Thursday, September 29, 2016

Global Bank Corporation Announces That Deutsche Bank Securities Inc. Intends To Launch A Tender Offer For Any And All Of The Outstanding 4.750% Notes Due 2017

Global Bank Corporation Announces That Deutsche Bank Securities Inc. Intends To Launch A Tender Offer For Any And All Of The Outstanding 4.750% Notes Due 2017

Global Bank Corporation ("Global Bank"), today announced that Deutsche Bank Securities Inc. (the "Offeror") intends to launch an offer (the "Tender Offer") to purchase for cash any and all of the outstanding 4.750% Notes due 2017 issued by Global Bank under its U.S.$500 million Covered Bond Programme (the "Notes").

The Tender Offer will expire at 11:59 p.m., New York City time, on October 26, 2016, unless extended by the Offeror (such date and time, as the same may be extended, the "Expiration Date").  Holders of the Notes ("Holders") must validly tender their Notes before 5:00 p.m., New York City time, on October 12, 2016, unless extended by the Offeror (such date and time, as the same may be extended, the "Early Tender Date") to be eligible to receive the Total Consideration, which consists of the Tender Offer Consideration (as defined below) and the Early Tender Payment (as defined below). 

Holders who validly tender their Notes after the Early Tender Date and on or prior to the Expiration Date will be eligible to receive the Tender Offer Consideration, but not the Early Tender Payment on the Final Settlement Date (as defined below).  Notes that have been validly tendered may be withdrawn in accordance with the terms of the Tender Offer prior to 5:00 p.m., New York City time, on October 15, 2016, but not thereafter, unless such time is extended by the Offeror (such date and time, as the same may be extended, the "Withdrawal Date").

The total consideration to be paid for each U.S.$1,000 principal amount of Notes validly tendered at or prior to the Early Tender Date and not validly withdrawn at or prior to the Withdrawal Date will be U.S.$1,033.75 (the "Total Consideration"). The Total Consideration includes a benefit of a payment of U.S.$50.00 per U.S.$1,000 principal amount of Notes (the "Early Tender Payment") payable only in respect of Notes validly tendered at or prior to the Early Tender Date. Holders validly tendering Notes after the Early Tender Date, but at or prior to the Expiration Date, will be eligible to receive only U.S.$983.75 per U.S.$1,000 principal amount of Notes (the "Tender Offer Consideration"), equal to the Total Consideration less the Early Tender Payment.

Subject to the terms and conditions of the Tender Offer being satisfied or waived, the Offeror will (i) after the Early Tender Date, accept for purchase all Notes validly tendered and not validly withdrawn at or prior to the Early Tender Date and pay the Total Consideration for such Notes on a business day selected by the Offeror (the "Early Settlement Date") which is expected to be October 19, 2016, and (ii)  after the Early Tender Date, accept for and at or prior to the Expiration Date and will pay the Tender Offer Consideration for such Notes within three business days or as promptly as practicable following the Expiration Date (the "Final Settlement Date").  Holders whose Notes are purchased in the Tender Offer will receive accrued and unpaid interest in respect of their purchased Notes from, and including, the most recent interest payment date to, but not including, the applicable settlement date for the Notes.

Global Bank has consented to the Offeror making the Tender Offer. Global Bank will not be making the Tender Offer. It is intended that the Notes purchased by the Offeror pursuant to the Tender Offer will be sold by the Offeror to Global Bank, to be paid for with the net proceeds from the issuance of senior unsecured notes in an international capital markets offering,as it was known by Miguel Sanchiz of the Business (Negocios) Section of PanamaOn and editor of the Panama Business News.

Deutsche Bank Securities Inc., Citigroup Global Markets Inc. ("Citigroup") and J.P. Morgan Securities LLC ("J.P. Morgan") have been engaged to act as Dealer Managers in connection with the Tender Offer. Questions regarding the Tender Offer may be directed to Deutsche Bank Securities Inc.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Urban Vertical Farms – David Proenza believes in the Agriculture of the Future

Urban Vertical Farms – David Proenza believes in the Agriculture of the Future. Vertical farming is in vogue in the United States, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan. An Association for Vertical Farming has been created, and groups companies, universities and individuals. It has offices in Canada, China, India and several European countries.

