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Cyprus posts fiscal deficit in Q2 2015.

Posted on: 8/24/2015 6:24:28 AM under General News 

Based on the preliminary data on the General Government accounts for the period April-June 2015, compiled in accordance to EU concepts and definitions, total revenue is estimated at €1,629.0 million (1.4% increase as compared to the corresponding period of 2014), while total expenditure amounted €1,641.2 million (3.3% raise).

The Cyprus` Statistical Service publicized that the state has posted a fiscal deficit of €12.2 million in the second quarter of 2015 in comparison to a €16.8-million surplus in the corresponding period of 2014.

The fiscal deficit in the first quarter is reported at €19 million. The deficit for the first six months of 2015 stands at €31.2 million.

Source: Famagusta Gazette

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Cyprus officially announces that island's economy is out of recession.

Posted on: 8/20/2015 7:37:06 AM under General News 

Cyprus formally declared its economy to be out of recession, less than two and a half years after it was bailed out by the Eurogroup and the IMF.

Cyprus entered into an economic adjustment program when it signed a 10-billion-euro financial assistance accord in March 2013, after 11 consecutive quarters of recession that forced it out of international markets.

Averof Neophytou, Governing DISY party leader, said official estimates show that the growth at the end of the year will not just be a meagre one, but might reach a 2.0 percent, against a recession of 2.5 percent in 2014.

Government spokesman, Victor Papadopoulos, added "It means that we are on the road to development, which will gradually lead to the reduction of unemployment and non-performing loans".

Unemployment currently is estimated to be 15% but is going down. In the meantime, non-performing loans are the biggest headache for banks, which have to handle bad loans amounting to 26.9 billion euros, or 45.85 percent of total loans.

Source: Famagusta Gazette

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Cyprus GDP growth in 2Q 2015.

Posted on: 8/17/2015 7:17:09 AM under General News 

Cyprus` Statistical Service announced that according to a flash estimate the GDP growth rate in real terms during the second quarter of 2015 is positive and estimated at 1.2% in comparison to the 2nd quarter of 2014.

Based on seasonally and working day adjusted data, GDP growth rate in real terms is estimated at +0.9%.

The acceleration of the economy`s growth rate is a very encouraging development, Finance Minister Harris Georgiades has said. He stressed that "with confidence and seriousness, away from dogmatic denial, we continue on the path of reform, consolidation and change that Cyprus needs.

According to the estimate, positive growth rates were recorded in manufacturing, trade, hotels and restaurants, transport, communication, the professional, scientific and technical activities and administrative and support service activities as well as the financial service activities.

On the contrary, negative growth rates were recorded in construction, electricity, the arts, entertainment and other service activities as well as the activities of households as employers.

Source: Cyprus News Agency

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Cyprus to receive 74.9 million Euro funding for migration handling.

Posted on: 8/13/2015 7:42:52 AM under General News 

European Commission funding granted Cyprus €74.9 million for handling migration programs.

European Commission has contributed a 2.4-billion-euro fund to be distributed for the 2014-2020 period to countries which are facing a crisis because of the influx of migrants, mostly from war-torn regions.

The EC report published this week said Cyprus would receive €32.3 million under the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund and €42.6 million under the Internal Security Fund.

EU member states face unprecedented challenges in the fields of migration and security and the Commission is taking action in a spirit of solidarity. The money allocated to Cyprus will be used for improving asylum and integration procedures and strengthening security measures, including implementation of border management and enhancing its operational capacity for fighting against terrorism and effectively managing security-related risks and crises.

Cyprus is the most south-eastern part of the European Union and in past years has been a refuge for thousands of migrants seeking a better life. But unlike Italy and Greece which are used by migrants as an entry point to EU, Cyprus was the final destination for most migrants in search of security and work.

Source: Famagusta Gazette

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Bank of Cyprus sells 65% stake in Aphrodite Hills.

Posted on: 8/10/2015 7:27:11 AM under General News 

Commission for the Protection of Competition permitted Bank of Cyprus to sell a 65% controlling stake in the holding company of the Thomson Sensatori Aphrodite Hills Resort to a group of US-based investors, with an estimated profit of €58.5 m.

Transaction details are concealed. Bank of Cyprus will retain a 10% stake in the holding company which is involved in the development and sale of residential property and the ownership and administration of a championship 18-hole golf resort and a 290 room hotel in Aphrodite Hills Resort, Paphos.

The portfolio of non-core assets of BOC is estimated at €3.5 bln. The sale is part of the bankâ€â„¢s strategy to dispose of non-performing assets.

