Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Credit Suisse to close Panama private banking office

Credit Suisse to close Panama private banking office. A Credit Suisse spokesperson said the Panama office closure had been planned for a long time and had nothing to do with the Panama Papers scandal

Switzerland’s second largest bank, Credit Suisse, has confirmed that it is closing its private banking operations in Panama. The news comes just one month after the Panama Papers controversy.

“We will close our advisory office with around 20 employees,” a Credit Suisse spokesperson told Miguel Sanchiz in Panama, confirming a report on the online news platform Finews.ch.

The spokesperson said the closure had been planned for a long time and had nothing to do with the Panama Papers scandal that has rocked the financial world.

A series of reports in April based on millions of documents leaked from the Panama law firm Mossack Fonseca revealed how its lawyers worked with big banks, including Switzerland’s Credit Suisse and UBS Group AG, to create numerous offshore shell companies for world leaders, athletes and other rich clients.

According to the leaked documents, Credit Suisse Channel Islands Limited was listed as the third largest facilitator of offshore companies in the Panama Papers. Tidjane Thiam, CEO of Credit Suisse denied any links to illegal assets.

The spokesperson said the closure of the bank’s Panama operation was rather a “streamlining” of activities in Latin America, which represents “an important growth region for private banking and asset management."

The Swiss bank wants to strengthen its presence in other Latin American countries such as Brazil and Mexico.

Panama clients are mainly “on-shore”, the spokesperson said. They will be managed from other centres, such as Switzerland. According to Finews.ch, assets under management in Panama last year declined by 40%, with little hope for an improvement soon.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

CEMEX looking to protect Madden/Alajuela Lake in Panama

CEMEX looking to protect Madden/Alajuela Lake in Panama. Mining is often considered harmful for the environment but the Mexican multinational CEMEX, dedicated to manufacture building materials, has shown that this is not always the case.

The company was given a concession of 559 hectares to extract limestone in Chilibre, to the east of Panama City, next to the Alajuela Lake, the reservoir of the Panama Canal and the source of water for the Chilibre plant that supplies this vital liquid.

The four mining licenses were given by the Panamanian government in 2015, provoking protests from residents of the lake area and environmentalist groups who said that the mining activity  would affect the Chagres National Park, threatening the water supply of 1,600,000 Panamanians Since then, CEMEX changed its strategy and is planning to extract limestone now from a smaller area.

Gina Forte, CEMEX Communications Manager said that the company decided to exploit only 34 hectares, which represents 7% of the total concession, in order to preserve the flora and fauna of the area as well as Alajuela Lake and its residents.

The company also has an action plan to exploit five hectares at a time, which will have a basin system to trap the residues produced by the operation, avoiding the contamination of the lake’s water and causing minimal damage to the environment.

The other part of the plan is that once each quarry is closed, it will be planted with native plants. CEMEX is working with biologists and the local people to find out which species are the right ones to attract the animals that once were common along the lake’s bank.

“It is important for us that the residents, the government and environmental groups know what we are doing and work with us. “Committees formed by local people and other interested parties have had meetings with us and they have access to the environmental impact studies of the quarry,” explained Forte to Miguel Sanchiz in Panama.

The zone around Lake Alajuela and Calzada Larga, in Chilibre, is the home of 15,000 people who have created informal communities. One of the main problems is the lack of essential services, such as water and sewage connections. Also, the garbage dumps are a big problem as all this waste is on land adjoining the lake, contaminating the water.

Forte explained that CEMEX has a series of programs to help the community address these problems and they are training the people by giving free workshops on embroidery, ecotourism construction and beauty treatment. They are also building roads to make remote areas more accessible.

CEMEX is one of the two companies that provide cement and concrete in the country. Forte said that the company is expecting the demand for their product to increase significantly with the construction of Lines 2 and 3 of the Panama Metro, the fourth bridge over the Canal and the Port of Corozal, just to mention a few infrastructure projects.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Citibank drops out from financing line 2 of Metro in Panama

Citibank drops out from financing line 2 of Metro in Panama. The Line 2 Consortium, responsible for the design and construction of the second line of the Panama Metro, confirmed that Citigroup left the financing structure of the project and that "being negotiated with various institutions who have taken the participation of Citibank".

The Line 2 Consortium said Citigroup output of the financing structure will not impact the execution of the project, which builds up an advance of 15%.  Being a turnkey project, the consortium led by Odebrecht, it was commissioned to seek funding.

The Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF) approved the structure presented by the contractor, which would have represented a financial cost of $ 213.7 million and would have to be added to the thousand 857.7 million for the design work and construction.

