Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Eurona Wireless Telecom to provide WiFi network at Tocumen airport in Panama

Eurona Wireless Telecom to provide WiFi network at Tocumen airport in Panama

The service will be provided by the company Eurona Wireless Telecom, which currently provides this service at 46 airports worldwide. The free WiFi will have an hour of duration for the passengers.

Eurona Wireless Telecom, of Spaniard origin who is one of the main managers of Wifi in the world, was awarded the concession to manage this free network in the Tocumen International Airport, during the next five years.

The Wi-Fi network will allow travelers to connect to the Internet from any part of the airport free of charge for 60 minutes. The user will enjoy a friendly platform that multiplies ten times the bandwidth, with a simple configuration that will allow you to connect from any electronic device, according to a statement from Tocumen airport, and as it was known by Miguel Sanchiz of the Business section and Economy section of Panama ON, and editor of Panama Business News.

Tocumen announced that it will make available to its users the connection of free WiFi with a speed of 200 MB during the following weeks.

The user will enjoy a friendly platform that multiplies ten times the bandwidth, with a simple configuration that will allow you to connect from any electronic device, according to the Tocumen airport statement.

Previously, Tocumen paid for a service that was offered free of charge, through 40 antennas with a descent of 30 MB of speed. Now there will be 200 antennas that will serve 200 MB, for which the air terminal will not have to pay for this service, but the consortium must be accountable for this concession through the services it will provide in the long term, such as online advertising and roaming , The airport said in a statement.

The public tender for the award of this service was made with the endorsement of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and was also attended by companies Telefónica Movistar, Cable Wireless, Digicel and Cable Onda / Telecarrier, Tocumen SA reported. Has been running the airport since 2003.

The execution of this project, which began with the signing of the contract on November 22, is scheduled to culminate in eight months.

Eurona, which participated in partnership with local technology solutions firm Grupo ITA, will provide services for the management of the Airport App.

Through it passengers will be able to consult information about flights, boarding doors, augmented reality services and geo location to manage their movement through the air terminal and adapt the infrastructures to their needs and preferences.

The airport will no longer have to pay for this service, but the consortium ill be held accountable for this concession through long-term services such as online advertising and roaming, the airport authority said.

On average, some 37,000 passengers make use of Tocumen International Airport every day.

Eurona is currently the WiFi manager for the 46 airports and two Spanish heliports, and in the last four years increased its turnover by 800%, to 25.8 million euros in 2015.

Eurona has a presence in Mexico, Jamaica, Panama, Costa Rica and the Dominican Republic through hotel WiFi, being the main network manager in the Caribbean with more than 15,000 rooms connected.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

(Panama Business News).Plexus Technology Group and La Casa del Médico Announce International Distributor Partnership for Mexico, Central and South America

(Panama Business News) Plexus Technology Group and La Casa del Médico Announce International Distributor Partnership for Mexico, Central and South America

Plexus Technology Group, LLC (Plexus TG), a fully KLAS-rated, market-leading, best-of-breed provider of anesthesia information management systems (AIMS), announces an international partnership with Horacio Icaza y Cía, S.A. (La Casa del Médico), a leading healthcare distributor based in the Republic of Panamá. Through this partnership, La Casa del Médico will market and implement Plexus TG’s world-class anesthesia documentation and medication management solutions, Anesthesia Touch™ and Pharmacy Touch™, throughout Mexico and Central and South America, bringing greater efficiencies to the OR anesthesia process.

Anesthesia Touch is an easy-to-use anesthesia EMR solution for both iPad iOS and Windows platforms. Anesthesia Touch integrates with other hospital systems, streamlining clinical documentation by providing anesthesia clinicians with the information they need when they need it, such as scheduling, preoperative data, patient demographics and physiological data. In addition, Pharmacy Touch, an add-on module, makes medication management simple with its intuitive, easy-to-use system that delivers to anesthesia providers and their pharmacies an integrated solution with controlled-access cabinets, barcode syringe labeling, closed-loop reconciliation and automated charging.

