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ISSUE 33 DECEMBER 14 - JANUARY 13, 2014 PRICE €4.95

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the international investment, finance & professional services magazine of cyprus


Nine months on Cyprus still surprises


Michael Leontiou Andreas Christou Alexei Ryabov


European Policy Outlook 2014



Issue 33 December 14- January 13, 2014


+ opinion

Limassol may be the secondlargest city in Cyprus but in many ways it is well ahead of the rest of the island. We present our selection of the leading Limassol-based companies – local and international – that are currently helping the city to weather the latest economic and financial storm.


Nine Months On By Fiona Mullen


Cyprus & Transparency By Andreas Neocleous 76

15 58 | Silence In Court! Constantine Nicolaides regrets that not all lawyers and judges in Cyprus possess the key virtues of patience and respect.

60 | CIBA Celebrates its 20th Anniversary ‘Business As Usual’ is the theme of the AGM

62 | Extending Its Global Reach

58 FEATURE 38 | “There’s No Magic Solution”

Named one of 2013’s fastest growing private companies with 100% growth in revenue over the last three years, American Internet technology firm Global Reach has expanded to Cyprus.


65 | IPCC carbon budget to 2100 will be used by 2034 New PwC analysis sounds warning

Those who have retained their wealth need to entrust its management to the experts, says Nicolas Theocharides.

44 | A Policy Outlook for European Shipping By Patrick Verhoeven, Secretary General of the European Community Shipowners’ Associations (ECSA).


70 72 76 78

{money} {business} {economy} {lifestyle}


66 | Natural Capital

Strategy Kazakhstan 2050: A new political course for Kazakhstan in a fast-changing world

Cyprus possesses valuable assets that even the Troika cannot subject to a haircut

4 Gold the international investment, finance & professional services magazine of cyprus


Ring Out The Old, Ring In The New


e all know that in order to progress in our personal and professional lives, we cannot stay in the same place for too long. Change is necessary but it can often be difficult to accept and even more difficult to implement. For the past nine months, Cyprus has been facing up to the need for change in many areas and it has not been easy. The biggest casualty of the country’s bailout has been the banking sector – overnight, the second biggest bank in Cyprus ceased to exist and depositors in Bank of Cyprus lost 47.5% of their money. We have been told by the international lenders that the island has to change its business model and, over the next three years, the status of the three main semi-government corporations (Cyta, the EAC and the Cyprus Ports Authority) will change as privatisation plans are implemented. There are few people in this country who have not been subject to significant salary reductions and the most unfortunate are those who have seen their jobs disappear altogether. No-one doubts that things have to change but knowing this does not make the situation easier to deal with. There have, fortunately, been a few positive outcomes that offer some encouragement: two Troika reviews full of praise for the Government’s handling of the terms set out in the Memorandum of Understanding, and the island’s first ratings upgrade in three years (for long-term sovereign debt to B- from CCC+) by Standard & Poor’s. Cyprus’ European partners now appear keen to assist in the rebuilding of the economy and there are even encouraging voices regarding a long-overdue settlement to the Cyprus issue. There should be no illusions, however, about what awaits us in 2014. It is going to be a difficult 12 months but Cyprus will survive as it has done in the past. As Limassol Mayor Andreas Christou notes in an interview in this issue (page 16), the place in which he grew up was not always the big, bustling city that it is today. But it has changed, progressed, developed and it continues to do so. And while it may still be the second-largest city in terms of population, Limassol has been quite a success story on more than one occasion. For our cover story we have selected more than 120 outstanding companies in a range of sectors that are based in Limassol. Coming back to the theme of change, I do not wish to give the impression that we at Gold are only good at giving advice to others. The changes that have been taking place in the global media sector over the past decade could not have been ignored by a publication like ours and I am delighted to inform you of our latest step forward. By the time you read this, the Gold News portal should be up and running ( and you will be able to subscribe online to our Gold News Daily Newsletter. This exciting new venture does not mean an end to Gold magazine which will continue to provide and promote a broad range of views and analysis from those in the investment, finance and professional services sector. Gold News and the Daily Newsletter will merely enable us to provide more up-to-date news and to promote Cyprus to a much broader readership. The news portal will not replace Gold but it will complement it in a way that, I believe, will please you as readers. As always, you will let us know if we are right. This time last year, I wrote “…as far as the economy is concerned, there can be little optimism for 2013 for the proverbial man in the street” and I described 2012 as “a somewhat disappointing year”. I have already noted that 2014 is not going to be a bed of roses. What I can say, however, is that Gold – in its monthly printed and digital format and in its new online version – will continue to bring you the news of the sectors on which we focus in the same responsible, serious and balanced way that we have been doing for the past 33 months. I thank you all for your support and all of us at Gold wish you a Very Happy New Year.

John Vickers, Chief Editor ISSUE 30 SEPTEMBER 14 - OCTOBER 13, 2013 PRICE €4.95 POwEREd By:


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Portuguese Chronograph Classic. Ref. 3904: The fact that Portugal’s greatest seafarers are remembered to this day is due not least to this watch: the appliquéd Arabic numerals and the railway track chapter ring elegantly reference its legendary forerunner from the 1930s. But today’s sea-going pioneers are equally well equipped with the Chronograph Classic. The IWC-manufactured automatic 89361-calibre movement and its 68-hour power reserve keep it firmly on course even under windless conditions. Whether you’re aboard a historic three-master or a modern motor yacht,

its state-of-the-ar t technology and classic design soon make it clear who’s giving the I WC . E N G I N E E R E D FO R M E N . orders

Mechanical chronograph movement, Self-winding, 68-hour power reserve when fully wound, Date display, Stopwatch function, Hour and minute counters combined in a totalizer at 12 o’clock, Flyback function, See-through sapphire-glass back, Water-resistant 3 bar, Diameter 42 mm, 18 ct red gold

up front

PwC US gains ‘Vanguard’ status


wC US has been recognized as a Vanguard firm in Kennedy Consulting Research & Advisory’s Forensics & Dispute Advisory report. The report assesses and evaluates service providers in the Forensics & Dispute market in two areas: forensic investigations and dispute advisory & analysis. PwC was one of a few firms that achieved “Vanguard” status in both areas. According to the report, PwC’s clients identify the firm as a global leader and best-in-class in dispute

advisory & analysis. Additionally, PwC has “taken steps to maintain [its] edge in the [dispute advisory & analysis] space” and has achieved “Vanguard status by virtue of a rare combination of outstanding depth in specific investigatory areas despite moderate breadth.” “We understand the significant risks organisations face every day. Whether the forensic challenges are local or cross-border, our experienced team around the world provides organisations with seasoned support and solutions,” said Christos Tsolakis, Forensics Partner at PwC. “This Vanguard achievement is a testament to our ability to help clients with their most complex and urgent situations.”

Double Win

for Drambuie


rambuie recently celebrated a double award win at the Spirit Business Liqueur Masters 2013. Drambuie 15 was awarded the top accolade of Master while Drambuie received Gold. Tim Dewey, Global Marketing Director at Drambuie, said: “We are thrilled to be recognised for not one, but two of our products by one of the industry’s most respected awards, with the wins highlighting Drambuie’s ongoing objective to provide a superior liquid to consumers.” The highly prestigious Spirit Masters series, now in its sixth year, is fast becoming one of the most respected and high profile trade competitions in the industry, rewarding the finest brands on excellence. Drawing entries from around the world, each spirit is judged on its own merit by a panel of independent judges. For the past 15 years, LaikoCosmos Trading Ltd has been the exclusive distributor of Drambuie in Cyprus. Drambuie is a blend of the finest aged Scotch whisky, spices, and heather honey. The recipe was created more than 260 years ago exclusively for Prince Charles Edward Stuart of Scotland.


New Accountants


CAEW President Martyn Jones and ICPAC Vice President Nicos Chimarides congratulated 150 successful new Associate Chartered Accountants and seven global prizewinners at a graduation and prizegiving ceremony at the Hilton Park Hotel in Nicosia last month. The ceremony celebrated all the successful candidates who have qualified as ICAEW Chartered Accountants in 2012-2013, gaining the prestigious and internationallyrecognised ACA qualification. The last year has seen spectacular success from students in Cyprus, who won four of the top five prizes in the Professional Stage Exams in December 2012. This year also has also seen the 20th anniversary of ACA training being offered in Cyprus, highlighting the long relationship that the international accountancy body has with Cyprus.

CORRECTION There were a number of errors in last month’s cover story

which we wish to correct. Regarding Antonis Paschalides & Co LLC. Alexia Melanie Paschalidou is an expert both in Banking Litigation as well as in Litigation & Arbitration. Charalambos Carlos Paschalides is an expert in Corporate & M&A and Tax & International Tax Planning. Antonis Paschalides is an expert in Banking & Finance, General Business Law and he specialises also in Energy Law. The firm is a candidate for the award Energy Law Firm of the Year in Cyprus (Corporate INTL Magazine 2014 Global Awards). Regarding Kinanis LLC, Despo Andreou and Soula Kyprianou no longer work for the firm. Additionally, we wish to note that Chris Yiangou works for George Y. Yiangou LLC and that Stavros Pavlou is the Senior & Managing Partner of Patrikios Pavlou & Associates LLC. Apologies to all those concerned for any inconvenience that incorrect or outdated information may have caused.

8 Gold the international investment, finance & professional services magazine of cyprus


Art Auction


nvestment in Art continues to thrive, with the value of works seemingly unaffected by the turmoil experienced by other commodities. Rival auction houses Christies and Sotheby’s both produced staggering sums at their November auctions of Post-war and Contemporary art, shattering previous record prices for both individual works and total sales in art auctions. Christie’s two-day auction series achieved a grand total of $782,368,375 setting a new record high for any auction series. Francis Bacon’s Triptych Three Studies of Lucian Freud sold for $142.4 million, becoming the most valuable work of art ever sold at auction while Jeff Koons’ Balloon Dog went under the hammer for $58.4 million, becoming the most valuable work sold at auction by a living artist. The Sotheby’s Contemporary Art auction enjoyed similar success, with works such as Andy Warhol’s Silver Car Crash (Double Disaster) selling for $71.7 million and Liz #1 (Early Colored Liz) for $20.32 million, among others.

The Marshall Islands The Islands Corporate Registry The Marshall Marshall Islands Registry The Marshall Islands TheCorporate Marshall Islands Corporate Registry Corporate Corporate Registry Registry

50th Anniversary

©Corbis ©Corbis ©Corbis ©Corbis ©Corbis


atrikios Pavlou & Associates LLC held a cocktail party at the Four Seasons Hotel, Limassol in October to celebrate the firm’s 50th anniversary in Cyprus and on the international legal scene. Partners, lawyers and staff enjoyed an emotional gathering with friends, clients and associates from Cyprus

Project team:

Maritime & with Corporate Administrators tel: +30 210 4294 404 | in affiliation the Islands Maritime &|with Corporate Administrators in affiliation the Marshall Marshall Islands tel: +30 210 4294 404 Maritime & Corporate Administrators tel: +30 210Maritime 4294 404&|Corporate Administrators tel: tel: +30 +30 210 210 4294 4294 404 404 | |

the key figures honoured, Patrikios Pavlou, Founder & Senior Internal Consultant, was singled for the wisdom and guidance he has given the firm since 1963. Patrikios Pavlou & Associates LLC announced that an amount equivalent to the cost of the event would be donated to several charitable organisations supporting the sick and needy throughout Cyprus.

Cyprus Tourist Guide

on Your Mobile


The leading jurisdiction for The leading jurisdiction for The leading jurisdiction for • Asset Management, The leading jurisdiction The leading jurisdiction for for • Asset Management, • •Asset Management, Vessel Ownership •• Asset Asset Management, VesselManagement, Ownership • •Vessel Ownership Real/Intellectual •• Vessel Ownership Vessel Ownership Real/Intellectual Property Holdings • Real/Intellectual Property Holdings •• Property Real/Intellectual Holdings •Real/Intellectual Initial Public Offerings/ Holdings Property Holdings • Property Initial Public Offerings/ Publicly Traded Companies • Initial Public Offerings/ Publicly Traded Companies •• Initial Public Offerings/ Initial Public Offerings/ Publicly Traded Companies Publicly Traded Publicly Traded Companies Companies

IRI Hellas Ltd. IRI Hellas in affiliation with Ltd. the Marshall Islands IRI Hellas Ltd. IRI Hellas in affiliation theLtd. Marshall Islands Maritime &with Corporate Administrators IRI Hellas Ltd. in affiliation with the Marshall Islands

and abroad. In an address to the invited guests, Stavros Pavlou, Senior & Managing Partner, looked back over the firm’s long history, before referring to today’s challenges and recalling the firm’s core ethics which have not changed over the past half-century: providing value, respect, commitment and professionalism to clients and associates. Among

(L-R) Patrikios Pavlou, Persa Pavlou, Stravros Pavlou, Stella Louca Pavlou, Chrysostomos Nicolaou, Yianna Nicolaou, Lia Iordanou Theodoulou.

The project is funded by the Research Promotion Foundation under the National Framework Programme for Research, Technological Development and Innovation 2009-2010 with co-financing from the Republic of Cyprus and the European Regional Development Fund of the EU.

he University of Cyprus, in collaboration with IMH and Geomatic Technologies, has produced a new mobile application that guides tourists in Cyprus to local attractions and places of interest. Allowing users to access an extensive array of information, directions, reviews and suggestions to enhance their time on the island, the Cyprus Tourist Guide app will provide visitors with a glimpse of the island’s many archaeological, religious, leisure and entertainment hotspots. Accessed from users’ mobile devices, now the most common and convenient information platform, the app eliminates the need for paper printing and binding like most traditional tourist guides. The Cyprus Tourist Guide selects users’ current locations manually, enabling those without a built-in area sensor full access to its benefits. Compatible with Android, Microsoft and iOS mobile software, this new app can be accessed by all smartphones.

Its exclusive features allow users to: View lists of nearby attractions with directions automatically loaded from their current location. Read detailed descriptions of attractions, as well as relevant information such as opening hours, contact details and entrance fees. Filter attractions according to their preferences and view only relevant places of interest. View ratings and suggestions as posted by other users, as well as create, contribute and save visited attractions. Create tour plans by adding attractions to lists, allowing them to organize their holidays beforehand and make the most of their time in Cyprus. User profiles, including personal information such as gender, age, nationality, preferences and visited locations, are saved anonymously on the application, offering complete privacy. The Cyprus Tourist Guide is available for download via Google Play and start your tour of Cyprus today!

Focus on tomorrow, starting today

We listen. We learn what you want to do and we help you create the value you are looking for. Value that is based on the knowledge that our more than 900 local professionals draw from 184.000 experts in 157 countries. We focus on the provision of Assurance, Advisory, Tax and Global Compliance Services.

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up front

Margaret Chan

Since 2006, she has been Director-General of the World Health Organization, citing the “improvements in the health of the people of Africa and the health of women” as the key issues on which to focus. She came under fire for saying that North Korea’s health system would be the envy of many developing countries.



Sri Mulyani Indrawati

Now Managing Director of the World Bank, the former executive director of the IMF is best-known for when she was Indonesia’s finance minister. Her infallible anti-corruption stance and tough reforms are credited with strengthening Indonesia’s economy and leading the country to joining the G-20 group of the world’s biggest economic powers.


Christine Lagarde

The first female head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) may be admired internationally for her perfect English and slick style but at home in France she is famed for her 2007 gaffe when, as Finance Minister, she responded to public anger about rising fuel prices with the statement: “Let’s use bicycles.” 

Ertharin Cousin

Aung San Suu Kyi


In the 1990 Burmese general election Suu Kyi’s party won 59% of the national vote and 81% of the seats in Parliament but she was detained under house arrest for almost 15 years until November 2010. Since her release she has become a Parliamentarian and international sanctions against Burma (Myanmar) have eased.

Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner


Dilma Rousseff

Rousseff, the first female president of Brazil, the world’s 5th largest economy, was imprisoned in the 1970s for taking part in the resistance against the right-wing military dictatorship. While economic growth has disappointed since she gained power, she has won praise for her fight against corruption and social security reforms.

Angela Merkel

2 5

The German Chancellor is known by her peers for her sense of humour and her great love of football. The former chemist, who is set to overtake former UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher as Europe’s longest-serving political leader, is also the highest-ever-ranked woman in the Forbes “Most Powerful People” list.


Kirchner became president of Argentina in 2011, following the death of her then-president husband. Her presidency has been marred by controversy, with the IMF threatening the country with expulsion due to unreliable data, and the US Supreme Court ordering it to make bond payments on which it has defaulted.

Geun-hye Park

Elected in February 2013, Park is the first female president of South Korea. Her father seized power in a military coup in 1961 and she acted as First Lady after her mother’s assassination until her father was killed in 1979. Single and childless, she says she is “married” to her nation.

The World’s Top

Female Policymakers

Janet Yellen

She will soon head the US Federal Reserve (as the most highly-qualified Fed Chairperson ever), and she has been hailed as the central bank’s most accurate forecaster since 2009 but Yellen still has competition at home. The Brooklyn-born, PhD-holder in Economics from Yale University is married to Georges Akerlof, a Nobel prize-winning economist.


The executive director of the UN World Food Programme since 2012 grew up in a poor neighbourhood of Chicago but she is now used to the corridors of power, having been US ambassador to the UN agencies for Food and Agriculture from 2009 to 2012. She previously worked in the Clinton administration.


Only 19% of the world’s politicians and parliamentarians are female and, according to a UN report, the most inclusive parliaments are not necessarily in the best-known democracies. In fact, the best country for gender equality in government in 2012 was Rwanda, followed by Andorra and Cuba, according to the report. Meanwhile, Germany, the U.K., France and the US occupied the 21st, 53rd, 69th and 78th place respectively. Despite the challenges, some women still manage to reach the highest levels in their fields. CNBC recently drew up the following list of the world’s top female policymakers.

pa n e r a i . c o m

Mediterranean Sea. “Gamma” men in training. The diver emerging from the water is wearing a Panerai compass on his wrist.

history a n d heroes. luminor submersible 1950 3 days automatic titanio (ref. 305) available in titanium and ceramic

Te l . : 2 2 8 9 7 3 6 1

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five minutes with...

Alexei Ryabov Partner & Head of Outbound Investments, EY Russia


ext year, EY will be celebrating 25 years in Russia. Apart from seeing the firm grow from one employee to 4,500, what other changes have there been for the company’s Russian practice? In my view, it has become more mature and diversified, which has helped us sustain quite a high growth rate and become one of the most rapidly- developing practices among the BRICS countries. As our practice develops, we open new offices all over the country so as to be closer to our clients and deliver services in all regions. There are now 20 offices in the CIS, including 9 in Russia. Another quite significant change, which reflects EY’s global trend, is a new slogan (“Building a better working world”) and a new brand (Ernst & Young is now EY), which will help us further strengthen our position in the markets and distinguish us from our competitors. While EY is a global group, are there noticeable differences between the services demanded by and provided for Russian clients and those in other countries? EY is a truly global firm and, as such, there are very few differences in terms of the services EY offers its Russian clients or those that Russian clients may require from EY. However, Russian clients have their own specifics and preferences that must be considered if one is to be successful when working with them. To

properly address such areas, especially with regard to international projects, I am leading an Outbound initiative that has been developed to streamline and further improve the way Russian/CIS clients are serviced by EY in other countries. Have Russian investors changed their view of Cyprus since the Troika decided to use the ‘bail-in’ tool to recapitalize Bank of Cyprus, causing heavy losses to some Russian depositors? Well, as some investors really suffered, we did notice slight pushback and additional scrutiny with regard to Cyprus. However, in my view, investors realize that Cyprus is not the only jurisdiction experiencing financial difficulties; we have all seen similar problems in other countries. So, when choosing a jurisdiction, either for operating activity or for locating their holding, financial, trading or other company, investors must consider all the tax and non-tax factors, including economic risks. Apart from the problems in the banking sector, Cyprus’ advantages as a base for company operations, tax planning and business with the EU have not changed since March. Is it difficult to convince your clients about this? We try not to convince our clients to use any particular jurisdiction. We analyze various structuring alternatives, their advantages and disadvantages, considering the client’s profile and preference, as well as the anticipated business and we pro-

14 Gold the international investment, finance & professional services magazine of cyprus

vide the most appropriate recommendations. The final decision on the jurisdiction is always taken by the client and the key factor in the decision-making process is real business purpose, not only tax. How would you compare Cyprus and Malta as jurisdictions for Russianowned companies or High Net Worth Individuals wishing to manage their capital/wealth as profitably as possible? Cyprus has quite a favourable double tax treaty with Russia while Malta does not have one, which makes it less tax efficient for both corporates and individuals compared with Cyprus. As for High Net Worth Individuals, both Malta and Cyprus are used by them, e.g. for purposes of obtaining permanent residency/ citizenship since both countries provide beneficial investment immigration regimes. However, different criteria should be taken into account while choosing a jurisdiction for investment structuring. Malta may be currently viewed as a more attractive location, reputation-wise, i.e. being transparent for tax purposes from the OECD standard point of view. If you could change any aspect of the business environment in Cyprus and Russia, what would it be? I would suggest improving the way people cooperate and communicate with each other, because, in my view, proper communication and understanding is the key to success.

Limassol may be the second-largest city in Cyprus but in many ways it is well ahead of the rest of the island, thanks in part to its own thriving business community which is active in virtually every sector of the economy. Home to the country’s extremely significant shipping industry since its beginnings in the 1970s, Limassol has always been at the centre of economic activity, notably regarding tourism

and, in more recent years, the provision of professional services. It is the most cosmopolitan of any Cypriot city and currently hosts a large and thriving foreign community. On the following pages, we present our selection of the leading Limassol-based companies – local and international – that are currently helping the city to weather the latest economic and financial storm.

the international investment, finance & professional services magazine of cyprus

Gold 15


cover story

second to none


imassol, the secondlargest city in Cyprus, has often been described as “the dynamo of the Cyprus economy” and not only by the local Chamber of Commerce and Industry whose job it is to promote their home base. It is generally accepted that the country’s wine and spirits industry began in Limassol, where the first industrial estate was later established; in the 1970s it became home to what is now the island’s extremely significant shipping sector, the focus of the post-1974 tourism boom and, later, the centre of the international business sector and related professional services. Today it hosts a large, thriving Russian community, though, as Mayor Andreas Christou pointed out in an interview with Gold, it is not the largest group of foreign nationals in the city: Britons still top that particular list. The Limassol in which Andreas Christou grew up was hugely different from the place over which he currently presides in his second five-year term as Mayor. In fact, he was born only a few hundred metres from his office in City Hall. “Everyone tends to idealise the past and it may be that people used to have much more communication with one another, and the pursuit of material gain was a lot less than it is now but the Limassol of my youth was a poor city,” he recalls. “Lo-

cal government had very little funding. Hundreds of young people were unable to finish high school because they couldn’t afford it. There is no doubt that things are much better today. Of course, we must protect our past and our heritage – I am happy to note that we have around 700 listed buildings in Limassol and hundreds of successful examples of such buildings being given a new lease of life – but in the end every generation must create its own environment. Ancestor worship is not what we are about! I feel very proud of what we have accomplished and we are always looking forward.” Christou points to the pioneering work done by the major law and accounting

16 Gold the international investment, finance & professional services magazine of cyprus

The importance of the university is comparable to that of the port in terms of its influence on life in Limassol firms in the late ‘60s, in conjunction with the government of the country’s first president, Archbishop Makarios, to introduce new legislation and draw up a tax system enabling foreign companies to take advantage of a variety of business incentives, including a low corporate tax rate (just 4.5% at the time). Such things first caught

the attention of German shipping companies and others followed. “The Russians get a lot of publicity these days but theirs is not the biggest community in Limassol,” he points out. “The British one is. And all foreigners who love the sea and the mountains too choose Limassol. I know that Paphos and Agia Napa may have their own special attractions but this is a big, vibrant city all the year round. There is always something going on in Limassol.” The fact that Limassol has always been a major port has also played a role in the development of business of all kinds. Christou goes so far as to say that the port is on a par with Alexandria and Piraeus – not in size, obviously but in significance – and, he notes, “When we say that Cyprus is the biggest shipmanagement centre in the whole of the European Union, we are actually talking about Limassol!” Limassol is now home to one of the biggest-ever investment projects in the country’s history – the Limassol Marina – and there has been a concerted effort to regenerate the historic centre of the city and the seafront promenade. But how have the events of March 2013 affected the city’s progress? “We have definitely been affected,” the Mayor admits. “German and Russian companies and business people in particular have lost money to a greater or lesser extent and many of them feel disappointed by the way that we were unable to protect them. That said, what is truly remarkable is the fact that most of them are still in Limassol and they have stated that they intend to stay in Limassol. In spite of everything, they have carried out their investigations into other jurisdictions and they believe that Cyprus, and Limassol in particular, still offers them the best deal. But there is no denying that many of the big companies are diversifying their activities as a way of overcoming the problems

in their own sector. And unfortunately they have reduced their contribution to the social life of the city in the form of sponsorships, contributions and assistance to charity and sport. But the important thing for us is that people are still here.” But if Limassol has been affected like everywhere else, Andreas Christou believes that the prospects offered by the discovery of natural gas will probably benefit his city more than others in the form of new products, services and company offices and he and his city council are doing what they can to make Limassol as attractive as possible to new players in the sector. Given that tourism has always been such a key contributor to the economy, and Limassol is recognised as having the biggest number of five-star and luxury hotels, it is time that something was done about what the city offers its visitors, says Christou. “Our tourism product is seen as being quite ‘traditional’ from what I hear from tourists, which means that we are not keeping up with modern trends. We need to invest in special interest tourism and provide more entertainment for visitors and even for our own residents. The city needs to move with the times and bring itself up to date. Of course, the Marina has already started to bring new visitors and business but more plans are needed.” The most significant contribution to the

When we say that Cyprus is the biggest shipmanagement centre in the whole of the European Union, we are actually talking about Limassol!

