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Management restructured at Single Buoy Moorings  wsj.com 03 Dec 13 SBM Offshore has reduced the top of its governance structure from three layers to two by removing the Board of Management. The Management Board (comprised of the CEO, CFO and CGCO) and the SBM Offshore business model remain unchanged.  A new position of 'Group Executive Managing Director' has been created reporting to the CEO with Bernard van Leggelo (pic), formerly Managing Director of the SBM Houston Execution Centre appointed to this new role with immediate effect. He will focus on the execution of the Company's operational strategy and long-term planning.  Leggelo will relocate to Monaco to take up his new role. Press Release.

Wragges and Lawrence Graham begin merger talks  lawgazette.co.uk 18 Nov 13 Law firms Wragge & Co and Lawrence Graham have confirmed they are in talks to form a £170m-plus practice. Wragge & Co posted £120.5m turnover in 2012/13, an annual increase of 2%, while Lawrence Graham had revenues of £51.8m, a 7.5% fall year on year. Wragge’s latest reported profit per equity partner was £339,000 and that of LG £260,000. A combined firm would boast around 628 lawyers, including 189 partners. Wragge & Co senior partner Quentin Poole said: ‘Lawrence Graham has an excellent reputation, particularly for real estate, equity capital markets & investment funds.’ Lawrence Graham has offices in Dubai, Monaco, Moscow and Singapore. John Hyde.

Banque Havilland acquires Banque Pasche Monaco  monacolife.net 12 Nov 13 Banque Havilland S.A., the independent private bank, has acquired the private banking business of Banque Pasche Monaco S.A.M. "The acquisition strengthens the objective of becoming a leading player in the Principality’s private banking sector," Banque Havilland stated. Banque Havilland (Monaco) S.A.M., has acquired the entire client book from Banque Pasche which brings a geographically diversified client base from markets with high growth potential such as Latin America and Russia, as well as a strong representation of locally-based clients. The acquisition will see the personnel of Banque Pasche Monaco S.A.M. transfer to Banque Havilland (Monaco) S.A.M. Ian Brodie.

Deutsche Bank wins compensation suit against Sebastian Holdings  nasdaq.com 08 Nov 13 A London court Friday handed Deutsche Bank AG a legal victory, throwing out an $8 billion compensation claim filed by Sebastian Holdings Inc., an investment firm run by Norwegian billionaire Alexander Vik (pic.) The London High Court of Justice ruled that Germany's biggest lender didn't breach contract or duty in dealings with Monaco-based Sebastian Holdings. Instead, it ruled the bank is entitled to compensation of around $235 million that Deutsche Bank had demanded in a countersuit. Deutsche Bank said it was due that amount plus interest for margin calls in 2008, which Sebastian Holdings had yet to pay. DJBN.

Prince William’s best friend Guy Pelly to bring raunchy club to Riviera  standard.co.uk 08 Nov 13 It’s the raunchy club night featuring a burlesque show and scantily clad models that has seen Guy Pelly criticised for bad taste. But far from backing down, Prince William’s best friend has defended the risqué  “Do Not Disturb” night at his Sloane Square club Tonteria, and revealed that he is taking it global. In a series of lucrative global deals, Pelly is taking his “Lesbians and latex” concept to exclusive clubs in Paris, Milan, Monaco and St Tropez next year, starting with Paris’s Sass Café in February. Pelly says it is “actually an entertaining evening and an entertaining show,” adding that he has resisted the temptation to make it more raunchy in its new exotic locations. Joshi Herrmann.

CWC to reconsider Monaco Telecom business after failed bid to sell to Batelco  telegeography.com 08 Nov 13 UK-based Cable & Wireless Communications (CWC) is looking to review its business operations in Monaco after failing to sell its stake in Monaco Telecom to Bahrain Telecommunications Co (Batelco). Caribbean-focused telecommunications company CWC said yesterday it will buy back a quarter of its 55% holding in Monaco Telecom that it sold to Batelco for $100 million this year in what was envisaged to be the first stage of the disposal of its entire holding. ‘Iit was just too complicated,’ CWC’s outgoing chief executive Tony Rice told the news agency, referring to the company’s proposed disposal of its Monaco operation to Batelco.

Cable & Wireless sees revenue in Monaco fall 3% in H1  telecompaper.com 08 Nov 13 Cable & Wireless Monaco saw its overall revenue decrease by 3% year-on-year to $120 million for the six months ended 30 September 2013. The decline was primarily due to a fall in enterprise revenue driven by the sale of Cable & Wireless’ African enterprise business, Afinis, and reduced volumes of transit traffic. Mobile revenue increased by 3% in the first half amounting to $33 million. Broadband & TV revenue was flat year-on-year.

11 million tourist arrivals per year on the Cote d'Azur  tourmag.com 07 Nov 13 Figures released by the regional tourism authority CRT Riviera Cote d'Azur reveal that the Cote d'Azur plays host to 11 million tourists spending €5 billion per year. Depending on the day, there are between 50,000 & 600,000 tourists on the Cote d'Azur with the least in January and the peak during the 15th August bank holiday. Day trippers, including 1 million cruise passengers annually, make up 52% of overnight stays by foreign tourists. Out of the foreign visitors 18.6% are Italian, 18% British & Irish; 8.2% German; 7.3% American and 6.5% Scandinavian. Michel Bovas.

SBM Offshore dismisses chief operating officer  reuters.com 07 Nov 13 SBM Offshore dismissed Chief Operating Officer Jean-Philippe Laures without giving a reason on Thursday. He has been replaced temporarily by Chief Executive Bruno Chabas. The Dutch company (with Monaco offices) main area of business is floating, production, storage and offloading platforms. SBM Offshore has suffered losses of more than $1.4 billion since 2011 on the Yme platform, developed for oil firms Talisman Energy and Lotos off the Norwegian coast. In April, SBM Offshore said it might have violated anti-corruption laws and could be subject to a criminal investigation for alleged payments of bribes to officials in African countries.

Flavio Briatore could create a 'Billionaire' club at the Sanremo Casino  savonanews.it 23 Oct 13 Flavio Briatore is reported by La Stampa newspaper to be looking into opening a new outlet for his Billionaire Club on the roof garden of the Sanremo Casino. Briatore, who is resident in Monaco, visited the Sanremo Casino along with the chairman of the board Marco Cambiaso and the mayor of Sanremo Maurizio Zoccarato. It is hoped that a Billionaire Club will help boost the ailing casino. If the plan goes ahead, the club would open during special events such as the Sanremo Festival in February and during the busy New Year period. The club could be run in tandem with Lucio Presta who already organises special events at the casino.

Microsoft fails to convict Valbonne guru for counterfeiting  nicematin.com 22 Oct 13 Sentenced last week to 15 years jail for the statutory rape of three 15 year old schoolgirls on the Cote d'Azur, Sean O'Neil has been found not guilty of counterfeiting by a court in Caen. Microsoft bought the charges against the 41 year old Australian mathematician, accusing him of cracking the access codes to their Skype software in order to launch a rival Internet telephony system. O'Neil admitted that he had deciphered Skype's algorithms but claimed that its disclosure was the work of a Russian blogger. Nicknamed the Guru of Valbonne, O'Neil has lived on the Cote d'Azur for seven years where he cultivated followers to his sect which included sado-masochistic sexual practices.

Revenue Quebec chasing ex-Montrealer in Monaco for back taxes  torontosun.com 22 Oct 13 Financial authorities in Canada and the U.S. are searching for John Babikian (pic , a mysterious Montreal playboy who amassed a $100-million fortune in a few short years before moving to Monaco. QMI Agency has learned that Revenue Quebec is now chasing the 26-year-old entrepreneur for back taxes. Tax authorities allege $11.5 million in income was hidden from the government between 2008 and 2010. According to documents prepared by BMO legal counsel and obtained by QMI Agency, Babikian entered the business world seven years ago at age 19 and created an Internet advertising firm called JB Marketing that specialized in spam. Jean-Francois Cloutier / QMI Agency.

Banque Populaire is focusing on private banking  efma.com 21 Oct 13 In France, Banque Populaire intends to capitalize on its dominant position in the SME sector to increase its private banking market share. Banque Populaire is therefore revamping 57 of its branches to open dedicated private banking areas. The French bank has also decided to recruit additional staff in this segment. For example, in the Aquitaine Centre Atlantique region, the bank’s private banking team has almost doubled in two years (from 25 to 47). Banque Populaire has 300 000 high net worth customers, who represent 58 billion euros of assets under management.

Luxe Pack Monaco opens its doors this week  premiumbeautynews.com 21 Oct 13 The 26th edition of Luxe Pack Monaco will be held from 23-25 Oct 13 at the Grimaldi Forum. About 400 exhibitors, a figure never reached before, will present their products and innovations in all the fields of high end packaging: glass, plastic, cardboard, metal, but also leather or porcelain. 8% are first time exhibitors. As every year, in parallel to the show, Luxe Pack Monaco offers a program of conferences and animations dedicated to new ideas, thinking, trends and innovation in the sector. This year, Luxe Pack guest of honour is the perfumer Francis Kurkdjian, creator of le Mâle for Jean Paul Gaultier, and of numerous internationally renowned fragrances. The organizers expect more than 7,000 visitors.

