theme | economy
AmCham Board David Atanessian President First Mortgage Vahak Hovnanian First Vice-President Hovnanian International Araksya Melkonyan Second Vice President and Treasurer IAB Center Andrew Hovhannisyan Board Member Synopsys Altaf Tapia Board Member PricewaterhouseCoopers Georgi Isayan Board Member Credence Systems Tim Slater Board Member HSBC Bank Armenia
Contents Editorial............................................................................................. 4 Recent Events.....................................................................................5 New Board of Directors....................................................................8 AmCham New Members..................................................................9 Member to Member Program........................................................12 Member News..................................................................................19 Real Estate Market in Armenia Differs Greatly from those in Similar Countries.......................................32 Analytical Article on Real Estate Market in Armenia and Abroad
Real Estate Market in Armenia ..................................................47 Survey
Real Estate Market in Armenia Felt Impact of Global Crisis................................................................61 Interview with Mr. Hovhannes Hovhannisyan, Deputy Head of the State Committee of the Real Estate Cadastre
Marko Velikonja Ex-Officio Board Member U.S. Embassy in Armenia
The Only Certainty in Business Today is Uncertainty....................................................................66
Interview with Mr. David Atanessian, Managing Partner and CEO
Diana Gaziyan Executive Director
of the First Mortgage Company in Armenia
When the Skies Open.................................................................70
Minas Hambardzumyan Communications Director
New Perspectives in Air Communication between the U.S. and Armenia
Gohar Sargsyan Administrative Assistant
IFRS Training Programme Launched at IAB Centre
Getting Ready for New Reporting Standards............................78 Comments of the RA Ministry of Finance...................................84
Kristina Vardanyan Accountant
Interview with the RA Deputy Minister of Finance Mr. Souren Karayan
Melanya Grigoryan Cashier
International Financial Reporting Standards in Armenia - Status Update.......................................92 Expert Article from KPMG
Contacts Armenia Marriott Hotel Ararat Wing, Room 315 1st Amiryan St., Yerevan, RA Tel: (374 10) 599 187 Fax: (374 10) 599 265
Intellectual Property Rights Should be Protected in Armenia ..............................................................................97 Comments by the Head of Microsoftâ€™s Armenia office, Grigor Barsegyan
New Tax Code?..........................................................................................103 Expert Article by Paul Cooper (PWC)
E-mail: email@example.com Web: www.amcham.am Publishaer American Chamber of Commerce in Armenia The content of this publication must not be reproduced in full or in part without prior written permission of the publisher. Printed by Tigran Mets CJSC. Photos: AmCham Gallery; Photolur Agency; Member Databases.
Dear AmCham Magazine Readers, We are happy to present to you the latest issue of AmCham Business Magazine, devoted to the Armenian real estate market. Nowadays, one can hear lots of speculation on the topic of real estate prices. Some say that this is the best time to purchase real estate, while others advise waiting until the prices decline even further. Since global business and economic developments often create chain reactions, the decline of FDI and foreign remittances to Armenia affected the construction sector, which generates a disproportionately high share of GDP. The sharp contraction of construction volumes left a serious impact on the Armenian economy, leading to an 18.5% overall decline in GDP for the period of January-July 2009. The decline of real estate prices did not result in increased housing demand, as one would expect. On the one hand, potential customers` economic conditions worsened, and on the other hand, banks and credit organizations strongly reduced the volumes of loan provision in order to mitigate their own risks. Has the housing market bottomed out yet? Are there any signs for recovery? Shall we buy now or wait until the real estate prices drop even further? Are the reasons for the decline and behavior of the real estate market similar to those of other countries comparable to Armenia? To answer those questions, we tried to tackle the issue from different perspectives. The magazine contains a survey conducted among players in real estate market (buyers, sellers, brokers, real estate agencies, mortgage bankers, construction companies, etc.) and an exclusive interview with the State Committee of the Real Estate Cadastre. You will also find here an analytical-comparative article which looks at the reasons for the real estate market slowdown and compares the Armenian market to other markets. I hope that this magazine will help you make the right decisions for you and your business.
Diana Gaziyan Executive Director American Chamber of Commerce in Armenia
AmCham | AmCham Events
Member to Member Program Meeting
June 26, 2009 Golden Tulip Hotel Yerevan While the global financial economic crisis continues to affect Armenia, the American Chamber of Commerce in Armenia (AmCham) has come out with a new initiative to help its members and local companies increase their business turnover. The launch of the AmCham Member to Member program (M2M) was conducted on June 26, in Winter Garden, Golden Tulip Hotel. M2M provides for greater business turnover of companies by entitling AmCham members to the best discounts available on goods and services offered by other AmCham members and representatives of the wider business community (non-member companies). More than 60 representatives from AmCham member companies attended the M2M meeting. In his opening speech, Mr. Joseph Pennington, Deputy Chief of Mission of the U.S. Embassy in Armenia, emphasized the importance of AmChamâ€™s efforts in supporting American businesses in Armenia and fostering a better business environment in general. In her speech, AmCham Executive Director Diana Gaziyan stated that not only will the M2M program bring new business opportunities for companies, but it will also create an environment where companies will closely follow information on each other and will be informed about new offers and opportunities. â€œArmenia has a small market and therefore tough competition between companies. On top of that, the financial crisis has created very unfavorable business conditions and companies need to overcome an increased number of obstacles in their day-today activities. AmCham Armenia will help companies by publishing user-friendly information on its website and keeping its members informed on the updates within the framework of the M2M program,â€? Diana Gaziyan said. The M2M participant companies had an opportunity to introduce their companies and offer discounts during the meeting. The M2M program participants are AmCham member and non-member companies. The difference between the two groups is that non-members will not be able to use discounts provided by AmCham membership. AmCham members will be identified as such by presenting a special M2M card issued by AmCham. The complete list of discount offers is published at www.amcham.am and will be updated continuously, since
AmCham | AmCham Events AmCham will be working on including more and more new companies in the program. The offers within the program are valid for one year. Besides, the companies were represented by their promotional/ information materials that were placed on a separate table. In addition to the M2M program, AmCham officially launched its new website. A detailed presentation was devoted to an introduction of various features and options available at www. amcham.am. The website will serve as a good marketing tool for AmCham and its members. It contains comprehensive information on AmCham and its activities. Besides, it is also an investor-oriented tool, which will guide those interested through information about doing business in Armenia including economic sectors, legislation, business registration steps, etc. Member companiesâ€™ information on the website is up to date and is presented in a more marketable way. The evening was concluded by Friday Night, where AmCham members had an opportunity to network in a relaxed atmosphere.
AmCham Annual General Meeting July 15, 2009 Marriott Armenia Hotel Yerevan On July 15, 2009 AmCham hosted its Annual General Meeting (AGM) at Armenia Marriott Hotel. This is an event when AmCham provides a summary report on its activities to the members and most importantly when the new Board of Directors is elected. A detailed presentation by AmCham Board President Mr. David Atanessian addressed progress that AmCham had in advocacy and lobbying activities, promoting organization through publications, as well as other AmCham events. Ms. Araksya Melkonyan, AmCham Second Vice-President/Treasurer, updated the membership on AmChamâ€™s financial situation. 28 regular members were present at the elections. The following are the results of elections.
Mr. David Atanessian, First Mortgage Company
Mr. Vahak Hovnanian, Hovnanian International
Ms. Araksya Melkonyan, IAB Centre
AmCham | AmCham Events Board Members Mr. Altaf Tapia, PWC Mr. Andranik Hovhannisyan, Synopsys Mr. Tim Slater, HSBC Mr. Georgi Isayan, Credence Systems The General Meeting ended with a small reception, where Members had a chance to talk to each other and network.
6. American Chamber of Commerce in Armenia 7. Union of Manufacturers and Businessmen of Armenia Mr. Ralph Yirikian, General Manager of K-Telecom VivaCell-MTS company, was elected (unanimously) as the Chairman of the Steering Committee/Official representative of the UNGC Network in Armenia.
AmCham Reestablishes its Tax Committee September 17, 2009 Yerevan
AmCham Becomes a Member of the UN Global Compact Network Steering Committee June 30, 2009 Yerevan On June 30, the UN Global Compact (GC) created its first network in Armenia. AmCham was elected as a non-business representative to the Global Compact steering committee with a majority of votes. The following member companies/organizations were elected to the Steering Committee:
1. VivaCell-MTS 2. Ashtarak-kat 3. Coca-Cola 4. Grant Thornton Amyot 5. Cascade Capital Holdings
Recognizing the importance of taking more coordinated and well though-out steps in its lobbying activities in the areas of tax, duties and customs AmCham Board of Directors took a decision to reestablish AmCham Tax Committee. The Tax Committee will be a place where members can raise their concerns about taxation, customs and duties in Armenia. Currently AmCham Tax Committee includes the following organizations: PriceWaterHouseCoopers, HSBC, Ameria, Armenian Copper Program (ACP), KPMG, Blackstairs Energy, Alpha Plus Consulting, and Eurasia Partnership Foundation. In case the Committee discusses the issues which are of interest to the broader membership (i.e., not single member issues), the Committee may formulate a position or recommendation to be communicated to the appropriate government agency. AmCham Tax Committee had its first meeting on September 17, during which it discussed the draft Tax Code, relief under tax treaties, tax audits, etc. The meetings will take place on monthly basis; however, additional meetings could be called if specific issues arise.
AmCham | Board Update
AMCHAM BOARD OF DIRECTORS
David Atanessian President Managing Partner, CEO, FIRST MORTGAGE COMPANY
Vahak Hovnanian First Vice-President Owner, HOVNANIAN INTERNATIONAL
Araksya Melkonyan Second Vice-President Managing Director, IAB CENTRE
Georgi Isayan Board Member Director, CREDENCE SYSTEMS ARMENIA
Altaf Tapia Board Member Managing Partner, PRICEWATERHOUSECOOPERS
Andrew Hovhannisyan Board Member Deputy General Manager, SYNOPSYS 8
Tim Slater Board Member CEO, HSBC BANK ARMENIA
Marko Velikonja Ex-Officio Board Member Economic Officer, U.S. EMBASSY IN ARMENIA
AmCham | AmCham New Members
AMCHAM WELCOMES NEW MEMBERS HABITAT FOR HUMANITY ARMENIA FOUNDATION
Habitat for Humanity in Armenia upholds the same Christian principles as its worldwide partner - Habitat for Humanity International, based in Atlanta, Georgia, USA.
Habitat for Humanity Armenia is committed to providing housing solutions for families in need of a simple, decent place to live. Typically, HFHA works with low-income families to build or renovate homes that are paid for over time by affordable, no-profit mortgages or home-improvement loans. Because families contribute hundreds of hours of "sweat equity" (volunteering to build) as their home is being readied, Habitat for Humanity's model is one of self-help – not a charity give away. Habitat for Humanity Armenia tackles poverty housing through a variety of efforts, including the construction of affordable, efficient houses; the completion of half-built homes; implementation of water and sanitation facilities; advocacy of improved housing policies for low-income families; engagement of volunteers and other like-minded partners; and more. So far, HFH helped nearly 400 families in need in Armenia into safe and secure shelter.
Motor Vehicle Insurance
Third Party Liability Motor Vehicle Insurance
Personal Accident Insurance
General Liability Insurance
Financial Risks Insurance
Habitat for Humanity Armenia Foundation is the national office of Habitat for Humanity International. After nearly eight years of work in Armenia, Habitat for Humanity re-launched its country organization in June 2008 to serve more low-income families at a significantly faster rate and at a larger scale.
Rosgosstrakh Group of Companies is the largest Russian insurance company. ROSGOSSTRAKH: · Number one insurer since 2004
"Rosgosstrakh-Armenia" Insurance CJSC Statutory Capital amounts 3.4 mln USD.
· Best-known national insurance brand · Highest AAA rating (maximum reliability) by the National Rating Agency (Russia) in 2008
· One of the fastest-growing corporations in Russia Since May 2008 in the Republic of Armenia ROSGOSSTRAKH represented by ROSGOSSTRAKH ARMENIA Insurance Company. On May 20th 2008 the Central Bank of Armenia issued to Company License on non-life insurance. Under that license Company offers following services: •
“AATV Communication” CJSC was established and registered in 1997 and in 2008 was rebranded into “i-Max” i-MAX is an Internet provider offering customers a high-speed Internet operating by Wi-Max technology.
AmCham | AmCham New Members The most advanced technology and hardware enable us to provide any customer with high-speed Internet. Customer-oriented rate packages make our service especially comfortable. Today the company is an absolute leader among the largest ISP in Armenia, specialized in granting of Internet services, data transmission technologies, organization of reliable corporate networks so far. We convert achievements of scientific and engineering thought into comfort and easiness of communication, offer the wide spectrum of services and decisions, providing maximal simplicity of your business conduction. i-MAX came into the leading position due to the professional complex approach to the realization of pro ects, knowledge of advanced tendencies of the market, and also competence of its employees. Technical decisions of i-MAX ensure possibility of creation and optimization of wide infrastructure of telecommunication networks due to the increase of their efficiency and productivity, and also due to the connection expenses reduction.
A basic rule which is followed by i-MAX is granting internet-services to the highest possible circle of clients. We are always oriented to a long-term collaboration, and understand that it is possible only on condition of observance of ethic principles and maximal wholeheartedness. We offer to our clients not only quality of services and uniqueness of decisions but also individual approach, transparency of work on all its stages, as well as defence of clients’ interests.
Members of Damaris Group (Damaris SA, Damaris AM, Arca Records Management) provide a range of professional software packages and services in Records Management and Business Process Outsourcing like: ·
Records Management Portal;
Damaris AM LLC established in April 2005 is specialized in Software Development for Electronic Archiving.
Records Center Management Tools;
Accounts Payable Workflow;
Damaris AM LLC is a subsidiary of French “Damaris SA” company which has 20 years of experience in Document Management with more than 750 Customers and 25000 Daily Users such as Axletech International corp. OSHKOSH WI (USA), Axletech International France (subsidiary of Axletech International Corp.), Garlock France (subsidiary of Garlock Sealing Technologies Inc.), IBM France (subsidiary of IBM corp.).
Human Resources Documents Management;
Data Entry and Data Processing Services;
Damaris AM LLC has many suppliers and business partneres such as SUN Microsystems corp., Microsoft corp., EMC – Captiva, Kodak corp. and IBM corp.
Damaris AM carries out the following professional services:
Damaris SA is member of AIIM: (AIIM is a non-profit organization focused on helping users to understand the challenges associated with managing documents, content, records, and business processes).
AIIM is also known as the enterprise content management (ECM) association.
i-MAX specializes in implementation of complex decisions and successfully works in all segments of ITmarket that gives the clients of the company possibility of receipt of complete spectrum of telecommunication services from one operator. The company offers services for organization of multiservice networks, gives all types of access to the Internet with the use of the cutting-edge wireless and wire technologies, carries out the technical side of conducting of international videoconferences and television space bridges etc.
Damaris Group also provides software packages for specific users in Transportation (Proof of delivery Archiving and Exchange), Banking (Euro Check Archiving and Broadcast) and Public Health (Hospital Records Management).
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Development;
Records Management process training;
Documents Management Online Services.
AmCham | AmCham New Members
ANTARES Media Holding
Post-press materials /local UV, lamination, embossing, printing with aromatic and thermo inks; Quality printing on a big variety of papers; Bindery works.
Importing and wholesale trade “Antares” Media Holding was founded in 1992. At present the Holding includes Marketing Agency, Design Studio, Publishing House, Print Shop and Representative company. Our company has an honor to cooperate with many local and foreign organizations, including the Administration of the RA President, National Assembly, Government, UN programs, banks, telecommunication companies, etc.
“Antares” Holding is the Armenian official representative of a number of high-quality European productions as well as European brands producing promo materials, office accessories and stationery:
Marketing Agency Strategic planning, advertising and PR campaigns; ·· BTL campaigns (promo actions, merchandising, concerts, festivals, etc.); ·· Branding, re-branding; ·· Market research (market analysis, sociological and psychological surveys, monitoring, assessments, etc.); Media planning, media buying on demand; ·· ·· Outdoor ad; ·· POS ad; ·· Corporate souvenirs.
RAPID – staplers, pliers, hole punches, tools, etc.
Publishing-house “Antares” publishing-house is one of the leaders of the field. Our publishing-house is involved in translating, editing, proofreading and designing fiction and scientific books, annual reports, brochures and other materials. 2/3 of kid’s literature in Armenia is published in our Holding. We also publish manuals for schools.
SENATOR - writing instruments & promo materials EDDING – markers for all specialists DURABLE – office & presentation products KORES – glues, correction, note & index strips, etc. BRUNNEN – corporate diaries, business–card folders, notebooks TenglerMATCH – safety advertising matches RASTER – promo materials (key rings, 3D stickers, logo clips, notepads, magnets) GRUPPO CORDENONS – a good blend of exotic and fancy papers BALACRON – impressive bookbinding materials OY KRISTEC AB – high quality Finnish paper Public Activity ··
Cooperation with advertising agencies, media operators, non-governmental organizations protecting the rights and interests of consumers.
Co-founder of the Armenian Advertising Council.
Member of the Association of Producers and Consumers of Packaging Production and Polygraphists.
Member of the Armenian Association of Publishers.
Member of the Armenian Public Relations Association (APRA).
Representative of the Kiev International Advertising Festival in Armenia (KIAF).
Partner of the “Golden Drum” International Advertising Festival in Armenia.
Design Studio Elaboration of: ·· ·· ·· ··
Company’s corporate style; Guide & Brand books; Posters, books, post cards, calendars, etc.; Packages.
Print Shop Thanks to up-to-date technical equipments the printing-house accepts orders of any level and complexity, including: ·· Pre-press materials;
Kind reputation is the biggest treasury and we try to double it!
AmCham | AmCham Services
AmCham Member to Member Program Increase your business turnover by enrolling into AmCham Member to Member (M2M) program. M2M program is a significant opportunity for members to gain exposure and clients, while creating additional value for other AmCham members. M2M program entitles AmCham members to the best discounts available on goods and services offered by other AmCham members and representatives of wider business community. However, non AmCham members will not be able to enjoy discounts offered by others within the framework of the program. To become a program participant, you simply need to download from www.amcham.am and submit to us (either in hard copy or electronically) the Member2Member Discount Participation Form. AmCham Members will receive discounts upon presenting their M2M plastic cards, which can be obtained from the AmCham office.
AMERIA GROUP OF COMPANIES Ameria Bank Contact person: Nona Andreasyan Tel: (374 10) 561 111, (374 91) 001 885 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Description of discounted product or service:
Ameriabank is offering discounts for the internationally renowned VISA/MASTERCARD GOLD credit cards. Along with a convenient and safe payment mechanism this card will helps to benefit from convenience of the IAPA international discount system and international travel insurance. All AmCham members (managerial staff ) will have up to 50% discounts for Gold Credit Cards. Additional information: Ameriabank also offers discounts for different retail products for the staff of all AmCham Member Companies.
AMERICAN UNIVERSITY OF ARMENIA Contact person: Gevorg Goyunyan Tel: (374 10) 512 525; E-mail: email@example.com
Description of discounted product or service:
- Hotel accommodations at the AUA Barsam Suites - 20% discount on the rack rates (A corporate agreement must be signed. Discount is extended only to the guests paid for directly by the member organization); - 20% discount to conference and meeting space at the AUA Center; - 20% discount to conference and meeting space at the AUA Campus (Bagramian Building and the Paramaz Avedissian building). Additional information: www.hybusiness.com
ARMENIA MARRIOTT HOTEL YEREVAN Contact person: Bogdan Ticu Tel: (374 10) 564 060 E-mail: Yerevan@marriottexclusive.com Description of discounted product or service: 10 % discount for the whole price of the Marriott Exclusive Club membership package. The members of this club usually get the discount cards which let them have tangible discounts on meals and beverages, once they decide to have the breakfast in the restaurants and cafes of Armenia Marriott hotel: Cuccina, Armenia Brasserie, Vienna CafĂŠ, and Lobby bar. This membership card allows all the participants not only to taste the most delicious food in Yerevan by huge discounts, but also have discounts on accommodation, meeting rooms.
AmCham | AmCham Services Additional information: - 20% discount on food when dining alone; - 50% discount on food when dining with one person30% discount on food when dining with 2 guests; - 25% discount on food when dinig with 3 guests; - 20% discount when dining with 4-20 guests; - 10% discount on beverages; - 20% discoint on the total food bill on “take away” services up to 20 portions; - 15% discount on outside Catering (minimum order AMD 8.000 per person); - 15% discount for the fitness club.
ARMSWISSBANK Contact person: Aneta Ghazaryan Tel: (374 10) 529 593, (374 10) 584 419 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Description of discounted product or service: Discount on published BMI fares out of Yerevan: - 5% discount on economy class fares to key destinations; - 10% discount on business class fares to key destinations. Key conditions: - AMCHAM members are entitled to fare discounts upon presentation of the membership card and company ID. Immediate family and/or up to 2 companions are also eligible for the fare discount when travelling with an AMCHAM member. - Silver Card membership in Diamond Club, bmi frequent flyer programme is granted only to AMCHAM Members upon presentation of M2M card and company ID card. Silver Card provides additional benefits and privileges, including lounge access. - Discounts are valid on bmi fares only. - Tickets should be purchased at bmi office only. - Other terms and conditions apply.
Description of discounted product or service: - Business Account opening: Free; Your first step for taking advantage of ARMSWISSBANK’s services is to open an account with the Bank, which will give you an opportunity to choose a solution suiting your individual requirements regarding payments, investments and financing. - Electronic Banking Software: 20% discount on installation fee. ArmSwissBank’s online banking system gives the clients a direct window to the financial side of their relationship with the bank, and the opportunity to optimize transactions.
CASCADE CAPITAL HOLDINGS
Contact person: Shake Khachatryan Tel: (374 77) 900 710, (374 10) 520 432 E-mail: Shake.Khachatryan@cascadebanking.com Description of discounted product or service: - Business Account opening and account maintenance: Free; - Inward transfers to account: free of charge - Bank will credit the account with the amount received; - Outward transfers in USD: 0.1% provided the average monthly remittances are in excess of USD 100,000;
BRITISH MIDLAND AIRWAYS Contact person: Irina Grigoryan Tel: (374 10) 528 220 E-mail: email@example.com
- Electronic Banking Software: 50% discount on one-off installation fee; - Foreign currency exchange: preferential rates as agreed with Bank’s dealer.
AmCham | AmCham Services Description of discounted product or service: Contact person: Anahit Barseghyan Tel: (374 10) 584 696; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Description of discounted product or service: • HR Advice 10% • HR Audit 10% • Development of HR-related Policies and Procedures 5% • Complex Organizational Restructuring 20% • Outsourced HR Administration 10% • Executive Recruitment 15% • Performance Assessment Toolset 5% • In-house Surveys 15%
Contact person: Yana Arakelyan Tel. (374 10) 278 776, ext 189; E-mail: email@example.com Description of discounted product or service: 10% on the following nsurance products: • Motor Insurance; • Property Insurance; • Cargo Insurance; • Medical Insurance; • Personal Accident Insurance; • Liability Insurance; Travel Insurance; • BBB - Bankers Blanket Bond Insurance; • Contractors All Risks Insurance. Additional information: Discount is valid until December 31, 2009
Computer Service offers 5-10% discounts on computer equipment (computers, printers, faxes etc.) and 10-20% discounts on printing services.
