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Business News Archive 17 - Aug/Sep 2011

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Launching a new airline won't be easy for Sir Stelios  telegraph.co.uk 29 Sep 11 “You want to know how to become a millionaire?” said Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou, “Be a billionaire and start a low-cost airline”. His latest move to launch a new airline is surprising. On the surface there seems little room for another low-cost carrier as passenger numbers dwindle in the face of steepening Government taxation. Although Stelios still owns 38% of the airline that he started in 1995, a deep rift has developed between him and easyJet since he resigned from the board in May last year. The latest twist in the saga came when Stelios set up two websites – Fastjet.com and e-jet.com - both with the message “By Stelios. Coming soon!” Charles Starmer-Smith.

Super-rich Monaco announces austerity package  monstersandcritics.com 20 Sep 11 Budgetary discipline isn't exactly what springs to mind when you think of Monaco - a playground of the super-rich famous for fast cars, yachts and roulette tables. But the contagious nature of the eurozone financial crisis is such that even this French Riviera tax haven is engaging in a bout of belt-tightening, Minister of State Michel Roger announced Tuesday. Roger, the head of government, announced an 'effort at budgetary discipline' for the next three years. As part of that effort and to attract investment, the government would tighten spending on housing, health, social welfare, security and public wages, he said. DPA.

Duty Free exhibition opens in Cannes and closes with James Blunt  nicematin.com 19 Sep 11 The international duty-free exhibition (Tax Free World Exhibition) opened in Cannes Tuesday, with 5,400 visitors last year and 457 exhibitors at the Palais des Festivals. Luxury perfumes and cosmetics take a 28% market share, followed by wine and spirits (23%), clothing and fashion accessories (16%), jewelry (12%), confectionery (9%), tobacco, gifts and toys (4%). "With the economic crisis, air traffic is declining in Europe, but nevertheless we see a growing market in Asia," says a member of the TFWA (Tax Free World Association). The event, streictly for professionals, continues until Friday when a private concert by James Blunt will close the event.

Russell to stand down at Amadeus  abtn.co.uk 19 Sep 11 Tim Russell, Amadeus’ managing director for the UK and Ireland, is to stand down. The travel IT company confirmed that Russell would be taking a “career break.” Russell took over the role from Stephane Duran in 2009. Previously he had held a similar role for the company in Australia and New Zealand. Durand who had held the post for five years was transferred to the company’s leisure and online sections, based in the south of France. But Russell has suffered from ill health in the past year which one industry source told ABTN had influence his decision to stand down. A spokesman for Amadeus could not say what if any steps had yet been taken to find a successor to Russell.

Tourism keeps  Alpes-Maritimes economy afloat   nicepremium.com 19 Sep 11 Messrs. Bernard Kleynhoff and Yves Grosso, Presidents of the ICC and NEC PSU 06, revealed the economic performance of the Alpes-Maritimes for the first half of 2011 and if the results are good, it is largely thanks to tourism. Despite the positive results, the recovery is facing a clear slowdown. In technology and communications, there is a decrease of 4%. The level of the wholesale delivery is good, but reduced consumer demand is weighing heavily on the internet sector. There is a 17% increase in unemployment for people aged over 50. The duration of unemployment is increasing: +16.5% for those out of work for one year, 28% for 2 years. In total, there were about 50,000 registered unemployed on 1st July. Ismael Paredes.

Antibes agency Rinck Travel Arrangements turns 25  tourmag.com 15 Sep 11 Yacht crews and hockey club players were among the original clients of Rinck Travel based in Antibes, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary in association with its agencies in Lorgues and Valbonne. "I started in 1986 by opening a small office in Old Antibes with a pen, a phone and a subscription to Sabre," recalls Winnie Rinck Boyne, founding director of Rinck Travel Arrangements that now employs a dozen employees. Her first customers were sailors, mostly English-speaking employees on luxury yachts anchored in the port of Antibes, Cannes or Nice. "Customers lined up in the street! They are loyal, and some have now become business leaders of major firms on the coast. " Michel Bovas.

