Friday, January 29, 2016

LaTour Hotels & Resorts Enters Property Management Agreement with Las Olas Resort in Panama

Panama Business News / LaTour Hotels & Resorts Enters Property Management Agreement with Las Olas Resort in Panama. LaTour Hotels & Resorts, a standout in the vacation property management arena, announced that it has entered into a management agreement with Las Olas Resort in Playa La Barqueta, Panama which is set to go into effect on February 1st, 2016

LaTour Hotels & Resorts will provide a turn-key solution for the developers of Las Olas Resort. They will provide management oversight for all finance and accounting functions, specifically in the areas of planning, budgeting, and forecasting. From a customer standpoint, LaTour will be handling reservations, rentals, and marketing for the property. Additionally, the company will administer the day to day operations including front-desk check-in, housekeeping, and unit maintenance. LaTour will implement employee management programs through its human resources solutions center. The company plans to put a capital improvement program into place for the long term value and prosperity of the resort.

"We are excited about our new partnership with Las Olas Resort. We feel that our experience with resorts in the Caribbean, South America and multiple destinations throughout North America positions us to provide exceptional resources and support to Las Olas Resort. The resort is a welcome addition to our portfolio of outstanding resort properties," said Richard Cassara, president of LaTour Hotels and Resorts.

Located just steps from the ocean, Las Olas resort is a beautiful beachfront retreat featuring a variety of room options ranging from standard deluxe rooms to two bedroom oceanfront suites. Units are fully equipped with private bathrooms, a balcony or terrace with panoramic sea views, internet access and more. Additionally, the resort boasts an elegant restaurant with international cuisine, two bars, a full service conference center, a multi-level outdoor pool, gym and tennis court. One of the most unique features of the resort is that the property adjoins a family-owned farm where many of the ingredients for the on-site restaurant’s menu are grown and supplied. This takes the farm-to-table concept to a level that is unparalleled in the industry.

Playa La Barqueta, located on the Western Pacific Coast of Panama, has become a popular vacation destination for tourists. This exotic destination, situated on 18 miles of beautiful Pacific Oceanfront, is located just 25 minutes outside of the popular city of David, where there is plenty of shopping, dining and nightlife.  David (DAV) is now being serviced by COPA Airlines allowing visitors easy access to this idyllic location via daily non-stop flights.

About LaTour Hotels & Resorts


LaTour Hotels and Resorts provides superior management services to luxury fractional ownership properties throughout the United States, Mexico, and Venezuela, with upcoming expansion plans throughout South America, Europe and Asia. The company’s goal is to transform the ownership experience through superior service, distinctive amenities, imaginative activities, and an obsessive attention to detail. Exclusively targeting the most discerning buyers and staffed with highly-trained and highly-motivated personnel, LaTour properties will deliver ownership experiences that vastly exceed all expectations.

TopLogistics lleva cabo alianza con Cervecerías Barú Panamá

Panama Business News.TopLogistics lleva cabo alianza con Cervecerías Barú Panamá.  Cervecerías Barú Panamá se alió a su nuevo y único agente distribuidor, TopLogistics, con la finalidad de mejorar el servicio al cliente, los procedimientos logísticos de comercialización y que la entrega de sus productos sea más eficiente mediante la renovada flota de camiones.

Desde el 2002, Cervecerías Barú Panamá forma parte de la familia Heineken, lo que repercute en que la compañía local cumpla con diversos estándares de calidad, entre ellos la disminución de la huella de carbono a través de camiones de entrega más ahorrativos, así como canales de entrega eficiente e inmediata.

Johann Schauer, gerente de la Cadena de Suministro de Cervecerías Barú Panamá, y Ricardo Janson, gerente general de TopLogistics, explicaron los detalles para hacer posible la alianza de distribución eficiente y sustentable.

Para Johann Schauer, gerente de Cadena de Suministro de Cervecerías Barú Panamá, el acuerdo les ha permitido avanzar al próximo nivel, pues ahora los clientes tendrán un producto de calidad en el menor tiempo posible. ‘Nosotros somos cerveceros y nos enfocamos en el producto, su calidad y cantidad, pero necesitábamos un experto en entregas que le llevara ese producto a nuestros clientes de manera eficiente y rápida, ya que la cerveza es un producto perecedero', mencionó el ejecutivo de la cervecería.