Limassol of today has come, he says, from the establishment of the Cyprus University of Technology. “The university was originally Andreas christou given four empty former government buildings which have been renovated to a very high standard. They are now full of students. In addition to these, the university rents another thirty premises around this area, there are young people everywhere, the centre has been regenerated, and student accommodation has been created. We rebuilt the city centre with €25 million of EU funding. The cultural life of the city has been enriched. Had it not been for the university, the city centre might have become deserted and dangerous. I would say that the importance of the university is comparable to that of the port in terms of its influence on life in Limassol.” With the University of Technology playing such a key role in bringing Limassol up to date, it is time for old promises and ideas of a technology park to be revisited and properly implemented, Christou says. “There are already several Limassolbased companies that are working in the areas of high-tech, IT but we need more of them. As in the past, we need people like Chrysses Demetriades who were pioneers in their field and they opened up new horizons. It is not enough for the Municipality or the Chamber of Commerce to encourage the private sector and foreign investment. A clear government policy needs to be formulated and implemented to attract such companies to the island. The President and the government need to pay attention to this.”

On the following pages we present a list of more than 120 successful Limassol-based companies. They may vary in size, turnover, employee numbers and ownership but they are all making a significant contribution to the economy not only of their home base but of the whole country. Limassol may be the second-largest city in Cyprus but when it comes to entrepreneurship it is clearly second to none.

the international investment, finance & professional services magazine of cyprus

Gold 17

cover story

No Company


Contact Details


A. Athanasiou GROUP

A major construction, building and maintenance group based in Limassol, it is one of the largest and most successful privately-owned construction companies on the island. It also offers property management and rental services.

Head Office: 125, George I Avenue, Messogios Project, Shop 6, 4048 Yermasoyia, Limassol Tel: (+357) 25822280 | Fax: (+357) 25315331 e-mail: Website:


A. Epiphaniou Industries Ltd.

Founded in Famagusta in 1972 as a welding consumables factory, the Group now trades under the Interweld brand. They currently export manufactured goods to over 15 countries.

Head Office: 42 Iapetou Street, Agios Athanasios Industrial Area, Limassol | Tel: (+357) 25811144| Fax: (+357) 25-720021 | e-mail: Website:


Akis Charalambous Architects Ltd.

Established in 1972, the firm brings together architects and civil engineers with extensive international experience to provide a comprehensive range of services and professional expertise.

Head Office: Shoukri & Olympion Corner, Themis Tower, Floor 7, 3729 Limassol | Tel: (+357) 25 820996 Fax: (+357) 25 373064 | e-mail: Website:


Amdocs Development Ltd.

The Amdocs Development Centre in Cyprus was established in 1997 and currently employs some 750 programmers, finance and operations staff in support of additional Amdocs locations in Central and Eastern Europe.

Head Office: The Maritime Center, 141, Omonia Avenue, 3045 Limassol | Tel: (+357) 25886000 Fax: (+357) 25886822 | e-mail: Website:


Andreas Neocleous & Co LLC

One of the largest law firms in south-east Europe and the Middle East, and the biggest in Cyprus, it has local branch offices in Nicosia and Paphos, plus international offices in Moscow, Budapest, Kiev, Sevastopol, Prague and Brussels.

Head Office: Neocleous House, 195, Arch. Makarios III Avenue, 3030 Limassol | Tel: (+357) 25110000 Fax: (+357) 25110001 | e-mail: Website:



Trading in Cyprus for more than 37 years, it is one of the largest furniture companies on the island. The most recent additions to the company’s customerfocused services include free delivery, interior design and warehouse services.

Head Office: Agios Athanasios, Industrial Estate, 3723 Limassol | Tel: (+357) 25721128 | Fax: (+357) 25720626 e-mail: Website:


Areti Charidemou & Associates LLC Law Firm

Established in Limassol more than 20 years ago, this law firm offers legal expertise in property, trust and company law, mergers and acquisitions, tax and shipping law to clients in Cyprus, Russia, the CIS, Europe and the US.

Head Office: 21, Vassilis Michaelides Street, 3026 Limassol | Tel: (+357) 25508000 | Fax: (+357) 25508032 e-mail: | Website:


ASBISc Enterprises Plc.

The Group is one of the leading distributors of Information Technology products in Europe, Middle East and Africa Emerging Markets. It deals in IT components (to assemblers, system integrators, local brands and retail) as well as A-branded finished products like desktop PCs, laptops and servers.

Head Office: 43, Kolonakiou Street, Diamond Court, 4103, Ayios Athanasios, Limassol | Tel: (+ 357) 25857101 Fax: (+ 357) 25857288 | e-mail: Website:


ASG Public Ltd. (Andy Spyrou Group)

As one of the most dynamic, public organisations in the island, ASG operates in a wide range of activities in the fields of tourism, including car rental, travel agency services, outbound tour operating, incoming tourism handling, and conference handling.

Head Office: 38, Omonia Avenue, 3507 Limassol Tel: (+357) 25880102 | Fax: (+357) 25571664 e-mail: Website:


Askanis Group

A dynamic private construction company established in 1989, it is primarily involved in construction and property development, offering services such as the construction, refurbishment and development of commercial, residential and industrial properties.

Head Office: 8, Loizou Askani Street, 3501 Limassol Tel: (+357) 25336171 | Fax: (+357) 25335122 e-mail: | Website:


Atlantica Hotels & Resorts

Owning over 30 hotels and resorts internationally, 8 of which are in Cyprus, the Group offers various holiday and off-season packages to both tourists and locals.

Head Office: Potamos Yermasoyias, 4060 Limassol Tel: (+357) 25883500 | Fax: (+357) 25883555 e-mail: Website:

Atlas Pantou

Founded in 1937, the company has grown to become one of the largest local contracting companies, having expanded its operations to include building, civil, electrical and mechanical engineering, as well as real estate development.

Head Office: 8, Yiangou Tornariti Street Tel: (+357) 25828500 | Fax: (+357) 25828501 e-mail: Website:


Banque SBA

Founded in 1978, it is a major player in the banking sector in the Middle East, particularly in the areas of trade finance and asset management. Its branches are based in 3 strategic financial locations, Paris, Limassol and Geneva.

Head Office: Kanika Enaerios Complex - Block 1, Iris House 8C, John Kennedy Street, 3724 Limassol Tel: (+357) 25270000 | Fax: (+357) 25581643 e-mail: Website:


Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement (Cyprus) Ltd.

It was the first offshore and shipmanagement company on the island, founded in 1972. Today it manages a fleet of more than 650 ships and over 18,000 employees onboard and ashore. The company employs more than 200 people in Cyprus.

Head Office: Hanseatic House, 111 Spyrou Araouzou Street, 3036 Limassol | Tel: (+357) 25846400 Fax: (+357) 25745245 e-mail: Website:


18 Gold the international investment, finance & professional services magazine of cyprus

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Contact Details


Established in 1993 as an offshore unit, the Limassol branch became an onshore branch in 2006. The bank’s strategy in Cyprus focuses on providing personalized commercial and corporate banking services to small and medium size local enterprises as well as to Lebanese and Arab customers interested in Cyprus.

Head Office: 205Z, Archbishop Makarios III Avenue, Victory House Building, 3030 Limassol Tel: (+357) 25376433/4/5 | Fax: (+375) 25376292 e-mail: | Website:


Byblos Bank

Originally established in 1984, the Limassol branch became an onshore branch in early 2006 under new regulations related to Cyprus’ entry into the European Union and the adoption of the euro. The branch’s activities focus on corporate, commercial and correspondent banking services.

Head Office: 1, Archbishop Kyprianou Street, Loucaides Building, 3602 Limassol | Tel: (+357) 25341433/4/5 Fax: (+357) 25367139 | e-mail: Website:


C & A Toumazis Group

Offering clients diverse services in the construction sector including contracting, property development and property investment, the Group has over fifty years of experience in the industry, both in Cyprus and overseas.

Head Office: 61, Ayiou Athanasiou Avenue, 3508 Limassol | Tel: (+357) 25828210 | Fax: (+357) 25325035 e-mail: Website:


CardPay Inc.

Established in 2009, CardPay offers convenient solutions to clients experiencing all forms of problems related to bank card processing. With offices in Asia and Russia, the Limassol office serves as headquarters for its European sector.

Head Office: 56, Theodorou Potamianou Street, Cardpay Inc., Kato Polemidhia, 4155 Limassol Tel: (+357) 25388600 | e-mail: Website:



Having taken over the Chris Cash & Carry supermarket chain in 2005, the French brand, synonymous with affordable quality, has become a major presence with 17 stores on the island.

Head Office: 11, Spyrou Kyprianou Ave., Germasogia, 4043 Limassol | Tel: (+357) 25319931 | Fax: (+357) 25313429 e-mail: Website:


Charalambides Christis Ltd.

The two companies in the name merged in 2012 to become the leading supplier in the dairy industry in Cyprus, producing milk, yoghurt, fresh cream and cheese, exporting its products to 27 countries worldwide.

Head Office: Ayios Athanasios Industrial Zone, 3502 Limassol | Tel: (+357) 25726280 | Fax: (+357) 25726260 e-mail: Website:


Chr. Athanasiou Constructions & Developments

Founded in 1975, Chr. Athanasiou offers services including building contractors, property development, property management and rental services as well as after sales care. It has a sister office in Moscow and also caters to Chinese clients.

Head Office: 52, Amathus Avenue, 4532 Ayios Tychonas, Limassol | Tel: (+357) 25828200 | Fax: (+357) 25319980 e-mail: Website:


Chrysses Demetriades Advocates/ Legal Consultants

Providing a comprehensive range of legal services to local and international clients, it is widely acknowledged as one of the leading law firms in Cyprus in all key areas of corporate activity. It recently celebrated its 65th anniversary.

Head Office: 13, Karaiskakis Street, 3032 Limassol Tel: (+357) 25800000 | Fax: (+357) 25588055 e-mail: Website:


Clerides, Anastassiou, Neophytou LLC

Specialising in all aspects of corporate, commercial and tax law, the firm holds a leading position in the Cyprus legal sector, serving clients in Cyprus and other European jurisdictions.

Head Office: 6, Kolokotroni Street, 3032 Limassol Tel: (+357) 25274050 | Fax: (+357) 25370704 e-mail: | Website:

Corina Snacks Ltd.

Distributing and retailing many popular products such as Lays and Cheetos crisps as well as many own-brand products, it is a member of the PepsiCo International group, employing around 160 personnel in Cyprus.

Head Office: Limassol Industrial Estate, Corner Delou & Newton Streets, 3056 Limassol | Tel: (+357) 25391639 Fax: (+357) 25391521 | e-mail: Website:


Specialising in electronic security system installation for over 45 years, the Limassol-based firm serves clients from all over Cyprus, supplying a range of equipment such as Access Control, fire and burglar alarms and CCTV, and a 24 hour monitoring service.

Head Office: 29, Viennis Street, 3117 Limassol Tel: (+357) 25336644 | Fax: (+357) 25338788 e-mail: Website:






Dr. Andreas Pittas Executive Chairman and Founder, Medochemie Ltd.

ver the last century, Limassol has been more or less the industrial capital of Cyprus (one only has to mention the big wine and spirit producers, the soft drinks factories, a large number of clothing manufacturers, makers of water pumps, etc.). On the other hand, several generations of my family have been based in Limassol. I must confess that I aspired to turn Limassol into a high-tech metropolis – within Cypriot parameters of course!

Limassol has actually been doing business for a very, very long time. In mediaeval times and as early as the 11th century, the Venetians maintained large warehouses near the harbour while, later on, merchants from Pisa and Florence were also present. The big sugar plantations were based in the Kolossi area and the Limassol district has always been the wine producing centre of Cyprus. Indeed, the island’s wines are still being shipped out of Limassol. All this history and present-day activities attest to an

entrepreneurial spirit that is widely diffused within the Limassolian atmosphere! Being a port, Limassol has always been cosmopolitan and open – the old residents knew how to have fun and they were quite outgoing. This has obviously been transmitted to the many foreign residents of today. Limassol was also once a centre for the arts with numerous painters, poets and artists who lived here and many still do. Finally, to be so near to the sea is a great privilege and an inspiration!

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he organisation began life as a manufacturer of carbon dioxide under the name T. Ch. Pattichis Manufacturing Chemists and the plant was situated in Limassol for family as well as for practical reasons (availability of space, connections, customer base). It then progressed with the addition of an aerosol line and then a cosmetics range before it went into the production of pharmaceuticals. In 1971, it was decided to move to the First Limassol Industrial Estate, which offered several advantages and the rapid growth that followed did not allow a move. Limassol

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the scenery but also the cooler temperatures and even the snow in certain months. One of the biggest advantages is the sea, especially for families with children. Also the city is built more or less along parallel roads making driving easier. Limassol is also a cultural centre with its famous Carnival and Wine Festival and it has high standard hotels and restaurants that attract not only residents but lots of visitors too. Lately, the old part of town, especially around the castle, has been given a new lease of life with the many restaurants and cafes which are busy every day of the week.

Chris Pattichis Group Chairman, Remedica


Contact Details

D. Nicolaou & Sons Ltd.

The Group is one of the largest and most modern commercial organisations in Cyprus, supplying all products needed to build a house and then turn it into a home, from construction materials to decorative items.

Head Office: Franklin Roosevelt Avenue, Zakaki, D. Nicolaou Building, Floor 3, 3507 Limassol Tel: (+357) 25395000 | Fax: (+357) 25390839 e-mail: Website:

D. Zavos Group

One of the leading property developers in Cyprus, the Group was established in 1980 and has grown from developing residential and commercial properties on the island to operating internationally, with offices in China, Egypt and London.

Head Office: 1, Grivas Dighenis Avenue, Zavos Kriel Court, 3035 Limassol | Tel: (+357) 25818555 Fax: (+357) 25818550 | e-mail: Website:

Da Noi

With a varied range of kitchen products as well as door and window fittings, it is one of the leading furniture stores in Cyprus, headquartered in Limassol.

Head Office: Iakovou Tompazi Street, Vashiotis Business Center, 3107 Limassol | Tel: (+357) 25814545 Fax: (+357) 25814711 | e-mail: Website:



Deloitte Cyprus is among the nation’s leading professional services firms, providing audit, tax, consulting and financial advisory services through over 500 people in Nicosia, Limassol and Larnaca, working under the international Deloitte brand.

Limassol Office: Maximos Plaza, Block 1, 3rd floor, 213, Archbishop Makarios III Avenue, 3030 Limassol Tel: (+357) 25868686 | Fax: (+357) 25868600 e-mail: Website:‎


Demetriades Group

Comprising several departments, including hydraulics, service and parts, rentals and hydrocare, the Demetriades Group provides a variety of services to the construction industry. It also owns the Ministop Express convenience store chain.

Head Office: Linopetra Industrial Area, 4011 Limassol Tel: (+357) 25755866 | Fax: (+357) 25725940 e-mail: Website:


Easy-Forex Trading

Since 2003, it has been revolutionizing currency trading in over 150 countries. A pioneer in developing Forex as a consumer product, Easy-Forex continues to lead with customized technology and personal service tailored to all levels of traders.

Head Office: Floor 5, Kriel Court, 1, Grivas Dighenis Avenue, 3317 Limassol | Tel: (+357) 25828899 Fax: (+357) 25817183 | e-mail: Website:


Ellinas DIY

The firm started trading in Limassol in 1998, pioneering the dawn of a new philosophy in ‘Do It Yourself’ marketing in the city, and it continues to improve the services it provides to the amateur craftsman.  

Head Office: 148, E. Kannaouros Street, Ipsonas, 4180 Limassol | Tel: (+357) 25834000 e-mail: Website:



One of the largest wineries on the island, ETKO was founded over 150 years ago. Now a public company, the intake capacity of the Limassol winery is around 30 million kilos of grapes per harvest.

Head Office: Tsiflikoudion, 3045 Limassol Tel: (+357) 25573391 e-mail: Website:


Eureka Group

Established in 1959, the Group specialises in consumer products, manufacturing home and personal care goods, as well as food items.

Head Office: 234, Ayias Fylaxeos Street, 3083 Limassol Tel: (+357) 25831000 | Fax: (+357) 25831020 e-mail: | Website:



The recently rebranded Ernst & Young is a global leader in assurance, tax, transactions and advisory services. With two locations in Cyprus, it uses its international standards of excellence to serve and grow the local market.

Limassol Office: 27-29, Spyros Kyprianou Avenue, Mesa Geitonia, 4003 Limassol | Tel: (+357) 25209999 Fax: (+357) 25209998 | e-mail: Website:



One of the leading car dealerships in Cyprus, it trades Renault, Dacia and Mitsubishi Motors. With 8 showrooms in all towns, Fairways has had a major presence in Cyprus for over 35 years.

Head Office: 100, Archbishop Makarios Avenue, 3021 Limassol | Tel: (+357) 25880880 Fax: (+357) 25880995 | e-mail: Website:


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is now the main area of pharmaceutical production by far, although being away from the capital does present its problems. Limassol is the industrial city of Cyprus with a long tradition and has a smaller percentage of government organisations so there is a larger availability of staff at all levels. There are also many professional firms that assist the business environment. Also, having the port nearby is an added advantage. Finally, all local destinations are easily reachable from Limassol. The climate is milder (cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter), we have the mountains nearby where one can enjoy

20 Gold the international investment, finance & professional services magazine of cyprus

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Contact Details

Falcon Brokers Ltd.

This award-winning online broker headquartered in Limassol empowers traders by offering advanced software with new levels of control over their transactions amid volatile market conditions.

Head Office: Nouris Building, 41, Kolonakiou Avenue, 4103 Limassol | Tel: (+357) 25891717 Fax: (+357) 25891999 | e-mail: Website:



It is an international online Forex broker formed by Alpari founder Andrey Dashin. The company provides services to a wide range of customers, from retail businesses and institutional investors to portfolio managers.

Head Office: Kanika International Business Centre, 4, Profiti Ilias Street, 4046, Germasogia, Limassol Tel: (+357) 25558777 | Fax: (+357) 25558778 e-mail: Website:


Francoudi & Stephanou

Established in 1895, this diverse group of companies is involved in travel and tourism (Aeolos, Capo Bay Hotel), as well as IT and telecommunications (PrimeTel) and insurance. It employs over 1,500 people in Cyprus and abroad.

Head Office: The Maritime Center, 141, Omonia Avenue, 3506, Limassol | Tel: (+357) 25867000 Fax: (+357) 25561892 | e-mail: Website:


FxPro Financial Services Ltd.

It is a Forex industry leader, offering multilingual customer support services. Other than its office staff in Cyprus, FxPro also currently employs around 130 people in Europe and Australia.

Head Office: 1, Karyatidon Street, Ypsonas 4180, Limassol | Tel: (+357) 25969200 | Fax: (+357) 25969269 e-mail: | Website:


Galatariotis Group

Established in 1946, it is one of the leading business establishments in Cyprus with diverse activities and investments in the real estate, hotel and tourism (Le Meridien) and building (Cyprus Cement Public Company Ltd.) sectors.

Head Office: 179, Archbishop Makarios III Avenue, Gala Tower, 3600 Limassol | Tel: (+357) 25891000 Fax: (+357) 25343211 e-mail: Website:


George Anastasi & Sons Ltd.

One of the leading construction companies in Cyprus with major operations both locally and overseas, the Group was founded in 1957. It specialises in construction, civil engineering, asbestos recovery and property development.

Head Office: Pallas House, Aristophanes Street, 3314 Limassol | Tel: (+357) 25361213 | Fax: (+357) 25365322 e-mail: Website:


Grand Resort Hotel

The Grand Resort is among the finest five star hotels in Cyprus, offering an impressive range of customer services.

Head Office: Grand Resort, Amathus Area, 3724 Limassol | Tel: (+357) 25634333 | Fax: (+357) 25634588 e-mail: Website:


Grigoriou B.E. Ltd.

Founded in 1976, it owns the biggest meat processing factory in Cyprus, delivering a broad range of processed and cooked meats to the local and foreign market.

Head Office: 63, Ellados Street, 4182, Ιpsonas, Limassol Tel: (+357) 25393238 | Fax: (+357) 25392208 e-mail: Website:


Hadjiantonas Winery Ltd

Established in the early 1900s, Hadjiantonas was one of the very first commercial wineries in Cyprus. Over the years its wine production has expanded and gained popularity and now seven labels of red, white, rosé and sparkling wines currently comprise the company’s output.

Head Office: Parekklisia, 4520 Limassol Tel: (+357) 25991199 | Fax: (+357) 25991075 e-mail: Website:


Harneys Aristodemou Loizides Yiolitis

This Cyprus law firm specializes in all aspects of Cyprus commercial, banking, corporate, tax and trust law. It distinguishes itself from other firms by focusing solely on the business side of the law and does not undertake activities such as litigation and dispute resolution.

Head Office: Corner Archbishop Kyprianou & Ayiou Andreou Street, Loucaides Building, Floor 2, 3036 Limassol | Tel: (+357) 25820020 | Fax: (+357) 25820021 e-mail: Website:



Founded in 1991, IKOS is a European investment management company and one of the world’s most successful quant hedge funds and asset managers.

Head Office: 1, Ι. Tompazi Street, Vashiotis Business Center, Office 201, 3107 Limassol Tel: (+357) 25814714 | Fax: (+357) 25814744 e-mail: | Website:


Imperio Properties

Specialising in property management and interior design, the company has won several Cypriot and European awards for development and design. Headquartered in Limassol, it has offices in London, Manchester, Beirut, Dubai, Cairo, Moscow, St. Petersburg and elsewhere.

Head Office: 131, Gladstone Street, 3031 Limassol Tel: (+357) 25581005 | Fax: (+357) 25580205 e-mail: Website:


Interorient Navigation Co. Ltd.

A fast-growing global provider of marine transportation services headquartered in Limassol, it has offices in Hamburg, Manila, Riga and St. Petersburg and employs over 300 shore-based employees and over 3,000 well-trained and experienced seafarers.

Head Office: 142 Franklin Roosevelt Avenue, 3504 Limassol Tel: (+357) 25840300 | Fax: (+357) 25575895 e-mail: Website:


Intership Navigation Company Ltd.

Founded in 1988, it manages a fleet of more than 80 vessels. Principally a ship-owning company, Intership has also expanded into third party management for a small number of European, American and Asian owners.

Head Office: Hartmann House, 32, Miltonos Street, 3050 Limassol | Tel: (+357) 25584000| Fax: (+357) 25585756 e-mail: Website:


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Andreas Neocleous Founder & Managing Partner, Andreas Neocleous & Co. LLC.

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future. I have to admit that there was also an element of insurance in my mind: not many people knew me in Limassol, and if my fledgling firm had failed, I could just leave quietly! Limassol has a very cosmopolitan atmosphere and its facilities are second to none. It has all the services that a business needs, and excellent infrastructure and communications. In addition, there is

a good, well-educated pool of potential employees. Limassol is a place where people of many different nationalities live and work together harmoniously and its location by the sea gives it a particular magic. I see it developing over the years into the new “jewel of the Mediterranean”, a meeting point for cultures, as Alexandria was a hundred years ago.


Contact Details

IronFX Financial Services Ltd.

A global leader in online trading, it specializes in Forex, CFDs on US and UK stocks, commodities, and spot metals. The company is part of an international financial services group founded in 1972.

Head Office: 30, Gregoriou Xenopoulou Street, 3106 Limassol | Tel: (+357) 25027000 Fax: (+357) 25027001 | e-mail: Website:


JFD Brokers

Headquartered in Cyprus, it operates as an absolute electronic trading environment for sophisticated retail investors and institutional partners, delivering outstanding trading functionality, market reach, depths of liquidity, speed of execution and robust IT scalability at competitive trading costs.

Head Office: Kakos Premier Tower, 70, Kyrillou Loukareos Street, 4156 Limassol | Tel: (+357) 25878530 Fax: (+357) 25763540 | e-mail: Website:


Jiffix Markets (JFX) Ltd.

JFX, the trading brand of Jiffix Markets, is a fully licensed and regulated investment firm with over 25 years of Forex experience. Based in Limassol, its clients are located all around the world.

Head Office: 55, Agias Fylaxeos Street and Spyros Kyprianou Avenue, Elsi Court, Office 202, 3083 Limassol Tel: (+357) 25385501 | Fax: (+357) 25336086 e-mail: | Website:


K. Kythreotis Holding Public Ltd.

Principally engaged in the production and supply of sand and gravel for use in the construction industry, the company distributes ready-mix concrete and asphalt for road construction, and is also involved in land development.

Head Office: 38, Grivas Dighenis Avenue, Saint Nicholas, 3309 Limassol | Tel: (+357) 25581235 Fax: (+357) 25585828 | e-mail: Website:

Kanika Group

Founded in 1962, Kanika is dedicated to the development of hotels, resorts, commercial and residential real estate, as well as offering property management. With a workforce of over 800 employees, it has a major presence in Cyprus.

Head Office: 28th October & Makarios III Avenue, Kanika Enaerios Complex, Block A, 3300 Limassol Tel: (+357) 25814266 | Fax: (+357) 25582124 e-mail: Website:


Karaolis Group

Synonymous with high-standard property development in the Limassol district, Karaolis Group has been powering the town’s continuous growth since 1960, with innumerable residential and commercial projects to its name.

Head Office: 1, Anastasiou Sioukri Street, Themis Tower 5th Floor, 3300 Limassol | Tel: (+357) 25 871871 Fax: (+357) 25 342186 e-mail: Website:


Kardex Systems Ltd.

