Monday, 20 November 2017

Liban: Saad Hariri face aux salariés français d'Oger

Le Premier ministre du Liban, Saad Hariri, s'est engagé début septembre auprès du président Macron à régler les arriérés de salaires des ex-employés français de Saudi Oger.

Saad Hariri arrive ce samedi 18 novembre en France avec sa famille. Il quitte l'Arabie saoudite. Le Premier ministre démissionnaire du Liban et homme d'affaires a également la nationalité saoudienne. Il est à la tête d’Oger, un géant du BTP, dont les difficultés financières se sont aggravées. Récit d'une débâcle économique.

Oger, racheté aux Français par le père de Saad Hariri, était un mastodonte du BTP qui a permis à Rafic Hariri d'accéder au pouvoir au Liban. Juste avant sa mort en 2005, dans un attentat à Beyrouth, Rafic Hariri a cédé les rênes du groupe à son fils.

Pendant des années, le groupe est florissant avec de grosses opérations immobilières en Arabie saoudite et au Liban.

Mais en 2015, avec la chute du cours du pétrole et l'arrivée au pouvoir du prince héritier Mohammed ben Salman, tout change. Les commandes diminuent et l'Etat saoudien gèle de gros contrats dont ceux de Saudi Oger.

Le géant du bâtiment ne peut plus payer ses fournisseurs ni ses employés. Ils sont 40 000 au total, dont 240 expatriés français. Ces salariés français réclament 14 millions d'euros d'arriérés de salaires et d'indemnités de fin de contrat.

La filiale française du groupe n'est pas épargnée non plus. Sur 700 salariés, il ne reste plus que 120 rescapés du plan social mis en place après la faillite de l'entreprise en 2017. Un  projet de rachat par un homme d'affaires jordanien serait en cours, selon le journal Le Parisien.

REUTERS/Mohamed Azakir

Sunday, 19 November 2017

Villa projects are keeping some developers busy

Improving developing costs to meet
middle-income families’ demands

Villa developers are attempting to cater to the needs of the middle class. This is increasing the number of villa projects in various locations, especially in the Metn and Jbeil areas, according to an investigative feature published this month in Lebanon Opportunities.

Demand is increasing for more affordable primary-residence villas, and being met through customized supply. Abboudi Farkouh, Chairman and General Manager at ForeFront Development, said that “Current developments meet the local perception of middle-income earners in terms of prices and designs.” Developers in different locations sell villas with prices starting at $275,000. 

Major demand is led by expatriates seeking additional amenities, such as security and improved infrastructure within large villa communities. Middle-income earners demand primary villa residences in eco-friendly and accessible locations.

Developers still offer secondary-residence villa projects, but in a more tailored process. Projects in remote areas, such as Kfardebian and Fakra, offer plots of land with appropriate infrastructure to develop their personally-designed villas.

Development costs for single villa projects are relatively high compared to community projects. Profit margins for villa developments moderately exceed that of other real estate residential projects. 

Reported by Samer Rasbey
Oct 23, 2017

Friday, 27 October 2017

Property Registry e-services launched

The Ministry of Finance (MoF) has launched six real estate electronic services on a mobile application and on the website of the General Directorate of Land Registry and Cadaster (GDLRC) (

The e-services allow users to access the Title Register (Al Sahifah Al Ikariah). They can track transactions and their paid invoices, and request ownership statements. The e-services include a simulation feature to estimate the fee to be paid. Users could also be informed through email and mobile phone alerts about Title Register changes such as new registrations and title deed issuances.

Georges Maarawi, Director General of Real Estate Affairs at MoF, said that work is underway to electronically connect the Public Corporation for Housing (PCH) to the General Directorate of Real Estate Affairs (GDREA). This link will be used to send information about the ownership statements of people requesting housing loans.

The GDREA plans to create a real estate appraisal system to allow citizens to compare real estate prices in the area where the property they want to buy is located, Maarawi said.

The organization also plans to set up an interactive page on the website to allow users to submit proposals and complaints and track them, Maarawi said.

Finance Minister Ali Hassan Khalil said that, as part of the decentralization plan, real estate registry offices will very soon be opened in Akkar and Koura and later in Jeb Jannine. The Ministry has previously opened new registry offices in Baalbeck, Rachaya, and Marjayoun, he said.

Reported by Shikrallah Nakhoul

Date Posted: Oct 27, 2017

Friday, 20 October 2017

Additional $500 million in subsidized loans for late 2017

Additional $500 million in 
subsidized loans for late 2017
Expatriates to benefit from subsidized loans

The Central Bank (BDL) has decided to inject an additional $500 million to the stimulus package for 2017 which aims to finance productive projects and home purchases at subsidized rates, according to BDL’s intermediate circular 475.

This brings the stimulus earmarked for the current year to $1.5 billion. The $1 billion originally allocated for 2017 has already been used up.

BDL will continue to charge the banks a one percent interest rate on the additional funds if they are denominated in liras. The banks will pay an interest rate equivalent to the upper limit of the US Federal Funds Rate (FFR) on loans denominated in dollars.

The additional funds should be used to finance new projects or to expand existing ones. They cannot be used to refinance existing projects. The benefiting projects can come from various productive sectors including energy, environmental, and artistic industries such as film and movie production.

Lebanese expatriates living abroad for more than five years can benefit from subsidized loans of up to $800,000 to buy residential units in Lebanon. They can also obtain subsidized loans of up to $15 million to finance new projects on the local market with the exception of real estate development projects.

The Central Bank said in the circular that starting from Oct. 20, 2017 banks can no longer benefit from exemptions on part of their reserve requirements against subsidized loans. BDL launched an initiative in 2009 to encourage banks to provide soft loans to the private sector by exempting them from part of their reserve requirements. In 2013, BDL launched the stimulus program as many banks could no longer qualify for reserve requirement cuts.

With the additional sum allocated for the remainder of 2017, the funds injected by BDL to stimulate the economy reach $5.9 billion. The annual amount injected in the economy was often $1 billion, only in 2013 and 2017 did it exceed this figure to reach $1.5 billion.

Reported by Shikrallah Nakhoul
Oct 20, 2017