Wednesday, October 28, 2015

CEMEX Panama awarded highest recognition for environmental management.

(Company Press Release- Panama, Panama). CEMEX S.A.B. de C.V. (“CEMEX”) (NYSE: CX) announced recently  that its Panamanian operations were awarded the highest recognition in sustainable development and environmental management by the Panamanian Chamber of Construction (CAPAC for its acronym in Spanish). CEMEX Panama earned this honor for its implementation of protection and conservation policies in the environments where the company operates.

The CAPAC’s panel of judges included engineers, architects, developers, governmental officials, and scholars. The award criteria included companies’ environmental policies, energy and water efficiency, waste management, and handling of chemical substances; air pollution mitigation; environmental controls and records; environmental contingency plans; and reforestation plans.

CEMEX Panama obtained this recognition thanks to such initiatives as its Technological Innovation Project based on P+L Systems, which resulted in energy savings of 32% at its cement plant; its Reduction of Water Consumption Project, which helped reduce its water consumption by over 35% at its cement plant; its waste management and waste-water treatment policies; and its Reforestation Project, which will enable the recovery of 63.3 hectares of forest by 2019.

“We are very honored to receive this award, which recognizes the integration of environmental management in our daily operations and processes,” said Andres Jimenez, President of CEMEX Panama. “Sustainability is an integral part of our business model and a core component of CEMEX’s future growth.”

The CAPAC is a non-profit organization that aims to promote, develop, protect, and defend the activities of Panama’s construction industry.

CEMEX is a global building materials company that provides high-quality products and reliable services to customers and communities in more than 50 countries. CEMEX has a rich history of improving the well-being of those it serves through innovative building solutions, efficiency advancements, and efforts to promote a sustainable future.

Fitch Affirms Banco General at 'BBB+'; Outlook Stable.

(Business Wire- Panama, Panama)--After completing the peer review of Panama's largest banks, Fitch Ratings has affirmed Banco General S.A.'s (BG) long-term foreign currency Issuer Default Rating (IDR) and Viability Rating (VR) at 'BBB+' and 'bbb+' respectively. See the full list of rating actions at the end of this release.

The bank's VR, IDRs, and senior debt ratings reflect the bank's still sound operating environment, solid franchise, sound and consistent performance, robust capital levels, conservative policies, good asset quality and reserves, ample deposit base and well-diversified portfolio. Fitch's view of BG's creditworthiness is tempered by the heightened competition it faces and the lack of a lender of last resort.

BG has long been Panama's largest locally owned bank; it has one of the largest branch networks, presence in most key markets, a significant market share and a reputation for conservative and consistent policies.

BG enjoys a strong capital base (Fitch Core Capital [FCC] of 14% at June 2015) that constitutes an ample cushion against unexpected losses on top of adequate loan loss reserves. This sound balance sheet structure underpins BG's ratings and compares well to its regional and global peers.

Wide loan portfolio diversification, conservative credit and investment policies, and effective collection processes help curb past-due loans (PDLs stood at 0.9% at June 2015) and maintain robust asset quality amidst a benign economy. Loan loss reserves cover PDLs comfortably. Asset quality should decline moderately as BG expands into retail.

The wide, low-cost, well-diversified deposit base has steadily grown, accompanying the bank's expansion and largely funding the loan portfolio. Furthermore, BG is perceived as a safe haven. This gives BG a clear competitive advantage in that the bank is able to leverage to expand its business and curb risk.

Steady growth, resilient margins based on low-cost deposits, relatively low operating expenses due to high efficiency, and moderate credit cost thanks to its sound asset quality all contribute to BG's steady performance. BG's profitability is consistent (ROAA above 2%) and its performance metrics compare well with those of the region's top banks, which are generally more profitable than global banks.

The Stable Outlook reflects Fitch's view that in a generally stable environment and given the bank's competitive position, conservative policies and adequate risk controls, Banco General's credit metrics should remain fairly stable and well in line with those of similarly rated banks.

The bank's SR and SRF reflect Panama's longstanding dollarized economy and lack of a lender of last resort. Banco Nacional de Panama, the largest state-controlled bank, could only provide temporary liquidity loans. In Fitch's opinion, external support for BG, while possible, cannot be relied upon.