Hervé  Falciani's five-year-old revelation continues to vex tax cheats  economist.com 19 Oct 13 What Edward Snowden is to mass surveillance, Hervé Falciani is becoming to private banking. In 2008 the now 41-year-old native of Monaco walked out of the Geneva branch of HSBC, where he had worked for three years, clutching five CD-ROMs containing data on thousands of account holders. The theft lobbed a bomb into Europe’s private-banking market, spawning raids and tax-evasion investigations continent-wide. In the latest, this week, Belgian agents swooped on the homes of 20 HSBC clients, including some with ties to Antwerp diamond dealers. Mr Falciani went on the run when the Swiss charged him with data theft.

Bugatti working on new Monaco showroom  gtspirit.com 19 Oct 13 Bugatti and The Monaco Luxury Group, the French marques official sales partner for the region, have announced a new dealership in the heart of the Principality is in the works. When completed, Bugatti will have 30 dealerships in 18 different countries. Until construction of the new showroom is complete, Bugatti will utilise a temporary facility in Monaco. A total of six staff members will work at the new showroom. Bugatti Automobiles S.A.S management responsible for sales, marketing and custom service Dr Stefan Brungs said, “Like Bugatti, Monaco is exclusive and unique. Due to its wonderful history and unique appeal, this new location is very important to us.”

New bookshop set to open in Monaco  monacolife.net 18 Oct 13 Preparations are underway for the opening of a new independent bookshop next month in La Condamine. It has been many years since Monaco has had a proper English language bookshop. BOMO, the Book Boutique of Monaco, is a venture being undertaken by Siri Khalsa, a young American entrepreneur. She was inspired to open BOMO based on her experience of working at a bookstore in New York.  She hopes BOMO will become a community hub, and is planning to have a busy schedule of literary events, with a special emphasis on reading and writing programs for children. On October 3 the French Parliament passed a bill designed to “restrict predatory behaviour” by online booksellers and help local shops to be price-competitive.

Nice-Matin CEO Frédéric Tourraille leaves over job cuts  france3.fr 17 Oct 13 Dominique Bernard, DG of the Hersant Media Group (GHM), confirmed to AFP the departure of Frédéric Tourraille (pic), the COO of the Nice-Matin Group. Tourraille held the post for seven years. Bernard was not immediately available to explain this departure but it has been reported as being due to a "strategic disagreement" over the implementation of a cost cutting plan. The Nice-Matin group includes the daily newspapers Nice-Matin, Var-Matin, Monaco-Matin, and 50% of Corse-Matin. The group, which is in the red, is in the midst of a restructuring involving 200 job cuts. The majority shareholder hopes to save some €14 million of payroll costs.  Yves Lebaratoux / AFP.

Waterfall Audio appoints Xclusive AV as sole UK distributor of its glass loudspeakers  hiddenwires.com 14 Oct 13 Xclusive Audio Visual is proud to announce its appointment as the sole distributor of Waterfall Audio in the UK. XAV has many years of experience in AV distribution and was formed specifically to distribute the French brand. In the heart of an almost idyllic rural setting at Carces in the South of France, Waterfall Audio manufactures a range of extremely high quality loudspeakers entirely by hand. Glass features heavily in their designs, which have taken many painstaking years of research and development to attain the high standards required by Cedric Aubriot, the Company founder and CEO. Press Release.

French air traffic controllers' strike threatens flight chaos  guardian.co.uk 09 Oct 13 Air travellers face possible delays and cancellations on Thursday due to planned industrial action by French air traffic controllers. The strike will have the biggest impact in southern France but it is expected that all flights over France will be affected. EasyJet said it had been asked by French civil aviation body the DGAC to reduce the number of flights from both Paris Charles de Gaulle and Paris Orly to southern European destinations by 30%. Flights to Basel, Bordeaux, Lyon, Marseilles and Toulouse are also likely to be disrupted. EasyJet said more than 70% of its flights operate through French airspace and there was a risk of cancellation at late notice. Press Association.

Mipcom’s profile rises as TV hits golden age  variety.com 07 Oct 13 The global boom of upscale cast-driven drama has injected some glamour and timeliness into the Cannes-set Mipcom confab, turning it into a one-stop-launchpad for top sales companies. Mipcom welcomes more than 13,000 participants, including 4,500 buyers — a 6% year-on rise through Thursday. The sheer number of bigscreen talent and creatives who have made the trip to Cannes to promote their shows reflects the convergence of film and TV, and the bigger emphasis placed on international. The world-preem of Shine Intl.-repped “The Tunnel” kicks off the market today with thesps Clemence Poesy (pic) and Stephen Dillane in attendance. Elsa Keslassy.

Monarch relaunch Nice - London Gatwick in May 2014  routes-news.com 04 Oct 13 Monarch has announced a number of new destinations, while existing destinations will be served from more airports. The established Birmingham-Nice route will be complemented by a five-times-a-week service (Thursday to Monday) to the French Riviera from London Gatwick. The re-launched Nice - Gatwick service is set to commence on 01 May 14. Kevin George, managing director, commented: “These new destinations offer a wider range of quality, service and value and I am certain they will become established favourites with our passengers.” Caroline Cook.

Air France to shed 104 jobs in Nice next year  france3.fr 03 Oct 13 Air France management have announced the elimination of 2,800 jobs in 2014 as part of a new restructuring plan aimed at turning around the group and reducing overstaffing. 350 pilots, 700 flight attendants and 1700-1800 ground staff are at risk of losing their jobs. The cuts come after 5,122 jobs being axed between 2012 and the end of 2013. 104 jobs could be lost at Air France's Nice hub and 188 in Marseilles. Air France management will meet with unions representing workers on Friday to discuss the new restructuring plan. Ongoing restructuring has cut losses at the airline. Between April & June this year net losses reported by Air France - KLM were reduced to €163 million. V.K./AFP.

Ryanair found guilty in France of avoiding payroll taxes  euronews.com 03 Oct 13 Ireland’s pioneering low-cost airline Ryanair has been found guilty of breaking French labour laws and ordered by a court in Aix-en-Provence to pay more than €9 millions in fines and back payments. Ryanair insists that its employees are liable only for Ireland’s lower payroll taxes because they are only on French soil momentarily. Now the French have hit the airline for unpaid national insurance contributions. The decision could have repercussions, as many French and European regional airports pay Ryanair to bring its business their way. A lawyer for the French pilots’ union says anyone paying subsidies to Ryanair will now be aware they are supporting an illegal activity, and could face legal challenges.

French court rejects second parole bid by Kazakh oligarch Ablyazov  rfi.fr 03 Oct 13 A French court has rejected a second appeal for release on parole by Kazakh oligarch Mukhtar Ablyazov, who was arrested in a spectacular raid on his Riviera villa in July. Ablyazov faces an extradition request from Ukraine but claims Kazakhstan's President Nursultan Nazarbayev is behind a campaign of politically motivated harassment. The court in Aix-en-Provence rejected the appeal on the grounds that Ablyazov had provided insufficient guarantees that he would appear at his extradition hearing on 5 December. Kazakhstan's BTA bank, which Ablyazov used to head, accuses him of embezzling more than €4 billion.

No decision on IBM move from La Gaude  nicematin.com 30 Sep 13 No decision has been taken by IBM’s management about a possible move from its existing base in La Gaude to the new Meridia eco business park in west Nice. The CGT Union are against the move, claiming that IBM could use the move to downsize and shed jobs and pointed out the lower costs of staying in La Gaude. The Nice Matin newspaper reports that a decision by IBM management, that was due Monday, may be deferred until after a review set for 22 Oct 13. La Gaude’s mayor Michel Meini, in an attempt to keep IBM in his commune, has negotiated a lower rent with IBM and is offering additional incentives.

Monaco’s industry going up a level  euronews.com 30 Sep 13 In Monaco not everything is luxury, quietness, and pleasure, to quote French poet Charles Baudelaire. More than 5,000 companies are crammed onto the rock. Among them 111 manufacturing companies, bringing with them 3,000 jobs. Pharmaceuticals, cars, high tech or designer clothes, the principality is also a state which makes. “Industry itself accounts for around 6 percent of GDP, whereas housing counts for 9 percent and financial services around 15 percent,” notes Jean Castellini, Monaco’s Finance and Economy Minister. Jean Castellini explains that there are no direct tax advantages to locating business in Monaco: “The tax on businesses is not particularly attractive in Monaco since it’s a French rate. It’s 33.3 percent. So we can’t have any fiscal dumping.” As well as cut price rent on buildings, the state provides money for training and research. Philippe Prud’Homme is fighting for the creation of a clearly made in Monaco label, to let the world know that the country is not just made of money.

Monaco and Kazakhstan sign over $73 mln worth of deals  rimesca.com 28 Sep 13 The Monaco-Kazakhstan Business Forum was held in the Principality of Monaco within the framework of President Nazarbayev's visit to Monte Carlo on Friday. Government officials and business elite of Kazakhstan and Monaco were in attendance. The sides signed the Agreement on establishment of the Business Council of Kazakhstan and Monaco and a number of bilateral documents. According to the National Agency For Export and Investments - Kaznex Invest, Kazakhstan and Monaco inked deals worth more than $73 million. TCA.