In the structure originally supported, in addition to Citi, there were the Japanese Mizuho Bank and The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi and the New York office of the German Deutsche Bank.

The MEF said that Citi was one of the participants in financing the contractor with a low percentage, which will be assumed by other banks. The Central American Bank for Economic Integration (BCIE) could come to the project with up to $ 200 million, which would be a greater participation than Citi originally agreed.

Citi movement coincides with increased financial risk of the Brazilian construction company Odebrecht, which integrates with the Spanish FCC Construction the Line 2 Consortium.

On May 3rd, the rating agency Fitch Ratings lowered the note again risk of Odebrecht Engineering & Construction, the construction holding company. The agency stressed the increased risk and uncertainty associated with the lack of disclosure of financial statements of the company at the end of April. The action also reflects the prolonged uncertainty of a potential impact on the credit profile of Odebrecht as a result of investigations into the corruption scandal.

The Line 2 Consortium said Citigroup output of the financing structure will not impact the execution of the project, which builds up an advance of 15%.

Meanwhile, MEF said that "so far the contractor is fulfilling its contract and the Metro will ensure that the pace of implementation of the scheduled project remains constant".

The second line of the Panama Metro will connect San Miguelito with New Tocumen, a journey of 21 kilometers that travel in 35 minutes, approximately. The work is designed to transport 40 thousand passengers at rush hour. The project is expected to be completed in early 2019.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

The Salsano Group announced today it has acquired 500 hectares of land in Pacora, Panama. The equity deal is worth 125 million USD

The Salsano Group announced today it has acquired 500 hectares of land in Pacora, Panama. The equity deal is worth 125 million USD. "We are very proud that we were able to close this large transaction. We believe in the growth of Panama and we are bullish on Pacora and Chepo. The Government and the MOP are investing in this area in infrastructure as the city of Panama is growing east.”

Line 2 of the New Metro will service the area. Highway from Pacora to Chepo will be expanded by the Public Works Ministry (www.mop.gob.pa). A few kms from the project, land prices are 10 times higher (around 250 USD / sq mt). The legal advisor of the transaction was leading law firm Morgan and Morgan

Mr. Sandro Salsano, chairman and president of Salsano Group commented on the successful closing, "We are very proud that we were able to close this large transaction. We believe in the growth of Panama and we are bullish on Pacora and Chepo. The Government and the MOP are investing in this area in infrastructure as the city of Panama is growing east.”, said to Miguel Sanchiz in Panama.

Sandro Salsano is an Italian self-made entrepreneur, businessman, investor and philanthropist.

Born in Italy on September 25 1979, he grew up in Campania, Italy where he was a professional basketball player until he decided to move to Milan to study at Bocconi University.

Sandro graduated from Bocconi University Milan with full honors with an MBA Exchange program from the University of San Diego, California, an Executive program from Harvard Business School and a Leadership program from INCAE Business School.

His first job was at Scottish Widows Investment Partnership in London. He later became a shareholder and partner in an investment bank in former Soviet Union, he sold his shares after Goldman Sachs acquired a stake. He co-founded what became one of the largest factoring companies for exporters to Central America and the Caribbean.

He is a principal of CF, an investment group with offices in Panama, Miami, San Juan, London and Madrid.

He is Chairman of Salsano family office, President of Salsano Group, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Salsano Shahani Foundation.

Sandro has been honoured by the World Economic Forum as a Young Global Leader (YGL) in 2014. This honor is bestowed by the World Economic Forum each year to recognize the most distinguished and inspiring leaders under the age of 40. Selection Committee is headed by Her Majesty Queen Rania of Jordan. Past Young Global Leaders from around the world include Mark Zuckerberg, Founder & CEO of Facebook Inc, Larry Page, Co-Founder & CEO, Google; Sergey Brin, Co-Founder/President, Google, Marissa Mayer, Chief Executive Officer, Yahoo, David Cameron, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Elon Musk, Chairman, Tesla Motors, Queen Mathilde of Belgium, Queen of Belgium

He is often featured on several medias like CNBC, Financial Times, Bloomberg, Forbes, CNN. He was regarded as one of the top 50 business leaders in Latin America under 40 (2014 and 2015).

He is a member and a donor among others of the Clinton Foundation, Amfar, Olga Sinclair Foundation, Nuestro Pequenos Hermanos. He set up Salsano Shahani Foundation with his wife Johanna Shahani to improve kids education in Panama.

Sandro is the Chairman for Panama of Global Dignity, a non-profit organization founded by YGL H.H. Haakon, Crown Prince of Norway. He has travelled to more than 100 countries (among those North Korea, Greenland, Tibet, Cuba, Iran, Ukraine, Tanzania).