This farming method offers an alternative in cities around the world, and in impoverished rural areas where people still go hungry. In cities like Buenos Aires, Mexico City or Santiago, rooftop gardens where people grow their own fresh produce are now common.

To foment the sharing of knowledge, David Proenza of Vertical Farms in Panama created the Foundation for the Development of Controlled Environment Agriculture, which organized the International Congress on Controlled Environment Agriculture which has drwan more than 350 researchers, academics and farmers from around the world. The next edition is slated for 2017.

“Farmers earn three times more than in the countryside,” said Proenza. “Vertical farms are 30 percent less expensive than traditional farming, and 15 percent cheaper than greenhouses. The risk is minimal,” added the entrepreneur, whose initiative won the second National Prize for Business Innovation, granted by the National Secretariat on Science and Technology, in 2014, and won a prize of $50.000 on September 16th as innovator of the Americas.

His plan is to expand the vertical farm by 400 square metres, adding varieties of parsley, basil, coriander, arugula and strawberries.

He has recommended that governments refocus their agricultural policies and rethink priorities. “Governments must show an interest, and should focus policies on exploring this technique. We need better planning for production, distribution and logistics,” he said.

The local and regional markets that would be developed through vertical farming would have “an enormous impact,” he said, but “seed capital and technological packages would be needed, based on our own model.”

The vertical farm in Panama is the only one of its kind in Latin America, is an example of controlled-environment agriculture, a technology-based approach toward food production which often uses hydroponic methods. This kind of farming helps combat the effects of climate change on agriculture, as it was known by Miguel Sanchiz of the Business Section of PanamaOn and editor of the Panama Business News.

“Climate change has affected agricultural production,” said David Proenza, founder of Urban Farms. “So we saw a need to see what changes we could bring about, using technology.” In 2010, Proenza heard about experiments with vertical farming in Asia and travelled to Japan, where he contacted researchers and members of the business community.

He brought the technique back to Panama, and he and his new partners decided to send an agronomist to be trained in Japan. Until then, he was a conventional producer of watermelon and other crops. “The farmer controls everything, from the seeds to the harvest,” he explained to IPS. “The idea is to produce and consume locally.”

Proenza set up a partnership with two other people, and receives guidance from an outside group. He employs two full-time and two temporary workers.

On his four-hectare property, Proenza dedicated a 12 by 17-square-metre space to setting up 60 hydroponic trays with a capacity for growing 30 to 36 plants each. Hydroponics is a method of growing plants without soil, using mineral nutrient solutions in water.

After three days, the seeds are transplanted from the germination tray to the growing trays. Three weeks later the lettuce is picked, processed and packed for distribution to supermarkets.

The vertical farm produces some 2,000 heads of five different kinds of lettuce a month, without pesticides, preservatives or large extensions of land. A computer program controlled from a smartphone regulates the temperature of the room and the water, as well as the lighting and irrigation.

The low voltage grow lights, which stay on for 18 hours a day and cost 120 dollars each, produce red, yellow or blue light, each of which has a particular effect. The trays hold between 25 and 100 litres of water, depending on the size.

Controlled-environment agriculture encompasses vertical farms, urban gardens, and hydroponics.

Panama is highly vulnerable to climate change, exposed to intense storms, flooding, landslides and drought. The climate of this tropical Central American nation of four million people was previously divided into wet and dry seasons, but now the difference is less marked.

Río Hato is at one end of the Arco Seco or “dry arch”, an important area of food production for both export and domestic consumption. Panama’s main crops are corn, rice, beans, melons, watermelons, oranges, bananas and coffee. Stockbreeding is also a key driver of the economy.

Agriculture accounts for around four percent of the country’s GDP. Official statistics show that grain harvests have shrunk in 2014 and 2015, with the exception of corn, due to factors that experts blame on climate change.

The 2010 report “Panama: Effects of Climate Change on Agriculture”, produced by the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) and other international bodies, stated that climate change would cause this country agricultural losses amounting to between four and seven percent of GDP by 2050 and between eight and nine percent by 2100.

Gustavo Ramírez, a professor with the Cuautitlán Higher Studies Faculty at the Autonomous National University of Mexico, said vertical farming is viable in Latin America, but policies to stimulate it are lacking.