The Group is a global acting industry partner for intra-logistic solutions and a leading supplier of automated storage solutions and material handling systems. It employ around 1,500 people in over 30 countries.

Head Office: 8, John Kennedy Street, Iris House, Floor 8, 3300 Limassol | Tel: (+357) 25875 600 Fax: (+357) 25590 091 | e-mail: Website:


KEAN Soft Drinks Ltd.

Producing and distributing soft drinks and bottled condiments, Kean, founded in 1949, remains one of the largest and most popular beverage suppliers on the island.

Head Office: Agios Athanasios, 3603 Limassol Tel: (+357) 25883100 | Fax: (+357) 25324289 e-mail: Website:

KEO Group

Producing beer, wine, spirits, juices and canned food, it is the largest beverage company on the island. Established in 1925, it is now a household name, recognised by both locals and millions of tourists.

Head Office: 1, Franklin Roosevelt Avenue, 3602 Limassol | Tel: (+357) 25853100 Fax: (+357) 25573429 | e-mail: Website:


KPMG operates as an international network of member firms offering audit, tax and legal, advisory and accounting services. Employing over 750 professionals, KPMG Cyprus works from 6 offices in the major cities on the island.

Limassol Office: 11, 16th June 1943 Street, 3022 Limassol | Tel: (+357) 25869000 Fax: (+357) 25363842 | e-mail: Website:

Krypto Security

Established in 1995, it offers all manner of security solutions for its clients. Serving residential and commercial properties of all sizes, it has become one of the leading companies in the Cypriot securities sector.

Head Office: 71, Michael Zavou Street, Agios Athanasios, 4107Limassol | Tel: (+357) 25736846 Fax: (+357) 25 736845 | e-mail: Website:


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hen I decided to start my own law firm almost fifty years ago, Limassol was already an important commercial and industrial centre. I believed that it offered better opportunities than elsewhere and that the development of the Cyprus shipping industry would bring even greater opportunities in the





22 Gold the international investment, finance & professional services magazine of cyprus



o be able to claim that you are well represented in Cyprus, you need not only to have a presence but a strong presence in Limassol. In addition to being a tourist destination, Limassol is an international business hub, favoured by international clients that operate fully-fledged offices, as well as the centre of our thriving shipping industry. Although not the headquarters or

LIMASSOL ? base for the banks, the utilities, the Stock Exchange and the regulators, Limassol still has very active local businesses which operate islandwide and a strong local presence is needed so as to serve them efficiently and effectively. Due to its popularity as a tourist destination but also thanks to the many expatriates who live there, Limassol has the cultural diversity and an international atmosphere

that is unique on the island. Being a seaside city, it has developed the infrastructure necessary for tourism; as the largest deep sea port of Cyprus, it has developed the infrastructure for trade and shipping; and being a real city, it presents its residents with the best of all worlds: a relaxing bythe-sea atmosphere, an international and diverse population and, at the same time, a vibrant working business atmosphere.

Christis Christoforou CEO, DELOITTE

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Contact Details Head Office: 5, Spatharikou Street, 4004 Mesa Geitonia, Limassol | Tel: (+357) 25343477 | Fax: (+357) 25343484 e-mail:


Kyriakides, Savvides & Associates

This dynamic, fast growing accountancy firm specialises in tax, business consultancy and international business management. It also offers company formation and administration and trust formation services to clients in Cyprus and other offshore jurisdictions.


Lanitis Group of Companies

The Group is active in a diversified set of business fields, such as construction, property development, tourism and travel, hotels, transport, leisure and entertainment, restaurants, golf, marinas, energy, trading and commodities.

Head Office: 21, Archbishop Kyprianos Street, 3036 Limassol Tel: (+357) 25820920 | Fax: (+357) 25352580 e-mail: | Website:


Lavar Shipping Company Ltd.

One of the leaders in the local shipping community, it has over 45 years of experience and knowledge of the local market. Services include ship agency, operations services, cargo documentation, ship handling, bunkering and customs.

Head Office: 109, Omonoia Avenue, Suite 301, Flamingo Building, 3048 Limassol | Tel: (+357) 25818600 Fax: (+357) 25818601 e-mail: Website:


Lemissoler Shipmanagement Ltd.

Over the years it has become a diversified shipping group with activities in liner shipping, ship-owning and shipmanagement. Based in Limassol, it is represented through a dispersed network of offices in several countries including Germany, Ukraine, Bahrain and India.

Head Office: 17-21B Agias Zonis Street, Eleni Court, 3027 Limassol | Tel: (+357) 25818830 | Fax: (+357) 25746926 e-mail: Website:


Limassol Marina Ltd

The company bringing this huge, prestigious project to fruition is Limassol Marina Ltd., is a group of developers, construction companies and investors (Cybarco, J & P – Avax S.A, Joannou & Paraskevaides Ltd, Francoudi & Stephanou Ltd, Athena S.A., CADS Holdings Ltd, and the Limassol Marina Development Company Ltd.), whose specialist knowledge and proven experience guarantees lasting quality.

Head Office: Limassol Marina Ltd, 3601 Limassol Tel: (+357) 25020020 | e-mail: Website:


Lordos United Plastics Public Ltd.

A leading supplier of plastics with a wide range of products such as pipes, fittings, films, bags, bottles and other containers, it has become one of the largest suppliers in its industry in Cyprus.

Head Office: Crowne Plaza, Ypsonas Industrial Area, Epimitheos Street, 3056 Limassol Tel: (+357) 25885555 | Fax: (+357) 25885588 e-mail: Website:


Lounic Ltd.

Lounic Ltd. is a confectionery company headquartered in Limassol, equipped with the latest and most sophisticated facilities assuring premium quality of its products.

Head Office: 6, Troodous Street, Agios Athanasios, Limassol | Tel: (+357) 25728588 | Fax: (+357) 25728875 e-mail: Website:


Loutsios Group

Sole distributors of Isuzu, KIA, Cadillac and Hummer vehicles in Cyprus, it is one of the most successful and popular car dealerships on the island.

Head Office: 90, Omonia Avenue, Limassol Tel: (+357) 25576576 | Fax: (+357) 24641436 e-mail: Website:


Marlow Navigation Co. Ltd.

Together with its worldwide representatives, it supplies the full range of third party shipmanagement activities and is able to accompany a vessel from the drawing board all the way to her final days at sea.

Head Office: 13, Alexandrias Street, 3720 Limassol Tel: (+357) 25882588 | Fax: (+357) 25882599 e-mail: Website:


Mastermind Shipmanagement Ltd.  

Principally a ship-owning company, it has expanded into shipmanagement, while holding a substantial ownership in the Cypriot investment company Navinvest Holdings Ltd., which specialises in shipowning.

Head Office: MSM House, 63, Christaki Kranou Street, 4042 Limassol | Tel: (+357) 25256000 Fax: (+357) 25256007 e-mail: Website:

the international investment, finance & professional services magazine of cyprus

Gold 23

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Mediterranean Hospital of Limassol

One of the largest private hospitals in Cyprus, it was established in 2004. With 8 fully equipped and staffed operating rooms, it employs more than 120 doctors of varied specialties.

Head Office: 9, Stigos Street, 3117 Limassol Tel: (+357) 25200000 | Fax: (+357) 25200145 e-mail: Website:


Medochemie Ltd.

Established in 1976, it develops, licenses, manufactures, markets and distributes branded generic and super-generic pharmaceutical products as well as its own patented brands. The firm has eleven manufacturing plants and facilities and employs 1,250 people in its manufacturing plants and offices worldwide.

Head Office: 1-10, Constantinoupoleos Street, 3011 Limassol | Tel: (+357) 25867600 | Fax: (+357) 25560863 e-mail: Website:



Founded in 1970, Meritservus specialises in tax structures, portfolio management, company administration and accounting among other trust and fiduciary services.

Head Office: Eftapaton Court, 256, Arch. Makarios III Avenue, 3301 Limassol | Tel: (+357) 25857700 Fax: (+357) 25356010 | e-mail: Website:


MetaQuotes Software Ltd.

MetaQuotes Software Ltd. produces the MetaTrader 4 online trading platform. With offices in 8 countries, the company’s main focus is on Forex market trading software with its own trading platform.

Head Office: 21, Iridos Street, MetaQuotes Building, Mesa Yitonia, 4004 Limassol | Tel: (+357) 25030474 Fax: (+357) 25580191 | e-mail: Website:


Miltos P. Papadopoulos & Associates

Founded in 1983, the firm is a private architectural services association. It provides architectural services from concept development through to complete detailed design in key areas, such as commercial and industrial developments, private housing and restoration works.

Head Office: Corner Anastasi Sioukri & Olympion Street, Themis Tower, Floor 1, 3501 Limassol Tel: (+357) 25350600 | Fax: (+357) 25376576 e-mail: Website:

Muskita Holdings Ltd.

As the only importer of aluminium in Cyprus, Muskita launched the first Anodising Plant in Cyprus in 1964. Alongside its aluminium industry is a hotel business (it owns three hotels including the Four Seasons) and real estate division with assets in several locations on the island.

Head Office: 9, Acharon Street, 3603 Limassol Tel: (+357) 25844444 | Fax: (+357) 25393671 e-mail: Website:


Nemitsas Ltd.

Established in 1913, Nemitsas is a major manufacturer and exporter of pumping equipment, building machinery and engineering castings. Its products are currently exported to over 30 countries of the Middle East, Africa and Europe.

Head Office: 153, Franklin Roosevelt Avenue, 3601 Limassol | Tel: (+357) 25569222 | Fax: (+357) 25569275 e-mail: Website:


Nest Investments (Holdings) Ltd.

Nest Investments is a diverse holdings company, specialising in areas such as direct insurance (Trust International Insurance Co.), re-insurance, property development, asset management and building materials manufacture in 23 countries.

Head Office: Ariadne House, 2nd Floor, 333, 28th October Street, 3106 Limassol | Tel: (+357) 25588811 Fax: (+357) 25587300 | e-mail: Website:


New York Sweets

From its origins as a small pastry store in Limassol in 1986, New York Sweets has grown into an organisation with a network of seven stores across Cyprus, specializing in the art of creating sweets with exceptional quality and design.

Head Office: 7, Michail Herakleous Street, 4101 Agios Athanasios, Industrial Area, Limassol Tel: (+357) 25558800 | Fax: (+357) 25565302 e-mail: Website:


Österreichischer Lloyd Seereederei (Cyprus) Ltd.

Originally founded in 1836, it currently runs a fleet of nine modern vessels. Headquartered in Limassol, it has additional offices in Lebanon, Malta and Germany.

Head Office: 3rd Floor, 67, Franklin Roosevelt Avenue, 3011 Limassol | Tel: (+357) 25662555 Fax: (+357) 25662666 | e-mail: Website:


P. G. Economides & Co Ltd.

This firm of chartered certified accountants was founded in 1972. Specialising in auditing and accounting services as well as local tax, VAT and international tax planning, the company works from offices in both Cyprus and the United Kingdom.

Head Office: 30, Gr. Xenopoulou Street, 3106 Limassol Tel: + 357 25 559000 | Fax: + 357 25 559001 e-mail: Website:


P. Papadopoulos Consulting Engineers

Specialising in civil, environmental, structural and foundation engineering, the company has been responsible for the design and site inspection of a wide variety projects all over the island.

Head Office: 21, Serifou Street, 3046 Limassol Tel: (+357) 25826890 | Fax: (+357) 25359521 e-mail: Website:


P. Yiatros Group

One of the largest developers and construction firms in Limassol, Yiatros Group offers clients all manner of property development services. Obtaining European ISO quality certification in 1999, the Group prides itself on its excellent after-sales service.

Head Office: 28, Christaki Kranou Street, Potamos Yermasoyias, Limassol | Tel: (+357) 25879700 Fax: (+357) 25879707 | e-mail: Website:


cover story


24 Gold the international investment, finance & professional services magazine of cyprus


L Liakos Theodorou


imassol represents a vital part of the country’s economic activity and, as such, it serves as a major base for the operations of PwC. Currently around 200 professionals including 14 Partners and Directors are operating out of our Limassol office. I believe that apart from its infrastructure and its long sea front, Limassol has something different from all the other towns. It is a business centre and, at the same time, a marvellous cosmopolitan Mediterranean resort. This is one of the reasons for the

preference shown by European and Russian business people and their families to live in Limassol. The city’s excellent infrastructure, ease of accessibility by both sea and air combined with the pleasant lifestyle has contributed in the development of Limassol into a popular international and maritime centre. The shipping industry continues to grow and Limassol is one of the world’s leading shipmanagement centres. But Limassol is not just a city for doing business. It offers top class hotels, restaurants, clubs and a huge choice of other wine-and-

dine venues! Home to the famous Carnival and Wine Festival, it offers residents and visitors a wide range of activities and places to visit. The climate, safety and hospitality are only some of the factors which make Limassol a good place to live. In addition, the establishment of the Cyprus University of Technology, the revival of the old town centre around the Mediaeval Castle and the old market place and the construction of the Limassol Marina are projects that have and will continue to contribute in the development of the city.

Head of Assurance & Advisory Services, PwC Cyprus

No Company


Contact Details Head Office: 2, Spyros Kyprianou Street, C’ Industrial Area Ipsonas, 4193 Limassol | Tel: (+357) 25554000 Fax: (+357) 2572370 e-mail: Website:



One of the biggest companies in poultry and meat production in Cyprus, it distributes fresh and frozen products all over the island.


Patrikios Pavlou & Associates LLC

Founded in 1963, it is a multi-award winning international law firm, providing clients with specialized comprehensive legal solutions on national and international legal matters.

Head Office: Patrician Chambers, 332, Agiou Andreou Street, 3035 Limassol | Tel: (+357) 25871599 Fax: (+357) 25344548 | e-mail: Website:



Cyprus’ largest and oldest paint distributor has been selling and distributing construction chemicals and paints for over 100 years.

Head Office: 190, Agias Filaxeos Street, Limassol Tel: (+357) 25736983 | Fax: (+357) 25736982 e-mail: Website:


Petoussis Bros Ltd.

Headquartered in Limassol, the company. is active in all forms of building and structural work, offering contracting services as well as construction supplies and products.

Head Office: 25, Paphos Street, 3052 Limassol Tel: (+357) 25572777 | Fax: (+357) 22318608 e-mail: Website:


Phil. Andreou Group

Specialising in the manufacturing, exporting and trading of display stands, shelving, store equipment, shop fitting and promotional items, it also operates the SoEasy Kiosks chain of convenience stores across Cyprus.

Head Office: Industrial Estate, 4100, Agios Athanasios Tel: (+357) 25865000 | Fax: (+357) 25727023 e-mail: Website:


Pierides Holdings Plc.

Comprising Pierides in Light and Pierides Electrical, it distributes wholesale electrical supplies and lighting equipment, supplying products from brands such as Clipsal, Fermax, Siemens, Masiero and Italamp.

Head Office: 38, Andrea Kariolou Street, 4102 Ayios Athanasios, Limassol | Tel: (+357) 25811133 Fax: (+357) 25725615 e-mail: Website:



Founded in 1993, it designs, sells, installs and maintains electronic security systems. Headquartered in Limassol, it serves clients all over Cyprus.

Head Office: 105A, Archbishop Makarios III Avenue, 3021 Limassol | Tel: (+357) 77772288 | Fax: (+357) 77772289 e-mail: Website:


PKF Savvides & Co Ltd.

Established in 1979, it is one of the major accounting and consulting organisations in Cyprus. A member of PKF International, its clients range from public companies and multinationals to small businesses and start-ups.

Head Office: Meliza Court, 229, Archbishop Makarios III Avenue, 3105 Limassol | Tel: (+357) 25868000 Fax: (+357) 25590229 | e-mail: Website:


PromSvyazBank Cyprus

It is one of the largest banks in Russia and among the top 10 credit organisations in the country in terms of assets, it opened a Cyprus branch in April 2002 and opened an additional retail office in 2008.

Head Office: 35, Grigoriou Afxentiou Street, Mesa Geitonia, 4003 Limassol | Tel: (+357) 25272000 Fax: (+357) 25820378 e-mail: | Website:

the international investment, finance & professional services magazine of cyprus

Gold 25

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With offices in over 150 countries worldwide, PwC is one of the most popular and trusted accounting firms internationally. Operating in the four major cities of the island, PwC Cyprus focuses on two main areas: assurance & advisory services and tax & legal Services.

Limassol Office: City House, 6, Karaiskakis Street, 3032 Limassol | Tel: (+357) 25555000 | Fax: (+357) 25555001 e-mail: | Website:


RCB Bank

Now one of the largest banks in Cyprus, it provides a full range of banking and investment services for corporate clients as well as a wide range of wealth management products and services for successful private clients.

Head Office: 2, Amathus Avenue, 3310 Limassol Tel: (+357) 25837300 | Fax: (+357) 25342192 e-mail: | Website:


Reederei Nord Ltd.

Established in 1964, it has built up a reputation for quality third-party ship management. Its focus is on operational excellence against a fair remuneration rather than on the size of the managed fleet. Its management services cover a variety of areas.

Head Office: 23, Olympion Street, 3306 Limassol Tel: (+357) 25841400 | Fax: (+357) 25345077 e-mail: Website:


Remedica Ltd.

Based in Limassol, it is a leading pharmaceutical company dedicated to the development, production and sale of high-quality generic pharmaceutical products.

Head Office: Remedica Ltd., 3508 Limassol Tel: (+357) 25553000 | Fax: (+357) 25390192 e-mail: Website:


Salamis Organisation

Comprising Salamis Lines, Salamis Shipping, Salamis Tours and Salamis Cruise Lines, the Salamis Organisation has built an empire of companies based upon its strong network of diverse shipping services.

Head Office: 1, G. Katsounotos Street, 3607 Limassol Tel: (+357) 25860600 | Fax: (+357) 25342600 e-mail: Website:


Saxo Bank A/S

Established in Cyprus in 2012, it works with clients in Central Eastern Europe and the Balkan countries as well as Cyprus, employing a team of approximately 40 professionals, speaking over 21 languages in total.

Head Office: 1, Agias Fylaxeos Street, Floor 1, 3025 Limassol | Tel: (+357) 25021121 | Fax: (+453) 9774200 e-mail: Website:


SCF Unicom Management Services (Cyprus)

Established in 1991, it provides a variety of shipping management services, as well as other organisational services for the safe operation of oil and gas tankers. It currently operates a fleet of 97 vessels.

Head Office: Unicom Tower, Maximos Plaza, 18, Maximos Michaelides Street, 3106 Neapolis, Limassol Tel: (+357) 25890000 | Fax: (+357) 25890089 e-mail: Website:

Schoeller Holdings Ltd.

Schoeller Holdings is a privately-owned investment company which operates an array of marine-related activities including ship owning, ship management (Columbia Shipmanagement) and liner services. It is also involved in non-marine investments, such as hotels and restaurants, including Columbia Plaza, Pizza Express and Marzano.

Scott Brownrigg

An award-winning international company of chartered architects, planners and designers with many offices all over the UK as well as in Croatia and Singapore, Scott Brownrigg has been operating in Cyprus for over 10 years, creating many prestigious developments on the island.


Sigma Bakeries

With over 15 stores nationwide, the family-owned firm operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, baking bread, cakes, pastries, cookies and biscuits.

Head Office: Sigma Bakeries Ltd., 3308 Limassol Tel: (+357) 25878678 | Fax: (+357) 25346131 e-mail: Website:


SMT Shipmanagement & Transport Ltd.

This private company’s fully integrated range of services includes commercial, technical, quality and safety systems, crewing, purchasing, operations, accounting, and insurance management.

Head Office: Nicolaou Pentadromos Center, 702A Thessalonikis Street, 3025 Limassol Tel: (+357) 25820000 | Fax: (+357) 25749080 Website:

cover story




HY? W LIMASSOL Christos Mouskis Chairman, Muskita Holdings Ltd.


imassol is the place where we were born and we grew up. Our father moved from Nicosia to Limassol and started his first business here and, naturally, we continued and expanded in Limassol. Limassol is a special place to do

26 Gold the international investment, finance & professional services magazine of cyprus

Head Office: Columbia House, 21, Spyros Kyprianou Avenue, Yermasoyia, 4024 Limassol Tel: (+357) 25843100 | Fax: (+357) 25311196 e-mail: Website:

Head Office: 254, Leontiou I Avenue, Maximos Court Office 17, 3020 Limassol | Tel: (+357) 25333394 Fax: (+357) 25333450 e-mail: Website:

business. It is an international city, so from a young age we were used to living, working and associating with people of many different nationalities who live here. People in Limassol are more easy-going. We feel comfortable when we meet new people without being stiff and too formal. In

Limassol, people work hard but they also know how to enjoy genuine friendship and have a good time. The big plus, of course, is the sea and the beach which many of us enjoy all the year round. Personally, I could not imagine living in a place that is not close to the sea.

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One of the most complete and modern wineries in the world, SODAP is equipped with high-tech machinery, enabling it to produce wines of the highest quality which have earned an array of awards in wine and spirit competitions.

Head Office: 1, Kamanterenas Street, 8550, Kato Stroumbi, Pafos | Tel: (+357) 26633000 Fax: (+357) 26 633503 | e-mail: Website:


SpecTec Group Holding Ltd.

The Group specializes in asset management software and services, with 24 offices worldwide. It operates in the markets of shipping, oil and gas, defence, energy production and distribution, and land-based industry.

Head Office: 1, Agias Fylaxeos Street, KPMG Center, Office 1, Floor 2, 3025 Limassol | Tel: (+357) 25812181 Fax: (+357) 25314240 | Website:


St. Raphael Resort

This five star resort, which was once the Sheraton, is located on one of the most renowned and largest Blue Flag accredited beaches in Limassol. It also operates the only privately owned marina on the island.

Head Office: Amathus Avenue, 3594 Limassol Tel: (+357) 25834200 | Fax: (+357) 25636394 e-mail: Website:


Stademos Hotels Plc

Established in March 1989, the company owns and operates the Mediterranean Beach Hotel in Limassol and the Elysium Hotel in Paphos.

Head Office: 60, Amathus Avenue, 3310 Limassol Tel: (+357) 25828333 | Fax: (+357) 25317555 e-mail: Website:



Established in 1992, it offers a full range of baked products, confectionery, snacks and sweets. It also caters for special occasions including weddings, christenings and parties.

Head Office: 41 Mishiaouli & Kavazoglou Street, Sun Fresh House, Floor 3, Agios Ioannis, 3012 Limassol Tel: (+357) 25500000 | Fax: (+357) 25564888 e-mail: Website:


Tiffany Investments Ltd./ My Mall

The biggest shopping mall in Cyprus, My Mall opened its doors in 2009 and has since revolutionized the shopping experience. Incorporating shopping, dining and entertainment, My Mall has become one of the top tourist destinations in the city.

Head Office: 285, Franklin Roosevelt Avenue, 3150 Limassol Tel: (+357) 25343777 | Fax: (+357) 25341777 e-mail: Website:


TotalServe Management Ltd.

TotalServe is a leading international service provider specialising in the fields of corporate tax and fiduciary services, with over 10 offices worldwide.

Head Office: Totalserve House, 17, Gr.Xenopoulou Street, 3106 Limassol | Tel: (+357) 25866000 Fax: (+357) 25866401 | e-mail: Website:


Trading Point of Financial Instruments (XE)

This is a fast-expanding, market leading Forex broker with several international locations. An internationally regulated financial institution, it was founded by market experts with extensive knowledge of the global Forex and capital markets.

Head Office: 12, Richard & Berengaria Street, Araouzos Castle Court, Floor 3, 3042 Limassol Tel: (+357) 25029900 | Fax: (+357) 25820344 e-mail: Website:


Trident Trust Group

A leading administrative services provider, it has served professional advisors, financial institutions, corporations and high net worth families for over 35 years, with offices in over 20 jurisdictions.

Head Office: Trident Center, 115, Grivas Dighenis Avenue, 3731 Limassol | Tel: (+357) 25820650 Fax: (+357) 25361857 | e-mail: Website:


Trikkis Energy

Founded in 1961, it is involved in the production of renewable energy, through the design, import, distribution, installation, supervision and maintenance of photovoltaic systems.

Head Office: 44, Galileo Street, 3011 Limassol Tel: (+357) 25577552 | Fax: (+ 357) 25565024 e-mail: Website:


Uniteam Marine Ltd.

Founded in Cyprus in 1978, the Group has expanded into a multinational company with additional offices Germany, Ukraine, Singapore and Myanmar. It specialises in ship management, operations, financial administration and consultancy.

Head Office: 284-286, Archbishop Makarios III Avenue, 3105 Limassol Tel: (+357) 25846100 | Fax: (+357) 25581706 e-mail: Website:


he company decided to move to Limassol after the Turkish invasion in 1974 for various reasons. We had been living in Famagusta until 1974 and we wanted to continue living by the sea. Moreover, we had relatives living in Limassol before the war and most of our prospective customers

were living in the Limassol district, and in the city of Limassol in particular with its three big wine producing companies. Because of what happened in 1974, it was clear that Limassol would be established as the city with the island’s main port. Limassol’s location means that all the other main towns and cities are within an hour’s


LIMASSOL ? drive. An important detail for us is the fact that Limassol new port is very close to our premises. Limassol is located by the sea and has the best climate in Cyprus: mild in winter and fairly cool in the summer. In the summer, a 30-minute drive takes you up to the mountains where you can enjoy the cool air.