La Casa del Médico recently contracted with Clínica Hospital San Fernando, one of the top privately owned hospitals in Panamá, to install and support Plexus TG’s Anesthesia Touch solution. Implementation teams for both Plexus TG and La Casa del Médico are working closely together on their first joint installation to successfully deploy Anesthesia Touch by January 2017.

“As the demand for our anesthesia documentation solution increases internationally, it’s important we team up with industry partners that can deliver technical support and products to the end-user. With an 84-year proven track record in the healthcare technology industry, La Casa del Médico is a perfect distributor partner to provide sales and field level support and to increase the exposure of our software products,” said Tony Mira, CEO of Plexus Technology Group. “They are a welcomed addition to our distributor program and we look forward to working with them.”

“Partnering with Plexus Technology Group not only increases our product offerings, but it extends our commitment to bring our clients the latest technology and complete solutions. We are excited to be part of the Plexus TG distributor program and we look forward to a successful partnership,” commented Guillermo Ungo, national sales manager at La Casa del Médico.

As an iPad-based anesthesia documentation solution, Anesthesia Touch's full KLAS rating demonstrates Plexus TG’s commitment to providing complete AIMS functionality for their clients and partners. For more information, visit www.klasresearch.com.

About Horacio Icaza y Cia (La Casa del Médico)

Horacio Icaza y Cia (La Casa del Médico), a trusted medical technology vendor, has been operating in Panamá since 1932. They are proud of their enduring partnership with worldwide-leader brands, the highly valued performance of their specialized team and their continued relationship with their customers. In 1967, the first anesthesia machine was successfully installed in the same hospital where they’re installing Anesthesia Touch today. La Casa del Médico is a company of strong values that promotes and defends transparency of the government administration to help patients receive the best healthcare. They’re expanding so these same values can benefit other countries.

About Plexus Technology Group, LLC

Plexus Technology Group, a subsidiary of MiraMed Global Services, is a leading provider of anesthesia information management and medication management systems. Anesthesia Touch™ is a full-featured AIMS for both Windows and iOS platforms that supports concurrent charting and streaming physiologic data. It is easy to use, improves processes, enhances patient safety, provides comprehensive anesthesia documentation and is certified as a full EHR for meaningful use. Pharmacy Touch™, a modular add-on to Anesthesia Touch, automates controlled substance reconciliation, eliminates duplicate documentation, reduces drug errors and delivers charge capture and decision support at the point of care. 

Thursday, December 8, 2016

(Panama Business News). CIFI Moves its Headquarters to Panama to Boost the Infrastructure Financing in Latin America and the Caribbean

(Panama Business News). CIFI Moves its Headquarters to Panama to Boost the Infrastructure Financing in Latin America and the Caribbean

The corporation has financed over 160 transactions representing total investments of more than US 1,3 billion dollars

The Inter-American Corporation for Infrastructure Financing (CIFI), a leader non-bank financial institution dedicated to run projects in Latin America and the Caribbean, has decided to move its headquarters to Panama City. The objective of this measure is to leverage closer to the region to further boost its activity there.

The move to Panama coincides with the 15th anniversary of the corporation. Since the beginning of its activity in 2001, CIFI has evaluated over 600 potential transactions of which has financed over 160, representing total investments of more than US 1,3 billion dollars. All these projects have played a key role in economic development in Latin America and the Caribbean.

"Panama is a key financial center in Latin America and the Caribbean which concentrates 90 banks. Our presence here will help strengthen that role, given the importance of our shareholder: commercial banks, private investment funds and multilateral agencies", said César Cañedo, CEO of CIFI.

According to César Cañedo, one of the key elements when stepping into Panama has been the country´s role as a "logistic and strategic hub that can be accessed quickly by the main capitals of Latin America and the Caribbean."