BG is currently rated one notch above Panama's sovereign rating; hence, Fitch considers that the upside potential for BG's VR and IDRs is limited in the short run. However, BG's ratings would be further underpinned by an improvement of its operating environment that would be reflected in Panama's sovereign ratings, while the bank maintains the strength of its balance sheet and performance.

In turn, these ratings could be negatively affected if asset quality deteriorates materially (impaired loans above 2.5% and/or reserve coverage below 100%), performance weakens resulting in an operating ROAA below 1.5%, and/or capitalization worsens to a FCC ratio below 12%.]

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Thomas Kenna, new President of AACCLA

Panama, Panama. The Association of American Chambers of Commerce in Latin America and the Caribbean (AACCLA) earlier this month elected Thomas Kenna, president and CEO of the Panama Canal Railway Company, as chairman of its Board of Directors. Kenna, who has served on the board of AACCLA since 2011, will have a one-year term as president.

"Tom has been a great asset to our board and to the growth of our institution," said Jodi Bond, Vice President of the Americas in the United States Chamber of Commerce. "We know that Tom will pour all the energy, passion and work in advancing the political priorities of AACCLA as it is located in Panama, the hub of the Americas."

He has directed for 15 years the company Panama Canal Railway Company which is part of the company Kansas City Southern and Mi-Jack-products, contributing to the company's success over the past decade.

As president, Kenna plan to use this platform to drive continued growth AACCLA network, including the creation and integration of new American Chambers of Commerce. It also plans to conduct real progress on a number of policy issues that are important to the success of all American companies operating abroad, greater integration and greater adherence to the rule of law.

"I look forward to working with the network of 24 Chambers of Commerce to promote the free market and free enterprise," said Kenna. "Together we can make a real and lasting change in this hemisphere that will help build a prosperous future in the years and decades to come."

For over a century, the American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) have been the most influential voice of American business in Latin America and theCaribbean. Today, AmCham AACCLA and its 24 members represent more than 20,000 companies and over 80 percent of of US investment in the region. Acting in cooperation with the United States Chamber of Commerce, ACCLA has become a leading advocate for US business in the Americas.US investment in the region. Acting in cooperation with the United States Chamber of Commerce, AACCLA has become a leading advocate for US business in the Americas.

Monday, October 19, 2015

De Beers Sightholders Set Up in Panama Diamond Exchange to Launch LatAm Operations

Panama, Panama. Diamond manufacturers Diarough, Jewelex and Kiran Gems have set up offices at the Panama Diamond Exchange (PDE) to launch their operations for Latin America.
The companies, which had pre-reserved space during the construction phase of the premises in the World Jewelry Hub, are also De Beers sightholders, the PDE said in a statement October 13.
Panama is a “springboard into Latin America, and the center from which we will be able to consolidate and manage our business in what clearly will be the focal point of a rapidly expanding market,” Ashit Parikh, president of Emby International, Diarough's New York affiliate, said in the statement.
Diarough, an Antwerp-based manufacturer and wholesaler, appointed Leon Nevedrov to head its office at the hub. Sharon Schwartz will lead Mumbai-based Jewelex’s office and Nathan Abadiwill run Kiran Gems, which is also headquartered in India’s financial capital.
Jewelex’s strategy is to “establish a physical presence in an emerging market, where we can ensure that customers get a product range best suited to meet their specific needs, along with shorter delivery lead times,” Nirav Doshi, head of Jewelex New York, said in the statement.

Copa Holdings announced Monthly Traffic Statistics For September 2015

Panama, Panama.. Copa Holdings, S.A., today released preliminary passenger traffic statistics for September 2015.For the month of September 2015, Copa Holdings' system-wide passenger traffic (RPM) increased 2.3% year over year, while capacity decreased 0.5%.  As a result, system load factor for September 2015 was 72.8%, a 2.0 percentage point increase when compared to September 2014. YTD reported traffic figures (January-August 2015) have been adjusted as per 6-K filed on October 14, 2015.
Copa Holdings is a leading Latin American provider of passenger and cargo services.  The Company, through its operating subsidiaries, provides service to 74 destinations in 31 countries in North, Central and South America and the Caribbean with one of the youngest and most modern fleets in the industry, consisting of 100 aircraft: 74 Boeing 737NG aircraft and 26 EMBRAER-190s.