Janson, por su parte, señaló que cada una de las empresas tiene su propia especialidad: Cervecerías Barú Panamá produce, vende, cobra y promueve su producto, que es la cerveza, y nosotros (TopLogistics) hacemos el resto, que es la movilización del producto'.

La mecánica es sencilla, describió Janson. Primero, ‘vamos a la planta, retiramos el producto, lo llevamos a las bodegas de la empresa y de allí se traza la ruta para entregarle el pedido a los clientes'.


La cerveza, añadió Janson, es un producto perecedero cuya vida útil varía según la temperatura y otros factores externos. Por ello, ‘entre más rápido llega al cliente, es mejor para todos en la cadena', resaltó.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Canal Bank S.A. adquiere al Banco Universal

Panama Business News. Canal Bank S.A. adquiere al Banco Universal.  La Superintendencia de Bancos de Panamá autorizó la venta del 70% de las acciones de Banco Universal a Canal Bank. Así consta en una resolución con fecha del 25 de enero hecha pública esta tarde. En otras dos resoluciones, el regulador autorizó el cambio de licencia de Canal Bank, que pasará de tener una licencia para microfinanzas a una de banca general, y extendió por 30 días el período de reorganización de Banco Universal.

El 70% de las acciones de Banco Universal le pertenecen, desde el pasado 25 de enero, a la entidad bancaria Canal Bank, S.A.

La venta ha sido producto de un extenso proceso de reorganización durante seis meses, dirigido por la Superintendencia de Bancos de Panamá (SBP).

‘Una vez satisfechos los requerimientos del Acuerdo 1-2004 y luego de emitirse los correspondientes avisos al público, la SBP autorizó la adquisición por parte de Canal Bank, S.A. de cerca del 70% de las acciones de Banco Universal, S.A., en ese momento en poder de los accionistas mayoritarios del Banco', se lee en un boletín de prensa emitido por el ente regulador bancario panameño.

Banco Universal fue puesto a la venta luego de ser intervenido por la SBP, desde el 1 de julio de 2015, tras detectar irregularidades. En el proceso de compra quedó por fuera la familia Virzi, dueña original del banco.

Ahora, después de haber concretado esta venta, la junta de reorganización tendrá que convocar, con autorización de la SBP, una reunión con la junta directiva del antiguo Banco Universal, con la intención de que sea nombrada una nueva junta directiva, para entonces poner en marcha, nuevamente, la entidad.

Antes de que la SBP tomara control de Banco Universal, la entidad había reportado depósitos líquidos por $36 millones y sus subsidiarias manejaban activos que rondaban los $357 millones y un patrimonio de unos $50.6 millones.


Al momento de su intervención, el banco contaba con unas 22,400 cuentas bancarias de ahorros menores a $10 mil, lo que, en su momento, representó unos $13 millones.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Generali y Uber pactan alianza

Panama Business News. Generali y Uber pactan alianza. Generali, empresa de seguros en Panamá, firmó una alianza con la empresa Uber con la finalidad de que los clientes puedan recibir un reembolso por asistencia de traslado en Uber, en caso de que su auto quede averiado por una colisión o sufra un desperfecto mecánico. Con esta alianza, Generali Panamá reafirma su compromiso de innovación que ofrece a sus clientes soluciones prácticas de acuerdo con sus necesidades.

Gracias a este acuerdo, los clientes de la asegurador podrán recibir un reembolso por asistencia de traslado en Uber, en caso de que su auto quede averiado por una colisión o sufra un desperfecto mecánico.

La firma del acuerdo se llevó a cabo entre Fátima Valles, VPA de Mercado No Vida de Generali y Juan Pablo Restrepo, Gerente General de Uber Panamá.


Con esta alianza, Generali Panamá reafirma su compromiso de ser una empresa innovadora, que ofrece a sus clientes soluciones prácticas, de acuerdo a sus necesidades.

Del Monte logra acuerdo con el Gobierno de Panamá para reactivar bananeras

Panama Business News. Del Monte logra acuerdo con el Gobierno de Panamá para reactivar bananeras. Del Monte y el Gobierno de Panamá anunciaron recientemente que establecieron las bases para un acuerdo de entendimiento para el establecimiento de la transnacional en Barú, para retomar la producción bananera.

Del Monte deberá presentar estudio de impacto ambiental, y el Ministerio de Ambiente inspeccionará los diferentes puntos de los canales de riego para proceder a dar la concesión de agua. La Autoridad Nacional de Administración de Tierras (Anati) evaluará los terrenos individuales, colectivos y estatales.