Source: Financial Mirror

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Iran signed avoidance of double taxation treaty with Cyprus.

Posted on: 8/6/2015 7:55:04 AM under General News 

Cyprus and Iran opened doors to new investment opportunities and trade markets as they signed an avoidance of double taxation treaty this week.

It is of high economic and political importance to Cyprus to further expand and improve the network of double taxation agreements so to support and attract foreign investment.

Ali Askari, Iran's Tax Affairs Organisation Director, believes that this agreement will further develop collaboration between the two countries in the financial and business sector. Askari mentioned that Iran could act a bridge between Cyprus and East Asia.

The avoidance of double taxation treaty with Iran opens up new horizons for Cypriot companies in the emerging market of Iran. One of the prominent cooperation direction might be maritime services, as Iran has the largest tanker fleet in the world and the Cyprus flag could benefit from this fleet.

Source: Cyprus Mail

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Barclays is introducing a new minimum threshold for clients in Cyprus of 100,000 GBP.

Posted on: 8/3/2015 7:23:29 AM under General News 

British expats and other Barclays account holders in Cyprus will have their accounts closed by the bank on 11 September 2015 unless they contain a minimum deposit of £100,000.

The bank said as a consequence of a de-risking programme that was put in place at the end of 2013 to review and reduce the number of countries Barclays operate in, the minimum threshold will apply not only to Cyprus but also to Malta and Greece, although out of consideration for the current situation Barclays is not closing accounts for Greek residents at this time.

Barclays provide expat services in many countries worldwide, however, bank takes serious action to reduce their risk associated with operation in certain countries. As a result of this decision and in line with the strategy a new minimum threshold for customers resident in Cyprus is introduced. Clients will need to maintain £100,000 across their accounts with Barclays to keep their account in the bank.

Barclays say they are focusing on a core set of 70 markets globally, where they believe they have the most knowledge and experience.

Source: Cyprus Mail

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Cyprus quarterly review by Troika.

Posted on: 7/24/2015 7:07:07 AM under General News 

Troika of Cyprus' international lenders are presently carrying out an important quarterly review of the island's economic adjustment program giving emphasis to banking issues and public sector reforms.

According to the reports the sale of mortgages to third parties, such as hedge funds, and the issue of Title Deeds were among the actions Cyprus had to take before the next tranche of financial assistance was released.

Cyprus News Agency reported that to receive next tranche Cyprus must enact legislation allowing the sale or transfer of loans to third parties and approve a bill, designed to allow people who have paid for their house in full to get the title deed, which they currently cannot because of developers' failure to pay their obligations to banks.

Enactment of the Title Deeds bill, in the meantime, has been delayed due to the summer holidays; it is planned to be discussed on 3rd September by the House plenum.

Source: Cyprus Property News

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33 operators expressed their interest in Limassol Port privatization.

Posted on: 7/21/2015 6:17:49 AM under General News 

The secretary of the transport ministry and chairman of the CPA, Alecos Michaelides, stated that there were 70 inquiries and a total of 33 written expressions of interest for the Limassol port commercialization tender.

The evaluation of all 33 expressions of interest will be completed by early August. The selected operators will be shortlisted and asked to submit formal bids by the end of November. The process is expected to be completed by the first quarter of 2016.

Throughout this time, there will be meetings with the project team and consultants from the ministry of transport with the bidders who will be given any information they need for the preparation of the bids for 3 sections of the port:

  • the container terminal (license duration 25 to 30 years)
  • the provision of maritime services (license duration 25 to 30 years)
  • the multi-purpose passenger terminal(license duration 10 to 20 years).

Limassol port's commercial operations are to be privatized under a deal between the government and international creditors.

Source: Cyprus Mail

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Casino bill legislation was approved by Cyprus Parliament.

Posted on: 7/15/2015 1:49:51 AM under General News 

The majority of Cyprus Parliament has approved a law regulating the establishment, operation, supervision and control of a casino resort in Cyprus .

 The law provides for the establishment of:

  • one casino resort and the minimum requirement for the casino is 100 gaming tables and 1,000 machines
  • four smaller satellite casinos, three of which will be limited to gambling machines.

However, the original proposed bill was changed, the following amendments were done:

  • a credit ban on players
  • casino will not be built on government-owned land
  • Cypriots wishing to gamble will have to apply for special licence to play.

The expression of interest will be published next month and the winning bidder will attain a 30-year license and have to choose where to build the casino.

