News in Full
Cyprus Property transactions rise 21% in July
Property transactions rose 21 per cent year-on-year in July, to 896, the highest since December, mainly on a strong performance of the real estate market in Nicosia and Paphos, the Department of Lands and Surveys said.
The number of properties in Nicosia that changed owners rose 42 per cent last month, to 176, compared to the respective month of 2017 while in Paphos their number rose 27 per cent, to 233, which in both cases was the highest this year, the department said.
Property transactions in Limassol rose an annual 17 per cent in July, to 314, in Larnaca 9 per cent, to 112, and in the Famagusta district 3 per cent, to 61, the department said.
Approximately one million people acquire citizenship of an EU member state in 2016
A total of 4,660 persons acquired the Cypriot citizenship in 2016, according to data published today by Eurostat. According to Eurostat, 24.8% of them were Russians, 15.6% Greeks and 7.2% from the United Kingdom. An increase of 40% was registered compared to 2015.
In 2016, around 995,000 persons acquired citizenship of an EU member state, up from 841,000 in 2015 and 889,000 in 2014. Of the total number of persons obtaining the citizenship of one of the EU member states in 2016, 12% were former citizens of another EU member state, while the majority were non-EU citizens or stateless.
The largest group acquiring citizenship of an EU member state where they lived in 2016 were citizens of Morocco (101,300 persons, of whom 89% acquired citizenship of Spain, Italy or France), ahead of citizens of Albania (67,500, 97% acquired citizenship of Italy or Greece), India (41,700, almost 60% acquired British citizenship), Pakistan (32,900, more than half acquired British citizenship), Turkey (32,800, almost half acquired German citizenship), Romania (29,700, 44% acquired Italian citizenship), and Ukraine (24,000, 60% acquired citizenship of Germany, Romania, Portugal or Italy).
Exceptional Iranian student received honorary Cypriot citizenship
Interior minister Constantinos Petrides granted honorary citizenship to the 16-year-old Iranian student, Datis Amirkalali, on Friday, for high academic achievement.
Datis attends a Nicosia private school and is said to be an exceptional student. Since 2015 he has participated annually in the Cyprus Mathematics Competitions and secured the 1st Pancyprian Prize three years in a row in 2016, 2017 and 2018.
According to the ministry, “Datis’s excellent academic achievements in mathematics make him not only an example of academic excellence but also of migrant social integration into Cypriot society, and so it was decided he would be granted honorary citizenship.”
Forget fast cars and yachts, passports are the new status symbol for the ultra-rich
Ultra high-net worth individuals are turning their attention away from sports cars, yachts and designer clobber, and are instead focusing on acquiring the latest status symbol among the super wealthy: passports.
Today it is entirely possible to buy and sell citizenship, and for the ultra-rich, the more passports they can get their hands on, the better.
Citizenship by investment programmes (CIPs) is a concept that began in 1984, when the two-island Caribbean nation of St Kitts and Nevis came up with the idea to encourage wealthy individuals to pump money into its economy in exchange for a passport, which gives holders visa-free access to 132 countries worldwide.
For millionaires in countries that have politically problematic or restrictive passports, such as China and some regions in the Middle East, the ability to buy a passport that offers visa-free access to a huge number of countries around the world is priceless.
It is estimated that between 3,000 and 5,000 passports each year globally are acquired through CIPs. For extremely wealthy people, having a second or third passport is important so that they can travel easily for both business and pleasure and for some it's also a status symbol, with some individuals collecting six or more passports.
Cyprus's CIP was introduced in 2014 as a way of attracting foreign high net-worth individuals to invest their money in the country in exchange for European citizenship Cyprus's CIP is one of the most popular on offer – giving investors and family a Full EU Citizenship and Passport plus visa-free travel to more than 150 countries in exchange for a €2m (£1.8m) investment in either real estate – which helps create employment in the country, further boosting the economy
EU (Cyprus) Citizenship is now even easier
The Council of Ministers approved on Tuesday major changes for granting Cypriot (EU) Citizenship to non-Cypriot entrepreneurs/investors. In statements to the press on Wednesday, Minister of Finance Harris announced that the revision of the scheme aims to encourage real estate investments that would benefit the economy.