Monaco launches the next phase of international PR Campaign  RLTV 24 Sep 13 Following on from the first wave of a PR campaign aimed at changing perceptions about the Principality of Monaco, a second wave has been launched including a series of paid advertorial video reports on the Euronews channel. The first wave two years ago included an advertising campaign in financial publications, including the Financial Times, with the aim of changing the perception of Monaco as an offshore haven for tax evasion. In the year that the Société des Bains de Mer (SBM) are celebrating their 150th anniversary, the latest phase focuses on Monaco as a tourist destination. The campaign was given a major boost by Monaco featuring in a recent storyline on the US daytime soap The Bold & The Beautiful which amounted to a travelogue feature. A series of video reports on the Monaco government's website also promotes Monaco's rich culture, new technology and humanitarian aid efforts. Another Euronews report looks at property development and the challenge of Monaco's restricted area (see our property section). The Monaco Tourist Authority has also launched a new campaign seeking to change the way in which buyers perceive the Principality targeting European organisers. MD.

iQsim.com launch discount offer on bulk SMS solutions  sbwire.com 24 Sep 13 Bulk SMS Solutions and Mobile Termination provider, Sophia Antipolis based iQsim.com announce an upcoming discount offer on one of their most popular services. iQsim’s offer is designed to satisfy the ever growing need of mobile operators. iQsim bulk SMS solutions are usually implemented with the company’s flagship IRON Suite and IRON SIM Server One (the first standalone Call and SMS Termination solution available online). Founded in April 2009 by former QuesCom employees, iQsim is a French Telecom Company that strives to design innovative products and appliances for the Telecommunication Industry. Press Release.

Aéroports de la Côte d’Azur unveils extensive Nice overhaul  moodiereport.com 16 Sep 13 Aéroports de la Côte d’Azur (ACA) has revealed plans to renovate and extend both terminals at Nice Airport. The first project is the complete revamp of Terminal 1, which will see its commercial space doubled from just over 4,700sq m to 9,100sq m.The first phase of the overhaul will begin in October, with the main work scheduled for 2015. The group is aiming for 90% completion by the summer of 2016. The second project is the re-development of Terminal 2, scheduled for completion by 2017. The extension will add a capacity of four million passengers to the location.

Senegal ex-president's son paid £127m into Monaco bank accounts  theguardian.com 13 Sep 13 The son of Senegal's former president deposited more than £127m at a bank in Monaco while his father was in office. Authorities in Monaco said Karim Wade placed the money in accounts at the Julius Baer bank between 2002 and 2013. They are co-operating with Senegalese officials who are prosecuting Wade on charges of illicit enrichment following an investigation into how he amassed a fortune of more than $1.3bn during the period when his father, Abdoulaye Wade (pic), was president. A widely despised figure, Wade held powerful ministerial positions including being in charge of major infrastructure and energy projects. Afua Hirsch.

Monaco’s exclusive Sass Café coming to Dubai  arabianbusiness.com 04 Sep 13 An exclusive luxury nightspot known for attracting the elite of Europe is set to open a branch in Dubai. Based on Monte Carlo's Avenue Princess Grace, Sass Café has been making headlines since U2's Bono chose to celebrate his 48th birthday at the restaurant-bar in 2008. His guest list included Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie and Prince Albert II. Renowned as a hangout for celebrities, jetsetters and international moneymen, Sass Café has fittingly chosen another tax free haven for its first venture outside Monaco. We're predicting the venue will fit snugly into Dubai's nightlife scene when it opens the doors of its new DIFC venue later this year. Rob Garratt.

France blacklists ‘tax havens’  compasscayman.com 04 Sep 13 France has named Bermuda, the British Virgin Islands and Jersey in its official list of “uncooperative tax havens,” despite all three jurisdictions having signed tax information exchange agreements with the European country. The French government last week published its updated list of what it considers uncooperative tax havens with regard to transparency and information exchange in tax matters in Journal Officiel, France’s version of government gazettes. French tax laws apply extreme withholding tax rates of 75 percent on all capital flows from France to countries that are deemed uncooperative. Michael Klein.

Executive who stole £230,000 from Scorpio Tankers jailed  dailymail.co.uk 03 Sep 13 An oil executive hooked on gambling websites lost nearly £250,000 she had stolen from her employer as she tried to fund fertility treatment. Shelly Reilly, 41, used company credit cards to indulge in late night betting sprees on websites 888 and Jackpot Joy. The director at Monaco-based oil brokers Scorpio UK was addicted to the sites and desperately wanted to have a baby. She stole £231,000 during a ten-month scam that began after her gambling spiralled out of control and left her swimming in debt. Sentencing her to 18 months, Judge David Higgins said her behaviour was ‘deplorable and deeply anti-social’ but her case was ultimately ‘tragic’. Chris Greenwood.

Thales is manufacturing Monacosat in Cannes  montecarlonews.it 03 Sep 13 Monaco government officials visited the Thales plant in Cannes where the Monacosat satellite is being made. Minister of state Michel Roger lead the contingent. Monacosat is set to launch next year and will take up the orbital position that belongs to Monaco in November 2014. In August 2010 an agreement was signed for the use of frequencies in the orbital position 52° East between SSI Monaco SAM and the Monaco government. In 2011, another contract was signed by SSI with the government of Turkmenistan agreeing the partial use of the satellite for Turkmen telecommuncations.

PACA region summer tourism saved by August peak   hauteprovenceinfo.com 30 Aug 13 The PACA Regional Tourism Committee presents a mixed picture of tourism this summer, although the numbers picked up in August. Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur remained the No. 1 tourist region of France. 110 million overnight stays were recorded this summer. "In this economic climate the French go on vacation less, or for less time, and make tradeoffs in their spending," said Pierre Meffre, president of the PACA Regional Tourism Committee. The numbers: Summer: 110 million nights or 50% of annual tourists; 1.8 million tourists present on average per day in the region; Peak attendance Thur Aug 15 with about 3 million tourists present; €6 billion of revenue related to tourism spending locally; Average per day and per person expenditure was €58; Average Budget for a group/family of 4 is € 2,000; 163,000 tourism jobs in the middle of summer or 8% of total employment; 11% of the regional GDP (over the year).

'LVMH city': St Tropez residents fear town is being turned into giant boutique  telegraph.co.uk 23 Aug 13 For decades, St Tropez has offered a heady mix of simple, traditional fishing port and sophisticated glamour. But that delicate balance is in danger of imploding because Bernard Arnault, France's richest man is turning the port into a glitzy showcase for his luxury boutiques, defenders of the famed Riviera village have warned. Mr Arnault is head of LVMH, the world's largest luxury group. France's "king of luxury" has spent two decades swallowing grand, family-owned brands. Now he has turned his attention to the Riviera, showcasing his wares for the super rich who moor their mega-yachts off the coast or squeeze them into its old port. Henry Samuel.

Russia requests extradition of Kazakh tycoon banker  themoscowtimes.net 22 Aug 13 Russia has asked France to extradite Kazakh oligarch banker Mukhtar Ablyazov, accused of embezzling up to $6 billion from his former bank BTA. Ablyazov, 50, who had been in hiding since being handed a jail sentence for contempt of court by a British judge 18 months ago, was arrested near the Riviera resort of Cannes in July and has been in custody since. Russia, Kazakhstan and Ukraine brought charges against Ablyazov in 2009 after BTA, the bank he once controlled, was seized by Kazakh authorities and declared insolvent. Ablyazov has denied the charges that he says were fabricated by Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev to silence him as a political opponent. Reuters.

Nice and Cannes most popular destination for private jet charters  sourcewire.com 21 Aug 13 According to private jet charter operators London Executive Aviation (LEA), one of Europe’s largest private jet charter operators, Nice and Cannes are the most popular destinations once again this year. LEA’s list of top ten summer destinations 2013 shows that the über-wealthy are not only succumbing to the heady delights of the Côte d’Azur, the Balearic Islands and southernmost Portugal and Italy, but also dipping their pedicured toes into the eastern Adriatic and the Aegean. As in previous years, the French Riviera remains the most popular destination for well-heeled vacationers. Press Release.

JFK's French Riviera fragrance goes back on sale  telegraph.co.uk 19 Aug 13 John F Kennedy's favourite fragrance, Eight & Bob , is back on sale. Whilst touring the French Riviera in his convertible as a college student in 1937, Kennedy met a young Albert Fouquet (pic) - who liked to dabble in perfume making. Kennedy showed such enthusiasm for the way the French man smelt, that Fouquet later delivered a bottle of the scent to his hotel lobby. Back in the States, Kennedy wrote to Fouquet asking him for eight more bottles - "and if your production allows, another one for Bob," his brother. Fouquet sent the order to Kennedy labelling both the bottles and boxes, 'Eight & Bob.' Tragically Fouquet was killed in 1939 in a car accident. Katy Young.