The casino resort is forecasted to be open by 2018.

Source: Cyprus Property News

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Citizenship by investment.

Posted on: 7/5/2015 11:07:40 PM under General News 

The minister of interior, Socratis Hasikos, has announced that "Citizenship by Investment" program that allows wealthy third country nationals to apply for Cypriot citizenship has boosted the Cyprus economy by €2 billion. The statement was made during his examination of his ministry's audit services report for 2013.

Cyprus is the only member state that grants naturalization in return for investment in Europe.

Alexandrou Corporate Services provides a vast spectrum of services including formalization of Citizenship and Residence Permits for non-European citizens. Please get acquainted with a more detailed guide to residence and citizenship in Cyprus here.

Source: Cyprus Property News

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Cyprus introduces new tax incentives.

Posted on: 7/3/2015 4:25:15 AM under General News 

President Nicos Anastasiades in his speech at the 54th AGM of the Institute of Certified Public Accountants announced tax incentives that are aimed to improve Cyprus economy and to attract wealthy foreign nationals.

The reforms include tax breaks and extension of increased capital allowances on equipment and buildings until the end of 2016 to encourage the flow of new capital in businesses. Cyprus government plans to introduce the non-domiciled resident status in order to attract foreign entrepreneurs and wealthy individuals. In this case the substantive incentive is the exemption from the special defense contribution, provided these individuals choose to be Cyprus tax residents. The tax incentives relating to the revenues of an individual who was not a resident of the island before the start of his employment will also be kept in place.

Substantial changes are announced in real estate field so as to encourage transactions in this sector. Cyprus government plans to introduce full exemption from the capital gains tax (20%) of any future sale of immovable property acquired between the day the law is enacted and the end of 2016. A 50% cut in property transfer fees will continue. The decision on the integration of the municipal and state immovable property taxes into one was also made; furthermore, it will be calculated on the 2013 evaluation at a rate of 0.1%.

According to the finance minister, Haris Gorgiades, the overall reduction of tax revenue from transactions and possession of real property is estimated at €21m, however, it does not take into account the positive impact from an increase in transactions. He also noted that adjustments to the tax system make Cyprus taxation framework simpler and more effective. Several modifications are included to bring into line Cyprus tax framework with European directives and decisions of the European Court.

Source: Cyprus Property News

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Operations of casinos in Cyprus

Posted on: 6/29/2015 12:00:49 AM under General News 

Operation of casinos in Cyprus will be put to the vote end of June and investors would be invited to express interest by August.

The bill was modified and the changes that have been made to the bill are as follows:

  • Government allows 5% of the casino development to lie on state land;
  • The bill regulates the technical specifications of the slot machines;
  • The machine suppliers shall be approved by the gaming commission;
  • The exclusivity period for the successful bidder in case of delays beyond 90 days in securing the relevant permits is extended;
  • Investors can develop a main casino resort, and in addition to that a regional establishment with up to five table games and 50 slot machines.
  • The terms of the agreement could change in the event of reunification so that the development remains viable.

The investors will be given a month to get acquainted with the law, after which the commerce ministry will issue an invitation for expressions of interest in August. The assessment will narrow down all of the applications to three, and from these the best offer will be selected. The commerce ministry is going to issue a casino licence by the end of 2015 or beginning of the next year.

Source: Cyprus Mail

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Limassol Port privatization.

Posted on: 6/23/2015 12:45:38 AM under General News 

Ministry of Transport, Communications and Works of Cyprus has published an expression of interest for the privatization of Limassol Port on 18th June at the government`s e-procurement website.

 Three long-term contracts are available for commercial operation of:

  • container facilities,
  • a multipurpose terminal and
  • marine services.

 Contracts shall be granted to three operators or a single consortium for all three.

Expression of interest submission deadline is 17thJuly; the interested parties will be informed if they have pre-qualified by 5thAugust. A final selection will be made in the first quarter of 2016.

The overall port area is estimated to be 1,5 million sq.m. and currently services 100% of the container traffic, 40-50% of total cargo and 75% of the passenger traffic in Cyprus.

The future development of part of the site, to accommodate companies which offer services to other companies dealing with Hydrocarbon exploration and storage is one of the future development projects which can be added to the port by the successful bidder.

The privatization of the main multifunctional port of Cyprus, is expected to aid the significant expansion and development of the port's operations and consequently result in a major financial boost to the Cypriot economy.