The key changes are:
The abolishment of the provision for a collective investment of €12.5 million
The reduction of the individual investment from €2.5m to €2 million
The parents of the investor also qualify for Citizenship, allowing 3 generations to gain EU Citizenship with a single investment – The investor, spouse, children and parents all qualify with a single €2 million investment, with the provision that the parents invest in a €500,000 permanent residency
The new scheme terminates the provisions for the granting of citizenship to those with bank deposits worth €5 million or bonds worth €2.5 million
These major changes are designed to make the scheme even easier for international investors to qualify for EU Citizenship and passports.
Record Number of Cyprus Tourists
The number of tourist arrivals rose 17 per cent last month to 458,645 compared to the respective month of 2015, which was an all-time high for an August, the statistical service said.
“In January to August 2016, tourist arrivals rose to 2,196,017 which is 19 per cent more compared to the respective period of 2015, Cystat said in a statement on its website on Monday. July was also a record month.
The rise in tourist arrivals in August resulted from a 37 per cent annual increase in visitors from Russia, Cyprus’s second major market, to 122,843 and a 9.9 per cent increase from the UK to 172,236, which is the largest source of incoming tourism, Cystat said. Arrivals from Israel and Greece rose 61 per cent and 17 per cent to 27,048 and 10,453 respectively, while the number of German tourists fell in August 6.1 per cent to 13,144.
Tourism makes up directly or indirectly roughly a quarter of Cyprus’s economy which is expected to expand 2.7 per cent in 2016 compared to 1.6 per cent last year.
€600m a year expected from Cyprus natural gas revenues in 12 years
Finance Minister Harris Georgiades expects that Cyprus will annually receive up to €600m in gas revenues inside of 12 years once exploitation of the Aphrodite field – so far Cyprus’s single hydrocarbon finding – begins, the Cyprus News Agency reported on Monday.
Georgiades who was briefing the parliamentary finance committee on the government’s plans to set up a national investment fund that will manage hydrocarbons revenue, said that while the exploitation of the Aphrodite finding is not expected to commence before 2020, the parliament should not delay the approval of the bill. The figure includes revenue from the sale of gas and non-repeating revenue such as those from licensing rounds.
“What makes its institutionalisation urgent and important now is that we send a very timely message abroad, but mainly at home that Cyprus can handle hydrocarbons revenue in a serious and responsible manner,” the finance minister was quoted as saying by the Cyprus News Agency.
Cyprus which held a third round of oil and gas exploration and licensing in July and is expected to announce the winners before early 2017, wants to speed up exploratory drilling in its exclusive economic zone in order to obtain more reliable data before deciding on investment for its gas exports.
The Millionaires Club: The Ultimate in Beach Front Living: Pre Release Opportunity
A Luxury Beach Front Development in the Heart of Cyprus. Only For the Most Discerning Clients: Prices from €1.75m to €21.5m
The Millionaires Club, Limassol overlooks the waters of the Mediterranean and is set to transform ‘luxury living’ on the island.
Designed by YOO inspired by Starck it is composed of 51 spectacular contemporary Mediterranean styled villas and 8 chic apartments, stretching over 89,000m² of land with an exclusive Club House offering a world of amenities and facilities that will satisfy your every whim, plus 15,000m² of private recreational park for residents to soak up the Mediterranean sun.
Located on the South coast of the Island, Limassol is the second largest city in Cyprus and is often described as the islands ‘most beautiful place to live’.
The Millionaires Club is dedicated in providing services and amenities truly worthy of its discerning residents. Our residents have the benefit of a world-class team at their fingertips, with the option to indulge in any or all of the following services:
THE MILLIONAIRES CLUB AMENITIES
Private Jet Club
Super Cars & Motorbikes Club
24 Hour Security Services
From domestic management with dedicated staff at your disposal any time of the day and 24 hour security services & concierge to shopping the latest fashion brands or ordering a limousine for travelling to and from the airport, The Millionaires Club aims to cater to your each and every desire. We can assist on the organization of flights on a private jet, or if you've got some free time on the weekend why not let us arrange a cruise for you on our beautiful Mediterranean waters with our on-demand Power Yacht. Each and everything we do is for you and to allow you to ‘live beautifully’ here at the Millionaires Club.
The Club House is a modern mixture of contemporary design and elegant finishes that truly reflect the lifestyle available at the Millionaires Club. Here our residents can combine business & office facilities, entertainment bars & lounges, a family cinema experience, kids play area and spa & wellness facilities. It’s the utopia for leisure, relaxation and well-being. Designed to cater to the needs and desires of the whole family.