DG CONTACT Contact person: Gohar Danelian - Dubost Tel: (374 10) 546 230; 546280 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Description of discounted product or service: From 10 to 17 % discount depending on the following services required by the client/partner: - Strategic Communication and PR - Marketing communication, market research, creative writing (slogan, vision, and advertising texts); photography, advertising spots, adaptation of advertising spots and distribution, organization of concerts, presentation/receptions and media planning. - Graphic design - Logo, brochure, banner, catalog, agenda, caledar, magazine ; corporate image packages. Additional information: DG CONTACT is mostly working directly with other companies on Business to Business principle. We rarely participate in tenders. If you want to learn more about our services, please visit our website www.dgcontact.com and see or download our portfolio.
INGO ARMENIA INSURANCE Contact person: Ani Manvelyan Tel: (374 10) 543 134, 543 135 E-mail: email@example.com Description of discounted product or service:
COMPUTER SERVICE Contact person: Vahe Zakaryan Tel: (374 94) 495 588 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
30% discount for AmCham Members and their employees for the following lines: - Motor Insurance; - Travel Insurance;
AmCham | AmCham Services - Personal Accident;
Description of discounted product or service:
- Property Insurance.
- 5% discount to promotional items;
- 10% discount to services: pad printing, silk screen printing and laser marking, engraving and cutting. (USB - flashes, T-shirts, hats, mugs, bags, mouse pads, pens, key tags, lanyards, wristlet bands, CD, umbrellas, fridge magnets, watches, posters, stickers, hang tags and poly bagging....)
Special offer - Open door days at â€œMedassistâ€? family medical center at Demirchyan str., 38 with free of charge consultations. - Up to 10% discount for car services: EUROWAGEN; TOYOTA; HUNDAI; MITSUBISHI. Special offer is valid from July 1 untill September 1, 2009. Please, present AmCham M2M card or a document verifying the employment at a Member company.
JAZZVE Contact person: Lusine Davtyan Tel: (374 10) 493 330 Description of discounted product or service:
FIRST MORTGAGE COMPANY Contact person: David Atanessian Tel: (374 10) 599 900; E-mail: email@example.com
7% discount for AmCham members applied at all Jazzve cafes.
Description of discounted product or service: 50 basis points discount on all loan products. Full time employees of AmCham Member Companies are eligible to apply.
MADE IN ARMENIA DIRECT Contact person: Mkhitar Balayan Tel: (374 10) 540 964; E-mail: Mkhitar@MadeInArmeniaDirect.com
PEAK REALTY Contact person: Marina Potikyan Tel: (374 10) 523 385; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Description of discounted product or service:
Description of discounted product or service: Made in Armenia Direct promotes quality, handcrafted items from Armenia made by talented local artisans, and offers a 10% discount for all AmCham members and their employees (with proof of employment).
Peak Realty is pleased to offer 20 % discount on all services to Amcham Members.
Contact person: Armineh Ghazarian Tel: (374 10) 563 022, 522 187; (374 94) 720 720 E-mail: email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org
Contact person: Leonid Andreasyan Tel: (374 10) 442 994 E-mail: email@example.com
AmCham | AmCham Services Description of discounted product or service: Megerian Carpet offers a 20% discount for all AmCham Members. Megerian can also organize exclusive tour which will introduce rug making in all its details. The showroom presents a large variety of fine hand-made rugs.
- 15 % discount for comfortable rooms of different categories with free Internet connection, mini-bar, in room digital safety box, satellite TV and air-conditioning system; - 10 % discount for fully equipped meeting rooms (3) with maximum capacity of 110 person in theatre shape style; - 20 % discount for fully equipped gym with 2 separate sauna for men and women; - 20 % discount to open-air swimming pool on the roof (seasonal-only summer).
LONDON-YEREVAN INSURANCE Contact person: Luiza Antonyan Tel: (374 10) 542 557; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Description of discounted product or service: 30% discount on standard rates applied to all lines:
- Property Insurance;
Contact person: Satenik Aloyan Tel: (374 10) 524 000; E-mail: email@example.com
- Medical Insurance;
Description of discounted product or service:
- Personal Accident Insurance;
10% discount on Water Territory, Eastern Bathroom, Fitness and Hotel of â€œAquatekâ€?.
- Motor Insurance;
- Travel Insurance.
Non-Members AI LEONI RESTAURANT RENCO S.P.A. (Branch)
Congress Hotel Contact person: Gayane Grigoryan; Tel: (374 10) 591 102; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Description of discounted product or service:
Description of discounted product or service:
5% discount for AmCham Members applied to all menu items offered at the restaurant.
- 15 % discount on accommodation rates at the Congress Hotel;
B&Z FURNITURE MANUFACTURING
- 10% discount on menu items at the Mediterraneo Pizzeria of the Congress Hotel .
Golden Tulip Hotel Yerevan Contact person: Elina Grbashyan; Tel: (374 10) 591 691; E-mail: email@example.com Description of discounted product or service:
Contact person: Suren Toroyan Tel: (374 10) 530 892; (374 91) 435 803 Address: 40 Tumanyan str., Yerevan
ENTERPRISE Contact person: Armen Baghdasaryan Tel: (374 10) 544 851 Address: 16 Saryan str., Yerevan Description of discounted product or service: 10 % discount for AmCham Members applied to custom made furniture.
AmCham | AmCham Services BUTTERFLY FLOWERS SHOP
Address: 3/1 Abovyan str., Yerevan
Contact person: Tigran Mousaelyan Tel: (374 10) 537 875 Address: 19 Mashtots ave., Yerevan
Description of discounted product or service:
Description of discounted product or service: 10 % discount for AmCham Members applied to flowers, floral /balloon compositions (salute with live butterflies), design of fourchettes and different events (weddings, birthdays, conferences and etc.).
10 % discount on all purchases at the shop. TIGRAN METS PUBLISHING HOUSE Contact person: Naira Simonyan Tel: (374 10) 527 056 Address: 2 Arshakunyant ave., Yerevan Description of discounted product or service:
CACTUS MEXICAN RESTAURANT & BAR Contact person: David Gabrielyan Tel: (374 10) 539 939 Address: 42 Mashtots ave., Yerevan
10-15 % discounts for AmCham Members applied to production of print materials (booklets, books, journals, labels, visit cards, etc...)
Description of discounted product or service:
TOP TABLE SANDWICH BAR
5% discount for AmCham Members (7% for Gold Members) applied to all menu items offered at the restaurant.
Contact person: Charles Masraff Tel: (374 93) 468 985 Address: on the cross of Tumanyan and Parpetsi str., Yerevan
DOLMAMA RESTAURANT Contact person: Jirair Avanian Tel: (374 10) 561 354 Address: 10 Pushkin str., Yerevan
Description of discounted product or service: 5% discount for AmCham Members applied to all menu items offered at the restaurant (either from retail shop on Tumanyan or by delivery to house or office).
Description of discounted product or service: 10% discount for AmCham Members applied to food. HERTZ RENT-A-CAR Contact person: Arsen Sukiassian Tel: (374 10) 543 311; (374 91) 416 493 Address: 7 Abovyan str., Yerevan Description of discounted product or service: 15% discount on car rental services. Discount is available only on cars from Hertz Armenia car fleet. Other services offered by Hertz such as minibuses, buses, hotel bookings, driver services and others do not apply to this discount program.
Join AMCHAM Today Help create better business environment in Armenia. Call 599 187 or e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
SALT SACK SOUVENIRS & GIFT SHOP Contact person: Mara Klekchian Tel: (374 10) 568 931
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Erebuni-Plaza Business Center 26/1 V. Sargsyan Street Yerevan, Armenia 0010
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INTRACOM TELECOM Launches its OmniMAX Product Athens, May 28, 2009 - INTRACOM TELECOM, a part of SITRONICS, announced the launching of its advanced WiMAX solution under the brand name OmniMAX. The company will feature a live demonstration of its newest product at its booth no. 3.28 in Hall 3, at the WiMAX Forum Global Congress, 2-3 June 2009 in Amsterdam. OmniMAX is an innovative high-end WiMAX access solution enabling broadband wireless services to fixed, nomadic, portable and mobile end users. The system is ideal for incumbent and green-field operators facilitating fast time to market delivery of advanced and personalized services with guaranteed performance and tightly controlled CapEx. OmniMAX operates in the 2.3 - 2.7 GHz and 3.3 - 3.8 GHz frequency bands and is fully compliant with IEEE 802.16e-2005 and WiMAX Forum Wave-II Certification requirements. Furthermore, the reduced system power consumption offers a green differentiation to operators that embrace the OmniMAX product.
"INTRACOM TELECOM, through its new OmniMAX platform, is taking a solid step forward in becoming a leading vendor of this exciting broadband wireless technology,” said Mr. Alexandros Manos, CEO of INTRACOM TELECOM. “The high performance features of this WIMAX product, in combination with its unparalleled flexibility and cost effectiveness, make it an ideal solution for operators aiming to deploy their networks in varying environments with minimal investment risk.” INTRACOM TELECOM has been involved in the evolution of WiMAX since its very first steps. Over the last few years, the company has been investing both in the development of technical expertise and service delivery capability to play a leading role in the deployment of the WiMAX technology and its full integration with the current and Next Generation Networks.
For more information, please visit www.intracom-telecom.com.
2 B abayan Str. 0037 374 10 259 107 374 10 259 109
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ENPI Opinion Research and Polling Project A Project financed by the European Union Within the framework of the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) initiative, a consortium lead by MWH Global with TNS Opinion and Mostra Communication implements the project "Opinion Polling and Research" (OPPOL) in 15 ENP countries including Armenia from March 2009 to March 2011. The first stage of the project is a Baseline Survey of Opinion Leaders from May to August 2009. Owning to the operational expertise in similar projects, Ameria was entrusted by the Consortium to implement the baseline studies in Armenia. The general objective of the OPPOL project is: to generate better information about the sources of information of different target groups in the ENPI (European Neighborhood Policy Instruments) countries, as well as about their awareness, understanding and perception of the EU and the role it plays in their respective countries; to test messages aiming at getting the overall EU policies and actions across or shift opinion; to provide a reliable research basis for the EU-related communication and information activities in beneficiary countries. Currently Ameria implements the Baseline Studies. Seven categories of Opinion leaders (top experts and leaders in certain areas whose opinion is of public importance) have been identified. Within these categories 100 respondents are chosen, including well known politicians, high level state officials, top managers from the private sector, media professionals, religious leaders, NGO representatives and scientists. The activities of this stage include sampling, participation in development of survey instruments, testing of questionnaires, training of interviewers, field work, quality control and reporting. All the interviews were conducted using face-to-face method. The scope of the OPPOL project activities cover opinion polls and opinion research, expert group research (through focus groups) and summative evaluations of the ENP awareness activities will be implemented through the EU initiatives. Based on the evaluations
the Project will provide strategic, analytical support to the communication activities of the European Commission, its Delegations in ENPI countries including Armenia, ENPI regional projects and other communication partners. This should serve to better inform target audiences in beneficiary countries by improving the EU-related communication and information activities on the basis of reliable research. Montgomery Watson Harza (MWH) is one of the worldâ€™s largest environmental consultancy groups specialising in the fields of multi-sector programme/project management and institutional capacity building. MWH is fully independent (employee-owned) with a global permanent in-house staff in excess of 7000 working from more than 160 offices worldwide, covering all continents. TNS opinion is part of TNS, a member of the Kantar group and the worldâ€™s largest custom market research company, with a presence in 80 countries in all five continents. Mostra is a communication agency, located in Brussels, provides a full range of services, ranging from information campaigns to media relations, audiovisual products, printed materials, websites, and events, among others. As part of Ameria Group, Ameria is a leading fullservice advisory firm specializing in Management Advisory Services, Financial Advisory Services, Assurance and Taxation, Legal Practice and Investment Banking.
Mass Media Darts Tournament 2009 On April 5, 2009 the Bridge of Hope NGO, Mission East Danish Organization for International Development, RA Darts Federation, RA Ministry of Healthcare and Coca-Cola Hellenic Armenia jointly organized the Armenian Mass Media Darts Tournament. 50 people participated in the competition. The organizers appealed to all state institutions, public organizations and the whole society to join the initiative. As the Armenian government announced the period from March 8 to April 7 as Womenâ€™s Month, the
AmCham | Member News
Workplace Safety Trainings/Drills for All
Armenian NGOs concerned with disabled people decided to announce the same period as “Disabled Women’s Rights Protection Month”. The tournament was conducted under the slogan “Sport for Equal Rights” aimed to support a healthy lifestyle in the country and strengthen the image of a “good corporate citizen”. In this regard the main objectives were to prove that disabled people are an important part of our society, talk about the natural balance between disabled and physically healthy people, raise awareness of the disabled amongst the public and contribute to equal rights of people with disabilities and their integration into society. The Mass Media Darts Tournament was a unique opportunity for each participant to share real-life emotions, express inner passion for victory and experience a feeling of personal success and achievement provided by a well recognized international brand. The tournament was publicized in different newspapers and internet sites along with broadcasting on Armenian Public Radio. An award ceremony for the best publication on a disability-related topic took place after the tournament. The journalists from Armenia Radio & Yerkir Media TV Channel were announced as the winners. During the closing ceremony of the tournament, Coca-Cola Hellenic Armenia received “Gratitude Certificates” from the organizers.
In April, 2009, within the framework of Workplace Safety project, Coca-Cola Hellenic Armenia jointly with the Ministry of Emergency Situations and local Community Fire Rescue Service has conducted “Fire Drill” training with participation of all employees of the plant. Training was accompanied by Company Rescue, Fire, First Aid and Spill Teams and was lead and provided by Company IMCR Team. Coca-Cola Hellenic Armenia was the first company in the city and country ever organized such a largescaled and highly graded drill, the performance of which has been attested as “Excellent”. Training’s stages, which are communication, evacuation, identification of victims, first aid, fire extinguishment and spill elimination, has been given a very good feedback both by the employees and the Observers. As members of the project, the Company IMCR Team and Observers are satisfied with the yearly trainings’ results and hope to give the continuous character to this joint Safety education of the Company employees. Because Armenia is situated in high-risk zone for his geographical aspect, the next training of Workplace Safety project planned for this year (for October, 2009) is “Actions during Earthquake” training, which is also of an annual nature and aims to train how to react in case of earthquakes. We also intend to continue our cooperation with Rescue Service of RA in the future and perform
AmCham | Member News similar exercises so that to keep all our visitors/gests and employees in safe and secure. Our employees attend a training session in July, to increase knowledge and awareness on Environmental Safety issue: Gas emission / outburst & preventive/Corrective actions, this was organized by the Arm Russ Gas service Company.
SolarEn Has Installed a Roof Integrated 10 kW PV Station for Medical Center in Yerevan The first grid-connected PV power station in CIS countries has been designed for the renovated building of the Armenian-American Wellness Center (AAWC) in Yerevan. The PV roof of the building is south-east oriented and inclined at 280 to the horizontal plane. The 10kW PV array consists of 144 modules divided into 9 groups with 16 serial con-
nected modules in each group. The module is made of silicon photovoltaic laminate on the 0.7mm thick stainless steel sheet with 332cm length and 45cm width. Each module has rated power 68W, voltage 16.5V, current 4.1A and weight 12kg. The PV roof has 220m2 total area including 124m2 of photosensitive area. The rated power output of PV array is 9.8 kW at standard solar radiation of 1kW/m2. The PV array is connected through three grid-tied inverters and a reversible electric meter (with remote data acquisition) to the 3-phase national grid.
Cascade Insurance ICJSC, Spreading Microinsurance in Armenia In cooperation with Microfinancial Centre of Central and Eastern Europe and CIS countries, Microinsurance Centre (USA), International Centre for Agricultural Development (USA) and Aregak UCO CJSC, Cascade Insurance Company ICJSC has developed absolutely new products for the Armenian insurance market. These new products will give Cascade Insurance Company an opportunity to provide low and middle-income residents with a trustworthy and accessible insurance service. The idea of Microinsurance is not new for developed and developing countries, and the demand for that product has grown over the years. However, it became available for Armenian residents only in 2009. The attractiveness of Microinsurance products is their simplicity, accessibility, and most importantly, the fast process of providing indemnities at the time of accidents/events. As a regulation for classic insurance, the indemnities are provided within a month after informing the insurance company and providing all the necessary documents. For Microinsurance, by contrast, there will be a need for just one document in order to confirm the accident/event, and the compensation will be provided within 3 days. Coming back to the newly developed products from Cascade Insurance ICJSC, we can provide an example of Medical Insurance. Signing a Medical Insurance contract with an insured sum of AMD 100,000, there will be a need to pay a monthly premium of AMD 600 to the Insurance Company. A total sum insured of AMD 100,000 means that amount will be paid for
AmCham | Member News any medical operation from the list of 110 mentioned in the insurance policy. Within the frame of the mentioned program, Cascade Insurance ICJSC also offers Personal Accident Insurance, which provides death and permanent disability coverage as a result of an accident which happens to the insured person. The sale of Microinsurance products will be carried out in two phases by Cascade Insurance ICJSC through Aregak UCO CJSC. Starting from May 19th, 2009 and through Aregak Credit Organization Abovyan branch, the sale of Medical and Personal Accident Insurance Policies is organized in the marz of Kotayk. Moreover, starting from October 2009, these insurance services will be available to residents of all the marzes of the RA. Cascade Insurance ICJSC was established in October 2004. The Company is a subsidiary of Cascade Capital Holdings CJSC. The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (hereafter EBRD) became a shareholder of the Company in August 2005. It is the only EBRD investment in the insurance sector in Armenia. Cascade Insurance ICJSC’s current paid up share capital is AMD 618.6 million (more than USD 2.0 million).
Tour and Tree Planting in Teghout As a metallurgical company, Armenian Copper Programme CJSC operates in a sphere with considerable environmental risks, thus environmental issues play a great role not only in the context of the economic activities of ACP, but also in projects of corporate social responsibility. Aiming to maintain jobs under global crisis, ACP has not stopped the activity of Alaverdy copper-smelter, which is far from ideal from an environmental point of view, and along with paying the fees associated with emissions exceeding permissible levels, the company organizes environmental-educational public arrangements aiming to raise the level of environmental consciousness. Among regular activities under its corporate social responsibility policy, on 18 April 2009 Teghout cjsc
(wholly owned subsidiary of Armenian Copper Programme cjsc) organized a tour and tree planting in the territories adjacent to the Teghout copper-molybdenum deposit with the participation of over one hundred students from Artsakh State University and leading higher educational institutions of Armenia. Over 1000 trees, mostly fruit-bearing, were planted in a territory about 5000 m2 surrounded by a fence for that very reason. Students also visited the territory (about 4000 m2) where they had planted trees the previous time, again organized by Teghout cjsc. It should be mentioned that care and all necessary activities for ensuring vitality of trees have been and will be done by Teghout cjsc. After tree planting, guests and residents of Teghout and Shnogh communities gathered together in the chamber of culture of Teghout, which has recently been thoroughly repaired by Teghout cjsc, to participate in the presentation of the book “Voskematyan Drmbon” written by writer-publicist Hrachya Matevosyan. The presentation was followed by discussions about technical and environmental issues of exploitation of the Teghout copper-molybdenum deposit. After discussions, everybody enjoyed wonderful performances of talented children from Teghout and Shnogh communities. Tree planting organized by Teghout cjsc is a public event and everyone interested in is welcome to participate. These kind of planting events are held in addition to the obligations established by the program on forestry damage recovery caused by logging for development of the Teghout deposit. According to the program, reforestation will cover a territory of 714 hectares, which is twice as much as will be logged. These activities include not only tree planting but also care for planted trees before the ecosystem of the forest is secured. There are already two winning companies which will carry out reforestation for 2009-2010 in various communities of Lori region, covering a territory of 135 hectares.
AmCham | Member News
“Mine Blowing” Result Globalink Logistics Group flexes its heavy lift muscles yet once again and proves why it is the leading transportation and freight management company in the region. Globalink Armenia recently transported three giant drilling rigs from a mine located in one of the most remote areas in Armenia to South Africa. Weighing in at over 40 tons and with oversized dimensions, these rigs, destined for Durban, had to be handled in various legs with different modes of transportation involved. Globalink’s Armenia team was onsite at the mining field to arrange and supervise the loading and subsequent lashing of these rigs. Cranes and forklifts were arranged for the loading process onto special low-bed and flat track trailers for the long journey (180km to the Georgian border and then an additional 350km to the Black Sea Port of Poti, Georgia). While the distance was not one of the longest handled, the geographical layout of the region (extremely hilly with narrow roads) and Mother Nature (this was in the dead of winter with snow all around) certainly made this one of the most challenging projects undertaken. Upon arrival at Poti Port, our Georgia office was in charge to supervise the unloading of these rigs at the port. The vessel, chartered for this project, was already in place and with the loading onto the vessel done smoothly and quickly, the shipment departed for the final journey to Durban. Despite the terrain and weather challenges, the Globalink Armenia team, working in tandem with their colleagues at Globalink Georgia, ensured that the rigs reached their destination safely and on time as promised. A truly ‘Mine-blowing’ result.
Goodwill Ambassadors HSBC Sustainability Strategy: HSBC is committed to the principles of sustainability – sustained profit growth, building enduring customer relationships and managing the social and environmental performance of our operations. Education is one of the priority areas of HSBC’s sustainability strategy. In 2007 Junior Achievement Armenia ( JAA) received a grant from HSBC Global Education Trust Fund under the Future First Program implemented locally by HSBC Armenia. Within this program and with HSBC funding, JAA conducts economic classes for underprivileged children throughout Armenia, mostly in remote regions. This partnership extends to teachers and volunteers, all working together to inspire young people to dream big and reach their potential. JA’s hands-on, experiential programs teach the key concepts of work readiness, entrepreneurship and financial literacy to young people all over the world. HSBC Armenia staff volunteered to become Goodwill Ambassadors, reaching distant schools in the Marzes and sharing their experience with children and teachers. As a result, during April and May, 14 Goodwill Ambassadors from HSBC Armenia shared their experience in economics, finance and other related subjects by being guest speakers at various schools in regions where Junior Achievement Armenia is active. They lectured at 16 schools in 10 regions. Around 470 children from underprivileged families participated in classes conducted by HSBC Armenia Goodwill Ambassadors. As a follow-up to this, on 1 June, International Children’s Day, HSBC Armenia organized a Career Day for 40 selected children. The aim was to raise awareness among children about the Bank’s structure, the principles of financial services and the basics of banking, to inspire them to fulfill their potential through education and to achieve challenging and successful careers of their choice. In July HSBC Goodwill Ambassadors will be participating in JAA’s summer camp activities in Tsakhkadzor. Together with children they will simulate the Stock Exchange, buy and sell shares, come up with interesting advertising initiatives and win prizes for the most innovative ideas.
AmCham | Member News
HSBC: Your Bank that Never Closes HSBC Bank Armenia has launched its new market-leading internet banking service which enables customers to effect a full range of banking transactions and enquiries online. HSBC has used state-of-the-art technology to implement a simple, user-friendly and secure internet banking system that meets the highest international standards and is already used by HSBC in over 40 countries by 40 million customers. With HSBCâ€™s personal internet banking, customers can access and manage their finances from home, office or whilst traveling. The service is fast, convenient and, most importantly, highly secure. Customers can use internet banking to check their account balances, transfer money within Armenia as well as abroad in different currencies, make credit card and loan payments, open time deposits and apply online to open an account at any time and from any location convenient for them.
