Cyprus will shortly be in position to provide clean, safe and reliable supplies that will meet 20 percent of Europe’s gas needs (Credit: "AFP PHOTO / HO / PIO")

The Cyprus solution

More and more people are arriving at the same conclusion: a miracle cure for much of what ails the European Union is close at hand, and Cyprus is easily the best place to dispense it. Apart from Germany and a few other exceptions, the EU economy is in a historic slump, while its appetite for

Stars Communications' Verdun branch

A world connected (to the US government)

Last month the United States Treasury Department singled out local company Stars Group Holding for alleged ties to Hezbollah, adding the company, several subsidiaries and associated individuals to its ‘specially designated nationals’ (SDN) list. As part of its accusation, the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) said that these entities operate as a procurement front,


High price madness

Residential development trends are catchy. Companies in Lebanon very often adopt whatever seems to be working best or whatever is applied most on the residential market. Why reinvent the wheel, indeed? While this maxim may hold true in many instances and certainly simplifies life, the underlying reason behind a particular strategy may be diluted or

Kuwait Stock Exchange (Divya Thakur | Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0)

The irrational hand of the market

The third trading week in Ramadan was the third week of near universal index gains in the securities markets of the Middle East and North Africa. Volumes were mixed, with the anticipated summer slowdown happening in some markets but certainly not all around the region. The indices of the ASE and BSE in the Mashreq

The Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs on the AUB campus

In photos: The creative cave

Every human dwelling owes something to the primordial need for shelter that is associated with the stereotype of a caveman — which is usually a synonym for a life with ample room for cultural refinement. But unfortunately, far too many apartments and even so-called villas of our day and age fit the caveman ticket at

Central Bank of Lebanon (Karan Jain | Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0)

Banks’ new dilemma

For years, big Lebanese banks have operated under a cushy deal: finance government debt, and be rewarded with a handsome profit. While this arrangement has been arguably necessary, it has also led to an unwarranted level of risk aversion and capital hoarding in the sector — notably harming the development of business startups, who are

Plenty of opportunities

Taking their time

Two years ago, in a real estate special report, Executive quoted a source saying that by 2014 there would be an abundance of empty apartments on the market. Today, “there are unsold apartments,” says Massaad Fares, CEO of Prime Consult. Getting more personal, Fares says that “slightly more than half” of his company’s mixed-use Sama

Sama Beirut: How high can they go?

Higher regulation

The legal framework governing real estate in Lebanon is convoluted. While several administrative bodies are tasked with applying the multiple laws and decrees that outline regulations for real estate projects in the country, the sector is guided by no strategic vision. Regulations are either favorable to developers or riddled with loopholes. Frequent changes in the

Namir Cortas, president of the Real Estate Developers Association of Lebanon

Tangled in a web of red tape

Executive sits down with Namir Cortas, a founder of Estates Property Development and Investment, as well as president of the recently-formed Real Estate Developers Association of Lebanon (REDAL), to talk taxes, regulation and corruption.   Why was REDAL created? We created an association that aims at pooling the major developers in an effort to better

Raouche, not looking so public friendly

Raouche rumor mill

No one knows what — if anything — is coming.  Rumors about the fate of a peninsula next to Beirut’s iconic Pigeon Rocks abound, but little is known for sure. “Three companies are going to build a beach resort in 2016,” a municipal police officer now standing guard next to the parcel of land tells

Cranes swivel over Bauchrieh

Lost in suburbia

Beirut’s eastern suburbs entail a broad social and economic mix, ranging from high-density residential areas dominated by aging apartment buildings, to the country’s most affluent areas in terms of average household incomes. In the coastal zone of suburbia stretching north of the capital, new commercial and residential hubs have formed in the past few years

It's green for gulf stock markets  (Christian Haugen | Flickr | CC BY 2.0)

Upward arrows in the Gulf

Investor confidence is a touchy life form that can wither from all sorts of things: to name but a few, jitters can be caused in any market by surprise board announcements, an absence of board announcements, too many rumors, too little transparency, too much volatility in tandem with too little liquidity, and even the reverse

Minister of Telecommunications Boutros Harb

Fiscal follies

With the World Cup just having finished, Lebanese fans were glued to their television sets savoring each fantastic goal and glorious football moment. But many missed the opening matches: they hadn’t purchased expensive subscriptions from Sama or MK Electronics-Echosat, the exclusive providers for land, internet and satellite viewing of the World Cup in Lebanon. Last minute

Gebran Bassil with Michel Temer in Brasilia, on July 10, 2014

Waning ties with the diaspora

This article is part of an in depth special report on the Lebanese in Brazil. Read more stories as they’re published here, or pick up July’s issue at newsstands in Lebanon. One of the challenges that Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil has set himself is to encourage more investment from the diaspora. At a conference in May,

Ernesto Zarzur in Sao Paulo, Brazil, 17 June 2014.

Success story: Ernesto Zarzur

This article is part of an in depth special report on the Lebanese in Brazil. Read more stories as they’re published here, or pick up July’s issue at newsstands in Lebanon. Ernesto Zarzur likes to think of himself as the patriarch of his family — one that he considers to be 4,000 strong. The chairman