“With this system you can make better use of space,” he said. “In urban areas, there are abandoned buildings that could be put to use, and there is much more space in rural areas.”

In Río Hato, Proenza, who has invested over 70,000 dollars in the farm, has tried growing strawberries, cucumbers, chili peppers, melons and watermelons, with positive results, and is now the innovator of the Americas.

Monday, September 19, 2016

American Chamber of Commerce of Panama with mission to New York in November

American Chamber of Commerce of Panama with mission to New York in November. After a highly successful trade mission to Silicon Valley in California, the American Chamber of Commerce of Panama (PANAMCHAM) is now planning a trade mission to New York.

“With a population nearing 20 million, a median household income of $58,691, and a gross state product of $1,405 billion, New York is currently ranked 5th best State regarding Economic Climate.” – Forbes

The itinerary for this trip is as follows:

Monday, November 14th:         

Arrival New York City
Welcome Toast at the Hotel
Tuesday, November 15th:

Welcome Presentation by the Office of the Governor of New York
Sectorial Appointments by Track*
Wednesday, November 16th:

Doing Business Event at Council of the Americas
Business Roundtable
Sectorial Appointments by Track*
Thursday, November 17th:

Sectorial Appointments by Track*
End of Trade Mission

* Some of the Sectorial Appointments by Track include:

Logistics, Transportation and Construction (PANYNJ, La Guardia International Airport, Delta Operations Center, DHL Express)
Financial Services and Insurance (NYSE, NASDAQ, NCR, Bloomberg L.P.)
Innovation, Research and Development (Dell Solution Center, Cisco, Main Incubators, Universities and Startups of New York and Long Island)

Dominating Metropolis:
New York City dominates the economy of the state as the leading center of advertising, banking, finance, media and publishing in the U.S. If New York were a country, the state’s $1.4 trillion dollar economy would be the 14th largest in the world after South Korea.” - Forbes

New York Stock Exchange
“The New York Stock Exchange, one of the world´s leading equities markets and combined with the NYSE Group family of exchanges, trades more U.S. equity volume than any other exchange group. A listed community of more than 2,400 companies is taking on today’s greatest challenges at the NYSE because it is the hub for capital formation where those ideas are exchanged and valued, where companies are given the fuel they need to invest, create jobs and power progress.” – NYSE

Regional Logistic Hub:
“The Port Authority of New York & New Jersey builds, operates, and maintains critical transportation and trade assets. Its network of aviation, rail, surface transportation and seaport facilities annually moves millions of people and transports vital cargo throughout the New York/New Jersey region. The Port Authority also owns and manages the 16-acre World Trade Center site, home to the iconic One World Trade Center.” – PANYNJ

Port of New York and New Jersey
“It is the largest port on the East Coast, and the third-largest in the nation. In 2014, it handled 3,342,286 cargo containers, a 5.4 percent increase in total container traffic from 2013. The record volumes allowed the port to maintain its position as the busiest on the East Coast with nearly 30 percent of the total market share. The dollar value of all cargo that moved through the port exceeded $200 billion.” - PortNYNJ

JFK International Airport
“John F. Kennedy is one of the world's leading international air cargo centers. The airport offers nearly 4 million square feet of modern, state-of-the-art cargo warehouse and office space. The entire air cargo area is designated as a Foreign-Trade-Zone. JFK serves the world's key air cargo markets though a strong mix of long-haul, direct and nonstop all-cargo aircraft and wide-body passenger aircraft flights. During the year 2014, 422,415 flights, 53,254,533 passengers and 1,343,683 tons of air cargo passed through the airport.” – JFK International Airport

“In April 2015, Mayor de Blasio announced the release of “One New York: The Plan for a Strong and Just City,” a comprehensive plan for a sustainable and resilient city for all New Yorkers that addresses the profound social, economic, and environmental challenges ahead. The plan sets out a comprehensive blueprint for preparing New York City for the future.” – NYC Mayor's Office of Technology and Innovation

Smart City:
New York has made a lot of the digital age. The city hosts a thriving tech sector with 300,000 employees -- on par with Silicon Valley -- and city government is praised for its use of analytics in evaluating all manner of programs. Its signature environmental initiative -- PlaNYC -- contains hundreds of objectives on everything from the number of breakwaters made from oysters to cubic feet of natural gas captured from sewage plants.” – CNN Money

To register for this exciting trade mission, or to get more information, please contact:

Pilar V. Cerón, Trade Director AMCHAM Panamá Tel: (507) 3013881,

Radu Serrano, Trade Specialist AMCHAM Panamá Tel: (507) 3013881,

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Little Caesars expanding rapidly in Panama

Little Caesars expanding rapidly in Panama. Restaurants in Calle 50, Via España, and even in Arraijan, and La Chorrera, Little Caesars is expanding rapidly in Panama.