The security of all online transactions is guaranteed by a sophisticated encryption system which converts data into an encoded form before it is transmitted over the internet. In addition, both the log-on process and online transactions are further protected by the use of a portable â€˜one-buttonâ€™ security device which generates unique passwords for every log-on and re-authentication. Customers can sign up for HSBC Personal Internet Banking service online or by visiting any of our branches and get 24/7 control over their finances from anywhere in the world. With the launch of internet banking, HSBC reinforces its commitment to provide innovative technologies and solutions to its customers. Internet banking comes to supplement the telephone banking service launched earlier in March, making HSBC the first direct bank in the Armenian market.
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CIMA Gets Under Way at IAB Centre The long-neglected field of management accounting in Armenia will receive a much needed boost when IAB Centre starts its training programmes for the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) this autumn. CIMA is a UK-based professional body whose qualification is internationally recognised and which is designed for those who wish to use their professional skills in a managerial context. The CIMA syllabus is as much about management and strategy as it is about accounting and finance. Members of CIMA are not simply accountants; they are basically business people who have received a sound education in accounting and finance. As competition becomes more intense in Armenia, business managers will need information to help make decisions, and they are not likely to find that information in their standardised financial accounting system. Financial accounting was designed to keep external parties informed; it provides very little help to management when having to make decisions that drive business performance. The types of decision that managers have to make are endless; some are at a strategic level and some at an operational level: Which product should we concentrate on producing when resources are scarce? Is it worthwhile investing in this project? How should I set the selling price of an innovative new product? What will be the effect on our cash flow if we do this or that? What does it cost to provide this service? What is our market share compared to that of our competitors? These are not questions that a financial accounting system was designed to answer. There is no doubt that the demand for management accounting specialists will grow in Armenia and IAB Centreâ€™s initiative of starting CIMA courses will help to fill the educational gap that clearly exists in the market at the moment. The education of financial accounting specialists has received a lot of attention in recent years and that was to be expected as Armenia worked its way toward the adoption of international standards; but now is the time to realise that accounting is much more than reporting within certain prescriptive guidelines; CIMA specialists will be needed to help Armenia in its pursuit of direct foreign investment and sustainable economic development.
AmCham | Member News
IAB Centre Represents Armenia at ACCA’s Annual General Meeting The managing director of IAB Centre, and Board member of AmCham, Araksya Melkonyan, attended the 104th Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) held in London during May 2009. Araksya was nominated for election to the governing Council of ACCA. Out of the worldwide members voting in the 2009 Council election, approximately 1 in 4 voted for her, although this fell short of the number needed to secure a place on the Council by about 800 votes. She has been invited to stand again for the election in 2010. ACCA is an internationally recognised body for accounting and finance professionals. It has 131,500 members and 362,000 students throughout the world. In Armenia there are 28 members and about 400 students. IAB Centre currently provides training for all 14 subjects at each examination sitting in Armenia and has also been holding training courses in Georgia since October 2007. The ACCA qualification is highly regarded by the majority of large organisations in Armenia; most of the students (approximately 80%) attending courses held by IAB Centre are sponsored by their employer. Apart from recognition by employers, the ACCA qualification is now recognised by the government. A recent change in the regulations for certified auditors in Armenia allows ACCA members to obtain an auditor’s licence. There is a reciprocal recognition by ACCA and members who obtain an Armenian auditor’s licence will be granted a practicing certificate by ACCA. IAB Centre will be holding a series of ‘open days’ during the early part of July to explain the ACCA qualification and give information to prospective students. They will be followed by a series of ‘registration days’ in which IAB Centre will help students with their ACCA registration formalities. In addition to these open days IAB Centre will be holding an ACCA Day during July at Marriott Hotel; designed specifically for HR managers, CEOs and CFOs. The presentations during this event will give a broad idea of the skills that a modern finance professional must develop, explain the various stages of the qualification process, and indicate the role that employers can play in the professional development of their staff.
Armenian Member of Grant Thornton International to Conduct the Audit of National Bank of the Kyrgyz Republic Grant Thornton Amyot LLC, the Armenian member of Grant Thornton International, will carry out the audit of financial statements of the year 2009 of the National Bank of the Kyrgyz Republic. On June 11, 2009 the Parliament of the Kyrgyz Republic approved Grant Thornton Amyot LLC in the capacity of the auditor of the National Bank of the Kyrgyz Republic for the fiscal year 2009.
Armen Hovhannisyan, Partner and Director of the Financial Institutions Audit Department at Grant Thornton Amyot, notes, “We aare very happy to be announced as the winner of this tender and to have the opportunity to provide high quality service to the National Bank of the Kyrgyz Republic. In November 2008 the Parliament of Kyrgyzstan made amendments in the law requiring the audit firm to have at least 5 years of experience in audit of central banks, instead of the previously stated 10 years, as well as lifting the requirement of license for conducting audit activity on the territory of Kyrgyzstan. Due to this amendment our firm became fully eligible for this assignment, as Grant Thornton Amyot is presently the auditor of the Central Bank of Armenia and has performed that function for a number of years. As part of our development strategy, we also invest efforts into geographic expansion of our activity. Being the leading audit and advisory firm in Armenia, Grant Thornton Amyot has extended the geography of its operations to other markets in recent years.” For over a decade, Grant Thornton Amyot has been providing audit and professional advisory services to a vast number of organizations, including financial institutions in Armenia, Georgia, Tajikistan and other countries, among which are 25 banks and over a dozen credit organizations, funds, insurance and brokerage companies.
AmCham | Member News
British Council - Linking Education with Business Around the world, businesses are beginning to realise that they need to play a larger role in society, to participate in projects aimed at promoting education, innovation and many other areas. The beneficiaries of these projects â€“ young people with open and creative minds â€“ then form an excellent labour pool from which businesses can recruit their future star employees. In 2008, the British Council and Junior Achievement of Armenia, with exclusive sponsorship from ArmenTel (brand Beeline), successfully launched the Skills@Work Challenge in Armenia. The Skills@ Work Challenge is a series of national events, leading to an international competition, aiming to encourage young people representing vocational colleges to use their skills in enterprising and innovative ways, ultimately enhancing their employability and entrepreneurial flair. The business community is asked to give the students a challenge which they have to solve within just a few hours and then make a presentation in front of a panel of judges. Between November 2008 and February 2009, we held 3 one-day challenge competitions, involving more than 150 students across the country who worked in teams with ArmenTel employees and presented their solutions to the challenge provided. The winners of the national competitions participated in the international final in Sofia on 11-13 March 2009 with 56 young entrepreneurs from 10 different countries. Armenia was presented by 5 students from the Gyumri State Technical College and one of them was in the international team which won the 2nd prize. This autumn, the students from vocational colleges across Armenia are given the task to write a business essay on a topic once again proposed by Beeline. The selected winners will be invited to take part in the National Skills@Work Business Challenge Camp, to develop an innovative solution to a new business challenge. The finalists win prizes and get a unique chance for internship with ArmenTel. The best participant qualifies for an international final scheduled for 2010.
Students from the Gyumri State Technical College with Neicho Velichkov (ArmenTel) and Arevik Saribekyan (British Council)
The British Council is happy to provide young people in Armenia with the opportunity to think creatively and work collaboratively. Having such bright minds represent the country at international events is a matter of pride and is also a very educational experience for the participants. We are also pleased to see that the business community cares about the future of Armenia and we look forward to new partnerships with the private sector in different projects.
AmCham | Member News
Armenia Marriott Hotel: ALREADY FIVE YEARS Along with ancient churches, statues and historic buildings, the Armenia Marriott Hotel Yerevan is considered a cultural landmark of Armenia. The hotel was built in the 1950s and started operating as the Hotel Armenia in 1958. It is the jewel in a group of buildings that frame Yerevan’s main square. The square was named after Lenin, the founder of
the Soviet Union, during Soviet times. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, when Armenia gained its independence, the Square was renamed after the Republic. Republic Square’s ground plan has an oval shape and the main emphasis in the architectural arrangement of the square’s ensemble is placed on
the buildings framing it. The 5 buildings surrounding the Square are the Government House, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the National Art Gallery and Museum of History of Armenia, the Central Post Office and the Armenia Marriott Hotel. The architect Mark Grigorian designed the building within the same outline and special organization as all the other buildings around the Square. Hotel Armenia, which was the main tourist hotel of Yerevan during Soviet times, was privatized in 1998 and acquired by AK Development. The ownership group consists of prominent American – Armenians who recognize the importance of tourism to Armenia's economic development. The owning company has invested over $40 million to completely refurbish the hotel and bring it up to international 5-star standard with branding as the Armenia Marriott Hotel. Today, this international brand hotel in Yerevan is the second-largest foreign investment and the largest American investment in the country. The focus is placed on westernstyle rooms and top-class service for business travelers and tourists alike.
Top Story | RA Government against Crisis
Analysis | Real Estate Market in Armenia and Abroad
REAL ESTATE MARKET IN ARMENIA DIFFERS GREATLY FROM THOSE IN SIMILAR COUNTRIES By Haroutiun Khachatrian As is known, the current global economic crisis is a consequence of the financial crisis, which in its turn originated from the bubble which developed in the U.S. real estate market during recent years. The burst of the bubble naturally resulted in the real estate prices going down, which led to economic crisis, as the prices of raw materials in the world market fell dramatically (Armenia felt this impact from the painful decrease of copper prices), as well as a reduction in consumption in general with a natural increase in the unemployment rate as a follow up. The collapse of the U.S. real estate market in 2007 was followed by similar declines in prices in a number of countries. Partially, it was a result of the close links of these countries with the U.S. financial markets, which is especially true for the developed countries in Western Europe. Nevertheless, in most other countries the behavior of the real estate market was different, as presented below.
meter in the apartments of residential buildings and in houses both for Yerevan and the Armenian marzes. Nevertheless, in a crisis situation these four parameters change in parallel with each other, which allows us to speak of one general trend. This article analyzes the changes observed in the real estate market under crisis conditions on a quarterly basis. As one can see from Table 1, in Yerevan, the decline of real estate prices during the crisis in dram terms was not that big. The greatest decline is seen in apartment prices in the second quarter of 2009 and it constituted 12% compared to the same quarter of the previous year. As regards the houses, there is even the impression that the prices are recovering. Nevertheless, it is important to remember that on March 2, 2009 the Armenian dram depreciated by around 20% against the US dollar. Thus, the actual prices of real estate in Armenia
TABLE 1 Residential real estate prices in Yerevan (thousand drams per square meter) Quarter
Source: Cadastre Committee The behavior of the Armenian real estate market The developments encountered in the Armenian real estate market have eye-catching peculiarities. The State Committee of the Real Estate Cadastre under the RA government (hereinafter the Cadastre Committee) does not publish any data presenting the average price of real estate. Instead, this state structure publishes at least four different parameters, namely, the price per square 32
have declined to a greater extent as a result of the crisis. The decline as of the middle of 2009 reached 25% compared to December of the previous year. It is important to note that this decline started early in 2009, which was later than in other countries (see below) and does not have clear links to the main parameters of the global crisis (TABLE 2.) As can be seen from the following, the changes of the real estate prices in Armenia occurred nei-
Analysis | Real Estate Market in Armenia and Abroad TABLE 2 The changes of actual prices of residential real estate in Armenia (compared with the previous quarter) Quarter Marz apartments Marz houses Yerevan apartments Yerevan houses
2008-I 6.4 7 2.5 3.8
2008-II 7 3.7 4.5 3.7
2008-III 7 7.8 1.2 3.7
2008-IV 5.1 4.7 -1.9 2.1
2009-I -7.5 -4.3 -10.9 -7
2009-II -14.8 -13.7 -17.4 -16.2
Source: Cadastre Committee ther as a result of changes in the level of GDP nor due to similar developments in other countries. Obviously, the decisive factor here was the volume of private remittances received from foreign countries. According to Fig. 1, a sharp decline, or to be more precise, a collapse of construction volume was seen in Armenia in the first and the second quarters of 2009, which is obviously explained by the decline of the Figure 1.
volume of private remittances from abroad. This is only natural, if we remember that, according to the National Statistical Service data, in 2008, 71% of construction in Armenia was funded by the population. It is noteworthy that in the second quarter of 2009, construction work constituted 44% of the volume of the same quarter of the previous year. Since construction accounted for 27% of GDP in Armenia in 2008, then the disastrous decline of construction was the biggest factor that resulted in the unprecedented decline of GDP in 2009.
Variation in construction volumes and foreign transfers
Source: Central Bank of RA, RA National Statistical Service, Cadastre Committee 33
Analysis | Real Estate Market in Armenia and Abroad Thus, it is only natural that following the decline of GDP, real estate prices were going down in parallel to the reduction of foreign remittances, as shown in Fig. 2 (the picture presents the data
continued to grow, with the exception of Yerevan house prices. The large-scale collapse of prices happened only in the first quarter of 2009 after the sharp reduction in foreign remittances. Their
Source: RA Central bank, RA National Statistical Service on Yerevan house prices. See also Table 2)
estate prices. As can be seen from Table 1, they
volume was 30% less than in the same period of the previous year. No doubt, this reduction was also a consequence of the global crisis, but it was belated and mediated. More than 80% of private transfers come from Russia, while their reduction was first of all caused by the reduction of world oil prices. Thus, we encounter a certain lag, since the transfers directed to Armenia did not decline when oil prices were at their lowest point (at the end of the previous year the oil price was as low as 40 dollars per barrel), but later, when the oil prices had to some extent recovered.
From 2001-2007 the GDP in Armenia grew at an annual rate of more than 10%. Nevertheless, in 2008 the GDP growth constituted only 6.8%, while from January- September alone the GDP growth constituted 10.6%: One of the reasons was the sharp decline of construction volumes in the fourth quarter, as can be seen from Picture 1. Another reason, as was mentioned, was the decline of the price of copper on the international market.
Currently, (the second quarter of 2009) the real estate market in Armenia still remains depressed. Officials express hope that the price decline in the market has stopped. They are taking measures to encourage the market and the construction sector, which has such great significance for
Thus, according to the data, the decline of the real estate prices in Armenia took place neither as a direct result of the global crisis, nor as an outcome of GDP reduction in Armenia. In reality, the GDP growth in Armenia started going down as early as the fall of 2008, as a result of the Russian-Georgian war and the decline of metal prices in the world market.1 Nevertheless, these developments did not result in the decline of real
Analysis | Real Estate Market in Armenia and Abroad the countryâ€™s economy. Nevertheless, it is obvious that these encouraging measures do not have the same weight as the foreign remittances do. For example, the National Mortgage Company founded by the Central Bank in June plans to offer 17 billion drams (around 46 million dollars) by the end of the year to encourage the market, whereas in 2009 the financial resources directed to Armenia in the form of foreign remittances may be reduced by more than 700 million dollars against the level of the previous year. Thus, it is obvious that the Armenian real estate market is in a rather unique situation. The prices here depend not on the incomes formed within the country2 , but, first and foremost, on the incomes (remittances) that the population receives from abroad. These remittances have a dual effect on the real estate market. They account both for the construction rate and the trade in real estate, which means that the population lacks sufficient effective demand for real estate without the foreign remittances and in the absence of affordable mortgage loan offers. It is impossible to determine within this article which one of the two factors prevails.
Comparison of the real estate markets in Armenia and similar countries This section presents brief descriptions and a short comparative analysis of the real estate markets in several countries close to Armenia geographically and in terms of development level (or history). The list of these countries lacks two immediate neighbors, Iran and Georgia. Both of them lack relevant data, although due to different reasons. Besides, Georgia greatly suffered from its five-day war with Russia last year, which makes its economic parameters not comparable to other countries. A comparative table (TABLE 3) presents, in particular, the summary of real Irrespective of the GDP decline, not only did the average salaries and pensions not decline in 2009, but they even went up as compared with the previous year. Even though the banks have limited the provision of mortgage loans as a result of the crisis, their volume could not be compared with the volume of foreign transfers.
estate prices of these countries and of Armenia, as well as the ratio of per capita GDP to these prices (to be brief, we call it G/P, and all the costs are expressed in US dollars). This parameter is an approximate link between a countryâ€™s living standards and its real estate prices: the higher the G/P ratio, the more affordable the real estate of the country for its population. Except for Turkey, the GDP per capita values are taken from the International Monetary Fundâ€™s World Economic Outlook Database.
Turkey It is a little surprising that the analyses devoted to this country do not really discuss the impact of the global crisis on the real estate market, but rather pay attention to the internal factors. The point here is that in 2002 Turkey abolished its multi-year ban on the right of foreigners (as well as foreign legal entities) to purchase real estate. The active investments in this area that followed after that stopped in March 2008, when the Constitutional Court nullified several provisions of this law. Even though the government succeeded in adopting another law bypassing this ban only two months later, foreign investors have not returned to this market to date, fearing uncertainty. The small decline in prices that resulted from the financial crisis did not encourage investors` return to this market either. As regards internal investors, there is information that their activity has also declined to some extent starting in 2008. No precise data on the behavior of real estate prices are available and it is extremely hard to define to what extent the decline is a byproduct of the global crisis. The data on Turkey in TABLE 3 are taken from http://www.globalpropertyguide. com/:
Azerbaijan The real estate market of this country is mainly concentrated in Baku and its suburbs and the data also refers to the capital city (including the value included in TABLE 3.) In Azerbaijan, the prices were still growing in the first half of 2008, but in the fall, a rapid decline started, the peak of
Analysis | Real Estate Market in Armenia and Abroad which was in Bakuâ€™s secondary apartment market and reached as high as 7-8% 3. The local media mention that citizens of Azerbaijan living abroad play an important role in this decline, as they reduced the number of real estate purchases in their motherland. This factor should be stressed, as Azerbaijan is one of the few countries with GDP growth during the global crisis and the oil revenues should have encouraged the domestic real estate market.
quarter the slow decline transformed into a rapid collapse4 . Thus, the decline went in parallel to the most intense phase of the global crisis (especially the financial-credit crisis). Similar to Armenia, it resulted in a reduction in GDP. This fact demonstrates that the country is closely linked to international financial markets and foreign investors have a significant role in its real estate market. The price decline in the mentioned period was estimated at 11.7%, after which it stopped for at least half a year.
The prices listed in TABLE 3 correspond to the prices of Sofia apartments, which in their turn comply with the average prices in the country.
This country is similar to Armenia in two respects. First, it is a former socialist country, which is not very rich (the last country to join the European Union, in 2007). Second, in this country too, the economic growth preceding the financial crisis was mainly accounted for by growth of construction, even though the GDP growth was less than that of Armenia, only 6-6.2%. Bulgaria differs from similar countries, including Armenia, by the fact that the real estate market grew most rapidly not in the capital city but in the Danube riverside zone, where large-scale construction took place in recent years.
A slow decline of real estate prices in Bulgaria started in the first half of 2008, while in the last
This former Soviet country, the only one with a lower population than Soviet Armenia, benefited a lot from joining the European Union in 2004, specifically in the area of real estate prices. Suffice it to say that in 2006, the prices here grew by more than 70% and an additional growth of more than 20% was seen in 2007, to reach the 2200dollar threshold per square meter. In this context, the real estate prices started declining from the very beginning of 2008, up to a 20% decline by the end of the year in real terms. This was
3 See www.day.az/news/economy/142993.html
4 The data is taken from http://www.globalpropertyguide.com
TABLE 3 Summary of real estate prices and per capita GDP for Armenia and a number of other neighboring countries (2008)
Real estate price, US dollar/square meter
Per capita GDP/real estate price (G/P)
Analysis | Real Estate Market in Armenia and Abroad the second-deepest drop in the real estate market in the world. Thus, the real estate market of Estonia, which was greatly integrated with Western Europe, started suffering at an earlier stage than that of all other countries included in this analysis. This means that the decline here was going almost in parallel with the real estate price decline that started affecting developed countries. No correct data for 2009 are available yet, even though it is obvious that the decline there has not stopped. Based on this, the number of 1800 dollars per square meter shown in TABLE 3 might be somewhat exaggerated.
yarsk6 . As the ruble depreciated at around 35% against the dollar since the beginning of the crisis, the decline in real prices was more serious. The data of TABLE 3 show that Armenia is distinguished from the other countries surveyed by its low real estate prices. At the same time, its G/P ratio occupies a middle position in the list of surveyed countries, which proves that the real estate is reasonably affordable for the countryâ€™s population. The best value of this parameter is in Turkey, the worst in Russia, which is additional proof that real estate is not affordable for the wide strata of population in Russia.
Russia It is rather difficult to briefly present the real estate market of this country, since the market conditions throughout its vast territory vary significantly. It should be mentioned that in the first half of 2008 the average price per one square meter of apartment was a huge sum of 21,800 dollars in Moscow, while in Saint Petersburg, a second capital, it was around 8800 dollars5 . Nevertheless this country is important for Armenia, as the processes taking place there affect Armenia not only on the economic but also on the psychological level. This article mainly reflects upon developments in the Moscow market, which were duplicated in other big cities. The table gives the average prices in Moscow and Saint Petersburg, since these two cities account for the lionâ€™s share of the countryâ€™s real estate market. The Russian real estate market is distinguished by a high level of speculative activity. The prices in this country also were growing until fall 2008, after which the free fall of prices started, up to 10% per quarter. This came as a result of the sharp decline in oil prices, as well as the collapse of the Russian stock market. In 2009 the real estate prices in Moscow went down at around 1.8% in ruble terms, whereas in other regions of the country the decline was even bigger, namely 7.2% in Saint Petersburg and up to 15% in Krasno-
The data presented in this article allow us to draw the following conclusions: 1. Even though the real estate prices in Armenia are lower than in other countries, the global economic crisis resulted in a significant decline of investment activity here. 2. The market greatly depends on the private transfers directed to Armenia. For this reason, the price reductions here started at a later stage than in other countries. Whereas in developed countries (also in Estonia) the decline in the real estate prices started at the end of 2007 (it was the real estate market decline that caused the crisis) and in most of the countries comparable to Armenia it started in fall 2008 (as a result of the global financial-banking crisis which had already begun), in Armenia, the market decline commenced only after the sharp decrease in foreign transfers, which happened in the first quarter of 2009. 3. The real estate prices in Armenia are reasonable both as compared to other countries and from the perspective of its per capita income. Nevertheless, even the encouragement measures taken by the government (e.g. provision of certain loan guarantees to developers) has not yet resulted (in August-
Analysis | Real Estate Market in Armenia and Abroad
Rencoâ€™s Piazza Grande is one of the few buildings built in Armenia during the economic crisis. September 2009) in an increase of activity in the real estate market and the construction sector. According to the press7 , stagnation is seen in the elite apartment market, which attracts the main interest of foreign investors. At the end, it is necessary to note another reason for concern. In Armenia, unlike other countries, the decline of the construction sector did not result in a decrease in the prices of construction materials, which could have become an additional factor encouraging construction in the crisis. According to the press, in Azerbaijan the prices of construction materials had gone down 7
Capital, September 9, 2009
by around 35%8 by early 2009, while in Russia in April 2009 construction materials cost 15% less than before the crisis 9. By contrast, according to the information received from the construction companies, there is no similar price decrease for construction materials in Armenia, which is explained by the presence of monopolies in this market. As a result, the country loses an important factor that could have encouraged growth in construction.
