Author Archives: Thomas Schellen

Protecting the integrity of Banks

Protecting the integrity of Banks

Reading Time: 4 minutes

The UN investigation into the assassination of former premier Rafik Hariri has impacted the financial scene. The work of German prosecutor Detlev Mehlis and his team to uncover suspects behind the murder created a stir when a request for banking secrecy laws to be lifted from the accounts of certain individuals key to the enquiry

Andy Kemp talks oil

Reading Time: 7 minutes

    Levant Oil, incorporated in Lebanon, has been trading, importing and storing oil derivatives since it opened a storage terminal in Jiyeh in 2001. This year, the company is launching a chain of “LEO” gas stations across Lebanon. The Levant Oil Group comprises three companies: Levant Oil International, which started up in February 2005,

Azmi Mikati defends Investcom’s IPO

Reading Time: 7 minutes

E There has been a lot of reaction to the IPO. Many within the sector claim it was nothing more than a private placement disguised as an IPO, designed to drag in small investors to hype the event. Can you comment on this? There was no need for any hype. We knew very early on

A swift turnaround

Reading Time: 7 minutes

If the creation of the Audi-Saradar Banking Group was the banking event of 2004, BLC Bank is the bank that has arguably made the most progress in 2005. In economic terms, the role of BLC Bank might be as remarkable or unremarkable as that of any other Lebanese bank of similar size in the sector,

Software success story

Reading Time: 6 minutes

Lebanon-based information technology firm Software Design Consulting Group (SDCG) is a rare success story in the country’s landscape of IT developers and implementers with a combined domestic and regional approach. Bucking trends of decline suffered by the Lebanese IT industry, in 2004 the firm realized a 16% growth of business and is rallying even stronger

An untraveled road

Reading Time: 5 minutes

With Lebanon’s parliamentary elections having recently provoked so much controversy for reasons of sectarian representation, little attention has been devoted to how the new Parliament might address urgent economic issues, security, corruption, as well as long-dormant issues directly or indirectly related to development, such as administrative decentralization and a new election law. A preliminary assessment

Pierre Achkar

Reading Time: 6 minutes

Pierre Achkar has his hands full. As manager of the three-and-a-half-year-old, 112-room Monroe Hotel, ravaged by the explosion that killed former Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri, he has been overseeing the hotel’s renovation, refurbishment and reopening. Wearing his hat as the head of the Lebanese Hotel Owners’ Association he must direct efforts to minimize overall hotel

Talking Economics

Reading Time: 12 minutes

There could not be a greater difference of mandates for two successive governments in any country’s history. The current cabinet of Prime Minister Najib Mikati has been charged with terminating a protracted phase of managing Lebanon under a mixed set of priorities, wrapping up the past and handling one single, existentially important practical task: fair

Heading back to the books

Reading Time: 7 minutes

Like all other fields of activity, the pursuit of knowledge in Lebanon has suffered under the turbulences of spring 2005. A Beirut trade show on education and professional training options had to be cancelled in February and attendance at continued education programs dropped. But providers say that interest is back and programs are running at

Testing times for business

Reading Time: 7 minutes

The Lebanese economy is not only wearing black, it is also awash with red and white, and will be for a while yet and it remains unclear just how long – weeks, months or longer – the disruption of Lebanon’s economic heartbeat will last. This cannot presently be assessed authoritatively in terms of economic impact