CIFI will maintain the link with Washington DC, a city that has been vital in the successful history of the institution, given the presence of multilateral organizations there. Among them the International Finance Corporation (part of the World Bank), which is a CIFI shareholder, as it was known by Miguel Sanchiz editor of the Panama Business News.

The shareholders of CIFI are one of the added values of the institution, because in it there are multilateral companies such as the aforementioned IFC or the Central American Bank for Economic Integration (BCIE); Funds such as the Norwegian Investment Fund for Developing Countries or the Finnish Fund for Industrial Cooperation; and banks like Caixa Banco de Investimento, Banistmo, Banco Itau-Unibanco or Pichincha.

In addition to its expertise in infrastructure and deep knowledge of the region, other distinctive features of CIFI are its agility in providing alternative and structured financing solutions to its clients and the socio-environmental commitment. The track record and achievements of the company have been recognized over the years with international distinctions.

(Panama Business News). COPA AIRLINES suspected to be offering $2billion for AVIANCA according to the New York Times

(Panama Business News). COPA AIRLINES suspected to be offering $2billion for AVIANCA according to the New York Times. United offered a $500 million loan to Avianca and potentially one of its investors according to  a recent news coverage by the New York Times. Copa pursued a merger that would value Avianca at more than $2 billion, or a 150 percent premium to its share price last week. Delta offered more than $1 billion in cash, a majority of which would go to buy out most of the Synergy Group, Mr. Efromovich’s investment arm, with the rest going to Avianca. The Delta bid implied a $1.9 billion valuation.

On Tuesday, a special committee of Avianca’s board are expected to meet to decide whether to accept a bid or proceed with a new round of bids.

According to the NYT, details of these discussions are based on interviews with people who have direct knowledge of the company and negotiations but who were not authorized to speak publicly.

Despite its recent troubles, Avianca, which is based in Bogotá, Colombia, and second in the region only to the Chile-based Latam Airlines, is an attractive asset. Latin America is expected to be the largest growth market for travel in and out of the United States over the next two decades, according to a report by the Federal Aviation Administration. American Airlines is the only United States airline with a substantial presence in the region.

“These players have no footprint,” said Stephen Trent, an analyst who covers Latin American aerospace and transportation for Citigroup, in reference to the three bidders’ exposure to Avianca’s routes. The New York Times stated that Delta and United declined to comment on the deal. Copa did not respond to a request for comment.

Avianca also declined to comment. But in the company’s most recent earnings call in November, the chief executive, Hernán Rincón Lema, emphasized that Avianca’s financial situation was stronger than when it began the bidding process.

“From the very beginning, when we’ve set to find a strategic long-term partner, it has never been about money,” he added in a call with analysts. “It has been about the strategy, future, service, the world.”

Decades ago, Avianca suffered some major safety setbacks. The Medellín drug cartel blew up one plane over Bogotá in 1989, and the next year a plane crashed en route to New York. Combined, almost 200 people were killed.

That led Avianca to economic ruin, and in 2004 Mr. Efraim Efromovich spotted an opportunity to swoop in. He agreed to buy 75 percent of the company out of bankruptcy for a mere $64 million. (Today Synergy’s publicly disclosed 52 percent stake is worth about $460 million.) Five years later, Avianca agreed to merge with Grupo Taca, combining two of the oldest airlines in Latin America.

Taca had been controlled by the Kriete family since the 1960s, growing into one of the largest airlines in the region. Through civil wars and political unrest over the next few decades, the family held on to the business and founded an aircraft maintenance facility that services many of the world’s major airlines.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

(Panama Business News).Tocumen Airport to issue Duty Free tender in January 2017

(Panama Business News).Tocumen Airport to issue Duty Free tender in January 2017. Attenza-Duty-Free-Tocumen-leadTocumen International Airport is issuing tender documents for three separate 700sq m duty free areas in the second half of January next year, almost a year earlier than anticipated.

Incumbents Motta International – with its Attenza Duty Free retail concept – and Grupo Wisa with its Riviera Duty Free brand, hold 10-year contracts at the Panamanian airport, which are due to expire in December 2017.