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8 Î³åÇï³É, 9 ë»åï»Ùµ»ñÇ 2009Ã. 9 www.day.az/news/economy/147419.html 10 http://realty.vz.ru/research/2009/5/26/777.html
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Survey | Real Estate Market
Real Estate Market in Armenia
The survey on the real estate market was conducted in three market
segments, namely real estate purchase and sale, construction, and mortgage credits. The survey was conducted in June 2009. The questions are comprised of two parts: one, how do you evaluate the situation, and two, what are your expectations or what are the adjustments in your companyâ€™s plans.
Survey | Real Estate Market
Real Estate Market in Armenia The results of the survey prove that the global financial-economic crisis affected the real estate market to a greater extent than other sectors of the economy. Nevertheless, the volume and depth of the current crisis are smaller than those brought forward by the crisis that hit the real estate market before. Irrespective of the fact that there were some improvements in June, it is too early to talk of fundamental changes.
1. Real estate
purchase and sale Hakob Baghdasaryan, President, “Akcern” real estate corporation At the present moment I can say that the general price level of real estate has gone down to some extent and stopped. It is staying this way and will
remain like this for some time. There are interesting offers in the market that will lead to positive changes in prices once implemented. This will happen in a couple of months before the end of fall. The prices for the apartments are relative. They decreased by 10-50% depending on the place, type of the building, and the level of wear and tear. The crisis had little effect on good apartments, while the bad ones felt a stronger impact. The total number of transactions decreased. I can call it a “passive” state, the lowest level. We are expecting more activity within the coming months, particularly explained by increased activity in the area of bank mortgages and inflow of finances. Certain sectors of the economy should get some advantages to be revived, which will reflect upon real estate.
I cannot say that the situation is disastrous, since the real estate market has gone through a number of turbulent situations before. The shocks took place during the years of heavy migration from the country, namely during the period of 1998- 2000. There were times when people leaving Armenia were selling their apartments for the price of the airplane ticket. It is clear that the current decrease in prices could not go as low as the price level of those years. Currently, the prices of services or consumer goods have not gone down. Looking more closely, we will notice that there are goods which are getting more expensive. In this case, the real estate which contains guarantee and trust factors cannot simply be thrown onto or enter the market with unjustified prices. I think that we will account for the prices` increase at the beginning of the next year, while now the market is in the state of being surveyed. Sooner or later the human factor will not play much of a role, the negative expectations will go away, and the banking system will start functioning properly. Currently, consumer loans are provided at 18-22%, which does not benefit our economy at all. If the loans` interest rates fall to 12-13% or mortgage loans to 10-12%, everything will get regulated. The problem arises from the banking system, where the finances are 47
Survey | Real Estate Market
centralized. The finances at the same time should encourage economic activity and revival. If the money is kept and not provided or provided to few people instead of thousands, the economy encounters a great number of problems which affect it with multiplied strength. Meanwhile, the wait-and-see attitude of people is normal. People have the opportunity to choose and each of them strives to make the right choice.
Vladimir Harutyunyan, Head of Commercial Department, “Bars” real estate agency We evaluate the market as passive now. Banks are not providing mortgage loans so that people can purchase apartments. The decline in housing prices is around 25-30%. If we calculate the decrease taking into account the dollar exchange rate, it will make 50%, since the dollar exchange rate went up. There are cases when people sell their apartments at a price lower than the market price, since they need money urgently. We do not expect any bigger decrease of real estate prices. It is possible that the prices will stabilize or go up a little bit, since this situation cannot continue any longer.
Ruzanna Aloyan, Director, “Alo” real estate agency Everybody is selling now; there is no one to buy. The housing prices have fallen by 30% and
I think they will continue falling because of the global crisis. As regards the question of how long this situation will continue, no one knows. We can only hope that it will go away soon and everything will return to its normal pace then.
Ashot Hovhannisyan, Director, “As" real estate agency Even though the housing prices have declined by 30%, there is little activity as compared with the end of the previous year. The number of buyers and sellers has increased a little bit during the month of June, meaning that there is some activity going on. Anyways, our agency has not lost its place in the market yet. I am sure that the crisis will not stay long in Armenia. It will weaken its positions and the situation will improve.
Gagik Zargaryan, Head of Evaluations Department, Real Estate Exchange Currently the real estate market is extremely passive. People are not buying apartments as a result of the current crisis situation. They are waiting until the prices go down even more and they can buy apartments at lower prices. By doing so, people encourage the deepening of the crisis. The apartment prices now have fallen by 3050%. The fifty percent decline in prices has affected both luxury apartments and private
houses, as well as bad houses in “Khrushchev-type” and panel buildings. This means that the living standard and purchasing power of our fellow citizens have increased. We have a feeling of fear, since we do not see the end of the crisis. If the situation goes on for another 6 months, the apartment prices will fall by a further 20%.
Ruben Toumanyan, real estate agent The scarcity of resources and actual freezing of mortgage loan provision had a serious impact on real estate demand and the Armenian real estate market has entered a crisis stage. The developers` newly built buildings remained without buyers. Do you remember developers saying that the real estate prices would not fall irrespective of the crisis? This was done with the purpose that potential clients with money would not delay their deals. At this point even the ready property is not sold, let alone initiating new construction. There is no construction going on. Consequently, there is no demand for labor force, construction materials, sanitary equipment, etc. Construction affects the whole economy. The construction business is declining significantly now. I have not been able to conclude any deal since January. I am taking care of my family by accumulating debts. It becomes clear from private talks that the number of transactions has decreased by 80-90 %, though
Survey | Real Estate Market
this is not announced publicly. The apartment prices have decreased up to 50%. Last year this time we were complaining about the number of transactions, but we didnâ€™t have a decline similar to this one. Many people are selling their or their relatives` apartments mainly to pay off bank loans. The banks in their turn are selling pledged property to return the amounts provided in the form of the loans. This results in increased supply and fall of prices. Thus we deal with a closed chain which currently does not have a way out. The real estate agents do not know what will happen in the future either.
Varduhi Hakobyan, real estate agent The fact that the real estate market finds itself in a terrible condition is confirmed by brokers, buyers, and official statistics. I have not been able to conclude any deal since January, even though the housing prices have come down by 30-40%. This situation is explained by the global crisis and the fact that people do not have money at hand. Today, no one can have expectations. We wait for people with money from abroad to visit Armenia and buy housing here, so that we can work. We live in an unpredictable country, which has an unpredictable market. The prices are not normal and there is no trade going on. Such things as a stable market and stable prices do not exist here. There is more housing
sold than bought. The sellers are those who borrowed loans and cannot pay the interest or those who intend to leave the country. There are cases when people wait for months to sell their houses, but there is no buyer. Thus they have to lower the house prices every month. The number of transactions has decreased by 90%. If 15 years ago a three-room apartment could be purchased for 5,000 dollars, in the past two years the prices went as high as 100,000 dollars. Now the same apartment can be acquired for 50-60,000 dollars. Banks do not provide mortgage loans or the loan rates are so high that not everyone can afford them. This fact also affects the demand side.
Anahit Manukyan, buyer I have been trying to buy an apartment for one year and six months. I do not have enough
cash resources, so I decided to apply for the mortgage loan. Before doing so, I researched the housing market. The prices have started declining day by day before my eyes. When I started the research, I could have bought a three-room apartment in Davitashen district in Yerevan at a minimum cost of 80,000 dollars, whereas now the price is 48-50,000 dollars. I am happy about the fact that the apartment prices have become affordable, though there is one obstacle. The banks refuse to provide mortgage loans in the crisis situation. They need very strong guarantees. I have also made some inquiries and found out that the banks do not know what to do with the pledged apartments. This means that when people bought apartments and could not repay the mortgage, the bank had to sell the apartment to get its money back. All cash resources are owned by the banks now,
Survey | Real Estate Market
people do not have cash. Even if the apartments continue getting cheaper at this pace, I will not be able to buy an apartment. It is very important that the RA government or the Central Bank take measures to restore the mortgage market. I have heard them taking some steps, but have not seen the results to date.
Simon Matevosyan, apartment seller I have a 4-room apartment that I want to sell. It has been 5 months since I posted an announcement but there is no news. People only call to find out the price and do not come over to see the apartment. I do not even have an opportunity to bargain. I am afraid to tell them a very low price, since the next day the prices might go up suddenly. Since I am in urgent need of money I decided to exchange my 3-room apartment for a 1-room with an additional amount paid. They say this option is more realistic to implement.
2. Development Vahe Almoyan, General Director, “Glendale Hills” CJSC As a result of the global financial-economic crisis, the Armenian real estate market is in a weaker position than it was 1-1.5 years ago. The market is encountering a certain decline
in prices. Nevertheless, this mostly refers to the companies which stopped construction projects and have issues with selling apartments or commercial areas. Glendale Hills has been able to avoid similar issues thanks to professionalism and diligent work. We were able to sell 90-95% of the apartments and commercial areas we developed. From the very beginning, the prices we offered were the most optimal in the market. Thus we did not and are not going to apply any price adjustments. Not a single project undertaken by Glendale Hills was adjusted as a result of the crisis. All tasks are performed according to the plan and no project is stopped. If before the crisis we were working at a fast pace, which means that we were trying to implement activities ahead of schedule, now we work according to the initially planned schedule. Nevertheless, I am sure that the construction sector will get restored and will develop in parallel to the revival and growth of the economy. At the same time, Glendale Hills is a partner of the government and implements a number of social and government programs. Following the RA President’s initiative and using the government’s resources, our company is implementing large-scale apartment-building construction in Yerevan, as well as Lori and Shirak marzes. Glendale Hills CJSC was
founded in 2004. Being one of the largest construction companies in the RA, our company actively participates in urban development and improvement projects in Armenia. Together with other members of Glendale Hills group, we are carrying out 22 projects in Yerevan, with a total construction area of 600,000 square meters. Outside the capital city we are carrying out 4 projects with around 450,000 square meters of total construction area. As a result of 5 years of diligent and professional activities, Glendale Hills has earned the reputation of a reliable partner in the areas of construction and real estate in the eyes of the RA government, business circles and consumers.
Hrair Karakhanyan, Director, “Masis” LLC We are developers. We receive the order and then start construction. We have received fewer orders during the past few months. The situation is made worse by the fact that we have not yet received the money for the previous orders. The reason is that the clients are insolvent at this point. We have partially built sites, where we stopped the construction. In downtown Yerevan alone three buildings remained unfinished due to the lack of financing. Let me bring an example that will show the change in the investors` attitudes. We had a client from abroad. The director of that
Survey | Real Estate Market
company used to come once a month and check the progress. Now he does not come at all.
Karen Avetisyan, Director of the Evaluation Center, â€œShenâ€? concern If we compare todayâ€™s market with that of previous years, we will say that it is in a passive state, if we compare it with last month we will say it is in a good state. The housing prices fell by 25-30%, since the demand declined sharply in the crisis situation. Many people borrowed bank loans and pledged their property. Today, these people have issues with their loan repayment. They have to sell their apartments at prices lower than market prices in order not to owe the bank. We are optimists and hope that the crisis will go away and our work that went off the rails long ago will return to its normal pace. I hope that apartment sellers are the people who really have serious reasons for doing so, and not those who do not have work and have to repay their loans.
3. Mortgage market Tigran Davtian, RA Minister of Finance This phenomenon is peculiar not only to the Armenian banking system. The banking systems all over the world became very cautious, for well-known reasons. In the crisis situation the risks become bigger, the purchasing capacity decreases,
and it is only natural that the banks become extremely cautious. Unfortunately our banking system did not avoid this trend. First of all it is reflected in consumer loans, mortgage loans, and economy crediting. Of course, we are also dissatisfied, since the passive state of bank crediting does not encourage economic growth. We understand that this situation is preconditioned by the objective reality, namely the global crisis, expectations and uncer-
tainty, which all have a negative impact on our banking system. We have noticed some positive trends. The banks have become more active, since it seems that the expectations were alleviated and the decline threshold started to be felt in global economy. We encountered this change somewhat late, explained by developments in the US and Russia. We try to encourage banks in three ways. First is by attract-
Survey | Real Estate Market
ing additional resources to the banking system, namely loan resources, which can potentially increase demand. In the final run, bank interest rates are formed from supply-demand ratio and risks evaluation. We try to increase the supply volumes by attracting serious resources from abroad in the coming 1-2 months. A significant portion of these resources will be directed to the economy through the banking system. The second is that we are forming a mortgage fund. This is the initiative of the Central Bank. We think that the fund will be a serious resource to restore the volumes of mortgage loan provision and thus encourage economic growth and construction works. The third is that the state is trying to influence the situation with the tool of direct crediting and state guarantee provision. We try to implement immediate crediting, state guarantee provision and even capital participation in the sectors that are in urgent need of effective assistance and do not have the required resources. The example can be construction and other sectors, where we are implementing immediate budgetary loan provision, which is an unprecedented step and is interpreted ambiguously by international structures. Nevertheless, we are taking this step to compensate to a certain extent for the gap that objectively occurred as a result of a sharp decline in banking system loan provision volumes and toughened condi-