Barclays returns to Monaco for Golf Trophy event  citimagazine.com 15 Aug 13 The second Barclays Monaco Golf Trophy event was held at the Monte Carlo Golf Club (MCGC) in France. This event offers Barclays' private bankers from across the EMEA region the opportunity to strengthen relationships with existing key clients in an informal and competitive setting. The MCGC was an obvious choice for the client - the Barclays office hosting the event is based in Monaco and the bank had previously used the venue in 2011. "What made the difference in selecting the MCGC again was working with a venue that allowed us to organise an excellent event at a sensible cost," says Lorenzo Turco, Assistant VP, Marketing, Wealth and Management. Press Release.

New whisky event in Monte Carlo aimed at investors  harpers.co.uk 14 Aug 13 Whisky expert Charles MacLean is to head up an exclusive three-day whisky event in Monte Carlo aimed at investors, collectors and connoisseurs, and 50 golden tickets, priced €5,000 each, will give holders access to whiskies said to have a collective value of €500,000. MacLean who appeared in Ken Loach's film The Angel's Share, said: "It is shamelessly exclusive! It will be lead by five of the most experienced blenders and best respected brand ambassadors at the absolute top of their trade. They are bringing whiskies that you will never have a chance to taste anywhere else because they are either so expensive or already sold out." Lucy Britner.

HSBC to keep Monaco Private Bank following approaches for unit  bloomberg.com 11 Jul 13 HSBC Holdings Plc, Europe’s largest bank, said it will keep its Monaco private bank after reviewing interest to buy the unit. HSBC is committed to global private banking as one of its four businesses, the London-based bank said today in a statement. A unit of Safra Group approached HSBC to buy the Monaco unit, which the Safra family once owned, three people familiar with the matter said last month. The Monaco unit may be valued at $600 to $700 million, one of the people said, asking not to be identified as the details are private. HSBC also made informal approaches to potential buyers for parts of its Swiss private bank, one of the people said. Howard Mustoe.

Arnaud Montebourg in Sophia Antipolis Monday to talk about Texas Instruments  nicematin.fr 11 Jul 13 Arnaud Montebourg, Minister of Productive Recovery, will be in the Alpes-Maritimes Monday to discuss the future job prospects for Texas Instruments employees. The site in Villeneuve-Loubet will close its doors and over 500 jobs will be lost. The Minister will be hosted by Valbonne mayor Marc Daunis, in the premises of Intel France in Sophia-Antipolis. At 15.30, a round table will be organised to present projects to develop technology, in the presence of Jean Leonetti, mayor of Antibes, Claude Giaferri , President of Amadeus, and Gérard Giraudon, president of Executives Club, Business Pôle.

Sophia Antipolis: Galderma R&D expands it centre by over 4,000m²  investincotedazur.com 04 Jul 13 Dermatology company Galderma R&D has bought 19,000 m2 of land alongside its current site in Sophia Antipolis to build a new laboratory facility. The land was purchased from SYMISA (a Sophia Antipolis-based public-private partnership). The new 4,300 m2 building will add to the existing 20,000 m2 opened in 2006. This expansion is in preparation for future innovations in the field of chronic skin diseases. Over the next six years, the company is planning to recruit around one hundred scientists. Galderma currently has just over 500 employees in Sophia.

Monaco, between the real economy and a tax haven black list  worldcrunch.com 26 Jun 13 Since Monaco suffers from lack of space to accommodate new manufacturing companies, its goal is to attract “smart” companies. Until 2010, the principality was on the OECD’s “non-cooperative” tax havens list, and it is having a hard time getting rid of this image. But the new image of Monaco is still clouded by its very attractive financial legislation. The principality has also been trying to erase its image as a golden ghetto for rich tax evaders by promoting its real industries. In Monaco, there are no “mailbox” companies. Each new company has to go through a rigourous process to be authorized. Nathalie Silbert.

Nice Cote d'Azur region taps IBM to help build a smarter city  wsj.com 18 Jun 13 IBM and the Nice Cote d'Azur region of France, announced a €4 million agreement to build a new information infrastructure to help the city in its efforts to become a more intelligent, sustainable city. IBM also underscored its ongoing commitment in the region. Through better use of data and information sharing, as well as a new research and development project, the City plans to put in place the technical foundation to improve mobility and transportation, environmental quality, energy efficiency and reduce risk. The area is one of 13 EcoCite' zones designated by the French government, an area dedicated to eco-friendly urban planning. Press Release.

Terre Blanche Hotel Spa & Golf Resort re-launches  incentivetravel.co.uk 13 Jun 13 Following an exit from Four Seasons management at the end of 2012 Terre Blanche has re-launched with new, unique services and facilities for its guests. The 750-acre luxury resort is embracing its independence and five-star offering with refined hospitality rooted in authenticity and nature. The all-suite and villa resort, which has become a member of ‘The Leading Hotels of the World’, has 115 spacious suites and villas ranging in size from 646 square feet to 3,229 square feet (with private pool and jacuzzi). New in-room amenities have been created exclusively by Fragonard. Press Release.

UBP snaps up Lloyds international private banking arm  reuters.com 29 May 13 Union Bancaire Privee (UBP) is buying Lloyds Banking Group Plc's international private banking arm, as the bailed-out British lender focuses on its domestic market and the Swiss wealth manager builds on a recent acquisition spree. Lloyds, 39% owned by British taxpayers, said the sale fitted its strategy to simplify its business. The business being sold has assets under management of 7.2 billion pounds, 500 staff and branches in Geneva, Zurich, Monaco and Gibraltar. The bank's private banking operations in Britain were not included in the sale. Lloyds said it would receive 100 million pounds for the business, comprising an initial 65 million followed by a further 35 million depending on performance in the next two years. Martin de Sa'Pinto & Matt Scuffham.

Aigle Azur suspend Nice -Moscow and Nice - Orly  air-journal.fr 30 May 13 The French airline Aigle Azur have suspended the planned launch this Friday 31 May 13 of its new routes between Nice, Moscow and Paris because of insufficient demand. In a statement the company announced "its decision to suspend the launch of the seasonal service in partnership with Transaero Airlines." The decision by Aigle Azur is "motivated by several factors, including a significant increase in capacity on the Nice-Moscow route during the summer resulting in a significant drop in prices." Aigle Azur stresses that this "does not call into question the long-term commitment of the French company to the Russian market." François Duclos.

IKOS boss wins UK court victory to protect trading software  financialmirror.com 23 May 13 A UK High Court has given a decisive victory to IKOS against Martin Coward, a former director, by affirming the company’s ownership of its quantitative analysis software, and rejecting Coward’s claims to it. The court also ruled that Coward had no right to take copies of IKOS’ software. He has already admitted to covertly making a copy of the software in Nov 09 which he took to Monaco. Officials in Monaco have launched criminal investigations into Coward’s actions. This outcome is a resounding success for IKOS and its CEO, Elena Ambrosiadou (pic), who has long advocated improvements in European Intellectual Property protection laws.

Monaco Banks for sale - A turning point in banking in the Principality  monacolife.net 23 May 13 Behind the scenes negotiations are continuing for the sale of several banks in the Principality, with the disposal of HSBC the most prominent. Unconfirmed reports from within the banking sector have suggested that Banque Safra is the favourite suitor. Negotiations had been well-advanced, but have foundered. Swiss bank UBS has been reported to be in the running to take over the Lloyds operation in Monaco. Meanwhile, a smaller bank, Banque Pasche, is negotiating the sale of its assets. A banking industry source told Monaco Today that the current spate of sales represents "a turning point. Monaco is becoming more of a financial centre, along the lines of Hong Kong and Singapore, with competitive fees and services," he said. Ian Brodie.

Claudia Venturini appointed Director of Sales & Marketing at Hotel Metropole Monte-Carlo  hospitalitynet.org 23 May 13 Hotel Métropole Monte-Carlo has announced the appointment of Claudia Venturini as Director of Sales & Marketing. A native from Luxemburg, Claudia Venturini completed her education in Hotel Management at Ceria-Ipiat in Brussels before starting an international career, where she worked in the Middle East and Africa. Claudia had previously worked in five-star hotels including The Intercontinental in Luxemburg, Berlin, Brussels and Beirut, The Ritz Carlton Sharm El Sheikh as well as the Fairmont Hotels & Resorts in Cairo. In 2012, Claudia moved to the south of France where she set up as a Sales & Marketing Consultant.

C&W grows less confident over sale of Monaco business  reuters.com 22 May 13 Cable & Wireless Communications said gaining government approval for the disposal of its Monaco business was proving more problematic than expected, but it had options available if the sale to Bahrain's Batelco fails. Finance Director Tim Pennington said the company knew that getting approval for the Monaco sale would be complicated and had given itself until 2014 to see it through. C&W already sold a 25% stake in Compagnie Monegasque de Communication, which in turns owns 55% of Monaco Telecom, to Batelco, with an option for Batelco to buy the other 75%. But it needs consent from the Principality of Monaco, which is co-owner of Monaco Telecom, for that deal to go ahead. If it does not consent, Batelco can sell its 25% back to C&W. Analysts at Jefferies said CWC would receive $445 million from Batelco in two stages if the deal goes ahead. Paul Sandle. (C& W’s Monaco business generates $236m a year in revenues. Ed.)