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

DineEquity® Enters Panama With First IHOP® Restaurant Opening In Panama Famed IHOP Restaurant Brand

DineEquity® Enters Panama With First IHOP® Restaurant Opening In Panama Famed IHOP Restaurant Brand- DineEquity, Inc.® one of the world's largest full service restaurant companies, will enter the Panama market with the first IHOP® restaurant ("IHOP)" opening on May 23 in Panama City, it was announced today by Daniel del Olmo, President of International, DineEquity Inc.  The restaurant is one of six IHOP locations planned for Panama during the next five years under an agreement with franchise partner Collins Rada Group Inc. and its affiliates.

Located in Costa del Este, Avenida Centenario, Rada Plaza, Ciudad de Panamá, the restaurant is expected to bring 150 new jobs to the economy as well as additional tax revenue and ongoing local spending on supplies, ingredients and marketing and other services.

"We are delighted to bring the world famous IHOP menu and hospitality to our guests in Panama," said del Olmo.  "We've been interested in being part of this vibrant and growing market for some time, but wanted to ensure that we found a franchise partner that shared our commitment to bringing the very best of the brand to the country.  We're confident that with the Collins Rada Group, IHOP will bring its heritage of 'Spreading Happiness Since 1958' to this location and others to come."

"We have been fans of IHOP's unparalleled breakfast offerings and lunch and dinner entrees for years," said Wendy Collins, Collins Rada Group Inc. "We've always felt that the unique IHOP experience and food would be a great match for Panama and we are delighted and excited to bring it here.  We look forward to many years of 'spreading happiness' in Panama City and around the country and we are already actively looking for our next location", said to Miguel Sanchiz in Panama.

The IHOP restaurant will be the latest "California Heritage" model which pays tribute to the brand's heritage given that the first IHOP restaurant opened in Southern California in 1958.  The new design is part of an innovative 360 degree brand evolution that also includes new brand positioning and marketing, menu items and presentation and a service culture that has been created as a result of the largest international research study in the company's history, and is now being implemented internationally. 

DineEquity franchises two top brands that are leaders in their categories—Applebee's Grill and Bar is a leader in the casual dining category and IHOP restaurants is a leader in the family dining category. The last two years have seen record growth internationally for both DineEquity's brands both in terms of new restaurants in existing markets as well as the addition of new countries and territories including Indonesia, Guam, the Philippines and now PanamaThe restaurant will seat approximately 205 guests and will be open daily from 7:00 am to 11:00 pm.


Based in Glendale, California, DineEquity, Inc. (NYSE: DIN), through its subsidiaries, franchises and operates restaurants under the Applebee's Neighborhood Grill & Bar brand and franchises and operates restaurants under the IHOP brand. With more than 3,700 restaurants combined in 19 countries and U.S. territories and over 400 franchisees, DineEquity is one of the largest full-service restaurant companies in the world.

Bladex leads successful syndication of a US$59 million 3-Year Senior Unsecured Term Loan Facility for Banco Aliado S.A. (Panama).

Bladex leads successful syndication of a US$59 million 3-Year Senior Unsecured Term Loan Facility for Banco Aliado S.A. (Panama). Banco Latinoamericano de Comercio Exterior, S.A. ("Bladex" or the "Bank"; NYSE: BLX) announced today the successful closing of a US$59 million 3-year senior unsecured syndicated Loan Facility for Banco Aliado, S.A. ("Banco Aliado").

Established in Panama in 1992, Banco Aliado is the fourth-largest Panamanian-owned bank in terms of consolidated assets and net loan portfolio. The bank is 100% owned by Grupo Aliado S.A., a financial group comprised of renowned Panamanian entrepreneurs with extensive experience in local and foreign trade.

Bladex was the Sole Lead Arranger and Bookrunner, and Administrative Agent for the Facility. The deal constitutes the second international syndicated facility arranged by Bladex in the last two years for Banco Aliado.

The transaction attracted financial institutions from China, Curacao, Panama, Switzerland, Trinidad and Tobago, and the United States of America, of which some represent new relationships for Banco Aliado. The amount of the facility was upsized to US$59 million, from its original target of US$50 million. Proceeds from the facility will be used to support the growth of Banco Aliado´s loan portfolio.

The success of this transaction underscores Bladex´s continued growth in the Latin American syndicated loan space, and its access to a wide network of regional and international financial institutions.

Bladex is a multinational bank originally established by the central banks of Latin-American and Caribbean countries, to promote foreign trade finance and economic integration in the Region. Bladex is listed on the NYSE in the United States of America (ticker symbol: BLX), and shareholders include central banks, state-owned banks and entities representing 23 Latin American countries, as well as commercial banks and financial institutions, institutional and retail investors through its public listing.