CLUB HOUSE FACILITIES
Lounge Cove (offering a variety of rare whiskeys, cognacs & cigars)
Gym & Sports Club
Spa & Beauty Wellness Centre
Paphos 2017: A Dazzling Capital of Culture
Renowned as the birthplace of Aphrodite and standing as one of the most famous places of pilgrimage of the Ancient Greeks, the entire Paphos town stands proud as a UNESCO world heritage site. But now, locals have yet another accolade to be proud of, having won the international competition to become the European Capital of Culture for 2017.
Designed to bring the citizens of Europe closer together by the EU Council of Ministers in 1985, the ‘Capital of Culture’ concept has since gone from strength to strength, with the title leading to great cultural and socio-economic impact for each country awarded the title. With preparations now underway in Paphos as it responds to the ambitious project, it aims to fast become the most hospitable capital of Europe.
Paphos now aspires to become the first European Capital of Culture which will link the East and the West, bridging people and cultures, while also becoming a place of cultural collaboration and peaceful coexistence.
What’s particularly exciting is that every corner of the town, including its parks, streets, neighbourhoods and beaches, will be converted into an outdoor cultural hall. From the castle square and the archaeological park, to the wild Akamas Peninsula and tiny villages in between, there will be much to capture the imagination as each and every community will be doing their bit to host various displays of European culture under the blue skies.
“Our programme is aimed at showing what Paphos really is and what the city aims to achieve with inspiration, passion and much determination,” points out Elia. “Heir to a cultural development spanning over 9000 years, a popular tourist destination for tens of thousands of visitors, and a living example of a multi-cultural society, Paphos wants to reveal what it has absorbed and what it has given back.
Above all, however, Paphos seeks to show how it can contribute to the European cultural scene with innovation, creativity and a desire to evolve from the past, while simultaneously advancing with respect towards a truly authentic future.
3 Generations now Qualify for Cyprus Permanent Residency with Just One Single Investment
The Cyprus Permanent Residency Programme has just been revised to include the parents of the applicants. Just one single investment in a Cyprus Permanent Residence enables the Investor, Spouse and children up to the age of 25 to qualify for Permanent Residency in Cyprus and now from February 22nd the parents of the investor and spouse also qualify.
The Cyprus permanent Residency Programme with over 2,000 successful applicants since its introduction a few years ago is already the most popular choice in Europe and the addition of the parents will make this programme even more attractive to families.
The qualifying investment for the whole family is €300,000 in a permanent residence and the investor must also show that he has €30,000 income outside of Cyprus and an additional income of €8,000 for each dependent parent.
New Paphos Marina Gets Green Light
The Paphos marina project has been given the green light following a judgement handed down by the Cyprus Supreme Court on Mondaymore than 25 years after initial studies were undertaken.
The chairman of the Paphos Commerce and Industry Chamber Andreas Demetriades said that the development of the Paphos marina will have a positive multiplier effect on all other sectors of the local economy. This project will create a lot of jobs and many opportunities. We are very happy with the result.”
He added that the marina which will accommodate more than 1000 yachts will increase Paphos’s tourist product as it will attract more and new tourists from neighbouring countries.
According to Demetriades the Marina will be built in a 155 thousand square metres of land from which 40 thousand will be used for residential purposes. The marina will be built in the area of Potima between Kissonerga and Pegeia and it is expected to satisfy the increasing demand form yacht owners from Greece and Asia Minor, according to Demetriades.
Head of the Kissonerga community council George Stylianou said: “We now expect the winning consortium to start building this project as soon as possible. Once building plans have been passed and permits granted, we hope that they will be in a position to commence work next year.” Stylianou noted that the marina will be a lucrative source of income for Kissonerga, adding that they are insisting that there will also be a dock for cruise ships included in the plans.
Why Wait 6 Years? Faster, Cheaper and Simpler Access to the UK and Europe
An Alternative to the UK Tier I Investment Visa
The UK Tier 1 Investment Visa has been a reasonably attractive route for wealthy non EU individuals and families to gain access to the UK and European Union for many years. However the cost of this option recently doubled to €2 million, the process and requirements have understandably become more challenging, it includes extensive residency requirements and typically takes in the region of 6 years to accomplish.
This may still be an attractive option for some, however the length of time it takes, the requirement to live in the UK for a minimum of 185 days per year, every year for 5 years, and the language requirements makes it prohibitive for many. So is there a practical alternative that can provide similar benefits?