tions. We are waiting to return to a normal crediting environment, which is extremely important from an economic perspective. We try to encourage this process, but it will not be a good idea to impose administrative and compulsive methods on the banks. They are private structures and the government will try to encourage them by applying market and semi-market mechanisms.
Armen Khachyan, General Director, â€œWashington Capital Universal Lending Organization CJSCâ€? In general, I can give a stable evaluation of the RA mortgage market. Why in general? Because recent developments in the global financial-economic market could not leave the Armenian financial and economic market untouched. Some negative influence was encountered in the area of mortgage loan provision volumes and loan servicing quality, which will continue being felt in the future. Nevertheless, in general, the Armenian financial market and the banking system in particular are in stable condition and the impact of the above factors on their stability could not be overly large. It is important to take into account one key factor. As opposed to various other loan types, mortgage loans are less risky, since when developing mortgage loan provision conditions and approaches possible negative long
term influences are taken into account and tougher approaches are applied when borrowers` creditworthiness is evaluated. The proof of this can be the difference of qualitative indicators of Armenian mortgage loans compared to the qualitative indicators of other loan types. When evaluating the mortgage market, one cannot but pay attention to and evaluate the RA real estate market. In this respect I should note that the RA real estate market is in a passive state, which is explained by the decrease in activity level of the real estate market, including significant decrease in real estate transactions, adjustments of the market prices, etc. Taking all this into account, this year did not see a significant increase of the volume of the RA mortgage market, particularly as of May 2009. Certain activity was noticed in March (5.2% growth as compared with the month of February). Overall, the growth of mortgage loan volumes as compared with January was +2.02%, constituting 85.3 billion AMD (for the sake of comparison I will mention that the indicator for the same period in 2008 was +19.25% ). In Armenia, like elsewhere in the world economy, certain programs are being developed with the aim of increasing the activity of mortgage and real estate markets. With this in mind, various programs have been
Survey | Real Estate Market
HSBC's mortgage lending is similar to other banks and is also impacted by the 2 issues above. The only difference is that HSBC has a large excess of USD and EUR deposits and could theoretically provide mortgage finance in foreign currency. However, our policy is only to lend foreign currency to customers who have foreign currency income, otherwise we believe we are allowing our customers to take unknown and unreasonable risks they cannot control.
Suren Zohrabyan, Head of Strategy and Business Development Department, “Converse Bank” brought to life. These programs cannot but leave their positive effect on RA mortgage market activity. In particular, one can mention the development of the RA Mortgage Fund, which is now close to being finalized. It creates effective mortgage loan refinancing mechanisms and will certainly resolve the issue of the scarcity of longterm financial resources, which will encourage the growth of the RA mortgage and even real estate markets. Amongst the programs implemented in the mortgage credit market, one can also mention the “StableHousing Financing Market Development Program”, implemented jointly with German KFW Bank. Its first stage is
close to completion and the second stage is being actively discussed now. Taking all this into account, the expectations on the RA mortgage market are generally positive. I hope that in the near future this effect will be real and tangible.
Tim Slater, CEO, “HSBC Bank Armenia” The Mortgage market is currently limited by 2 factors; firstly the supply of AMD is weak in the market and secondly risks have increased, so banks are more cautious with their lending.
Overall the mortgage market is in a passive stage this year. One of the reasons is definitely the impact of the global crisis both on the real estate sector of the economy and people’s psychology. Specifically, I would like to mention that certain banks stopped providing mortgage loans fully or partially. On the other hand, as a result of exchange rate fluctuations, people’s purchasing power has decreased. There is no doubt that the mortgage market is encountering price reductions as well, but we can talk of a psychological factor here. Even those who have savings adhere to a waitand-see strategy, since they hope that real estate prices will fall even further.
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Ùáï áñáß³ÏÇ áõß³óáõÙáí ¿ ï»ÕÇ áõÝ»ÝáõÙ ³Û¹ ÷á÷áËáõÃÛáõÝÁ, Ï³Ëí³Í ²ØÜ-Ç, èáõë³ëï³ÝÇ ½³ñ·³óáõÙÝ»ñÇ Ñ»ï, »õ ÙÇ³ÛÝ áñáß Å³Ù³Ý³Ï³Ñ³ïí³ÍÇó Ñ»ïá Ñ³ëÝáõÙ ¿ Ð³Û³ëï³Ý: öáñÓáõÙ »Ýù Ñáñ¹áñ»É µ³ÝÏ»ñÇÝ, »õ ¹ñ³ 3 áõÕÕáõÃÛáõÝ Ï³: ²é³çÇÝ` Éñ³óáõóÇã é»ëáõñëÝ»ñÇ Ý»ñ·ñ³íáõÙÁ ¹»åÇ µ³ÝÏ³ÛÇÝ Ñ³Ù³Ï³ñ·: ²ÛëÇÝùÝ` í³ñÏ³ÛÇÝ é»ëáõñëÝ»ñ, áñáÝù åáï»ÝóÇ³É ³í»É³óÝáõÙ »Ý ³é³ç³ñÏÁ: ì»ñçÇÝ Ñ³ßíáí` µ³ÝÏ³ÛÇÝ ïáÏáë³¹ñáõÛùÁ Ó»õ³íáñíáõÙ ¿ ³é³ç³ñÏ-å³Ñ³Ýç³ñÏ Ñ³ñ³µ»ñ³ÏóáõÃÛáõÝÇó »õ éÇëÏ»ñÇ ·Ý³Ñ³ïáõÙÇó: Ø»Ýù ÷áñÓáõÙ »Ýù ³é³ç³ñÏÇ Í³í³ÉÁ Ù»Í³óÝ»É, Ý»ñ·ñ³í»Éáõ »Ýù ³é³çÇÏ³ 1-2 ³ÙÇëÝ»ñÇ ÁÝÃ³óùáõÙ µ³í³Ï³Ý Éáõñç é»ëáõñëÝ»ñ ¹ñëÇó, áñáÝóÇó ½·³ÉÇ Ù³ëÁ áõÕÕí»Éáõ ¿ µ³ÝÏ³ÛÇÝ Ñ³Ù³Ï³ñ·Ç ÙÇçáóáí ¹»åÇ ïÝï»ëáõÃÛáõÝ: ºñÏñáñ¹` Ó»õ³íáñí»Éáõ ¿ ÑÇ÷áÃ»ù³ÛÇÝ ÑÇÙÝ³¹ñ³Ù: Î´ Ý³Ë³Ó»éÝáõÃÛáõÝÝ ¿, »õ Ï³ñÍáõÙ »Ýù` ³Û¹ ÑÇÙÝ³¹ñ³ÙÁ Éáõñç Ù³ëÝ³ÏóáõÃÛáõÝ »õ é»ëáõñë ÏÉÇÝÇ, áñå»ë½Ç ÑÇ÷áÃ»ù³ÛÇÝ í³ñÏ³íáñÙ³Ý Í³í³ÉÝ»ñÁ í»ñ³Ï³Ý·Ýí»Ý, »õ ¹ñ³ ÙÇçáóáí ËÃ³ÝíÇ ïÝï»ëáõÃÛáõÝÁ »õ ßÇÝ³ñ³ñáõÛÃÛáõÝÁ: ºññáñ¹, å»ïáõÃÛáõÝÁ ³ÝÙÇç³Ï³Ý í³ñÏ³íáñÙ³Ý »õ å»ï³Ï³Ý »ñ³ßËÇùÝ»ñÇ ïñ³Ù³¹ñÙ³Ý ·áñÍÇùáí ¿ ³½¹áõÙ: öáñÓáõÙ »Ýù ³ÛÝ áÉáñïÝ»ñáõÙ, áñáÝù ßï³å »õ ³ñ¹ÛáõÝ³í»ï ³ç³ÏóáõÃÛ³Ý Ï³ñÇù áõÝ»Ý »õ ãáõÝ»Ý ³Û¹ é»ëáõñëÝ»ñÁ, ³ÝÙÇç³å»ë Çñ³Ï³Ý³óÝ»É í³ñÏ³íáñáõÙ, å»ï³Ï³Ý »ñ³ßËÇùÝ»ñÇ ïñ³Ù³¹ñáõÙ »õ ÝáõÛÝÇëÏ Ï³åÇï³ÉáõÙ Ù³ëÝ³ÏóáõÃÛáõÝ: úñÇÝ³Ï, ßÇÝ³ñ³ñáõÃÛáõÝ »õ ³ÛÉ áÉáñïÝ»ñ, Ù»Ýù ³ÝÙÇç³å»ë Çñ³Ï³Ý³óÝáõÙ »Ýù µÛáõç»ï³ÛÇÝ é»ëáõñëÝ»ñÇó í³ñÏ³íáñáõÙ, áñÁ ³ÝÝ³Ë³¹»å ù³ÛÉ ¿ »õ ÙÇ³ß³Ý³Ï ãÇ ÁÝ¹áõÝíáõÙ ÙÇç³½·³ÛÇÝ Ï³éáõÛóÝ»ñÇ ÏáÕÙÇó: ´³Ûó Ù»Ýù ·ÝáõÙ »Ýù ³Û¹ ù³ÛÉÇÝ, áñáß ã³÷áí ÷áËÑ³ïáõó»Éáí ³ÛÝ µ³óÁ, áñ ûµÛ»ÏïÇíáñ»Ý ³é³ç³ó»É ¿ µ³ÝÏ³ÛÇÝ Ñ³Ù³Ï³ñ·Ç ÏáÕÙÇó í³ñÏ³ÛÇÝ Í³í³ÉÝ»ñÇ ÏïñáõÏ Ýí³½Ù³Ý »õ å³ÛÙ³ÝÝ»ñÇ Ëëï³óÙ³Ý å³ï×³éáí: Ø»Ýù ëå³ëáõÙ »Ýù í»ñ³¹³ñÓ ¹»åÇ ÝáñÙ³É í³ñÏ³íáñÙ³Ý ÙÃÝáÉáñï, áñÁ ß³ï Ï³ñ»õáñ ¿ ïÝï»ëáõÃÛ³Ý Ñ³Ù³ñ: Ø»Ýù ÷áñÓáõÙ »Ýù ËÃ³Ý»É ³Û¹ ·áñÍÁÝÃ³óÁ, µ³Ûó í³ñã³Ï³Ý, å³ñï³¹ñ³ÝùÇ Ù»Ãá¹Ý»ñ µ³ÝÏ»ñÇ ÝÏ³ïÙ³Ùµ ×Çßï ã»Ý ÉÇÝÇ: Üñ³Ýù Ù³ëÝ³íáñ Ï³éáõÛóÝ»ñ »Ý, áõÕÕ³ÏÇ Ï³é³í³ñáõÃÛáõÝÁ ßáõÏ³Û³Ï³Ý Ï³Ù ÏÇë³ßáõÏ³Û³Ï³Ý Ù»Ë³ÝÇ½ÙÝ»ñáí ÷áñÓ»Éáõ ¿ ËÃ³Ý»É áõ Ñáñ¹áñ»É:
Ð³ñóáõÙ | ²Ýß³ñÅ ·áõÛùÇ ßáõÏ³ Ùáï»óáõÙÝ»ñÁ Ùß³Ï»ÉÇë Ñ³ßíÇ »Ý ³éÝíáõÙ ³é³çÇÏ³ »ñÏ³ñ³Å³ÙÏ»ï Ñ³ïí³ÍáõÙ ÑÝ³ñ³íáñ µ³ó³ë³Ï³Ý ³½¹»óáõÃÛáõÝÝ»ñÁ »õ í³ñÏ³éáõÝ»ñÇ í³ñÏáõÝ³ÏáõÃÛ³Ý ·Ý³Ñ³ïÙ³Ý Å³Ù³Ý³Ï ÏÇñ³éíáõÙ »Ý ³í»ÉÇ ËÇëï Ùáï»óáõÙÝ»ñ: ì»ñçÇÝÇë ³å³óáõÛó Ï³ñáÕ ¿ Ñ³Ý¹Çë³Ý³É Ð³Û³ëï³ÝÇ ÑÇ÷áÃ»ù³ÛÇÝ í³ñÏ»ñÇ áñ³Ï³Ï³Ý óáõó³ÝÇßÝ»ñÇ ï³ñµ»ñáõÃÛáõÝÁ ³ÛÉ í³ñÏ³ï»ë³ÏÝ»ñÇ áñ³Ï³Ï³Ý óáõó³ÝÇßÝ»ñÇ ÝÏ³ïÙ³Ùµ: ÐÇ÷áÃ»ù³ÛÇÝ ßáõÏ³Ý ·Ý³Ñ³ï»ÉÇë ãÇ Ï³ñ»ÉÇ ãÝÏ³ï»É »õ ·Ý³Ñ³ï³Ï³Ý ãï³É Ý³»õ ÐÐ ³Ýß³ñÅ ·áõÛùÇ ßáõÏ³ÛÇÝ: ²Ûë ³éáõÙáí Ýß»Ù, áñ Ð³Û³ëï³ÝÇ Ð³Ýñ³å»ïáõÃÛ³Ý ³Ýß³ñÅ ·áõÛùÇ ßáõÏ³Ý ·ïÝíáõÙ ¿ å³ëÇí íÇ×³ÏáõÙ, ÇÝãÁ ÑÇÙÝ³Ï³ÝáõÙ å³ÛÙ³Ý³íáñí³Í ¿ ³Ýß³ñÅ ·áõÛùÇ ßáõÏ³ÛÇ ³ÏïÇíáõÃÛ³Ý Ýí³½Ù³Ùµ, ³Ýß³ñÅ ·áõÛùÇ ßáõÏ³ÛáõÙ Çñ³Ï³Ý³óíáÕ ·áñÍ³ñùÝ»ñÇ Ãí³ù³Ý³ÏÇ ¿³Ï³Ý Ýí³½Ù³Ùµ, ßáõÏ³Û³Ï³Ý ·Ý»ñÇ ÷á÷áËáõÃÛ³Ùµ »õ ³ÛÉÝ:
²ñÙ»Ý Ê³ãÛ³Ý, ·ÉË³íáñ ïÝûñ»Ý, ¦ì³ßÇÝ·ÃáÝ ø³÷ÇÃ³É áõÝÇí»ñë³É í³ñÏ³ÛÇÝ Ï³½Ù³Ï»ñåáõÃÛáõÝ§ ö´À ÀÝ¹Ñ³Ýáõñ ³éÙ³Ùµ Ð³Û³ëï³ÝÇ Ð³Ýñ³å»ïáõÃÛ³Ý ÑÇ÷áÃ»ù³ÛÇÝ ßáõÏ³ÛÇÝ Ï³ñ»ÉÇ ¿ ï³É Ï³ÛáõÝ ·Ý³Ñ³ï³Ï³Ý: ÆÝãá±õ ÁÝ¹Ñ³Ýáõñ ³éÙ³Ùµ. ù³ÝÇ áñ Ñ³Ù³ßË³ñÑ³ÛÇÝ ýÇÝ³Ýë³ïÝï»ë³Ï³Ý ßáõÏ³ÛáõÙ ï»ÕÇ áõÝ»ó³Í í»ñçÇÝ ½³ñ·³óáõÙÝ»ñÇ Ñ»ï»õ³ÝùÝ»ñÇó ã¿ñ Ï³ñáÕ ½»ñÍ ÙÝ³É Ý³»õ ÐÐ ýÇÝ³Ýë³ïÝï»ë³Ï³Ý ßáõÏ³Ý, »õ áñáß³ÏÇ µ³ó³ë³Ï³Ý ³½¹»óáõÃÛáõÝ ÑÇ÷áÃ»ù³ÛÇÝ í³ñÏ»ñÇ ïñ³Ù³¹ñÙ³Ý Í³í³ÉÝ»ñÇ »õ í³ñÏ»ñÇ ëå³ë³ñÏÙ³Ý áñ³ÏÇ íñ³, ³ÛÝáõ³Ù»Ý³ÛÝÇí, ÝÏ³ïí»ó, »õ Ùáï ³å³·³ÛáõÙ ÇÝã-áñ ã³÷áí ³Û¹ ³½¹»óáõÃÛáõÝÁ ¹»é Ïß³ñáõÝ³ÏíÇ ÝÏ³ïí»É: ê³Ï³ÛÝ, ÁÝ¹Ñ³Ýáõñ ³éÙ³Ùµ, Ð³Û³ëï³ÝÇ ýÇÝ³Ýë³Ï³Ý ßáõÏ³Ý »õ, Ù³ëÝ³íáñ³å»ë, µ³ÝÏ³ÛÇÝ Ñ³Ù³Ï³ñ·Á ·ïÝíáõÙ ¿ Ï³ÛáõÝ íÇ×³ÏáõÙ »õ í»ñáÝßÛ³É ·áñÍáÝÝ»ñÇ ³½¹»óáõÃÛáõÝÝ»ñÁ í»ñçÇÝÇë Ï³ÛáõÝáõÃÛ³Ý Ë³Ã³ñÙ³Ý íñ³ ¿³Ï³Ý ã»Ý Ï³ñáÕ ÉÇÝ»É: Î³ñ»õáñ ¿ Ñ³ßíÇ ³éÝ»É ³é³Ýóù³ÛÇÝ ÙÇ ·áñÍáÝ. ÑÇ÷áÃ»ù³ÛÇÝ í³ñÏ»ñÁª, Ç ï³ñµ»ñáõÃÛ³Ý ß³ï ³ÛÉ í³ñÏ³ï»ë³ÏÝ»ñÇ, ³é³í»É ùÇã éÇëÏ³ÛÇÝ »Ý, ù³ÝÇ áñ í»ñçÇÝÝ»ñÇë ïñ³Ù³¹ñÙ³Ý å³ÛÙ³ÝÝ»ñÝ áõ í³ñÏ³íáñÙ³Ý
²Ûë ³Ù»ÝÇ Ý»ñùá Ð³Û³ëï³ÝÇ Ð³Ýñ³å»ïáõÃÛ³Ý ÑÇ÷áÃ»ù³ÛÇÝ í³ñÏ³íáñÙ³Ý ßáõÏ³ÛÇ Í³í³ÉÇ ¿³Ï³Ý ³× ³Ûë ï³ñÇ ¹»é ãÇ ÝÏ³ïí»É. Ù³ëÝ³íáñ³å»ë 2009 Ã. Ù³ÛÇëÇ ¹ñáõÃÛ³Ùµ` áñáß³ÏÇ ³ÏïÇíáõÃÛáõÝ ÝÏ³ïí»É ¿ ÙÇ³ÛÝ Ù³ñï ³ÙëÇÝ (÷»ïñí³ñÇ ÝÏ³ïÙ³Ùµ 5.2% ³×), ÇëÏ ÁÝ¹Ñ³Ýáõñ ³éÙ³Ùµ ÑÇ÷áÃ»ù³ÛÇÝ í³ñÏ»ñÇ Í³í³ÉÇ ³×Ý ³Ûë ï³ñí³ ÑáõÝí³ñÇ ÝÏ³ïÙ³Ùµ Ï³½Ù»É ¿ +2.02%ª Ï³½Ù»Éáí 85.3 ÙÉñ¹ ÐÐ ¹ñ³Ù (Ñ³Ù»Ù³ïáõÃÛ³Ý Ñ³Ù³ñ Ýß»Ù, áñ í»ñçÇÝ óáõó³ÝÇßÁ 2008 Ã. ÝáõÛÝ Å³Ù³Ý³Ï³ïí³ÍÇ Ñ³Ù³ñ Ï³½Ù»É ¿ª +19.25%: ÆÝãå»ë Ñ³Ù³ßË³ñÑ³ÛÇÝ ïÝï»ëáõÃÛáõÝáõÙ, ³ÛÝå»ë »õ ÐÐ-áõÙ Ùß³ÏíáõÙ »Ý áñáß³ÏÇ Íñ³·ñ»ñª áõÕÕí³Í ÑÇ÷áÃ»ù³ÛÇÝ ßáõÏ³ÛÇ »õ ³Ýß³ñÅ ·áõÛùÇ ßáõÏ³ÛÇ ³ÏïÇíáõÃÛ³Ý í»ñ³Ï³Ý·ÝÙ³ÝÁ: ²Ûë ³éáõÙáí Ï³ï³ñí»É »õ ÏÛ³ÝùÇ »Ý Ïáãí»É ÙÇ ß³ñù Íñ³·»ñ, áñáÝù ã»Ý Ï³ñáÕ Çñ»Ýó ¹ñ³Ï³Ý ³½¹»óáõÃÛáõÝÁ ãÃáÕÝ»É ÐÐ ÑÇ÷áÃ»ù³ÛÇÝ ßáõÏ³ÛÇ ³ÏïÇíáõÃÛ³Ý íñ³: Ø³ëÝ³íáñ³å»ë` í»ñáÝßÛ³É Íñ³·ñ»ñÇó Ï³ñ»ÉÇ ¿ ³é³ÝÓÝ³óÝ»É ÐÐ-áõÙ ÐÇ÷áÃ»ù³ÛÇÝ ÑÇÙÝ³¹ñ³ÙÇ ëï»ÕÍÙ³Ý Íñ³·ÇñÁ, áñÝ ³ñ¹»Ý Ùáï ¿ Çñ Ñ³Ý·áõó³ÉáõÍÙ³ÝÁ: ì»ñçÇÝë, ëï»ÕÍ»Éáí ÑÇ÷áÃ»ù³ÛÇÝ í³ñÏ»ñÇ í»ñ³ýÇÝ³Ýë³íáñÙ³Ý ·áñÍáõÝ Ù»Ë³ÝÇ½ÙÝ»ñ, áñáß³ÏÇáñ»Ý ÏÉáõÍÇ »ñÏ³ñ³Å³ÙÏ»ï ýÇÝ³Ýë³Ï³Ý é»ëáõñëÝ»ñÇ å³Ï³ëÇ ËÝ¹ÇñÁ, ¹ñ³Ýáí ÇëÏ Ýå³ëï»Éáí ÐÐ ÑÇ÷áÃ»ù³ÛÇÝ ßáõÏ³ÛÇ »õ ÇÝãáõ ã¿`
Ð³ñóáõÙ | ²Ýß³ñÅ ·áõÛùÇ ßáõÏ³ Ý³»õ ³Ýß³ñÅ ·áõÛùÇ ßáõÏ³ÛÇ ³ÏïÇíáõÃÛ³Ý ³×ÇÝ: ÐÇ÷áÃ»ù³ÛÇÝ í³ñÏ³íáñÙ³Ý ßáõÏ³ÛáõÙ Çñ³Ï³Ý³óíáÕ Íñ³·ñ»ñÇó Ï³ñ»ÉÇ ¿ Ýß»É Ý³»õ ¶»ñÙ³Ý³Ï³Ý KfW µ³ÝÏÇ Ñ»ï Ñ³Ù³ï»Õ Çñ³Ï³Ý³óíáÕ ¦´Ý³Ï³ñ³Ý³ÛÇÝ ýÇÝ³Ýë³íáñÙ³Ý Ï³ÛáõÝ ßáõÏ³ÛÇ ½³ñ·³óÙ³Ý Íñ³·ÇñÁ§, áñÇ ³é³çÇÝ ÷áõÉÝ ³ñ¹»Ý Ùáï ¿ Çñ ³í³ñïÇÝ, ÇëÏ »ñÏñáñ¹ ÷áõÉÇ Çñ³Ï³Ý³óÙ³Ý Ñ³Ù³ñ ï³ñíáõÙ »Ý ³ÏïÇí µ³Ý³ÏóáõÃÛáõÝÝ»ñ:
ÑÇ÷áÃ»ù³ÛÇÝ í³ñÏ»ñ ¿ ïñ³Ù³¹ñáõÙ ÙÇ³ÛÝ ³ñï³ñÅáõÛÃáí »Ï³Ùáõï áõÝ»óáÕ Ñ³×³Ëáñ¹Ý»ñÇÝ« áñáíÑ»ï»õ« Ñ³Ï³é³Ï å³ñ³·³ÛáõÙ Ñ³×³Ëáñ¹Ý»ñÁ Çñ»Ýó íñ³ »Ý í»ñóÝáõÙ ã³ñ¹³ñ³óí³Í »õ Çñ»Ýó ÏáÕÙÇó ãí»ñ³ÑëÏíáÕ éÇëÏ»ñ:
²Ûë ³Ù»ÝÇ Ý»ñùá ÐÐ ÑÇ÷áÃ»ù³ÛÇÝ ßáõÏ³ÛÇ ÝÏ³ïÙ³Ùµ ëå³ëáõÙÝ»ñÁ, ÁÝ¹Ñ³Ýáõñ ³éÙ³Ùµ, ¹ñ³Ï³Ý »Ý »õ Ñáõëáí »Ù, áñ Ùáï ³å³·³ÛáõÙ ³Û¹ ³½¹»óáõÃÛáõÝÝ ³ñ¹»Ý ÇëÏ ÏÉÇÝÇ Çñ³Ï³Ý »õ ßáß³÷»ÉÇ:
ÀÝ¹Ñ³Ýáõñ ³éÙ³Ùµ ÑÇ÷áÃ»ù³ÛÇÝ ßáõÏ³ÛáõÙ ³Ûë ï³ñÇ å³ëÇíáõÃÛáõÝ ¿ ÝÏ³ïíáõÙ, å³ï×³éÝ»ñÇó Ù»ÏÝ ³Ýßáõßï, Ñ³Ù³ßË³ñÑ³ÛÇÝ ×·Ý³Å³ÙÇ ³½¹»óáõÃÛáõÝÝ ¿, Ã» ïÝï»ëáõÃÛ³Ý Çñ³Ï³Ý Ñ³ïí³ÍÇ íñ³, Ã»` Ù³ñ¹Ï³Ýó Ñá·»µ³ÝáõÃÛ³Ý: Ø³Ýñ³Ù³ëÝ»Éáí, Ýß»Ù áñ áñáß µ³ÝÏ»ñ ³ÙµáÕçáõÃÛ³Ùµ, Ï³Ù Ù³ëÝ³ÏÇ ¹³¹³ñ»óñ»óÇÝ ÑÇ÷áÃ»ùÇ í³ñÏ³íáñáõÙÁ, ÙÛáõë ÏáÕÙÇó` Ýí³½»ó Ù³ñ¹Ï³Ýó í³ñÏáõÝ³ÏáõÃÛáõÝÁ, áñÁ Ñ»ï»õ³Ýù ¿ñ Ù³ñïÇÝ ï»ÕÇ áõÝ»ó³Í ³ñï³ñÅáõÛÃÇ ÷áË³ñÅ»ùÇ ÷á÷áËáõÃÛáõÝÝ»ñÇ:
ÂÇÙ êÉ»ÛÃ»ñ, ·ÉË³íáñ ·áñÍ³¹Çñ ïÝûñ»Ý, ¦¾Ûã-¾ë-´Ç-êÇ ´³ÝÏ Ð³Û³ëï³Ý§ ²ÛÅÙ ÑÇåáÃ»ù³ÛÇÝ ßáõÏ³Ý ë³ÑÙ³Ý³÷³Ïí³Í ¿ Ñ»ï»õÛ³É »ñÏáõ ·áñÍáÝÝ»ñáí© ³é³çÇÝ`ßáõÏ³ÛáõÙ ¹ñ³ÙÇ ³é³ç³ñÏÁ µ³í³Ï³ÝÇÝ ó³Íñ ¿ »õ »ñÏñáñ¹` í³ñÏ³ÛÇÝ éÇëÏ»ñÇ µ³ñÓñ³óáõÙÁ ßáõÏ³ÛáõÙ ëïÇå»É ¿ µ³ÝÏ»ñÇÝ ³í»ÉÇ ½·áõÛß ÉÇÝ»É: ¾Ûã-¾ë-´Ç-êÇ-Ý ³ßË³ïáõÙ ¿ ÝáõÛÝ ßáõÏ³ÛáõÙ` ÇÝã ÙÛáõë µ³ÝÏ»ñÁ« »õ í»ñáÑÇßÛ³É »ñÏáõ ·áñÍáÝÝ»ñÁ ³½¹áõÙ »Ý Ý³»õ Ù»½ íñ³: ØÇ³Ï ï³ñµ»ñáõÃÛáõÝÁ ³ÛÝ ¿« áñ Ù»Ýù áõÝ»Ýù ²ØÜ ¹áÉ³ñáí »õ »íñáÛáí ÉÇÏíÇ¹³ÛÝáõÃÛ³Ý Ù»Í ³í»ÉóáõÏ« »õ ï»ë³Ï³Ýáñ»Ý Ï³ñáÕ »Ýù ïñ³Ù³¹ñ»É ³ñï³ñÅáõÛÃáí ÑÇ÷áÃ»ù³ÛÇÝ í³ñÏ»ñ: ¾Ûã-¾ë-´Ç-êÇ-Ý« ë³Ï³ÛÝ« Ñ³Ù³Ó³ÛÝ Çñ ·áñÍáÕ Ï³ÝáÝ³Ï³ñ·Ç« ³ñï³ñÅáõÛÃáí
êáõñ»Ý ¼áÑñ³µÛ³Ý, è³½Ù³í³ñáõÃÛ³Ý »õ µÇ½Ý»ë ½³ñ·³óÙ³Ý í³ñãáõÃÛ³Ý å»ï, ¦ÎáÝí»ñë µ³ÝÏ§
²Ýßáõßï, ÑÇ÷áÃ»ù³ÛÇÝ ßáõÏ³ÛáõÙ »õë ·Ý»ñÇ ³ÝÏáõÙ ¿ ÝÏ³ïíáõÙ, ë³Ï³ÛÝ ³Û¹ï»Õ ¿É Ñá·»µ³Ý³Ï³Ý ·áñÍáÝÝ ¿ ¹»ñ Ë³ÕáõÙ, ³Ý·³Ù ËÝ³ÛáÕáõÃÛáõÝÝ»ñ áõÝ»óáÕÝ»ñÇ Ùáï ëå³ëáÕ³Ï³Ý íÇ×³Ï ¿, ù³ÝÇ áñ Ù³ñ¹ÇÏ ÑáõÛë áõÝ»Ý, áñ ³Ýß³ñÅ ·áõÛùÇ ·Ý»ñÝ ³í»ÉÇ »Ý Ýí³½»Éáõ:
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Evaluation | Comments by the RA State Cadastre Committee
Real Estate Market in Armenia Felt Impact of Global Crisis An interview with Hovhannes Hovhannisyan, Deputy Head of the State Commitee of the Real Estate Cadastre
Interviewed by Samvel Avagyan Mr. Hovhannisyan, as a result of the crisis did any significant structural changes occur in real estate transaction types, such as alienation, rent, pledge? There is no doubt that the global financial-economic crisis impacted the structure of real estate transaction types in our republic as well. The proportions of real estate alienation and pledge have decreased in the total transactions structure, while the proportion of rental transactions has grown. For example, in the first quarter of 2008, real estate alienation transactions constituted 35.6% of the total number of real estate transactions, while in the first quarter of 2009 they constituted only 27.8 %. Real estate pledge transactions constituted 15.1% of the total number of real estate transactions in the first quarter of 2008 and only 8.3% in the first quarter of 2009. We notice a different tendency with regard to real estate rent. The rental transactions constituted 7.7% of the total number of real estate transactions in the first quarter of 2008 and 10.3% in the first quarter of 2009. The decrease in the proportion of alienation transactions is mainly explained by the fall of potential customers` purchasing power and the wait-andsee attitude of market participants. Potential clients wait until the prices fall even more, while those who sell property are not psychologically ready to sell it at market prices. The decreased purchasing power of potential clients is mainly a result of the decrease of money transfers and tougher mortgage lending conditions brought forward by the global financial-economic crisis. The decrease of the proportion of pledge transactions is mainly preconditioned by reduction of prices and uncertainty in their behavior, which is again a result of the financial-economic crisis. This
makes real estate pledge transactions more risky for the banks and credit organizations, which leads to toughening of lending conditions (high interest rates and short loan terms). The increase of the proportion of rental transactions in the total number of real estate transactions is preconditioned by the above factors, which are a decrease of purchasing power, a wait-and-see attitude, and toughened of mortgage lending conditions. In reality, the increase of the proportion of rental transactions is even higher, since short-term renting transactions are generally not getting state registration of rights. Can we say that there is a formed land market in Armenia? After the adoption of the 2001 Land Code and as a result of large scale investment projects in construction implemented in 2006-2008, the residential areas` land market entered its development stage. That was particularly true for Yerevan and adjacent residential areas, some marz centers (Gyumri, Vanadzor) and some cities considered to be recreation zones, such as Tsakhkadzor, Dilijan, and Jermuk. At the same time, it should be mentioned that in the period of 2006-2008, no lot alienation transactions were implemented in more than 30% of 926 RA communities. The global financial-economic crisis had its negative impact on this segment of the real estate market as well. This is proven by the fact that the number of lots alienated in the first quarter of 2009 was 42.3% less than the number of lots alienated in the first quarter of 2008. Thus, the global finan61
Evaluation | Comments by the RA State Cadastre Committee
cial-economic crisis hindered the formation of the real estate market in Armenia.
owns, except for cases of state property privatization and state or community land alienation.
How do you evaluate the activities of the real estate agencies? Do you think they need to get additional legislative regulation?
I will add that the real estate is valuated by a licensed valuator when pledged in banks or credit organizations.
The overall activities of real estate agencies encourage the development of the real estate market. In our opinion, there are certain issues that need to be regulated by the legislation. In particular we think that it is important to adopt RA law on “Realtor Activities”.
How will you comment on the fact that though the real estate demand encountered a sharp decline, there was no actual fall in prices?