El Ministerio de Economía y Finanzas realizará una concesión a la empresa por toda la infraestructura que la empresa utilice a través de un arrendamiento de aproximadamente 20 años.

Unos 1,200 extrabajadores de las bananeras acordaron con Del Monte vender en $7,500 cada hectárea de terreno que le entregó el Gobierno tras el cierre de las operaciones de Coosemupar. La empresa requiere más de 2,000 hectáreas que son propiedad estatal para reactivar la producción.

A su vez, la Autoridad Nacional de Administración de Tierras evaluará los terrenos individuales (parcelas de una hectárea), colectivos y estatales.

La dirección de Bienes Patrimoniales del Ministerio de Economía y Finanzas hará una concesión a la empresa por toda la infraestructura que la compañía utilice a través de un arrendamiento de casi 20 años.

En otro orden, la empresa visitará el área para realizar inspecciones con el personal técnico del gobierno.


Al concluir los estudios requeridos, las partes procederán a la firma del acuerdo de entendimiento negociado, en cumplimiento de los trámites de ley que faciliten la operación de la empresa frutera en suelo panameño.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Planet Beach Spray & Spa Set to Open in Panama.

Panama Business News. Planet Beach Spray & Spa Set to Open in Panama. The health and wellness industry is projected to be a trillion dollar industry by 2017. Planet Beach spray & spa is a unique and innovative membership-based franchising corporation. Founded in New Orleans, Louisiana in 1996 the spa has grown to 175+ locations worldwide. In 2007 Planet Beach decided to expand the concept abroad through the International Master Franchise Program and has awarded the rights to develop the concept in Canada, Egypt, Ireland, Poland, Saudi Arabia, UAE, UK and most recently the Republic of Panama.

Yvonne N. Kilborn and her husband Carlos A. Gonzales along with their business partner Alvaro E. Villanueva decided they wanted to become Masters in the Republic of Panama after discovering the Planet Beach franchise system while attending a franchise expo in Jacksonville, Florida.

“We were really sold by the fact that Planet Beach had an innovative and efficient service model. It allows customers to meet their relaxation needs without having to take hours out of their day. We truly admire the consistency in the quality of service and treatments that is made possible by the operation,” said Carlos Gonzales, a business professional with more than 10 years of experience working in Fortune 500 companies.

Knowing that customers are spending over $125 billion a year in the health and wellness arena, the three Masters plan to open eight spas in the greater metropolitan area of Panama City, Panama. The first is scheduled to open in March of 2016. “There was just something about Planet Beach. The value proposition for the customers seemed unbeatable and the financial numbers as a business made sense,” said Yvonne Kilborn.


Now that they are in their first pre-sale, and have already sold 25+ memberships, they can see their dream finally coming true.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Odebrecht and Tocumen to negotiate contract addenda

Panama Business News. Odebrecht and Tocumen to negotiate contract addenda. Panama's state airport operator (Aitsa) and Brazil's Odebrecht met last week to negotiate payments for additional works carried out.

Tocumen´s  Manager Joseph Fidanque III and André Luis Rabello, Panama director of the construction company Norberto Odebrecht, met to discuss a proposed $84 million price adjustment on the redesign of the South Terminal project at the airport.

That money will be used to build a pedestrian bridge to the current terminal, a new baggage handling system and an area for passengers arriving from countries with security controls that are different than Panama's.

Fidanque III said that during the meeting he told Rabello that he was not comfortable with the new price. "I don't feel comfortable with that amount and that is why we are going to negotiate with the contractor," said the airport manager.


That position is shared by Comptroller Federico Humbert, who also toured the project. Humbert indicated that the figure presented by Odebrecht seems to be inflated. Both sides agreed to review the estimate. Fidanque III said that a deal could be finalized by the end of month, but he did not rule out the talks taking longer.

Panama Canal Authority plans Volume-based incentives among plans for expanded Canal

Panama Business News. Panama Canal Authority plans Volume-based incentives among plans for expanded Canal. Panama Canal officials are looking to offer volume-based incentives to containership operators as part of plans to encourage full use of the expanded waterway after it opens – an event now eyed for “early the second part of this year.”

“Our objective is to fill the new capacity as soon as possible,” Francisco Miguez, executive vice president of finance and administration of the Panama Canal Authority, said Jan. 18 at the SMC3 Jump Start 2016 conference in Atlanta.

Miguez described the discounts as “incentives in our toll structure for bringing in volume… as an airline, with loyalty points.”

