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Cyprus Business Now: weekly wrap-up

wrap up

Here are the top business stories in Cyprus from the week starting February 19:

On Monday, the Bank of Cyprus unveiled its financial results for the fiscal year ending December 31, 2023, which were quite impressive. The bank reported a profit after tax of €487 million, and new lending reached a noteworthy total of €2 billion.

Following this financial update, attention turned to the hospitality sector, where the Cyprus Mail’s Souzana Psara recently engaged in a conversation with Genia Boustany, the director of Poseidonia Hotel. The discussion centred on the hotel’s commitment to sustainability, particularly its shift towards a circular operating model initiated in January 2022. This medium-sized, family-run hotel in Limassol has distinguished itself in the hospitality industry by investing in personnel education, promoting a sustainability culture, and embracing sustainability not just as a certification goal but as an ongoing journey and way of life.

Amid these developments, the Association of Cyprus Tourist Enterprises (Stek) expressed its apprehensions on Monday regarding the island’s tourism prospects for 2024, pointing out significant challenges.

Concurrently, the Bank of Cyprus revealed a significant uptick in the usage of its digital channels for banking and insurance products, as outlined in its preliminary results for 2023. This digital engagement has led to a substantial rise in the digital sales of insurance plans, with the group’s digital client base expanding to more than 450,000 active users, showcasing an annual increase of 9.4 per cent. Specifically, the BoC Mobile App saw a remarkable year-on-year increase of 14.4 per cent, with over 410,000 active users by the end of 2023.

In the realm of energy and sustainability, Andreas Poullikkas, Chairman of the Cyprus Energy Regulatory Authority (CERA), emphasised the need for significant reforms to facilitate the transition to renewable energy sources. His analysis sheds light on the historical evolution and the challenges electricity markets face amid this energy transition.

Similarly, the conversation around workspace evolution was advanced by Ksenia Bitulina, an HR specialist with extensive experience, who shared her insights on the changing dynamics of traditional office spaces in the digital era, including the adoption of hybrid working models.

Adding to the economic narrative, a report released by the Cyprus Statistical Service (Cystat) in February 2024 highlighted a downturn in tourist arrivals in January 2024, marking the first year-on-year decline since March 2021 and interrupting a long-running streak of positive growth in tourist numbers.

Meanwhile, the Cyprus Shipping Chamber (Kne) welcomed the initiation of the EU maritime security defence operation ‘ASPIDES’ in the Red Sea, aimed at protecting commercial vessels against potential attacks, reflecting the sector’s ongoing concerns and proactive measures for maritime safety.

The corporate landscape saw significant insights from the 13th annual survey for CEOs in Cyprus, presented by PwC Cyprus. This survey underscored the agility and adaptability of Cypriot CEOs, who are increasingly confident about the local economy’s prospects compared to the broader Eurozone.

In the tourism sector, the Deputy Minister of Tourism, Kostas Koumis, highlighted the necessity for EU support measures for island tourist destinations, proposing the establishment of a pan-European electronic platform for worker recruitment within the sector.

Further government interventions aimed at supporting the economy were announced, with the Cyprus Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Keve) expressing satisfaction with the new government support measures introduced by President Nikos Christodoulides. These measures are designed to mitigate the impacts of rising energy costs, inflation, and other challenges.

Additionally, the Cabinet’s approval of an annual award for gender equality in the shipping sector underscores the industry’s commitment to promoting inclusivity and equality.

In international collaborations, the Minister of Energy, Commerce, and Industry, George Papanastasiou, engaged in discussions with his Egyptian counterpart to bolster energy cooperation, focusing on the development of natural gas reservoirs and the potential transport of gas to Egypt.

The Employers and Industrialists Federation (Oev) also voiced its approval of the new household support measures, emphasising the importance of maintaining citizens’ purchasing power for economic growth and social cohesion.

Hellenic Bank released its preliminary financial results for 2023, showcasing resilience and solid performance amidst geopolitical and economic challenges, with a notable profit for the year.

In the real estate domain, Ask Wire’s report on property transactions in January 2024 provided insight into the market’s dynamics, highlighting the ten most expensive transactions and the total value of property sales across Cyprus.

Lastly, Deloitte Academy‘s initiative, led by Christina Themistocleous in Nairobi, Kenya, exemplifies the commitment to global education and skill development, showcasing the vital role of effective communication in achieving professional success. This array of developments across various sectors illustrates the dynamic and multifaceted nature of Cyprus’ economy and society, highlighting the ongoing efforts to adapt, innovate, and thrive in the face of challenges and opportunities.

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