However, the airport says that the tender is being called early ‘because of the situation of Grupo Wisa’.

Regarding the new tender, there are three ‘blocks’ of duty free space at 700sq m each, of which a retailer can bid for a maximum of two areas.

“A company can bid for more than one space; two maximum,” the airport operator tells. “There will be two winners. One company will have one space and the other will have two.”

The airport is currently undergoing a massive expansion project with the construction of the new Terminal 2.

The length of this contract will match the previous contract’s 10 year term [starting in 2017] and will operate according to a Minimum Annual Guarantee (MAG) model. An ‘upfront amount’ will also be required, which will be deducted from the monthly payments.

Several international retailers have shown interest in the bid so far including, Dufry, DFA, DFASS and Heinemann, according to the airport operator.

“We are looking for operators with experience in multiple airports around the world,” adds Tocumen International Airport. A contract award date is yet to be released.

The airport is currently undergoing a massive expansion project with the construction of the new Terminal 2, with a projected completion time of 2017. Architect firm Foster + Partners was appointed for the project in 2011 and construction actually began in 2013.

Monday, December 5, 2016

(Panama Business News). Judges give green light to Corozal

(Panama Business News). Judges give green light to Corozal. Panama’s Supreme Court has thrown out a motion put forward by Panama Ports Company (PPC) that the tender for the Port of Corozal infringes guarantees set out in the country’s constitution.

The decision, which was taken by nine judges, clears the way for Panama Canal Authority (ACP) to continue with its tender for the construction of what will be a new container port with a 5.3m teu capacity.

Corozal port forms part of the ACP’s strategy to diversify its business portfolio and thereby maintain its competitive position, allowing it to generate additional income for the state.

The scheme, which has broad support in Panama, is especially supported by the Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture, even though PPC argues that, given the downturn in the global economy, its construction is entirely unnecessary.

In contrast and despite the fact that Panama has seen box volumes drop 12.8%, Rommel Troetsch, president of Panama’s Maritime Chamber, said that the country should invest in the development of its ports network to increase its share of the regional transhipment market.

He stated that it would also help convert Panama into a regional logistics hub for markets in Asia and Europe.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

(Panama Business News). Chinese companies interested in using Panama as Latin America entry point

(Panama Business News). Chinese companies interested in using Panama as Latin America entry point. Panama's positioning itself as a platform to distribute Chinese goods to Latin America offers a lot of potential, said Wang Weihua, permanent representative of China's Office of Commercial Development in Panama.

"Panama is already acting as a bridge, a window to transit Chinese merchandise to Latin America. I think that, given Panama's logistical development, this role will increase and will be enjoyed by more Chinese companies," he said in an interview with Xinhua on Thursday.

Wang added that Panama is a potential base for manufacturing plants, which is helped by the country's reputation as a logistical center.

According to Wang, the fact that a ship belonging to China's Cosco Shipping was the first to pass through the newly expanded Panama Canal on June 26 attracted a lot of attention to the country.

Wang said that a big Chinese business delegation arrived in Panama this week and visited the Panama Chamber of Commerce, Industries and Agriculture (CCIAP).

During a meeting with the Chinese business delegation, Nestor Gonzales, Panama's vice minister of foreign trade, said that his government is seeking to get closer to China.

Wang said the Chinese delegation was made up of around 35 Chinese entrepreneurs, led by Zhang Wei, vice president of the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT). The delegates mainly come from the telecommunications, banking and construction sectors and expressed a particular interest in investing in the energy and port sectors.

The Chinese delegation will stay in Panama until Friday, when it will visit the Colon Free Trade Zone to learn about its infrastructure and port capacity.

An agreement was also signed between the CCIAP and the CCPIT to jointly develop business and to seek opportunities to expand Panamanian exports to the Chinese market.

"Business between the Americas and China will continue to grow, representing a big opportunity for SMEs (small and medium enterprises)," Jorge Garcia, president of the CCIAP, told the Chinese delegation during the meeting.

