MARCH 2014


2014 displayed in its first quarter rays of hope for the Lebanese economy, with foreign as well as local investors starting or establishing new businesses across the country. On the foreign investment front, businesses are diversified throughout  sectors, namely Information Technology, Retail, Digital Media, and Tourism. In terms of local investments, the tourism sector was particularly vibrant with works initialized for around 6 hotels, with investments exceeding USD 250 million. This month has also witnessed an increased interest from China for Lebanese exports, mainly olive oil, wine, nuts, and dry canned fruits. 

Lebanon has managed to emerge after every political or economic downfall and prove to the world again and again that the country's resilience is unquestionable and that the durable Lebanese market is here to stay.


I hope you will find the information useful, for any feedback please do not hesitate to contact us. 


Best Wishes,


Nabil Itani

Chairman-General Manager



There is an increased Chinese interest in Lebanese Agro-Food exports following the activation of an economic and technical cooperation agreement between the two countries. The agreement stipulates the repayment of a Chinese loan by the Lebanese government amounting to USD 7.7 million through IDAL. As part of the agreement, Lebanon would export Lebanese products to China; such as olive oil, wine, nuts, dry canned fruits and different types of jam.


A delegation of Chinese businessmen visited Lebanon for that purpose and toured over two weeks major wineries, roasteries, and olive oil factories in Koura, Zgharta, the Bekaa, Batroun, Jounieh, and Jbeil.


Lebanese Agro Food products are not a major export to China and as such present an area of opportunity.




Moreover, exports to China constitute a mere 0.7% of total Lebanese exports, compared to 10.7% of imported goods from China. The interest in Agro-food products will help in enhancing the trade balance between both countries.




Apple Inc. purchased Burstly, a local software company that is now a leader in iOS testing. Through the acquisition of Burstly, Apple will deliver integrated mobile app testing and review services. Burstly, a local family business, is a Daher Capital portfolio company. Burstly currently owns TestFlight, an iOS service that allows programmers to release and manage beta software to a limited audience, and an ad management platform called SkyRocket.  


Webedia, a Paris-based digital publishing company, with over 40 million unique users globally, enters the Middle East digital space through a majority acquistion of Diwanee. Diwanee Media Company today offers one of the largest and most engaged online female audiences across the Middle East, through its portfolio of premium sites (,,, and ecommerce site, offering content ranging from fashion and beauty to pregnancy and cooking, customised for the Arab woman. 

Majid Al Futtaim Properties and Societe Joseph G. Khoury in partnership with Waterfront City will launch a Business Park located within Waterfront City Dbayeh. The park consists of 12 buildings surrounding an integrated "campus" design. The total investment will exceed one billion dollars and the project is to be completed by 2016. The Waterfront City will include residential apartments, a large retail mall, two hotels, and the Business Park.


Saudi-based Amnest Group , have partnered with local investors, to launch Sama Sannine. It is a new Resort and Spa Complex located in Mount Lebanon. Investment in the first phase reached up to USD 7 million. The project also includes the "Sannine Village" and the Mountview Hotel.


In addition to sector-related investments, USAID funded "The Lebanon Industry Value Chain Development " (LIVCD), valued at USD 41.7 million. It is a five-year project aimed at generating income for small businesses and creating jobs for the rural population by building connections between farmers, producers, traders, and retailers. In January, the project signed a co-investment agreement with Jabal el Sheikh Company. LIVCD will provide regional and marketing support to Jabal el Sheikh, in order to increase the company's honey exports to the United States and the United Arab Emirates, as well as the introduction of two new types of honey into the US market.




In terms of local investments, the Tourism sector was particularly vibrant with works initialized for around 6 hotels, with investments exceeding USD 250 million. Local investments were noticeable in the Real Estate and Agro Food sectors as well, with investments amounting to around USD 130 million and USD 5 million respectively.


In details, Lebanese entrepreneur, Nemr Diab, invested USD 132 million in his new project, Park Hill, which is to become a four-star, 220 meter-tall hotel in Ashrafieh- and the tallest building in Beirut. The high-rise tower is to be divided into three sub-sections: a hotel, branded residences, and private residential apartments. The tower will include a spa and a healthcare center, and the project will ultimately create 202 jobs.


Also in Beirut, a new  four-star hotel  the "Dolphin Royal Suites", launched its opening early in 2014. The hotel is worth USD 2 million and includes 28 suites, spread over eleven floors.


D.I.G (Daou Investment Group), a family business chaired by Marwan Daou, invested around USD 5 million in a new boutique hotel and resort, Cherry Blossom, to open in Bhamdoun in May of this year. The resort stretches over 18,000 square meters. Bhamdoun has always been an attractive summer destination, especially for Arab visitors.


A third project, the Naas Springs Wellness Resort, is presumed to finalize its first phase by early 2015. This project is owned by a group of Lebanese, expats and foreign investors. The capital invested into this project is estimated to rise above USD 100 million. The resort will have a built-up area of 71,000 square meters, and it will stretch over more than 132,000 square meters of land. Naas comprises a hotel, a spa and a restaurant. 


Another new hotel is under construction in Dbayeh, and is to be ready by the end of 2015. The hotel will be called "Louis V", and is owned by the Mardikian Group, a local real estate development company. Dbayeh has become an active business district, and is home to many eateries and malls, as well as a new mega-mall project, Centerfalls, that is expected to open in 2016.