The Cyprus (European Union) Citizenship and Passport Programme offers almost identical benefits to the UK Tier 1 Investment Visa route in a fraction of the time, is far simpler and is without any residency or language requirements.
How do the offerings compare in terms of benefits to the investor
They both provide the freedom, security and mobility of a second passport and the possibility to live, work and study anywhere in the European Union. Both offerings include the investors spouse and dependants and the Cyprus offering extends this cover to dependants up to the age of 28 as long as they are in full time education. They both allow extensive travel to over 150 countries.
Are there any notable differences
Not at the moment as both offerings currently provide Full European Union Citizenship and Passports and the benefits that go with it. On the cover page of the UK Passport it states European Union, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland Passport whilst the cover page of the Cyprus Passport states European Union, Republic of Cyprus Passport. However depending upon the outcome of this year’s EU referendum the UK option may be restricted to providing the ability to live and work in the UK only whilst the Cyprus offering will provide complete freedom and access to live and work anywhere in the European union.
Are there major differences in qualification?
The difference in qualification is quite extensive. The UK Tier 1 Investor visa requires the investor to live in the UK for a minimum of 185 days every year for a minimum period of 5 years before an application can be made for Citizenship. It therefore typically takes around 6 years to obtain UK (EU) Citizenship and Passports. There are English language tests and requirements. The minimum investment level has recently increased to £2m (approximately €2.8m) and property investment does not qualify as an allowable investment route despite it being a very popular investment vehicle for international investors.
By comparison the Cyprus offering taking just 3-4 months for Cyprus (European Union) Passports and Citizenship to be issued is lightning fast. There are no residency requirements, no language requirements and one of the major investment options for the fast track route is property investment. At €2.5m it is also a little less expensive.
Citizenship-by-investment Raises €2.5bn for Cyprus
CYPRUS’ citizenship-by-investment programme has yielded €2.5bn in revenues for the government since 2013, Interior minister Socratis Hasikos told lawmakers on Friday.
Presenting the ministry’s 2016 budget, Hasikos told the House Finance committee that the programme, which affords wealthy foreigners the Cypriot nationality if they park €5m of deposits into a local bank or invest an equal amount in shares or bonds in Cyprus, or if they buy property worth at least €300,000, has exceeded expectations, but declined to reveal the number of investors who took advantage of the scheme.
Necessary conditions for eligibility to the programme is that the money invested was previously kept abroad, and that the applicant does not work in Cyprus. The Interior minister said this income has helped Cyprus weather the tough times of crisis in previous years, and noted that naturalisation is linked to investments, property sales, deposits, and the trading of shares.
However, Hasikos said, pressure is being applied by the European Union on Cyprus to amend the scheme’s eligibility criteria, which the government is resisting. “We had told the EU that we instituted the programme as a temporary measure to combat the effects of the financial crisis,” Hasikos said. But, he said, the programme is not being abandoned.
Hasikos assured lawmakers that applicants are screened extensively before being granted citizenship. “We don’t approve terrorists or drug dealers – there are thorough checks before a foreigner is naturalised,” he noted.
Cyprus economic growth continues in third quarter 2015
The Cypriot economy grew in the third quarter of 2015 an annual 2.3 per cent and a seasonal adjusted 2.2 per cent, the statistical service said.
In the third quarter, the economy grew 0.4 per cent compared to the quarter before, Cystat said in a statement on its website on Wednesday. The Cypriot economy, which contracted for 14 consecutive quarters and exited recession in the first quarter of the year, grew in April to June an annual 1.2 per cent and a quarterly 0.5 per cent.
Growth resulted from increased economic activity in manufacturing, construction, retail and wholesale, hotel and restaurants, transport, professional, scientific and technical activities, administrative and support service activities as well as financial services, Cystat said. Output in recreational, cultural and sporting activities, activities of households as employers and other community, social and personal service activities fell in the third quarter.
Cyprus property sales up 23 per cent
Property sales in Cyprus to the domestic market rose in October 2015 compared to the number sold in October 2014, while sales to the overseas market fell according statistics published by the Department of Lands and Surveys.
THE NUMBER of properties sold in Cyprus during October 2015 increased according to the latest official statistics issued by the island’s Department of Lands and Surveys.
During October a total of 463 contracts for the sale of commercial and residential properties and land (building plots and fields) were deposited at Land Registry offices across Cyprus, compared with the 375 deposited in October 2014; an increase of 23 per cent.
