Cyprus Mail

Naturalisation accounts for almost half of foreign investment

Energy Minister Giorgos Lakkotrypis

Foreign direct investment (FDI) into Cyprus from 2014 to 2017 came to approximately €9.2bn, of which €4.8bn derived from the various naturalisation schemes, the commerce ministry has stated.

It was responding to a formal question put by Greens MP George Perdikis who was inquiring about the track record of Invest Cyprus, formerly known as the Cyprus Investment Promotion Agency.

It’s understood that Perdikis has frequently questioned the necessity of the organisation, suggesting it is a waste of money.

Though Invest Cyprus is registered as a private-law entity, it receives government funds and as such is subject to audits from the auditor-general.

In his response to Perdikis, Commerce Minister Giorgos Lakkotrypis listed off the major FDI into Cyprus for the 2014 to 2017 period, citing data held by the Central Bank.

The sectors seeing significant FDI included banking, shipping, retail, tourism, pharmaceuticals and energy.

The minister cited among others the €1bn investment from US institutional investors (Wilbur Ross Co LLC) into Bank of Cyprus in 2014.

He also listed the privatisation of Limassol port’s commercial operations, which is expected to yield some €2bn over the next 25 years.

Other transactions constituting FDI included the merger of Columbia Shipmanagement (CSM) with Marlow Navigation, to create Columbia Marlow, “one of the largest ship management corporations worldwide, managing more than 1,500 ships and employing around 700 people in Cyprus.”

There was also the buyout of Limassol-based Songa Offshore SE by Transocean Ltd, the world’s largest offshore drilling contractor, in a deal worth $3.4bn.

In retail, South Africa’s Atterburry Group purchased the Mall of Cyprus and the Mall of Engomi for €193m.

Invest Cyprus sources told the Cyprus Mail the €9.2bn total FDI for the period in question is considered “quite satisfactory.”

For 2016-2017, the same sources said, the percentage increase in Cyprus’ FDI was the highest in the European Union.

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