There is an opinion that Armenia does not have high quality real estate valuation services. This poses problems in terms of pledge and mandatory alienation. What is your opinion on this? The State Cadastre Committee does not find that valuation agencies in Armenia provide low quality services and create problems with transactions on real estate pledge and mandatory alienation. On the contrary, we think that the services provided by the valuation agencies encouraged the growth of pledge transactions in 2006-2008. The process of developing trust towards the real estate market among banks and credit organizations was greatly facilitated by the fact that the real estate market valuation was adjusted to international standards. In particular, in 2005 the law on “Real estate valuation activity” was adopted and in 2006 the real estate valuation standard of the Republic of Armenia was accepted. I think it is important that the real estate valuation activity is included in the list of licensed activities and all evaluators pass mandatory re-training courses in Yerevan State University. The number and quality of valuation agencies in Armenia allow potential clients to make their choice of evaluators according to their demands. As of the first quarter of 2009, there are 82 valuation agencies, which have performed around 1400 units of real estate valuations. According to Article 8 of the law on “Real Estate Valuation Activity”, real estate valuation is mandatory for the following cases: acquiring real estate for state and community needs, putting real estate into a legal entity’s authorized capital or foundations, selling as a result of real estate seizure, alienation of real estate which a state or community 62
There is no doubt that the decline in real estate demand resulted in a fall of real estate prices. In 2008, the highest real estate prices were recorded in July. If we compare them with the average prices of May 2009, the reduction of real estate prices will be more vivid. Thus, if we take into account the RA dram depreciation against international currencies, and especially the almost 20% depreciation against the US dollar at the beginning of March 2009, when surveying price indices, we will see that: 1. As compared with July 2008, the average market prices of Yerevan residential building apartments as of May 2009 had decreased by around 31.4% per 1 square meter. 2. As compared with July 2008, in Yerevan the average market prices of individual residential houses per 1 square meter (including the unit price of house adjacent land) had decreased by around 22% as of May 2009. 3. As compared with July 2008, as of May 2009 the average market prices of residential building apartments in Armenian marzes outside of Yerevan had decreased by around 18.4% per 1 square meter. 4. As compared with July 2008, in Armenian marzes outside of Yerevan the average market prices of individual residential houses per 1 square meter (including the unit price of house adjacent land) had decreased by around 14.1% as of May 2009. The decline in real estate prices is noticed when comparing the average prices of the first quarter of 2009 with those of the 4th quarter of 2008. This means that real estate prices are trending downward.
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3. 2009 Ã. Ù³ÛÇëÇÝ Ñ³Ýñ³å»ïáõÃÛ³Ý Ù³ñ½»ñáõÙ, µ³ó³éáõÃÛ³Ùµ ºñ»õ³ÝÁ, µ³½Ù³µÝ³Ï³ñ³Ý µÝ³Ï»ÉÇ ß»Ýù»ñÇ µÝ³Ï³ñ³ÝÝ»ñÇ, 1ùÙ Ù³Ï»ñ»ëÇ Ñ³ßí³ñÏáí, ßáõÏ³Û³Ï³Ý ÙÇçÇÝ ·Ý»ñÁ 2008 Ã. ÑáõÉÇëÇ Ñ³Ù»Ù³ï Ýí³½»É »Ý ßáõñç 18.4%-áí, 4. 2009 Ã. Ù³ÛÇëÇÝ Ñ³Ýñ³å»ïáõÃÛ³Ý Ù³ñ½»ñáõÙ, µ³ó³éáõÃÛ³Ùµ ºñ»õ³ÝÁ, ³ÝÑ³ï³Ï³Ý µÝ³Ï»ÉÇ ïÝ»ñÇ ßÇÝáõÃÛ³Ý 1ùÙ Ù³Ï»ñ»ëÇ ßáõÏ³Û³Ï³Ý ÙÇçÇÝ ·Ý»ñÁ /Ý»ñ³éÛ³É ïÝ³Ù»ñÓÇ ÙÇ³íáñÇ ·ÇÝÁ/ 2008 Ã. ÑáõÉÇëÇ Ñ³Ù»Ù³ï Ýí³½»É »Ý ßáõñç 14.1%-áí ²Ýß³ñÅ ·áõÛùÇ ·Ý»ñÇ Ýí³½áõÙ ¿ ÝÏ³ïíáõÙ Ý³»õ 2009 Ã. 1-ÇÝ »é³ÙëÛ³ÏáõÙ Ó»õ³íáñí³Í ÙÇçÇÝ ·Ý»ñÇ »õ 2008 Ã. 4-ñ¹ »é³ÙëÛ³ÏáõÙ Ó»õ³íáñí³Í ÙÇçÇÝ ·Ý»ñÇ Ñ³Ù»Ù³ïáõÃÛ³Ý ¹»åùáõÙ áñÁ Ýß³Ý³ÏáõÙ ¿, áñ ³Ýß³ñÅ ·áõÛùÇ ·Ý»ñÁ ¹»é»õë áõÝ»Ý Ýí³½Ù³Ý ÙÇïáõÙ:
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Feature | Mortgage Market in Armenia
The Only Certainty in Business Today is Uncertainty Interview with Mr. David Atanessian, Managing Partner and CEO of the First Mortgage Company in Armenia.
The world financial crisis, which started from the US mortgage market, has left its mark on the Armenian mortgage market. The banks have raised their rates and toughened credit conditions. How do mortgage companies and First Mortgage in particular deal with this situation? -We have conducted a survey among commercial banks and credit organizations in Armenia, and not only have they toughened loan underwriting standards and raised loan interest rates, but also most of the banks and credit organizations have completely suspended the process of mortgage loan issuing. However, there were few exceptions with the banks and two credit companies, which continued to originate mortgage loans within the program funded by KfW bank and administered by the Central Bank. The First Mortgage is a leading mortgage lender within the framework of KfW bank mortgage refinance program in Armenia. Among other projects, the FMC is partnering with OPIC, an agency of the US Government which provided a direct loan facility to FMC to originate mortgage loans in Armenia. We jointly implement social housing projects in Armenia with the well known US based charitable organization Habitat for Humanity International. Loan underwriting standards vary from program to program, pursuing one goal - to cover all strata of the population, including low-income people. 66
On the one hand, the significant decrease in real estate prices will most likely arouse the interest of potential mortgage borrowers; on the other, the toughening of mortgage loan underwriting standards will have a negative impact on demand for new mortgage loans. In this light, what developments are likely to take place in the mortgage market? There are expectations in the population that the significant decrease in real estate prices will continue. Unfortunately, no one can predict accurately when the housing prices will reach their low point. You can purchase 1 square meter in downtown Yerevan for $1200, while six months ago the same could have been purchased for not less than $2000. What explains the continuous decline in housing prices? There are a number of fundamental factors. Firstly, a significant decrease in foreign private remittances to Armenia resulted in a sharp decline in the populationâ€™s income. As a result, demand for new mortgage loans dropped dramatically in the first and second quarters of 2009. We have seen some recovery in mortgage demand in July and August that we hope will be sustainable towards the end of this year. Furthermore, the situation was further worsened by the expectations of the population that the real estate prices would continue to fall, and many people have put their investment decisions on hold, fearing a continued decline in prices, which in turn resulted in a substantial drop in real estate transactions in the first half of 2009. Secondly, if this trend continues and we observe a further drop in the populationâ€™s income, we anticipate an increase in the number of defaulted mortgage loans which will lead to foreclosure on defaulted loans to be followed by supply of mortgaged residential estate by banks and credit organizations, which in turn may further negatively impact real estate prices.
Feature | Mortgage Market in Armenia Thirdly, many real estate investors, both local and foreign, are trying to sell their real estate now, fearing a further decline in prices. Fourthly, supply of new mortgage loans in the market declined dramatically in 2009 which caused a further decline in residential real estate prices. Our projections suggest that housing prices will not continue to drop at the same speed as we observed in the beginning of this year. The real estate prices will eventually stabilize in the first quarter of 2010, taking into account the projected economic recovery in 2010-2011. What are your expectations from the establishment of the National Mortgage Company? I think that there was an urgent need for a secondary mortgage operator and the CBA has now established a secondary mortgage operator - the National Mortgage Company. . This company will operate using various loan refinancing mechanisms, at the same time trying to resolve the problem of long term and cheap financial resources through securitizing existing mortgage portfolios, which will further help to finance the mortgage market in Armenia. It is important to learn lessons and not to repeat mistakes made by large American secondary mortgage operators. Mr. Atanessian, do you think that the financial crisis will result in a reduction in the number of mortgage market participants? I think it will, and taking into account the situation in the market, it will be a normal phenomenon. We have 22 commercial banks in Armenia. I imagine that this number will be reduced to 8 banks in 5-6 years. In my opinion, changes in the banking sector are inevitable and mergers and acquisitions in the banking sector will be reasonable and wise. Why do we need to have such a great number of banks in a small financial market like ours? By merging inefficient banks with efficient ones, it will be possible to protect investors and clients from financial losses and save jobs in the financial sector.
feature of the crisis is its unpredictability. Thus, in order to survive we need to develop competitive strategies, apply new concepts and follow rules of corporate governance. Dramatic changes in the world financial system will take place, but it is hard to make projections on the new financial architecture. Nevertheless, it is not for nothing that people say that the crisis has its positive side. We are lucky that our banks did not invest in US mortgage backed securities. Apparently, wellknown large US and European banks carried losses of billions of dollars. If our banks followed their example and invested in the so-called â€œtoxic assetsâ€?, we would not have been able to recover from such losses. This year is a very challenging year for mortgage banking in Armenia with a lot of challenges to deal with. We do hope that the mortgage market will continue to grow in the years to come as we move ahead with the economic recovery in 2010.
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This is the first time that we have encountered a crisis situation of this scale. The most predictable 67
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U.S.-Armenian Initiative | New Perspectives in Air Communication
When the Skies Open In April 2010 the First Transatlantic Flight Between the U.S. and Armenia will Take Place
By Minas Hambardzumyan The “Open Sky” agreement on air communication, signed between the U.S. and Armenian governments on November 21, 2008, entered into force on July 16 of this year. The provisions of the agreement define air communication between the U.S. and Armenia via direct flight and determine certain freedoms for Armenian air carriers. As the American Chamber of Commerce in Armenia, we could not stay indifferent to an initiative of this caliber. For clarifications, we applied to Artyom Movsesyan, the Head of the General Department of Civil Aviation adjunct to the RA government, and Mikhail Baghdasarov, the owner of Armavia (recognized Armenian air carrier).
About the initiative On the state level, the “Open Sky” initiative belongs to the U.S. government, since the U.S. has similar agreements with more than 90 countries around the world. As presented by Artyom Movsesyan, Head of the General Department of Civil Aviation, during the negotiations process
the discussions were mainly held with Armavia and representatives of the U.S. Embassy in Armenia and the RA government. In the coming five months, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration is to perform an audit in Armenia to clarify issues related to the flight conditions` rules and aviation security. Armavia will present documents to the relevant customs authorities with regard to customs clearance. In order to receive permits on the commercial side, certain materials will be presented to the U.S. Department of Transportation. It is important to note that the implementation of this project would have been impossible without the readiness of the RA government, air carrier and passengers. Armavia owner Mikhail Baghdasarov and Mr. Movsesyan were unanimous in their opinion that the main claim to implement direct flights was submitted by the Armenian community of Los Angeles. It should be added that “Open Sky” incorporates both private and state interests. According to Artyom Movsesyan, in particular, not only do regulated air communication relations help the U.S. resolve issues related to national security and the fight against terrorism, but they also support the U.S.
U.S.-Armenian Initiative | New Perspectives in Air Communication in promoting the concepts of economic liberalization and competitiveness. The latter explain the fact that Americans allow foreign air carriers to perform flights in their countryâ€™s territory and become seeming competitors to American air companies. Anyway, this idea seems attractive to Mikhail Baghdasarov, who informed us that similar conditions are non-existent in Russia or Europe. Mikhail Baghdasarov presented the main directions which helped Armavia in justifying the implementation of this business project. First of all, Armenia has serious restraints in its land and sea communications, and as of today, air communication has been the main avenue helping the countryâ€™s economy operate smoothly in deadlock conditions. Secondly, Armenia has a rather favorable geographic location in terms of organizing intermediary flights. From this angle, in the future Armavia plans to involve countries such as Georgia and Iran, as well as cities in the southern part of Russia, in the air communication with the U.S. performed through Armenia. The third attractive condition for Mr. Baghdasarov are the frequent visits of Diaspora Armenians to their motherland, based on which he views Armenians living in foreign countries as potential passengers. Finally, the owner of Armavia mentioned the growing interest of tourists towards Armenia, which makes him think about additional flights to Armenia not only from the U.S., but also from European countries and the Middle East.
Where? When? What tariffs? Which airplanes? As already mentioned, not only will the Armenian carrier be able to implement direct flights to the U.S., but also continue its flight to other American cities within the U.S., based on its own preference. From this perspective and taking into account other issues, Armavia plans to perform an audit in order to have evaluations necessary for its business planning at its disposal. According to the preliminary plans, besides Los Angeles, Armavia airplanes will also fly to Canada and a number of
northern U.S. cities, such as Boston, Philadelphia and Seattle. Mr. Baghdasarov was rather optimistic, since according to him along with traditional Armenian passengers, Americans too will start using Armavia flights. According to preliminary estimates, the first Armenia-U.S. transatlantic flight will be made in April 2010. Before it happens, Armavia will carry out a number of procedures and acquire appropriate airplanes. Mikhail Bagdasarov informed us that he had received a rather competitive offer from the American company BOEING in this regard. According to the preliminary agreement, Armavia will purchase two BOEING 737-800s, as well as one BOEING 767 and one BOEING 777. There is a possibility that the air company will also acquire additional AIRBUS A-320 aircraft. Based on average calculation, a ticket with return for one person will cost around USD 1400. In order to ensure flexibility of tariffs, Armavia plans to install seats based on a five-class instead of three-class system, that is, first class, business class, improved economy class, economy class and simplified economy class. The first class seats will be limited in number, but good, as mentioned by Mr. Baghdasarov. This classification will allow Armavia to make relevant offers both to those who are after cheap tickets and those who prefer a comfortable flight. Mikhail Baghdasarov also expressed hope that these flights will be periodically used by business people, who will be provided with special cards, allowing them and their families to enjoy 5-50% discounts. According to Mr. Baghdasarov, it will be permitted to move one-two cars and other types of freight from one country to another during the flight.
Security and service During these procedures a great deal of attention, especially on behalf of the American side, will be paid to the flight and aviation security. The opinions of the two interviewees with regard to this issue coincided again. According to them, we have safe aviation. The Head of the General Department of Civil Aviation assured us that in
U.S.-Armenian Initiative | New Perspectives in Air Communication the near future the delegation of the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration will start its audit in the area of aviation security. It currently has the aviation security audit data from 2007, which was performed by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). According to this data, Armenia is in the top 5 countries in terms of its aviation security, judging from a comparison of global aviation average data. The ICAO is one of the most reputable bodies in aviation supervision, with its headquarters located in Montreal (Canada). According to Mikhail Baghdasarov, the fact that Armenia is not a member of the European Union made the other side take a more demanding position towards our flight and aviation security and in this respect we are far ahead of many European countries. The opinions regarding pilots and service personnel were also optimistic. It is obvious that new approaches will be applied in this area, since the longest flight in Armenian aviation history lasted for 5 hours. In the case of a transatlantic flight, the airplane will be in the air far longer, which turns it into a serious challenge for Armavia. According to Mikhail Baghdasarov, before the actual training of the personnel takes place, it is possible that the crews who have relevant experience will aviate the planes and service the passengers. As regards the quality of service, the owner of Armavia assured us that they are improving their service quality on a daily basis and always strive for better results. The same optimism could be noticed in the words of the Head of RA Civil aviation, who expressed his hope that such long flights will provide the passengers with pleasant memories. Besides, Artyom Movsesyan stressed that no luggage will be lost, a positive aspect of direct flight.
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U.S.-Armenian Initiative | New Perspectives in Air Communication
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Feature | International Financial Reporting Standards
Getting Ready for New Reporting Standards June and July were busy months for financial accounting reforms in Armenia. The World Bank held its dissemination workshop at which it presented its Report on the Observance of Standards and Codes (ROSC) on Accounting and Auditing in Armenia; USAID, as part of its Financial Sector Deepening Project (FSDP), launched the start of training in International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS); and the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) finally published its standard of IFRS for SMEs.
World bank workshop The World Bank workshop stressed the need for transparency in financial accounting and emphasised this by echoing a slogan which states:
No transparency, no trust; No trust, no credit; No credit, no investment; No investment, no growth. The simple logic behind this slogan is that financial reporting is an essential building block for financial intermediation, foreign investment, and sustainable economic development. The World Bank’s recommendations on financial accounting requirements for different types of entity were much in line with what was expected. A three-tier structure was recommended, based on the following 1. Public Interest Entities (PIEs) should use full IFRS; 2. Small and Medium-Sized Entities (SMEs) should use IFRS for SMEs; and 3. Micro-entities should be required to report solely for tax purposes At the time of the workshop the IFRS for SMEs was still in its draft stage (although it was pub78
From left to right: Seyran Sargsyan, Managing Director Union of Banks of Armenia Araksya Melkonyan, Managing Director, IAB Centre, Armenia, Samvel Mkhitaryan – USAID FSDP, Training and Public Awareness Team Leader lished as a standard by IASB shortly after the workshop). Consequently, the World Bank’s definition of PIEs was slightly different to IASB’s definition of ‘entities with public accountability’. The classification of different types of company, and their reporting requirements, is clearly something that the government will have to resolve in the near future and maybe the publication of IASBs IFRS for SMEs (see below) should help to provide a framework for this.
IFRS training programme launched An Opening Ceremony on July 3 saw the launch of a massive retraining programme for the accountants of all major banks and other financial institutions in Armenia. This event, which was held in conjunction with ACCA’s Gold Learning Partner, IAB Centre, in Armenia, was initiated by USAID Financial Sector Deepening Project (FSDP) to mark the start of training in International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS). The training, to be carried out by IAB Centre,
Feature | International Financial Reporting Standards represents the educational element of FSDP’s accounting reform project that will see banks having to use IFRS in 2009 and other financial institutions doing the same in 2010. Key speakers at the opening ceremony included representatives from World Bank, Central Bank of Armenia, the Union of Banks of Armenia, USAID, and IAB Centre. The trainings by IAB Centre will last from July 3 through to August 10. About 100 participants from the banking and other financial institutions are registered for the courses. When asked if IAB would have any difficulty in training so many accountants in such a short time, Roy Dodge (President of IAB) said that his company had already been running these courses throughout most of 2008. Consequently, our training materials and the training methodology had been thoroughly field tested and so there should not be any difficulty with these new series of courses. One of the earlier courses (for chief accountants of banks) had been partially funded by FSDP; others were privately funded by the participants. ‘The current FSDP project had been pending for quite some time and in the meantime accountants from many banks were impatient to learn about IFRS in preparation for 2009, so there was no shortage of participants for our courses, in fact we are currently running a course on IFRS for the Finance Sector outside of the FSDP project’ – he added.
International Financial Reporting Standards for small and medium-sized entities (IFRS for SMEs) On 10 July, the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) finally published its IFRS for SMEs. It is this set of standards that should eventually apply to the majority of commercial undertakings in Armenia if the recommendations by the World Bank (see above) are observed. At the moment, banks and other financial institutions in Armenia are in the process of transition to full IFRS. This transition will take place over 2009 and 2010. Presumably the earliest that
IFRS for SMEs will become part of Armenia’s accounting regulations is 2011. The IFRS for SMEs has been developed over eight years, starting in 2001. It has been the subject of many discussion papers, public round table debates, discussion drafts and extensive field testing by regulators in several countries. The format of the standard (particularly how it interacts with full IFRS) was changed several times during its development but it has finished up as a single standalone document with only one reference to full IFRS (concerning financial instruments). The result of this is that entities must either adopt IFRS for SMEs in its entirety, or adopt full IFRS; apart from the one exception (on financial instruments) there is no possibility of entities being able to choose regulations from either set of standards. This is quite important because most of the accounting policy options that are available in full IFRS have been removed in the IFRS for SMEs. Decisions on which entities in Armenia are required to use the IASB’s standards are the responsibility of the Government. This is as true for full IFRSs as it is for the IFRS for SMEs. However, the class of entity for which the IFRS for SMEs is intended is set out by IASB in Section 1 of the IFRS. The description of what is an SME does not refer to size criteria but uses the concept of public accountability, as follows:
Feature | International Financial Reporting Standards
Small and medium-sized entities are entities that: 1. do not have public accountability, and 2. publish general purpose financial statements for external users. Examples of external users include owners who are not involved in managing the business, existing and potential creditors, and credit rating agencies.
An entity has public accountability if: 1. its debt or equity instruments are traded in a public market, or 2. it holds assets in a fiduciary capacity for a broad group of outsiders as one of its primary businesses. This is typically the case for banks, credit unions, and insurance companies. As can be seen from this description, banks and similar financial institutions cannot adopt IFRS for SMEs no matter how small is their operation. Conversely, the words ‘small’ and ‘medium-sized’ do not make reference to any measurement criteria such as number of employees or amount of revenue. Theoretically, there could be some very large entities that would be classified as SMEs using the IASB criteria. However, as implied by the World Bank’s report, decisions on which entities should use full IFRS and which will be required to use IFRS for SMEs need to ‘be appropriate for the state of development of Armenia’s economy.’ (Para 83) The IFRS for SME document is over 230 pages (excluding the implementation guidance and illustrated financial statements) and so it is difficult to compare the document with full IFRS. The most that can be said in a small article like this is that many of the choices that are available in full IFRS (such as cost or revaluation model for property, plant and equipment) have been eliminated, some topics that SMEs are not likely to encounter have been omitted, and some requirements of full IFRS have been simplified; for example the requirement to review remaining useful lives and residual value of property, plant and equipment at the end of each year has been removed. The regulation on what constitutes fi80
nancial statements is the same as full IFRS but there are some changes in presentation, and many of the disclosure requirements have been omitted or simplified. This is an important new development that will eventually have wide-sweeping impact on financial accounting practices in Armenia.
Acknowledgement We are grateful for most of the technical detail contained in this article to Araksya Melkonyan (Managing Director of IAB Centre; AmCham Vice-President and Treasurer).
