Monday, March 27, 2017

China state firms eye land around Panama Canal: waterway authority

China state firms eye land around Panama Canal: waterway authority

Chinese state firms have expressed an interest to develop land around the Panama Canal, the chief executive of the vital trade thoroughfare said, underlining China's outward push into infrastructure via railways and ports around the world.

The Panama Canal Authority will officially open a tender to develop about 1,200 hectares of land - roughly the size of 1,200 football fields - around the waterway by the end of this year into a logistics park, after completing a five-year-long decontamination of the area, Chief Executive Jorge Quijano said.

"We have been talking to people here in China," Quijano told Reuters on Monday ahead of a meeting with the canal's advisory board in Shanghai. China Communications Construction Corp (601800.SS: Quote)(1800.HK: Quote), its subsidiary China Harbour Engineering Company and China Railway Group (601390.SS: Quote)(0390.HK: Quote) have shown interest in the project, he added.

This comes at a time when China is urging its companies to invest in infrastructure overseas as part of Beijing's "One Belt, One Road" initiative to improve global trade links.

China's state firms have in recent years already chalked up investments in key logistics nodes, including Piraeus in Greece and Bandar Malaysia, a major development project that is set to be the terminal for a proposed high-speed rail link between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore.

China's COSCO Shipping Corp (601919.SS: Quote)(1919.HK: Quote), which owns stakes in ports around the world including Piraeus (OLPr.AT: Quote), has in the past approached the Panama Canal Authority about the latter's plans for the land, Quijano said.

"There are opportunities there, definitely for some of these Chinese companies to participate as a concessionaire, not just as a contractor to build something, but they can actually bid for the concession and then build," he said.

He did not say how much the authority expected to get by selling the concession to develop the land.

A floating gate is opening to the Chinese COSCO container vessel named Andronikos navigating through the Agua Clara locks during the first ceremonial pass through the newly expanded Panama Canal in Agua Clara, on the outskirts of Colon City, Panama

China Communications Construction, China Railway Group and COSCO did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Quijano said the canal authority will parcel out the land and grant concession agreements of up to 40 years, with the aim to develop infrastructure and buildings on land previously used by the United States military for target practice.

Also up for grabs is an operating agreement for a roll-on, roll-off terminal near the canal, the tender for which will be put out in the middle of 2017, he said, adding the authority expected interest from Japan, China, Norway and South Korea.

He estimated the land and terminal would help bring in an annual revenue of "between $100-$125 million" after the first five years of operation. Overall, the Panama Canal is expected to bring in $2.8 billion in revenue this year, he said.


Panama opened the long-delayed $5.4 billion expansion of the canal between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans last June, but it has since been roiled by claims of cost overruns and criticism after a series of incidents that saw ships hit the lane's wall.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Orla Mining Ltd. commenced a drilling program at Cerro Quema in Panama

(Panama Business News) Orla Mining Ltd.  commenced a drilling program at Cerro Quema in Panama

Orla Mining Ltd. has commenced a drilling program at its 100% owned Cerro Quema project in Panama. The initial holes will be targeted on areas proximal to the existing oxide gold resource that have a high potential to host additional resources. Success in this part of drilling program may provide material to incorporate into the current Pre-Feasibility Study mine plan and potentially result in a near-term increase in the estimated Net Present Value of the project.

As well as drilling, a property-wide geological mapping and sampling program is underway and an IP geophysical survey will be undertaken on priority targets in late January and February. This work is expected to provide new drilling targets for high-sulphidation (HS) related gold along a 15km trend identified to date. There is also excellent potential for other styles of mineralization coincident with the HS mineralization on the 14,800 hectare concession area.

"We are excited to start drilling on new concepts so soon after acquiring the project in December 2016. We believe we have excellent opportunities for increasing the current resource zones and for new discoveries at our largely untested Cerro Quema project," commented Marc Prefontaine, Orla's President and Chief Executive Officer. "We are very systematic in our approach and have identified a series of geological, geochemical and geophysical anomalies that we consider to be highly prospective targets."

A contract for a minimum of 8,000 metres of diamond drilling has been awarded to Energold de Panama, S.A. One drill has commenced drilling and two more will arrive on the property in early February. The Company has budgeted for 25,000 metres of drilling in 2017.


Orla Mining is a mineral exploration company led by a group of seasoned mining executives with strong financial backing. The company's focus is to acquire mineral exploration opportunities where the Company's exploration and development expertise and corporate share structure could substantially enhance shareholder value. The 100% owned Cerro Quema project in Panama includes a near-term gold production scenario and significant exploration upside. Cerro Quema's 14,800 Ha concession boasts paved road access, a supportive local population and private land ownership. The Cerro Quema project is currently in the last stage of the permitting process for a proposed open pit mine and gold heap leach operation. 