Many may not have noticed, but there is a rapidly expanding pizza franchise in Panama. Its name is Little Caesars, and it provides quick service at very reasonable prices. Crowds of customers go there every day for a quick pizza which is even ready when you order it.

Panama is not stranger to fast food restaurants such as Pizza Hut, Papa Johns, Domino´s and others, but this supposedly “little” franchise is killing the competition in the city, and going to the suburbs like Arraijan and La Chorrera. Interviewed customers, which are quite happy about this fast food alternative, are stating that other restaurants specializing in pizzas are more expensive than regular restaurants around the city, while you can find pizzas at Little´s for as low as $6.99, and combos for less than $10.00 dollars, other alternatives are becoming prohibitive for the low to medium consumer market in Panama which makes the bulk of this business in our country.

Reversing the trend that is developing in Panama, where fast food franchises are closing, especially this year, Little´Caesars seem to have garnered the Panamanian market, by being really fast, cheap, and dedicated to their formula.

They are not new comers in the world, however. Headquartered in Detroit, Michigan, Little Caesars® is the largest carryout-only pizza chain and fastest growing pizza chain in the United States. Founded in 1959 as a single, family-owned restaurant, Little Caesars has become the third largest pizza chain in the world and today has a presence in all 50 U.S. states, as well as 20 countries and territories worldwide (including Panama).

Known for its HOT-N-READY® pizza and famed Crazy Bread®, Little Caesars has been named "Best Value in America"** for nine years in a row. Little Caesars products according to the company, are made with quality ingredients, like fresh, never frozen, mozzarella and Muenster cheese, dough made fresh daily in the stores and sauce made from fresh-packed, vine-ripened crushed tomatoes.

An exceptionally high growth company with more than 57 years of experience in the nearly $135 billion worldwide pizza industry, Little Caesars is continually looking for franchisee candidates to join their team in markets around the world, and even though, we did not find who the franchise owner is in Panama, the holding company states in its corporate news, that in addition to providing the opportunity for entrepreneurial independence in a franchise system, Little Caesars offers strong brand awareness with one of the most recognized and appealing characters in the country, Little Caesar.

Besides Panama, it recently opened franchises in Dominican Republic and Costa Rica with additional expansion taking place worldwide. Both Dominican Republic and Costa Rica franchises are doing extremely well as the ones located in our isthmus, so the competition will have to start worrying if it wants to keep their market share in these countries.

According to information obtained by Miguel Sanchiz, of the business section of Panama On, and editor of the Panama Business News, Little Caesars has already cornered 20% of the market in Panama City, and it is looking to grow stronger by the day. Anybody can go and visit any of its stores. It can be seen clearly what the cold statistics reflect.

The franchise started in Panama in December 2014 with two branches, one in Calle 50, and one in Condado del Rey. Sammy Akerman, general manager of the Panama franchise, has said recently that one of the reasons Little Caesars is expanding internationally is because the U.S. market seem a bit saturated and Panama is part of the international strategy. Even though, investment figures have not been released to the public, it is stated to be in the millions of dollars, just exactly what Panama needed.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Copa Airlines, Delta and United bidding for Avianca

Copa Airlines, Delta and United bidding for Avianca. Some large carriers are considering a partial purchase of Avianca, a Colombian carrier. Delta Air Lines, United Continental and Copa Airlines already have made non-binding offers for a minority stake in Avianca Holdings, though there’s no guarantee any deal will be reached.

Avianca carried 61 per cent of Colombia’s 15 million-plus passengers through July and a deal could also give a winning bidder a chance to partner with Avianca Brasil, a separate airline also controlled by Avianca owners the Efromovich brothers and which has about 11 per cent of the Brazilian market.