Source: Republic of Cyprus, Ministry of Transport, Communications and Works

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Cyprus & Russia - new perspectives unfolding

Posted on: 4/28/2015 10:57:45 PM under General News 
The implementation of agreements signed between Cyprus and Russia in the context of President Nicos Anastasiades' recent visit to Moscow was examined during the Cyprus-Russia Business & Investment Forum on 20th of March.

Cyprus-Russian Business Association organised the event in cooperation with the Cyprus Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) and the Chamber of Commerce of the Russian Federation. The participation of both Cypriot and Russian firms, individuals specialising in the field of natural gas and energy was aiming to strengthen the island's business relations with Russian professionals, to promote Cyprus as an International Business Centre and attract FDI to the country - the event generously supported the relationship within Russian-Cyprus business world and helped to promote further cooperation.

The event was attended by Nikolay Podguzov, Chairman of the Russia-Cyprus Intergovernmental Commission for Economic Cooperation, Georgy Petrov, Vice-President of the Chamber of Commerce of the Russian Federation and Mikhail Kuzovlev, Chairman of the Russian Business Council on Cooperation with Cyprus.

Among the issues discussed was the recovery of the Cyprus economy, recent developments in the banking sector, the privatisation of semi-government organisations, tourism infrastructure and business opportunities.

Before the event, Russia's Ambassador to Cyprus, Stanislav Osadchiy, expressed the opinion that the Forum would significantly boost further cooperation between the two countries, particularly as a consequence of President Anastasiades' solid network contacts in Moscow. Important is that the Forum managed to examine ways in which the agreements signed during the visit could be effectively implemented.

CCCI Chairman Phidias Pilides noted that the Forum aims to highlight business and investment relations between Cyprus and Russia and is expected to promote further cooperation in other fields.


Bahrain is officially

Posted on: 4/28/2015 10:57:26 PM under General News 
President Nicos Anastasiades visited Bahrain in March 2015, where he was welcomed by King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa at the Palace in Manama.
During the official visit, Cyprus and Bahrain signed a series of agreements, including a Double Taxation Treaty, an agreement on fighting terrorism and organized crime, an agreement and a Memorandum of Understanding on air services and a Memorandum of Understanding on cooperation in the field of Health. Bahrain's Minister of Foreign Affairs is expected to visit Cyprus soon and sign more agreements, including one in the area of Energy. The King has also decided to appoint its first non-resident ambassador to Cyprus.

President Anastasiades' visit to Bahrain is part of Cyprus' policy on enhancing relations with the Gulf countries, Government Spokesman Nicos Christodoulides said. He recalled that President Anastasiades has already visited the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Kuwait, while he has also recently paid Saudi Arabia a visit. Soon he will be visiting Oman. "Enhancing relations with these states constitutes a very conscious choice for the Republic of Cyprus", he added.


Greece, Russia and the UK - do they remain the largest foreign investors in region?

Posted on: 4/28/2015 10:57:07 PM under General News 
Tourism has long been a driving force of the Cypriot economy and arrivals as well as expenditure have seen an increase despite the crisis. In April 2014, arrivals increased by 11.4% year-on-year and revenues recorded a healthy rise of 20.4%.

Another recent coup for Cyprus in terms of FDI was the decision of one of the world's leading hospitality and resort management companies, Buena Vista Hospitality Group, to base its regional headquarters in Cyprus and to develop the largest wellness resort in Europe with an investment of $300 million. The rapidly expanding investment fund sector is an exciting development in Cyprus and could become a multi-billion-euro industry. With a solid Mutual Funds framework in place and recently upgraded Alternative Investment Funds (AIFs) legislation, Cyprus has great prospects to establish itself as a new regional market and a thriving fund centre.

The majority of cumulative FDI stock has traditionally been invested in the country's key three service sectors of financial services, real estate and wholesale trade - with Greece, UK and Russia being the largest foreign direct investors in Cyprus. FDI into Cyprus peaked at €2.5 billion in 2009, but fell back to just under €800 million in 2010-11, largely as a result of the global financial crisis. It must be noted that official statistics underestimate the true size of FDI, as they exclude investment generated by the large number of companies without a physical presence in Cyprus. In regard to FDI flows in Cyprus, the economic activity that attracted significant investments was the financial and insurance activities sector. In particular, there was an increase of €1,186 million in 2012, compared with an increase of €982 million recorded in 2011. Inward foreign direct investment in Cyprus was €979 million in 2012, according to revised data from the Central Bank of Cyprus.