As for the real estate sector, there have also been a few investments in the first quarter of 2014. El-Hajjar Enterprises Company (HEC) launched Greenville in March, a gated community development in Nabay, Metn. The investment is worth USD 55 million. 


FFA Real Estate (a member of FFA Private Bank Group), announced that it will be managing the development of a new beach project called 'Amchit Bay', for a group of local investors. The construction works are to begin in 2014 and end in 2016. Amchit Bay will stretch over 10,000 square meters on coastal land. Investments will reach up to USD 25 million. The project will have seaside chalets,  a fitness area, pool, clubhouse and children's playground.


Besides hotels and real estate investments, a new mall project in Tyre is to be completed by 2018. The "Sour Mall" is expected to be a USD 50 million investment and will begin excavation and construction in 2015. 


In the Agro Food sector, the Omran Industrial Food Company is to open a factory to produce confectionery products in the industrial zone of Zahle. The factory has been finalized and will begin production as of March 2014. The factory will produce biscuits and chocolate, and is expected to create more than 60 job opportunities.  The cost of the project went up to USD 5 million. It stretches over an area of 3,000 square meters and is equipped with the latest automated machines and equipment imported from Europe and America.The company will benefit from IDAL incentives, mainly the exemption from the income tax for ten years. 





The Association of Lebanese Industrialists launched four private industrial zones in Chakadif, Dmoul, Tebna, and Terbol. The four zones provide access to skilled labour force, competitive rates, advanced infrastructure and many other benefits including IDAL's services and incentives which can amount to a tax break for up to 10 years. 


Below is a breakdown of the incentives that you can benefit from per industrial zone:


If you choose to open your factory in Terbol and Chakadif, and your minimum investment size is only USD 1 million, then you can benefit from the following incentives:

  • 100% exemption from income tax and taxed on project dividends for 10 years
  • Work permits for all categories
  • Full exemption from the project's income tax for 2 additional years provided that at least 40% of the company's shares are listed on the Beirut Stock Exchange.

If you choose to open your factory in Dmoul and Tebna, and your minimum investment size is only USD 3 million, then you can benefit from the following incentives:

  • 50% exemption from income tax and taxed on project dividends for 10 years
  • Work permits for all categories
  • Full exemption from the project's income tax for 2 additional years provided that at least 40% of the company's shares are listed on the Beirut Stock Exchange.

If your project has a minimum investment size of USD 10 million and you are willing to create a minimum of 100 job opportunities, then you can benefit from the following incentives in any of the industrial zones mentioned and not matter where you establish your business:


  • Full exemption from income tax for up to 10 years.
  • Full exemption from taxes on project dividends for up to 10 years.
  • Up to 50% reduction on Work and Residence Permit Fees.
  • Up to 50% reduction on Construction Permit Fees.
  • Obtaining Work Permits of all categories provided that at least two Lebanese nationals are employed against one foreigner.
  • Exemption from the obligation of including Lebanese natural and legal persons in their Boards of Directors.
  • Full exemption from Land Registration Fees at the Real Estate Register and from fees needed for annexation, sub-division, mortgage and registration of rental contracts at the Real Estate Register.





We have participated for the third year in a row at the ARABNET conference in Beirut. ARABNET is the largest regional event for Arab digital creative sectors, bringing together every year over 80 speakers and hundreds of attendees who are keen to be exposed to the latest topics in digital media. The conference is considered a launchpad for budding entrepreneurs to showcase their start-ups and ideas. It also featured a workshop for developers and designers to build their skills and network. IDAL was present through a booth at the exhibition space, encouraging start-ups to take advantage of our support and services.





IDAL was one of the main organizers at this year's Lebanon Economic Forum along with Al Iktissad Wal Aamal. We took part in a panel on Challenges of the Transitional Phase in the region through an intervention by Chairman Nabil Itani.
The forum, which was under the patronage and presence of the President of the Republic, also included a keynote speech by Mr.Itani at the inauguration, through which he highlighted the importance of IPAs working together to increase FDI inflows to Lebanon and the region.






We have partnered with Berytech, Beirut Creative Cluster and Anima Investment Network to bring to Beirut a cross-border innovative business event offering a unique concentration of SMEs and international groups, start-ups, entrepreneurs & diaspora talents, innovation clusters and investors with a specific focus on Euro-Mediterranean relations. The EuroMed Business Opportunities Roadshow gave the participants the chance to pitch partnership offers and requests & connect to potential business partners, discuss concrete collaboration opportunities during individual meetings, get investment advice from experienced international investors/angels, connect to the VC community and maximize co-investment opportunities, and access international markets through soft-landing initiatives. IDAL participated at the event through a panel on Business Opportunities in EuroMed along with key players from Europe, Egypt, Morocco, and Tunisia.


Within the framework of the EUROMED Migration III project, a third migration and development workshop took place in Frankfurt on Private Sector Development Through Migration. The conference covered over a week the best practices for migrant engagement in private sector development. IDAL's participation revolved around knowledge sharing of best practices in Lebanon in that regard. Topics covered included; Identification of the Types of Migrant Entrepreneurship/ Business Development, Policy Options for Migrant Engagement in Private Sector Development, Assessment of Current Programmes and Support for Migrant Entrepreneurs, Identification of the Development and Needs of the Private Sector, among others.




The Investment Development Authority of Lebanon (IDAL) is the national investment promotion agency of Lebanon. Established in 1994, IDAL aims to promote Lebanon as key investment destination and attracting, facilitating and retaining investments in LebanonIDAL reports to the President of the Council of Ministers which exercises a tutorial authority over it.


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