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Lebanon Opportunities

Lebanon Opportunities Feb-18

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
open season

by the editor-in-chief The electoral season has begun. Be ready to get exposed to the most fantastical combinations of alliances, campaign promises, and below-the-belt maneuvers. Each election has its own flavor. This one will be tutti-frutti. In parallel, there are three donor conferences underway, the most significant one is tentatively scheduled in Paris this spring. THE DARK SIDE OF THE MOON Past elections have provided sizeable cash infusions to the economy, as candidates and their parties didn’t spare a dime to ensure victory – or just a decent showing. Not all spending was decent. A lot of moolah was spent to buy votes, secure the withdrawal of adversaries, or reserve a place on a winning slate. This year, spending is expected to be modest in comparison to former elections. This is due to…

1 min
bits & bytes

SOUND BYTES We will build the State. No matter what the country will take off and prosperity will return President Michel Aoun Fighting for employee rights should not lead to a punishment of citizens Prime Minister Saad Hariri Those who employed McKinsey are idiots Walid Jumblatt, MP Maybe the idiots can do what the smart ones failed to achieve in 28 years Raed Khoury, Minister of Economy and Trade For a year now I have been asking for a Cabinet session on education without responsiveness. If a meeting is dedicated to electricity ships, they would respond immediately Marwan Hamadeh, Minister of Education I call for a state of emergency on water in light of its scarcity and drought Wael Abou Faour, MP and former Minister of Public Health I am protecting agriculture. I will stop the entry of any product to the country Ghazi…

4 min
in good company

Provided by BEIRUT PORT HUB FOR HAMBURG SÜD The German container shipping company Hamburg Süd has adopted the Port of Beirut (PoB) as a transshipment hub for its operations in the east Mediterranean. Samir Moukawem, Chairman of Sealine Group and Hamburg Süd’s official local representative, said: “The shipping company decided to use the port as a hub to Lattakia and East European ports because it foresees a good future in Syria and the region.” Large vessels used to carry up to 7,000 Twenty-Foot Equivalent Unit (TEU) containers from the Far East and unload in Lattakia. Instead, mother vessels coming from the Far East are unloading cargo at the PoB. “Feeder vessels are then sent to Limassol, Greece, Turkey, and Syria,” he said. Hamburg Süd is also dispatching vessels from ‘North Ports’, consisting…

6 min
money & banking

CENTRAL BANK TO SUBSIDIZE LOANS WORTH $1 BILLION The Central Bank (BDL) has a new stimulus package for 2018. Interest rates on housing loans and loans provided to the productive sectors will be subsidized, according to Wael Hamdan, Head of BDL’s Financing Unit. The new package differs from the previous stimulus program. The banks will provide the loans from their own liquidity. BDL will offer the interest subsidies. The aggregate value of loans subsidized is capped at $1 billion. There will be additional modifications to the new package but they are not major changes, Hamdan said. Interest rates will be raised slightly. The Public Corporation for Housing (PCH) will get the lion’s share of this support, according to Hamdan. Banque de l’Habitat (The Housing Bank) will also continue to benefit from…

8 min
official business

MCKINSEY TO HELP SET NATIONAL ECONOMIC VISION The Cabinet has assigned McKinsey the task of helping the country formulate an economic policy in cooperation with the relevant ministries and other entities, said Minister of Economy and Trade Raed Khoury. A six-month agreement was signed with the international consultancy firm to conduct a study which will cost $1.4 million. According to Khoury, the major aim of the economic policy is to define a suitable economic model for Lebanon and to identify economic sectors with value-added potential. He said that all measures will be taken to protect, encourage, and issue the required laws to support these sectors. The government’s policy regarding investment incentives and job creation will be based on the findings of the study, Khoury said. Charles Arbid, Chairman of the Economic…

9 min
matters of fact

PROPERTY SALES NEAR $10 BILLION The value of real estate transactions went up 17 percent compared to the year before, according to the Real Estate Registry. Sales totaled $9.9 billion in 2017. The number of real estate transactions totaled 73,740, recording an increase of 15 percent. This makes the average price per transaction $135,000, almost stable compared to the previous year. These transactions represent property registrations. These sales contracts could have been signed years ago. Georges Maarawi, Director General of the Real Estate Registry, said: “People thought that they will be affected by the tax hike. This is why we noticed higher registrations in March and April and two months before the budget was ratified by the Parliament.” Maarawi said that the prices being registered at registry offices are closer to…