ASSA to Acquire AIG Operations in Central America

Panama, Panama. ASSA Compañía Tenedora, S.A. and ASSA Compañía de Seguros (ASSA) and American International Group, Inc. (NYSE:AIG) today announced that they have entered into a share purchase agreement under which, ASSA will acquire 100 percent of AIG’s operations in Central America located in El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Panama. The transaction is subject to regulatory approvals in each country.

“In looking for a partner in Central America, AIG found a world class player in ASSA. Its deep understanding of the Central American insurance market will help ensure that customers in the region will continue to receive a full range of products and services”

In connection with the transaction, AIG and ASSA will establish an on-going business partnership to pursue new opportunities and continue to deliver innovative products and unique customer experiences in Central America.

“In looking for a partner in Central America, AIG found a world class player in ASSA. Its deep understanding of the Central American insurance market will help ensure that customers in the region will continue to receive a full range of products and services,” said James Dwane, AIG President and CEO Latin America and the Caribbean.

“ASSA moves toward its goal of being a leading insurer in Central America by adding AIG’s businesses including its talented teams in El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Panama," said Eduardo Fábrega, ASSA CEO. "ASSA will strengthen its ability to offer insurance products, serve a broad clientele and will become the only locally owned insurance group with a presence in all Central American countries.”

ASSA is a recognized leader in the insurance market across Central America with presence in Costa Rica, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Panama. This agreement will allow ASSA to complete its regional footprint by entering the Guatemala and Honduras markets, as well as strengthen its insurance businesses in El Salvador and ASSA’s leading position in Panama, its home market.

Until the transaction receives regulatory approvals, all operations, branches, products and benefits will continue to operate as usual. ASSA and AIG will work together to ensure a smooth transition for customers and employees.

American International Group, Inc. (AIG) is a leading global insurance organization serving customers in more than 100 countries and jurisdictions. AIG companies serve commercial, institutional, and individual customers through one of the most extensive worldwide property-casualty networks of any insurer. In addition, AIG companies are leading providers of life insurance and retirement services in the United States. AIG common stock is listed on the New York Stock Exchange and the Tokyo Stock Exchange.

AIG is the marketing name for the worldwide property-casualty, life and retirement, and general insurance operations of American International Group, Inc. For additional information, please visit our website at All products and services are written or provided by subsidiaries or affiliates of American International Group, Inc. Products or services may not be available in all countries, and coverage is subject to actual policy language. Non-insurance products and services may be provided by independent third parties. Certain property-casualty coverages may be provided by a surplus lines insurer. Surplus lines insurers do not generally participate in state guaranty funds, and insurers are therefore not protected by such funds.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Sanchiz, Siebrasse & Asociados to participate in American Chamber of Commerce of Panama (Panamcham) Trade Mission to Washington D.C.

Panama, Panama. Sanchíz, Siebrasse & Asociados S.A. a well known Public Relations and Corporate Communications firm from Panama, will participate from October 13th to October 15th in the prestigious American Chamber of Commerce of Panama (Panamcham) Trade Mission to Washington D.C. which has the purpose of meeting US investors and government officials interested in the central American nation.

Donna Siebrasse, Managing Director of Sanchíz, Siebrasse & Asociados will be the participant for the firm in such an important event in the U.S. capital.

Several officials and Ministry of the government of Panama will be the principal participants, together with Robert “Bobby” Saint John head of PANAMCHAM, and Thomas Kenna, new Head of ACCLA (American Chambers of Commerce from Latin America). Delegates and several members of the Chamber will also participate in the important trade trip.

The Mission starts October 13th, with a Dinner at the National Press Club in Washington D.C. at 8:00pm.

Monday, October 12, 2015

SkyPower Announces 500 MW of Solar Energy Projects in Panama

Panama, Panama. SkyPower, the world's largest developer and owner of utility-scale solar projects, made an announcement unveiling its plans to build 500 MW of utility-scale solar energy over the next five years in Panama, representing an investment of US $1 billion.

In addition to building 500 MW of solar projects in Panama, SkyPower will also construct a US $50 million world-class solar and environmental research centre in Panama dedicated to the advancement of solar photovoltaic (PV) innovation as well as advanced research and innovation in environmental sciences.

