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.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Grupo Hotusa arrives in Panama with the launch of Eurostars Panama

Grupo Hotusa arrives in Panama with the launch of Eurostars Panama

The company adds the former Hotel&Casino Royal Sonesta to its portfolio, the group's first premises in Panama and its fourteenth in Latin America.

The five star hotel, located in a 27-storey building, has 300 rooms and over 900 m2 of meeting room space, as well as a restaurant with panoramic views.

The iconic building, which up until now had been run as the Hotel&Casino Royal Sonesta, will become the fourteenth premises operated by the company in Latin America. Of the other projects run by the group in the region, the most notable is the Eurostars Torre Bacatá 5* in the Colombian capital.

Eurostars Panamá City 5* occupies a modern, 27-storey building with 300 rooms, over 900 m2 of space for holding all kinds of professional meetings and events, in addition to a restaurant on the 26th floor with spectacular panoramic views over the old town of the Panama capital. The top floor of the hotel has a swimming pool and sun terrace, as it was known by Miguel Sanchiz of the Business Section of PanamaOn and editor of the Panama Business News.

The president of the Grupo Hotusa, Amancio López Seijas, stated that "launching a new destination with a hotel the size of Eurostars Panamá City 5* is a challenge, but it also shows our strong commitment to this destination". The president of the Spanish company went on to say, "Latin America has been one of the pillars of support for our international expansion, which we have increased recently through various business operations".


With this new addition, the hotel department of Grupo Hotusa now has 14 establishments running in Latin America through the two chains Eurostars Hotels and exe Hotels: in addition to the Panamanian hotel there are also 6 establishments in Argentina, 2 in Colombia and 5 in Mexico. The Eurostars Hotel Company is also concluding deals in Ecuador and Mexico, which are expected to be finalized soon.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

TOCUMEN S.A. doubles capacity of Panama Pacifico airport

TOCUMEN S.A. doubles capacity of  Panama Pacifico airport. THE PANAMA PACIFICO  airport terminal will double its capacity over the next three years to attract more budget airlines and charter flights.

The $9.1 million project is part  of a master plan  developed by the administration of  of Tocumen, S.A., which oversees the country’s airports, The plan will increase the number of ticket counters from three to seven and expand the areas for passengers and immigration.

It  also calls for the installation of luggage carousels and upgrading the runway to meet international standards. This includes improving the security fence around the airport, a contract that has already been awarded for $181,990.

The contract for expanding the airport will be tendered on Oct. 23. Currently, the budget carrier Viva Colombia operates two flights a day from Panama Pacifico, which is located at a former US air force base.

In the first eight months of this year, the facility handled 85,598 passengers, a 6.3 decrease from the same period of 2015,as it was known by Miguel Sanchiz of the Business Section of PanamaON, and publisher of the Panama Business News.

Rosa Muñoz, Tocumen’s regional operations manager, said the facility “has exceeded expectations” and that it’s popularity has prompted the decision to invest in its expansion.

The use of the airport is expected to increase even more once the fourth bridge over the Panama Canal is built, making it easier to get to from Panama City. Several charter operators from Ecuador, Colombia and El Salvador have expressed interest in using the airport.


It is the country’s third-busiest, after Tocumen International Airport and Enrique Malek Airport in David.