Cyprus government receives Euro 25 million bank guarantee. Ayia Napa marina project is now real

Posted on: 4/28/2015 10:56:20 PM under General News 
An Egyptian entrepreneur has received the approval from the President Nicos Anastasiades for the investment of €220 million for the construction of a new Marina in Ayia Napa, Cyprus.

The construction of the marina will provide more than 800 jobs and, when completed. Operation wise, it  will require at least 350 people to manage the project. The marina is expected to cost €220 million and will have a capacity of around 600 vessels, with a possibility of mooring large yachts up to 60 metres in length. The project will include residential and commercial developments, a hotel, restaurants, bars, cafes, boutiques along with administration offices for its management and operation. When it's completed in mid-2018 the marina will be declared official entry point to the Republic. The project is of great importance to Cyprus," Lakkotrypis said outside the presidential palace. Work on the marina is expected to start mid-2015. 

It is firmly believed that the project will enrich Cypriot tourist product and it indeed goes in line with the objective of the new strategy of the country. 

Mr Sawiris said he had opted to invest in Cyprus "because we believe in this country" which has beautiful beaches. The Egyptian businessman said he expected the project to be completed in three years. It will include a marina, a luxury hotel, villas and apartments. He said the aim was to promote Ayia Napa as a top tourist destination.

Now the construction of the marina at Ayia Napa has taken a step forward with news that the Ministry of Energy, Trade, Industry and Tourism has received a €25 million bank guarantee from M.M. Makronisos Marina Ltd. for the proper execution of the work. A few days ago permits for the division of the land were approved for the marina's road network and the infrastructure needed such as parking areas, green spaces and public walkways. The mayor of Ayia Napa, Yiannis Karousos, expressed his satisfaction with this latest development saying that the submission of the bank guarantee signalled the start of the construction phase of the project. 

Despite the overall positive view on the project, marina still receives negative reviews from a conservation group. Protection of the Natural Coastline has questioned why the marina cannot be built next to the existing small harbour rather than in the heart of the Ayia Thekla-Liopetri Natura 2000 network, the destruction of which will be irreversible. Some local residents and business owners are also concerned about the potential impact the new marina will have on the area's prized beaches.


Cyprus relies on gas revenues - we wait for gas exploration activities to unfold

Posted on: 4/28/2015 10:56:03 PM under General News 
Cyprus is relying on gas revenues to lift an economy severely hit by the financial crisis. Neighbouring Israel has made significant discoveries off its coast. The Leviathan and Tamar fields, estimated at 21 and 10 Tcf, will ensure the country's natural gas independence for decades and its entry into the export market. Domestic debates and a dispute between the partners in Israel's largest offshore fields and Israel's competition regulator, have delayed the completion of regional deals between Israel and its immediate neighbours.

Cyprus remains hopeful that future search activities may prove successful. Meanwhile, interrupted peace talks to reunify the ethnically split island are set to resume. The break in offshore activities could allow for some progress towards achieving a sustainable settlement for the island. Gas explorations had triggered renewed tensions between the Cypriot government and Turkey that led to the disruption of the talks in October last year. Turkey's argument that gas finds will not benefit Turkish Cypriots was refuted by Cypriot officials who maintained any gas discoveries will benefit all of Cyprus, both communities included. The year ahead will be decisive for Cyprus as it will reveal the island's natural gas potential as more exploration activities unfold.


Middle east economic survey oil gas report findings are not in line with what the government sees is happening in region

Posted on: 4/28/2015 10:55:23 PM under General News 
Last Tuesday, the 21st of April Cypriot Energy Minister Giorgus Lakkotrypis denied the alleged reports published by Middle East Economic Survey (MEES) stating that oil gas companies are on their way out of Cyprus after experiencing unsuccessful results of their activity in the region.  

The Minister confirmed that the changes are coming and we can observe constant progress in the field; "as far as exploiting the Aphrodite reservoir, we have repeatedly stated that a huge effort is underway. You can see the developments, they are methodical and gradual".

As per the investment growth in the region, "there is intense regional interest for the purchase of natural gas, and naturally I do not share the views expressed in the MEES report," Lakkotrypis added.

In fact, since Noble Energy's discovery of Aphrodite in 2011, a field estimated at 4.54 Tcf, the island has not encountered any additional amount of the hydrocarbon in its waters. The field has not been exploited to date. The project for an onshore LNG terminal on the Vassilikos coast has been replaced by a regional pipeline strategy given the modest quantities of natural gas. Now Cyprus is considering the sale of gas from the Aphrodite field to Egypt and potentially using Egypt's unused export terminals to reach export markets.

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