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Cyprus announces the launch of casino licensing process.

Posted on: 9/21/2015 7:01:33 AM under General News 
 

Cyprus Parliament has approved a law regulating the establishment, operation, supervision and control of casino resort in Cyprus.

The integrated operation should include luxury accommodation, entertainment, gaming and dining of world standard.

The law will provide accommodation exceeding the requirements for a five-star establishment with at least 500 luxury rooms, at least 100 gaming tables and at least 1,000 gaming machines.

The casino concession will be valid for 30 years and will enjoy 15 years of exclusive operation.

Cypriot authorities have said they expect up to 15 expressions of interest, among them four casino giants from Las Vegas, Malaysia and Macao: MGM and Caesars, Genting and Kezner.

Application submission date is 18th December 2015. The selection of the successful bidder should be completed within 45 days since the due date of application submission.

Source: Famagusta Gazette

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European Central Banks report on Cyprus banking crisis.

Posted on: 9/18/2015 12:17:01 AM under General News 
 

Government interference with the banking sector in Cyprus resulted in irreversible losses in the amount of 10.5% of the island`s GDP, a European Central Bank report says.

According to CNA, the report explains the Cypriot case as the "worst case" in terms of government support recovery.

The report states that over the period 2008-14 the accrued gross financial sector assistance in the euro area amounted to 8 per cent of euro area GDP, increasing currency union`s debt by 27 percentage points between 2008 and the end of 2014.

The European Central Bank report titled "The fiscal impact of financial sector support during the crisis" said Cyprus suffered the third largest fiscal impact following Ireland and Greece.

Source: Famagusta Gazette

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Cyprus & Vietnam: abolition of diplomatic and service visas.

Posted on: 9/15/2015 7:23:11 AM under General News 
 

Cyprus and Vietnam have signed a mutual agreement on the elimination of visas for holders of diplomatic and service passports.

Ioannis Kasoulides, Cyprus foreign minister, met with Bui Thanh Son, Vietnamese Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, to complete the deal on 11th September.

The agenda of the meeting consisted of several topics: bilateral relations, the preparation of the official visit of the President and Foreign Minister of Vietnam to Cyprus in December, progress in the Cyprus problem, the economic and political developments in Asia and Vietnam`s relations with the EU.

Source: Famagusta Gazette

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Cyprus and Egypt agreed on natural gas deal.

Posted on: 9/11/2015 7:00:48 AM under General News 
 

Cyprus and Egypt authorities report that they are proceeding with a natural gas deal providing for the purchase of up till now uncertain volume of Cypriot gas by Egypt.

Yiorgos Lakkotrypis, Cypriot Energy Minister said that feasibility studies were concluded and specialists are determining now the cost of seven alternative options to transfer the gas. He added that the next stage in the deal will be the conclusion of commercial agreements.

The Aphrodite field contain 5 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and Egypt said it is willing to buy as much gas as could be made available. The plans are unaffected by the discovery of a giga gas field in the Egyptian continental shelf, not very far from Cypriot gas plots. The Zohr discovery contains an estimated 30 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.

Source: Famagusta Gazette

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Cyprus to allow trapped buyers to obtain property's deeds.

Posted on: 9/8/2015 2:33:20 AM under General News 
 

The law became active when it was published in the official gazette on the 3rd September, after parliament passed it in a rare unanimous vote. The law covers transactions up to the end of 2012.

Cyprus enacted legislation releasing thousands of Cyprus home buyers who had been "trapped" by property sellers' debts to banks, and at the same time fulfilled a prior action for the release of more assistance money by international lenders.

The legislation is designed to enable owners who have paid up, to obtain a legal title deed to their properties which could not be issued up to now, because of bank mortgages or tax dues to the state by developers.

Passage of the law was the last prior action required by the Eurogroup and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for the release of the next tranche of bailout assistance, amounting to 500 million euro (555 million U.S. dollars).

Source: Famagusta Gazette

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Moody's on the progress under BOCs' restructuring.

Posted on: 8/31/2015 2:21:32 AM under General News 
 

Moody's notes in a credit outlook bulletin that the Bank of Cyprus is making appropriate progress in implementing its restructuring plan.

Moody's points out that the BoC repaying an additional €500 million of Emergency Liquidity Assistance during July and August, reducing its stock to €5.4 billion or 23% of assets, will lower the bank's funding expense and strengthen confidence in its ability to continue implementing the restructuring plan it agreed on with the European Union in 2013.