Panama is one of just 22 countries to maintain formal diplomatic ties with Taiwan. China claims Taiwan as a wayward province and says it has no right to diplomatic relations with anyone.

The 35 Chinese entrepreneurs, lead by Zhang Wei, vice president of the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade, arrived in Panama this week, Xinhua said.

The delegates mainly come from the telecommunications, banking and construction sectors and "expressed a particular interest in investing in the energy and port sectors", it added.

"During a meeting with the Chinese business delegation, Nestor Gonzales, Panama's vice minister of foreign trade, said that his government is seeking to get closer to China," it said.

China views Panama as a potential base for manufacturing plants, said Wang Weihua, permanent representative of China's Office of Commercial Development in Panama, Beijing's de facto embassy there.

Friday, December 2, 2016

(Panama Business News). ABCI to Promote Latin American Bizav Expo in Panama in 2017

(Panama Business News). ABCI to Promote Latin American Bizav Expo in Panama in 2017. Aviation Business Consultants International (ABCI) has been selected to promote the second annual Aero Expo Panama Pacifico, which will be held at Panama City Pacifico International Airport on April 20 and 21, 2017. “The Latin American market has been growing by leaps and bounds,” said ABCI president Paula Williams, adding that the business aviation expo “is a proven concept and in a great location.”

Despite the lack of a coordinated marketing effort last year, the event still attracted several major industry exhibitors and sponsors, including Dassault Falcon, Embraer Executive Jets, Pilatus Aircraft, Textron Aviation, Million Air and Rockwell Collins. “That just proves the market is ready, the location is ideal and we're…planning for some impressive growth at the 2017 event,” said Williams.

This year's event included six aircraft on display, 25 exhibitors, worldwide and local FBOs, fuel providers and an MRO. Attendees included more than 500 visitors from 15 countries. Exhibitor registration for the event will be open in about two weeks, according to ABCI.

(Panama Business News). Panama approves banana production contract with Del Monte

(Panama Business News). Panama approves banana production contract with Del Monte. The Cabinet Council of Panama approved into law the contract that will allow the Banapiña de Panama SA company, a subsidiary of the Del Monte transnational fruit company, to invest more than $ 100 million dollars in banana production in the provinces of Chiriqui and Bocas del Toro.

The contract stipulates that Banapiña de Panama will invest a minimum of 100 million dollars over seven years in the districts of Baru and Alanje, in the province of Chiriqui, and in the district of Chiriqui Grande, in Bocas del Toro.

It also includes the lease of land and its preparation for planting, agricultural activities for growing bananas and / or plantains, the installation of irrigation systems, the construction of infrastructure for the packaging and export of the fruit, and any other improvements necessary for the development of the banana industry.

The contract will last for 20 years and will be automatically renewable for the same period of time under the same terms and conditions, except for tax exemptions, which must be reviewed by the State at the end of the contract's first period.

Similarly, it will include the development of activities of interest in three blocks consisting of: 1,771 plots awarded to former employees of COOSEMUPAR, totaling 1,703 hectares; the Nispero, Palo Blanco, and Majagua farms, 816 hectares; and the land owned by the Nation, comprising a total of 1,223 hectares.

The company will present the Project Development Plan of Banana Reactivation the year following the delivery of the individual's estates given in sublease to the company and the concession of those owned by the Nation.

According to forecasts, the company is expected to produce an average of 2,725 boxes of bananas per hectare a year. The project will be implemented in stages, at a rate of 800 hectares per year. In parallel, the company will execute the required investments and construct the buildings and facilities needed for its operation. This Resolution shall take effect after its promulgation.

'The Cabinet Council is happy that the company gives employment in the district of Baru. We are satisfied and content that they will offer jobs here," said the mayor of Baru, Franklin Valdes. The Municipality of Baru will receive $312,000 dollars per year and $26,000 dollars every month from the company.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

(Panama Business News). Ports and Panama Canal growth decline in 2016

(Panama Business News). Ports and Panama Canal growth decline in 2016

From January to September 2016, the income from ships that crossed thed Panama Canal and the movement of cargos in ports of the country dropped, according to the report of the National Institute of Statistics and Census (INEC) published here.