Yiannos Loutsios Managing Director, Loutsios Group

the international investment, finance & professional services magazine of cyprus

Gold 27




hen it comes to the Forex industry, all the main competition is located in Limassol and being close to the competition in a dynamic and fast moving industry like Forex is key; we chose Limassol so we could be at the centre of everything that is going on. It is the prime Forex hub in the country and truly brings the same corporate element that some of the major cities in bigger countries do. The ForexTime offices are located on the Limassol seafront and the privilege of being able to work in a corporate environment yet glance out the window at such a calming view

is really unique. Limassol has always been the most attractive city in Cyprus for international corporations to settle and expand in. The fact that it is a port city has made it one of the best investment hubs not only island-wide but worldwide. It is the most central and convenient city in Cyprus geographically, with the distance to other towns and distances within the town being short, and this is a great convenience for business people who need to be in many places for meetings. The infrastructure of the city is very good, getting from place to place is easy and simple, all the major banks and institutions are here and

competitors and partners are nearby. Limassol is a beautiful city to live and work in, combining the elements of a busy and modern business hub with those of a holiday destination. The pace of business is fast and exciting but the pace of life is relaxing and leisurely, so whilst there is still a buzz, there is never the sense of chaos that other big cities bring. Having lived and worked in Moscow and New York, I know what it’s like to be constantly in a rush, to never have enough time and to spend the most part of the year working through dark, cold winters – Limassol offers a completely different lifestyle.

Olga Rybalkina CEO, ForexTime

cover story

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Vakis Associates

One of Cyprus’ leading architectural firms, it was founded in 1983, engaging in projects that range from residential and commercial buildings to hotels and resorts.

Head Office: 207, Saint Andrew’s Street, 3509 Limassol Tel: (+357) 25369765 | Fax: (+357) 25340178 e-mail: Website:


Virardi Enterprises Ltd.

Specialising in catering equipment and tabletop supplies for hotels and restaurants, Virardi focuses on the design, supply, installation of its products plus top-quality after-sales service.

Head Office: 67, Ayias Zonis Street, 3090 Limassol Tel: (+357) 25371501 | Fax: (+357) 25375118 e-mail: | Website:


VTT Vasiliko Ltd.

The €300 million oil terminal at Vasilikos, outside Limassol, was the biggest single investment in Cyprus in 2012, made by VTTI which is owned 50% by the international energy trading group Vitol and 50% by MISC Berhad of Malaysia.

Head Office: 113, Prodromos Avenue, 5th floor, 2064 Nicosia | Tel: (+357) 22445062 | Fax: (+357) 22660291 e-mail: | Website:


Windsor Brokers

With a history dating back 25 years, it remains one of the leading and pioneering online brokers in the region, with over 100 employees across the globe and a growing client base on every continent.

Head Office: Windsor Business Center, 53, Spyros Kyprianou Avenue, 4004 Mesa Yitonia, Limassol Tel: (+357) 25500500 | Fax: (+357) 25500555 e-mail: Website:


Y. Skembedjis & Sons Ltd.

This leading hardware company was established in 1971. It is primarily involved in renting and selling all forms of warehouse handling equipment, both new and used, including forklifts, trucks, tyres, spare parts and excavators.

Head Office: 1, Agoras Street, Ypsonas Industrial Area, 3056 Limassol | Tel: (+357) 25712265 Fax: (+357) 25710413 | e-mail: Website:


Ygia Polyclinic

It is not only the oldest private hospital in Cyprus, having been established in 1983. but the largest and one of the best equipped, located in the heart of Limassol.

Head Office: 21, Nafpliou Street, 3025 Limassol Tel: (+357) 25884600 | Fax: (+357) 25353890 e-mail: Website:


Z.G.H. Watches & Jewellers Ltd.

With approximately 55% of the Limassol local jewellery market, it deals in luxury jewellery and watches with both Cypriot and International clients.

Head Office: 33, Georgiou A’ Street, Pecora Beach House, 3723 Limassol Tel: (+357) 25323168 | Fax: (+357) 25310336 e-mail: Website:

HY W ? LIMASSOL Arthur McWhinnie Managing Director, Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement


ernhard Schulte Shipmanagement was the first active shipmanagement company on the island. Even though not choosing the capital as the company’s basis might have been a radical choice back then, it proved to be a wise one, as Limassol Port commenced operations in 1974 and has successfully managed to gradually grow into the main port of the country. Over the years, Limassol has developed into a leading international business centre with trading

28 Gold the international investment, finance & professional services magazine of cyprus

companies, marketing and consultancy firms, financial institutions and shipping and shipmanagement companies. It is now one of the most significant shipmanagement centres in the world since and one of the most powerful global hubs for shipping activities. The Limassol-based Cyprus University of Technology has provided Limassol with a new dynamism in terms of higher education, culture, development of human resources and research, with evidently positive effects on the economy. The city’s mild

climate and natural attractions make Limassol a good place to live. What is more, its long tradition of cultural events such as the Carnival and the Wine Festival makes the residents really proud and attracts visitors. Limassol actively embraces cultural activities, promoting literature, music, dance, cinema and theatre. Last but not least, it is a safe place to live or raise a family in an era when values such as safety and security are jeopardized in many places of the world. Limassol is a good home.

ad single 21x



he Kardex Group is a manufacturer of automated storage solutions and materials handling systems. The Group consists of the Kardex Remstar and the Kardex Mlog Division. Kardex Remstar develops, manufactures and sells dynamic storage and retrieval systems and Kardex Mlog integrated materials handling systems and high-bay warehouses. Kardex Remstar and Kardex Mlog also provide controls, software solutions and services. The Kardex Group has branches and manufacturing units in Europe, America and Asia and employs around 2,200 people in more than 30 countries worldwide. Kardex AG is listed on the Swiss SIX Stock Exchange since 1987.


Kardex can trace its origins back to the 1880s, when the “Card Index System” was introduced in the USA. Over time, the company and its product ranges have changed greatly. However the creative culture within the organisation has not changed and continues to build upon the long list of industry firsts, which include the typewriter, calculator, file cabinet. Today Kardex manufactures computer controlled automated storage and retrieval systems for a wide range of applications including office, industry and retail, providing increased efficiencies and productivity through innovation. Kardex offers a wide range of automated storage and retrieval solutions, each designed to increase productivity and maximize on floor space, allowing companies to become more competitive in their daily operations. Kardex has designed, manufactured and

installed more than 140,000 solutions across a broad spectrum of industries.

Kardex Overseas Division

Kardex owns a variety of worldwide, geographically grouped under the Northern Europe, Central Europe, Latin Europe, USA, Far East and the Overseas Division. The Overseas Division has been based in Cyprus since 1980 and is responsible for sales as well as marketing, technical and software support services to the Kardex network of distributors to the Middle East and Gulf countries, Africa, Balkans and Central Asia. In addition, the Division is responsible for opening up new markets.

Future plans in Cyprus  

After over 30 years in Cyprus, Kardex Systems Ltd intends to continue its operations as time has proved that moving the overseas division to Cyprus was a correct decision.

Why Cyprus? According to Director of Sales, Demetris Kouloundis, the decision to locate the overseas Kardex division in Cyprus was influenced by the island’s strategic geographical location to serve the company’s overseas markets and by the friendly and efficient business environment. Other factors that influenced the Board’s decision were the legal and accounting framework which is based on the English system, the availability of well-trained and versatile manpower, as well as the tax-effective regime.

Setting up an operation in Cyprus

Setting up an operation in Cyprus is a straightforward process as the different government departments try to provide all possible support, to expedite the process and encourage new international business to the island.

Demetris Kouloundis

“Strategically Kardex has made the right decision to utilize Cyprus as its base for the Overseas Division because we have easy access to Africa, Europe and Asia as well as being able to operate in an efficient business climate with experienced professionals and an attractive tax framework. Kardex will continue its operations in Cyprus for more years to come.” Demetris Kouloundis, Director of Sales - MEA, Balkans & Central Asia, Kardex Systems Ltd.

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he Lanitis Group of Companies, one of the largest business groups in Cyprus, was established towards the end of the 19th century and is currently under the leadership of the fourth generation of the Lanitis family. The Group is also one of the biggest employers of the private sector in Cyprus. Based on its values - reliability, integrity, quality and social contribution - the Group plays a pioneering and innovative role in the industries that it operates in through time. While securing its sound financial standards, the Group at the same time participates and contributes actively in the economy and social life of the country. The Group is active in a diversified set of business fields, such as construction, property development, tourism and travel, hotels, transport, leisure and entertainment, restaurants, golf, marinas, energy, trading and commodities. The vision of the Group is to have a positive contribution through time to the economy and society, based on development, innovation and quality, aiming to ensure a dynamic future perspective. This vision has been shared and followed by four generations within

the Group, while continuously moving forward and growing through contemporary methods and practices. The Group is also known for its humanitarian and social contribution to society, especially in the areas of culture, education and health. In 2002 the Evagoras & Kathleen Lanitis Foundation was established, a non-profit organization, based in Limassol which organizes and sponsors cultural and educational events.

Lanitis E.C. Holdings Ltd

The Management of the Lanitis Group has its headquarters at the premises of the Limassol-based company Lanitis E.C Holdings Ltd, which is currently acting as the Group’s holding company. Lanitis E.C Holdings Ltd has a diversified portfolio of investments through its various subsidiaries and associate companies. The role of Lanitis E.C Holdings Ltd includes the formulation of the Group’s investment strategy, the formulation of procedures and the coordination of the activities of the Group’s companies, particularly in the areas of Strategy, Finance, Communications and Internal Audit and Human Resources.

N.P.Lanitis Ltd Established in 1896, it formed the backbone of the Lanitis Group, and is currently a diversified portfolio investment company. Through autonomous subsidiaries and/or associate companies, N.P. Lanitis offers a wide range of products and services in various sectors of the economy, such as energy, commodities, trading, restaurants and entertainment: • Lanitis Electrics Ltd: Maintains a strong presence in the market of electrical supplies, cables, wires, firedetection systems and automation. • Lanitis Aristophanous Ltd: Market leader in three main lines of business: timber and its by-products, specialised building materials; and sanitary ware, ceramic tiles and parquet floors. • Carob Mill Restaurants Ltd: Manages a number of up-market restaurants, cafeterias, take-away food outlets and business events venues (Artima, Stretto, Draught, Ryans, Istoriko, Karatello, Il Gusto, Kouzina, Richard&Berengaria) establishing itself as one of Cyprus largest and most successful companies in this sector. • L.C.A Domiki Ltd: Firmly established as one of the most competitive firms in the steel industry in Cyprus.

Lanitis Green Energy Group


mbracing the commitment to participate in the development in the energy sector and to positively contribute to the country’s economy, Lanitis Green Energy Group & Caramondani Bros Consortium had major recent success in the PV Bidding Competition with the Ministry of Commerce, Industry & Tourism for photovoltaic park licensing -generate and sale of electricity.

• Lanitis Green Energy Group: Leading and dynamic player in the emerging energy market in Cyprus, through the offer of innovative and comprehensive products and services for energy Lanitis, is the only group of companies in and renewable sources. The recently energy sector and the emerging energy formed Group consists of the following companies: Conercon Energy Solutions, Lanitis Gas, LGEG Enercon full range The Group offers a broad spectrum today the standards of tomorrow Consulting and Eti Fotos. ble Energy of specialized products and services by introducing a comprehensive

ergy Cong trading, on, energy

in photovoltaics, solar thermal and energy plan which aims to minigeothermal systems, liquefied mize the energy consumption to petroleum gas, energy saving as practically zero, both for residences well as automation systems. The and commercial structures. This vision and strategic objective of concept contributes actively to Established in 1945, Cybarco is Cyprus’ the group is to remain a dynamic the European target to reduce CO2 leadingenergy luxury property developer, player in the emerging emissions and to limit theregreenfor bringing many ofisthe island’s house effect which estimated market of Cyprussponsible and to introduce to reach up to 20%-by 2020. Withthe and implement new technologies, landmark projects to fruition including products and services in the sector.Aphrodite this pioneering the Group world-class Hillsventure, Golf Resort, Its primary goal is to intensify the now offers complete solutions Akamas Bay Villas, Amathusa Coastal scale and the synergies in order to relating to production and saving Heights, Sea Gallery Villas and Limassol maximize benefits for existing and through its subsidiaries and selected Marina. Cybarco is also one ofthat theenvironmajor potential customers, partners and partners, validating contracting companies not only the other member companies. mental protection and on economic of equal concerns and island, but alsosuccess in theare wider geographical Lanitis Green Energy Group, col- not contradictory ones. Its portregion ininwhich it has operations. laboration with the Cyprus Energy folio includes large scale projects like office Agency (CEA) have put in place


building blocks, hotels, hospitals, schools, airports, motorways, water dams, power stations etc • Limassol Marina Ltd: Lanitis Group participates in the construction and development of Limassol Marina through Cybarco. Besides being a major shareholder, Cybarco is also the project

Permits were obtained for 6 of the 23 projects amounting to 21.9MW of the 50MW given. The Consortium secured the license for the largest project of the competition, the one of 10MW, which will also be the largest project in Cyprus. Such projects are especially vital during this difficult economic period as it will open doors of opportunity for funds and revenue of

such developments to remain in the country, attract foreign investors and create more positions in the working environment. The strategic goal of the Group is its dynamic presence in all areas of the emerging energy market and to discover innovative products and technologies through selected partners both in Cyprus and abroad.

• Heaven’s Garden Waterpark Ltd: It’s the owner and operator of Fasouri Watermania Waterpark, which is a very large scale project both in terms of size and number of attractions and facilities. • Lanitis Farm Golf Ltd: It has unAmathus Public Ltd dertaken a special leisure and residential golf development on the site of its existing Established in 1943, the company has citrus plantations in Fasouri. Lanitis Farm grown over the years into a multi-dimen- iming to create a company that will continue to play a pioneering role in the Cyprus renewGolf Ltd hasConercon been established order toforces to form Conercon Energy able energy market, and Lanitis Solarinhave joined sional organisation, covering a wide specdesign, develop and operate newpresence golf in the market which these Solutions. This recent merger reinforces thethis dynamic trum of activities in the areas of hotels, companies held over the last 9 years, utilizing the synergies to offer the best possible products and project. travel, tourism and transport. It consists of: services. • Amathus Hotels: Manages and Conercon Energy Solutions fullyin Limassol, successfully has installations to date, include Schϋco, Conergy, Luxor, ergy GmbH and the Swiss STUDER operates the Amathus Hotels uses theRhodes. latest technologies in exceeding 12MW in photovoltaics SMA, Siemens, and Kaco. Innotec in Cyprus. Paphos, and the design, sale and installation as well as a significant number of Lanitis • Amathus Corporation Ltd: It conof photovoltaic and solar thermal solar thermal systems covering a With a fully staffed technical de- Realizing that the use of renewable Ltd Development solidates a diversified group of companies systems as well as for automation total area of 2468m². partment, both in equipment and energy has become a priority, the with operations in highest all aspects of travel, systems of the standards labour force, Conercon Energy shift to clean energy sources is Owner of Aphrodite Hills Resort, Lanitis transport tourism. bothand for residential and commercial Through this long-term energy Solutions firmly stands by the client perhaps the only way to reverse Development is an associate companyclimate change already threatengoal of even industries and large-scale PV parks. program, the strategic after the initial investment (25%) of Lanitis Group.the entire range of ing the planet, while reducing selection of in providing The company provides complete the company is the manager and exclusive sales agent of the residential properties.


solutions from initial design and

renown/prominent/well-recognized global partners and suppliers in the renewables industry thus ensuring both physical and legal entities, Located west in thethe Fasouri Having putof in Limassol, place a long-term highest return on investment the broad while guaranteeing top quality. area, itdevelopment consists program of 415in hectares of citrus Suchwell international companies sector ofof renewables, thevarieties company as plantations different A non-profit planning to installation and mainLanitis Farm Ltd tenance of systems.

as 25 hectares of olive groves. It is one of the largest growers and exporters of top quality citrus produce and organic olive oil in Cyprus. It is also the major shareholder of Heaven’s Garden Waterpark Ltd and Lanitis Farm Golf:

services, technology and expertise dependence on traditional forms in the renewable energy field. Proof of energy; a position which firmly of this expertise and experience aligns with the principles of Conis confirmed with the exclusive ercon Energy Solutions to make collaborations with Authorized a difference. Service Partner of the German company Kaco New Sectionin En-Liorganisation, based

Evagoras & Kathleen Lanitis Foundation

massol, created in memory of the late Evagoras Lanitis which aims to continue his social contribution. The Foundation organises and sponsors cultural and educational events, which promote human achievements.



pen Join-Stock Company Promsvyazbank (PSB) is one of Russia’s leading privately owned banks, successfully operating since 1995. In terms of assets, PSB ranks 9th among the largest Russian banks (Interfax Information agency) and is one of the 500 largest banks in the world in terms of equity (The Banker magazine).

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PSB is a universal financial services provider engaged in commercial banking, retail banking, private banking, investment banking and SME banking. As of October 1, 2013, PSB offered services to about 1.4 million retail and over 94,000 corporate clients. Today, PSB branches operate in all economically developed regions of Russia, and a wide network covers Moscow and the Moscow region. In addition, PSB also has a branch in

Cyprus (Promsvyazbank-Cyprus) and representative offices in China, India, Ukraine, and Kazakhstan. During its 12 years of successful operation, PromsvyazbankCyprus has created an extensive client base and has become a remarkable player in the financial market of Cyprus. The client base of Promsvyazbank-Cyprus is represented by a wide range of economic sectors, among which are telecommunications and IT, investment activities, international trade, aviation, shipping, fisheries, etc. Using the widespread branch network of PSB in Russia, Promsvyazbank-Cyprus is a connecting link between Russian and international business, providing opportunities to invest in the Russian economy, organization and financing of companies’ foreign trade activity. Promsvyazbank-Cyprus is an international bank which offers a full range of banking services including settlement and cash services, FX (conversion) transactions, fixed deposits and current accounts for both corporate and individual clients. Promsvyazbank-Cyprus values its reputation earned over years of hard work and develops longlasting relations with its clients. Promsvyazbank-Cyprus continuously upgrades and automates its banking operations, developing new areas and applying the most advanced technologies. CONTACT INFORMATION OJSC Promsvyazbank, Cyprus branch 35, Grigori Afxentiou street, 4003 Mesa Geitonia, Limassol, Cyprus Tel: (+357) 25272000 Fax: (+357) 25820378 e-mail:

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icolas Theocharides is the CEO and Managing Director of the financial services Company UPM Ltd., a Wealth Management boutique offering portfolio management services to High Net Worth Individuals. A qualified banker and an economist, he previously held several management posts in International Business and Private Banking with one of the large local banks in Cyprus during a successful 20-year career. He holds a BA in Economics and an MBA.

38 Gold the international investment, finance & professional services magazine of cyprus

wealth management

“There’s no magic solution” Patience is the key to survival in 2014. Those who have retained their wealth need to entrust its management to the experts, says Nicolas Theocharides. By John Vickers | Photography by Jo Michaelides


In Moscow in 1998, I saw armed guards outside the banks, preventing people from going in to withdraw their money

As CEO and Managing Director of a successful financial services company (UPM Ltd.), Nicolas Theocharides knows all about wealth management. He is also acutely aware of the fact that, traditionally, few Cypriots ever saw a need to hire someone to look after their money or other assets. But now, he believes, things have changed. “For the whole of the 20th century it was felt that if you had cash, land or shares in Bank of Cyprus, that was the perfect combination for you to maintain and increase your wealth,” he says. “For decades, we had seen progress and prosperity. Incomes and living standards had been rising, people were buying bigger cars and bigger houses and this lulled them into a false sense of security. They thought that they knew what was happening to their money but the unprecedented events of 2013 have hit at the very heart of the traditional three asset classes in one way or another.” Many people have discovered that they are now a lot poorer than they used to be and some have become very poor indeed, he notes. “What concerns me is the com-

bination of unemployment, the lack of income to meet people’s previous lifestyles and the fact that they naturally want to maintain that lifestyle. It’s one thing for a single person to decide he/she has to cut down on things but someone with a family, children in private schools and loans that need repaying will be having a hard time trying to juggle these financial obligations. So people are drawing from their savings to supplement their income and this, coupled with the lack of trust in the banking system, is leading to the destruction of whatever savings they still have.” Theocharides believes that, for the economy to move forward and for people to return to what he calls a “normal mode of income and expenditure,” the lack of trust in the banking system must be tackled. He is not the first one to state this but what is the answer? “I think the only thing that can be done to reverse the trend is some sort of clear vote of confidence from abroad, be it from our international creditors or the European Central Bank,” he says. “Perhaps in the form of statements and assurances

the international investment, finance & professional services magazine of cyprus

Gold 39

wealth management

Where to invest in 2014

Nicolas Theocharides gives a few tips on where to put (and not to put) your money.

People who have a lot of money should understand that they need someone they can trust to look after it that the banks in Cyprus are halfway out of the woods and on their course towards the complete restoration of their strength and they have the complete of support of the eurosystem,” he elaborates, adding that “We haven’t seen this kind of statement. In fact, after every encouraging review, the Troika continues to underline the fact that things are still fragile. When that changes we will see a more rapid improvement of sentiment towards the banks.” When the Cypriots are again in a position to start building up their wealth, Theocharides believes that it is essential for them to understand two things: that the ideal asset allocation is no longer the old, popular idea of real estate, cash and shares in one or two banks, and that they need a wealth manager to work for them and their money. “After thoroughly interviewing people and understanding their risk profile, their future needs and return expectations, it is our job to structure portfolios across many asset classes and to manage those portfolios,” he says. “When stocks are going up, we need to make sure we are in stocks. We need to start reducing exposure when a specific asset class approaches a bubble or is in a ‘frothy state’ as we say. It’s the same with bonds because they peak at different stages of the cycle, and it’s the same with precious metals.” On this issue, he explains that gold was at its peak a year ago because it is essentially regarded as a hedge against inflation and when the US Federal Reserve was adding more and more bond purchases (in the form of what the layman calls ‘money printing’), the fear of inflation was much higher than it is now. So gold peaked. “People’s main priority is not to understand these things but to be successful in their own sector,” he explains. “They often don’t understand these concepts at all and I don’t expect them to. But people who have a lot of money should understand that they need someone they can trust to look after it. Our foreign clients tell us that this is

exactly why they want us – to take the right decisions on their behalf at the right time. They have seen the value of having people understand who what they are doing when it comes to managing their money and in many cases they have entrusted us with quite a bit more of it. The Cypriots need to see that times have changed and the old ways cannot be trusted.” Theocharides acknowledges that it’s difficult to convince people – Cypriots and foreigners alike – to have their wealth managed from Cyprus at this stage. While the country’s many double tax treaties are still in place and the benefits of structuring through Cyprus are still there, continuing banking restrictions mean that it is not easy to take people’s money and invest it abroad and they no longer have trust in the local banking system. “If the restrictive measures were lifted now, many people would just want to take their money out of the banks so everybody knows that it is not advisable to lift the restrictions right now. The banks first need to be in better shape than they are now.” One of the most frequently asked questions of the past nine months is “How did this happen?” Nicolas Theocharides believes that a small number of people were in a position to see what was happening but either they didn’t speak out or they were not listened to by those who should have been paying attention to them. In fairness, however, he also suggests that “Unless you have had a similar experience before and actually witnessed banks going bust, it’s very difficult to imagine that such a thing can happen.” He speaks from experience, having seen what happened during the Russian banking crisis 15 years ago. “I was living in Moscow in 1998, having been sent there to open an office for the bank I was working for at the time, and I saw armed guards outside the banks, preventing people from going in to withdraw their money. This was an unprecedented experience for me and it helped me be on the lookout for signs of trouble in Cyprus.” So what lies ahead? Theocharides acknowledges that 2014 is going to be a difficult year. “How difficult, it’s hard to say. If progress is made and there is a possibility of a political settlement in Cyprus, I think the international community will try to encourage that with promises and actions that could make the recovery quicker than it will otherwise be.”

40 Gold the international investment, finance & professional services magazine of cyprus

European stocks: YES

“Stocks in the US have been rising for the past year. Over the next few quarters we should see some catchup in the European markets.”

Japanese stocks: YES

“Japan has been the best performing stock exchange for 2013 so those of us who have been investing in Japan have had a good year. It should continue.”

Emerging markets: YES

“The emerging markets have not performed very strongly this year and we expect to see them catch up with the developed markets over the next few quarters.”

Government bonds: NO

“They are not the asset class to be in right now. They have had their run.”

Precious metals: NO

“Not the asset class to be in for the time being because there is no imminent threat of inflation.”

The world is now on a recovery course, he says, noting that global indicators over the past six months have shown a steady increase in the momentum of growth. “This is going to continue in 2014 when Europe will definitely be out of recession and negative growth,” he predicts. “Interest rates in Europe and the US will remain low because there are no imminent inflationary pressures for the whole of next year. Moreover, recent developments with Iran are very positive for the global economy – the price of oil has already started to fall and lower oil prices mean less inflationary pressure and a greater ability for the economy to advance to deliver growth.” In Cyprus, Theocharides sees the fact that significant foreign money has gone into Hellenic Bank as a sign that investors, especially those looking for bargains, are interested in the country. “We have seen strong interest in the last three months regarding tangible investments such as prime location properties and quite a lot of individual transactions have gone ahead with people buying from distressed owners. Once the international perception of Cyprus improves and there are further developments in the hydrocarbons sector, we will see more interest in investment. My advice to all of us is patience. Those who are highly leveraged and have problems servicing their loans need to be given time. There is no magic solution.”

Those who are highly leveraged and have problems servicing their loans need to be given time


Why does the Cyprus economy keep surprising on the upside?