According to Moody's, since April 2013, when ELA funding peaked at €11.4 billion, the BoC has repaid around €6 billion. Moody's states that during the second quarter of this year, BoC's deposits in Cyprus stabilized at €11.6 billion, and as assets declined by €1.4 billion, deposits increased to 53.7% of assets from 51% in March 2015.

Furthermore, the agency refers to notice letters sent by the bank to around 25 defaulted corporate borrowers with €84.9 million of total loans outstanding regarding foreclosure proceedings on their real estate collateral.

Conversely, Moody's also mentions that although the ELA repayment is ahead of plan, we nevertheless expect BoC's balance sheet repair process to be lengthy given its high stock of NPLs, and we expect high provisions and write-offs to burden the bank for years.

Source: SigmaLive

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Update on Cyprus telecom privatization.

Posted on: 8/27/2015 7:01:01 AM under General News 
 

Cyprus News Agency reported that the Parliament is expected to approve the first bill aimed at creation of a company governed by private law with the state owing 100% of its shares and the company assuming the commercial activities of CyTA. The approval of the bill is a precondition of an agreement signed with the troika.

In January, the two firms were chosen as consultants for the privatization process to be carried out for Cyta: Citigroup Global Markets Limited and the consortium PWC.

Legislation aiming at turning Cyprus telecoms provider CyTA into a private concern should be finalized in Parliament by December at the latest.

Source: Famagusta Gazette

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Cyprus posts fiscal deficit in Q2 2015.

Posted on: 8/24/2015 6:24:28 AM under General News 
 

Based on the preliminary data on the General Government accounts for the period April-June 2015, compiled in accordance to EU concepts and definitions, total revenue is estimated at €1,629.0 million (1.4% increase as compared to the corresponding period of 2014), while total expenditure amounted €1,641.2 million (3.3% raise).

The Cyprus` Statistical Service publicized that the state has posted a fiscal deficit of €12.2 million in the second quarter of 2015 in comparison to a €16.8-million surplus in the corresponding period of 2014.

The fiscal deficit in the first quarter is reported at €19 million. The deficit for the first six months of 2015 stands at €31.2 million.

Source: Famagusta Gazette

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Cyprus economy is out of recession.

Posted on: 8/20/2015 7:37:06 AM under General News 
 

Cyprus formally declared its economy to be out of recession, less than two and a half years after it was bailed out by the Eurogroup and the IMF.

Cyprus entered into an economic adjustment program when it signed a 10-billion-euro financial assistance accord in March 2013, after 11 consecutive quarters of recession that forced it out of international markets.

Averof Neophytou, Governing DISY party leader, said official estimates show that the growth at the end of the year will not just be a meagre one, but might reach a 2.0 percent, against a recession of 2.5 percent in 2014.

Government spokesman, Victor Papadopoulos, added "It means that we are on the road to development, which will gradually lead to the reduction of unemployment and non-performing loans".

Unemployment currently is estimated to be 15% but is going down. In the meantime, non-performing loans are the biggest headache for banks, which have to handle bad loans amounting to 26.9 billion euros, or 45.85 percent of total loans.

Source: Famagusta Gazette

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Cyprus GDP growth in 2Q 2015.

Posted on: 8/17/2015 7:17:09 AM under General News 
 

Cyprus` Statistical Service announced that according to a flash estimate the GDP growth rate in real terms during the second quarter of 2015 is positive and estimated at 1.2% in comparison to the 2nd quarter of 2014.

Based on seasonally and working day adjusted data, GDP growth rate in real terms is estimated at +0.9%.

The acceleration of the economy`s growth rate is a very encouraging development, Finance Minister Harris Georgiades has said. He stressed that "with confidence and seriousness, away from dogmatic denial, we continue on the path of reform, consolidation and change that Cyprus needs.

According to the estimate, positive growth rates were recorded in manufacturing, trade, hotels and restaurants, transport, communication, the professional, scientific and technical activities and administrative and support service activities as well as the financial service activities.

On the contrary, negative growth rates were recorded in construction, electricity, the arts, entertainment and other service activities as well as the activities of households as employers.

Source: Cyprus News Agency

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Cyprus to receive funding for migration handling.

Posted on: 8/13/2015 7:42:52 AM under General News 
 

European Commission funding granted Cyprus €74.9 million for handling migration programs.

European Commission has contributed a 2.4-billion-euro fund to be distributed for the 2014-2020 period to countries which are facing a crisis because of the influx of migrants, mostly from war-torn regions.

The EC report published this week said Cyprus would receive €32.3 million under the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund and €42.6 million under the Internal Security Fund.