He declined to provide details, just as he was somewhat imprecise about when commerce will be able to begin moving through the new locks, which will allow passage of containerships carrying as many as 14,000 twenty-foot-equivalent container units.

“Early the second part of this year” was as specific as Miguez would get, citing numerous construction delays in the $5.25 billion project that have pushed the opening well past the plan for timing with the canal’s 2014 centennial. “I would love to give you a specific date, but this is construction. We cannot push the contractor for a specific date.”

He added that the expansion work is “96 percent complete right now,” with current activities centered around testing, as well as training pilots using a reduced-scale replica model.

Miguez said he anticipates that his authority’s marketing plan, along with the wider passage, will help the Panama Canal gain a greater share of the container trade between Northeast Asia and the U.S. East Coast, volume of which he said currently is split in approximately even thirds between Panama Canal routings, Suez Canal transits and intermodal transport via West Coast ports.

Other aspects of the plan, he said, include an air hub; development near the Pacific entrance of a transshipment port with an annual capacity of 5 million TEUs, as well as of a roll-on/roll-off terminal; logistics parks; bunkering and vessel repair services; power generation; and a possible liquefied natural gas terminal.


The authority will have plenty of additional canal capacity to fill. Miguez said traffic maxed out last year at a record 340.8 million tons, while the expanded passage is expected to annually accommodate more than 500 million tons of traffic by 2024.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Secrets Resort Opens in Panama

Panama Business News / Secrets Resort Opens in Panama. AMResorts has kicked off 2016 with its latest hotel opening in the Caribbean Basin: the new Secrets Playa Bonita Panama Resort.

The 310-room, adults-only property is the 42nd resort in the company’s collection and the 15th Secrets-branded hotel. It is the first Secrets hotel in Panama.

“AMResorts is excited to bring SecretsResorts & Spas to Panama and expand our footprint into new destinations.Panama provides a beautiful setting and a multitude of opportunities for guests to experience the destination’s eco, cultural and adventure offerings,” said Gonzalo del Peòn, President of AMResorts.

The property includes four bars, four a la carte restaurants and a 10,000-square-foot Pevonia spa.

“More than ever, travelers are seeking premium all-inclusive experiences, and Panama serves as an ideal backdrop for the Secrets Resorts & Spas brand and its guests,” said Alex Zozaya, CEO of Apple Leisure Group. “As we continue to grow our Central American footprint, Panama will play an integral role within the region as we plan on introducing the family-friendly Dreams® Resorts & Spas brand to the destination in late 2016.”


It’s the second opening in Central America for the brand in about a month, following the debut of the Secrets Papagayo Costa Rica last month.

Avis Budget Group Named Car Rental Provider for Copa Airlines.

Panama Business News / Avis Budget Group Named Car Rental Provider for Copa Airlines. Avis Budget Group, Inc. (NASDAQ:CAR) and Copa Airlines, a subsidiary of Copa Holdings, S.A. (NYSE:CPA) and member of the Star Alliance global airline network, announced recently the signing of a new partnership agreement.

As part of the multi-year agreement, Avis Car Rental and Budget Car Rental have been named car rental partners for Copa Airlines’ ConnectMiles loyalty program. Members of ConnectMiles can now save money on Avis and Budget rentals around the globe and earn 100 miles per day when they rent an Avis or Budget vehicle. In addition, Avis and Budget will promote products, services and money-saving offers in marketing channels for ConnectMiles members, including emails, e-statements, the airline’s in-flight magazine and online.

“Copa Airlines is well-established and highly respected across Latin America,” said Stephen Wright, senior vice president of sales and marketing for Latin America/Asia-Pacific, Avis Budget Group. “We’re delighted to team up with Copa Airlines and introduce their customers to Avis’ premium service and the great value of Budget, while rewarding ConnectMiles members with miles for their business. This new partnership will help us generate incremental rentals across the region.”

“We are pleased to be adding Avis and Budget as partners in the ConnectMiles program,” said Russ Hinckley, vice president of loyalty, Copa Airlines. “With their global coverage and excellent service, our members will enjoy great rental experiences.”

About Avis Budget Group


Avis Budget Group, Inc. is a leading global provider of vehicle rental services, both through its Avis and Budget brands, which have more than 10,000 rental locations in approximately 175 countries around the world, and through its Zipcar brand, which is the world’s leading car sharing network, with more than 950,000 members. Avis Budget Group operates most of its car rental offices in North America, Europe and Australia directly, and operates primarily through licensees in other parts of the world. Avis Budget Group has approximately 30,000 employees and is headquartered in Parsippany, N.J. More information is available at www.avisbudgetgroup.com.

