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Lebanon Opportunities

Lebanon Opportunities May 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

We have been denied two elections: Parliamentary and presidential. We now face a municipal suffrage. While the political landscape is fractured and is being reshuffled, the warring parties have miraculously decided to form coalitions anywhere they can, or even leave it to the families of towns and villages to battle it out. This has opened the door to other predicaments. LEGITIMATE QUESTIONS Is it worthwhile to vote in districts where the coalition of parties has an unshakable path to victory? Many people have lived most of their lives in districts far away from where they are registered. Should they travel all that way to cast a vote for candidates they do not know, over issues they are unfamiliar with? Some areas are under the thumb of ‘you-know-who’, denying its opponents not just…

11 min
in good company

DUBAI MEAT COMPANY SOLD TO LEBANON AND JORDAN BUYERS Local private equity fund management company Emerging Investment Partners (EIP) has acquired the Dubai-based Diamond Meat Processing (DMP), the owner of Almasa brand, in partnership with the Jordanian publicly listed firm, Siniora Food Industries. The full equity deal closed at $17 million. The seller of DMP is Emirati firm, Al Ghurair Group. EIP’s share of the deal is 30 percent. CSC Bank financed close to one third of EIP’s share. The terms of the deal are seven years at market rate, which is to be repaid from dividends. BSEC acted as advisor to the sellers, managing the deal, and undertaking its valuation, which was close to the final purchase price. Several other entities were also vying for the deal, including Salah Osseiran,…

8 min
money & banking

BANKS DENY STOPPAGE IN TRANSFERS FROM KSA The Association of Banks in Lebanon (ABL) denied any halt to remittances between Lebanon and Saudi Arabia, or any other Gulf country. Press reports announced that remittances between Lebanon and Saudi Arabia have stopped, quoting unnamed bank sources, and that the management of banks have informed their branches. ABL said: “The report has no grounds, as banking transactions between Lebanon and the Arab Gulf, especially Saudi Arabia, is operating in a perfectly normal fashion in both directions.” L0516-11 CREDIT LIBANAIS STILL PURSUED BY CEDRUS AND BIT Two banks are willing to pay Egypt-based EFG Hermes a higher price than it has already received for its 63.7 percent stake in Credit Libanais. The offers are contingent on positive due diligence results. Both Cedrus Invest Bank (CIB) and BIT…

11 min
official business

PROPERTY REGISTRY GOES ONLINE The Ministry of Finance’s Property Registry recently launched three online services, one paid, and two freeof-charge. George Maarawi, Director General of the Registry, said: “The first service allows citizens to check the title register of properties (ifada ikariya) and print it out through a mobile phone or a computer.” This service will cost LL7,500 ($5), and an additional LL1,000 ($0.66) for application submittal. Until now, the service has been available only on premises. The second service allows users to track paperwork, whether the procedure was stopped, and the reasons behind it. The third service helps citizens calculate the value of different property fees, and includes templates of the documents needed to carry out each procedure. Maarawi said: “The goal behind these electronic services is to facilitate procedures…

1 min
matters of fact

FEWER LOANS BY THE PUBLIC CORPORATION FOR HOUSING The Public Corporation for Housing (PCH) approved 4,600 loan applications in 2015 worth $544 million. The number of loans has fallen by eight percent and the value by 16 percent, compared to figures from 2014. The value of loans averaged $122,000. Rony Lahoud, PCH Chairman, said: “Most applications are for small-size apartments in Mount Lebanon.” The market share of PCH market is half of the total housing loans issued. The Housing Bank, Banque de l’Habitat, which gives Central Bank (BDL) subsidized loans, and commercial banks constitute the remaining half. Demand for PCH loans shot up by 100 requests in the first quarter of this year. Lahoud said: “This is a significant increase as in March alone we received 516 applications. We expect activity…

3 min
people on the move

Big changes at Malia Group JOANNE SARRAF CHEHAB, CEO Malia Group ushers in big changes as the company sees a number of ‘firsts’. The first change is in the splitting of Malia’s CEO and Chairman positions, in accordance with the group’s corporate governance principles. In another first, a female has been named CEO. Joanne Sarraf Chehab, whose father Jacques Sarraf is Malia’s Chairman, was previously General Manager of Ch. Sarraf & Co., one of Malia’s 25 companies. Chehab said that the group is reformulating its growth strategy, which will be built on five key pillars. These pillars involve retaining and developing workforce capabilities and continuous automation investments, in order to enhance processes and consequently improve productivity and the quality of products and services. The five pillars will also include the continuation of…