Avianca Holdings SA, based in Bogota, has been hunting for an international partner to help shore up its balance sheet and support growth. The publicly traded carrier is controlled by brothers German and Jose Efromovich, who also own a separate airline called Avianca Brasil through a closely held holding company.

Avianca Holdings offers potential suitors a point of entry into markets including Colombia, Peru, Costa Rica and Ecuador. The established brand and route network of the Bogota-based company would also offer Delta and United a way to make inroads in South America against American Airlines Group Inc.

Avianca, with a market value of $851.1 million, carried 61 percent of Colombia’s more than 15 million passengers through July. Striking a deal could also give the winning bidder a chance to forge a partnership with Avianca Brasil, a separate airline the Efromovich brothers run, which controls about 11 percent of the Brazilian market, as it was known by Miguel Sanchiz of the business section of Panama ON and editor of the Panama Business News.

The attractiveness of a Brazil foray depends on a bidder’s appetite for risk. The South American nation is currently stuck in its longest recession in more than a century, and its airline industry is suffering. Through July, 51.8 million passengers flew domestically in Brazil, down 8.4 percent from a year earlier, according to the nation’s aviation agency.

A deal in Colombia is no guarantee of entry into Brazil. The Efromovich brothers have unsuccessfully tried to combine the two Aviancas. The Colombian carrier, which is in better shape than its Brazilian counterpart, rejected a proposal in October, Bloomberg News reported at the time. The brothers haven’t abandoned the plan though, one of the people familiar with the matter said.

The Avianca opportunity is presenting itself at the same time as the Efromovich brothers have faced their own difficulties, using the majority of their shares as collateral to borrow funds from Paul Singer’s Elliott Management Corp. The resources were partially used to pay debts for shipyards owned in Brazil by the brothers’ conglomerate, Synergy Group, the person said. One of the shipyards filed for bankruptcy protection.

Multibank Names William Shelton Salazar as New President

Multibank Names William Shelton Salazar as New President. William Shelton Salazar took over as the new president of Banco Multibank S.A. this month. According the company, Shelton will oversee a strategy of growth to raise the Bogota-based financial services firm’s presence in Colombia and target the corporate banking sector.

Expanding the commercial loan portfolio is high on the new president’s agenda as he runs the domestic subsidiary of Multibank Inc., which is based in Panama, as it was known by Miguel Sanchiz of the business section of Panama On, and editor of the Panama Business News.

“With the support and backing of our parent company Multibank Inc. in Panama, we want to strengthen our factoring operations, commercial banking, and SME banking, consolidate our transactional banking, and offer hedging products through the treasury,” said William Shelton Salazar.

Shelton’s background includes experience in strategic management. He has led the implementation of corporate planning and design of business management models. Overall, he has been working in the financial services realm for more than three decades, holding high-level positions at Banco AV Villas and BBVA Colombia S.A.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Hoegh Target, World’s Largest PCTC transits expanded Panama Canal

Hoegh Target, World’s Largest PCTC transits expanded Panama Canal. Hoegh Target, World’s Largest PCTC transits expanded Panama Canal. Höegh Target transited the newly expanded locks of the Panama Canal, the company said in a press release.

Höegh Target is the world’s largest PCTC with its 8500 car capacity and 71 400 m2 deck area. The vessel is the first Post-Panamax vessel from Höegh Autoliners that passes through the new canal.

The vessel was delivered in 2015 and was the first in a series of six vessels under the New Horizon design. Höegh Autoliners designed these vessels with a larger beam whilst the Panama Canal project was underway.

About the New Horizon vessels

The New Horizon vessels are designed for maximum flexibility, offering 6.5 meters of free deck height, 12 metre ramp width and capacity to take cargo weighting up to 375 tonnes. The 71 400 m2 of deck space is divided over 14 decks, of which five are liftable. This allows for considerable flexibility in types of cargo that can be loaded, and also makes the vessel more efficient. With all internal ramps liftable, there is better utilization of cargo space, as it was known by Miguel Sanchiz of the Business Section of Panama On, and editor of Panama Business News.

The ship has the combined deck space of ten football pitches.If all the cars which could be fitted on board the Hoegh Target were placed end to end they would be more than the length of a marathon.

Registered to Norwegian firm Hoegh Autoliners, it takes two-and-a-half minutes to walk from one end of the ship to the other, but there are just 21 crew members on board.