By Fiona Mullen

ack in the dark days of March, when my phone was ringing literally every 20 seconds with a call from another international journalist staked out at the Hilton Cyprus, I was asked what I thought the growth rate would be this year. I stuck my finger to the wind and said “Minus 15% this year and next”. My reasoning, if it was possible to reason at all on just a few hours’ sleep each night, was that this was a similar economic shock to 1974. Back then, the economy dropped by 16.9% in 1974 and 19% in 1976 before bouncing back to

18.2% in 1977. One of my keenest memories of those March-April days is finishing my growth-linked employment forecast at 4 o’clock one morning. When the number popped up, I burst into tears: for the lost generation of young Cypriots, and for the meanness with which the Eurogroup and their all-too pliant media had treated little Cyprus. As I have argued elsewhere, the debt sustainability argument simply does not hold water, especially when you see how they keep pouring money into Greece. A full bailout would have seen us well on the way to growth by now, and could still have been accompanied by a tough Troika programme and the thumb-screws on our money-laundering record. But, as the saying goes, it’s no use crying

over spilt milk. And maybe there is less reason to cry now anyway. Nine months later, I am forecasting minus 5.5% this year and minus 5.8% next. My unemployment forecast is still nasty but it now peaks at 20% instead of 25%. And it is not only the economic decline that has not been as bad as expected. At 47.5%, the final haircut at Bank of Cyprus was less than the 60% initially projected and the 90% feared. The budget deficit has continued to outperform, even if you knock off the €174m in gas-licence fees. Capital flight slowed to a trickle in October. And we have now had two positive Troika reviews. This is not to belittle the social cost: the people who have lost their life savings, the rising ranks of the unemployed, and the disenfranchised poor who struggle to eat, visible only in the rising number of free meals at school. But it is still worth asking: why has Cyprus continued to surprise on the upside? Is the country so resilient or is there worse still to come? There are arguments on both sides. One argument on the positive side is that private businesses have adapted very fast to the downturn. I do not know anyone outside the shipping sector who has not had a pay cut, for example.

info: Fiona Mullen is the Director of Sapienta Economics Ltd and a Partner in Strata Insight energy advisory. Subscribers to Sapienta Country Analysis Cyprus enjoy a monthly 42 Gold the international investment, finance & professional services magazine of cyprus

Is the country so resilient or is there worse still to come? There are arguments on both sides Even the rapid rise in unemployment points to few structural impediments to business. And the absence of social unrest suggests that the unions are far weaker than we thought they were. Individuals also appear to be adapting fast. It is only anecdotal but the man who prints my business cards says that he has been busy since April doing PR material for people who have been laid off and are setting up their own businesses. A second likely reason is stores of hidden wealth abroad. This is partly the by-product of armed conflict at home and the love affair with tertiary education abroad. But money abroad is also a perverse consequence of older

capital controls, the last of which were only lifted upon EU entry in May 2004. A third possible reason relates to the deposit base and what Alex Michaelides has called Cyprus’ “social capital”. Although overall deposits in the banking system are still €16 billion less than overall loans, when it comes to domestic resident households, this is not the case. Total domestic resident household deposits were €23.1 billion in October, compared with domestic resident household loans of €21.8 billion (and falling). The depositors are unlikely to be the same as the borrowers, but they may well be from the same extended families, who may also be guarantors. The fact that these loans have been declining may be an indication that careful grandparents are bailing out not-so-careful grandchildren. Businesses are not in such good shape, however. The €17.8 billion gap between deposits and loans of domestic resident nonfinancial corporations suggests that we can expect many more business closures. This brings us to the arguments that the worst is yet to come. First, Bank of Cyprus cannot survive unless it aggressively pursues non-performing loans. This will inevitably lead to the insolvency of some household names, negatively affecting

business and consumer sentiment. Second, early retirement or lay-offs in the well-paid banking and the public sector are not yet over. Given the economic uncertainty (and perhaps the need to bail out grandchildren), those leaving their jobs are likely to save, rather than spend, their severance payments, with a further downward impact on private consumption (some two-thirds of GDP). Third, the government will take another big swipe at spending next year. Since government consumption accounts for 20% of GDP, this will have a significant negative impact on economic performance. All of this will be taking place against a backdrop of businesses being unable to obtain new credit and capital controls that still prevent healthier banks from attracting new customers and, therefore, expanding their business. This is why my forecasts continue to say that next year will be worse than this year. But every month I am less and less sure. Maybe thousands of years of invasions have made the Cypriots way more resilient than anyone, including me, has given them credit for. The Cypriots do make a big noise when they are pushed around. But then they get up, dust themselves off, give a finger to the foreigner and get on with their business.

comprehensive, concise and up to date analysis of the politics, policy and economy of Cyprus. the international investment, finance & professional services magazine of cyprus

Gold 43

A Policy Outlook

for European Shipping By Patrick Verhoeven


atrick Verhoeven is Secretary General of the European Community Shipowners’ Associations (ECSA). Prior to joining ECSA in August 2013, he served for thirteen years as Secretary General of the European Sea Ports Organisation (ESPO) and seven years representing the interests of terminal operators, ship agents and silo companies at EU level. He started his career working for the Antwerp-based ship agent Grisar & Velge. He holds a Master’s Degree in Applied Economics and a Bachelor’s Degree in Law from the University of Antwerp, where he further specialised in maritime economics and maritime law.

44 Gold the international investment, finance & professional services magazine of cyprus


he past year has not brought a revival of global trade. Low economic growth and an overcapacity of ships in most sectors has had a negative impact on freight and charter rates. Estimates for the coming years are still based on volatile markets and low growth rates. European shipping has nevertheless been able to maintain its global lead position of controlling 40 % of the global merchant fleet. To keep this position, legal certainty on maintaining the EU structural framework of the State Aid Guidelines under which shipping operates today is essential. The recent decision of the European Commission to continue this framework is therefore warmly welcomed by ECSA. Overall, political work on the different issues that are on the EU agenda has not slowed down, rather the opposite. The by now wellknown “sulphur file” has been on the agenda since 2008, when the amendments to MARPOL Annex VI were agreed by the IMO. The EU Directive reflects the IMO decision to a very large extent. Regretfully, no solution has been found as yet for the problems created by the IMO decision to apply 0.1% sulphur content in marine fuels in the SECAs as from 2015. These problems notably include the expected modal shift to transport over land and the fact that there are still a lot of problems to be solved for using any of the alternative compliance methods in the short or medium term. Moreover, in times of financial crisis it is extremely difficult to obtain financing from the financial institutions to install equipment on board ships and/or to change engines, in particular taking into account that such alternative compliance methods are not as yet fully operational for commercial use. Until now, the support toolbox made available by the European Commission does not cover these needs. In ECSA we appreciate that the Commission has decided to establish a European


Sustainable Shipping Forum (ESSF) to assess developments towards compliance with the IMO 0.1% requirement. We would, however, expect Member States and the Commission to be committed to act if the factual analysis brought forward in the ESSF gives evidence that measures have to be taken with regard to the application of the 0.1 % of MARPOL in the SECAs. There is some urgency to act, since 2015 is tomorrow. On CO2, we welcome the fact that the Commission is steering its initiative on Monitoring, Reporting and Verification (MRV) in the direction of an international solution. It is superfluous to say that any MRV system must be accurate, simple, cost-effective and exclusively based on a vessel’s fuel consumption. This is the only way to secure a global system. We strongly encourage the Parliament and Council to further simplify the Commission’s proposal in this sense. On ship recycling, the Council reached an agreement with Parliament earlier this year which, we are confident, will not undermine the IMO Hong Kong Convention. We very much welcome the fact that the Council, under the Lithuanian Presidency, recently agreed for EU Member States to ratify the Convention without delay, allowing a quick application globally. Regretfully, piracy at sea is still on the agenda. Thanks to the presence of military forces and in particular EU NAVFOR and the different measures taken by shipowners to protect their ships and crew, the number of successful attacks off Somalia has decreased. However, everybody is aware by now that reducing the military presence in the area would lead to a resurgence of attacks. Therefore ECSA has called for an extension of the EU NAVFOR/ATALANTA mandate beyond 2014, at least until 2016. It is extremely worrying that piracy and armed robbery are increasing in the Gulf of Guinea, including outside territorial waters, and the reported violence is alarming. ECSA calls on the EU and the international community for concrete action to avoid further escalation. For many years, European shipowners have advocated the modernisation and liberalisation of ports and port services. Within the policy of co-modality all links in the transport chain should constantly improve their efficiency. In this context, the application of the principle of freedom to provide services of the



he European Community Shipowners’ Associations (ECSA) was formed in 1965 and comprises the national shipowners’ associations of the EU and Norway. ECSA works through a permanent secretariat in Brussels and a Board of Directors, as well as a number of specialised committees. The aim of the organisation is to promote the interests of European shipping so that the industry can best serve European and international trade and commerce in a competitive free enterprise environment to the benefit of shippers and consumers.

Treaty is very long overdue. ECSA therefore welcomes the initiative taken by the Commission in May to apply the principles of the Treaty on ports and port services. However, we find it hard to find any legal or logical rationale for the exclusion of cargo handling services, port labour and passenger services. This must be reassessed and addressed in one way or another. In the end, all maritime and logistics operators are part of the same logistic chain and will benefit from an even better functioning network. No services can be dealt with in isolation from the overall discussions on the modernisation of the transport chain towards more efficiency. Regretfully, the current process in the European Parliament seems to point to the further exclusion of other services such as pilotage, which threatens to turn the proposal into an empty box. Fortunately, the Commission’s ongoing work on so-called Pilot Exemption Certificates (PECs) is going in the right direction. The study made by Price Waterhouse Coopers and Panteia is an excellent basis to solve some of anomalies that exist today. Finally, European shipowners operate shipping services all over the world, including those in trades between non-EU countries. It is therefore evident that ECSA is supporting a global free trade environment. The various initiatives taken by the Commission and Member States on Free Trade Agreements, as well as the recently started discussions in the context of the Trade in Services Agreement (TISA), are appreciated and closely followed by us.

It is extremely worrying that piracy and armed robbery are increasing in the Gulf of Guinea the international investment, finance & professional services magazine of cyprus

Gold 45


Formula 1 -

delivered by DHL


yres squeal, the smell of fuel hangs in the air and all eyes are on the finish line. And DHL as global partner and the official logistics provider for Formula 1 is front and centre. Not a single wheel would have turned at any of the 19 races on five continents in the 2013 Formula 1 World Championship without sophisticated logistics support. Indeed, DHL’s international expertise helped pave the way for new races in Singapore (2008), Abu Dhabi (2009), Korea (2010), India (2011) and the US (2012).

of material for each race weekend. DHL also has a 24-hour service point at the racetrack run from its own motor home. DHL has 20 years of motor sport experience behind its work in the field of Formula 1 racing. DHL serves as a global partner and the official logistics provider for Formula 1. Both Formula 1 and DHL rely on speed, precision and teamwork for their success. As Official Logistics partner, DHL will continue to provide a comprehensive range of logistics services in support of the FIA Formula 1 World Championship, including express, ocean and air freight, customs brokerage and specialist handling at Not a single wheel race circuits. The complementary would have turned strengths of DHL’s logistics and at any of the express divisions will ensure that the challenge of shipping diverse, 19 races on five sensitive and high value items such continents in the as race cars, components, broadcast 2013 Formula equipment and fuel over 19 race loOne World cations across five continents within demanding timeframes is met. Championship “The real synergy of our Official without Logistics partnership with Formula 1 sophisticated lies in the fact that we are both truly logistics support global brands with a commitment to excellence in performance,” said Each Formula 1 race requires com- Wolfgang Giehl, Senior Vice President, Corporate Brand Marketing, plex logistics be put into motion. DHL has specialized units, located in Deutsche Post DHL. “DHL is able to share the positive emotions and England and Italy, to coordinate the transport of cars, equipment and fuel thrills of Formula 1 not just with the existing fan base of the sport, but to all F1 tracks around the world by with over 285,000 employees and air, sea and land. millions of customers in over 220 From race cars, replacement parts and pit-crew equipment to special fuel countries and territories worldwide. and the furnishings of the VIP “Pad- As a world leader in logistics, we are dock Club”, the 20 experts in DHL’s able to use a broad range of marketing platforms to demonstrate the valspecial teams move around 300 tons

46 Gold the international investment, finance & professional services magazine of cyprus

ues we share with Formula 1 and to tell the unique story of how DHL works behind-the-scenes to help make this high-octane, extremely demanding sport a continued success.” That’s why DHL sponsors the “DHL Fastest Lap Trophy”. The trophy winner is the driver who accumulates the largest number of fastest laps during the season. “By linking the DHL brand to the award for the Fastest Lap Trophy, we want to show that you can be fast only when performance, endurance and reliability are finely tuned and all team members pull together,” says Wolfgang Giehl, Director of Corporate Advertising and Branding at Deutsche Post DHL. “The DHL Fastest Lap Trophy recognizes the very things that make up Formula 1: speed and organization - the very things that DHL portrays. We rely on the most successful partner in this sector,” said Bernie Ecclestone, Chairman and CEO of Formula 1 Management.

F1 Facts A Formula 1 engine is composed of 5,000 individual parts About 20,000 individual items are transported by air to each overseas race site

It takes seven weeks for equipment to travel by ship from Europe to Melbourne for the opening race Last-minute deliveries to the race locations can be made in less than 24 hours The material and equipment for each overseas race is enough freight to fill 100 trucks

Kazakhstan SPECIAL Advertising feature

Strategy Kazakhstan 2050 A new political course for Kazakhstan in a fast-changing world By Nursultan Nazarbayev, President of Kazakhstan


he paradigm and challenges have changed significantly. The nature of profound transformations taking place across the globe requires sustainable long-term development. Many countries are already trying to look beyond the 2030s and 2050s and “Managed forecasting� is becoming an important develop-

ment tool for states in today’s unstable times. Strategy Kazakhstan 2030 was developed for the period of formation of our sovereignty. Its basic parameters have already been accomplished. We are being forced to face up to the challenges and threats of a new reality. They are universal in nature and affect all countries and regions. When we were

developing our 2030 strategy, no-one imagined that the world would face an unprecedented global financial and economic crisis, which would create new, totally unexpected, economic and geopolitical circumstances. Back in 1997, Strategy 2030 was being developed as an open document. The possibility for correction had been incorporated into it from the outset. Being aware

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Kazakhstan SPECIAL Advertising feature

that the situation in the world is changing and this might lead to adjustments, I have instructed a working group to be formed that has tracked our status and worked out a viable strategy under these new economic conditions. Taking into account the working group’s recommendations, I suggest we set a new political course for the nation until 2050 that builds on the tasks set by strategy 2030. We must realize clearly that time and conditions will bring their own adjustments to our plans, as they have done to the 2030 programme. 2050 is not merely a symbolic date. It is a real timeline adopted by the world community. The United Nations has developed its Global Forecast on “Future of civilizations” until 2050. The Food and Agriculture Organization has issued a forecast report until 2050. More and more countries are developing and adopting long-term strategies. The same horizon for strategic planning is set in China. Even large transnational companies prepare development strategies half a century ahead. Fifteen years ago, when Strategy 2030 was adopted, the first generation of citizens born after independence was about to start school. Today they are already working or graduating from universities. In two to three years, we shall witness the second generation of Independence. Therefore, in order to set them in the right direction, it is important for us to start thinking now. Our main goal is to enter the club of the Top 30 most developed countries of the world. Our achievements and our development model must become the basis of our new political course. Strategy Kazakhstan 2050 will integrate

with our previous strategy and answer the questions: Who are we? Where are we going? Where do we want to be by 2050? I am sure that the young generation is interested in exactly that. 21st century Kazakhstan is an independent and self-confident state. We are not afraid of the ongoing changes in the world caused by the prolonged global financial crisis. Indeed, we are prepared for them. Our goal is to continue our sustainable development into the 21st century while maintaining and building on our existing achievements. By 2050 we want to have created a society based on a strong state, a developed economy with universal labour opportunities. A strong state is especially important to ensure accelerated economic growth. This is not about survival, it is about planning, long-term development and economic growth. Here, I present to you my vision of our nation’s development prospects. This is a new political course. Our key achievement is that we have established an independent Kazakhstan. We have legally formalized our borders. We have put together our nation’s integrated economic space. We have recreated and reinforced the economic ties that bind our country. Our domestic regions are united in their activities. We have implemented historically important constitutional and political reforms that have established a system of public administration based on the division of branches of power. We have built a new capital – Astana. It is a modern city that has become a symbol of our country that we take pride in. We

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have unleashed the potential of the capital to showcase our country’s capabilities to the entire world. This is exactly why the international community selected Kazakhstan to host the EXPO 2017 international exhibition. This would have been impossible without Astana. Very few cities have received such an honour. It’s enough to say that our country was the first postSoviet nation to chair the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, to host the Summit of the Organisation, and now to host EXPO 2017 – a world-scale event. We have a clear formula to follow: “Economy first, then politics”. Every step of our political reforms is closely tied to our level of economic development. The only way to modernise our country and make it competitive is to progressively follow the path of political liberalisation. Step-by-step, our society is approaching the highest standards of democratisation and human rights. We have secured fundamental rights and liberties in our country’s Constitution. Our citizens have equal rights and opportunities. We have worked to restore our historic Kazakh culture and language after many years of decline. Besides our ethnic, cultural and religious diversity, we have maintained peace and stability in our country. Kazakhstan is home to over 140 ethnic and 17 religious groups. Civil peace and interethnic harmony remains a key value for us. Peace and accord, intercultural and inter-religious dialogue in our multi-ethnic country has been recognized as a global model. The Kazakhstan People’s Assembly has become a unique Eurasian model of intercultural dialogue. Kazakhstan has

been turned into a centre of global interreligious dialogue. We were the first in the Commonwealth of Independent States to develop a modern market economy based on private property, free competition and openness. Our model is based on a proactive role of the government in attracting foreign capital. To date we have attracted over $160 billion of foreign investment. We have established basic conditions for entrepreneurship, as well as a modern taxation system. We have systematically diversified our economy. I am setting out a clear task to accelerate the industrialisation programme to help transform the shape of our economy and make it immune to global commodity price fluctuations within the decade. Over the 15 years following the adoption of the 2030 Strategy, our state has joined the top five dynamically developing countries of the world. There are recognized rankings which countries use to track their development. We have entered the Top 50 largest global economies and we are already ranked 51st in terms of economic competitiveness. A major criterion for me has always been and will be our people’s standard of living. Over the past 15 years, the incomes of our citizens have grown 16-fold. The number of people with an income below subsistence level is seven times lower than it was while the number of those unemployed is half what it used to be. We have laid the foundation of a socialoriented society and we have managed to achieve substantial progress in improving

our nation’s health. To improve the efficiency of our healthcare system, we have reformed its organization, management and funding. Over the last five years, the maternal mortality rate has decreased threefold, while the birthrate is 1.5 times as high. We have created equal opportunities for education. Over the last 15 years, expenditure on education has grown 9.5 times. We have implemented a Government Education Development Programme designed to radically modernize education at all levels, from pre-school to higher education. Thanks to our long-term human capital investment policy, we have brought up a talented generation of today’s youth. In world politics, our country is a responsible and reliable partner with an indisputable weight in the international arena. We play an important role in strengthening global security and supporting the international community in its fight against terrorism, extremism, and illicit drug trafficking. Our initiative to convene a Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA) has seen CICA grow into an organisation with 24 member countries that have a combined population exceeding 3 billion people. CICA is a critical element of Kazakhstan’s security. Over the last 2-3 years, the Republic of Kazakhstan has chaired the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation and the Collective Security Treaty Organisation. At the Astana Economic Forum, we

Our main goal is to enter the club of the Top 30 most developed countries of the world. proposed a new dialogue format – GGlobal. The initiative has been designed to combine the efforts of all to establish a fair and secure world order. We have made a decent contribution to ensuring global energy and food security. Our initiatives to strengthen the nuclear nonproliferation regime are a key contribution to global stability, order and security. As the first country in the world to close a nuclear testing site (at Semipalatinsk) and abandon nuclear weapons, we have gained strong international security guarantees from the leading nuclear powers – the USA, Russia, Great Britain, France and China. We have played a key role in establishing a Nuclear WeaponFree Zone in Central Asia and we actively support the creation of similar zones in other regions of the planet and specifically in the Middle East. We support the efforts of the international community to counter the nuclear terrorism threat and we firmly believe in the need to take decisive measures to eliminate the nuclear threat. We believe that the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty has been and remains the cornerstone of the nonproliferation regime. We consider the early entrance into force of the Com-

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Kazakhstan SPECIAL Advertising feature

prehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty as an important driving force to strengthen the nonproliferation regime. Kazakhstan has been recognized as a leader in nuclear nonproliferation and remains a model for other countries. Three years ago, the UN General Assembly supported my suggestion to observe August 29 as the International Day against Nuclear Tests. All of this is a testament to the recognition of Kazakhstan’s role in global politics. To face changes in the global economic climate, realising clearly that the desired spot is guaranteed only to those with the strongest economies, seven key directions have been given.

Economic Policy

By 2050 we want to have created a society based on a strong state, a developed economy with universal labour opportunities

veloped to enable people to become true participants in the ongoing economic transformation of the country and a robust dialogue on the principles of public private partnership must be built. A second wave of wide-scale privatisation must also be pursued. This is a crucial step for strengthening domestic entrepreneurship.

The essence of economic policy of the new course is universal economic pragmatism, which will mean defining new markets, creating a favourable investment climate and creating an effective private sector economy. The Government will need to focus on deficit reduction, inflation control, new monetary policy and efficient fund investments. A new system of managing natural resources should also be developed, in which a special strategy will define priorities and partners. The Government must also develop a thorough plan for the next phase of industrialisation. The objective is that the share of non-energy export in total export must double by 2025, and triple by 2040.

New Principles of Social Policy

Comprehensive Support of Entrepreneurship

Education is a key element to reach this goal. Knowledge and professional skills are the pinpoints of the modern system of education and training of young personnel. Kazakhstan should become a highly intelligent and well-educated nation. Otherwise, we will not be able to achieve our ambitious goals. Our new political course is to give us new opportunities - better

Domestic entrepreneurship is a driving force in the new economic policy. The share of small and medium enterprises in the economy must double by 2030. For this to happen, conditions must be de-

The main goal is social security and the well-being of our citizens. This is the best guarantee of stability in a society. There is a growing need within Kazakhstani society for updated and more effective social standards capable of meeting the current challenges. More specifically, basic social standards should be guaranteed to citizens to prevent poverty, social imbalances should be addressed and employment and salary policies should be modernised.

Knowledge and Professional Skills

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education, decent work and great future.

Further Strengthening of Statehood and the Development of Kazakhstani Democracy

The country should follow the civilized path, together with the whole world, and take a course towards the further democratization of society. The country should continue its policy of strengthening the Parliament’s powers. Furthermore, the State apparatus should develop a new system of interaction with the business socie-


to Host

EXPO 2017 on Future



ty. The fight against corruption should be strengthened, including improving anticorruption legislation, in order to achieve the ultimate goal – to eradicate corruption within Kazakhstan.

A Consistent and Predictable Foreign Policy

Kazakhstan’s balanced foreign policy means that the country is developing friendly and predictable relations with all states and playing a significant role in the global agenda that represents the interests of all Kazakhstan. Nevertheless, the international situation and geopolitical environment has changed dramatically with new security threats. The modernisation of the country’s foreign policy is therefore necessary. Four priorities have been set: • Strengthen regional and national security • Actively develop economic and trade diplomacy • Intensify international cooperation in the cultural, humanitarian, scientific and education fields Enhance the legal protection of the citizens and their personal, family and business interests abroad.

New Kazakhstan Patriotism

One can not build a full-grown state without confidence in the future and therefore no-one in Kazakhstan should feel discriminated against. Furthermore Kazakhstan 2050 should be a society of progressive ideals.

n 2017 the world’s eyes will be on a young nation with a bright future – Kazakhstan. A former Soviet Republic turned engine of economic prosperity, Kazakhstan and its capital city of Astana will host EXPO 2017 on the theme of “Future Energy”. It will be the first time that an international exhibition of this kind takes place on the territory of the former Soviet Union. The theme of EXPO 2017 – “Future Energy” – is well suited to the host country and the region it is leading toward a brighter, cleaner, more prosperous future. Kazakhstan is uniquely positioned to host this exhibition. As a significant oil producer, it is looking to the future and starting the process of greening its economy. Located in the strategically vital area between Europe and Asia, Kazakhstan has come a long way in the 20 years since it gained independence. When the Soviet Union fell apart, many wondered if Kazakhstan had the long-term viability necessary to establish itself as an independent country. In little more than two decades, it has begun the process of democratisation and created a booming economy that has been named one of the world’s 20 Most Attractive Investment Destina-

tions by the World Bank. It is now considered one of the world’s fastest growing economies (along with China and Qatar) and has benefited from over $160 billion in foreign investment since 1991. As part of the next stage of the modernisation process, Kazakhstan has committed to building a green economy and taken the initiative to create the “Green Bridge Partnership”. This partnership, which gained support at the Rio+20 conference on sustainable development in June last year, brings together governments, international organisations, and private businesses to find transnational solutions to sustainable growth. It is also intended to provide a platform to discuss and implement the best available green technologies and best green practices in Central Asia. And it is on this platform that EXPO 2017 will be built. The exhibition is expected to attract five million visitors. It will serve to highlight the energy and environmental issues facing Central Asia and, at the same time, attract the world’s best experts on energy efficiency technologies. Its physical structure will reflect the chosen theme. It will be hosted on a self-contained site that will be fully self-sufficient in terms of energy. Each building will have solar cells and the site will be powered by its own wind

Astana’s EXPO will allow visitors to experience the possibility of a future world with a cleaner, more secure energy supply

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Kazakhstan SPECIAL Advertising feature

environmental agenda. Hopefully, the impact will be long-term and will help find solutions to some of the pressing energy and environmental needs of the region.

opment. Future Energy also contemplates raising awareness regarding energy as an inherent asset of humanity that should be used responsibly and efficiently.

