Cyprus Mail
Cyprus Opinion

Galatariotis Group has made genuine efforts within a hostile macro environment to fulfil its obligations

By Tasos Anastasiou

The article by Hermes Solomon published in your newspaper on 13/4/2014 under the title “Murder most foul of the Cyprus Economy” has been a great disappointment to us.

Firstly, an exception to the rule, (as per the author “Galatariotis’ financial woes might seem insignificant by comparison to many other “leading business establishments “…..”) is used as the only example to make a point with regard to the cause of problems of the Cyprus Economy. We genuinely fail to comprehend how this approach can be interpreted in the context of bona fide journalism.

Secondly, certain facts are presented with such an apparent bias that we can only describe this as a poor attempt to portray a link between Galatariotis Group and the failure of the Cyprus Economy. Specifically:

(i) The VCW investment of €170 million in a state-of-the-art cement plant, the only investment of such magnitude by the private sector, financed by a non-Cypriot bank, and which if not completed would seriously jeopardise the feasibility of cement production on the island is pictured as a reckless corporate move…

(ii) The dismantling of Moni cement plant (a commitment stemming from the merger agreement with VCW, a long awaited move by local communities, a development applauded for its ecological and town planning significance, but most importantly a positive milestone in the micro and macro context towards economic growth) is diminished to a decision in defiance of reality…

(iii) The development of six up-scale villas by L’ Union Residences has been a self-financed project which has enabled the REPAYMENT of loans to Bank of Cyprus not the opposite as incorrectly reported…

(iv) The €20 million share capital increase in Le Meridien has been effected to allow the renovation of hotel and improve its working capital; there was no need to dissuade the Banks…

(v) Le Meridien employs Cypriot as well as EU Nationals, remunerating without discrimination and having over decades been described by the Unions as the “best in class” with regard to respecting collective agreements. A phone call by Mr. Solomon would suffice to find out about this…

(vi) As at the date of this letter, no loan by any company of Galatariotis Group from any bank has been categorised as an NPL. Grouping our financial obligations with other entities that may account for 90% of NPL’s in Cyprus has the same argumental value as saying that Galatariotis Group and Apple have together $160 billion in cash!

We believe that unless new business ethics have been adopted from countries such as North Korea, what we have done in the last few years – given our limitations as well as our mistakes – can as a whole be described as a genuine effort within a hostile macro environment to fulfil our obligations, maintain employment and allow for growth. We certainly don’t seek praise for this as it is our duty as business to do this, but unless conducting in a business-like manner is comparable to murder, the foul lies entirely with the author of the article you have published.

Tasos Anastasiou, CEO Galatariotis Group

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