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Lebanon Opportunities

Lebanon Opportunities June 1, 2016

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
municipal thumbs

It’s over. Thumbs up for a successful municipal election process. Except in Beirut and Tripoli, participation was acceptable. Outside areas of Le Hizb, the competition was real. Vote buying, notwithstanding contrary propaganda, was limited, the lowest we have ever seen. Most candidates accepted the results. Breaches of security were rare and negligible in intensity. Even vote counting, except in Beirut, was quick and transparent. There are many lessons to be drawn from this. The large parties have all suffered a big blow, even in areas controlled by the yellow ‘iron thumb’. The elections, proclaimed to be mainly focused on regional development, were anything but that. Politics was paramount. All the prevailing candidates belong to the ruling class, with no win to outsiders – except for Tripoli, which thumbed the nose…

1 min
bits & bytes

SOUND BYTES Political gridlock is an economic obstacle Prime Minister Tamam Salam The cost of telecommunications and the Internet should be lower Former Prime Minister Saad Hariri The report of the Army Intelligence Directorate revealed big names involved in the Internet scandal Boutros Harb, Minister of Telecom The Janna Dam is the most feasible dam project Mohamed Fneish, Minister of State We are satisfied with the statement by the Governor of the Central Bank Ali Hassan Khalil, Minister of Finance The State is not ready now to invest in education, nor in approving a hike in wages Elias Bou Saab, Minister of Education The annual size of corruption is $800 million Samir Geagea, Leader of the Lebanese Forces We will have reasonable growth this year Riad Salameh, Governor of the Central Bank This is a good time to invest in Lebanon Jean-Paul Vermès, Chairman of the Chamber of…

9 min
in good company

HAYDA LEBANON VILLAGE OPENS IN ZAAROUR Hayda Lebanon, a touristic village situated on the Zaarour highway and owned by businessman Fadi Bou Dagher, is open to visitors. Investments in the 27,000 square meter project have so far reached $12 million. Hayda Lebanon is composed of six Lebanese cuisine restaurants. The indoor restaurant has a 200-person capacity and the outdoor spaces have a capacity for 1,200. “At the entrance hangs the largest map of Lebanon in the world,” said Bou Dagher, who put the names of all 1,622 villages and towns on the map. “We brought a rock from each of the villages and shaped it according to each village’s dimensions,” he said. The village includes an animal farm, a children’s playground, and a church. “We also dedicated space to a classroom…

7 min
money & banking

SOLIDERE LOSSES LEAD TO LOWERED STOCK PROSPECTS Solidere posted a loss of $87.2 million in 2015, following a profit of $113.7 million in the previous year. The loss is due to weakness in revenues from sales. Additionally, two major sales deals needed to be provisioned against, due to pending cancelation after talks for rescheduling payments had faltered. Solidere said that it has created provisions of $82 million to write off those earnings for land sales concluded before 2015. Two weeks ahead of the announcement of the results, FFA Private Bank had revised down its target price for shares of Solidere from $13.5 to $11 per share. It had forecasted a loss of $35.9 million, not accounting for the last minute announcement of the two deal cancellations. After the announcement, FFA Private…

8 min
official business

TAX DATA TO BE SHARED WITH FOREIGN STATES IN 2018 The Government has declared its commitment to the international standard of automatic exchange of financial account information, which aims to combat tax evasion and avoidance, according to a statement by the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes. The move comes within the implementation of the tax information exchange law that was approved by Parliament in 2015 and is part of the country’s commitment to international regulations, said Chahdan Jebeyli, Group Head of the Legal and Compliance Department at the Bank Audi group. The next step will be to create more awareness in the banking sector about this issue and set up the structure and mechanisms that will…

6 min
matters of fact

STRONG REMITTANCES TO GROW FURTHER The World Bank (WB) has revised down its estimation of remittance inflows for 2015 to $7.2 billion, according to its Migration and Development Brief released in April. An earlier report issued in October forecast remittances at $7.5 billion. The decline in oil prices has negatively affected remittance inflows, especially from Gulf States and oil producing African countries, said Marwan Barakat, Head of Research at Bank Audi. Remittances from expatriates in GCC states account for 55 percent of overall remittance inflows, according to Barakat, who also said that there are indicators that the situation might improve in 2016. Overall financial inflows that include remittances, investment flows, tourism revenues, and other inflows increased 30 percent in the first quarter of 2016 compared with the same period last year.…