Future Energy Concept


Energy is the natural resource paving the way for the stimulation and development of the lives of human beings. Energy supports the model of societies and, as a multifaceted concept, sparks intriguing questions regarding the universe and humanity itself. Societies’ access to energy sources directly determines concrete scenarios in their social, economic and environmental development. Scientific research and technological advances, linked to the optimisation of the various energy sources, define the functional approaches of societies and can drive a sustainable energy future. EXPO Astana 2017 Future Energy is conceived as an extensive, integral project that addresses the fascinating topic of energy from several perspectives, allowing it to be contemplated as a determining factor in how societies and everyday life function. Future Energy is a broad and thoughtprovoking theme for addressing the challenges of today and anticipating future solutions. The Future Energy project is supported and organised on the pillars of sustainable development, understood as a process aimed at meeting economic and social needs as well as those relating to cultural diversity and a healthy environment.

As a significant oil producer, Kazakhstan is looking to the future and starting the process of greening its economy farm. Participants will be able to travel around the site via sustainable transport and dine on organic food. Because the EXPO tradition is built around innovation, Kazakhstan and Astana in particular make ideal hosts for EXPO 2017. As a brand new capital city that is leading an economic revolution in Central Asia, Astana’s EXPO will allow visitors to experience the possibility of a future world with a cleaner, more secure energy supply. An exhibition on this scale will build international awareness of the energy and environmental challenges that need to be faced in the region. It will also attract some of the best expertise available in the world on subjects such as energysaving technologies and alternative energy solutions, including solar, wind and biomass. By hosting EXPO 2017, Kazakhstan will leave its mark on the international


Both in its construction as well as in the message it conveys, Future Energy presupposes an abstraction that assumes the adoption, implementation and use of the best energy practices for the immediate future, a sine qua non for sustainable devel-

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The mission of Future Energy is to appeal to the international community’s sense of responsibility by way of institutions, organisations, corporations, and individuals, with the aim of generating debate and awareness regarding the decisive impact that energy management has on the lives of people and that of the planet.


The vision of Future Energy is to highlight solutions and paths that ensure sustainable energy management. These pathways are aimed at combating climate change and reducing CO2 emissions; promoting energy alternatives – renewable energy in particular – and driving energy efficiency programmes; ensuring energy security; managing energy production, storage and use; and guaranteeing universal access to sustainable energy.

Key Concepts

The key concepts of Astana EXPO 2017 – socio-economic and environmental – derive from the contemplation of energy use in a context linked to sustainable development. With regard to the socio-economic sphere, the key concepts addressed within the project can be summarized as follows: • Promoting renewable energy and other energy alternatives. • Energy efficiency and responsible consumption. • Electrification of transport. • Universal access to clean energy. • Energy security. • The inseparability of energy and matter, life, and human beings. In regard to the environmental sphere: • Fossil energy resources, limited and highly polluting in their use, as the primary source of electricity. • Global warming and climate change. • Pollution and its health risks. • Reduction in fossil fuel consumption and CO2 emissions.

86% of Kazakh

citizens respond

positively to the country’s economic and political progress A new opinion poll by Ipsos MORI shows widespread satisfaction with the direction of the country and reveals that a majority of citizens have a positive attitude towards the state of the economy.


he results of a new opinion poll conducted in Kazakhstan, commissioned by the country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and carried out by UK-based opinion research firm Ipsos MORI, were released in November by the Kazakh Foreign Minister, Erlan Idrissov, on the eve of his working visit to London during which he held meetings with British Foreign Secretary William Hague and the Chairman of Foreign Affairs Committee, Richard Ottaway MP, and spoke at the Royal Institute of International Affairs at Chatham House. The Kazakh Foreign Minister’s intensive agenda focused on a wide range of bilateral issues between Kazakhstan and the UK, including the final stage of negotiations of the agreement for the repatriation by land of millions of tons of non-lethal British military equipment from Afghanistan. Both the UK and Kazakhstan have heavily invested in establishing peace and stability in the region and are committed to working closely together to that end. The poll results produced by Ipsos MORI show strong support among ordinary Kazakh citizens for the general direction of policy inside the energy-rich Central Asian country.    86% of a nationwide sample of respondents said they felt “positive” about Kazakhstan in general, and 35% said they felt “very positive”.  70% of citizens said they felt positive about the country’s economy, while 81% said they felt the country had become a better place in which to live over the past ten years.

According to the survey, Kazakh citizens have become significantly more satisfied with nearly every aspect of everyday life in the country in recent years, from the identification and elimination of corruption to the overall quality of life and general standards of living. They were asked to rate and compare life in Kazakhstan ten years ago and today. The increase in perceived satisfaction over this ten-year period ranges from double to nearly six-fold in certain cases, including sizeable improvements in job opportunities (18% said they were “good” 10 years ago; 36% said they are “good” today) and transport infrastructure (6% to 36%). When asked about the main challenges currently facing Kazakhstan, 26% of respondents identified jobs as the most pressing issue, while 15% cited housing and 11% economic growth.  5% and 2% of respondents respectively identified human rights and democratic reforms as among the main challenges facing Kazakhstan.

70% of citizens said they felt positive about the country’s economy, while 81% said they felt the country had become a better place in which to live over the past ten years

The three traits most predominantly associated with Kazakhstan by respondents were its hospitality (50%), its stability (35%) and its peacefulness (34%). The top seventeen descriptive terms associated with the country are all positive ones. Furthermore, an overwhelming majority of citizens agreed that their children’s generation will have more opportunities than their own, and that they are optimistic about the future of the country, with figures of 77% and 80% respectively. Further survey results from Ipsos MORI show that 90% of respondents think that Kazakhstan’s global standing has improved in recent years, with 50% saying that it has “greatly improved”. A large majority of citizens (90%) supported participation in international trade (“tend to support” 36% and “strongly support” 54%). Similarly, there was a positive response to the increased contribution to combating environmental problems (“tend to support” 32% and “strongly support” 54%). Such results demonstrate overwhelming popular support for government policies aimed at raising Kazakhstan’s international profile. Speaking in Astana, Foreign Minister Idrissov said, “I am delighted that this far-reaching research, which was carried out throughout Kazakhstan on a scientific basis, has resulted in such a positive endorsement by the people of our country’s steady progress in the last ten years. We note these results with satisfaction but with no sense of complacency, and we hope that our international allies share the same approach.”

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! s r e Matt

Hilton Cyprus, the only five-star hotel in Nicosia, has won two World Travel Awards this year. The General Manager of Hilton Cyprus, Marwan Ragheb, is particularly pleased with this latest recognition of the hotel’s excellence.

How important are such awards to you personally? Recognition matters! I believe this distinguished award crowns the endeavour and commitment of the Hilton Cyprus team to offer quality services. It also motivates the team to persist in performing to the best of their ability subsequently. Do you think they affect people’s choice of hotel? I believe they do; awards and online forums have become key influencers in the industry, stimulating competition and innovation among operators, as well as providing a helpful testimonial for quality to travellers worldwide. Travellers today are exceptionally well-informed and pay attention to what others say about you, rather than what you may say about yourself. Outsiders may think that the Hilton name and its long tradition in Nicosia are enough to ensure that it can thrive without much effort. Presumably you don’t agree with this! The only steady thing in life is change! If we

were to do in the future what we did in the past, there would be no progress. Because we are proud of our long Hilton tradition, we are continuously working towards improving our future. How important is it to keep changing and innovating, even when a hotel like Hilton Cyprus may be seen as having no real competition? Hilton Cyprus is constantly changing and innovating to attract guests from the domestic and international MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferencing, Exhibitions) market, which is a large part of our business. Our meeting facilities are fully-equipped with modern technology, and we often run competitive meetings and events offers. What are your plans for Hilton Cyprus in 2014? The hotel has enjoyed a number of successes throughout 2013, including winning Best Hotel in Cyprus and Best Business Hotel in Cyprus at the World Travel Awards. We look forward to keeping up this momentum in 2014. As always, we will be welcoming guests to Hilton Cyprus and encouraging them to experience the excellent facilities at this awardwinning hotel!

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photo by jo michaelides

Hilton Cyprus has received considerable recognition this year in the form of a number of prestigious awards. Tell us about them. Hilton Cyprus has been recognised in two categories, winning as Cyprus’ Leading Hotel 2013 and Cyprus’ Leading Business Hotel 2013 in the European final of the renowned World Travel Awards 2013, voted for by travel agents worldwide. The prestigious World Travel Awards have been recognising organisations delivering outstanding customer experience in travel and tourism for 20 years. We are extremely proud of such acknowledgement.

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Silence in Court! Constantine Nicolaides regrets that not all lawyers and judges in Cyprus possess the key virtues of patience and respect. By John Vickers | Photography by Jo Michaelides


onstantine Nicolaides likes to joke that when he went to England to study law and subsequently qualified as a barrister, he “overstayed his visit by 27 years”. That may be so but the result is a man who feels equally at home in London as in Nicosia and who, since his return to the country of his birth, has been passionate about justice, the system and everything surrounding it. Born in Agios Kassianos, Nicosia, he attended the Pancyprian Gymnasium before undertaking 15 months’ military service (“those who were going to study abroad were allowed to leave earlier in those days”) and then starting that extended visit to the UK. After being called to the bar at Middle Temple, Nicolaides worked for the civil service, in the beginning as a prosecutor for the Department of Transport in various magistrates’ courts up and down the country, though mainly in London. He later married and had two children there, both of whom have followed in his professional footsteps, though he insists that he didn’t force them to do so. “My daughter is a solicitor working for Lloyds TSB in London and my son is here in Cyprus working with me. I didn’t push them into following me into the profession – as a father I wanted them to be successful and happy in whatever profession they chose – but I admit that I am glad they are both lawyers,” he says. Family considerations were what persuaded him to return home. “We knew that Cyprus was – and still is – a very safe place to raise children,” he explains, “so we came back to Nicosia and both children later attended the

When I win I feel very glad because I feel I have done a good job for my client English School since there was an understanding that they would study in the UK.” Despite being Cypriot by birth and having spent the first 19 years of his life on the island,

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his return as a legal professional was not without its problems and even today, Constantine Nicolaides admits to being less than happy with the island’s legal system. “I was very lucky to meet people who helped me – in particular the former Attorney-General Alecos Markides,” he recalls. “I did my so-called pupillage at his office and he entrusted me with a lot of important cases and criminal investigations. The truth is that I would have liked to work in the criminal sector in England but not in Cyprus. It became clear to me that if I did my job well there was always the possibility of finding a bomb under my car. I have had my life threatened.” He was actually warned off one particular case by a police officer who told him in no uncertain terms that a certain person might harm his family. Nicolaides decided to stand up to the blackmail. “I am one of those people who believe that you must never let anyone threaten you,” he says adamantly. “And so I told him to inform those who had sent him that they could put ten bombs under my car to make sure they finished me off. They never touched me but they found other ways of having me taken off the case. Given that there are so many different areas of practice to be involved in, that experience was one of the things that made me decide to avoid the criminal sector.” He decided to start his own firm which has gradually expanded to offer specialised services in many areas of the legal spectrum, ranging from civil and criminal litigation to corporate and commercial law. When he first started practising in Cyprus, he was frequently told two things: “It’s obvious that you are from England” and “This is Cyprus. We don’t do things the English way here”. What did they mean?

If it takes 7-8 years for a case to come to court, that is ridiculous “At first I was quite shocked and disappointed by what I saw as a lack of professionalism among my colleagues,” he remembers, “many of whom did not show the proper degree of respect for judges. In fact they seemed to have given up most of the court etiquette that I considered an essential part of the justice system. It still goes on. They frequently fail to bow to the court; they may not even be appropriately dressed. I remember an incident when I was writing and passing notes to a colleague rather than talking during the court proceedings and the judge later told me the oft-repeated ‘It’s obvious that you are from England’. He went on to say that he had once been like me and that, like him, I would change my attitude as time went by.” He notes that sometimes courtrooms are simply not quiet enough. “A lawyer has to think on his feet as he tries to get a witness to state something in the way that will help the case. At that moment, the last thing he or she needs is the sound of high heels tapping across the floor. In other countries, there is usually an antechamber between the court and the rest of the building. Here there can be rather too much noise.” Nicolaides is proud that he still makes a point of showing the same respect as he did when he first came back to Cyprus but, he says, he does not always receive the same treatment. “I believe that lawyers and judges should show respect to one another and to their colleagues,” he insists. “There are judges who, from the moment they are appointed, suddenly start behaving as if they are God’s gift to the legal profession, treating lawyers with disrespect. It is especially annoying for me personally when they are people with whom I used to work and they were once asking for my opinion and advice. In my experience it is only in the Supreme Court that the judges address lawyers in the right way; they listen and they show patience. The first thing I told my son when he started in the profession was this: ‘In order to practice and to practice well you have to be patient. Fight your cases with passion and honesty but you also have to be patient, to show respect to the judges and to your colleagues’. Sometimes a lawyer’s patience is truly tested!” Asked if he is still as keen as he used to be on the legal profession, he ponders before saying, “No. I have matured of course but I’m still not very happy with the legal system in Cyprus. If it takes 7-8 years for a case to come to court,

that is ridiculous. ‘Justice delayed is justice denied.’ Imagine taking someone to court for €100 euros and waiting seven years for the case to be heard! This is not an exaggeration. For this reason, it’s good that arbitration and mediation are becoming more accepted in Cyprus. In the UK they have the small claims court which I have proposed on several occasions but I always get the same answer: ‘This is Cyprus’. Well, yes it is but that doesn’t mean that bad things can’t change.” For all the drawbacks, Constantine Nicolaides still enjoys his work. Indeed, he considers it a vocation. “I don’t look at my job as a money maker – I would have been a much richer person if I had been different!” he says. “It is a vocation, much like the work of a doctor or a priest. I like advocating, presenting cases to court and trying to persuade the judge that my client is right. I never hide anything from my colleagues and I never hit below the belt. I still try to do exactly what I used to do in England and when I win I feel very glad because I feel I have done a good job for my client.” At 66, Nicolaides considers that he is much too young to consider retirement – indeed, this was one of the reasons that he turned down the opportunity to become a judge, despite his belief that he is “a very fair person”, because judges retire relatively early in Cyprus. “Most lawyers don’t want to become judges because they don’t want to retire and of course they can continue to a great age,” he says, adding, “I think, however, that judges should be people who are experienced in life and this in itself requires that they should be of a certain age. In England you first become an assistant recorder for three years, then a recorder and then a judge. Here you can be a lawyer in November and a judge in December. I find this ridiculous.” Of all the cases he has undertaken, is there one of which he feels especially proud? He notes first that on occasion he has done extremely good work on cases that he has lost, so winning does not necessarily mean the best work. But he does recall one special moment when he won a case on behalf of a woman in the family court. “I represented a woman who sued her husband for division of property when they divorced. I spent many sleepless nights working on the case and at first I tried to reach a compromise. The husband at first agreed to give my client £25,000 but then he reneged

on the agreement after being persuaded by another lawyer that he needn’t give his wife a penny. In the end he had to give her £80,000 plus costs. Previously, when I had spoken to his lawyer and again suggested a compromise, he told me, ‘Look, I always try my cases. If I win I’ll be paid by your client, and if I lose I’ll be paid by mine.’ At the end of the case, when were we invited into the judge’s chambers to be given the verdict in writing, what I experienced was almost supernatural. I felt at that moment as if justice was there in the room, like a dove fluttering above us. It was extraordinary. That’s why I feel it was probably my best case because I not only saw justice in practice but I really felt that justice had been done properly. And I felt proud of the way I had dealt with it on behalf of my client.” I suggest to Constantine Nicolaides that he must be a great idealist. He only half agrees with this description. “I am an idealist when it comes to my personal ideas about concepts such as love and freedom and justice but I don’t want to impose my ideas on people,” he says. “In my work, in particular, I have learned to be a pragmatist. All I ask is for what I have studied and seen elsewhere to be implemented here. One of the best words in the English language is ‘reasonability’ [the notion that all parties should be held to a reasonable standard of conduct]. So in court, a witness must be reasonably presented, his evidence must be reasonably true and so on. There is the hypothetical ‘man on the Clapham omnibus’ who is the mythical ‘reasonable man’ by whom one can set ‘reasonable’ standards. In the UK and other countries, the aim of the jury system is to find ordinary, reasonable people who will judge a lawyer’s presentation of the facts in a case. I like this way of doing things very much.” In the light of his misgivings about the lack of respect among lawyers and judges in Cyprus, and the fact that judges in particular may not have the required experience, would he prefer the adoption of the jury system here? He gives a wry smile and then says, “Try finding ‘twelve good men and true’ in this country. It would never work!” C.N.Nicolaides & Co. LLC Advocates & Legal Consultants 19 Pericleous Street, 2020 Strovolos, Nicosia, Cyprus Tel.: +357 22492618 Fax: +357 22429229 email: Website:

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CIBA Celebrates its 20th Anniversary ‘Business As Usual’ the theme of the AGM


he Cyprus International Businesses Association (CIBA) recently held its 20th Annual General Meeting at Le Meridien Hotel in Limassol. In his address, CIBA President Frixos Savvides noted the theme of the 20th anniversary gathering: Business As Usual. “Normally such a sign is used for a business undergoing repairs, reconstruction or refurbishment and the people working under such circumstances are trying their best to do their job and to continue providing service under difficult conditions. Cyprus is experiencing precisely that,” he said, before elaborating: “We are going through a phase of restructuring, reconstruction and a traumatic facelift of our banking system in particular and our economy in general. This will, of course, be a very long, elaborate and difficult process, during which all of us in Cyprus – the Government, associations, businessmen, people in general – have to stay focused as far as International business is concerned. We must concentrate our efforts to try and retain what we already have and, at the same time, encourage new International business and investment into Cyprus. We need to keep the momentum going at all costs and we should all work very hard to achieve this.” The CIBA President referred to the subject of bureaucracy in government departments, noting that “We know of the Government’s commitment, in line with European policy, to reduce bureaucracy or as it is otherwise known, the ‘administrative burden’, possibly by outsourcing various services or by moving towards a more electronic Government.” He assured the President of the Republic that CIBA and



he Cyprus International Businesses Association (CIBA) was established on 31 December 1992, on the initiative of a number of businessmen who had based their international activities in Cyprus, taking advantage of the island’s advantageous tax regime and relaxed immigration policies as well as the Mediterranean sunshine and a high standard of living. CIBA is a non-government, fully independent association, financed by membership fees only. Since its formation, CIBA has gone to great lengths to represent and safeguard the interests of international businesses in Cyprus, their international shareholders, managers and staff. This may have been a fairly simple task in the early years of the Association. Matters became more complicated as EU membership negotiations with Brussels proceeded. Joining the European Union required substantial changes to almost every aspect of business life in the country: taxation, social insurance and immigration were but a few of the most important issues. CIBA’s task did not end with EU accession. Quite the contrary. Today, more than ever, it is important to keep a close eye on developments that can and do affect the island’s international business community. The Association promotes its members’ interests and deal with issues that complicate or hinder the daily operations of their businesses and, at the same time, plays a leading role in promoting Cyprus as an international business centre.

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its members are ready to provide ideas and support to achieve this goal, which will make life a lot easier for the foreign investor, especially during the present difficult times and he expressed optimism that Cyprus and its people will soon see better days. In his own address to the AGM, President Nicos Anastasiades expressed the Government’s appreciation for CIBA’s support and said that he looked forward “to deepening even further our ongoing and mutually reinforcing cooperation, for the future prosperity of Cyprus, its economy and its people. My Government

will offer you all the assistance deemed necessary towards this shared goal and will facilitate and accommodate any feasible business and investment ideas put forward by you all.” He explained that his presence at the meeting was “to demonstrate my sincere commitment in supporting your business and investment endeavours and to listen and seriously take into account any suggestions, proposals, or even complaints you might have, as regards the way forward for our partnership.” He went on to assure those present that “the Government is fully concentrated on restruc-

turing and revitalizing the economy and its banking system and ensuring that Cyprus will remain a reliable partner to all those entrepreneurs and investors interested in international expansion. And it is our firm belief that only by fully implementing all the provisions of the Memorandum of Understanding agreed with Troika can the above be achieved.” During the course of the evening, Frixos Savvides informed the audience that CIBA had decided to present an Entrepreneurship Award to Avanti Hylas 2 Cyprus Ltd. David Bestwick, Director of the company, accepted the award.

Cyprus International Businesses Association Address: Iris House, 8th Floor, Office 840A, John F. Kennedy Street, CY 3106 Limassol Postal Address: P.O. Box 54917, 3729 Limassol Tel: (+357) 25583400 Fax: (+357) 25581531 e-mail: Website:

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Named one of 2013’s fastest growing private companies with 100% growth in revenue over the last three years, American Internet technology firm Global Reach is certainly on the rise. Its diverse professional teams provide award-winning services to a client base of more than 1,400 companies in the US and Europe. Despite recent events in Cyprus, Global Reach’s Nicosia office is expanding. Michael Leontiou, General Manager of the Cyprus office and Operations Manager of the parent company in Iowa, spoke to Gold about how the firm’s unique location has become an integral part of its international success. By Effy Pafitis | Photography by Jo Michaelides

Gold: What services does Global Reach offer its clients? Michael Leontiou: Founded in 1995, Global Reach specializes in the development and hosting of advanced, intuitive web applications created with spectacular designs. As the company has grown, it has expanded its services to include Internet marketing, IT support and graphic design, including corporate identity and print media. Gold: Providing such a variety of web-related services to a diverse client base, you must work with many interesting enterprises. Who are some of your major clients? M.L.: Global Reach prides itself on providing services to more than 1,400 small, medium and large enterprises representing a wide range of industries. Some of the more notable clients in our portfolio include departments of the United States Federal Government such as the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice, as well as State Government departments such as the Treasurer of the State of Iowa. Century 21 and Re/ MAX are perhaps the largest of our Real Estate clients, and Iowa State University and Drake University the largest of our many Educational Institutions. At the other end of the spectrum, we have developed content management and e-commerce solutions for a large number of small local enterprises and organisations. In short, nothing is too small or too big for Global Reach and it is exactly this principle that has earned us a reputation for providing a high level of satisfaction and maintaining a high client retention rate. Gold: What’s the story behind the firm? M.L.: The history of Global Reach is integrally linked with the story of its CEO and main shareholder, Iacovos Zachariades. Originally from Famagusta, he obtained his BA in Elementary Education from Luther College,

Iowa, and an M.Sc in Instructional Design from Iowa State University. This combination of educational experiences led him to pursue ways of using technology in order to enrich the learning environment in schools and make information more accessible to students, while enabling them to explore new areas and methods of learning. Over the last 18 years, Global Reach has expanded organically as well as through seven strategic acquisitions of its competitors. We were recently ranked by Inc. Magazine as one of America’s fastest-growing privately-held companies.

they have been given and their success in its execution. Irrespective of the financial conditions in Cyprus that have given employers the upper hand in the labour market, we offer our employees in Cyprus an excellent benefits package that includes flexible working hours, the option to work from home, full health insurance, performance bonuses, the opportunity to work on large-scale projects for US companies and competitive salaries by Cyprus industry standards. We are confident that the combination of our work culture, the employee benefits we offer and our approach towards our employees

Gold: How did you feel when you received this recognition? M.L.: Global Reach has always taken pride in being one of the oldest, largest and most respected web design and software development firms in Iowa. Receiving this award was obviously a very proud moment for everyone in the company who has contributed – each from his/her position and in their own unique way – to this success and it is definitely something worth striving for to achieve again in the future.

We can state with a fair degree of objectivity that Cypriot professionals compare very well to those in the US

Gold: The company has also been named one of the best workplaces in Iowa, having won awards for employee satisfaction for two consecutive years. How is the company policy of open communication, motivation and dedication executed in Cyprus? M.L.: At Global Reach we promote communication and encourage our employees at every level to speak up if they encounter aspects of their job or the overall work environment that could be improved. Everyone’s ideas are welcome and are always taken into account since job satisfaction is essential. As an integral part of every project team they are assigned to, our Cyprus employees are evaluated on the same terms as any other member of the team, taking into account the responsibilities of the role

would give us a very high ranking if such a poll were also conducted in Cyprus. Gold: Do awards such as the Standard of Excellence WebAwards have a special significance to a technology company? M.L.: Every award that Global Reach has earned has its own significance. Receiving an Award is an acknowledgement of our excellence in a specific area within our domain, whether it be for Design, Technology or

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Workplace. This is rewarding in many different ways, especially for a technology company which has to constantly strive to stay on the edge The CEO and main of technological innovashareholder, Iacovos tion. The WebAward was Zachariades. particularly rewarding since, as a technology company, we are constantly striving to remain on the cutting edge of technological innovation and this was an indication that we are succeeding.

working on the same projects in distant offices. Meridian also allows us to establish clear responsibilities and roles, and standardize the quality of our communication, products and results. Furthermore, we take full advantage of the minimum of 2 hours of overlapping working hours between our two locations by frequently scheduling online meetings, allowing our teams to discuss all mutual project issues “face-to-face”. This not only enhances our efficiency, it also enables us to be sure that no time is wasted on the unnecessary whilst one office or the other is away from work.