Of those 463 contracts, 76% (352) were deposited by domestic (Cypriot) purchasers, while 24% (111) were deposited by overseas (non-Cypriot) purchasers.
With the exception of Larnaca, where sales fell by 1%, sales rose in all the other districts. Sales in Nicosia (the island’s capital) rose 64%, while sales in Paphos went up 30%. Sales in Limassol and Famagusta rose by 28% and 4% respectively.
Optimism among consumers, services companies pushes August economic sentiment up
Economic sentiment in August rose 6.6 points compared to the month before to 106.9, which is the highest value since April and the second highest value since September 2008, the economic research centre of the University of Cyprus said.
“The increase is attributable to a strengthening of business confidence in services and consumer confidence, which are the two components of the economic sentiment indicator with the biggest importance,” the ERC said in an emailed statement today.
“The improvement of business confidence in services and consumer confidence in August compared to the month before, stems from more optimistic responses both on the current and the future situation of companies, households and the Cypriot economy in general,” the statement said. “In addition, employment prospects in construction were evaluated less unfavourable by the companies, which resulted in a less negative picture”.
Bank deposits rise in June as deleveraging continues, central bank says
Deposits in the Cypriot banking system rose by €238m in July compared to June to €46.2bn, mainly on increased deposits held by non-Cyprus residents, as deleveraging continues, the Central Bank of Cyprus said.
Deposits held by residents of other euro area countries rose by €138.4m to over €2.5bn in July compared to the month before while those held by third country residents rose by €75.8bn to €11.5bn, the central bank said in a statement on its website today. Amounts deposited by Cyprus residents rose by €23.8m to €32.1bn.
The total amount of outstanding loans fell in July by €622.8m from June to €62bn, which was the largest drop since March, and the second largest since October 2013, and was attributable to loan repayments by resident of third countries, which fell to by €453.9m to €9.3bn, the statement said. Cyprus residents saw the amount of their outstanding loans drop by €146.3m to €49bn, while residents of other euro area countries saw their loans decline by €22.6m to €3.6bn.
President Nicos Anastasiades announces new tax incentives to attract international Investors
PRESIDENT Nicos Anastasiades on Wednesday announced tax incentives, including a 50 per cent cut in property transfer fees, to boost economic activity as Cyprus moves to attract rich foreign nationals. The government also plans to introduce full exemption from the capital gains tax of any future sale of immovable property acquired between the day the law is enacted and the end of 2016.
“As long as it is bought by December 31, 2016, no capital gains will be paid,” he said, no matter when it is sold.
Speaking at the 54th AGM of the Institute of Certified Public Accountants, the president said the cabinet had made decisions that made the island’s tax framework fairer and more competitive, and most importantly, limited the tax burden, offering incentives for economic activity.
“Our clear and explicit goal is to become the first government in the history of the Republic of Cyprus to reduce public debt and reduce the tax burden at the same time,” Anastasiades said.
Heavy taxation cripples people and businesses and suffocate the economy, he added.
The basic reforms include tax breaks to encourage the flow of new capital in businesses, and extension of increased capital allowances on equipment and buildings until the end of 2016.
To attract foreign entrepreneurs and rich individuals, the government plans to introduce the ‘non-domiciled resident’ status.
“The substantive incentive these individuals will gain, provided they opt to be Cyprus tax residents, will be the exemption from the special defence contribution,” the president said.
The administration will also keep in place the tax incentives relating to the revenues of an individual who was not a resident of the island before the start of his employment.
Anastasiades also announced a 50 per cent cut in property transfer fees to “encourage transactions in the real estate sector.”
Cyprus becoming more attractive for investment
European Commissioner for jobs, growth, investment and competitiveness, Jyri Katainen, said on Monday that Cyprus’ image abroad was improving, and its credibility was being restored, making itself more attractive to foreign investment.
The former Finnish prime minister and finance minister who was in Nicosia to promote the European Commission’s investment initiative said that if Cyprus had the necessary instruments in place, it could benefit from investment in the areas of the small and medium size enterprises, tourism via hotel renovation, and energy.
“Giving you the impression from outside, your country has managed to deal with the crisis very well and this has helped you receive confidence,” he said.
Referring to the energy sector, he added: “If we can manage to fund a viable project in this area, it could contribute to Europe`s energy security.”
The European Commission’s Investment Plan for Europe aims at triggering more than €300bn over the next three years. It was announced by European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker in November, in an attempt to kick-start the European economy.
