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Lebanon Opportunities

Lebanon Opportunities January 2019

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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3 min
what will happen?

A question I am often asked: “Is the situation going to remain like this?” My answer is that I surely do hope so – especially after consulting the crystal ball to predict what will happen in 2019. Digging just one inch below the apocalyptic mood that has stricken national morale – or reading all of our 2018 issues – will bring more clarity to the current state of affairs. It provides a baseline for a one year horizon outlook. In light of that, here are our predictions. WHAT WILL HAPPEN POLITICALLY Politics will remain politics – with or without a Cabinet. The State and political parties – all too weak to behave otherwise, will be led by the nose by Le Hezb, which is also weakened but is still, by far, the…

1 min
bits & bytes

SOUND BYTES True, we do not have a government but we will keep working for the success of CEDRE Prime Minister Saad Hariri Meddling with the scale of salaries and wages will ignites a revolution Speaker of Parliament Nabih Berri The cost of the salary scale presented to the Cabinet is one thing and what it has become is something else Raed Khoury, Minister of Economy and trade I fear that in three months public employee will not be able to get their salaries Mohamed Choucair, Chairman of Economic Organizations A large part of the economic organizations do not pay taxes, and a large part of the private sector has two books Bechara Asmar, Secretary General – General Confederation of Labor Unions The numbers provided by Khoury, Choucair and Asmar are not accurate Ali Hassan Khalil, Minister of Finance The concerns raised in…

6 min
in good company

Provided by FAQRA CLUB TO BE SOLD TO RAHMEH BROTHERS Teddy and Raymond Rahmeh, owners of ZR Group Holding, agreed to acquire Faqra Club Holding (FCH), which owns Faqra Club as property as well as Societe Libanaise Des Projets Touristiques (Solipro), the management company of Faqra Club. Raymond Audi, the bank’s long time chairman, now in an honorary capacity, is a main founder of FCH. He and his family have controlling interest in the company (see shareholding structure by checking the below link on our website). The deal is estimated at $37.8 million, and includes a total of 150,000 square meters (m2) of land plots, not all of which can be developed. The company also carries some $20 million of debt on its books, which will be transferred in the deal, yielding…

9 min
money & banking

Provided by PUBLIC DEBT TO CARRY MARKET INTEREST RATES The Central Bank (BDL) and the Ministry of Finance (MoF) have agreed to finance the State in 2019 through the banking sector at interest rates currently prevalent on the market, said Riad Salameh, Governor of BDL. The interest rate on ten-year Treasury bills will be raised to 10.5 percent. The yield on such bills was 7.46 percent at the end of September. The Central Bank used to channel low-cost lending from banks to the State through swap operations. BDL was allowing banks to earn generous interest rates in order to encourage them to participate in funding the State while the Central Bank itself was subscribing to public debt instruments at low interest rates. BDL was thus shouldering the cost resulting from the difference…

11 min
official business

Provided by SHOUF RESERVE ADDED TO GLOBAL CONSERVATION LIST The Shouf Biosphere Reserve has been added to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Green List of Protected and Conserved Areas, a global standard recognizing best practices in protected areas. It was one of 15 natural sites from Egypt, France, Jordan, Kenya, Mexico, Peru and the UAE that were added to the IUCN green list, bringing the total number of listed sites to 40. The list includes Wadi Al-Hitan in Egypt, the UAE’s Al-Wathba Wetland Reserve, and Montague Island Nature Reserve in Australia. The reserve, which stretches from Dahr Al-Baidar in Mount Lebanon to Niha Mountain in the Shouf, contains 25 percent of Lebanon’s remaining cedars. Some 105,000 tourists visited the reserve in 2017, compared to 87,000 in 2016, and the…

2 min
matters of fact

Provided by 2017 GDP GROWTH SLOWS TO 0.6 PERCENT The real GDP growth rate slowed to 0.6 percent in 2017 from 1.6 percent in the previous year, according to the ‘National Accounts’ report recently released by the Central Administration of Statistics (CAS). The GDP at current market prices for 2017 is estimated at $53.4 billion. The growth rate comes lower than estimates by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Growth was mainly driven by an increase in household spending on final consumption, which has led to a rise in imports of goods, CAS said in its report. According to the report, sectors that witnessed growth include hospitality services, agriculture, and personal and community services. The added value of the hotel and restaurant sector increased nine percent while the agriculture…