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Lebanon Opportunities

Lebanon Opportunities Apr 1 2015

Lebanon Opportunities is a quarterly business magazine that covers: Finance, Real estate, Economy, and Local business. Lebanon Opportunities has tens of thousands of readers in Lebanon and across the globe. It is the prime local business magazine in Lebanon in terms of readership, advertising, and name-awareness. Lebanon Opportunities is written to a target of small business owners, entrepreneurs and middle management, as well as to Lebanese living abroad. It aims at bringing complex business issues in a simple manner understandable by readers who are not experts and whose English language is not the mother tongue.

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2 min
beating the odds

by the editor-in-chief The good news is that nothing changed last month. At a time when the fires keep raging in many Arab countries, Parliament being almost frozen, and the activity of Government limited to some petty decisions, our economic activity is sparkling. Its size has reached the $50 billion mark in its GDP (see page 62), inflation is almost nil, and growth is slow, but remains positive. More than $1.2 billion in investments and projects were announced last month alone (see news on pages 6-29), not including real estate developments. This includes $500 million in the private sector, $270 million in public sector projects, and $500 million expected in support for Syrian refugees. The sectors covered include manufacturing, hospitality, banking and finance, retail, movies and media, and ICT. Banks scored…

1 min
bits & bytes

SOUND BYTES PM Rafic Hariri personally guaranteed loans to the Treasury by one of the banks Former Prime Minister Fuad Siniora We can accommodate 25 million tourists if we had security and stability Michel Pharaon, Minister of Tourism The economy will be destroyed if food safety is portrayed as a catastrophe Hussein Hajj Hassan, Minister of Industry Rich Syrians live in Lebanon as if they are in Monte Carlo Sejaan Kazzi, Minister of Labor Which is better for Tripoli, $100 million in phantom funds or $85 million in real money that evil doers are trying to prevent from being spent? Rachid Derbas, Minister of Social Affairs The real name of the ‘Court of Audit’ should be the ‘Court of Un-audit’. Oversight authorities should be abolished because they cover-up corruption Mohammad Kabbani, MP Our economic future rests on the knowledge economy in addition to…

16 min
in good company

NEW TICKETING PLATFORM IS ONLINE The digital ticketing network ‘ihjoz’ launched its activities under the patronage of the Ministry of Tourism. It is an online platform through which users may buy event tickets. Unlike other e-ticketing platforms, ihjoz works with a network of partners allowing both online and offline ticket sales. “We are the first in the Middle East to create a digital distribution network for retailers to book and sell tickets,” said Sirine Tueni, Marketing Director. The distribution and payment network of ihjoz includes LibanPost, Cash United, OMT, Bank Audi, Khoury Home, Malik’s, and others. According to Tueni, the list of partners will be extended to cover other countries in the region. The company, which was established in December 2012 by Sami Tueni (CEO) and Bassam Tueni (co-founder), allows event…

11 min
money & banking

LEBANESE SWISS BANK, PHARAON & CHIHA TO MERGE? The Lebanese Swiss Bank (LSB) is in closed talks with Raymond and Teddy Rahme of the ZR Group Holding, who would like to purchase 15 percent of the bank. The Rahme brothers reportedly agreed, last October, to acquire 80 percent of the shares of Pharaon & Chiha, but the deal was suspended when the Central Bank (BDL) expressed unofficial reservations based on the Rahmes’ lack of experience in banking. The new structure being circulated is for the Lebanese Swiss Bank to sell up to 15 percent shares to the Rahmes, who would also contribute with their intended acquisition of Pharaon & Chiha, leading to a de-facto merger. In this case, the Rahmes would be allowed a maximum of 35 percent ownership in the…

7 min
official business

$200 MILLION URBAN TRANSPORTATION PLAN The Council for Development and Reconstruction is preparing studies to launch a project to develop urban transportation in the Greater Beirut area. The plan focuses on establishing bus routes between Beirut and Tabarja. The CDR is discussing financial support and planning with the World Bank to implement the $200 million project. The first component of the project is expected to be funded through a $150 million loan from the World Bank’s International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD). The financing will be used for goods and works for the construction of the required infrastructure and associated civil works, as well as consulting services. The bus route will be about 24 km long and will run into sections of the existing Tabarja-Beirut highway and sections of the…

3 min
people on the move

SAMIR HAMMOUD, CHAIRMAN, BANKING CONTROL COMMISSION Samir Hammoud was appointed as the new Chairman of the Banking Control Commission. “My tasks won’t be limited to auditing and controlling, but involve governance and human resources building,” said Hammoud. He will help implement the sector’s compliance with international norms and standards. Hammoud has 40 years of banking experience, with senior appointments in major institutions including Rif Bank, BBAC, and the Commercial Bank of Kuwait. Hammoud was Deputy General Manager, Head of Remedial Management Division at Bankmed. Hammoud holds a BBA from Haigazian University and an MBA from AUB and a Law degree from the Lebanese University. FADLO KHURI, 16TH PRESIDENT OF AUB Fadlo R. Khuri, MD, has been named President of the American University of Beirut (AUB). He will succeed Peter Dorman, who has held…