To be built in affiliation with several leading universities and research institutions, this research facility will clearly distinguish Panama as the definitive hub for new solar technologies and innovation in Central America, and is expected to generate significant licensing revenues for Panama.

Furthermore, SkyPower is proud to announce it will fund 250 scholarships for Panamanian students who are studying in the fields of solar technology and environmental sustainability, through an annual grant of 10 scholarships per year for each of the 25 years its solar projects are generating clean energy. This investment in the future of Panamanian students will begin with the first kWh of energy that SkyPower's solar-energy projects will generate in Panama.

SkyPower is proud of its commitment to sustainability and educating youth, and has made a landmark commitment to sponsor a school for each megawatt it installs on Panamanian soil.

"SkyPower invests in countries that uphold environmental sustainability and preservation while advancing their economies and industries. The future of Panama looks bright, as the leadership of Panama is clearly focused on the need for clean renewable energy and has embraced solar as a cost-effective means of addressing Panama's energy needs today, and as a critical part of its generation mix for its bright future," said Kerry Adler, SkyPower President and Chief Executive Officer.

"We welcome the announcement from SkyPower and look forward to working together to bring US investment dollars for clean energy and green jobs to Panama," said Emanuel Gonzalez-Revilla, Ambassador of the Republic of Panama to the United States.

"SkyPower's estimated US $1 billion investment is expected to create more than 10,000 total job years in Panama, and create opportunity to export solar panels proudly made in Panama," added SkyPower Chief Commercial Officer Charles Cohen.

SkyPower has a long history of working closely with local communities to produce hundreds of millions of kilowatt hours (kWh) of clean electricity every year, while ensuring that those closest to the developments reap the rewards of new jobs, education, skills training and opportunities for youth.

SkyPower is the largest and one of the most successful developers and owners of utility-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) energy projects in the world. With roots dating back to over a decade, SkyPower's global team possesses a vast track record of over 800 years of combined experience in power and large infrastructure projects.

The experienced and accomplished SkyPower team has built, assembled and acquired an extensive pipeline of over 25 GW worldwide – 9 GW of which were recently announced in bilateral agreements, and other contract awards, to be built on the continents of Africa and Asia over the next five years in Egypt, Nigeria, Kenya, Djibouti and India.

Over the past few years alone, SkyPower has secured over two dozen utility-scale solar PV Power Purchase Agreements (PPA) and Contracts, which in aggregate represent well in excess of US $80 billion worth of long-term renewable energy sales to leading utilities and governments around the world.

SkyPower is majority owned by CIM Group, a U.S.-based real estate and infrastructure investment firm founded in 1994 that has systematically and successfully invested in dynamic and densely populated communities throughout North America.

ICANN selected Panama for their next summer’s meeting

Panama, Panama. ICANN’s summer meeting next year will take place in Panama City, Panama. The decision was made during a board meeting earlier this week.

This meeting will draw a lot of domain name investors. Many already live in Panama (such as Andrew Rosener of Media Options) and many more run their businesses out of the country.

There are two ICANN meetings between now and the Panama meeting. The first takes place later this month in Dublin, Ireland, home to many domain name companies. (Between Ireland and Panama, there seems to be a tax haven theme to ICANN’s meeting locations.) Then in March, ICANN travels to Marrakech. The Marrakech meeting was supposed to take place this year but was moved due to the ebola scare.

After the Panama meeting, ICANN travels to San Juan, Puerto Rico for its fall 2016 meeting.

Panama's biggest computer wholesaler announced going Global

Panama, Panama. GRUPO MADURO, Panama's biggest computer wholesaler announced going global with the opening of the company's first "Innovation Store" in Toronto this coming summer 2016.

The company was founded in 1997 by a young Panamanian born IT attorney and entrepreneur Alexander Levy Maduro, with headquarters in Panama, the 18 years old company manufacture, wholesale and distributed computers, computer parts, home technology and gadgets in Central and South American countries.