Katainen commended Cyprus’s efforts towards economic recovery, adding that the country managed to face the crisis even as internal disagreements existed.
The commissioner, who met President Nicos Anastasiades and members of the parliamentary committee for European and external affairs, said that while Cyprus was located in a troubled region, he hoped external factors would not affect its efforts.
Egyptian investment in Ayia Napa marina
AN EGYPTIAN businessman will invest some €220 million in the construction of the marina in Ayia Napa, it emerged on Monday. Naguib Sawiris was received by President Nicos Anastasiades who later tweeted: “We welcome the highly important €220 million investment by Orascom in Ayia Napa.”
Energy and Tourism Minister Giorgos Lakkotrypis said the Egyptian investor had come to an agreement with the consortium that planned to build the marina in the Ayia Thekla area. “The project is of great importance to Cyprus,” Lakkotrypis said outside the presidential palace.
Work on the marina was expected to start mid-2015. “It is a project that will enrich our tourist product, in line with the objective of the new strategy,” the minister said. Sawiris said he had opted to invest in Cyprus “because we believe in this country” which has beautiful beaches. The Egyptian businessman said he expected the project to be completed in three years. It will include a marina, a luxury hotel, villas and apartments.
He said the aim was to promote Ayia Napa as a top tourist destination.
IMF sees Cyprus growth at 0.2% in 2015 and 1.4% next year
The International Monetary Fund said Cyprus’s economy will grow a marginal 0.2 per cent this year after shrinking 2.3 per cent in 2014 before growth accelerates to 1.4 per cent in 2016.
The unemployment rate will drop from a 16.2 per cent in 2014 to 15.9 per cent this year, and will further drop to 14.9 per cent next year, the IMF said in its World Economic Outlook today. The current account will generate a 1.9 per cent of gross domestic product deficit this year, as much as it did in 2014 before the deficit shrinks to 1.4 per cent of GDP in 2016.
Consumer prices will decrease 1 per cent this year after dropping 0.3 per cent last year, the IMF said. In 2016, the IMF expects an inflation rate of 0.9 per cent.
The euro-area’s economy is projected to grow 1.5 per cent in 2015 and 1.6 per cent in 2016, the Washington-based organisation said. Inflation rate is expected to be around 0.1 per cent this year before picking up at 1 per cent next year.
Former Pakistani PM and banker hails Cyprus' investment potential
Cyprus can be a "great home for investment", Shaukat Aziz, the former Prime Minister and Finance Minister of Pakistan said on Monday 9th February 2015
The former Pakistani official, with the 30-year long career in Citibank, is in Cyprus to attend the "Cyprus Investors Summit 2015", in Limassol and met here today with the President of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades, together with investor Sheikh Abdul Rahman bin Khalid bin Mahfouz from Saudi Arabia.
In statements after the meeting, Shaukat Aziz said that they discussed about developments in Cyprus and the investment potential.
Global institutional investors will attend the Cyprus Investors Summit 2015
which will take place today and tomorrow in the southern coastal town of Limassol.
The Summit is organized for the first time by the Cyprus Investment Promotion Agency (CIPA) and is taking place under the auspices of the President of the Republic Nicos Anastasiades.
The Summit has attracted global institutional investors, fund managers, industry leaders and policy makers to learn and be informed about the vast investment opportunities that Cyprus has to offer in Large Scale Projects. The objective is to present 12 significant and attractive investment opportunities to the global investment community.
Tonight, President Anastasiades will address delegates at an official dinner.
The official opening session will take place tomorrow morning with addresses by CIPA Director General Charis Papacharalambous, CIPA Chairman Christodoulos Angastiniotis, Bank of Cyprus CEO John Hourican, Minister of Finance Harris Georgiades, Minister of Energy, Commerce, Industry and Tourism Yiorgos Lakkotrypis, Governor of the Central Bank of Cyprus Chrystalla Georghadji, Privatisation Commissioner Constantinos Heorodotou, Director of the Wealth, Brokerage and Asset Management at the Bank of Cyprus Costas Argyrides and President of the Cyprus Investment Funds Association (CIFA) Angelos Gregoriades.
