The new year has started on a strong note. IDAL has received 5 investment enquiries for new potential business projects and these are currently being reviewed for incentives’ eligibility. The encouraging fact was that two of those projects fell under the tourism sector, a sector that keeps on attracting domestic and foreign investors alike.
Not only does Lebanon have a lot of promising sectors, its regions have an abundance of investment opportunities . In this issue we have highlighted the economic prospects of the South of Lebanon in the tourism, industrial, high-tech, and healthcare sectors.
A special emphasis was given on a budding new company in the Agro Food sector that has already several patents in the making.
I hope you will enjoy this issue, for any feedback please do not hesitate to contact us.
|INVESTMENT INQUIRIES|JANUARY 2013
The One-Stop-Shop Directorate at IDAL received five enquiries for new potential investment projects in January, four of which are eligible for incentives granted by Investment Law No. 360. The sectorial distribution of these projects goes as follows: two in Tourism, two in Technology, and one inIndustry. Below is a brief description of each:
- A project involved in the construction of a luxury hotel in Damour, a coastal town located South of Beirut.
- A project aiming at renovating a building in Hamra, Beirut, into furnished apartments for rent.
- Ouvrage SAL is hoping to establish a zero-emission recycling plant that aims to produce processed shredded rubber and bio-diesel. This project will boast an R&D team, and hopes to partner with Lebanese universities to allow field visits for students.
- A Lebanese project that consists of an online platform that will enable users to search for a daily dish anywhere around a given city. The founder of e-daily dish is looking to export his product to Paris, France, while operating from Lebanon.
- Relocation of a plant from Syria to produce different types of cables in the Northern Caza of Akkar.
|INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITIES IN THE SOUTH OF LEBANON
Opportunities to invest in the South of Lebanon are numerous, supported not only by the region’s natural characteristics but also by the availability of unexploited agricultural land that is ripe for investments. The competitive advantages of the South lie in the region’s availability of water resources and natural landscape. The creation of fish farms that could serve the local and regional markets is a lucrative market, where 29% of the fisheries in Lebanon are located. Although the population has been mostly involved in trade related activities, there is potential to develop the tourism and industrial sectors as well.
The coastal side running from Saida to Tyre could benefit from increased investments in 3 and 4 stars hotels which are currently in undersupply. Today there are only 8 hotels in the South, accounting for 6% of the total hotels in Lebanon, and employing around 240 people. A more granular distribution shows the existence of 3 hotels of the 3 stars category, 4 of the 4 stars category and one of the 2 stars category. The area could capitalize on the many touristic sites available in Saida and Tyre. More specifically, Tyre considered a patrimonial city could benefit from a large touristic project that would capitalize on the Roman Hippodrome, one of the most preserved hippodrome in the world.
Based on a census conducted by the Central Administration for Statistics (CAS), 7% of the local establishments registered at the Business Register are located in the South ( or the equivalent of 3,400 businesses), the majority of which are involved in trade related activities. Only few establishments are involved in industrial activities mainly in the production of chemical products and electrical machinery. The majority of establishments are small businesses with less than 5 employees. Investors could capitalize on the existence of industrial zones mainly Insariye, Babliye, Ghazyie, Toul, Tyre, Mazraat Bsaffour, Nabatieh el Tahta and Nabatieh el Faouka. As for agro Industrial establishments, the South captures 13% of the total establishments, with the majority involved in the production of baked goods.
HIGH TECH – INNOVATIVE SECTORS:
Although activities in the South have mostly focused on trade and traditional activities, companies involved in ICT activities are starting to select the South as a base to develop software solutions. Example of such companies include S&AS controllers, a company founded in 1990 involved in the design of controllers for elevators and now operating on a global scale, serving the Indian market and based out of Jieh. The company is now promoting a “self-sufficient eco-system” model whereby employees are sourced from the surrounding area and are available at a more cost competitive tax rate.
There are tremendous opportunities to develop the healthcare sector in the South particularly the building of new hospitals. Today the region accounts for 11% of the total hospitals in Lebanon providing around 1800 beds, or the equivalent of 30 beds to 10,000 population which is below the national average of 34 beds to 10,000. However residents rely mostly on dispensaries due to the concentration of public / private hospitals in selected clusters only.
For more information on the South of Lebanon download the complete profiling document
|A LEBANESE SUCCESS STORY
In every upcoming issue, we would like to highlight the regional and international success of aninnovative Lebanese company in one of Lebanon’s sectors with growth potential. The globalization of these companies highlights the opportunity for Lebanon to become an outsourcing destination for high value-added services due to Lebanon’s qualified labor force and competitive labor costs which is categorized to be among the lowest in the region.
This month’s success story within the Agro Food sector will be dedicated to Fresh Natural Products.
Fresh Natural Products (FNP), is a Lebanese company that was established in 2008 by Ramzi Jalbout. Its latest innovations included a snack pack called “Krock’s” containing pasteurized yogurt “Labneh”, serving as a dip for bread sticks or “kaak”. This innovative product got the acclaim of VC funds and other facilitators leading FNP to secure an investment from FNP, Kafalat Innovation, Kafalat Plus, Audi Bank, and Bank of Kuwait and the Arab World amounting to over USD 370,000 ; enabling the company to grow its product line and expand its area of operations.
FNP started with one Stock-keeping Unit (SKU) and then expanded to include 8 different flavours. Krock’s has so far been recognized as the product of the year in 2012 and shortlisted as part of the top twenty entrepreneurs for 2013.
FNP secured a patent for Krock’s lasting twenty years and a copyright for life. This will make FNP the single supplier of this snack pack and protects it from competition. The product is currently covering the Lebanese market and the company has plans to expand its area of operations to include UAE and Turkey in the near future.
China Overseas Investment Fair
China has proved to be a new lucrative market for Lebanese exports, and it is in this capacity that IDAL has participated at the fair in Beijing, along with a delegation of Lebanese business people. IDAL showcased the various investment and export opportunities especially in the agro food sector.
Private Sector Preparatory Forum
We participated at the Private Sector Preparatory Forum for the 3rd Arab Development Summit in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, organised by the General Union of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, and Agriculture for Arab Countries, the Arab League, and the council of Chambers in Saudi Arabia. Chairman of IDAL, Nabil Itani, presented a proposal
to the attendees on how to enhance collaboration between investment promotion agencies.
Packaging and Protection Workshop
As part of its mandate to enhance the quality of Lebanese exports through the Agri Plus program, IDAL organized a training workshop to Lebanese exporters highlighting the new technologies in packaging and protection of goods and produce both in the Chamber of Commerce of Zahle and Tripoli.
The Investment Development Authority of Lebanon (IDAL) is the national investment promotion agency of Lebanon.
Established in 1994, IDAL aims at promoting Lebanon as key investment destination and attracting, facilitating and retaining investments in Lebanon.
IDAL reports to the President of the Council of Ministers which exercises a tutorial authority over it.