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Frontier Digital Ventures increases share participation in Panamá´s Encuentra24.com

(Panama Business News) Frontier Digital Ventures increases share participation in Panamá´s Encuentra24.com

With a mission to become the leading operator of online classifieds businesses in frontier markets across the globe, Frontier Digital Ventures (FDV) injected fresh cash into Encuentra24.com (E24), a strong competitor in the classifieds arena of Central America.

The money will be used to accelerate E24’s monetization and boost its market position against the competition. FDV exercised its option to take up new shares in Encuentra24.com AG, thereby increasing its stake in E24 from 34.9 percent to 38.7 percent.

The option was exercised after Encuentra24.com (E24) exceeded key performance indicators, including growth in advertisers, listings, monthly site visits, revenue and earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA).

FDV made a successful entrance to the Australian Stock Exchange in August. A core focus of the group is to provide funding for investee companies, as well as give strategy and operations direction for these companies.

E24 is one of the leading general classifieds sites in a potentially high-growth Central American market. E24 operates in Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Honduras. These markets have growing populations and rising internet penetrations. E24 lists general classifieds, autos and properties

According to data provided by FDV, E24’s total listings have increased by 38 percent since December 2015 to more than half a million at the end of November 2016. Monthly site visits have also grown by more than 50 percent in the same period to 5.7 million visits in November 2016.

FDV’s co-founder and CEO, Shaun Di Gregorio said: “Our partners in the region, Boris Metraux and Wendy Jordan, are ‘A grade’ entrepreneurs and continue to do an outstanding job in growing the business. We’re excited to be in partnership with such capable entrepreneurs, and look forward to Encuentra24 dominating the region.”

FDV’s strategy is to partner with local entrepreneurs operating market-leading online classifieds businesses in frontier markets, and offer its management and operating expertise, as well as financial resources to accelerate the growth and leadership position of each operating company. As each business grows and matures, FDV considers whether it should take a higher stake.

FDV has a portfolio of 15 operating companies, including market leaders with an early-stage advantage in either the auto, real estate or general classifieds space. Its sites and companies include CarsDB.com and IMyanmarHouse.com in Myanmar; Zameen and PakWheels.com in Pakistan; MeQasa in Ghana, and AfriBaba.com in French-speaking Africa.

The companies span 19 frontier markets including Nigeria, Tanzania, Mozambique and Morocco. Founding shareholders Shaun Di Gregorio and Patrick Grove and Luke Elliott of Catcha Group, have been working together for more than six years. Catcha Group has floated four companies in its portfolio on the ASX.

Encuentra24 competes with a number of regional and global classified players, including Navent’s CompreoAlquile in Panama, La Nacion’s BuscoMiCasa in Costa Rica, MercadoLibre, as well as Naspers’ OLX.


These are just a couple of leading players operating in the Central American region. CompreoAlquile is a top-3 real estate classified player in Panama.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Grivalia buys into island project in Panama

(Panama Business News ) Grivalia buys into island project in Panama

Grivalia Properties’ Luxembourg-based subsidiary Grivalia Hospitality SA on Tuesday announced its first investment, which concerns the acquisition of a 60 percent stake in the Pearl Island project in Panama from Dolphin Capital Investors.

The agreed price is 27 million euros in cash, Grivalia stated, of which 1 million has already been disbursed as an advance payment, while another 24 million will be paid upon the completion of the transaction and the remaining 2 million will be deposited in an escrow account for a period of 12 months.

Pearl Island, or Isla Pedro Gonzalez, is one of the biggest private islands of Panama’s Las Perlas Archipelago, with an area of 13.23 square kilometers.

Dolphin Capital Investors Ltd said Tuesday it is selling its interest in a private island development off the coast of Panama at a loss. In addition, Dolphin Capital said it will sell the 60% interest in Pearl Island to Grivalia Hospitality SA for a cash payment of EUR27.0 million.

The implied enterprise value of the project of EUR63.0 million is a 32% discount to the carrying value of the asset as at June 30, 2016 and will result in an EUR27.0 million loss on the sale, said Dolphin Capital. The sale price is also a 7% discount on Dolphin Capital's EUR29.0 million cost of investment in the project.

The deal is dependent on a corporate restructuring of the project to allow Grivalia to own shares directly in the subsidiaries that own the project, as well as the consent of hotel operator Ritz Carlton and the project's senior lender Banistmo SA. Dolphin Capital said it expects these conditions to be met or waived by the end of March.


"The disposal of Pearl Island, in addition to those made of Aristo Developers and Playa Grande, further underpins our commitment to delivering value for shareholders," said Andrew Coppel, chairman of Dolphin Capital.