SNAPSHOT OF NEWLY ESTABLISHED BUSINESSES IN LEBANON FOR QUARTER I
FOREIGN INVESTMENT NEWS
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 (Yasmina.com, 3a2ilati.com, AtyabTabkha.com, and ecommerce site, Mooda.com.) 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.