It also boasts doors much bigger than its counterparts, meaning it can take high-sided vehicles and trucks that are 6.5 metres high and 12 metres wide. Weighing 20,500 tonnes, its stern ramp can also hold 375 tonnes of cargo – the equivalent weight of 75 elephants.

World Jewelry Hub in Panama announced the appointment of Edi Faltz as Executive Vice President

World Jewelry Hub in Panama announced the appointment of Edi Faltz as Executive Vice President. World Jewelry Hub in Panama announced the appointment of Edi Faltz as Executive Vice President. The World Jewelry & Diamond Hub in Panama, has announced the appointment of Edi Faltz as Executive Vice President. He replaces Joseph Kuzi, who is stepping down after two years in office.

Faltz also serves as Chairman of the Membership and Banking Committees of the World Jewelry & Diamond Hub, Panama. He is the owner and CEO of both DBO (Diamond Buying Office) and the Faltz Diamond & Jewelry Group in Ramat Gan, Israel, and has served as an external advisor to Credit Suisse Bank and UBS Bank.  According to a press release received by Miguel Sanchiz, of the Business Section of Panamá ON, and editor of the Panama Business News,  Faltz has also been involved in the creation of new technologies for the diamond and jewelry industries, heading the development of a 360-degree photographic system, resulting in high-definition images and videos of diamonds and jewelry, which can be seen from all angles, and he founded a pension fund platform specifically for the diamond industry.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Vitamin Shoppe, Inc. Announces Panama expansion

Vitamin Shoppe, Inc. Announces Panama expansion. The Vitamin Shoppe®, a multi-channel specialty retailer and manufacturer of nutritional products is pleased to announce the opening of two additional franchise stores in Panama.

The franchise stores in Costa Rica will be operated by Vita Vida Limitada, an affiliate of The Vitamin Shoppe's franchise partner in Panama.  Vita Vida and the team have been working for over two years to register products that will benefit the lives of the Panamanian consumer and on August 31, 2016, The Vitamin Shoppe and Vita Vida also celebrated the grand opening of three stores in San Jose, the country's capital and largest city. The Vitamin Shoppe stores will offer consumers a curated selection of The Vitamin Shoppe's proprietary brands and other leading third-party brand products.  The franchisee is expected to open in addition, eight Vitamin Shoppe stores over the next five years in Costa Rica, as it was known by Miguel Sanchiz of the business section of Panamá On, and director of Panama Business News.

Commenting on the new stores, David Denker, Director, International Development for the Vitamin Shoppe stated, "The Vitamin Shoppe brand continues to resonate with customers outside the United States, and we are pleased to be opening stores in a second new country this year.  Working with partners, such as Vita Vida, The Vitamin Shoppe is able to educate consumers about the supplements industry as well as how to live a health and wellness lifestyle."

In additional news, two new franchise stores opened in Panama, bringing the total Vitamin Shoppe stores operating in that country to four stand along locations and two store-within store locations.  The two new stores opened in the cities of Panama City and David.  The first The Vitamin Shoppe store in Panama opened in March 2013.

Marta Ferrer, General Manager of Vita Vida, commented, "We are very excited to be partnering again with The Vitamin Shoppe, a leading health and wellness retailer with over 750 stores in the United States.  Costa Rica is the second country in which we are bringing nutritional products including; vitamins, minerals and supplements.  Consumers love The Vitamin Shoppe brand and we continue to open new stores in Panama."

About the Vitamin Shoppe, Inc. (VSI)

The Vitamin Shoppe is a multi-channel, specialty retailer and contract manufacturer of nutritional products based in Secaucus, New Jersey.  In its stores and on its website, the Company carries a comprehensive retail assortment including: vitamins, minerals, specialty supplements, herbs, sports nutrition, homeopathic remedies, green living products, and beauty aids.  In addition to offering products from approximately 850 national brands, the Vitamin Shoppe also carries products under The Vitamin Shoppe®, BodyTech®, True Athlete®, MyTrition®, plnt®, ProBioCare®, Next Step® and Betancourt Nutrition® brands.  The Vitamin Shoppe conducts business through more than 750 company-operated retail stores under The Vitamin Shoppe and Super Supplements retail banners.