A.M. Best Affirms Ratings of Mapfre Panamá S.A

Panama Business News. A.M. Best Affirms Ratings of Mapfre Panamá S.A.. A.M. Best has affirmed the financial strength rating of A (Excellent) and the issuer credit rating of “a” of Mapfre Panamá S.A. (Mapfre Panamá) (Panama City, Panama). The outlook for both ratings is stable.

The ratings of Mapfre Panamá reflect its excellent risk-adjusted capitalization and its geographic importance to MAPFRE S.A. (Mapfre Group) in the Central American market, as well as the incorporation of the Mapfre Group’s practices and procedures into Mapfre Panamá. The company has been able to maintain its good operating performance and to improve its underwriting results by reacting properly to business opportunities and appropriately making improvements to its products. Offsetting these positive rating factors is the recent highly competitive environment for its core businesses.

Mapfre Panamá is the third-largest insurer in Panama, the market leader in the individual life and auto segments and the third most important participant in health, transportation and surety. Year-end 2014 results improved mainly due to less claims from the life segment, although the results were somewhat constrained due to low yields from its investment portfolio, as the company’s investment strategy is conservative. Improvement in underwriting performance in 2015 derives from adjustments in its underwriting practices, mainly in the life segment. The company also took advantage of important new businesses opportunities that as of June 2015 have allowed it to maintain adequate premium sufficiency. Additionally, Mapfre Panamá’s solid capital base and good reserve position provide a solid base for financial flexibility and excellent risk-adjusted capitalization levels. Enterprise risk management practices and procedures from Mapfre Group are implemented and will continue to positively affect the future performance of the company.

The strong competitive environment in Panama’s insurance market, especially in segments where Mapfre Panamá has leading positions, continues to generate soft market conditions and increased risk appetites across the industry, presenting challenges in the operating performance of the company in specific segments such as health and auto.

A.M. Best considers Mapfre Panamá to be well-positioned at its current rating level. Positive rating actions could occur if the company is able to continue improving its underwriting performance despite the challenging market conditions, post adequate financial yields despite the conservativeness of its investment portfolio and increase its capital base driven by the afore mentioned improvements. Additionally, positive rating actions at its ultimate parent could lead to improvements in Mapfre Panamá ratings.


Negative rating actions could derive from significant reductions in its capital due to constant deterioration of its underwriting performance, unexpected losses that deteriorate its risk-adjusted capitalization to levels non-supportive of its current ratings, or if the company deviates significantly from the practices and benefits assumed from its association with Mapfre Group. Additionally, negative rating actions at its ultimate parent could lead to a downgrade of Mapfre Panamá ratings.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Panama Ports Company establishes Cristóbal as the first rice re-export center in Panama.

Panama Business News. Panama Ports Company establishes Cristóbal as the first rice re-export center in Panama. The port of Cristobal, Colon, administered by Panama Ports Company (PPC) has created a new industry in Panama – bagging bulk rice for re-export.

The new activity advances the objectives of the operator to help position Panama as a global logistics center. The service consists in bringing the product to Panama in bulk and bagging it before re-export to various countries in South America and the Caribbean through the port. This added value implies a lower cost for shipping lines and creates a number of specialized jobs for the people of Colon.

With the clear objective of helping to turning Panama into a world-class logistics center, PPC has initiated a series of strategies aimed at training port personnel to cope with these new challenges and offer a wide range of services which will attract more attention of the maritime industry.

For Aitor Ibarreche, PPC Executive President, this project breaks all established industry innovations in Panama so far. “This is a great example of what may be done in the country in logistics. You bring the rice, re-pack it, stow it in containers and redistribute it to the world, all in the same port and all with Panamanian labor,” he said.

PPC believes that, once the service is fully operational, Cristobal will be handling about 7,000 tonnes of rice, i.e., 310 containers per month.

The ability to handle the demands of this new service, the first established in the country, reaffirms Panama’s ability to become one of the most important centers of logistics management in the world, not only for its ideal geographic position but because of its infrastructure, technology and high caliber workforce available.


Aitor Ibarreche has full confidence in the ability to achieve this goal. “We have the equipment and personnel, and hand in hand with Panama, we have a strategic ally, so there is no doubt we can succeed,” he said.