The company reported big profits on 2014-2015, with a 45% IRR (Internal Rate of Return) The secret? Reinvesting 65% of the company budget in retail market, sales force and strengthening the supply chain. Engineering hardware and software since 2012 in a new Mobil PC technology, Alexander is promising a 9ux level user experience, "we are bringing the future to people's workstation", the company -he said- is keeping the engineering secretly under radar from the big players like Apple and Samsung, choosing Canada's strategic location as main gate to "relocated" the Panamanian company headquarters and get ready to blast off in 2017.

In the middle time and traveling across the planet, from Panama to China to Singapore to Europe, the Panamanian company's CEO is multitasking searching for partners, alliances and investors in Asia, Europe, United States and Canada to take the company public.

"We are very proud and happy of following the steps of the legendary Silicon Valley companies and masterminds, in a very modest and humble way, we are different, our 9ux technology will change the way workstations are build today, we will rewired the whole concept of workstation electronics devices, just taking PC post technology one step further, into the future - explained joyfully IT attorney Alexander Levy Maduro, Grupo Maduro's CEO and Founder.

Datablink will present innovative solutions for transactions signing for banking at CELAES 2015 in Panama

Panama, Panama. Datablink, Inc., a global provider of advanced solutions for authentication and transaction signing, announced last week  its participation in CELAES 2015, the Latin American Congress on Banking Security to be held on 15 and 16 October at the Hard Rock Hotel and Convention Center Panama City (Panama).

As a silver sponsor of the event, it will present its innovative technologies Datablink authentication and transaction signing for financial institutions. Datablink provides a powerful out-of-band authentication for end users and gives banks an important differentiating factor. Datablink is proud of its commitment to service as profitable and reliable to prevent fraud and enable business partner.

User authentication is now just the beginning. The true identity and transaction verification is the final step that no institution or user should skip to protect against today's advanced threats. Traditional systems are outdated and create security breaches that for allow unauthorized access and data and make transactions vulnerable to today's advanced threats.

Datablink solutions offer strong security and also serve as a true differentiator. The Datablink solution portfolio provides unparalleled security and ease of use. Either a physical device or a mobile application Datablink requires the physical presence of the authenticator for the user operation while applying techniques of challenge and response easy to use.

By employing firm transactions using a unique internal key, time and transaction data, Datablink protects against stolen or shared passwords, malware outlets, attacks "man-in-the-middle" and "man-in- the-browser ", and other types of social engineering attacks always evolving. Datablink also provides proactive protection for companies of credit and debit cards as well as ATM users.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Much-hyped daily direct Denver-to-Panama flight dropped by United

Panama, Panama. Performance of flight to hub connecting travelers with South American destinations was much poorer than expected.

United Airlines' daily direct flight between Denver and Panama City, Panama — touted just 10 months ago as a huge boost for Colorado tourism and jobs — has fallen short of the promise. The airline confirmed Friday that daily direct service to Panama City ceased on Sept. 6.

"We understand there are challenges when operating a new route," Denver International Airport spokesman Heath Montgomery said. "We did expect some seasonality in passenger traffic trends, but the lows were lower than we anticipated."

When the service was announced in May 2014, once daily flights each way between Denver and Panama City were promised year round, except for September and October, when service would drop to five days a week.
The flights began in December, however, "the performance of the flights in the spring and summer" led to the cancellation, United spokeswoman Mary Clark said.

Travelers can still get from Denver to Panama City with layovers in Houston, Newark or Dallas. And Clark said the direct flight will return Dec. 18 through Feb. 28 for ski season — but only twice a week.

The new direct route supported an existing market for Denver-to-Panama travel, according to DIA data. An average of 27.7 passengers traveled daily between the two cities from December 2013 to July 2014. After the daily flight began, the average jumped 84 percent to about 51 passengers per day through July.

"Overall travel from Denver to Panama City proved to be stronger than we had forecasted, especially during the winter months," Montgomery said.

The flight's Dec. 3 inaugural journey was cause for celebration at DIA, complete with water cannons, a balloon arch and a flight packed with dignitaries, including Denver Mayor Michael Hancock.

Hancock said then that the service was expected to bring $35 million to $40 million a year in tourism dollars to Colorado, expand business activity and support about 400 jobs.

"We're constantly discussing existing and potential new service with the city and they understand that our route decisions are driven by demand," he said.

United expected 25 to 30 percent of passengers to originate in Colorado. The route placed Denver one stop away from about 40 additional destinations in 11 Central and South America through connections with Copa Airlines, part of United's Star Alliance network.

