Lebanon continues to be a focal point for businesses; whether for investors wishing to re-locate or expand their projects, foreign companies seeking partnerships with Lebanese companies, or economic forums and trade missions seeing in Lebanon a networking platform and a viable investment destination respectively.
These trends are highlighted in this issue through our synopsis of the constant flow of investment enquiries by businesses in various sectors, a special case study on a budding Lebanese company that has a great potential to become a leading provider of inbound and outbound multimedia, outsourcing for Europe and the MENA region, as well as a round-up of our participation in various local and international events.
I would also like to bring to your attention the release of our Directory of Pharmaceutical Companies in Lebanon that holds basic information on manufacturers, their brands, and countries of export which I hope you will find useful.
I hope you will enjoy this issue, for any feedback please do not hesitate to contact us.
|INVESTMENT ENQUIRIES MAY 2013
|The One-Stop-Shop Directorate received during the month of May more than 10 investors with solid investment proposals inquiring about IDAL’s incentives, mainly fiscal breaks on corporate income tax, a clear indication of continuous economic activity and confidence in medium-term prospects despite the overall political landscape.
The majority of these investments are Greenfield or new projects in the Agro Industrial and Industrial sectors. More specifically plans were brought forward for investments in 2 brewery plants, 2 canned and frozen foods factories, and one potato chips plant. An expansion project was noted by a local bakery which is expected to employ 600 people once expansion plans are completed.
The Agro-food sector in Lebanon which has been growing at an average rate of around 9% over the last few years, remains one of the main drivers of the industrial sector, mainly due to the competitive advantages of the industry and growing local and regional demand. Investment opportunities in this sector are diverse and the potential for this sector to grow is substantial.
In the Industrial sector, 4 investment proposals covering various sub-sectors were reviewed by IDAL. These include a textile manufacturing plant, tin can production and glass bottling factories, and a plant dedicated to the production of household linen.
Finally, of the 10 investment proposal received, 6 meet the criteria needed to be eligible for IDAL’s current incentive schemes, while two could qualify for the new schemes which are pending Council of Ministers’ ratification. The majority of these investment projects are financed by Lebanese or Syrian investors.
If you would like to know more on what IDAL can offer you, please check our website.
|LEBANON’S CORPORATE AND ECONOMIC NEWS
LEBANON: SECOND HIGHEST RECIPIENT OF REMITTANCES IN MENA
According to a recent World Bank report, Lebanon ranked the second highest recipient of inflows in 2012 in the MENA region. This reflects the consistent commitment and belief from the Lebanese diaspora in Lebanon’s banking sector despite regional turmoils. The inflows of remittances totalled USD 7,472 million a 0.8% drop from 2011 figures.
ERICSSON LAUNCHES ITS REGIONAL BUSINESS SUPPORT CENTER IN LEBANON
Global ICT firm Ericsson has opened a new local business support center in Lebanon. The center will serve Ericsson’s Business Support Systems (BSS) operations around the world. It will promote the firm’s services among telecommunications companies and mobile operators. Tarek Saadi, President of Ericsson, North Middle East, said the center will benefit from the local talent to serve Ericsson’s global network: “The Lebanese workforce has many advantages in terms of culture, aptitude, and knowhow. Moreover there is a well-trained Ericsson team working locally.”
Ten similar centers are available worldwide in key countries, including Ericsson’s headquarters in Sweden. “Within the current situation, Lebanon is considered among the safest countries in the region, and security concerns will not stop our faith in our new investment,” Saadi said.
LEBANESE MANUFACTURER TEAMS UP WITH GENERAL ELECTRIC
Faremco, a Lebanese manufacturer of electrical infrastructure equipment partnered up with General Electric (GE) for the manufacturing of specific GE products and the distribution of those products in Lebanon, KSA, Iraq, and Afghanistan. Products include; electricity infrastructure equipment and switchboards. This license is the first of its kind in the Middle East and reflects a confidence in Lebanese talent and know-how.
BADER INVESTS USD 1.15 MILLION IN 3 LEBANESE START-UPS
Bader Young Entrepreneurs Program, through its Building Block Equity Fund, has invested USD 1.15 million in 3 Lebanese start-ups with expansion plans in the region. These start-ups includeShawarmanji, Shahiya, and Cedar Books.
| CASE STUDY
SmartSource is a Lebanese company founded in 2009 through the experience a team of customer care professionals who have held a proven track record in supporting some of the top telecom companies in the World, and in transforming key telecom organizations in the Europe and MENA region.