New Trader at Dan-Bunkering in Monaco  shipandbunker.com 21 May 13 A/S Dan-Bunkering Ltd. (Dan-Bunkering) today announced it has hired a new trader based at its offices in Monaco. Nicolai Baden has more than 12 years of experience within agency, vessel operation, and bunker trading, and joined Dan-Bunkering (Monaco) S.A.M. effective May 6, 2013, the company said in the emailed press release. "Nicolai is a person who is very focused on providing a highly dedicated and personalized level of service," said Managing Director of Dan-Bunkering (Monaco) S.A.M., Jesper Møller Christensen.

Time running out for tax evaders as deal brokered with non-EU states  irishexaminer.com 15 May 13 The opportunity for people to evade paying billions of euro in tax will be considerably reduced after a breakthrough by (Irish) Finance Minister Michael Noonan that will see agreements brokered with five non-EU tax havens. While Austria and Luxembourg still refuse to share information on who has savings in their banks, their prime ministers are set to reverse this when EU leaders meet next week. The European Commission will now negotiate stronger savings tax agreements with Switzerland, San Marino, Andorra, Liechtenstein, and Monaco. Until now they have had the option of transferring a sum in lieu of tax to the country where the bank account holder lives on an anonymous basis. Ann Cahill.

HSBC says may sell Monaco private banking business  reuters.com 14 May 13 Europe's largest bank HSBC said it may sell its private banking business in Monaco as part of an ongoing strategic review. It had received "unsolicited expressions of interest" for the unit, it said in a statement on Tuesday. HSBC has closed or sold more than 50 businesses since 2011 and is due to give a strategy update for investors on Wednesday. HSBC will redouble cost-cutting efforts, including axing up to 14,000 more jobs, but Europe's largest bank was forced to soften a key performance target in the face of muted revenue. London-headquartered HSBC is seeking up to $3 billion in additional annual savings by 2016, on top of $4 billion already achieved. Rosalba O'Brien.

GOWEX and the city of Nice sign an agreement for a new free WiFi service  otcmarkets.com 14 May 13 The city council of Nice and GOWEX, a leading company in the creation of Wireless Smart Cities and Intelligent WiFi Transport, announced today an agreement that will allow people in Nice to enjoy a new free WiFi service that will be available in some of the city’s major public areas. Approximately four million tourists who visit the city every year will be able to enjoy access to this free WiFi  during their stay. During the initial stage, users will be able to surf  the net for free outside, near the sea area of the city (specifically on the Cours Saleya and Place du Palais) with new areas being added progressively to the WiFi service. Press Release.

John Galvani appointed SBM Director of Casinos  lhotellerie-restauration.fr 10 May 13 A British casino professional, John Galvani has been appointed director of Casinos of the Société des Bains de Mer. He will oversee all gaming activities and the development of casinos and will commence his new duties in late June 2013. SBM revenues from gambling have plummeted 40% over the past five years mainly due to a drop in clients from Italy. John Galvani, 55, has spent his career with two major international groups, London Club International and Kerzner International, where he held various positions including leading casinos in Cannes, London, Birmingham, Lebanon and Morocco.

Pierre Casiraghi debuts as model for Berluti re-launch  RLTV 10 May 13 Pierre Casiraghi makes his modeling debut in a new ad campaign for the Paris based fashion house Berluti, founded by the Italian bootmaker Alessandro Berluti in 1895. It was acquired by the LVMH group in 1993. The fashion shoot overlooks the Port of Monaco with the Palace in the background. The campaign also stars British actor Jeremy Irons. The 64-year-old reads a newspaper in a private members' club in London. Berluti was recently re-launched with Alessandro Sartori as the creative director. According to a statement, the label aims to 'rediscover the points of origin of the gentlemanly style'. Source: Hello Magazine (Rewritten correcting errors. Ed.)

Low Turnout for Monte Carlo EPT Grand Final  pokerfuse.com 09 May 13 The European Poker Tour (EPT) Grand Final in Monaco always provides a spectacular end to the series, but this year entries are down 20%. Just 531 players registered compared to last year’s 665. The event’s popularity hit a peak in 2009 with 935 players and slumped, not unexpectedly, post Black Friday. But even against the background of a European debt crisis, the fall in numbers this year is harder to explain. The event has been heavily promoted on PokerStars, which owns the EPT through its parent The Rational Group, and the usual celebrity players are there, including Phil Ivey, Phil Helmuth, Daniel Negreanu, Gus Hansen as well as current Global Poker Index (GPI) leader, Marvin “MadMarvin” Guido Rettenmaier. Jocelyn Wood.

Monaco to launch legal action to settle €200 million FFF dispute  yahoo.com 05 May 13 Monaco have confirmed they will take legal action against the French Football Federation (FFF) and Professional Football League (LFP) after claims that FFF president Noel Le Graet demanded a payment of €200 million to settle a dispute over relocating the club. The Ligue 2 side is currently locked in confrontation with the LFP, which insists the club must relocate its headquarters from the principality to France in order to be allowed to compete in Ligue 1 next season. The dispute arose as the nation's professional football clubs feel that Claudio Ranieri's men have an unfair advantage at present over their rivals as they enjoy tax-free status in the principality. Joe Wright.

France 'to enter recession' as eurozone growth slows  bbc.co.uk 03 May 13 The eurozone economy will shrink more than expected this year with France sliding into recession, according to a gloomy European Commission report. The Commission forecast says euro-area growth will shrink by 0.4% this year, down from 0.3% forecast in February. France will go into recession this year with negative growth of 0.1% and unemployment rising to 10.9% in 2014 from 10.6% this year. On Thursday, the European Central Bank cut interest rates on growth worries.

French tax probe targets HSBC -prosecutor  lse.co.uk 23 Apr 13 France has opened a probe into whether British bank HSBC offered illicit products to help French clients avoid tax in Switzerland, the prosecutor's office said on Tuesday. The investigation is based on a list of French clients at HSBC's Swiss unit obtained in 2009, the prosecutor's office said. A spokeswoman for HSBC declined to comment. Reuters.

Deutsche Bank margin call on Vik sparks $2.5 billion dispute  ctpost.com 22 Apr 13 Alexander Vik went to Deutsche Bank's London office in October 2008 to meet account managers who congratulated the Norwegian entrepreneur on how well his Sebastian Holdings investment fund was doing. Vik said in a 2006 interview that he operated the fund from Monaco. Within a month, as global markets tumbled into crisis, the same bankers demanded about $530 million against the fund's currency bets and began to liquidate its positions. Vik, 58, will argue at a 12-week trial that started Monday in London that the bank's actions resulted in losses and missed profits totaling about $2.5 billion. Bloomberg.

Unions claim IBM wants to eliminate 1,400 jobs in France by 2014  francetvinfo.fr 18 Apr 13 The U.S. computer giant IBM will present a plan for job reductions in France next week, according to unions. "Management will remove between 1,200 and 1,400 jobs over two years ," said Gérard Chameau, IBM CFDT delegate on Thursday. The company has over 9,700 employees in France. The job cuts are expected to be spread over 2013 and 2014. The IT group could resort to a voluntary redundancy plan. "We lose about 500 people per year," says UNSA delegate, Pierry Poquet. The announcement comes amid several suicides by IBM worjers in recent months. France 3 Riviera reported that workers at IBM’s La Gaude  were "in a state of complete isolation.

"Potential illegal activity" at BNP Paribas Private Bank in Monaco  thepost.co.za 17 Apr 13 French bank BNP Paribas exercised poor controls over “high-risk” African clients and potentially illicit activity at its private bank in Monaco, according to an internal report seen by Reuters. News of the confidential report, handed to top managers in October, 2011, comes as regulators across the world crack down on money laundering and tax evasion. BNP, France's biggest bank by market value, has since closed the “few dozen” accounts involved and toughened risk controls to avoid “irregularities” in the future, a spokeswoman said. The report alleges that “many” Madagascar residents seek to escape foreign-exchange regulations by accepting or exchanging euro-denominated cheques in lieu of local currency, building up an illicit money chain of cheques that passes back through Europe. The inquiry analysed the activity of dozens of Madagascar accounts at BNP's private bank in Monaco between January 2008 and July 2011 and found high cheque volumes. One account, belonging to a freelance salesman for the bank, received approximately 10 million euros ($13.1 million) via hundreds of cheques and passed the money to other accounts at BNP or to other banks in countries such as Switzerland, Belgium and China. Reuters.

Claudio Ceccherelli appointed at General Manager of Grand Hyatt Cannes Hotel Martinez  incentivetravel.co.uk 17 Apr 13 Hyatt Hotels & Resorts has announced the appointment of Claudio Ceccherelli as General Manager of Grand Hyatt Cannes Hotel Martinez. In this new position, Claudio Ceccherelli will oversee the transition of the Hotel Martinez into the Grand Hyatt Cannes Hotel Martinez. He was formerly the Manager of the Hotel de Paris in Montecarlo and, under his tenure, the hotel was ranked the No. 1 foreign resort by Condè Nast Traveler 1995. During his 30 years in the hospitality business, Mr Ceccherelli has been awarded Best General Manager in Italy in 1999; nominated for Top General Manager in 2008; and awarded Hotelier of the Year in 2010.

