Author Archives: Paul Cochrane

Running on empty

Running on empty

Executive met with Antoine Boukather, the recently appointed president of the Automobile Importers Association of Lebanon, to discuss the sector, the new regulations on loans, and regulatory issues in the transport sector.   It has been another difficult year for the sector, despite marginal growth. Yes, the figures are the same, but they don’t reflect

The road to more traffic

Road transportation in Lebanon is getting steadily worse. Traffic is congested, law enforcement is sporadic, half of the country’s cars skip the annual inspection, and public transport is almost nonexistent. The good news should be that a new traffic law has been passed by Parliament, 20 vehicles to be equipped with speed radar have been

Boom times at the Régie

This article is part of an Executive special report on industry. Read more stories as they’re published here, or pick up October’s issue at newsstands in Lebanon. The cedar tree may be the national symbol, but when it comes to smoking the national cigarette brand Cedars, it is the Syrians that have the strongest affinity. In

Multiple shades of amber

This article is part of an Executive special report on beer, wine and arak. Read more stories as they’re published here, or pick up October’s issue at newsstands in Lebanon. To many Lebanese, Almaza has been synonymous with beer. Ask for a beer at a bar or restaurant, and it was a chilled bottle of Almaza

Rising spirits

This article is part of an Executive special report on beer, wine and arak. Read more stories as they’re published here, or pick up October’s issue at newsstands in Lebanon. There is general doom and gloom in the economy in Lebanon, consumer confidence is down and polls indicate general pessimism about the future. But one sector

Abdul Razzak Achour

Cultivating an aura

Fenicia Bank has a relatively quiet profile in the banking sector. While having a headquarters in downtown Beirut, the bank has just 17 branches dotted around the country, and does minimal marketing or advertising to bring in more clients and depositors. This is a calculated move, says Abdul Razzak Achour, chair and general manager, to go

A big market for small cars

For consumers, 2013 may go down as one of the best years to have bought a car, with dealerships touting offers galore, from free registration and buy-back schemes, to $300 fuel vouchers and extended warranties. But for dealers, the market is so competitive that margins are exceedingly tight, profit is limited, and sales staff are

The Arabic gaming company based in China

Falafel Games is behind one of the most popular online games in Arabic, Knights of Glory, with around half a million members. On its website, the firm states its aim is to “design and produce the best games of the Middle East, from the Middle East, for the Middle East.” Yet while its core market

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