“Let’s talk business” IInnvveessttoorrss kkeeeenn iinn mmaallllss,, VVeennuuss RRoocckk pprroojjeecctt
Major foreign investors are keen to pump millions into the Cyprus economy, both to join private sector projects, as well as take part in the island’s privatisation programme.
News reports suggest that the investors and fund managers from the likes of Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, Societe Generale, HSBC and at least 15 funds from the Arab world, listened to a parade of government officials during the two-day Cyprus Investors Summit, trying to persuade them about stability, a recovering economy and compliance with demands of international lenders.
Antenna TV reported that following the early-morning official session on Tuesday, foreign investors expressed interest in the Mall of Cyprus in Nicosia and the Limni Bay Resort, both operated by the Shacolas Group, the Venus Rock resort in Paphos, the Nicosia City Mall in Lakatamia, as well as other mostly property related projects.
The investors, that included Mohammed Elqeheisi from Saudi Arabia and Colin Wright from the Buena Vista Group, will view some of these projects on Wednesday.
Other projects presented at the summit include the Makronisos Marina, Lord Byron Tower, Sandarosa Tower, Neapolis Eco City in Paphos, Vasa Gold Resort, Macedonitissa States, Pafilia Tower and Limassol Landmark, St Elizabeth Gold Resort, Elea Estates, Pavilion Business Center and the Delmar in Limassol.
In all, the organiser Cyprus Investment Promotion Agency (CIPA) presented 18 major projects, while during their presentations, Finance Minister Haris Georgiades and Privatisations Commissioner Constantinos Herodotou talked about the government’s roadmap to sell state-owned companies such as telco Cyta, power company EAC and prime properties, as well as management deals for the ports and a super license for an integrated casino resort.
President Nicos Anastasiades addressed the delegates during the official dinner on Monday night.
On Tuesday, Finance Minister Georgiades said that the fundamentals of the Cypriot economy had improved significantly and the foundations have been laid for a more sustainable growth model.
“Thanks to the measures taken by the government, the overall fiscal deficit and excessive deficits for 2014 have been eliminated. Some referred to this as austerity. I call it a balanced budget. And this, of course, reflects positively on the overall public debt which is now on a downward path.”
He added that “this combination of economic recovery and fiscal consolidation has also been instrumental when it comes to meeting yet another key policy objective which is the restoration of international confidence and sustainable access to international capital markets.”
Georgiades said that the perception that fiscal consolidation always leads to a deepening recession and rising unemployment is incorrect. In fact, he added, we have showed that economic recovery does not always require a continuous increase of public spending.
As he said, instead of dealing with the “austerity or growth” dilemma, “we would be more productive if we ensure that fiscal consolidation and economic growth go hand in hand.”
“We are determined to continue in this direction,” he concluded.
Energy, Commerce and Tourism Minister Yiorgos Lakkotrypis elaborated on the government’s plans for tourism and energy, adding that 2015 will be a year of growth.
He expressed the hope that efforts would yield results and foreign investments would come to Cyprus.
John Hourican, CEO of Bank of Cyprus, the gold sponsor of the summit, said that the bank is ready to support the large scale projects, adding that “this summit marks the point of flux for opportunity in Cyprus. More stable, with maturing conditions, and a stable recovery, the island can now talk about future prospects without being haunted by past events. We are now only looking forward.”
Recapitalisation of the Bank of Cyprus, following a EUR 1 bln share capital increase in August 2014, marked a tangible “seal of approval” for the path towards the economy’s overall recovery, Hourican said.
“In the largest FDI inflow in the country’s history, we attracted world class investment, driving home the bank’s own recovery from the events of last year, but also securing that Cyprus is now on a recovery path from which it cannot, and will not, stray.”
CIPA Director General Charis Papacharalambous, CIPA Chairman Christodoulos Angastiniotis, Central Bank Governor Chrystalla Georghadji, Director of the Wealth, Brokerage and Asset Management at the Bank of Cyprus Costas Argyrides and President of the Cyprus Investment Funds Association (CIFA) Angelos Gregoriades were also among the speakers of the Summit.