EU member states face unprecedented challenges in the fields of migration and security and the Commission is taking action in a spirit of solidarity. The money allocated to Cyprus will be used for improving asylum and integration procedures and strengthening security measures, including implementation of border management and enhancing its operational capacity for fighting against terrorism and effectively managing security-related risks and crises.

Cyprus is the most south-eastern part of the European Union and in past years has been a refuge for thousands of migrants seeking a better life. But unlike Italy and Greece which are used by migrants as an entry point to EU, Cyprus was the final destination for most migrants in search of security and work.

Source: Famagusta Gazette

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Bank of Cyprus sells 65% stake in Aphrodite Hills.

Posted on: 8/10/2015 7:27:11 AM under General News 
 

Commission for the Protection of Competition permitted Bank of Cyprus to sell a 65% controlling stake in the holding company of the Thomson Sensatori Aphrodite Hills Resort to a group of US-based investors, with an estimated profit of €58.5 m.

Transaction details are concealed. Bank of Cyprus will retain a 10% stake in the holding company which is involved in the development and sale of residential property and the ownership and administration of a championship 18-hole golf resort and a 290 room hotel in Aphrodite Hills Resort, Paphos.

The portfolio of non-core assets of BOC is estimated at €3.5 bln. The sale is part of the bankâ€â„¢s strategy to dispose of non-performing assets.

Source: Financial Mirror

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Iran signed avoidance of double taxation treaty with Cyprus.

Posted on: 8/6/2015 7:55:04 AM under General News 
 

Cyprus and Iran opened doors to new investment opportunities and trade markets as they signed an avoidance of double taxation treaty this week.

It is of high economic and political importance to Cyprus to further expand and improve the network of double taxation agreements so to support and attract foreign investment.

Ali Askari, Iran's Tax Affairs Organisation Director, believes that this agreement will further develop collaboration between the two countries in the financial and business sector. Askari mentioned that Iran could act a bridge between Cyprus and East Asia.

The avoidance of double taxation treaty with Iran opens up new horizons for Cypriot companies in the emerging market of Iran. One of the prominent cooperation direction might be maritime services, as Iran has the largest tanker fleet in the world and the Cyprus flag could benefit from this fleet.

Source: Cyprus Mail

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Barclays is introducing a new minimum threshold.

Posted on: 8/3/2015 7:23:29 AM under General News 
 

British expats and other Barclays account holders in Cyprus will have their accounts closed by the bank on 11 September 2015 unless they contain a minimum deposit of £100,000.

The bank said as a consequence of a de-risking programme that was put in place at the end of 2013 to review and reduce the number of countries Barclays operate in, the minimum threshold will apply not only to Cyprus but also to Malta and Greece, although out of consideration for the current situation Barclays is not closing accounts for Greek residents at this time.

Barclays provide expat services in many countries worldwide, however, bank takes serious action to reduce their risk associated with operation in certain countries. As a result of this decision and in line with the strategy a new minimum threshold for customers resident in Cyprus is introduced. Clients will need to maintain £100,000 across their accounts with Barclays to keep their account in the bank.

Barclays say they are focusing on a core set of 70 markets globally, where they believe they have the most knowledge and experience.

Source: Cyprus Mail

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Cyprus quarterly review by Troika.

Posted on: 7/24/2015 7:07:07 AM under General News 
 

Troika of Cyprus' international lenders are presently carrying out an important quarterly review of the island's economic adjustment program giving emphasis to banking issues and public sector reforms.

According to the reports the sale of mortgages to third parties, such as hedge funds, and the issue of Title Deeds were among the actions Cyprus had to take before the next tranche of financial assistance was released.

Cyprus News Agency reported that to receive next tranche Cyprus must enact legislation allowing the sale or transfer of loans to third parties and approve a bill, designed to allow people who have paid for their house in full to get the title deed, which they currently cannot because of developers' failure to pay their obligations to banks.

Enactment of the Title Deeds bill, in the meantime, has been delayed due to the summer holidays; it is planned to be discussed on 3rd September by the House plenum.

Source: Cyprus Property News

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33 operators are interested in Port privatization.

Posted on: 7/21/2015 6:17:49 AM under General News 
 

The secretary of the transport ministry and chairman of the CPA, Alecos Michaelides, stated that there were 70 inquiries and a total of 33 written expressions of interest for the Limassol port commercialization tender.

The evaluation of all 33 expressions of interest will be completed by early August. The selected operators will be shortlisted and asked to submit formal bids by the end of November. The process is expected to be completed by the first quarter of 2016.