Long-awaited rate rises are the talk of Monte Carlo  royalgazzette.com 15 Sep 11 Reinsurance executives in Monte Carlo believe there are good reasons why property and catastrophe rates should rise but there is less confidence that there will be a broader market turn. Massive catastrophe losses, of $70 billion, have diminished industry capital, applying upward pressure on rates, although most companies insist they remain well capitalised. A new version of the RMS catastrophe model resulted in many companies estimating higher insured exposures. Reinsurers believe these factors mean rates should increase. Brokers have been suggesting otherwise in Monte Carlo, where industry leaders are attending the Rendez-Vous event. Jonathan Kent.

'Missing' to Open 27th Edition of MIPCOM  hollywoodreporter.com 15 Sep 11 This year’s MIPCOM won’t be devoid of star power when the TV industry descend on Cannes for the 27th edition 03-06 Oct 11. ABC’s thriller Missing will open the market with a gala screening and red carpet event with its stars Ashley Judd, Cliff Curtis and Adriano Giannini. The Sopranos’ star Stevie Van Zandt will head from Jersey to the French Riviera to present his new dramedy mafia series Lilyhammer. MIPCOM will embrace the seventh art when feature film directors Werner Herzog, Paul Verhoeven and Yann Arthus-Bertrand head to Cannes to promote their latest TV projects. Rebecca Leffler.

Top Marques Show to Debut in Asia  asiatraveltips.com 15 Sep 11 Macau will display many of the world’s most exclusive supercars and luxury products at the first ever Top Marques Macau. The event will take place from 24 - 27 Nov 11, at The Venetian Macau. Heralded as 'The World’s Most Exclusive Auto Show' by The New York Times, Top Marques Macau, in association with HSBC Private Bank, is the Asian edition of Top Marques Monaco. For the past eight years, Top Marques Monaco has wooed the world every April at the Grimaldi Forum with one of the most exclusive supercar shows in the world, presenting some of the fastest, most technologically advanced, bespoke cars – and, with the unique chance to test drive live at the show.

Montblanc present collection dedicated to Princess Grace of Monaco  fashiontimes.it 13 Sep 11 Montblanc pays homage to the timeless elegance of Grace Kelly with the ‘Collection Princesse Grace de Monaco.’ The collection consists of precious jewels, watches and writing instruments inspired by Grace’s sophisticated style. The collection was launched with a gala at the Salle Empire, Hotel de Paris in Monaco, attended by many VIPs including Emanuelle Beart, Elsa Pataky, Nathalie Imbruglia, Alberta Ferretti, Sarah Marshall, Eva Herzigova, Daryl Hannah, Naomi Watts and of course Prince Albert II and Princess Charlene of Monaco, and Princess Caroline of Hanover.

Cote d’Azur hotels angry over 2% luxury tax  pariscotedazur.fr 08 Sep 11 Local industry professionals and politicians are protesting a proposed new tax on luxury hotels. A 2% tax could be imposed on rooms in 4 & 5 star hotels.  Nice mayor Christian Estrosi says he is ‘categorically opposed’ & the Union of Riviera Hoteliers threatened to downgrade hotel ratings to avoid the tax. UPE06 President Yvon Grosso says the government should take 'drastic measures to reduce its own expenses, rather than multiplying taxes on businesses.' To avoid the downgrading of hotels, the tax is now proposed on rooms costing €200 or more leading to expectations of a proliferation of room rates at €199 per night with breakfast as an extra charge. Alain Dartigues.

A successful tourist season on the Cote d'Azur  nouvelobs.com 08 Sep 11 The wind of revolution sweeping the Arab world benefited the Riviera this summer with five million people visiting the region. The preliminary survey by the Riviera Tourism Committee (CRT) shows a 6% increase in tourist numbers in June, July and August. The cumulative growth was as high as 12% over the past two seasons, after a particularly bad 2009. Hotels had their best occupancy rates since the beginning of the economic crisis; 76% in June, 84% in July and 87% in August. Foreign visitors increased 11%, representing more than half of the tourists. The English (280, 000 + 20%) and Americans (11%) returned en masse. More surprisingly, the explosion in the number of Russian visitors (+30%) and Chinese (50%), even if they are still a minority clientele (35,000).