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Exclusive | The RA Deputy Finance Minister Comments
COMMENTS OF THE RA MINISTRY OF FINANCE The RA Deputy Minister of Finance Mr. Souren Karayan answers questions regarding the value added tax (VAT) overpayment refund and implementation of procedures related to International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) in Armenia. We welcome the initiative of the government to compensate taxpayers when it does not return their tax monies on a daily basis. Could you tell us in more detail what the government is proposing? Will the government pay a fine at the same 0.15% rate that applies to businesses? Are there any plans to apply the principle to overpayments of tax generally? The RA government endorsed the draft law on “Making Amendments and Addenda to the RA law “on Taxes.”” The purpose of adopting this law is to implement procedures according to which the government should compensate the taxpayers by paying them fines if it delays the overpayment refund process beyond the 90-day period defined by law. It is expected that, as a result of adopting the draft law, we will be able to instill the principle of fair taxation related to defining similar legislative approaches in regulating similar tax relations. The draft law envisages that the fines to be paid by the government will be calculated based on the bank base interest rate defined by the RA Central Bank and recalculated on a daily basis. The implementation of procedures related to paying fines to the taxpayers if the overpayment refund is delayed beyond the term defined by the law applies to all types of taxes collected in the state budget (with the exception of property tax and land tax). One of the criticisms raised by business, even if the amendments are enacted into law, is that it does not seem that the government is taking initiatives to deal with the more fundamental issue, namely to ensure that legitimate refunds
are issued promptly. Currently, we understand that the tax authorities seek to audit 100% of VAT refunds and explain that they cannot do this quickly because they have inadequate resources. If it is clear from the nature of a taxpayer's business that a VAT overpayment should arise (e.g., the taxpayer is an exporter), and the taxpayer has a good record for tax compliance, why should an audit be necessary? Even when the tax authorities confirm the entitlement to a refund, the release of funds often takes several months. What initiatives is the government taking to address these fundamental administrative concerns? If the process of providing the overpayment refunds takes more than the 90 days defined by the law, the procedures for calculating the fines will be regulated by the law and the RA government will be consistent in following its requirements. The continuous improvement of the procedures for setting off and refunding overpayments is one of the strategic directions of the RA government State Revenue Committee, which is aimed at raising the effectiveness of tax administration. In the future we plan to implement an automated overpayment refund system. This means that in order to set off and (or) refund overpayments, tax authorities will conduct risk-based audits only. Taxpayers who have a good compliance record and are not considered a risk group, will receive the opportunity to enjoy the automated proce-
Exclusive | The RA Deputy Finance Minister Comments dures of overpayment set-off and refund. The government has achieved solid growth in VAT collections between 2004, when collections were AMD 118 billion, to 2008, when collections amounted to AMD 318 billion. Because of the challenges taxpayers face obtaining VAT refunds, one question on many people's minds is how much of the increase in collections arises from legitimate VAT amounts payable to the government, and how much relates to amounts that should really be refunded to taxpayers but is being retained in the system. Could you provide some indication of the amount of refundable VAT that the government is holding, and what plans are in place to have this money returned to taxpayers? VAT refund volumes are growing continuously. In 2007 the overpayment amount refunded was equal to AMD 15.1 billion, in 2008 this number grew to AMD 25.2 billion, while only in the period of January-July 2009 this amount constituted AMD 10.5 billion. The latter proves that the RA government does not mean to provide for the growth of tax incomes on the VAT side through increasing the volume of VAT overpayments. The growth of tax incomes at around 200 billion on the VAT side from 2004-2008 is justified by the enlargement of the tax base and the improvement of tax administration effectiveness. As you know, the RA government plans to adopt the decree on the general application of International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) in Armenia, which will be effective from January 1, 2010. Could you briefly present the situation with regard to this? Are business entities working in Armenia ready to follow IFRS principles? In 1998, for the first time the RA law “On Accounting” envisaged the application of Republic of Armenia accounting standards, which were developed based on International Accounting Standards (IAS), published by the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB). After the adoption of RA accounting standards, the financial-economic activity chart of accounts and the standard form of financial statements
were developed and approved, to support the organizations in implementing new standards. Besides, practical support was provided to more than 200 organizations in terms of making a transfer to a new accounting system. From 2001-2008 the IASB applied significant changes to international accounting standards. Besides, in the year 2000, new standards, namely International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) were introduced. The above changes created serious discrepancies between IFRS (including IAS) and RA accounting standards. This resulted in the fact that financial statements developed by Armenian organizations were not able to comply with international standards and financial reports of international organizations, which created obstacles in attracting investments, development of capital and equity markets, objective evaluation of organizations` activity, etc. In order to officially (according to the policies and procedures developed by the IASB) translate the IFRS into Armenian and further adopt them, the International Accounting Standards Committee Foundation (IASCF) and the RA Ministry of Finance signed the “Agreement for the Waiver of Copyright within Limited Territories.” Currently, the US Agency for International Development (USAID) through its “Financial Sector Deepening Project” (FSDP) has already translated and edited the IFRS. The RA government plans to adopt it by the end of 2009, after some lingustic clarifications are made. Please, briefly present the business entities which will be subject to the IFRS implementation requirement. What will the accounting system be like after IFRS implementation in Armenia? The law on “Making Amendments and Addenda to the RA law “On Accounting”” adopted on December 26, 2008 defined that starting from January 1, 2009 the banks and starting from January 1, 2010 other financial organizations shall start preparing and presenting their financial statements in accordance with the IFRS and international standards` guidelines (irrespective of the fact of their being translated into Armenian).
Exclusive | The RA Deputy Finance Minister Comments Other private-sector organizations shall start implementing IFRS in the term defined by the law after they are officially translated and published by the RA government as prescribed by the law. It is planned to start translating IFRS for Small and Medium Enterprises (IFRS for SMEs), published by the IASB a month ago. After the adoption of this standard, Armenia will move to a three-tier financial accounting system. Public interest entities will apply IFRS, small and medium enterprises will use IFRS for SMEs, while micro enterprises will follow tax accounting procedures developed for them specifically. Which are the main challenges that need to be overcome both by the state and stakeholders who use these new standards? The application of IFRS arises from the interests of private-sector organizations. It will be beneficial in terms of the proper accounting and management of the organizationsâ€™ assets and liabilities, increased credibility of the financial information presented by the organizations, effective decision-making by internal and external users based on the information presented, and organizationsâ€™ overall increased effectiveness. The application of IFRS will also result in the fact that the financial information of Armenian organizations will be compatible with that of their foreign counterparts, as a result of which Armenian organizations will receive the opportunity to cooperate with foreign organizations, enter international markets and become more competitive. For private-sector organizations one of the main challenges in terms of IFRS application is the issue of training and continuous retraining of specialists. In order to support private-sector organizations, we conduct negotiations with different donor organizations in order to receive their assistance in terms of conducting necessary activities aimed at implementing IFRS and their application guidelines, as well as organizing practical training courses for accountants and auditors. For certain organizations it will be necessary to use
the services of consulting companies. As regards small and medium enterprises, it will be useful to cooperate with the center providing accounting services to SMEs, which was created at the beginning of 2009. The main purpose of this center is to provide quality and affordable services to SMEs in the areas of accounting, developing tax reports, performing audit and internal control, as and improving the skills of SME employees in terms of performing accounting on their own. The services offered by the center are affordable for SMEs, since 50-80% of the costs are covered from the state budget. After the IFRS and their implementaion guidelines are officially translated into Armenian and published by the RA government as prescribed by law, we will develop and approve, in accordance with IFRS requirements, a new chart of accounts and its application procedure, as well as new standard forms for financial reports and procedures for filling them out, which will also support private-sector organizations in properly applying IFRS. There is also a need to review qualification programs and questionnaires of accountants and auditors by bringing them into compliance with international standards and experience.
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2008 Ãí³Ï³ÝÇ ¹»Ïï»Ùµ»ñÇ 26-ÇÝ ÁÝ¹áõÝí³Í ¦Ð³ßí³å³Ñ³Ï³Ý Ñ³ßí³éÙ³Ý Ù³ëÇÝ§ ÐÐ ûñ»ÝùáõÙ ÷á÷áËáõÃÛáõÝÝ»ñ »õ Éñ³óáõÙÝ»ñ Ï³ï³ñ»Éáõ Ù³ëÇÝ§ ÐÐ ûñ»Ýùáí ë³ÑÙ³Ýí»ó, áñ 2009 Ãí³Ï³ÝÇ ÑáõÝí³ñÇ 1-Çó µ³ÝÏ»ñÁ, ÇëÏ 2010 Ãí³Ï³ÝÇ ÑáõÝí³ñÇ 1-Çó Ý³»õ ýÇÝ³Ýë³Ï³Ý áÉáñïÇ ÙÛáõë Ï³½Ù³Ï»ñåáõÃÛáõÝÝ»ñÁ, Çñ»Ýó ýÇÝ³Ýë³Ï³Ý Ñ³ßí»ïíáõÃÛáõÝÝ»ñÁ å»ïù ¿ Ï³½Ù»Ý »õ Ý»ñÏ³Û³óÝ»Ý ýÇÝ³Ýë³Ï³Ý Ñ³ßí»ïíáÕ³Ï³ÝáõÃÛ³Ý ÙÇç³½·³ÛÇÝ ëï³Ý¹³ñïÝ»ñÇÝ »õ ÙÇç³½·³ÛÇÝ ëï³Ý¹³ñïÝ»ñÇ áõÕ»óáõÛóÝ»ñÇÝ Ñ³Ù³å³ï³ëË³Ý (³ÝÏ³Ë ¹ñ³Ýó Ñ³Û»ñ»Ý Ã³ñ·Ù³Ýí³Í ÉÇÝ»Éáõ Ñ³Ý·³Ù³ÝùÇó): Ø³ëÝ³íáñ Ñ³ïí³ÍÇ ÙÝ³ó³Í Ï³½Ù³Ï»ñåáõÃÛáõÝÝ»ñÁ IFRS-Ý»ñÇÝ ³ÝóáõÙ »Ý Ï³ï³ñ»Éáõ ¹ñ³Ýó å³ßïáÝ³Ï³Ý Ñ³Û»ñ»Ý Ã³ñ·Ù³ÝáõÃÛáõÝÇó »õ ÐÐ Ï³é³í³ñáõÃÛ³Ý ÏáÕÙÇó ë³ÑÙ³Ýí³Í Ï³ñ·áí Ññ³å³ñ³ÏáõÙÇó Ñ»ïá` ûñ»Ýùáí ë³ÑÙ³Ýí³Í Å³ÙÏ»ïÝ»ñáõÙ:
üÇÝ³Ýë³Ï³Ý Ñ³ßí»ïíáÕ³Ï³ÝáõÃÛ³Ý ÙÇç³½·³ÛÇÝ ëï³Ý¹³ñïÝ»ñÁ å³ßïáÝ³å»ë (IASB-Ç ÏáÕÙÇó ë³ÑÙ³Ýí³Í ù³Õ³ù³Ï³ÝáõÃÛ³ÝÝ áõ ÁÝÃ³ó³Ï³ñ·»ñÇÝ Ñ³Ù³å³ï³ëË³Ý) Ñ³Û»ñ»Ý Ã³ñ·Ù³Ý»Éáõ »õ ÁÝ¹áõÝ»Éáõ Ýå³ï³Ïáí Ð³ßí³å³Ñ³Ï³Ý Ð³ßí³éÙ³Ý ØÇç³½·³ÛÇÝ êï³Ý¹³ñïÝ»ñÇ ÎáÙÇï»Ç ÐÇÙÝ³¹ñ³ÙÇ (IASCF) »õ ÐÐ ýÇÝ³ÝëÝ»ñÇ Ý³Ë³ñ³ñáõÃÛ³Ý ÙÇç»õ ëïáñ³·ñí»É ¿ ¦ê³ÑÙ³Ý³÷³Ï ï³ñ³ÍùÝ»ñáõÙ Ñ»ÕÇÝ³Ï³ÛÇÝ Çñ³íáõÝùÇó Ññ³Å³ñí»Éáõ í»ñ³µ»ñÛ³É Ñ³Ù³Ó³ÛÝ³·Çñ§: Ü»ñÏ³ÛáõÙë ²ØÜ ÙÇç³½·³ÛÇÝ ½³ñ·³óÙ³Ý ·áñÍ³Ï³ÉáõÃÛ³Ý (USAID) ¦üÇÝ³Ýë³Ï³Ý Ñ³ïí³ÍÇ ½³ñ·³óÙ³Ý Íñ³·ñÇ§ (üÐ¼Ì) ³ç³ÏóáõÃÛ³Ùµ ³ñ¹»Ý Ã³ñ·Ù³Ýí»É »õ ËÙµ³·ñí»É »Ý ýÇÝ³Ýë³Ï³Ý Ñ³ßí»ïíáÕ³Ï³ÝáõÃÛ³Ý ÙÇç³½·³ÛÇÝ ëï³Ý¹³ñïÝ»ñÁ »õ É»½í³µ³Ý³Ï³Ý ×ß·ñïáõÙÝ»ñÇó Ñ»ïá, ÙÇÝã»õ 2009 Ãí³Ï³ÝÇ ³í³ñïÁ, Ý³Ë³ï»ëíáõÙ ¿ ¹ñ³Ýó ÁÝ¹áõÝáõÙÁ ÐÐ Ï³é³í³ñáõÃÛ³Ý ÏáÕÙÇó:
²é³çÇÏ³ÛáõÙ Ý³Ë³ï»ëíáõÙ ¿ ëÏë»É Ý³»õ IASB-Ç ÏáÕÙÇó Ù»Ï ³ÙÇë ³é³ç Ññ³å³ñ³Ïí³Í ÷áùñ »õ ÙÇçÇÝ Ó»éÝ³ñÏáõÃÛáõÝÝ»ñÇ ýÇÝ³Ýë³Ï³Ý Ñ³ßí»ïíáÕ³Ï³ÝáõÃÛ³Ý ëï³Ý¹³ñïÇ (IFRS for SMEs) Ã³ñ·Ù³ÝáõÃÛ³Ý ³ßË³ï³ÝùÝ»ñÁ: ²Û¹ ëï³Ý¹³ñïÇ ÁÝ¹áõÝáõÙÇó Ñ»ïá Ð³Û³ëï³ÝáõÙ Ï·áñÍÇ ýÇÝ³Ýë³Ï³Ý Ñ³ßí»ïíáÕ³Ï³ÝáõÃÛ³Ý »é³ëïÇ×³Ý Ñ³Ù³Ï³ñ·` Ñ³Ýñ³ÛÇÝ ß³Ñ Ý»ñÏ³Û³óÝáÕ Ï³½Ù³Ï»ñåáõÃÛáõÝÝ»ñÁ ÏÏÇñ³é»Ý IFRSÝ»ñÁ, ÷áùñ »õ ÙÇçÇÝ Ó»éÝ³ñÏáõÃÛáõÝÝ»ñÁ` IFRS for SMEs, ÇëÏ ÙÇÏñáÓ»éÝ³ñÏáõÃÛáõÝÝ»ñÇ Ñ³Ù³ñ ÏÙß³ÏíÇ Ñ³ñÏ³ÛÇÝ Ñ³ßí³éÙ³Ý Ñ³ïáõÏ Ï³ÝáÝ³Ï³ñ·: àñá±Ýù »Ý ³ÛÝ ÑÇÙÝ³Ï³Ý Ù³ñï³Ññ³í»ñÝ»ñÁ, áñáÝù å»ïù ¿ Ñ³ÕÃ³Ñ³ñ»Ý Ã»° å»ïáõÃÛáõÝÁ »õ Ã»° Ýáñ ëï³Ý¹³ñïÝ»ñáí ³ßË³ïáÕ ß³Ñ³éáõÝ»ñÁ: IFRS-Ý»ñÇ ÏÇñ³éáõÙÁ µËáõÙ ¿ Ù³ëÝ³íáñ Ñ³ïí³ÍÇ Ï³½Ù³Ï»ñåáõÃÛáõÝÝ»ñÇ ß³Ñ»ñÇó:
´³ó³éÇÏ | Ø»ÏÝ³µ³ÝáõÙ ¿ ÐÐ ýÇÝ³ÝëÝ»ñÇ ÷áËÝ³Ë³ñ³ñÁ ²ÛÝ ÏÝå³ëïÇ Ï³½Ù³Ï»ñåáõÃÛáõÝÝ»ñÇ ³ÏïÇíÝ»ñÇ »õ å³ñï³íáñáõÃÛáõÝÝ»ñÇ ×Çßï Ñ³ßí³éÙ³ÝÝ áõ Ï³é³í³ñÙ³ÝÁ, Çñ»Ýó ÏáÕÙÇó Ý»ñÏ³Û³óíáÕ ýÇÝ³Ýë³Ï³Ý ï»Õ»Ï³ïíáõÃÛ³Ý ³ñÅ³Ý³Ñ³í³ïáõÃÛ³Ý ³ëïÇ×³ÝÇ µ³ñÓñ³óÙ³ÝÁ, Ý»ñùÇÝ »õ ³ñï³ùÇÝ û·ï³·áñÍáÕÝ»ñÇ ÏáÕÙÇó ³Û¹ ï»Õ»Ï³ïíáõÃÛ³Ý ÑÇÙ³Ý íñ³ ×Çßï »õ ³ñ¹ÛáõÝ³í»ï áñáßáõÙÝ»ñÇ Ï³Û³óÙ³ÝÁ, Ï³½Ù³Ï»ñåáõÃÛáõÝÝ»ñÇ ·áñÍáõÝ»áõÃÛ³Ý ³ñ¹ÛáõÝ³í»ïáõÃÛ³Ý µ³ñÓñ³óÙ³ÝÁ: IFRS-Ý»ñÇ ÏÇñ³éáõÙÁ Ïµ»ñÇ Ý³»õ ûï³ñ»ñÏñÛ³ Ï³½Ù³Ï»ñåáõÃÛáõÝÝ»ñÇ Ñ»ï ýÇÝ³Ýë³Ï³Ý ï»Õ»Ï³ïíáõÃÛ³Ý Ñ³Ù³¹ñ»ÉÇáõÃÛ³ÝÁ, áñÇ ³ñ¹ÛáõÝùáõÙ Ñ³Û³ëï³ÝÛ³Ý Ï³½Ù³Ï»ñåáõÃÛáõÝÝ»ñÇ Ñ³Ù³ñ ûï³ñ»ñÏñÛ³ Ï³½Ù³Ï»ñåáõÃÛáõÝÝ»ñÇ Ñ»ï Ñ³Ù³·áñÍ³Ïó»Éáõ, ³ñï³ë³ÑÙ³ÝÛ³Ý ßáõÏ³Ý»ñ ¹áõñë ·³Éáõ »õ ³í»ÉÇ ÙñóáõÝ³Ï ¹³éÝ³Éáõ å³ÛÙ³ÝÝ»ñ Ïëï»ÕÍí»Ý: Ø³ëÝ³íáñ Ñ³ïí³ÍÇ Ï³½Ù³Ï»ñåáõÃÛáõÝÝ»ñÇ Ñ³Ù³ñ IFRS-Ý»ñÇ ÏÇñ³éÙ³Ý Ñ³ñóáõÙ ÑÇÙÝ³Ï³Ý ËÝ¹ÇñÝ»ñÇó ¿ Ñ³Ý¹Çë³ÝáõÙ Ù³ëÝ³·»ïÝ»ñÇ áõëáõóáõÙÁ »õ ß³ñáõÝ³Ï³Ï³Ý í»ñ³å³ïñ³ëïáõÙÁ: Ø³ëÝ³íáñ Ñ³ïí³ÍÇ Ï³½Ù³Ï»ñåáõÃÛáõÝÝ»ñÇÝ ûÅ³Ý¹³Ï»Éáõ Ýå³ï³Ïáí Ù»Ýù µ³Ý³ÏóáõÃÛáõÝÝ»ñ »Ýù í³ñáõÙ ï³ñµ»ñ ¹áÝáñ Ï³½Ù³Ï»ñåáõÃÛáõÝÝ»ñÇ Ñ»ï` IFRSÝ»ñÇ »õ ¹ñ³Ýó ÏÇñ³éÙ³Ý áõÕ»óáõÛóÝ»ñÇ Ý»ñ¹ñÙ³Ý Ñ³Ù³ñ ³ÝÑñ³Å»ßï ÙÇçáó³éáõÙÝ»ñÇ Çñ³Ï³Ý³óÙ³Ý, ³Û¹ ÃíáõÙ Ý³»õ Ñ³ßí³å³ÑÝ»ñÇ »õ ³áõ¹ÇïáñÝ»ñÇ Ñ³Ù³ñ ·áñÍÝ³Ï³Ý ¹³ëÁÝÃ³óÝ»ñÇ Ï³½Ù³Ï»ñåÙ³Ý áõ ³ÝóÏ³óÙ³Ý Ñ³ñóáõÙ ³ç³ÏóáõÃÛáõÝ ëï³Ý³Éáõ Ñ³Ù³ñ: àñáß Ï³½Ù³Ï»ñåáõÃÛáõÝÝ»ñÇ ¹»åùáõÙ IFRS-Ý»ñÇ ÏÇñ³éÙ³Ý ³éáõÙáí ³ÝÑñ³Å»ßïáõÃÛáõÝ Ï³é³ç³Ý³ ¹ÇÙ»Éáõ ËáñÑñ¹³ïí³Ï³Ý ÁÝÏ»ñáõÃÛáõÝÝ»ñÇ Í³é³ÛáõÃÛáõÝÝ»ñÇÝ: öáùñ »õ ÙÇçÇÝ Ó»éÝ³ñÏáõÃÛáõÝÝ»ñÇ å³ñ³·³ÛáõÙ û·ï³Ï³ñ ÏÉÇÝÇ 2009 Ãí³Ï³ÝÇ ëÏ½µÇÝ ëï»ÕÍí³Í, öØÒ ëáõµÛ»ÏïÝ»ñÇ Ñ³Ù³ñ Ñ³ßí³å³Ñ³Ï³Ý Ñ³ßí³éÙ³Ý Í³é³ÛáõÃÛáõÝÝ»ñ Ù³ïáõóáÕ Ï»ÝïñáÝÇ Ñ»ï Ñ³Ù³·áñÍ³ÏóáõÃÛáõÝÁ, áñÇ ÑÇÙÝ³Ï³Ý Ýå³ï³ÏÝ ¿ öØÒ ëáõµÛ»ÏïÝ»ñÇÝ Ñ³ßí³å³Ñ³Ï³Ý Ñ³ßí³éÙ³Ý, Ñ³ñÏ³ÛÇÝ Ñ³ßí»ïíáõÃÛáõÝÝ»ñÇ å³ïñ³ëïÙ³Ý, ³áõ¹ÇïÇ »õ Ý»ñùÇÝ í»ñ³ÑëÏáÕáõÃÛ³Ý, ÇÝãå»ë Ý³»õ ³ÛÉ Ñ³ñó»ñÇ ¹»åùáõÙ áñ³ÏÛ³É »õ Ù³ïã»ÉÇ Í³é³ÛáõÃÛáõÝÝ»ñÇ Ù³ïáõóáõÙÝ áõ Ñ³ßí³å³Ñ³Ï³Ý Ñ³ßí³éáõÙÁ ÇÝùÝáõñáõÛÝ
í³ñ»Éáõ áõÕÕáõÃÛ³Ùµ öØÒ ëáõµÛ»ÏïÝ»ñÇ ³ßË³ï³ÏÇóÝ»ñÇ ÑÙïáõÃÛáõÝÝ»ñÇ ½³ñ·³óáõÙÁ: Î»ÝïñáÝÇ ÏáÕÙÇó Ù³ïáõóíáÕ Í³é³ÛáõÃÛáõÝÝ»ñÁ Ù³ïã»ÉÇ »Ý öØÒ ëáõµÛ»ÏïÝ»ñÇ Ñ³Ù³ñ, ù³ÝÇ áñ Í³é³ÛáõÃÛáõÝÝ»ñÇ ³ñÅ»ùÇ 50-80%-Á í×³ñíáõÙ ¿ å»ï³Ï³Ý µÛáõç»Çó: IFRS-Ý»ñÇ »õ ¹ñ³Ýó ÏÇñ³éÙ³Ý áõÕ»óáõÛóÝ»ñÇ å³ßïáÝ³Ï³Ý Ñ³Û»ñ»Ý Ã³ñ·Ù³ÝáõÃÛáõÝÇó »õ ÐÐ Ï³é³í³ñáõÃÛ³Ý ÏáÕÙÇó ë³ÑÙ³Ýí³Í Ï³ñ·áí Ññ³å³ñ³ÏáõÙÇó Ñ»ïá Ù»ñ ÏáÕÙÇó å»ïù ¿ Ùß³Ïí»Ý »õ Ñ³ëï³ïí»Ý IFRSÝ»ñÇ å³Ñ³ÝçÝ»ñÇÝ Ñ³Ù³å³ï³ëË³ÝáÕ` Ï³½Ù³Ï»ñåáõÃÛáõÝÝ»ñÇ ýÇÝ³Ýë³ïÝï»ë³Ï³Ý ·áñÍáõÝ»áõÃÛ³Ý Ñ³ßí³å³Ñ³Ï³Ý Ñ³ßí³éÙ³Ý Ñ³ßí³ÛÇÝ Ýáñ åÉ³Ý »õ Ñ³ßí³ÛÇÝ åÉ³ÝÇ ÏÇñ³éÙ³Ý Ññ³Ñ³Ý·, ÇÝãå»ë Ý³»õ ýÇÝ³Ýë³Ï³Ý Ñ³ßí»ïíáõÃÛáõÝÝ»ñÇ ûñÇÝ³Ï»ÉÇ Ýáñ Ó»õ»ñ »õ ¹ñ³Ýó Éñ³óÙ³Ý Ññ³Ñ³Ý·, áñáÝù ÝáõÛÝå»ë ÏûÅ³Ý¹³Ï»Ý Ù³ëÝ³íáñ Ñ³ïí³ÍÇ Ï³½Ù³Ï»ñåáõÃÛáõÝÝ»ñÇÝ` IFRS-Ý»ñÇ ×Çßï ÏÇñ³éÙ³Ý Ñ³ñóáõÙ: ä»ïù ¿ í»ñ³Ý³Ûí»Ý Ý³»õ Ñ³ßí³å³ÑÝ»ñÇ »õ ³áõ¹ÇïáñÝ»ñÇ áñ³Ï³íáñÙ³Ý Íñ³·ñ»ñÝ áõ Ñ³ñó³ß³ñ»ñÁ` ¹ñ³Ýù Ñ³Ù³å³ï³ëË³Ý»óÝ»Éáí ·áñÍáÕ ÙÇç³½·³ÛÇÝ ëï³Ý¹³ñïÝ»ñÇÝ »õ ÷áñÓÇÝ:
Feature | International Financial Reporting Standards
International Financial Reporting Standards in Armenia Status Update Background Armenia is steadily implementing the process of reforming the accounting system and following a convergence program to move towards the universal adoption of IFRS. Adoption of a single set of accounting standards represents a fundamental change in the business landscape for Armenian companies. On 26 December 2008, the National Assembly of Armenia adopted the amendment to the Law on Accounting and Reporting, according to which all Banks are required to prepare and present their Financial Statements in compliance with IFRS with effect from 1 January 2009. All non-banking financial organizations i.e. credit settlement organizations, payment organizations, reporting issuers on the Securities Market, investment companies, the regulatory market operator, Central Depository, insurance and reinsurance companies and insurance brokers are required to prepare and present their Financial Statements in compliance with IFRS with effect from 1 January 2010. The Law also states that all other organizations with a turnover of over 100 million Armenian drams (AMD) (reported for the previous calendar year) will be required to prepare and submit their Financial Statements in compliance with IFRS with effect from 1 January of the year, following a six-month period after the Government publishes the appropriate Standards and Interpretations, as well as any further changes to them. In addition, the Law on Accounting and Reporting also requires that large companies have their annual financial statements audited and published. The Law defines that companies are considered large when either of the following criteria is met: the previous year’s turnover exceeds AMD 500 million, or, as at the end of the previous year, the book value of total assets exceeds AMD 500 million. 92
To ensure rapid, complete and smooth IFRS convergence, the Ministry of Finance of Armenia has established a Translation Committee, a council of professional translators and accounting/audit professionals who are responsible for translation of the IFRSs and their Guides and Interpretations into Armenian.