Throughout this time, there will be meetings with the project team and consultants from the ministry of transport with the bidders who will be given any information they need for the preparation of the bids for 3 sections of the port:

  • the container terminal (license duration 25 to 30 years)
  • the provision of maritime services (license duration 25 to 30 years)
  • the multi-purpose passenger terminal(license duration 10 to 20 years).

Limassol port's commercial operations are to be privatized under a deal between the government and international creditors.

Source: Cyprus Mail

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Casino bill legislation was approved by Cyprus Parliament.

Posted on: 7/15/2015 1:49:51 AM under General News 
 

The majority of Cyprus Parliament has approved a law regulating the establishment, operation, supervision and control of a casino resort in Cyprus .

 The law provides for the establishment of:

  • one casino resort and the minimum requirement for the casino is 100 gaming tables and 1,000 machines
  • four smaller satellite casinos, three of which will be limited to gambling machines.

However, the original proposed bill was changed, the following amendments were done:

  • a credit ban on players
  • casino will not be built on government-owned land
  • Cypriots wishing to gamble will have to apply for special licence to play.

The expression of interest will be published next month and the winning bidder will attain a 30-year license and have to choose where to build the casino.

The casino resort is forecasted to be open by 2018.

Source: Cyprus Property News

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Citizenship by investment.

Posted on: 7/5/2015 11:07:40 PM under General News 
 

The minister of interior, Socratis Hasikos, has announced that "Citizenship by Investment" program that allows wealthy third country nationals to apply for Cypriot citizenship has boosted the Cyprus economy by €2 billion. The statement was made during his examination of his ministry's audit services report for 2013.

Cyprus is the only member state that grants naturalization in return for investment in Europe.

Alexandrou Corporate Services provides a vast spectrum of services including formalization of Citizenship and Residence Permits for non-European citizens. Please get acquainted with a more detailed guide to residence and citizenship in Cyprus here.

Source: Cyprus Property News

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Cyprus introduces new tax incentives.

Posted on: 7/3/2015 4:25:15 AM under General News 
 

President Nicos Anastasiades in his speech at the 54th AGM of the Institute of Certified Public Accountants announced tax incentives that are aimed to improve Cyprus economy and to attract wealthy foreign nationals.

The reforms include tax breaks and extension of increased capital allowances on equipment and buildings until the end of 2016 to encourage the flow of new capital in businesses. Cyprus government plans to introduce the non-domiciled resident status in order to attract foreign entrepreneurs and wealthy individuals. In this case the substantive incentive is the exemption from the special defense contribution, provided these individuals choose to be Cyprus tax residents. The tax incentives relating to the revenues of an individual who was not a resident of the island before the start of his employment will also be kept in place.

Substantial changes are announced in real estate field so as to encourage transactions in this sector. Cyprus government plans to introduce full exemption from the capital gains tax (20%) of any future sale of immovable property acquired between the day the law is enacted and the end of 2016. A 50% cut in property transfer fees will continue. The decision on the integration of the municipal and state immovable property taxes into one was also made; furthermore, it will be calculated on the 2013 evaluation at a rate of 0.1%.

According to the finance minister, Haris Gorgiades, the overall reduction of tax revenue from transactions and possession of real property is estimated at €21m, however, it does not take into account the positive impact from an increase in transactions. He also noted that adjustments to the tax system make Cyprus taxation framework simpler and more effective. Several modifications are included to bring into line Cyprus tax framework with European directives and decisions of the European Court.

Source: Cyprus Property News

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Operations of casinos in Cyprus

Posted on: 6/29/2015 12:00:49 AM under General News 
 

Operation of casinos in Cyprus will be put to the vote end of June and investors would be invited to express interest by August.

The bill was modified and the changes that have been made to the bill are as follows:

  • Government allows 5% of the casino development to lie on state land;
  • The bill regulates the technical specifications of the slot machines;
  • The machine suppliers shall be approved by the gaming commission;
  • The exclusivity period for the successful bidder in case of delays beyond 90 days in securing the relevant permits is extended;
  • Investors can develop a main casino resort, and in addition to that a regional establishment with up to five table games and 50 slot machines.
  • The terms of the agreement could change in the event of reunification so that the development remains viable.

The investors will be given a month to get acquainted with the law, after which the commerce ministry will issue an invitation for expressions of interest in August. The assessment will narrow down all of the applications to three, and from these the best offer will be selected. The commerce ministry is going to issue a casino licence by the end of 2015 or beginning of the next year.

Source: Cyprus Mail

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