Norwegian Air opens Gatwick – Nice route  travel-news.co.uk 17 Apr 13 Norwegian Air Shuttle, a Norway-based low-cost air carrier, is launching 12 new routes this month, centered on UK’s Gatwick airport. In an attempt to take on existing budget giants Ryanair, easyjet and Thomson, the Nordic carrier intends to cash in on the British summer holiday trade by operating routes to southern Europe and the Adriatic. The destinations that Norwegian will serve from Gatwick include the three main Canary Islands; Mallorca; Malaga, Alicante, Barcelona, Faro, Dubrovnik, Split in Croatia, Rome and Nice on the French Riviera as well as Tromso in Norway’s far north. Founded in 1993, Norwegian is now considered to be the second largest airline in Scandinavia.

Events crew specialist Gallowglass moves into Monaco  eventmagazine.co.uk 15 Apr 13 Event crewing company Gallowglass is expanding its European operations by opening two new offices in Paris and Monaco. Gallowglass was set up in 1996, opening its first French base in Nice seven years ago. The latest move was in response to a consistent workload in Paris and the Côte D’Azur, where Gallowglass supplies the Grimaldi Forum in Monaco. Nick Grecian, managing director, said: "Since 2005, our Côte d’Azur activity has enjoyed solid growth so it was a natural progression to establish a permanent presence in Monaco as well." The Monaco office will be working for Les Ballets de Monte Carlo and the Cannes Film Festival. Georgina Cotton.

Prince Albert expects AS Monaco to avoid proposed tax change  sportsmole.co.uk 15 Apr 13 Prince Albert of Monaco is confident that AS Monaco will avoid a proposed tax change with regards to foreign players. The French outfit have had a law in place since 1869 claiming that a foreign player does not need to pay income tax, allowing the club to offer an increased salary. The administrative council of the French league called for Monaco to begin obeying by the same laws as their fellow clubs, which prompted the Ligue 2 leaders to lodge an appeal to the French Football Federation. "We will fight all the way against this decision... (it) is not yet definitive and we are appealing. I think we have a case to argue," Prince Albert told La Parisien. Danielle Joynson.

US expatriates plead for relief from IRS  thehill.com 11 Apr 13 Lawmakers in Congress who are eyeing a rewrite of the tax code are getting an earful from Americans abroad who want relief from double taxation and time-consuming paperwork. Letters are pouring in to the House Ways and Means Committee from as far away as Australia, Germany and Bahrain from citizens who say the IRS inflicts a particularly cruel form of punishment on them for living abroad. “For the simple tax situation of one wage and some interest income, my 2012 U.S. tax return, with supporting documentation, is 28 pages!” an American living in Australia wrote to the House committee. The group American Citizens Abroad, which is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, is organizing the letter-writing campaign in a bid to change how U.S. expatriates are taxed. Kevin Bogardus & Bernie Becker.

Police raid UK premises of Monaco businessman Craig Whyte  heraldscotland.com 10 Apr 12 Police have carried out a series of raids on domestic and business premises in Scotland and England  over the purchase of Rangers Football Club by Craig Whyte from Sir David Murray. Last June, a criminal inquiry was launched into Whyte's takeover. Earlier today, Ticketus confirmed that Whyte had lost a £17.7million court case with the company. The London firm handed Whyte the sum as part of a ticket-purchase agreement struck in May 2011 and it was subsequently used in the Monaco based businessman's deal to buy the Ibrox outfit. But Whyte, 42, failed to disclose that he has been previously banned from serving as a director. He has been ordered pay back the money.

Martinez renamed Grand Hyatt Hotel Martinez Cannes  tourmag.com 09 Apr 13 Acquired in 2012 by a Qatari group, like its neighbour the Carlton, another mythical palace hotel on Cannes' La Croisette has changed its name. Now owned by Constellation Hotels Holding Ltd, the Martinez has been rebaptised the Grand Hyatt Hotel Martinez Cannes. Fortunately the Martinez name will not be erased but will co-exist with the famous international Hyatt brand. The new sign will be affixed in May 2013, just days before the opening of the film festival announces Claudio Ceccherelli, the new director of the institution created in 1929 by the Martinez family. Michel Bovas.

AC Hotels by Marriott opens new hotel in Nice  incentivetravel.co.uk 09 Apr 13 Marriott International has continued the expansion of its joint venture with AC Hotels with the opening of the AC Hotel Nice. The AC Hotels by Marriott brand launched in 2011 and now offers over 80 hotels across Europe. After an extensive renovation, the AC Hotel Nice opened on 01 Apr 13. The 143-room downtown hotel overlooks the Mediterranean Sea just steps from Promenade des Anglais.  Standout hotel features include a panoramic terrace with heated swimming pool and a relaxing hotel Zen garden. The AC Hotel Nice is the second AC Hotel by Marriott hotel to open in France joining the AC Hotel Ambassadeur Antibes-Juan Les Pins, which opened last summer.

France Extends Competitiveness Tax Break  tax-news.com 09 Apr 13 The French Finance Ministry has unveiled plans to extend the pre-financing mechanism for the new tax credit for competitiveness and employment (CICE) to the smallest companies in France. Given the success of the scheme so far, the Government plans to make pre-finance available to all businesses, irrespective of their size, directly from public bank Oséo, from April 5, 2013. Oséo is the future financing arm of the country's public investment bank (BPI France). Until now, only companies entitled to a CICE tax credit in excess of EUR25,000 have been allowed to access pre-finance directly from Oséo. Smaller businesses, or companies entitled to a lesser CICE tax credit, were initially to receive pre-finance from the country’s commercial banks, with a guarantee from Oséo. Ulrika Lomas.

Cannes flooded with TV and digital buyers for MipTV  bizjournals.com 08 Apr 13 MipTV, the Cannes-based TV market, is underway. The 50-year-old mart focuses on the buying and selling of television and online content. Almost 15,000 executives descend on the French Riviera today to do deals and talk the future of TV. According to Variety, upward toward 11,000 execs from 100 countries and 4,000 buyers registered for MipTV, about equal with the numbers from 2012. And now that digital has become a major player for content, MipTV expects 800 reps from VOD platforms to attend, up 30 percent from 2012. Gina Hall.

Agent Provocateur lingerie boutique arrives in Cannes  ladepeche.fr 08 Apr 13 The first French store of the British lingerie brand Agent Provocateur will open in Cannes on May 17. Agent Provocateur have set their French debut during the Film Festival. The store specialises in suggestive and sensual lingerie designed by Joseph Corré, the son of British fashion designer Vivienne Westwood and former Sex Pistols manager Malcolm McLaren. Founded in 1994, Agent Provocateur ranges have previously only been available in France in Printemps stores. The new 70m2 Cannes boutique will be located at 19 rue du Commandant André. Relax News.

Future of Cuneo-Ventimiglia railway line under threat  france3.fr 04 Apr 13  In a bid to save money, Italy's Piedmont region is slashing its transport budget and one of the possible targets for cuts could be the Cuneo - Ventimiglia railway line. More than 150 mayors in the region expressed their support for maintaining the line in Turin on Wednesday. The line is very popular in the French portion of the Roya valley lodged between Ventimiglia to the south and Cuneo to the north. It is also popular with skiers visiting Piemonte's Limone ski-resort. Cancellation of the line would have serious social and economic consequences and hit tourism. A petition has been launched with 400 signatures so far. Julie Jacquard.

Batelco completes purchase of CWC’s Monaco & Islands division  telegeography.com 04 Apr 13 Bahrain Telecommunications Company (Batelco) yesterday announced the finalisation of its acquisition of the bulk of the Monaco & Islands division of UK-based Cable & Wireless Communications (CWC), which was agreed on 02 Dec 12. All necessary regulatory approvals and conditions precedent have now been satisfied and ownership of specific companies across the diverse Monaco & Islands footprint has now been transferred to Batelco, effective 03 Apr 13. Batelco also acquired a 25% shareholding in Compagnie Monegasque de Communications (CMC), which holds CWC’s 55% interest in Monaco Telecom. Total consideration paid for these assets was US$570 million. In addition, Batelco and CWC have entered into put and call arrangements in relation to CWC’s remaining 75% interest in CMC in line with previously announced terms and conditions.

Merrill Lynch unit integration 'to boost Monaco business'  4-traders.com 02 Apr 13 Julius Baer has transferred ownership of businesses in Chile, Uruguay, Monaco and Luxembourg which it bought from Merrill Lynch as it integrates the wealth management businesses it acquired from the U.S. bank. The Swiss bank said on Tuesday the transfers would substantially boost its businesses in South America and Monaco. Baer closed its purchase of Merrill Lynch's wealth management business outside of the United States and Japan in February, with the aim of expanding in fast-growing emerging markets and strengthening its business in more mature ones. Martin de Sa'Pinto.

A Star-Studded Lineup For MIPTV 2013  prnewswire.com 02 Apr 13 Thandie Newton, Famke Janssen, Gene Simmons, Eli Roth, Christophe Lambert, Clotilde Courau, Mark Strong, Max Irons, Caterina Murino, Tom Riley, Lennie James, are just some of the stars who will be attending MIPTV 2013, organised by Reed MIDEM and running 8-11 April in Cannes. The red carpet will be rolled out in front of the Martinez Hotel on Monday 08 April from 19.00 to 20.30 to welcome the stars and VIP guests at the MIPTV 2013 Opening Party (19.30) and for the International Digital Emmy Awards ceremony (20.45). Founded in 1963, MIPTV is the annual international market and creative forum for content on every screen. Press Release.

