Author Archives: Thomas Schellen

Fractured but not fretting

Fractured but not fretting

Reading Time: 7 minutes For a country facing economic turmoil and new business risk at every turn in the road this year, Lebanon sports an alarmingly content real estate sector. Intermediaries whose livelihoods depend directly on commissions from arranging sales and rental contracts are not frantically waving red flags as many other of the country’s economic agencies are. “The

Dubai back on its feet?

Reading Time: 2 minutes The regional property market is eagerly anticipating the Cityscape Global (formerly Cityscape Dubai) real estate fair, due to take place from 2-4 October. The real issue at stake is whether recent promises of resurging real estate values in Dubai will allow the trade show to reconnect to the vibrant mood that saw the fair expand

Little cause for optimism

Reading Time: 3 minutes American politicians have long been unpopular in the Middle East. Even before the release of the hugely offensive anti-Islamic film and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s unfortunate promise to kick the Palestinian issue “down the field”, people in North Africa and the Levant were disenchanted with the world’s only superpower. A new poll released by

An online outsourcing pioneer

Reading Time: 5 minutes Samer Hanna is both a pioneer in Lebanon’s online economy and a leader in his niche, which, in simplistic terms, is the provision of outsourced information technology (IT). Hanna is chairman of two companies: Dubai-based Capital Banking Solutions (CBS), a banking software provider, and a holding that owns Beirut-based Capital Outsourcing (C-O), a specialist provider

Ramadan’s undocumented potentials

Reading Time: 8 minutes Ramadan and Eid al Fitr 2012, being smack in the middle of summer, generated a curious lot of anecdotal business news across the media. In Kano, home to Nigeria’s largest Muslim community, roadside traders reported demand for block ice spiking to new heights. In Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, traffic in cafes doubled and turnover increased by

Q&A – Issam Hitti

Reading Time: 3 minutes Insurance broking is a business of consulting and risk advisory that historically bears the onus of being the “middle man”, with all the common questions of what value this function brings with it. Executive sat down with Issam Hitti, the president of the Lebanese Insurance Brokers Syndicate (LIBS) to find out how the brokers are

Orange scheme crashes

Reading Time: 3 minutes It ain’t broken, but the economy underlying one of the Lebanese motor insurance industry’s specialities has vanished. While the Orange Card system for cross-border liability insurance protection of Arab motorists is functionally fine, commercially speaking, Lebanese administrators tell Executive that business has fallen precipitously – premiums have roughly halved and sales are almost non-existent. Data

Weathering the rainy days

Reading Time: 7 minutes It has been said with some justification that the global economy could be saved from recession if enough people collectively started believing that the end of the world was upon us. Pre-apocalyptic consumer spending would skyrocket and blow the lid off all current growth restraints. But it is questionable if people would think to spend

Tied up in risk

Reading Time: 5 minutes Lebanese entrepreneurs traditionally have approached risks with the attitude that they prefer to carry them themselves rather than pay for risk transfer, unless there is a compelling reason to buy insurance. Companies insure their vehicle fleets and some contract medical coverage for staff as add-on benefits beyond the obligatory payments to the social security system.

Vroom a la Libanais

Reading Time: 3 minutes The concept of fantasy cars is well established on the wide avenues of automotive fiction. Think Transformers. And it has been exceedingly difficult to get these and other octane fairy tales out of my mind this summer because of a prospective car maker called W Motors, author of a new and absolutely presumptuous automotive project,