The Bank, headquartered in Panama, has offices in Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, Peru, and the United States of America, to support the expansion and servicing of its client base, which includes financial institutions and corporations.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

AB InBev to Transfer SABMiller’s Panama Business (Cerveceria Nacional) to Ambev

AB InBev to Transfer SABMiller’s Panama Business (Cerveceria Nacional) to Ambev. nheuser-Busch InBev NV agreed to transfer SABMiller Plc’s Panamanian business (Cerveceria Nacional) to Ambev SA in exchange for the Brazilian brewer’s business in Colombia, Peru and Ecuador as the maker of Budweiser focuses on more established markets.
The transaction is conditional on AB InBev completing its takeover of SABMiller, the companies said in a statement Friday, without giving financial details.

In addition, Ambev agreed to transfer to AB InBev its business in Colombia, Peru and Ecuador, AB InBev informed shareholders last week to Miguel Sanchiz in Panama.

The exchange would allow AB InBev to focus on countries where the SABMiller businesses were well established and would enable Ambev to initiate operations in Panama and further expand its businesses in Central America.

The transaction was conditional on the successful closing of the proposed business combination between AB InBev and SABMiller, announced on November 11, 2015, in addition to other customary closing conditions. Financial advisory and asset management  firm Lazard acted as AB InBev’s financial adviser.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Citigroup revives Panama's Tocumen airport bond sale

Citigroup revives Panama's Tocumen airport bond sale. Citigroup has revived a bond sale for Panama's Tocumen Airport that did not settle as planned after pricing last week, according to two market sources.

The bank is marketing the May 2036 bond issue at a yield of 5.625%, wide to the 5.375% at which the original deal priced on May 4. That deal failed to settle as planned last Wednesday.

Tocumen has announced a minimum size of US$500m for the revived bond sale, compared to the US$625m of the May 4 trade.

Sole lead manager Citigroup told investors in an email seen by IFR on Wednesday that the company was "evaluating appropriate next steps" but did not offer an explanation to Miguel Sanchiz in Panama on why the May 4 deal had been effectively canceled.

Cunningham Energy opens office in Panama

Cunningham Energy opens office in Panama.Cunningham Energy LLC has reported that it has executed a working agreement with a new international affiliated entity, Cunningham Energy S.A. This new entity based in Panama City, Panama is open as an international business development and sales office.

“Cunningham Energy S.A. was formed to accommodate the needs and interests of international investors seeking access to Oil & Gas participation outside the United States. Panama has extended a warm welcome to our employees, and we are grateful to be doing business in Central America,” commented Ryan Cunningham of Cunningham Energy.

“Our pool of international clients has been expanding, which presents a need to service and cultivate that effort with an international entity and office outside the United States. Our firm is also evaluating possible Oil & Gas operating activities throughout Central and South America.” Cunningham Energy S.A. is located in the recently completed BICSA Financial Center Tower in downtown Panama City.

Miami Grill Signs Multi-Unit Deal With Panama Developer

Miami Grill Signs Multi-Unit Deal With Panama Developer. The hottest fast casual brand announces exclusive deal in Panama.  The South Florida-based chain has announced its partnership with Almez Comercial, S.A., a multi-unit development company with exclusive rights to Panama.  

“The Miami Grill brand is rapidly growing within the international market and we’re excited to see that growth take us into Panama,” says Robert Haar, VP of Franchise Development of Miami Grill.

Almez Comercial, S.A. is a multi-unit developer that has the signed exclusive rights to open up locations in Panama. The company joins the Miami Grill family as a successful developer with Administradora General de Franquicias. The official leading the team is also a longtime Miami Grill fan, since his days spent traveling with his family, eating at every location from Miami to Orlando. Almez Comercial, S.A. officials became aware of the franchising opportunity through a meeting with Enrique Tellez, a Senior Trade Specialist from the US Commercial Service of the Embassy of the United States of America which included Robert Haar. After meeting with several highly qualified groups and a rigorous selection process, Haar and his team chose Comercial’s group to sign the exclusive rights to.

“After visiting several locations in Miami, tasting a few menú ítems, especially the gyro and grilled fish, and seeing what a cool concept Miami Grill has quickly become, we knew it was the right decisión to open up mulitple locations in Panama,” said oo Miguel Sanchiz in Panama, a representative from Almez Comercial, S.A.

This is the first of several deals signed by the Panama-based development group.