Swiss Franc cap brings little solace to Saint Tropez  businessweek.com 07 Sep 11 Saint Cast, a sleepy French coastal town in Brittany, sees little in the Swiss central bank’s move to cap the franc that will help it avert financial devastation. The town restructured €3.6 million of debt in July 07, using a formula that pegged its interest rate to the Swiss franc after being attracted by the currency’s stability. The franc, which was then at a record low, has risen 37% against the euro, threatening to boost Saint Cast’s interest rate to more than 20% from 3.99%. The Swiss Bank’s decision to set a ceiling of 1.20 francs to the euro leaves the town with a rate of 15.57%. Saint Cast, like the French Riviera town of Saint-Tropez, finds itself in a pickle that’s not of its making. Seeking to boost returns or cap costs, French local governments entered into contracts they didn’t always understand. Saint-Tropez, a beach town made famous by Brigitte Bardot, has €24 million in debt pegged mainly to the Swiss franc. Helene Fouquet.

Sophia Antipolis firm helped Gadhafi spy on opposition  ntn24.com 30 Aug 11 A subsidiary of French IT firm Bull helped Muammer Gadhafi's regime spy on the emails and chat messages of opponents of the fallen Libyan strongman. Amesys, based in Aix-en-Provence and with offices in Sophia Antipolis, describes itself as 'a key player in the field of security and critical systems at national and international levels,' installed a monitoring centre in Tripoli in 2009, the Wall Street Journal said. The paper said the firm equipped the centre with 'deep packet inspection' technology to snoop on the online activities of Gadhafi's enemies. The Libyan regime earlier this year held talks with Amesys as they sought to boost the regime's surveillance apparatus, the Journal said.

Nice Côte d’Azur airport sets new passenger record in July  tourmag.com 22 Aug 11 Passenger traffic was up 8% to 1.2 million passengers going through Nice Cote d’azur airport in July, an all time record. The 30th of July was the busiest day in the history of the airport with 43,762 passengers. The previous record was set on 4th June 2000. The previous monthly record was July 2007 with 1.12 million passengers. If it wasn’t for a minor Air France strike, passenger numbers for July would have been even higher.

Video Nice Tourist Office launches new YouTube video Channel  tourmag.com 19 Aug 11 Operation seduction by the tourist office of Nice, which has launched a new Internet video channel. As part of the promotion of Nice on the Internet, the tourism office is launching its own channel "NiceYours" on YouTube. At launch there are 33 videos about Nice as a tourist destination. From overviews of the city, to-themed clips about shopping, trekking in the countryside around Nice and the city’s architectural eclecticism - to images of the Carnival, Nice is exposing its many facets. Among the latest videos posted, one produced by the French Riviera Cruise Club in partnership with the Nice Tourist Office and the Chamber of Commerce.

Crédit Foncier de Monaco: Half-year net profit up 12%  challenges.fr 17 Aug 11 Credit Foncier de Monaco published its results for the first half of 2011, marked by a net profit of  €22.4 million, up 12% over the first half of 2010. This good result is mainly due to the performance of private banking assets under management that increased by 7%. Customer loans were up 33%. Net banking income rose by 13.1% to €54.5 million, even though the cost of customer deposits and growth rates weighed on the results of cash activity. An 11% increase in charges remains in line with budget forecasts. The good results of the first half of 2011 constitute a solid basis for the development of CFM Monaco. Finance Plus.

Monaco’s Scorpio Tankers announces losses in first semester  marketwatch.com 16 Aug 11 Scorpio Tankers Inc today reported its results for the three and six months ended June 30, 2011. The Company recorded a net loss of $2.7 million or $0.10 basic and diluted loss per share for the three months ended June 30, 2011 compared to net income of $0.4 million or $0.02 basic and diluted earnings per share for the three months ended June 30, 2010. The Company recorded a net loss of $4.2 million or $0.16 basic and diluted loss per share for the six months ended June 30, 2011 compared to net income of $1.6 million or $0.13 basic and diluted earnings per share for the six months ended June 30, 2010.

SBM results improve in first quarter 2011  zonebourse.com 14 Aug 11 Monaco's Société des Bains de Mer recorded a first quarter improvement over the disappointing results of the past financial year. Consolidated turnover for the group was up 8% to €103.7 million, against €95.7 million. Gaming and hospitality both improved. Gaming revenues were €44.9 million for the quarter against €41.2 million for the same period last year, up 9%. Table games improved whilst slot machines continued to decline. The hotel sector confirmed gains recorded during the past year with a turnover of €53.8 million, up 9%. This is down to the success of the new Buddha Bar and the reopening of all of the Hotel Hermitage after major renovations.