SmartSource is now a leading provider of inbound & outbound multimedia CRM outsourcing and consulting solutions covering both business to consumer and business-to-business programs. Their world-class Customer Contact Solution platform is superior to most others in the marketplace, and the framework of their Call Center Business Model has proven to be successful during some of the largest customer care transformations in the region.
COMPANY’S MAIN STRENGTHS
- Solid blue chip experience in the services industry: Trusting executive level relationships with international organizations (i.e. Bell Canada, Bel Mobility, Du Telecom, Tunisie Telecom, Forthnet Greece, Go Malta, Nova TV, Base Belgium, etc.)
- Extensive experience in contact centers operations and the BPO space across the world
- Understanding of the Lebanese market while maintaining excellent relationships within key local organizations
SmartSource’s original set up was to serve Canadian and European companies. They however quickly discovered an inherent need within the region for professional and well-structured customer care solutions (both in-house and outsourced); And so after visiting several key organizations in the region, they came to the realization that:
- There was a real need within the Lebanon and the Middle East for assistance in building professional, robust, and sustainable customer care entities
- Large organizations in the those regions were now ready to investigate the potential to outsource some of their processes without sacrificing the quality standards they maintained in-house
- First step of their growth path was to provide Customer Experience Consulting services to companies in Europe and MENA. They started off with the local market to kick off their outsourcing business. Next step will be to develop the offshore outsourcing business in order to attract foreign companies to off-shore some of their processes to their centers in Lebanon.
EXPANSION PROJECTS: LOOKING FOR A STRATEGIC PARTNER
Their expansion plans include attracting a strategic partner in order to develop the Lebanese BPO for regional and global markets. The partner should help SmartSource attract regional clients to outsource parts of their processes through their operations in Lebanon. The partner will also strengthen SmartSource’s financial capabilities to aggressively scale up operations and grow the business. The opportunity is of particular interest to investors who hold investments that rely heavily on Customer Service (I.e. Telecom, Financial services, Airlines, etc.), and who recognize the growth potential of the BPO sector in untapped countries such as Lebanon.
“We believe Lebanon can and should become a valuable Niche player in the BPO space, through distinct features within its abundant/highly educated untapped workforce:
1- Multingual workforce
2- Service/sales skills are entrenched in its culture
3- Cultural affinities with the East and the West
4-High unemployment rates, and competitive wages (ideal for salary arbitrage strategies that most companies in Europe and North America look for, even ideal for companies in the GCC who pay a 30% premium to recruit expat workforce in their country)”. Majid Khoury, CEO
HOW YOU CAN BENEFIT FROM IDAL
If you are in the telecommunications sector and wish to invest in Lebanon, you can benefit
from a bundle of incentives and business support services, that could reach 100% exemption from corporate income tax.
LEBANESE WINE IN FRANCE
IDAL participated in the 1st Edition of “Lebanese Wines in France” on Tuesday 14 May in Paris, France. This event was under the auspices of the President of the Republic, General Michel Sleiman, in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture and the International Organisation of Vine and Wine.
INTERNATIONAL CONVENTION ON SUSTAINABLE ENERGY & SOCIO ECONOMIC IMPACT
We participated at the International Convention on Sustainable Energy and Socio Economic Impact at the Saint-Joseph University (USJ) with Chairman Nabil Itani discussing Lebanon’s Investment Climate.
The event was organised by the Socio Economic Assembly of Lebanon and the Faculty of Engineering at the USJ. The session was very interactive, and we were asked questions regarding the position of IDAL on renewable energy, how IDAL is creating jobs and facilitating the issuance of permits and licenses, and the number of projects supported.
TRADE MISSION TO THE NETHERLANDS
IDAL participated at a trade mission to the Netherlands from 12-16 May. The 5-days mission included field trips to prominent Dutch companies, the Netherlands Agency, B2B meetings organized by the Netherlands Ministry of Economic Affairs and the Lebanese Embassy, as well as a visit to Venlo, a region abundant with investment opportunities. IDAL was represented in this trade mission by Chairman Nabil Itani and board member Mourched Hajj Chahine.
ARAB ECONOMIC FORUM
IDAL sponsored and took part in the 21st edition of the Arab Economic Forum held in Beirut and organised by Al Iktissad Wal Aamal on the 9th and 10th of May. The focus of the forum was on the issues and difficulties of transition to stability across the Arab world, and on the policies and challenges of restoring growth. The Forum attracted a wide audience and provided an effective platform for dialogue and discussion on the major issues affecting the region.
The Investment Development Authority of Lebanon (IDAL) is the national investment promotion agency of Lebanon. Established in 1994, IDAL aims to promote 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.