These figures are in contrast with the report of the Canal Authority (ACP) which registered the third highest annual tonnage of its history in fiscal year 2016, period that comprises from October 1st 2015 to September 30th of 2016, period in which transited the canal 13 thousand 114 ships, of them 238 PostPanamax (great size).

'Despite the deceleration of the international maritime trade during last year, we have registered on of the highest annual tonnages since the opening of the original canal 102 years ago', said last October the administrator of the Canal Authority, Jorge Luis Quijano.

This reinforces the continuous strategic importance of the route and the increasing value that recent investments in the Canal will bring to the maritime industry', he said.

Despite that success, the INEC counted, in the first nine months of this year, a fall of 6.6 percent in the transits compared to the same period of 2015, and proportionately also dropped the volume of the cargoes, although he recognized an important compensation last September.

The weight in that recovery corresponded to the new locks open to trade last June 26 and that favoring the crossing of ships with greater capacity, it opened a segment of mariket characterized by high cargo volumes per ship and, in consequence, burdensome tariffs for crossing, as it was known by Miguel Sanchiz of the Business Section of Panama ON, and Publisher of Panama Business News.

In the stage January-September, revenues from tolls in the Channel were one billion 427 million 760 thousand dollars, 3.7 percent less than a similar period the previous year, while merchandise transferred were 3.3 percent points less, according to INEC.

The situation was most critical for the national ports system that saw a cut by 12 million 380 thousand metric tons handled, mainly the containers and bulk cargo, while the general one increased by seven percent.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

LNG Carriers allowed to Bunker at Panama Canal

LNG Carriers allowed to Bunker at Panama Canal. ACP has reversed its earlier decision to prohibit LNG carriers to bunker at the canal's anchorages, effective immediately.

The Panama Canal Authority (ACP) has reversed its earlier decision to prohibit liquefied natural gas (LNG) carriers to bunker at the canal's Pacific anchorage, LNG World News reports.

ACP says the new rules, which take effect immediately, require that such bunkering operations be carried out on a space-available basis, and only at the explosives area of the canal's Pacific anchorage.

Bunkering operations should also not interfere with vessels' canal transit schedule, noted ACP.

Recently, the International Bunker Industry Association (IBIA) announced its next Regional Forum, "The 'New Panamax' fuelling a new era in the Caribbean" - taking place in Jamaica from the March 7 - 9, 2017 - would focus on the Caribbean as an emerging key bunkering hub delivering marine services to an increasing traffic flow, brought about by the "New Panama Canal."

Monday, October 31, 2016

Bennigan’s opens new restaurant in Panama

Bennigan’s opens new restaurant in Panama. One of the world’s most beloved restaurant brands – Bennigan’s – opened its doors in the Obarrio district of Panama City on Monday, Oct. 24, bringing its friendly Irish hospitality, craveable chef-driven food and innovative drinks to this vibrant part of town.

The local franchisees chose the Obarrio district due to its central location between El Cangrejo and San Francisco in downtown Panama City.

Bennigan’s has enjoyed success in the Panamanian market for more than 16 years. The Obarrio restaurant replaces the local team’s previous location in the Marina, which was closed in May due to heavy construction in the area, which made it difficult for guests to get to the restaurant.

The Obarrio restaurant will be open for lunch, happy hour, dinner and late night. A special lunch menu will be served on weekdays from 12 – 3 p.m. The restaurant includes a full bar, 18 HD TVs and a comfortable outdoor seating area that is ideal for family dining, business meals and large group events,as it was known by Miguel Sanchiz of the Business Section of Panama ON, and editor of the Panama Business News.