Steady as she goes for Cote d'Azur cruise industry  tourmag.com 28 Mar 13 The cruise industry is thriving on the Cote d'Azur. However, the lack of port infrastructure adapted for larger ships could ultimately undermine further development. Stable since 2006 with 600,000 - 700,000 passengers per year, only 7% of these are from luxury cruises against 20% a decade ago.  In other areas the luxury sector is experiencing strong growth (+9% in Asia). Monaco, which opened its cruise line quay in 2003 that can host liners up to 300m in length has quadrupled its number of cruise visitors with 233,000 passengers in 2012. The Mediterranean is the second largest cruise market in the world with a 21.7% market share. Michel Bovas.

Unemployment continues to rise in Alpes Maritimes in February  france3.fr 27 Mar 13 There are 3,695 more job seekers in February in the PACA region, an increase of 0.9% from January. In one year, the unemployment rate in the PACA area has increased by 9.2%. The Alpes-Maritimes experienced the second largest increase in the region. Over a year it has risen 12.1%.  At the end of February the Alps-Maritimes registered 58,640 catagory A unemployed. The Hautes-Alpes area fared even worse, with a 13.5% increase. Category A are those looking for full time employment. Yves Lebaratoux.

AS Monaco boss Rybolovlev at centre of Cyprus banking crisis  RLTV 26 Mar 13 Monaco resident, Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev who is owner of AS Monaco football club, is a 9.7% owner of the Bank of Cyprus. According to Forbes magazine he is the 119th richest person in the world with a fortune estimated at $9.1 billion. However, his exposure to the bank crisis in Cyprus may be limited. According to The Guardian, Russian oligarch, Alexander Lebedev, played down the amount Rybolovlev stood to lose in Cyprus as no more than $10,000. "It's not worth talking about," he said. "Cyprus was always a transit jurisdiction – money would pass through and then go to Lithuania, Latvia, Belize, Switzerland, everywhere. There are plenty of ways [to avoid capital controls] ...they can split accounts." Under the failed bail-out deal with Russia, it has been reported that Rybolovlev was asked to increase his stake in the Bank of Cyprus. An agreement has since been made with the EU & IMF to secure a €10 billion lifeline.

Two new executives mean shake-up at AS Monaco  tuttomercatoweb.com 25 Mar 13 Two new appointments have been announced for the AS Monaco football team currently leading France’s Ligue 2. Konstantin Zyryanov (pic) has been appointed CEO and Vadim Vasilyev has been appointed Sporting Director. Vasilyev is a former advisor to club President and owner Dmitry Rybolovlev. Whilst Claudio Ranieri will remain as trainer, Vasilyev will be responsible for managing the first team, the medical staff, searching for new talent and the club’s training centre. There has been speculation that Ranieri will be replaced at the end of this season. AS Monaco are also facing pressure from the French Ligue to lose its tax advantages and form a French company. Raimondo de Magistris.

Aigle Azur to launch Paris Orly-Nice as first domestic route  ch-aviation.ch  25 Mar 13 Aigle Azur plans to offer a twice weekly domestic A321-200 service between Paris Orly and Nice Côte d'Azur from 31 May 13 making this the first domestic route served by Aigle Azur. It will operate the flights because of its recent expansion at Nice from where Aigle Azur now operates services to Algiers but plans to add Lisbon Portela de Sacavem and Moscow Vnukovo International later this year.

Victims of ‘Var Madoff’ protest in Bandol  france3.fr 23 Mar 13 500 victims of an alleged asset management fraud protested outside the Société Générale bank in Bandol Saturday. The fund DO Conseil had been run since 2000 by Fabrice Denizet who has been nicknamed the ‘Madoff of the Var’. Investors lost €40 million, some of them lost their entire life savings. DO Conseils had six branches in the South of France and 40 employees and claimed it was guaranteed by a subsidiary of Société Genéralé. The bank reported Denizet to the authorities in Toulon in Jan 2012. When he was arrested, there were no stock market investments and he had €4 million in his personal account. Denizet was released last month without bail and says he will compensate the vitims. Mariella Coste.

€3million plan to revive Texas Instruments site in Villeneuve Loubet  nicematin.fr 23 Mar 13 Executives of Texas Instruments (TI) France met with local officials Friday to work out a plan to revitalise the Texas Instruments site in Villeneuve Loubet. 517 jobs were lost when TI shut down the site as part of a global restructuring plan at the end of last year. 1,700 jobs were cut in TI centres in India, Israel and the US with France bearing the brunt. Under an agreement TI have to inject €3 million into a pool which will be used to help revive the site and create up to 200 jobs. It is hoped that the sum invested will help leverage additional investments into the site over the next 2-3 years. Stephanie Suire & Thierry Gasiglia.

French ski resorts on piste for a good season  franceguyane.fr 21 Mar 13 The 2012-13 season promises to be a good year for French ski resorts, thanks to heavy snowfall at all altitudes, which should compensate for the late spring break dates. "We're on the same track as last year, which was a good season," said Laurent Reynaud, CEO of DSF, which brings together 238 ski-lift operators in France. This winter, France had 55.3 million skier days (+3%), making it the world's top destination for skiing. The season started with a bang with early abundant snowfall. Isola 2000 (pic) recorded its best December since 1971. Revenues are up 3-4% except for the resorts in the Southern Alps where zero growth was reported. AFP.

€500 Million Loan Deal To Improve PACA Power Shortage  businessweek.com 20 Mar 13 Reseau de Transport d’Electricite, France’s power grid owned by Electricite de France SA, will get €500 million in loans from the European Investment Bank to develop electricity infrastructure. The bank has agreed to help finance seven high voltage and very high voltage power grid projects between 2012 and 2016. Today’s financing deal will help pay for links in eastern and southern France. Brittany in western France and Provence-Alpes-Cote d’Azur in the south lack power-generation capacity and face risks of shortages in the event of a plant or network failure. Tara Patel.

Provence Rosé sales increase in the UK  thedrinksbusiness.co.uk 19 Mar 13 Exports of rosé wine from Provence to the UK have jumped 82% on volume and by 37% on value from 2011 to 2012, according to the latest figures from the Provence Wine Council (CIVP). The UK market now represents around 6% of the total worldwide exports of Provence rosé, the sixth largest country in terms of volume. In a statement Provence Wines said: “With more and more consumers seeking quality over quantity and greater attention paid to marketing rosé as a smart and versatile wine, it is becoming increasingly popular in the UK. “In the year 2000 rosé represented just 2.7% of the wine category within major multiples. In 2012 this figure was 10.8%. Andy Young.

The end of tax privileges for AS Monaco?  france3.fr 19 Mar 13 AS Monaco has a good chance of promotion to league 1 next season and the financial strength of the Russian President should allow it to attract big stars. But the tax benefits offered by the club are increasingly criticised. L'Equipe newspaper was able to get the minutes of the last board of the LFP (Professional Football League) on 24 Jan 13 stating, “It is imperative that all participating clubs are subject to the same tax and social security… the corporation of any club playing in the LFP must have its place of effective management in France." Clearly, the LFP are demanding that Monaco moves its headquarters to France. Olivier Le Creurer.

Elderly owner steps down as Negresco manager  france3.fr 18 Mar 13 An administrator has been appointed to run the Negresco Hotel in Nice after its 89 year old owner, Jeanne Augier retired due to ailing health. The staff were told Fri 15 Mar 13 that the Commercial Tribunal of Nice appointed Maître Nathalie Thomas as judicial administrator. Negresco Director Pierre Bord says that Thomas is tasked with “protecting the patrimony and the business for Madame Augier,” with the aim of creating an endowment fund and “preparing the Negresco for the 21st Century.” Jeanne Augier has been in charge of the 5 star hoel since 1957 and has always refused to sell the Negresco despite numerous requests. The Negresco is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year. Julie Jacquard.

New Nice Matin co-owner Bernard Tapie meets staff  france3.fr 12 Mar 13 Bernard Tapie, the new co-owner of the Nice Matin Group met with employees Tuesday at the newspaper's headquarters on the route de Grenoble in Nice. "You will be proud to be part of this adventure," said Tapie. The development plan of the newspaper should be announced within two weeks. 300 people, journalists and technical staff, administrative and commercial agents met the businessman. The meeting lasted about an hour. Bernard Tapie announced that he would be very vigilant: "I will not interfere with editorial, but I will say if I do not like the paper and I have to say that today I am not sure if I would buy it as a reader.' Olivier Le Creurer.

Change at the top of Societé Generale Private Banking in Monaco  info-economique.com 12 Mar 13 Thierry Garde (pic) is appointed Head of Societe Generale Private Banking (Monaco) SAM, replacing Olivier Lecler who becomes Deputy Head of Societe Generale Bank & Trust, in charge of private banking activities in Luxembourg. Thierry Garde began his career at Societe Generale in 1987. He continued his career abroad, initially in Moscow, as Deputy Director of Vostok Bank, moving to Warsaw in 2000 as CEO of Societe Generale Poland and then to New-York in 2003 where he was responsible for European and corporate clients in North America at SG CIB. In 2006, he joined SGPB Hambros in the UK as Deputy CEO, before becoming Deputy CEO of SGPB Belgium in 2009.