Gold: Why was Cyprus chosen as the unique location of new offices outside the company’s US HQ state of Iowa and what does a presence in Cyprus offer to the company as a whole? M.L.: Global Reach had flirted with the idea of establishing operations in Cyprus for many years. In addition to the sentimental connection of the CEO to his home country, there were several business incentives that we found attractive. The availability of highly skilled and educated personnel in Cyprus, the low corporate tax rate (especially compared to that in the US), the lack of a language barrier, a relatively underdeveloped Internet market on the island and its location within Europe made it the appropriate option. Another important factor was the specific time zone difference between Cyprus and Iowa; working hours overlap sufficiently to allow the two locations to communicate during the working day and when one work day ends, the offices in the other location are still open, and vice versa, essentially offering clients round-the-clock support.

Gold: Despite the current troubled economic climate in Cyprus, you began expanding your operations in January of this year. In retrospect, was it an appropriate time to take such a step? M.L.: It is our fervent belief that a time of economic slowdown is actually the best time for taking strategic business decisions in order to take advantage of the positive aspects of a crisis and emerge stronger. This has always been the strategy of Global Reach. In 2013 we opened our office in Cyprus and the fact that one year later we are making plans for expanding our operations even further is our way of saying that we have no regrets so far.

Gold: Do the US and Cyprus offices work together with the same international clientele? How do the two locations collaborate? M.L.: Global Reach offices, whether in the US or Cyprus, or any other part of the world for that matter, are considered part of the same pool of resources that can be utilized at any time to execute any internal or external project. So resources in Cyprus are fully integrated into the organisational structure of the parent company and personnel collaborate with other team members for the execution of any project, irrespective of whether the project is in Cyprus or in the US. A key factor of our success is the efficiency of our online collaboration platform, Meridian, which we ourselves developed and which has the ability to handle the logistical complexity and management of projects, as well as being able to supervise employees

Gold: Has the financial turbulence in Cyprus or the US affected your business in any way? M.L.: Global Reach has a very large and diverse client base so we are, fortunately, not financially dependent on any particular industry segment or group of clients that we service. We lived through the US Dot-Com Bubble of 1999-2001 and the financial crisis of 2008 and we have seen many of our competitors go out of business. Every move that we have made so far, in the form of an acquisition or an expansion of our presence in a place like Cyprus, has always been carefully evaluated, planned and executed. Financial turbulence, such as that affecting Cyprus right now, can also be seen as an opportunity for a company to take advantage of favourable business conditions that would not have otherwise been presented. Gold: You’re continuously adding to your team of web developers, designers and support staff. How do Cypriot professionals compare with those in the US? M.L.: We consider our people to be the most important asset in our business. Before we hire anyone at Global Reach, we put them through an extensive interview process which also in-

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A time of economic slowdown is actually the best time for taking strategic business decisions cludes an online assessment of their analytical and technical skills, depending on the position they are being considered for. Taking into account the results of this process, we can state with a fair degree of objectivity that Cypriot professionals compare very well to those in the US. Perhaps the only area in which they may be lacking is the ability to apply their theoretical knowledge to real-life projects, as this may be limited to their past experience and the relatively small size of the Cypriot IT market leaves little room for great work experience. We hope to be in a position to offer such opportunities to all our employees in Cyprus and allow them to realize their full potential. Gold: Are there any specific changes you would like to see to Cypriot tax legislation that would benefit your company and others like it? M.L.: Tax incentives, such as research and development tax credits for organisations engaged in the development of scientific and technological innovations, could be used as a means to attract foreign direct investments, encourage spending in the industry and increase the level of employment of university graduates. In 1981, amid widespread concern that the US economic performance had fallen well below its potential, America adopted this measure and has seen great benefits. Ireland and Belgium have also been extremely successful in attracting technology and pharmaceutical companies. The Cyprus government should definitely consider exploring the ways and conditions under which such tax incentives could also be provided. Gold: What are your future plans for Global Reach (Cyprus) Ltd.? M.L.: We shall continue to expand our presence in Cyprus as a software research and development centre and offer our products and services to Cyprus and to other European markets.


IPCC carbon budget to 2100 will be used by 2034 New PwC analysis sounds warning


ccording to a PwC analysis, the world is on track to blow the 2°C carbon budget, estimated by the IPCC for the next 89 years, within 21 years. This puts the world on a path consistent with potential global warming of around 4°C by 2100, the most extreme scenario presented in the recent IPCC 5th Assessment Report on climate science.

Italy, the UK and Argentina rank as the most energyefficient economies in the G20

The results, from the 5th annual PwC Low Carbon Economy Index, examine the amount of energy-related carbon emitted per unit of GDP needed to limit global warming to 2°C. The report warns that this level of warming “will have serious and far-reaching implications.” Current investment planning cycles for major business and infrastructure investments now need to factor this into their decision making. It finds that policies and low carbon technologies have failed to break the link between growth and carbon emissions in the global economy. The world’s energy mix remains dominated by fossil fuels: • Reductions in carbon intensity globally have averaged 0.7% per year over the past five years – a fraction of the 6% reductions now required every year to 2100 • The G7 averaged a 2.3% reduction while the E7 – which includes much of the manufacturing base of the global economy – only managed 0.4% • The US, Australia and Indonesia achieved significant reductions in carbon intensity in 2012, but no country has sustained major reductions over several years • While the fracking revolution has helped lower emissions in the US, cheaper coal has contributed to higher coal usage elsewhere, for example in the EU, raising concerns that decarbonisation in one country can just shift emissions elsewhere. If the world continues at current rates of decarbonisation, the carbon budget outlined by the IPCC for the period 2012-2100 will be spent in less than a quarter of that time and be used up by 2034. Emissions over and above that budget will increase the chances of dangerous climate change, with the average warming of surface temperature projected to be beyond 2°C. Energy efficiency progress was one bright spot in the analysis. Some 92% of the small reduction in carbon intensity achieved last year is down to improvements in energy efficiency with the remaining 8% through a shift towards a cleaner energy mix. Italy, the UK and Argentina rank as the most energy-efficient economies in the G20, consuming less energy for every $1m of GDP generated than their counterparts. But the report warns that there is a limit to which we can cut energy use per unit of GDP. Jonathan Grant, director, PwC sustainability and climate change said: “Our analysis assumes long term moderate

economic growth in emerging economies, and slow steady growth in developed economies. But, failing to tackle climate change is unlikely to result in such a benign scenario of steady growth. Something’s got to give, and potentially soon. This has implications for a raft of investments in carbon intensive technologies that are currently being planned and executed today.” The PwC Low Carbon Economy Index calculates the rate of decarbonisation of the global economy that is needed to limit warming to 2°C. In 2013, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued its Fifth Assessment Report, which includes a carbon budget for the remainder of this century giving a reasonable probability of limiting warming to 2°C. In 2008, the PwC LCEI, calculated that to maintain growth without exceeding two degrees of warming, the G20 needed to improve its carbon intensity at 3.5% per year. Over the next four years the rate of decarbonisation failed to exceed 0.7%. By 2012, to make up for lost ground, the rate had risen to 5.1%, requiring a rate of decarbonisation never achieved in a single year to be sustained for the rest of the century. This year’s report increases that rate to 6%. Energy generation analysis in the LCEI: • While the use of fracking has prompted hype around the world, the shale revolution is mainly confined to the United States currently. However the availability of cheap natural gas there, has depressed coal prices and raised coal consumption elsewhere, including the EU, pointing to concerns amongst key manufacturing nations of carbon leakage. • The UK saw an increase of its electricity produced by coal from 30% in 2011 to 39% in 2012; with an equivalent reduction in gas from 40% to 28%. • China has nearly tripled coal consumption since 2000, with an over 40% increase since 2007. However China also accounted for two-thirds of the increase in renewable energy consumption since 2007. • Europe invested as much as the US, China and India combined into renewable energy throughout 2008-2012, and the EU continues to dominate the global share of solar PV capacity. • France is top of the G20 table in terms of absolute carbon intensity because of its successful nuclear programme, which accounts for over 75% of its electricity generation.

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Capital Cyprus possesses valuable assets that even the Troika cannot subject to a haircut By Dr. Artemis Yiordamli

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e’ve all been so shocked and busy lamenting the loss of our bank deposits that it has gone almost unnoticed that these weren’t our only capital assets. Dr. Vassos Karageorghis, the grand old man of Cypriot archaeology who is still active in his 84th year, was the first to point out in a lecture given within weeks of that fateful weekend in March 2013, that Cyprus is the repository of a cultural capital acquired over 9,000 years. No one can take that away from us. Apart from our cultural assets, Cyprus also possesses a natural capital of even longer pedigree. Formed millions of years ago by the movement of the tectonic plates as Europe, Asia and Africa drew apart, the island has geological formations, fauna and flora (collectively known as biodiversity) that belong to all three continents, but are not usually found together. When Cyprus joined the EU, we brought with us a natural wealth which includes at least 150 known endemic species – plants, mammals, insects and birds found only in Cyprus and nowhere else on the planet. “So what?” a businessman might say. Well, in the new era of corporate social responsibility, someone who thinks only of the bottom line, rather than collateral benefits, is distinctly ‘uncool’. But even for that cynical executive, the opportunities offered by Cypriot biodiversity can translate directly into cash: a very good reason, therefore, to preserve the wealth of Cypriot nature. Biodiversity includes all living things on the planet, e.g. man, animals, birds and bees, fish and plants, as well as the surroundings in which they exist: their habitat. We may think of ‘natural surroundings’ but we should remember that many birds and small animals choose to nest or live under eaves or in dry-stone walls. So, in a general sense, our surroundings (geology and land cover including human constructions) form our landscapes and each landscape supports different forms of life. It is up to us to sustain them. Apologies for the above short detour into ecology: it is a necessary prerequisite to understanding the business opportunities offered by our natural capital. No prizes for guessing that tourism is a prime beneficiary of natural heritage. The ‘new age’

tourist often chooses his/her holiday via an Internet search, piecing together the desired elements: travel, accommodation, things to do or to avoid. This person is likely to consult a travel website to read what other visitors have said about a destination and this is where Cyprus shoots itself in the foot. The Internet provides abundant references to the Cypriots’ cruelty to animals, irresponsible shooting and illegal bird trapping. Prospective travellers are urged to boycott Cyprus until it improves its record. Such negative publicity masks the good bits, e.g. that Cyprus has unique geological formations, or that the Akrotiri Wetland is among the most important in the East Mediterranean, with over 300 species of visiting birds. Now Europe’s and the IMF’s powerful men and women have decreed that we should forget about being a banking and financial services centre and concentrate on tourism instead. So we had better pay attention to our tourism product. Everyone realises that the era of sun, sea and sand (and sex) is over but which way do we go now? Many options apart from agro-tourism are open to entrepreneurs with imagination. Unfortunately, young Cypriots’ imaginations seem too often limited to the opening of bars and cafes, yet there is a vast range of special-interest tourism to develop. From geological hikes to star-gazing, there are numerous activities which can be offered from existing hotels: we don’t need to keep building more agrotourism villas. If the comparatively small island of San Miguel in the Azores can operate a well-frequented observatory for gazing at the Perseids, why can’t we? Our night skies are just as clear of photo-pollution and our constellations just as interesting. And for those who are not attracted by ‘special interests’, what about ‘special products’? Not just local wines, which we do well, but where are the acres of Cypriot lavender or rosemary, which we could be growing? Why haven’t we developed cosmetics from grape seed and other by-products of wine-making? Chios, a one-product island growing mastic (the substance from which natural chewing gum is derived), now markets a series of attractively-packaged products based on mastic ranging from toothpaste to coffee. This is where foreign investors can be useful with new ideas, expertise and, of

Tziverti honey, produced in Cyprus, has just been declared the best in the world course, fresh capital. Can they look at our flora – even humble plants that we take for granted – and think of new uses? One young Cypriot is already doing just that: Demetris Papacostas, 30, from Peristerona. His family’s product, Tziverti honey, has just been declared the best honey in the world at the 2013 World Beekeeping Awards in Kiev. Tziverti was selected from 112 competitors from 25 countries. He makes three points that should be noted by other entrepreneurs: • Cyprus is too small to compete in the mass market, but it has such a wealth of natural capital that it can provide fine, high quality, high-value products for niche markets. • Our warm climate produces a rich variety of wild flowers and other blooms that can form the basis of such products. • Research and attention to detail give you the edge. His points apply not only to honey: think of herbal teas, cosmetics, soaps, liqueurs, spreads (like olive paté), all appropriately and attractively packaged. Cypriot dermatologists import expensive, orangebased skin care treatments from France. Why don’t we make such products here? The island’s climate is ideal for rose growing but we need to move on from the traditional and inefficient boiling of their petals to make rose essences: vacuum machines do the job far more effectively. Then we need trials and research to support effective marketing. Cypriot natural products probably contain many excellent properties that contribute to human well-being but we if don’t know it ourselves, we can’t tell the world about it. Our natural capital is out there, awaiting those with knowledge and imagination. Let’s utilize it but always keep in mind that, if that capital is over-exploited rather than used sustainably, we ourselves – not the Troika – will be responsible for depriving future generations of it.

info: Dr. Artemis Yiordamli is Executive Director of Terra Cypria -The Cyprus Conservation Foundation. This article has been written within

the framework of the BIOforLIFE Project (2012-2015) which aims to make Cypriots aware of the significance of biodiversity in our lives.

{December 14 – January 13, 2014}




+ BOok reviews MONEY: The Fall of the Euro: Reinventing the Eurozone and the Future of Global 70 Investing By Jens Nordvig BUSINESS: Like A Virgin: Secrets They Won’t Teach You at Business School By Sir Richard Branson 75

70 72


70 PwC Cyprus launches new IT IA services


72 Help is at Hand With the right professional advice, companies in trouble can take the correct decisions that will ensure their survival. 75 European Parliament backs plans to halt reckless scrapping of old ships



76 Cyprus and Transparency Putting the OECD report into context.


ECONOMY: After the Music Stopped: The Financial Crisis, the Response, and the Work Ahead By Alan S. Blinder 77 LIFESTYLE: The Goldfinch By Donna Tartt



78 Champagne Supernova Investing in bubbly. 82 A Day In The Life Despina Panayiotou Theodosiou

the international investment, finance & professional services of cyprus

Gold 69

internal audit

PwC Cyprus launches new IT IA services {money}


wC Cyprus recently launched new Information Technology (IT) Internal Audit (IA) services to support organisations troubled with the risks associated with growing reliance on IT systems. Even though the importance of IT risks is gaining ground, few companies understand the full degree of their operational dependence on computer systems and the role that IT plays in shaping their firm’s strategies. It is therefore increasingly critical that Internal Audit focus their IT audit effort on the things that matter and communicate those issues in an easy-to- understand way. Information Technology Internal Audit services can help organisations and internal audit functions navigate IT challenges, manage organisation-wide risks, and elevate the role of IA. These services were designed to support members and stakeholders of organisations such as CEOs, Audit Committees, Chief Financial Officers, Chief Information Officers, Chief Technology Officers and Compliance Officers to effectively meet their responsibilities and address their IT-related concerns. IT risks typically arise in areas such as IT Governance, IT Applications and IT Technical Controls especially now that organisations are more dependent than ever on integrated systems. IT projects must ensure that there is a link between business and IT while new regulations may

require the attention of the IT department. The way organisations safeguard their information is coming under increased scrutiny as new and heightened threats, vulnerabilities, and greater uncertainty must be effectively managed. IT risks not effectively addressed may result in failed projects, regulatory sanctions and reputational damage, increased costs, poor quality management information, fraud, difficulties in complying with regulation and loss of leveraged benefits across the organisation. PwC’s IA methodology also identifies significant IT risks, the impact of which is both operational and financial in nature and, as such, represents a key area of focus for both IT and financial management

IT risks not effectively addressed may result in failed projects, regulatory sanctions and reputational damage within any organisation. In addition, peer group comparison provides insight into how other industries are managing their IT and allows organisations to identify areas for improvement. An organisation’s IT risk profile is compared against peers in key areas, quickly producing a benchmark of relative risk maturity against up to 600 other organisations.

70 Gold the international investment, finance & professional services magazine of cyprus

BOOK REVIEW The Fall of the Euro: Reinventing the Eurozone and the Future of Global Investing By Jens Nordvig (McGraw-Hill Professional, 2013)


RRP: £23.99 (£23.99 from

ittle has been written about the instability of the euro but it’s a very real threat to investors worldwide, as well as to the global economy. Swings in global asset markets have been increasingly driven by developments in Europe and its economic and political developments will be a persistent source of shocks for global financial markets. This book by one of the world’s top experts on the euro describes the eurozone’s unstable equilibrium and explains why a breakup is still a possibility. Nordvig delivers a comprehensive analysis of how the euro experiment has evolved over time; he examines the current landscape, the economic consequences of a union, and the imbalance between politics and economics, and finally gives his assessment of future outcomes. Following an exposure of the inherent flaws and instability that are plaguing the system, a thought-provoking discussion unfolds that examines what is necessary to maintain the current arrangement, and the likelihood of various break-up scenarios, along with the associated economic, political, and financial market implications. Scary for readers in Cyprus!

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business consultation

Help is {business}

at Hand Many companies are experiencing difficult times but, with the right professional advice, they can take the correct decisions that will ensure their survival. By John Vickers | Photography by Jo Michaelides


he last time that Rakis Christoforou was interviewed on these pages, he had just become the first Cypriot to obtain the Certified in Financial Forensics (CFF) and Accredited in Business Valuation (ABV) certifications after passing two rigorous exams in New York and meeting the strict professional education and experience requirements. He was then working for Bank of Cyprus but, following the events of March, decided that it was time to set up his own company, RC Business Valuation & Forensic Accounting Ltd. When he spoke to Gold this time, he had just returned from at National conference on Forensic and Valuation Services in Las Vegas where he not only interacted with his peers but attended a presentation which suggested what ought to be happening in Cyprus right now.

Gold: Given your successful career in the banking industry, what made you decide to resign and form your own company in the present turbulent economic environment where most companies are struggling to survive? Rakis Christoforou: Precisely because of my desire to help companies that are going through difficult times due to the economic and financial crisis. As a result of the crisis, banking institutions are unable to financially support their customers who have been left alone to find solutions to their problems. It is generally expected that the next two years will be very difficult for many companies operating in Cyprus. Only those with proper professional consultation will be able to take the right business decisions and survive during this critical period. I believe that my long experience in the accounting/banking professions, combined with my unique qualifications, enables me to help companies take the right decisions for their future.

72 Gold the international investment, finance & professional services magazine of cyprus

Rakis Christoforou was the first Qualified Accountant (CPA) in Cyprus and Greece to obtain the Certified in Financial Forensics (CFF) and Accredited in Business Valuation (ABV). Previously he had earned his Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration (BBA) from Baruch College in New York in 1988 and soon afterwards passed the Certified Public Accountancy (CPA) Examination. He worked for a number of years as an Auditor for Touche Ross and Deloitte & Touche before joining the banking Industry in 1992. In July 2013 he resigned from the Bank of Cyprus and formed his own company, RC Business Valuation & Forensic Accounting Ltd, the first company in Cyprus specializing in the areas of Financial Forensics, Business Valuation and Business/Debt Restructuring. He is Vice Chairman of the committee of Economic Crime and Forensic Accounting (ECFA) of the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Cyprus (ICPAC), member of The ICPAC, The AICPA (American Institute of Certified Public Accountants), The CGMA (Chartered Global Management Accountants) and The ACFE (Association of Certified Fraud Examiners) and the UK Chartered Institute for Securities and Investment (CISI). 

Rakis Christoforou

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Gold 73

business consultation

Gold: Having worked in the banking sector for many years, why do you think the main banking institutions in Cyprus find themselves in their current situation? Did you ever expect such a crisis? R.C.: It was evident to me at least three years ago that wrong decisions taken by the main financial institutions to continue expanding at home and abroad would lead to them experiencing very difficult times in the future. Of course, I did not expect things to turn out to be that bad but it was clear to me that the banks were not properly supervised, that corporate governance was not working properly and that people without the adequate educational background and the required expertise were advancing to the highest levels. Consequently, it was inevitable that a number of bad policy decisions would be taken and implemented. The results of these decisions are what we are experiencing now. With all this in mind, I started thinking of my own exit plan. The decision to specialize in the newest developments in the accounting profession – Financial Forensics and Business Valuation – was a big challenge. Gold: When did you set up your own company formed and what differentiates it from other consultancy firms? R.C.: RC Business Valuation & Forensic Accounting Ltd is a very young company, having been established in July this year, but I’m proud to say that we have already been able to help a number of businesses through our services. What really differentiates us from other accounting or consultancy firms is the fact that we are the first company in Cyprus to offer services in three very specialized areas. The first concerns Independent Business Valuations which we perform to help companies decide on the steps that are necessary for business sustainability in this highly turbulent economic environment. Our firm offers tailor-made business consultation, specialized advice and continuous business support for comprehensive practical solutions which ultimately increase shareholder value. Independent business appraisals for determining how much a company is worth also play a very important role today for a variety of other reasons such as determining the value of intangible assets (brands, trade names, etc., in cases of mergers and acquisitions), business strategic planning and the maximization of shareholder value, exit planning, financing, reorganization & spinoffs, determining the value of minority shareholders, liquidation & bankruptcy, damages litigation, insurance claims, determining the value of a business in a divorce dispute, fair

value measurement, due diligence, Initial Public Offerings (IPOs), etc. Gold: The others? R.C.: The second is Business/Debt Restructuring. Proper business/debt restructuring and negotiations with Banking Institutions play a crucial role in improving business performance and achieving business sustainability during this ‘fragile’ period. Our approach to the issue is to make a full evaluation of our clients’ outstanding debt and explore all possible options for refinancing and restructuring. It is crucial for all businesses today to proceed with a thorough analysis of their operations and then go ahead with both business and debt restructuring. The third service is

As happened in the US, our leaders should focus on finding a solution to the real estate market as soon as possible Financial Forensics and Forensic Accounting. We offer litigation support for clients, either directly or through their lawyers, serving them as financial consultants and/or financial experts on complicated financial issues and damage calculations. We also assist in financial dispute resolutions, financial forensic investigations on alleged financial statement misrepresentations, management and/or employee fraud, or other fraud investigations. At the same time, we help clients develop a sound risk management plan which includes Fraud Risk Management and proper Risk Assessment. We also assist businesses in their fraud prevention, detection and response procedures. Gold: Although this is clearly a lot of work, why did you decide to restrict the services you offer to these three categories? R.C.: Mainly for two reasons. First of all, these are my areas of expertise and, in reality, all three are interconnected. I strongly believe in the specialization of the services that accountants provide. We sometimes see accounting firms claim that they can provide services which they do not really have the expertise or qualified personnel to perform in a competent manner. This can result in poor performance and damage to both the client and the reputation of the accounting firm. Business Valuation and Forensic Accounting are specialties within the accounting profession that require proper train-

74 Gold the international investment, finance & professional services magazine of cyprus

ing, education and expertise. The second reason is my belief that Business Valuation, Forensic Accounting and Business Consultation should be kept separately from accounting and auditing tasks in order to avoid conflict of interest issues. For example, auditing firms sometimes perform business valuations for companies to which they provide audit services, which creates a conflict of interest that may be raised later in a merger or acquisition case. Gold: What was the Las Vegas conference about? R.C.: The conference was organised by the AICPA (American Institute of Certified Public Accountants) and the Chartered Accountants of Canada and it featured various sessions relating to Business Valuation, Business Consultation, Financial Forensic Investigations and Forensic Accounting. Economists and financial experts provided the latest news and information about the US and global economies. In addition, we were given an opportunity to have one-on-one meetings with the experts and the keynote speakers who were leading professionals and academics. Their genuine intention to assist us was shown in the e-mails I received from several of them afterwards in which they confirmed their willingness to advise me on any complex issues I come across. Gold: Did you learn anything relating to the present situation in Cyprus that you could share with us? R.C.: Relative to the situation in Cyprus, what really impressed me was the analysis they carried out on how quickly the US economy managed to recover from the crisis. It has improved significantly during the last couple of years mainly because decisions were taken and implemented relating to the housing/real estate market in a relatively short period of time. This had an immediate positive effect on the labour market and personal consumption. Their economists concluded that the key to improving the overall US economy was this market and once action was taken they were sure that the other major economic indicators (unemployment rate, consumer price index, GDP, etc.) would improve without much intervention from the government, and they proved to be correct. In Cyprus, it seems to me that we are acting very slowly and trying to find solutions to too many problems at the same time without a clear vision and strategy. As a result we may end up doing too little too late. As happened in the US, our leaders should focus on finding a solution to the real estate market as soon as possible. Once this is achieved, then we will see a real improvement in our economy.



European Parliament

backs plans to halt reckless scrapping of

old ships


lans agreed with EU ministers to end the scrapping of old EU-registered ships on third-country beaches and ensure they are recycled in EU-approved facilities worldwide instead were backed by the European Parliament in October. Beaching ships to scrap them jeopardises workers' health, safety and the environment, say MEPs. "I want to stress that this is not an attack against India, Bangladesh or Pakistan – the countries that currently practice beaching – but against the dangerous and highly polluting practice of beaching itself, said Swedish MEP Carl Schlyter, who steered the legislation through Parliament. "This regulation incentivizes these countries to make the necessary investments in proper ship recycling facilities – above all for the sake of safe and environmentally-sound jobs in their countries," he added. In future, EU-registered ships will have to be dismantled in EU-approved ship recycling facilities which must fulfil specific requirements, be certified and be regularly inspected. During the negotiations, Parliament strengthened the proposed requirements,

inter alia by obliging ship-recycling businesses to operate in built structures, which must be "designed, constructed and be operated in a safe and environmentally sound manner". They must hold in hazardous materials throughout the recycling process and handle them and their waste only on impermeable floors with effective drainage. Waste quantities will have to be documented, and their treatment authorised only in waste treatment or recycling facilities Non-EU ships, as well as EU ones, will be covered by the regulation insofar as they will have to carry an inventory of hazardous materials when calling at EU ports. Enforcement measures, including penalties, are to be set by member states. The Commission will have to report on the feasibility of a financial instrument to facilitate safe and sound ship recycling and, if appropriate, present a legislative proposal within 3 years of the entry into force of the regulation. The regulation will apply to ships at the earliest two years and, at the latest, five years after its entry into force, the eventual date depending upon when the recycling capacity of facilities on the EU list exceeds a threshold of 2.5 million light displacement tonnes. The provisions on ship-recycling facilities will apply from one year after the regulation enters into force (i.e. 20 days after its publication). The draft legislation was approved by 591 votes to 47, with 32 abstentions.