Obarrio Welcomes New Bennigan's to Dining Scene

“Our Panama franchisees are outstanding operators who share our passion for providing memorable dining experiences every meal, every day,” said Paul Mangiamele, Chairman & CEO of Legendary Restaurant Brands LLC. “They’ve built a beautiful restaurant in an extraordinary location and I have no doubt that their Bennigan’s will quickly become one of the most popular destinations in the area.”

Bennigan’s menu features such signature favorites as the World Famous Monte Cristo, Oh, Baby™ Back Ribs, the Turkey O’Toole, the Big Irish double-decker hamburger, multiple beers on tap and a wide assortment of handcrafted specialty drinks.

Now with more than 150 restaurants open or under contract worldwide, Legendary Restaurant Brands LLC is continuing to experience strong growth while simultaneously redefining casual dining. Since the end of 2012, the company has opened new franchise locations in Clarksburg and Frederick, Md; Santa Clara and Fremont, Calif.; Melbourne, Fla., Saddle Brook, NJ; Tysons Corner, Va.; Veracruz, Mexico; Larnaca, Cyprus; and Dubai, UAE; and a new corporate location in Panama City, Fla.

The Obarrio restaurant will be open Monday through Wednesday from 12 – 11 p.m., Thursday through Saturday from 12 p.m. to Midnight and Sunday from 12 – 10 p.m.

Delivery service to Obarrio, San Francisco, Marbella, Calle 50 and other areas will be offered soon, and the franchisees plan to open two additional Bennigan’s in Panama in 2017.

About Legendary Restaurant Brands

Legendary Restaurant Brands owns the iconic Bennigan’s and Steak and Ale brands – the pioneers of casual dining – as well as the non-traditional, fast-casual concept, Bennigan’s On The Fly. Bennigan’s is a high-energy neighborhood restaurant and tavern that is redefining casual dining. With chef-driven food, innovative drinks and warm, friendly Irish hospitality, this Legendary brand delivers memorable dining experiences to every guest and compelling returns to all its franchisees. Bennigan’s and Steak and Ale are celebrating their 40th and 50th anniversaries, respectively, in 2016.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Fitch Affirms IDR of Banco Nacional de Panama

Fitch Affirms IDR of Banco Nacional de Panama. Fitch Ratings has affirmed the ratings for Banco Nacional de Panama's (Banconal) Long-Term Issuer Default Rating (IDR) at 'BBB' following a peer review of Panama's largest banks. The Rating Outlook is Stable. At the same time, the bank's Viability rating (VR) was affirmed at 'bbb-'. A full list of ratings follows at the end of this press release.

The ratings reflect the potential support the bank would receive from its owner, the Republic of Panama. Banconal's IDRs are aligned with those of the sovereign while the Support Rating Floor (SRF) and Support Rating (SR) reflect a state guarantee for its debt. In Fitch's view, the Panamanian government has a vested interest in providing timely support to Banconal as it is considered a policy bank that plays an important role as the government's financial agent.

The Stable Outlook reflects Fitch's expectation that the issuer's Long-Term IDR will remain unchanged over the rating horizon.

The bank's VR is highly influenced by its company profile and privileged position with government-related entities. As the government's financial agent, public entities are required to maintain deposit accounts at the bank, providing a large base of low-cost funding. Therefore Banconal maintains an ample liquidity cushion with bank deposits and securities representing 63% of total assets as of June 2016. Profitability metrics are in line with its conservative asset allocation.

As of June 2016, the bank's operating profits-to-risk weighted assets ratio stood close to 2.1%, driven by adequate operating efficiency with a cost-to-income ratio of 52.2% and low impairment charges representing 3.2% of the bank's pre-impairment operating profit. Still, revenue diversification remains limited and the net interest margin was low.

Banconal's loan quality was good with loans 90-days past-due decreasing to 0.4% as of June 2016. However, concentration is high as the top 20 borrower groups accounted for 24% of the total portfolio and 1.1x its equity. The securities portfolio (28% of earnings assets) consisted of investment-grade issuers (95.6%), of which 48% was to the Panamanian public sector. As of June 2016, 93% of loans and advances to banks (38% of earnings assets) were allocated to global financial institutions.

