is in constant communication with them, updating them on the process.

Civil war in the Cyprus Medical Association due to GHS

Kathimerini Economy reports the medical world was shaken in the last 48 hours due to the resignation letter of CyMA board member, paediatrician Alkis Papadouris. Alkis Papadouris accused the Cyprus Medical Association that it promotes private interests. In the letter, he says among other, that following recent developments (creation of private medicine platform, memorandum of understanding), that the CyMA’s board cannot represent him neither as a union nor ideologically. Papadouris’ resignation mobilised CyMA’s board, which called a meeting on Tuesday evening, in order to discuss everything that the letter talks about and subsequently, issue an announcement on the matter. Speaking to Kathimerini on the contents of the letter, the Chairman of CyMA, Petros Agathengelou rejected Papadouris’ claims that the members of the Board are working for private interests.

Oncology Unit parents and friends call on doctors to proceed with GHS

Phileleftheros reports that the Association of Parents and Friends of the Paediatric Oncology Unit supports the GHS and expects that the healthcare professionals it cooperates with, will act in the same way. In its announcement, the Association, which represents children suffering from cancer and need immediate and multi-level hospitalisation, reports that it is extremely important to safeguard te cooperation with doctors and all healthcare professionals. The Association goes on to say that the implementation of the GHS will ensure equal treatment for all patients.

The House of Representatives proceeds to GHS discussion without the CyMA

Phileleftheros reports that the Parliament will proceed to discuss regulations on personal and specialised doctors in the GHS, without a preliminary consultation/meeting between the HIO and the CyMA, which would look at the different issues that the doctors refer to in their relevant memo. The article reports that the atmosphere is especially strained, especially following the allegations of paediatrician Alkis Papadouris. The HIO’s invitation to CyMA was sent out on Monday, at the suggestion of the House Health Committee. The meeting had been scheduled for Tuesday at 5pm, however CyMA replied that it wasn’t possible to attend the meeting at such a short notice. They didn’t close the door to further negotiations, since they said they were willing to hold a meeting in the future, for which they will be informed on time. Furthermore, the article reports that the consultation between the HIO and pharmaceuticals importers, did not take place yesterday either. However, the Cyprus Association of Pharmaceutical Companies (CAPC) gave specific suggestions to the HIO, in an effort to bridge differences, in relation to the way the pharmaceutical companies will be compensated in the GHS framework. The chariman of CAPC, Avgoustinos Potamitis said that they heard what the HIO had to say and they gave their own suggestions. For example, there is a disagreement with regards to the discounts that companies are called to impose on the pharmaceuticals they will provide to the GHS. “We said that it would be more correct if the discount was adjusted to the price of each medicine; this means that medicines should be divided into categories according to their price. With the current regulations, the discount on the price of a medicine could amount to €10 or could amount to €100”. He added that there is also disagreement on the ‘clawback method’.  Essentially, in cases where the HIO budget is not covered, the pharmaceutical companies will be called to return the money and the budget will be readjusted the following year. The consultation will continue next week.