Nice Hoteliers Union reports 8-10% increase in July  pariscotedazur.fr 12 Aug 11 Michel Tschann, President of the Union of Hoteliers of Nice and the Cote d'Azur with its 350 establishments throughout the Riviera, reported an 8-10% increase in customers this July. He mentioned several reasons for this success: the political and economic problems of some Mediterranean destinations, the bad weather almost everywhere except on the Riviera coast, the multitude of events, especially in July, the guarantees given in terms of safety, accessibility and expertise of professionals. However for the month of August, the absence of Arab visitors from the Middle East because of Ramadan, will be felt. Alain Dartigues.

$25m tax decision against Monaco businessman rejected  smh.com.au 11 Aug 11 A Monaco based businessman, who acted as trustee for overseas clients trading millions of dollars of Australian shares, has won an appeal in the full Federal Court, overturning a decision that he should pay $25 million in tax and penalties. Norman Leighton last year was found liable to pay tax on the proceeds of hundreds of share transactions, although he protested that the proceeds were for two clients: the British Virgin Islands-based Salina Investments Ltd and Bahamas-based Kolton Holdings. Mr Leighton owns a Monaco-based international trust administration business called Leighton & Leighton, he was a director of each of the two client companies and he administered and controlled the Australian share trading. The court noted that under Monaco law he risked prosecution if he disclosed the terms of his contract with the two companies. The court ordered the earlier decision set aside and the Tax Office to pay Mr Leighton's costs. Leonie Wood.

SFR trials Auto Connect Wi-Fi service in Alpes Maritimes & Var  telecompaper.com 24 Aug 11 French mobile and broadband operator SFR has begun trials of its Auto Connect Wi-Fi service in the Alpes Maritimes, Bouches du Rhone and Var. The service allows test users to automatically connect to its Wi-Fi network when they are within SFR hotspot or other SFR subscribers' ADSL or fibre-based community WLAN coverage. DSLValley reports that users must have an SFR-branded mobile phone, iPhone, BlackBerry or iPad 3G and sign up via the Atelier SFR community website. By activating their device's Wi-Fi function, trial particpants can make unlimited use of the internet and give the operator the opportunity to transfer 3G+ traffic to the internet.

Ince launches new office in Monaco as international growth continues  legalweek.com 11 Aug 11 Ince & Co has launched a new base in Monaco, marking the firm's tenth office worldwide. The base opened on 01 Aug 11 and is headed by shipping, international trade and energy partner Ian Cranston, who has relocated from London alongside associate Ruth Monahan. Ince has been granted a licence specifically to practise English law in shipping and energy in the region, with a view to being able to service the firm's key shipping, international trade, offshore energy and yachting clients on the ground. Ince senior partner James Wilson said: "Our new Monaco office underlines our commitment to clients in the Principality. For many years we have advised them from our other offices in Europe and we are now responding to demands for a more immediate service." Suzi Ring.

New law proposed for Italian cross-frontier workers  genova24.it 10 Aug 11 Regional politicians from Italy’s centre-left Partito Democratico (PD) have announced their intention to create a new law governing Italians working across borders, especially the estimated 5,000 Italians from Ventimiglia, Vallecrosia and Camporosso who commute each day to France & Monaco. Sergio Scibilia (pic), of Liguria’s regional council says the aim of the law will be to grant recognition and autonomy to these workers. Ammendments to the existing regional law (no.27 of 11 June 1993) have expired leaving the fiscal status of cross-border workers uncertain. To avoid double-taxation, they have benefited from an income tax exemption on the first €8,000 that they earn.

Antibes cruise ship market stagnates  nicematin.com 09 Aug 11 "Is it worth it to continue?" This is the question asked by Jean-Pierre Gonzalez, Senior VP and President of the SAEM Port Vauban, responsible for cruise ships. 12 stops in 2009 for the launch of this new activity, only 7 this year, a drop of 40% (1500 against 2700 passengers in 2009). "In 2009, we were told that the benefits would be seen in 2-3 years, as it would take time before being enrolled in the catalogues of the cruise lines. But today the return is low. We feel that because of the crisis there is a decline. Our planned investment has been halted." Thus, the €100,000 that would allow the creation of an arrival platform and a mini-train is on ice. Sophie Rambure.