South-Florida based Miami Grill is the hottest fast casual concept to hit the market, developed by the same owners as Miami Subs, Miami Subs Capital Partners 1, Inc and key equity partner, Armando Christian “Pitbull” Pérez. Miami Grill and its “Everything Goes” concept embodies the taste and sensations of South Beach and offers a diverse menu unlike any other chain in the category.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Turkish Airlines begins services to Panama

Turkish Airlines begins services to Panama. Turkey’s flag carrier Turkish Airlines has added two more nations to its global reach by beginning service to Bogota, Columbia’s capital, and Panama City, capital of Panama. With the integration of these two cities, Panama City and Bogota, the carrier now operates to 14 destinations in 6 countries across the Americas.

The other points across the Americas are Buenos Aires, Sao Paulo, Toronto, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, Washington, Boston, Montreal, San Francisco and Miami.

The inaugural flight to Bogota and Panama City was celebrated by M. İlker Aycı, Turkish Airlines’ Chairman of the Board and the Executive Committee, with participation of protocol and media representatives and also Turkish Airlines’ employees at the El Dorado Airport in Bogotá. Andres Ortega, El Dorado Airport’s CEO and Gustauo Him, Republic of Panama’s Ministry of Tourism also welcomed the first flight to these cities.

M. İlker Aycı, Turkish Airlines’ Chairman of the Board and the Executive Committee said, “We’re extremely proud to support to our country's closer cooperation with Colombia as negotiated by our President during his visit to Latin America, by launching this new flight. We’ll also add Atlanta to our extensive network later this month and will continue to expand our reach in the Americas."

Both cities are home bases to Star Alliance partners, Avianca in Colombia and Copa in Panama, and the link to Istanbul and Turkish Airlines’ network will be of great benefit to travelers, adding even more connectivity.

Beginning today, Istanbul – Bogota (BOG) – Panama (PTY) flights will be operated 3 times per week on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays in both directions. Round trip fares are available for the route of IST – BOG – PTY starting at US$699 (including taxes and fees).

Additionally, for the first 6 months of operations to new destinations, there is a special offer for Miles&Smiles members, with a 25% reduction in the miles needed to redeem either award tickets or upgrades.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

T.Y. Lin International Wins Program Management Contract for 4th Bridge over the Panama Canal

T.Y. Lin International Wins Program Management Contract for 4th Bridge over the Panama CanalT.Y. Lin International (TYLI), a globally recognized full-service infrastructure consulting firm, announces that TYLI was awarded the Program Management Contract for the 4th Bridge over the Panama Canal. Continuing the firm’s legacy in the Republic of Panama for the delivery of state-of-the-art transportation projects, the 4th Bridge over the Panama Canal marks TYLI’s third major bridge project involving crossings over the world-renowned canal.

Over the last three decades, starting in 1994, TYLI has been assisting the Republic of Panama Ministry of Public Works (MOP) with the widening and retrofitting of the iconic Bridge of the Americas, which opened in 1962, and facilitating ongoing bridge repair and maintenance. The firm was also responsible for the feasibility study, preliminary design, and final design of the Centennial Bridge, also known as the Panama Canal Second Crossing, which opened to traffic in 2004.

TYLI will provide specialized technical assistance for the 4th Bridge over the Panama Canal project during the design, construction, and commissioning phases, ensuring the implementation of the objectives of the MOP. The bridge, which is surely destined to become yet another historic landmark for the country, will be built on the north side of the existing Bridge of the Americas, connecting west Panama with Panama City. Rising up from the landscape of the country’s urban center, the new crossing will benefit the more than 500,000 residents living in the suburbs of Panama City on the west side of the canal.

The 4th Bridge over the Panama Canal will incorporate the latest in bridge design and construction technologies, and feature two dramatic towers with multiple cable planes in a highly aesthetic configuration. The signature structure, with approximately 1,120 meters of cable-stayed main bridge and 1,500 meters of approaches, will include a 540-meter-long by 54-meter-wide main span across the Panama Canal. The multi-modal bridge will carry six lanes of vehicular traffic (three lanes in each direction), two-way rail lanes to be linked with the future Metro Line 3, and a pedestrian and bicycle path.

TYLI’s extensive history with Panama’s Metro Rail systems will also be a significant advantage, as this project will require close coordination with the rest of the country’s public transportation system.

About T.Y. Lin International:

Founded in 1954, T.Y. Lin International is an internationally recognized, multi-disciplined full-service infrastructure engineering firm committed to providing innovative, cost-effective, constructible designs for the global infrastructure market. With more than 2,500 employees working in offices throughout the Americas and Asia, the firm provides support on projects of varying size and complexity.