As of June 2016, loans-to-deposits stood at 36.6%, significantly below its international peers,as it was known by Miguel Sanchiz of the Business Section of Panama ON, and editor of the Panama Business News.

Government-related deposits accounted for more than 82.5% of Banconal's total funding. While deposit concentration will remain high given the bank's profile, these deposits have provided a stable source of funding. Cash, bank deposits and available for sale securities accounted for 72% of deposits, providing an ample liquidity cushion.

Banconal's capital position is adequate and has proven resilient to stricter capital regulation valid as of July 2016. As of September 2016, the bank's regulatory capital ratio stood at 14.5%, underpinned by the deferral of a portion of dividend payments from first-half 2016 to year-end 2016. In Fitch's view, capital levels should support the bank's growth plan, though this remains subject to the government's dividend policy.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Bid for Corozal Terminal Moves Forward

Bid for Corozal Terminal Moves Forward. The terminal is expected to play an important role in providing additional port capacity on the Pacific side of Panama in order to support the transshipment needs of the larger vessels going through the Expanded Panama Canal. The goal is to further position Panama as a logistics hub for the Americas.

The Panama Canal Authority (ACP) has issued a request for proposals to the four pre-qualified port operators selected to compete for the concession to design, develop, finance, construct, operate and maintain a container terminal located near Corozal, in the Pacific entrance of the Panama Canal.

Upon completion, the container terminal will have the capacity to handle more than five million TEUs at the Canal’s entrance in the Pacific side. The two-phased project will include the construction of a 2,081-linear-meter-dock, a container yard, offices and warehouse facilities within a 120-hectare area owned by the Panama Canal.

Corozal Container Terminal will be developed as a "green port" with environmentally-friendly standards that minimize its impact on the community and provide solutions to address transportation, noise and air pollution issues, as it was known by Miguel Sanchiz of the Business Section of Panama On and editor of the Panama Business News.

Last year, the Panama Canal received interest from a number of international companies to compete for the project, and in April 2016, the names of the four pre-qualified companies able to bid were announced: APM Terminals B.V. (The Netherlands); PSA International Pte., Ltd. (Singapore), Terminal Link (France); and Terminal Investment Limited, S.A. (The Netherlands).

The four port operators have until February 3, 2017, to submit the required specifications and economic proposals for the 20-year concession.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Mex Rent A Car Opens Location at Tocumen Panama Airport

Mex Rent A Car Opens Location at Tocumen Panama Airport

Mex Rent A Car’s affiliation program has reached Panama with the opening of a location at Tocumen International Airport in Panama City.

“By having complete domain over the Spanish language, Mex can fully understand the customer needs/desires and provide the best experience to our affiliate and our mutual clients,” said Jordi Rivero, Mex Rent A Car’s chief product officer. “It goes so natural when both parties speak the same language and share some of the same culture.”

Within its metropolitan area, Panama City, holds nearly half of the country’s population.

“Since the market behavior in Panama is not exactly going unchanged for long, our new affiliate’s strategy will find in Mex the support it needs to keep up with our new competitors at Tocumen International Airport,” said Chris Reveles, Mex Rent A Car’s chief technology officer.

Mex Rent A Car now has 11 affiliate locations internationally, including Panama. Canada, the U.S., Mexico, Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, and St Maarten.

 “We would like to thank all of our affiliates for the trust and great support they had putting into this program,” said Jordi Rivero, chief product officer of Mex Rent A Car. Mex signed its first affiliate in St. Maarten in June 2015, according to the information made available to Miguel Sanchiz of the business section of Panama On, and editor of the Panama Business News.

“We are sure that with all the MEX connectivity, our affiliate program will gain strength and will increase our affiliate’s bookings/presence/revenue,” said Rivero. Mex continues its expansion plan and is searching for new business partners, says the company.