Nicky & Paris Hilton paid $1 million to party in Cannes  contactmusic.com 08 Aug 11 Socialite sisters Paris and Nicky Hilton were paid $1 million to attend a party for a 16-year-old girl in Cannes, France. Paris and Nicky Hilton were paid to attend a Middle Eastern princess' birthday party. The showbiz siblings have recently been holidaying in the south of France, and a source has revealed the girl - who was celebrating her 16th birthday - was "ecstatic" to have the pair in attendance. An insider told X17online.com: "Paris and Nicky were flown to Cannes for a sweet 16 party for a Middle Eastern princess. They were paid a hefty price tag of $1 million to show up for one hour. The teenage birthday girl was ecstatic to have Paris there.”

Record Monaco tourism results in July  voyage.youvox.fr 08 Aug 11 The Department of Tourism and Congress of Monaco report an exceptional month in July. The effect of the royal wedding directly impacted the results, but beyond the guests, journalists and visitors gathered to celebrate the marriage of Prince Albert II and Princess Charlene, further benefits of the marriage are already being felt. The Principality has a monthly capacity of 75,000 hotel nights. In July, 80% of them were occupied with an average selling price of €300 per night representing nearly €18 million in revenue for hotels.

Equal health care rights for Italian workers in Monaco sanremonews.it 04 Aug 11 A convention signed Wednesday grants all Italians who work in Monaco, equal health care cover with their French colleagues. They can now choose to seek treatment in Italy or Monaco. The only necessary step is that their family doctor has to make a prescription. For example, if a worker needs to see a specialist, they should seek a referral from their doctor, choose the Monaco specialist, submit an application and pay the bill. The worker will be given a form to send to the Monaco Caisse de Compesantion, and within a few days you will be reimbursed by the health ministry of the principality, the average reimbursement being 80%. Andrea Di Blasio.

Love at Ikos Hedge Fund sours as Ambrosiadou fights with Coward  bloomberg.com 03 Aug 11 On a warm evening in June at the Monaco Yacht Club, Elena Ambrosiadou stands in front of 200 guests assembled to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Ikos Asset Management Ltd., her $2.5 billion hedge fund. Ambrosiadou is now fighting over the firm with the man who helped build it: her estranged husband and former business partner, Martin Coward. Their very public quarrel has rocked the normally secretive world of hedge funds at a time when the industry on both sides of the Atlantic is under pressure over falling returns from the misjudging of commodities markets and wrong-way bets on the euro. Stephanie Baker & Jesse Westbrook.

Monaco Telecom turns iPad into wireless TV  totaltele.com 02 Aug 11 Monaco Telecom on Tuesday announced plans to enable its IPTV customers to access television content via any wireless device, including smartphones and tablets. The telco has partnered with kit maker Netgem to deploy its nCloud multimedia server, which effectively turns Monaco Telecom's IPTV set-top box into a media hub that will allow customers to share on-demand television, downloaded films, or personal files such as photographs across any connected device. The service uses WiFi to connect to devices. Monaco Telecom's IPTV service costs €8 per month plus a €75 deposit for the set-top box. Lewis Dowling.

P.Diddy’s vodka confiscated at Nice airport iol.co.za 02 Aug 11 P. Diddy's entourage were stopped by French customs for trying to bring too much vodka into the country. The hip-hop superstar had wanted to bring a large stash of his Ciroc vodka to have at his lavish parties in St. Tropez but his staff were caught with the drink by officers at Nice's Cote d'Azur airport after they jetted in from the US last week. So the entourage – who were not accompanied by Diddy at the time – had to leave some of the bottles at the airport. In 2007, Diddy signed a deal with Ciroc vodka, which was set to make him $100 million. Diddy receives 50% of the profits and could earn up to $100 million if the Diageo super-brand performs well.

Alstom Participates in Ecodistrict project on Cote d’azur  smartmeters.com 02 Aug 11 Alstom is partnering with Electricité Réseau Distribution France (ERDF), EDF SA, SAFT, and other industrial partners, to test new energy management technologies while integrating renewable energies and batteries. The €30 million NiceGrid project intends to launch a new type of ecodistrict near the Nice airport that is within the 10,000-hectare Eco-Valley National Interest Operation, a sustainable development zone in the Nice Côte d’Azur metropolitan area. The project will be deployed over four years and will include 1,500 consumers. The NiceGrid’s objective is to design local microgrids with integrated renewable energy sources and electricity storage.

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