BOOK REVIEW Like A Virgin: Secrets They Won’t Teach You at Business School By Sir Richard Branson (Virgin Books, 2013)


RRP: £9.99 (£5.18 from t 20, Richard Branson founded Virgin Records, first as a mail order record retailer, then as a record store and, in 1972, as a record company which, 20 years later, was one of the top six in the world. The Virgin Group now includes air travel, mobile, financial, retail, music, Internet, drinks, rail, hotels and leisure, with around 200 companies in over 30 countries. Sir Richard Branson (he was knighted in 1999) gives information and advice gained from personal experience, including plenty of tips for managing, motivating and empowering employees as well as for being innovative and getting your company noticed without having a huge budget (he suggests performing stunts to gain free publicity instead of paying for ads, something that he has frequently done over the past 40 years). His writing style is informal, breezy and easy to digest and, because he is telling his own story, he comes up with thoughts and ideas that are not found in the usual business manuals or, indeed, at Business School.

the international investment, finance & professional services magazine of cyprus

Gold 75



Cyprus and Transparency Putting the OECD report into context By Andreas Neocleous


here has been considerable publicity in the financial media regarding the fact that Cyprus, together with the British Virgin Islands, Luxembourg and Seychelles, has been assessed as non-compliant with international information exchange standards by the OECD Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes. It is important to put this issue into a proper context. Compliance with international information exchange standards is assessed in two phases. The Phase One assessment focuses on whether the requisite legal and institutional infrastructure and procedures are in place for effective information exchange to be possible. Phase Two focuses on the practical implementation of the procedures. Only countries that have satisfactorily passed the Phase One assessment can go forward to Phase Two. Cyprus underwent the Phase One assessment in 2011 and the Phase Two assessment was concluded in March 2013, at the peak of the banking crisis. The respective reports were published on 5 April 2012 and 22 November 2013. It should be noted that Cyprus is one of

only 50 jurisdictions that have undergone a Phase Two assessment. A further 50 jurisdictions have undergone only a Phase One assessment. More than half (29 of the 50) have been found to lack at least one essential element and in more than a quarter (14 of the 50) the deficiencies are sufficiently serious to prevent admission to the second phase until they have been dealt with. These 14 include Switzer-

We must all

compete in order to survive, but we must do so in a sustainable


land, where significant new legislation is required in order to put the essential legal infrastructure in place. The Phase Two assessment evaluates compliance against 10 criteria. Cyprus was found to be fully compliant in five of these, largely compliant (that is, showing only minor failings) in one, partially compliant in two and noncompliant in two. Austria, Jamaica and Mauritius, which achieved full compli-

76 Gold the international investment, finance & professional services magazine of cyprus

The Cyprus authorities’ contention is that the

non-compliant rating is unduly harsh and does not reflect the situation as it is today

ance in fewer areas than Cyprus, were nevertheless excluded from the list of non-compliant jurisdictions. The areas in which Cyprus was assessed as non-compliant concerned the availability of historic accounting records and the use of compulsory powers to obtain information. In the case of accounting records, the report acknowledged that one of the two reasons for the “non-compliant” rating was that, for most of the monitoring period, trusts were under no obligation to maintain the information concerned, but that new legislation had recently been introduced to require this. The other reason was a failure by companies to comply with the legal requirement to submit financial information. In their response, the Cyprus authorities pointed out that delay in obtaining information had occurred in only 10 out of 650 cases examined, and that in nine of those 10 cases the information had subsequently been obtained and in the sole outstanding case legal proceedings had been instituted. They also pointed out that personnel numbers and procedures in the relevant department had been significantly strengthened, leading to a substantial improvement in its performance in responding to requests for information, and that this had been noted in the report but not taken into account in the assessment. The principal reason for the “non-compliant” rating regarding the use of compulsory powers was that until the end of 2011 the authorities did not pursue enquiries until a tax return had been submitted. As the report acknowledged, this policy was changed from the end of 2011. However, this was not reflected in the assessment of compliance. The other reason for the non-

compliant rating was a perceived failure to use the powers under the law effectively. In their response, the Cyprus authorities pointed out that around 2,000 prosecutions are undertaken each year, which they consider to be an effective and proportionate response. The authorities also noted that the apparently low compliance rate in the filing of annual returns is partly due to the high proportion of inactive companies in the total population. While the current rating is undoubtedly a disappointment, it does not affect the effectiveness of Cyprus holding and financing structures and it has to be viewed in the context that only 18 of the 50 jurisdictions assessed were found to be fully compliant. Several internationally significant finance centres fell short of full compliance, including the Channel Islands, Germany, Hong Kong, Malta, the Netherlands, Singapore, the UK and the USA. No doubt, following the banking crisis and the allegations of laxity in the Cyprus regulatory environment that preceded it, there was a general reluctance to give Cyprus the benefit of the doubt, and the Cyprus authorities’ contention is that the noncompliant rating is unduly harsh and does not reflect the situation as it is today. The government has announced that the tax authorities are working with the accounting and legal professions and all other relevant bodies in order to rectify all the reported deficiencies, and that it is confident that significant improvements will be noted at the next review, which is due to take place in 2014. The business services sector will be a key driver in rebuilding the Cyprus economy, since it will be some years before any benefits accrue from any gas reserves and other sectors are unlikely to fuel a recovery. Therefore we must repair the damage to our business and make sure that it does not happen again. We must all compete in order to survive, but we must do so in a sustainable manner, having regard to the long term. In terms of the tax and business regime, this means maintaining an appropriate balance. We must offer a competitive tax and business environment, but not to the extent that other, more influential countries perceive this as a threat to their interests, as some may well have done

earlier this year. The most important asset in our sector, whether for an individual, a firm, or a jurisdiction, is a “good name”, a reputation for integrity and trustworthiness. This takes years to build, but can be lost in an instant, with disastrous consequences. It behoves us all to work together to show that Cyprus maintains the highest standards.

BOOK REVIEW After the Music Stopped: The Financial Crisis, the Response, and the Work Ahead By Alan S. Blinder (Penguin, 2013)


RRP: £18.64 (£18.64 from

hen America’s financial structure crumbled, the damage proved to be not only deep, but wide. It took the crisis for the world to discover just how truly interconnected and fragile the global financial system is. This book explains what really happened and why in the financial crisis and then explains how American and international government intervention prevented a total meltdown. Many of the US government’s actions, particularly the Fed’s, were previously unimaginable and yet, to a great extent, they worked. A glance at the expert reviews in The Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal and others reveals that Alan Blinder’s account is viewed as the best of many on the subject. He brings both great credibility (Princeton Professor of Economics, former Vice-Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board) and a new focus on the ‘why’ rather than the ‘what’ of the crisis and response. Following his analysis, he gives a set of seven prescriptions for dealing with the next crisis. He clearly is an optimist and believes that enlightenment can change behaviour, even in bankers.

info: Andreas Neocleous is the Founder & Managing Partner, Andreas Neocleous & Co. LLC.

the international investment, finance & professional services magazine of cyprus

Gold 77


Champagne’s story, from its serendipitous beginnings to its slow yet steady rise to stardom, is reminiscent of a sentimental life lesson. This sparkling wine has proven that, in order to succeed, a fine balance of patience, practising the art of perfection, and positivity needs be struck. In essence: confront the bad, celebrate the good, and toast to times to come. By Chloe Panayides

investing in champagne


In a hopeful parallel to the brutal economic storms that worldwide economies have had to weather this year, 2013 also bore witness to the ecological battering of France’s famous Bordeaux wine-cultivating region, to seemingly destructive ends. And yet a sparkling opportunity lay in wait. As hail and vicious winds ripped through the appellations in August, uprooting delicate vines and dashing dreams, wine aficionados nervously wondered as to the uncertain repercussions of this downfall. Would the 2013 Bordeaux vintage possess any quality? Would the fine-wine market be able to recover following the poor performance of preceding years, with prices having plateaued from 2010? How might this crisis be metamorphosed into an opportunity?

And so it is that, on the brink of a New Year, collectors and investors are sweeping away the old adage claiming that the only bubble in the wine market is in Champagne, and are, rather, toasting the alternative possibilities that lie ahead, embodied in this otherwise overlooked effervescent vino. Named after the region in northeast France where it was first cultivated, the title ‘Champagne’ is protected by international treaty, meaning that the bearing of this name on a sparkling wine’s label is reserved exclusively for output from the Champagne region. With the exception of the United States, which is not party to this treaty, other countries have renamed their sparkling wines accordingly: in Italy they serve Spumante; Germany, meanwhile, serves Sekt, and other areas of France produce Vin Mousseux. Once designated as being ‘the devil’s wine’, Champagne came into being wholly accidentally and unexpectedly in the 1600s. While aspiring to create quality wine, wine-makers in the Champagne region were often plagued

Champagne Etiquette


he image conjured of opening a bottle of Champagne is all too familiar: bursting forth with brute force, the cork shoots into the air, releasing a waterfall of crisp bubbles, to the delight of gleeful onlookers. Meanwhile, the actuality of how it should be done (in keeping with Champagne etiquette) is very different. Realists bemoan the fact that in utilising this method, precious Champagne is wastefully lost, whilst pessimists fear the strong possibility that

someone may just lose an eye in the endeavour to hear that famous ‘pop’. Instead, experts advise, one should seek a soft ‘sigh’ from the cork as it is slowly released. Tilt the bottle at a slight angle. Keeping one hand firmly on the cork and the other at the base of the bottle, slowly rotate the bottle (not the cork), until the stopper is eased out. When ready to pour, Champagne glassware has very particular characteristics and for very good reasons. The long stem ensures that drinkers’ hands

do not alter the chilled temperature of the wine, whilst the narrow bowl and thin sides enhance the flow of bubbles and prevent against over-oxygenating the sparkling wine. The most discerning of glassware also has an etched bottom (replicating the roughness of crystal), which assists in invigorating the bubbles even further. Pouring gently while tilting the glass is considered the correct method for distributing Champagne; a direct down pour will, in all likelihood, result in unnecessary froth and

potential overflow. If complying with the correct Champagne etiquette, the bottle must unequivocally be chilled to 7-9 degrees Celsius. Champagne buckets have a larger volume than standard wine-cooling buckets to accommodate water and ice to achieve the correct temperature. For those who wish to store their Champagne, a cool, dark place devoid of big temperature fluctuations should be sought, as, like its still counterpart, sparkling wine is sensitive to temperature and light.

by particularly cold weather conditions, forcing them to bottle their output before the fundamental fermentation process had been completed. Come springtime, denatured yeast would be roused, and the fermentation process would begin again from within the bottle, causing the creation of bubbles and a build-up of carbon dioxide. Many bottles would succumb to the internal pressure and explode (hence ‘the devil’s wine’); the substance in the remaining bottles was deemed a sign of poor winemaking.

Aggressive branding has associated Champagne with success, celebratory occasions, and unremitting recreation Still, a select few wine-makers (perhaps most famously the Benedictine monk, Dom Perignon) began nurturing the mode of production and thus pioneering quality. Slowly but surely, Champagne gained great prominence amongst English and French royalty. Come the 1800s, the Champagne industry was bubbling boisterously away. Exclusively, three grapes are utilised in the production of genuine Champagne: Pinot Meunier, Pinot Noir, and Chardonnay. The modern-day méthode champenoise is considered to be particularly labour-intensive, requiring of great skill and finesse, with the key distinguishing step being the second fermentation in the bottle. As Champagne is already named for the region in which it is cultivated, Champagnes are distinguished by the names of the ‘houses’ or marques that produce them. Particularly prominent houses, such as Bollinger, Charles Heidsieck, Krug, Laurent-Perrier, Moet et Chandon, and Veuve Clicquot-Ponsardin, are reverently referred to as the Grand Marques. Whilst the production of Champagne is a yearly endeavour, only select harvests – in which the grapes grow to what is deemed as being exceptional perfection –

the international investment, finance & professional services magazine of cyprus

Gold 79

investing in champagne

Fame and Fortune W

hilst the pervading hues and flavour nuances of Champagne are deeply appreciated and held dear, sometimes the importance of quality may just be usurped by the monumental opportunity to own a piece of history, or indeed posses decadence incarnate. The following Champagne sales display the thrall of fortune and fame:

1. Having rested tumultuously on the seabed of Finland’s autonomous Aaland archipelago for nearly 200 years, a bottle of Veuve Clicquot Champagne was discovered in July 2010. Assumed to be booty from a shipwreck dat-

ing to between 1825 and 1830, the bottle sold for an incredible €30,000. A bottle of Champagne from the now defunct house, Juglar, was salvaged alongside the Veuve Clicquot, and managed to secure a likewise impressive selling price of €24,000. A single buyer from Asia purchased both bottles.

2. 1916: The Jönköping, a Swedish freighter, is traversing the Gulf of Finland, having been specially commissioned to deliver wines to Tsar Nicholas II of Russia. With the world in the throes of the First World War, a German submarine struck the freighter, sending it

to the seabed along with the 2,000 bottles of wine. Fast forward to 1998: Almost unbelievably, all 2,000 bottles are recovered and distributed worldwide for auction. In a poignant twist of fate, the most expensive bottle to be sold was actually done so from its original intended destination of Russia. An auction held at The Ritz-Carlton, Moscow, witnessed a bottle of vintage Heidsieck 1907 sell for an astounding $275,000.

3. This year, Champagne brand, Goût de Diamants released a very special bottle of Champagne. Whilst the house speaks highly of the flavour profile

encapsulated within the bottle, depicting it as floral, refreshing, crescendoing with a creamy texture, and cadencing with a light and elegant finish, it is perhaps not the quality alone that has buyers parting with $1.2 million dollars to possess it. In keeping with the house name that translates to ‘taste of diamonds’, Goût de Diamants created a superlatively luxurious bottle, accented with an 18-carat white gold signature Superman badge logo, centred upon which is a flawless white diamond measuring 19 carats. An embodiment of prestige and fame, it is no wonder it costs a fortune.



3 are utilised in the production of ‘vintage’ Champagne. In such cases, the Champagnes are created almost exclusively (at least 80%) from this single harvest. Thereafter, the bottles are dated (indicating the year of harvest) and matured for a minimum of three years

prior to release. Whilst families of vintages may be identified – such as 1993, 1990, and 1976 – each vintage Champagne has a unique taste, much like vintage still wines or single cask whiskies. Non-vintage, in contrast, is brought to fruition diachronically,

80 Gold the international investment, finance & professional services magazine of cyprus

by blending a mixture of harvests in correct proportions in order to replicate a single, uniform flavour profile every year. Indeed, in the world of collecting and investing, it is vintage examples that endure, keeping – if not increasing – their value. And with attractive buy-in prices, Champagne may just serve as some muchneeded diversity within a collector’s investment portfolio. “There are a group of investors who feel that there is only one way that Champagne prices are headed, and that is up,” notes Geoffrey Troy of New York Wine Warehouse, the North American auction partner for wines at Christie’s. Troy elaborates: “We are beginning to see a number of serious wine collectors who are buying serious amounts of Champagne as an investment.” Official figures concur. London-based fine wine exchange, Liv-ex, known for operating the established and respected Fine Wine 100 Index, also runs the Champagne 25 Index, which tracks the prices of the world’s top vintage Champagnes. Tracking a five-year period to July of this year, Liv-ex published figures suggesting that the Champagne 25 Index has risen by 32%, in contrast with the Fine Wine 100 Index, which rose by just 3%. Indeed, in the nine-month period concluding the third quarter of this year, the Champagne 25 Index rose by 9.7%, with big strides taken in particular by Louis Roederer’s Cristal 1996, increasing by 9.2%, Taittinger Comte Champagne 2002, 8.9%, and Krug 1996, 7.4%. For those not wishing, at present, to commit to the rich heights of, for example, Bordeaux, experts explain that Champagne offers genuine, accessible quality. Liv-ex Director Justin Gibbs details the difference thus: “An average case of Champagne in our Champagne 25 index costs £1,560 compared with the average Super Tuscan case of £1,807 or Bordeaux First Growth of £4,658.” Still, many key vintages – lauded as outstanding and drawing the attention of industry insiders – have been released postmillennium, for example, those of 2002 and 2004. And the experts agree that, as with all worthwhile endeavours, good things come to those who wait. Scott Assemakis, founder of London-based merchant European Fine Wines says: “Champagne houses only release their produce when they’re certain of its

The typical timeframe for investment in Champagne to mature is between

seven to ten years

quality. For example, it took Dom Perignon nine years before they were happy to release their 2002 vintage.” Investors, likewise, must not be in a rush. Assemakis continues: “The typical timeframe for investment in Champagne to mature is between seven to ten years.” With numbers having already been creeping steadily up, the suggestion from the experts seems to indicate that Champagne’s investment story is wilfully budding, but has yet to come into full, prosperous bloom: an exciting prospect. Nurturing this flowering is the image that Champagne holds within society. Gibbs explains: “Champagne is what is drunk in the casinos of the world, on the yachts of oligarchs and by footballers’ wives, so there is an element of flash money about it.” Aggressive branding has associated Champagne with success, celebratory occasions, and unremitting recreation. Thus, no matter how deep the volume of production and wide the distribution may be (Moet et Chandon alone produces almost 30 million bottles annually), Champagne gets drunk and quickly. Gibbs elaborates as to the consequences of the immediacy with which Champagne is consumed: “As a result, a vintage can become scarce within a couple of years of being released by the producer. As the supply of the highest-quality Champagnes declines, the price quickly rises.” With stocks already considered diminished, the stress on supply is further aggravated by the widening of markets setting their sights upon this special sparkling wine. Assemakis notes that European Fine Wines has seen a solid spike in demand for top quality Champagne from across Asia – particularly from China and Singapore – endeavouring to expand horizons profitably. Indeed, Sotheby’s hosted an auction in Hong Kong in January of 2013, selling vintage magnums (a bottle with capacity of 1.5 litres) from 1921, 1929 and 1947, raising some HKD 239,000, the equivalent of about €22,800. Further auctions have, unsurprisingly, been scheduled. Indeed, closer to Champagne’s home, one of the grandest of the Grand Marques, Moet et Chandon, made history with its Sotheby’s collaboration, resulting in November 2013’s Moet Grand Vintage Auction. In celebration of its 270th anniversary, the marque’s Chef de Cave, Benoit Gouez,

personally selected 270 bottles of Blanc and Rose Champagnes to commemorate each active year since the house was founded in 1743. Vintages spanned a century, ranging from the latest 2004 release all the way back to 1914. Furthermore, 174 magnums and three jeroboams were put forward for auction to honour the founding date. The 74 lots came to auction direct from Moet et Chandon’s 28km of cellars located in Epernay, Champagne. Sotheby’s Worldwide Head of Wines,

trasts (combining late frosts and poor flowering with a warm and dry period prior to picking), and a consequential 30% decrease in yield, the grapes picked nevertheless possessed a fine balance between sugar and acid that has been described as not only exceptional, but rare. So, the overriding message in Champagne’s bottle? Perhaps, in the end, the New Year may be better celebrated by carefully storing that vintage bottle of Champagne bought for the occasion, and toasting, instead, with a glass of fizzy lemonade!

A special poignancy is embodied in the 1914 vintage, due to it being the last one picked before the full onset of World War I Serena Sutcliffe, said of the occasion: “We have never before held an auction of this scale, with such a selection of rare and fine Champagnes from one producer.” So, how did the auction fare? Surprising even the experts, the vintage bottles consistently outshone their designated high estimates. Three two-bottle lots of the 1921 vintage averaged a selling price of £8,813 versus a top estimate of £5,200 per lot. Likewise, three lots of one bottle of the 1928 vintage commanded an impressive £5,400 each, despite their top-price estimate of £2,400 per bottle. Perhaps most impressive of all, however, were the three lot sales of two 1914 vintages, which collectively sold for almost £25,000. Industry insiders explain that a special poignancy is embodied in the 1914 vintage, due to it being the last vintage picked before the full onset of World War I. In total, the Moet Grand Vintage Auction amassed £147,333 over two days. More gainful than money, however, is the metamorphosing appreciation of Champagne’s place in a collector’s portfolio. Of this, Gouez insightfully commented: “I want to show that great vintage Champagnes are also great wines and the fact that there has been so much interest in this auction shows that more and more collectors understand this.” And the positivity does not end here. Respected experts, such as Charles Philipponnat of Krug, suggest that the 2012 growing season is poised to create a luminous vintage, rivalling even the most celebrated predecessors. Despite being a year of weather con-

BOOK REVIEW The Goldfinch By Donna Tartt (Little, Brown, 2013)


RRP: £20 (£10.51 from onna Tartt, author of the phenomenal bestsellers The Secret History and The Little Friend, returns with a remarkable new novel that has already received extraordinary reviews including comparisons with Proust, Dickens, Dostoevsky and Nabokov. One reason is doubtless its length (784 pages) but, more substantially, in the detailed description of the life of 13-year-old Theo Decker, who survives an accident that tears his life apart, the story is indeed Dickensian in its scope and treatment. The book, which draws obvious parallels with Great Expectations and even makes references and nods to Oliver Twist, is a haunted odyssey through presentday America and a drama of enthralling power. Combining unforgettably vivid characters and thrilling suspense, it is a sweeping story of loss and obsession, of survival and self-invention, of the deepest mysteries of love, identity and fate. What ties it all together is the 17th century Dutch Master painting of The Goldfinch by Carel Fabritius which accidentally and completely illegally comes into Theo’s possession. An extraordinary work of fiction, it is highly recommended.

the international investment, finance & professional services magazine of cyprus

Gold 81

A Day in the Life

Despina Panayiotou Theodosiou The President of the Women’s International Shipping & Trading Association (WISTA) Cyprus is looking forward to being a mother, obtaining her MBA and seeing Andrea Bocelli in concert.

“I need my sleep so I get

up around 7.30am and I run errands before I come to the office because once I’m at work, I’m there for a long time. I don’t have breakfast but I grab a coffee on the way to the office and I have my second one when I get there. I start at the Tototheo Group, where I’m the Chief Financial Operator, at 9.3010am, which probably sounds late to many people but I finish and sleep very late. And I’m now 6 and a half months pregnant so I know that things are going to change soon. Since this is my first baby I don’t know how realistic my ideas are of what will happen but I have a business trip planned for six weeks after I give birth. I’m sure I’ll manage! At the office, apart from going through my e-mails and scheduling meetings for the afternoon, I don’t really have a routine and no two days are ever the same which is one of the things I love about my job. The other is the fact that I get to travel a lot. It’s something I’ve done and enjoyed since I was a teenager and I am glad that I still have the chance. My family was in shipping, which is why I tried to avoid it! I knew only too well how much work it requires. When I was

younger I wanted to become a psychologist but I changed my mind when I was about 16 and decided that I would like to be an economist, which is why I studied Economics. Right now I am also studying in Denmark for an Executive MBA in Shipping and Logistics. When I started with this company, I envisaged it as being for a short time but I soon loved it and so I am still here. I certainly have no regrets about my choice of career, despite the long hours. For lunch I usually have something to eat at my desk. If not I am famished by the afternoon. I don’t cook at all – that is something else that may have to change very soon! I only go out for lunch if I have business meetings. I never leave work before 8-9pm and then I work from home. I usually go for dinner with my husband and/ or colleagues and associates and when we get home around 11, I start work again, maybe until 2 in the morning. The weekend is really the only time I have to do the things I like. So I spend time with my husband, we go out, visit friends, etc. I used to do a lot of sport but I don’t have time for it anymore. I was once a member of the national Judo team and I exercised

This is what I’m reading these days

82 Gold the international investment, finance & professional services magazine of cyprus

Favourites: Morgan Freeman, Meryl Streep, Andrea Bocelli

for up to 8 hours a day. Now I may not exercise for weeks but I try to walk when I get a chance. I like reading, especially on politics. At the moment I’m reading a book about the first Prime Minister of Singapore, Lee Kuan

Yew, whom I quite admire, although he is a rather controversial figure. He was the one who transformed Singapore from a third world country to what it is today. If I could live somewhere else I would choose Singapore and if it wasn’t for the weather, I could happily live in Copenhagen too. I enjoy listening to most types of music except heavy metal and I especially like crossover opera so I have all the Pavarotti & Friends concerts on DVD and CD. I regret that I never managed to see Pavarotti ‘live’ which is why I want to make sure that one day I get a chance to see Andrea Bocelli in concert. I love the cinema too, though I only go 2-3 times a year now. My favourite actors are Morgan Freeman and Meryl Streep. Being President of WISTA Cyprus takes a lot of my time – maybe 1-2 hours a day – and although shipping has always been a male-dominated sector everywhere, since starting WISTA I have discovered that Cyprus is much more forwardthinking and open-minded about women in business than I used to think. Being elected to the Board of the Cyprus Shipping Chamber was something of a surprise, not so much because I am a woman but because I am only 32.This is too young to say that I have no ambitions left but the main one, both personally and professionally, is to be the best I can be. My first priority now is to be a good mother. I start in March!”









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Gold Magazine December January

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