Cyprus Business Now: weekly wrap-up

Cyprus Business Now: weekly wrap-up

Here are the top business stories in Cyprus from the week starting May 13:

National investment promotion agency Invest Cyprus recently showcased the country’s business and investment credentials in the Middle East, while also highlighting that Cyprus can act as a gateway to the EU for companies looking to expand to Europe. According to an announcement released this week, these objectives were the primary focus during its participation in the Annual Investment Meeting (AIM) 2024 held in Abu Dhabi on May 7-9. Following this event, the agency’s mission travelled to Kuwait for key meetings. The agency noted that AIM is a leading event in the investment sector, attracting significant international investors and providing a platform for discussions on foreign direct investment trends and opportunities.

Meanwhile, the Cyprus Mail recently interviewed Ilya Karpinskiy, a seasoned veteran in the gaming industry, both as a game creator and investor. They discussed his journey, the increasing number of game studios on the island, and Cyprus’ growing prominence as a technology and business centre.

In another development, Shipping Deputy Minister Marina Hadjimanolis is visiting London to participate in the International Maritime Organisation’s (IMO) celebrations for the International Day for Women in Maritime. During this session on May 17, 2024, the IMO will present the inaugural IMO Gender Equality Award to Despina Panayiotou Theodosiou, a Cypriot nominee and former president of WISTA International, for her impactful work with the Women’s International Shipping and Trading Association (WISTA International).

Additionally, Global Finance has named the Bank of Cyprus the Best Bank and the Best Investment Bank in Cyprus in its 2024 awards. The awards recognise the bank’s significant achievements during 2023, including strong financial and operational performance and the recommencement of dividend payments after a 12-year hiatus. Global Finance highlighted the bank’s transformation into a well-capitalised and diversified banking group.

Moreover, Deputy Tourism Minister Kostas Koumis stated that the total seat capacity airlines expect to offer for trips to Cyprus in the coming months will be similar to last year. Despite challenges in the aviation sector, Koumis expressed realistic optimism for a robust tourist season, provided there are no new unexpected developments. He cited the ongoing conflict in the Eastern Mediterranean, including the fighting in Gaza, as a key challenge.

In the realm of tourism, President of the Cyprus Hotel Association (Pasyxe) Thanos Michaelides raised concerns about a slowdown in summer bookings, indicating that 2024 may see a downturn compared to previous years. He called for everyone in the tourism sector to justify the prices visitors pay by providing an equal level of quality. Despite Famagusta being a key player in Cyprus’ tourism sector, the slowdown in bookings remains worrisome.

Furthermore, President Nikos Christodoulides praised the Cyprus Association of Large Investment Projects for its contribution to the economy. He stressed the importance of public-private sector collaboration to address affordable housing challenges. At the association’s annual general assembly, Christodoulides highlighted that multibillion-euro projects contribute to domestic productivity, job creation, and enhancing Cyprus’ investment profile.

Continuing on the theme of economic development, the Cyprus Investment Promotion Agency (Invest Cyprus) and the Cyprus Fiduciary Association (CYFA) signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to bolster ties and foster cooperation. The agreement aims to accelerate economic growth and create jobs in Cyprus through Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). The signing of the MoU marks a significant step towards enhancing collaboration and promoting Cyprus as an international centre for fiduciary and administrative services.

Additionally, the Deputy Ministry of Tourism revised the inventory of hotels and tourist accommodations in Cyprus, with many not meeting compliance criteria. Currently, there are 268 operational hotels, offering 30,493 rooms and 62,340 beds. Notably, Ayia Napa stands out as the area with the most available accommodations.

Moreover, the Research and Innovation Foundation (RIF) announced the launch of the “EIG CONCERT-Japan” initiative with a budget of €400,000. This programme aims to foster scientific collaboration between Japan and Cyprus, enhancing the extroversion of the ecosystem. The call invites collaborative R&D projects between Japanese and European organisations under the ‘European Initiatives – National Development’ programme.

Meanwhile, Ascation’s founding visionaries George Tziazas and Minas Kyriakou discussed Ascanio’s course, including their early struggles and triumphs. The story of vision, resilience, and the relentless pursuit of pushing technological boundaries soon defined Ascanio’s unique path in mixed reality (MR).

On another financial front, Eurobank Holdings released its financial results for the first quarter of 2024, showcasing significant growth and robust performance across various metrics, including operations in Cyprus. CEO Fokion Karavias expressed confidence that their 2024 plan would be delivered, with a return on tangible book value of 15 per cent. He highlighted that all strategic initiatives, including the Hellenic Bank in Cyprus, are on track.

Finally, Bank of Cyprus Group CEO Panicos Nicolaou described 2023 as a milestone year for the organisation, as it became the first bank in Cyprus and Greece to secure ECB approval to restart dividend payments after 12 years. The €22.3 million dividend was equivalent to a payout ratio of 14 per cent of the full-year 2022 adjusted recurring profits. Addressing the bank’s annual general meeting, Nicolaou said that the dividend confirmed the Bank of Cyprus’ transformation into a well-capitalised, diversified, and sustainably profitable banking and financial services group. (Cyprus Mail)

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