Yeroskipou sets sights on €7bn Ra-sort
A HUGE leisure project with a hefty price tag of around 7 billion euros is being proposed for Yeroskipou in Paphos by a conglomerate of foreign investors according to local officials. Yeroskipou Mayor Michael Pavlides told the Cyprus Mail that the project dubbed ‘Ra’ after the Egyptian sun god could break ground by the end of the year, if all of the relevant permits and licenses are secured in time. Pavlides, who along with fellow councilors are backing the project, said: “This is a very exciting proposal for Yeroskipou and Paphos as a whole, as it will help lift the local economy and create thousands of new jobs.”
The mayor, along with other officials, met with some of the investors in Nicosia three weeks ago to examine plans for the proposed project which include a marina for 500 boats, an art academy, an aquarium, three large hotels, apartment complexes and other buildings.
A number of the project’s architects flew in for twenty four hours to present their proposal. Pavlides said that the investors are from a host of different countries including Hungary, Russia, the U.S., Singapore, Hong Kong and Portugal. He also pointed out that the conglomerate has a proven tack record and has built a number of similar successful projects in other countries.
“During the construction period around 6,000 jobs will be created and when the project is finished and up and running it will employ close to 10,000. It’s an enormous project and a great opportunity,” he said. According to the mayor, the investors are currently undertaking an environmental impact study and the relevant government departments are examining the plans ahead of permits being issued. “I believe the permits may be issued in a matter of weeks which means work could start before the end of the year. It will take four years to complete.
Foreign investors bring in €500m mainly in property
SOME €500m worth of foreign investments were made in Cyprus during the last eight months of 2013, primarily through the land-for-residency scheme, interior minister Socratis Hasikos said yesterday. “Over the past eight months, the Republic has brought in around half a billion in new money which has gone into the economy. These numbers are based on hard facts, not hypotheses,” Hasikos told reporters.
This was particularly impressive given it occurred in the midst of the financial crisis, he added. The minister was speaking shortly after a meeting at the Palace between President Nicos Anastasiades and leaders of the Cyprus Land and Building Developers Association (LBDA). Hasikos said real estate and construction were the areas which primarily attract foreign investment. “And it would be no exaggeration to say that the lion’s share of the hundreds of millions that came to Cyprus through sales to third-country nationals seeking permanent residency or [Cypriot] citizenship, was achieved through the efforts of these people,” Hasikos said, alluding to the developers.
It’s understood the numbers cited by Hasikos at least partly pertain to new investment citizenship programmes introduced by the administration last May soon after coming into office.
Australia expands visa programme aimed at rich Chinese
The Australian government is introducing new immigration rules aimed at attracting wealthy immigrants.
Applicants who invest at least A$15m ($13m; £8.09m) will now be eligible for permanent residency after one year.
Since 2012 a fast-track to permanent residency has been open to those who commit at least A$5m ($4.6m; £2.8m) over four years - 90% of successful applicants have been Chinese.
Australia is looking for new sources of growth as its mining boom winds down. "The government will reform the programme to encourage more high net-worth individuals to make Australia home," Prime Minister Tony Abbott said in a joint statement with the immigration and trade ministers.
According to Reuters, they said the new "premium investor visa" would "leverage and better direct additional foreign investment, while maintaining safeguards to ensure the migration programme is not misused". Immigration department figures show that 436 "significant investor visas" were granted between November 24, 2012 - when the existing programme was launched - to the end of last month.
Economy has ‘great growth potential’ says investor
MAJOR shareholder in Bank of Cyprus (BoC) Wilbur Ross is confident that the Cypriot economy holds great growth potential. In the first of a two-part interview with daily Phileleftheros, published on Tuesday, the billionaire investor – who raised some €400m for the recent €1b capital increase by the BoC – said tourism, business and financial services and the country’s natural resources can all drive the economy forward.
Asked why he had decided to invest in BoC in the first place, Ross said: “It is the largest bank in Cyprus. So the first question was, what are the prospects for the country itself, since investing in the largest bank is like acquiring ‘special rights’ on the Cypriot economy”.
According to Ross, tourism and the business services sectors are the drivers of the Cypriot economy. Calling Cyprus an “underrated tourism destination,” the American financier said the sector holds enormous untapped potential for growth. In particular, he drew attention to the planned privatisation of national carrier Cyprus Airways, noting that the new owners will possess the resources as well as the know-how to attract greater numbers of tourists to the island.
Ross revealed that people with Ryanair – one of the suitors for Cyprus Airways – have told him they could bring in some 2.5 million tourists a year, almost twice the current number, noting that the influx will have a major impact on the economy. The planned privatisation of the ports – a condition of the island’s bailout – would also help, he said.
