Two foreign businesspeople on Tuesday advocated why they chose Cyprus as their operating base.
Speaking at the 2nd Cyprus International Business Summit, Captain Eberhard Koch, a partner in OL Shipping and Kiril Zimarin, CEO of RCB Bank highlighted Cyprus’ comparative advantages and investment opportunities in their line of business.
“Star of the Mediterranean”
“I call Cyprus the shipping star of the Mediterranean and I firmly believe it”, Koch said.
Koch, a former captain and Chairman of German origin and now CEO and partner of Osterreichischer Lloyd Shipping (OL), highlighted that fact that the government and the people of Cyprus succeeded to recover from the deep financial crisis of 2013 “means there is a dynamic for a new era” marked by sustainable growth.
Recalling that 7% of the Cypriot GDP is derived from shipping without any state aid, Koch said Cyprus “has a capacity of being a very strong European as well as international shipping hub.”
Answering the question, “Why Cyprus,” Koch pointed to the flexibility of an EU open registry provided to a non-Cypriot citizen with the availability to register ship under the Cyprus flag, the classification of Cyprus’ flag in the white flag of Paris and Tokyo MoU revalidating the quality of the Cyprus flag.
“Those of us in the maritime industry are also well aware that Cyprus is the biggest ship management hub in the EU and amongst the top 5 in the world… the Cyprus registry is robust and positioned among the world leading shipping powers,” he said.
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Pointing out Cyprus’ relatively low operation costs, Koch highlighted Cyprus’s simplistic tax system, noting “on this aspect Cyprus scores highly.”
Instead of corporate income tax tonnage tax is paid on the tonnage of each vessels at the Department of Merchant Shipping.
“Cyprus is without doubt one of the most attractive shipping centres in the world. The island is on the map and will reveal its determination to continue spread its mark in shipping,” he said and concluded by saying “For me Cyprus ticks all the right boxes.”
“Banks are still attractive”
From the banking sector, Kiril Zimarin, Chief Executive Officer and shareholder of RCB bank referred to a series of diverse business and investment examples that highlight the success of the “Cyprus’ product.”
Describing Cyprus as a very attractive destination for business, Zimarin referred to projects such as the Limassol Marina, the American Medical Centre, Engino Engino, a company founded in 2004 inventing and producing innovative modular construction toys, as well as his bank, RCB which in 1995 obtained banking license in Cyprus by the Central Bank.
Despite the crisis, he said “Cypriot banks are still alive, are still attractive and still powerful.”
As he noted, since 1995, his bank has become the second largest bank of the island in terms of assets, having branches across Cyprus and Luxembourg as well as representative offices in Moscow and London.
Enjoying the highest ratings from all Cypriot banks, he added, RCB has been declared as the safest bank in Cyprus by Global Finance magazine.
“Having started 20 years ago and now operating a multi-billion business is also a success story, showing that “you have all the possibilities to do business in Cyprus.” (CNA)