Benefits for armenian companies The harmonization of financial reporting of Armenian listed companies with those around the world will help to raise confidence of international investors who seek to obtain comprehensive, transparent and understandable information for their decision-making purposes. For non-listed medium to large scale companies, having financial statements prepared under IFRS means being better prepared to “go public” via an Initial Public Offering (IPO) should companies have the need for more capital. However, IFRS transition brings more benefits to Armenian companies than just increasing the interest of potential investors and compliance with legislative requirements. Adopting IFRS will result in reduced costs for those financial organizations and listed companies which were required to report both under IFRS and ASRA (Accounting Standards of the Republic of Armenia) by eliminating the double reporting requirement. The greater confidence in reliable and transparent information will also translate into a lower cost of capital, primarily in reduced interest costs. Many leading Armenian companies have already converted or are in the process of conversion to IFRS. Companies that have started the transition process have already gained a number of benefits, the most important of which is that IFRS reporting really enhances the effectiveness of the company’s management and decision making process since IFRS principles provide better decision-making aids to management because they are more oriented toward a realistic reflection of economic efficiency.
Feature | International Financial Reporting Standards
Internal challenges for Armenian companies
thinking about IFRS implementation plans earlier rather than later.
On the other hand, the new Law brings a number of challenges for Armenian companies in the process of transition to IFRS.
However, an IFRS adoption plan is not just an accounting project. Indeed, its use will impact on many functions within the business. As illustrated in the following diagram, there are issues for Accounting and Reporting, Systems and Processes, People and for the wider Business. Effective Project Management is also an essential ingredient for a successful and sustainable IFRS implementation process.
IFRS adoption means undergoing major changes as Armenian companies predominantly align their accounting and reporting practices to comply solely with the Armenian tax legislation requirements, which usually give rise to significant differences in the accounting treatments with those under IFRS. Without a definite mandate to begin applying IFRS, the directors and managers of companies with over AMD 100 million turnover are less likely to pay due attention and make preparations before the law takes effect. According to Samvel Mkhitaryan, the Infrastructure Team Leader in FSDP (Financial Sector Deepening Project), a USAID Contractor, which supports the RA Ministry of Finance for IFRS translation and implementation, the official process of translation of the bare version of IFRS 2009 has been completed as of the beginning of September 2009, and standards translated into Armenian have been submitted to IASB for official adoption. This means that under the current plan and according to the law, the companies with over AMD 100 million turnover would begin reporting under IFRS with effect from 1 January 2011. However, even if the Government translates and publishes IFRSs and their Guides and Interpretations any time before 1 July 2010, these companies would still be required to report under IFRS with effect from 1 January 2011. However, in order to report under IFRS from 2011, these companies would be required to retrospectively apply IFRS to previously filed financial reports as the IFRS application requires adjustment of opening balances. In some cases, IFRS 1 (Standard on First Time Adoption) may require applying IFRS to Financial Statements for as many as two previous accounting years. Therefore, Armenian companies will certainly need more time to prepare than they think they will. They would definitely save significant time, efforts and financial resources by
How to approach the conversion to IFRS? Strategic and tactical decisions on how to facilitate the changes required for conversion to IFRS should be made early in the project life cycle in order to prevent duplication of effort, changes in approach, cost extensions and overruns at a later stage. The success of an IFRS conversion project is dependent on it being viewed in the context of an organizationâ€™s overall business strategy, information systems strategy and entire governance framework. Therefore, one of the effective and probably the most efficient ways to approach the IFRS conversion project would be to seek the assistance of an accounting advisory firm with a well-developed and tested global methodology based on a structured approach to the conversion. An internationally acknowledged firm with extensive local experience in Armenia would be most suitable to assist in successful conversion to IFRS. In view of all of the benefits for companies to adopt IFRS, we believe that it will be advantageous for Armenian companies to demonstrate willingness and readiness to complete the process within the shortest possible time.
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Advertise with AmCham ÆÝãå»±ë Ùáï»Ý³É üÐØê-Ç ³ÝóÙ³Ý ËÝ¹ñÇÝ üÐØê-Ç ³ÝóÙ³Ý Ñ»ï Ï³åí³Í ÷á÷áËáõÃÛáõÝÝ»ñÇ Ñ»ßï Çñ³·áñÍÙ³Ý í»ñ³µ»ñÛ³É é³½Ù³í³ñ³Ï³Ý »õ ï³ÏïÇÏ³Ï³Ý áñáßáõÙÝ»ñÁ å»ïù ¿ Ï³Û³óí»Ý Ý³Ë³·ÍÇ Ï»Ýë³óÇÏÉÇ ³Ù»Ý³ëÏ½µáõÙ, ÇÝãÁ ÃáõÛÉ Ïï³ Ëáõë³÷»É ÏñÏÝ³ÏÇ ³ßË³ï³ÝùÇó, Ùáï»óáõÙÝ»ñÇ ÷á÷áËáõÃÛáõÝÝ»ñÇó, ÇÝãå»ë Ý³»õ ³í»Éáñ¹ Í³ËëáõÙÝ»ñÇó »õ ÁÝ¹Ñ³Ýñ³å»ë ³Ýó³ÝÏ³ÉÇ ·»ñ³Í³Ëë»ñÇó: üÐØê-ÇÝ ³ÝóÙ³Ý Íñ³·ñÇ µ³ñ»Ñ³çáÕ Çñ³Ï³Ý³óÙ³Ý Ñ³Ù³ñ ³ÝÑñ³Å»ßï ¿, áñå»ë½Ç ³ÛÝ ¹Çï³ñÏíÇ Ñ³ÙÁÝ¹Ñ³Ýáõñ µÇ½Ý»ëÇ é³½Ù³í³ñáõÃÛ³Ý, ï»Õ»Ï³ïí³Ï³Ý Ñ³Ù³Ï³ñ·»ñÇ é³½Ù³í³ñáõÃÛ³Ý »õ Ï³½Ù³Ï»ñåáõÃÛ³Ý Ï³é³í³ñÙ³Ý Ñ³Ù³Ï³ñ·Ç Ñ³Ù³ï»ùëïáõÙ: Ð»ï»õ³µ³ñ, üÐØê ³ÝóÙ³Ý ³Ù»Ý³³ñ¹ÛáõÝ³í»ï »õ Ñ³í³Ý³µ³ñ ³Ù»Ý³·áñÍáõÝ³Ï Ùáï»óáõÙÁ ÏÉÇÝ»ñ ¹ÇÙ»É Ñ³ßí³å³Ñ³Ï³Ý Ñ³ßí³éÙ³Ý ËáñÑñ¹³ïí³ïí³Ï³Ý Í³é³ÛáõÃáõÝÝ»ñ Ù³ïáõóáÕ Ù³ëÝ³·Çï³ó³Í ÁÝÏ»ñáõÃÛ³Ý, áñÝ áõÝÇ É³í Ùß³Ïí³Í »õ ÷áñÓ³ñÏí³Í ·Éáµ³É Ù»Ãá¹³µ³ÝáõÃÛáõÝª ÑÇÙÝí³Í üÐØê ÷áË³ñÏÙ³ÝÁ Ñ³Ù³Ï³ñ·í³Í
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Feature | Intellectual Property Rights
INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY SHOULD BE PROTECTED IN ARMENIA Comments by the Head of Microsoftâ€™s Armenia office, Grigor Barsegyan
How would you describe the overall situation of the protection of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) in Armenia? According to a recent report by the international organization BSA (Business Software Alliance), Armenia heads the list of countries with the highest piracy rates, along with Zimbabwe and Bangladesh, with its piracy indicator being as high as 92 %. For more detailed information you can visit the official BSA web site at www.bsa.org . This reality is really saddening. The most important fact is that without having a properly functioning copyright protection institute, it is impossible to speak of innovation and knowledge-based development. We all agree that the main potential Armenia has is its human capital and especially its intellectual and creative part, which obviously needs to be protected. Otherwise, the best specialists will leave Armenia for other countries where their intellectual property will be respected and protected. On the other hand, the current situation with copyright protection does not encourage foreign investments in Armenia, since no investor wants to endanger his intellectual property. If we look at the local IT companies, we will see that they enjoy international recognition and
implement orders received from many countries. Nevertheless, they are unable to compete with pirated versions of foreign products. As a result, there is almost no local and foreign legal quality production in our market, no jobs are created, and the authors and the state budget lose revenues equal to tens of millions USD annually. Have you ever examined the RA legislation on IPR? Is it possible to reach any working IPR protection mechanisms based on the existing legislation? Armenian legislation is pretty strict in terms of intellectual property rights protection and has received positive evaluations from international experts. In our country the copyright is protected by a number of legislative acts, namely the RA Constitution, RA Civil Code, Law on Copyright and Adjacent Rights, RA Criminal Code, RA Customs Code, as well as by international agreements (WCT, TRIPS). Nevertheless, the fact that in Armenia one can freely buy a pirated version of practically any musical, video or computer disc proves that the laws do not work and their implementation mechanisms are not perfect. I think that the government has to take serious measures in this respect. 97
Feature | Intellectual Property Rights What are the approximate statistics for licensed and unlicensed software usage in Armenia? As I have already mentioned, Armenia has a 92% computer piracy rate, which means that pirated software is installed on 92 out of 100 computers. Usually this software is incomplete and flawed and can often contain dangerous code with the protective and security functions turned off maliciously. The users are deprived of the opportunity to receive technical support and one can imagine the dangers they are exposed to. If we speak of state or strategic significance structures, the comments are absolutely needless. What are your projections on IPR in Armenia for upcoming 5 years? Does Microsoft plan any substantial steps in this regard? International experience in the area of copyright protection proves that in order to achieve success in this area, 5 important conditions need to be provided, namely: • Regularly updated legislation • Clear mechanisms for implementing the laws • The example of the public sector as the most prominent legal user of copyright • Awareness and education • International cooperation In any country the state acts as the responsible party and guarantor in the area of copyright protection. I think that, taking into account the importance of the issue, we will soon see significant positive changes in this area. We simply do not have any alternative. As an example of specific measures undertaken by the Government, I can mention that by the decision of the Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia on August 11, 2009, an Interdepartmental Commission was created with the purpose of strengthening and coordinating the implementation of the fight against violations in the sphere of intellectual property. Among the members of the Commission are high-ranking officials from law enforcement, customs, tax and other government
bodies, as well as representatives of civil society. As regards Microsoft, the company is ready to support the process by bringing the experience of countries that have achieved impressive results in this area. Are there concrete benefits that the companies will have if they use licensed software? If yes, please describe their technical and monetary sides. Legally licensed software provides companies with numerous benefits. Let me mention some of them: • an incomparably higher level of security, reliability and productiveness of IT systems, •
regular free updates, technical support and consultations coming directly from the producer,
a sharp reduction in the cost of systems` servicing.
If we add to this list the dangers of using illegal software, like legal risks and ensuing financial losses, the impossibility of establishing international cooperation, the possibility of losing information that has been collected for years, and finally the reputation of the company amongst partners and clients, we will evaluate the seeming “benefits” of the pirated software. We already have many diligent clients in Armenia who have evaluated all the benefits. In any western country it would be hard to believe that a reputable company uses pirated, in other words stolen software packages, thus endangering itself and its clients. Please describe Microsoft’s approach to resolving the unlicensed software problem in Armenia. Are you ready to introduce discount schemes? Microsoft offers various flexible corporate licensing options including subscriptions and threeyear payment contracts. We make regular announcements on the potential discounts. Each company has the opportunity to choose the option that suits it the best. Along with our partners we provide free consultations to all interested organizations.
Â»Ù³ | Î³åÇï³ÉÇ ßáõÏ³Ý Ð³Û³ëï³ÝáõÙ featured | Armenian dram: perspectives
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Expert Opinion | Tax Code
New Tax Code? By Paul Cooper (PWC)
In May 2009, the Business Support Council asked the American Chamber for support in providing comments on the Special Part of the Armenian tax code. The request did not generate much response. Perhaps like the author, the thought of reviewing a 185-page document written entirely in Armenian within the space of one week may have been too much for recipients to contemplate. What made the concept more daunting was the lack of any information on the likelihood that such a document might become law (or when), or on the nature of any policy changes that were proposed within the document. Armenia would clearly benefit from more transparent policy development processes. A copy of first part of the draft tax code can be found on the parliament website, while the special part can be found on the Ministry of Finance website. In both cases, one needs to know that a document is there to track it down. Even then, one will not find more than the text of the draft code. There does not appear to be any public document explaining the text, so it is necessary to track the document back against existing laws to indentify the proposals. The special part also refers to an Appendix which is relevant in interpreting a number of provisions, but a public text does not appear to exist. Given that the draft code proposes significant changes to Armenian tax rates, one might have hoped for a bit more effort in engaging the business community in the process. As things stand, a significant investment of time is required by any persons wanting to get involved in the process. Some big changes proposed To a fair extent, the tax code essentially takes 14 existing tax laws, weaves them into a single docu-
ment, and makes a few policy changes. To the author’s knowledge, policymakers have not provided a summary or explanation of the changes and it is necessary to identify these by wading through the draft laws. Nevertheless, some of the proposals are significant and warrant further public discussion before proceeding: The proposed increase in the profit tax rate is difficult to understand. Capital and labour are increasingly mobile across borders, and it is well known that income tax is becoming an increasingly difficult tax to collect. This is one reason that taxes on consumption (e.g., VAT) have become more prevalent in recent years. Although it is often not easy to determine where the key activities take place that generate income (and thus give rise to income tax liabilities), it is generally fairly straightforward to work out where income is spent. The problem in increasing the profit tax rate is one of competitiveness and investor perception. Russia reduced its corporate tax rate from 24% to 20% at the start of this year. Armenia’s nearest neighbour, Georgia, has a corporate tax rate of 15%, while Azerbaijan’s rate is 22%. Kazakhstan reduced its rate from 30% to 20% at the start of this year, and will reduce the rate to 15% by 2011. Once one recognizes that Armenia also imposes more restrictions on expense deductibility than its neighbours (e.g., foreign advertising, marketing, representative expenses, staff training abroad, foreign travel expenses exceeding norms) and the government’s proposals to allow the tax authorities to station officials permanently in the premises of some taxpayers, the picture is not encouraging. An increase in the withholding tax rate on services may also become a major deterrent to foreign entities transacting with Armenia. In many cases, such services should be relieved from Armenian tax, either because the income does not have a source in Armenia or because it is relieved from tax under a
Expert Opinion | Tax Code Current
Profit tax rate
Services performed in Armenia by foreign companies with no formal presence in Armenia
AMD 30,000 exemption for Armenian nationals; First AMD 80,000 per month taxed at 10%; Excess taxed at 20%.
Social tax on employees
Social tax on employees
AMD 7,000 + 15% of i come between AMD 20,000 and AMD 100,000 per month + 5% on excess over AMD 100,000 per month
Petrol and diesel fuel, cigarette production, and other activities subject to presumptive tax
relevant treaty. In practice though, it can be a challenge to have the source rules applied correctly, and the process for confirming treaty relief is not always friendly, so many local companies are just treating the 10% withholding tax as a cost of transacting with non-residents – painful but bearable. If the rate is increased to 26%, it will be a huge burden for a local company to bear as a cost of transacting with foreign entities – not to mention the potential cost of reverse charge VAT for companies not entitled to claim VAT input tax. The government needs to take a much closer look at whether Armenia can really afford to do things alone before imposing such onerous taxes. The change in personal taxes and social security is more understandable. Without a separate charge for social security, the “tax” cost of employing staff will be more easily calculated. Georgia went through a similar initiative of increasing personal tax and repealing social security a few years ago. One issue that needs to be reviewed though is whether Armenia wants to have expatriates based in the country and making their skills and expertise readily available. Currently, foreign nationals are not subject to mandatory social security contributions, so the effect of the tax code would be to increase their tax burden from 20% to 26%. With Georgia having a personal tax rate of 20% currently, reducing to 15% by 2012, and having no tax on
the foreign income of its tax residents, it may make more sense to base expatriate personnel in Georgia and have them provide assistance to Armenia remotely. Under the Armenia-Georgia treaty, expatriates potentially could come to Armenia for up to 182 days each year without triggering a liability to Armenian tax, and at the same time structure their employment relations in a way that relieves them from Georgian tax on income related to the time they spend in Armenia. Some opportunities missed The draft tax code could also go further to address some of the design weaknesses in existing rules. For example, the normal approach for VAT under international rules is that: • Once a taxpayer exceeds a certain threshold for taxable transactions in the previous 12 months, the taxpayer is required to register for VAT and has to account for VAT until such time as the taxpayer deregisters. The entitlement to deregister is normally based on expected future revenues. • Because all sales by a registered person are subject to VAT, special rules normally deal with the credit that a new VAT-payer may claim relating to expenses incurred before registration. When a taxpayer deregisters, a deemed supply ensures that VAT is paid on any goods and as-
Expert Opinion | Tax Code sets that remain in the business when the taxpayer deregisters. Under Armenia’s current rules, taxpayers generally become subject to VAT if their revenues for the previous calendar year exceed AMD 57.35 million, or once their sales in the current year exceed AMD 57.35 million. If their sales for the previous year are less than AMD 57.35 million, the taxpayer becomes a non-VAT payer unless the taxpayer makes a voluntary election to remain as a VAT payer. There are no rules dealing with VAT incurred before becoming registered (making the VAT a 20% transaction tax when goods purchased before registration are sold), while the owner can take a 20% benefit on goods retained when sales fall below the registration threshold. The other problem with the registration rules is that Armenia applies the threshold not only to taxable transaction but to the taxpayer’s full sales base. This leads to the ridiculous situation that a taxpayer making entirely (or almost entirely) VAT-exempt sales is required to register for VAT and to file VAT returns every quarter. There is no point in imposing such compliance costs on taxpayers. The draft tax code suggests a new turnover threshold of AMD 50 million, but does not address any of the weaknesses in the current registration rules. Will a tax code be enacted? This is the multi-million dram question. Part 1 of the Code was introduced into Parliament last year. However, documents on the Parliamentary website suggest that it may not have been well received. Part of the problem may be that Part 1 was introduced in isolation. Faced with an incomplete tax code, the Armenian National Assembly Agency on Analysing Legislation made some comments about its inability to completely assess the likely effect of the proposed provisions in practice, before going into detail to explain why the drafting in some provisions was flawed and noting the inconsistent use of defined terms throughout the Part 1. Many of the comments have merit. The text is not as refined as it might have been, terms are used inconsistently, and one wonders why it should not have been possible to present a complete tax code in one document – a problem that persists even after
the draft of the Special Part has been made available because the Appendix has yet to be provided. The questions going forwards are what implications the report will have on Parliament’s willingness to pursue enactment of a tax code, and the level of confidence Parliament will have in its drafting. The idea of the final text of a tax code being thrashed out in the frenzy of the floor of the Chamber, rather than by policymakers with the time (and hopefully the inclination) to develop an effective draft through consultation, is scary. Armenia may have a new tax code in 2010, or in 2011, or it may not. In any case, we would also benefit from more open and transparent dialogue between the government and the business community concerning the tax laws that we have and how they can be made better. There have been some positive requests from 2009 from both the Ministry of Finance and the State Revenue Committee for businesses, and the American Chamber, to share their views. The Chamber should be at the forefront of this dialogue.
Postscript The article was prepared for publication in June 2009 and posted on our website in early July. There have been some developments since, although none that affect the substance of the message. The Chamber sent a copy of the article to the Prime Minister and received the comment that the tax rate changes in the draft tax code circulated by the Ministry of Finance had not been approved. This does not mean that rate changes will not proceed. The tax authorities have prepared a separate bill to remove social security and increase the personal tax rate to the 26% rate indicated in the draft tax code, although the application date is now contemplated as 2011. As yet, there has been no clear public indication on whether the income tax bill or the draft tax code will proceed further. The newly formed Chamber Tax, Customs and Duties Committee will try to obtain some answers.
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Published on Sep 29, 2009
Published on Sep 29, 2009
Top Feature: Real Estate Market in Armenia. Interviews with major players in Armenian real estate market.