When the direct flight resumes in December, it will only fly twice weekly: Denver to Panama will operate Friday and Saturday and Panama to Denver will operate Saturday and Sunday. "Over time we hope to further strengthen the market which could result in increased frequency, and a longer season, in the future," Montgomery said.

Huawei’s Latin American Distribution Center Opens in Panama

Panama, Panama. Huawei Technologies Ltd. has opened a new global distribution center in Panama, broadening its business in Latin America. The Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei Technologies has inaugurated on Thursday, Oct. 1, a new distribution center for its Latin American operations in Colon free trade zone.

Huawei, which has a current staff of 500 people in Panama, will create another 200 direct jobs and hundreds more indirect jobs at the 10,000-square-meter distribution center.

"It is projected that this new structure will house up to 15 production lines for Huawei products destined for all of Latin America," said Mr. Wang Weihua.

Wang Weihua, office representative of Commercial Development of China in Panama, also said that the opening of the new distribution center shows that Huawei is confident of Colon's position as a business and economic hub.
Wang added that the center will be a logistic cooperation model between China and Panama. He said the company's products will be distributed to 35 countries from this center.

Huawei set up its first regional headquarters for Central America and the Caribbean in Panama in 2011.
China Daily reported in April that Huawei's business is thriving in Latin America, as the firm grows with local partners in research and innovation.

The report said that Huawei has been operating in the region for 16 years, with offices in seven countries, from Argentina in the south to Mexico in the north.

"Latin America is an important and strategic market for us," Yang Guanglin, director of public relations at Huawei's South American branch, said. "It has huge potential demand for electronics."

In 2014, Huawei sold as many as 109.5 million smartphones in the region, a 59-percent increase from the previous year, according to German market research firm GfK.

DP World Plans Big for the Panama Canal

Panama, Panama. DP World is expanding its container terminal at Port of Caucedo following the expansion of the Panama Canal to accommodate larger container ships, reports ASC.

DP World will increase the capacity of the port to 2.5-million TEU and started work to increase the depth of the quay wall in late August. The depth will be increased from 13.40m to 15.00m and the shipping channel will be deepened to 17.00m. 

The new developments are based on the project to expand the Panama Canal, which will allow passage and operations of 13-14,000-teu container ships. These ships currently cannot call at Port of Caucedo due to its draft restriction and quay capacity.

The estimated time of completion of the expansion project is April 2016. The expansion follows a project in 2014 to increase the depth of the shipping channel to 13.40m and the capacity of the terminal to 1.65-million-tue, but this is not enough to accommodate the new standard of container ships that are expected to use the canal.

With few US east coast and Caribbean ports able to handle the larger ships that will come through the canal, Caribbean deep-sea ports, including Manzanillo, Panama and Cartagena, Colombia, hope to win transshipment traffic.

BIOMIN Opens New Panama Plant

Panama, Panama. BIOMIN has further expanded its global production network with the opening of a production plant in Panama. The inauguration marks the latest milestone in the firm’s local presence that stretches back nearly two decades. The new plant will allow for growth and quicker delivery to BIOMIN distributors and customers in new and existing markets throughout the Americas.

The plant produces Mycofix®, an innovative mycotoxin deactivating feed additive, with plans to produce PoultryStar®, a multi-species probiotic for poultry, in the future.

The site was planned with a long-term perspective and an expectation of growth in mind. It has an installed production capacity of 3,120 tons per year based on one packaging station and a single shift.

Its starting production goal is 6,240 tons per year with two shifts. Maximum production capacity can reach 12,480 tons per year with the addition of a second packaging station.

In late August, Christian Seiwald, Chairman of Erber AG, and Esteban Giron, Vice Minister of Agricultural Development joined in the cutting of the ribbon inaugurating the plant in Panama alongside BIOMIN Managing Director, Marcelo Ribeiro, marking a momentous occasion for the company and the region.

“A strong, longstanding commitment to scientific research has allowed BIOMIN to deliver leading products in an ever-increasing number of markets across the globe,” commented Mr Seiwald.

Also in attendance were Ruben Beltran, Managing Director of BIOMIN USA along with 50 invited guests including key distributors and customers from throughout the region.