The investor – whom Forbes magazine recently reported as having a net worth of $2.9b – also welcomed a government decision to license a casino resort.
On the exploitation of offshore natural gas, Ross said this alone can transform the economy, noting however that this was a long-term prospect.
Ross went on to express every confidence in Josef Ackermann – former CEO at Deutsche Bank – who has been nominated for the position of new chairman of the BoC board. He said he has “great respect” for Ackermann, adding that the choice of the banking heavyweight to lead BoC is proof of foreign investors’ confidence in the Cypriot economy.
China Investment Up
CHINA is becoming increasingly interested in Cyprus and the potential is “huge,” the head of the Cyprus-Chinese Business Association said yesterday.
Andis Nathanael told the Cyprus News Agency that direct investment from China to Cyprus has been rising, with the Chinese purchasing between 90 and 100 million US dollars worth of immovable property alone in 2011. He said that this was a drop in the ocean compared with the level of global investments by China, but added it was plenty for Cyprus.
Nathanael called for increasing transparency in the property sector and regulating the sector to oblige sellers to file reports on the property they are offering. The association is organising two China-based events, including an early-November Shanghai conference which the Cyprus energy minister is expected to address, Nathanael said.
Other events in Cyprus all aim to develop deeper ties between the two countries, he added.
Applications by Chinese nationals to gain permanent residency in Cyprus have jumped from a couple of dozen in 2012 to hundreds this year, according to the interior ministry’s migration department which said it counted over 400 applications at the end of August.
In Paphos, the promise of a €290 million investment has attracted attention, as a promise of a brighter future amid the financial crisis. The purchase by Hong-Kong-based China Glory National Investment of the Venus Rock Golf Resort has been hailed as an example of the growing links between China and Cyprus
Grand casion project aimed at foreign investors
ALTHOUGH ONE of the stated objectives of licensing the first casino resort complex in Cyprus is to attract foreign investment, this in no way excludes Cypriot investors who may submit proposals, the government said on Saturday.
The “integrated casino resort policy outline” which was released in full on the commerce ministry’s website on Saturday predicts the creation of a “world-class complex that will include not only a hotel resort and casino, but also a combination of sights and activities,” so that it can be “classed as a top-tiered casino resort in Europe, and one of the finest in the world”.
One of the stipulations of the bill is that the hotel that is to be part of the complex “will exceed requirements for a five-star hotel [...] and offer a minimum of 500 luxury rooms”, the description on the website said.
Government supports businesses, says President
PRESIDENT Nicos Anastasiades said last night his government is in touch with the local business community in an effort to offer support.
President Anastasiades said, at a business centre project presentation in Limassol, the government has already announced a series of measures which aim to boost the economy.
These, he added, include extending building allowances for large development projects, issuing permits for large tourist projects, such as golf courses, hotels and casinos as well as granting residency permits to non EU citizens when they purchase a house of a value of €300,000 and keep deposits of €30,000 at a local bank.
At the same time, he said, conditions for granting Cypriot passports to all those who meet the criteria required have become more flexible. He added that he expects that new regulations for acquiring Cypriot citizenship are expected to be adopted today.
President Anastasiades further noted that he has undertaken, with the help of his ministers and the business community, a campaign to attract foreign investments and has in this context visited various countries of strategic importance. He also stressed that Cyprus continues to retain its comparative advantages as an investment destination, a fact which needs to be perceived by all.
EIB discusses energy investment
EUROPEAN Investment Bank (EIB) President Werner Hoyer yesterday met with President Nicos Anastasiades in Nicosia where the main focus of discussion was reportedly energy investments.
According to public broadcaster CyBC, the two met for 45 minutes at the Presidential Palace after which no statements were made.
Sources told the broadcaster that the biggest part of the discussion focused on energy issues and, in particular, on the potential financing of a Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) terminal on the south coast of Cyprus. The same sources said Hoyer was briefed on government plans regarding the terminal and asked to be kept informed on future developments.
Asked to comment, Finance Minister Harris Georgiades said: “We are certainly not at the stage yet of talking specifics about this prospect, but it interests us and we pursue it.” When quizzed later by reporters on whether the EIB would be funding an LNG terminal on the island, Hoyer responded: “I never heard about it.”
He qualified that his team was in Cyprus to sign a big investment for small-and-medium-sized enterprises to promote growth and employment.
At the same time, the EIB is “aware” that gas exploration in Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ) is underway,