SBM headhunt new Gaming Director to revive casino business  tourmag.com 11 Mar 13 Jean-Luc Biamonti, President of Monaco’s SBM is seeking a new director of its casino business to halt the slow decline in revenues in recent years and to revive Monaco’s reputation as one of the world’s most glamorous gambling centres. Global competition for gambling has been intensifying in recent years. They are seeking someone with international experience whose mission will be to develop new clients and improve the operational management and profitability of SBM’s casino business. The current directors Eric Schroeter and Patrick Solamito will be given new responsibilities. Michel Bovas.

Pre-owned helicopters a growing market for Monaco's Avinco  flightglobal.com 08 Mar 13 The sale of pre-owned helicopters is a growing market, two leading aircraft trading firms say. Francois Gautier, founder and chief executive officer of Avinco, a Monaco-based aviation-trading firm, says that the sale of pre-owned helicopters is a growing part of his business. "We are expanding in the helicopter field very, very quickly," he says. But helicopters are only one part of Avinco's business. The company also trades in jets off all sizes, including widebody airliners. Gautier says that Avinco can buy assets and then modify and repurpose the aircraft for a different mission in a different part of the world. David Majmudar.

Provence-Alpes Cote d’Azur attracts 8% of foreign investment  20minutes.fr 08 Mar 13 The French government predicts 1000 international investments per year in 2017 against 693 in 2012. According to the French Agency for International Investments (IFA) 693 foreign companies invested in 2012 against 698 the previous year, a small decrease of 0.7%. They will generate 26,000 jobs over the next three years against 28,000 in 2011. The US represented 5% with 156 projects, Dutch companies invested in 24 projects and Russia in 10 projects. Investment from BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China) are on the increase. The Ile-de-France now hosts 29% of new investment decisions, Rhône-Alpes (17%), Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur (8%), Midi-Pyrénées (7%), Alsace (5%), and Nord-Pas de Calais (5%). MB.

Low-cost  Monarch Airlines Launch Nice – Birmingham Route  nicerendezvous.com 07 Mar 13 British budget airline Monarch Airlines launch direct flights between Nice and Birmingham March 11th 2013 with tickets from €45.50 one way. The airline will operate four flights per week between Birmingham UK and Nice Côte d'Azur Riviera Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. The company will also launch flights from Birmingham to Bordeaux  with 3 flights per week on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays from March 22nd 2013. Monarch Airlines is owned by British Monarch Holdings Plc. Founded in 1968, it began with 2 planes and now has a fleet of 32 aircraft which operate flights to 100 destinations around the world. VW.

Air France backtracks on route cuts this summer  france3.fr 07 Mar 13 A statement from Air France yesterday afternoon announced the cutting of routes from Nice to Lyon, Lille, Nantes and Venice this summer. This morning, the management of the company backtracked, admitting a major miscommunication. A new release, available online at 10am today, announced that the frequency of routes from Nice to Lille, Lyon and Nantes will be reduced. Air France states that additional flights will be added on the Venice and Tel Aviv routes, while Naples, Tunis and Athens will be served during the months of July and August. Olivier Le Creurer.

Jolie & Pitt's Wine Sells Out in Five Hours  justjared.com 07 Mar 13 If you were still thinking about buying a bottle of Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt‘s just released wine, you are out of luck. The superstar couple managed to sell out all 6,000 bottles of their new wine Miraval Rose 2012 within 5 hours of its on-sale time on Thu 07 Mar 13. 'The sale started at 9am., and all the bottles were sold out by 2pm,' said a rep for the wine brand. Cases of 6 bottles of the wine were affordably priced at $139. Jason Merritt.

First wine from Pitt and Jolie's French vineyard to hit Web  chicagotribune.com 06 Mar 13 The first wine to be sold from the Var vineyard owned by Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie will go on offer to online buyers with a thirst for celebrity. The first 6,000 bottles of organic 'Miraval Rose 2012' will be sold on the Internet Thursday for $140 a case including shipping to addresses in France. The wine, praised by one wine critic for its 'dynamism' and 'expressive fruit', was produced from Grenache, Syrah and Cinsault grapes grown in the Var region on the 40 hectares owned since 2008 by Pitt and Jolie who partnered with the Perrin family of vintners to create and market the 100,000 bottles of rose wine that will be sold to independent wine stores and restaurants. Matthias Galante / Reuters.

Women In Nice Earn €409 per month less than men  nicematin.fr 06 Mar 13 If woman is the future of mankind, they are not not equal to men in the professional world. Statistics from a survey conducted by the prefecture of the Alpes-Maritimes, show an average deviation of 18.24% in favor of men. In a position with identical skills, a woman working in Nice earns on average €409 less than a male colleague each month. That is nearly €5,000 per year!

SAS & UIA strengthen their presence at Nice Airport  tourmag.com 06 Mar 13 After Copenhagen, Bergen, Oslo, Stavanger, Stockholm and Trondheim, SAS will open a Nice - Gothenburg route in Summer 2013 competing with Norwegian who operated 2 flights per week during summer 2012 with 21,000 passengers. According to Nice Airport, the potential traffic between Nice and Göteborg rises to at least 61,000 pax per year. Moreover, Ukraine International Airlines will offer four flights a week this summer between Nice and Kiev (Tuesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday). In 2012 the company carried more than 10,000 passengers on this route during the summer. Michel Bovas.

Hotel de Paris Prepares Its Arrival On The St Tropez Scene  hotelchatter.com 06 Mar 13 The Hotel de Paris Saint Tropez, will hopefully open later this month. The Hotel de Paris goes back to the 1930s as one of the first St Tropez hotels and the place to be seen in the 60s and 70s. There will be 52 rooms and 38 suites, designed by Sybille de Margerie. In the atrium there is a clear-bottom pool suspended above from the rooftop terrace. Chef Georges Blanc consults on the food at Le Suffren Café by Georges. A Classic room at the Hotel de Paris starts at €280 early April, jumping to €530 for a Patio room with terrace. In comparison, rates in July easily shoot up to over €600 for a Classic room. Jason D.

Why €10 is the New Price for France's Main High-Speed Train  jaunted.com 04 Mar 13 Have a few Euros in your pocket and need to head from Paris to the French Riviera? Well, it can actually happen now, thanks to Ouigo (pronounced wee-go), a train from the SNCF designed to bring affordable travel to all. Starting April 3rd, the superfast TGV train is launching its low-cost tickets from Paris to Lyon, Marseille and Montpellier at an absolute steal of 10 Euros each way. The main train station is not in Paris. In fact, it's about a 40 minute commuter rail trip outside the city, by Disneyland Paris, at Marne-la-Vallée. The faster the cheap seats sell out, the higher the prices go. Jetflyboy.

Monaco Has the Most Billionaires Per Capita  slate.com 04 Mar 13 According to the list of the world's billionaires released by Forbes on Monday, Monaco has the most billionaires per capita with three billionaires—specifically, David and Ezra Nahmad, two brothers who are art ‘megadealers,’ along with Lily Safra, the widow of a wealthy banker. Coming in second and third after Monaco are two other tiny states: St. Kitts and Nevis (a 104-square-mile sovereignty in the Caribbean) and Guernsey (a British Crown dependency). The U.S. comes in at 14th in between Lebanon and Norway—even socialistic Sweden (12th) has more billionaires per capita than the USA. China comes in 57th place, or eighth from the bottom. Emma Roller.

Veolia to lose water contract with Nice, Beaulieu-sur-Mer, Cap d'Ail, Eze, Villefranche-sur-Mer & Isola 2000  france3.fr 02 Mar 13 Nice mayor Christian Estrosi announced that private utilities provider Veolia will lose its contract to manage water supplies for Nice in February 2015 and for Beaulieu-sur-Mer, Cap d'Ail, Eze and Villefranche-sur-Mer in September 2014. The contract with Veolia for the ski resort of Isola 2000 will be terminated in July 2014. The decision is expected to be ratified by the Nice Metropolitan Council on 28 Mar 13. Estrosi says he wants to provide water at the same rate for all of these areas at the lowest possible price. Anne Le Hars / AFP.

AC Marriott Nice To Open Its Doors on 1 April 2013  tourmag.com 01 Mar 13 After opening the AC Hotel Ambassador in Antibes-Juan les Pins, Marriott International continues its establishment on the French Riviera with the launch of the second of its branded hotels in France. The AC by Marriott Nice. The former Hotel Elysee Palace Nice reopens on 01 April 2013 after extensive renovations. It has 143 rooms and suites, two restaurants, a fitness centre and three meeting rooms that can accommodate up to one hundred people. Rooms are available from 199 euros.

New low cost Norwegian airline Flynonstop arrives in Nice  tourmag.com 28 Feb 13 Norwegian budget carrier FlyNonstop have announced the launch of the Nice -Aalesund route from June 13 to August 25 2013 with two flights per week. Flynonstop will use the 100-seat Embraer E190 aircraft. In autumn 2012, the carrier  announced the launch in April 2013 of a link between Kristiansand in southern Norway and Nice with prices starting at 250 euros round trip. FlyNonstop founder Espen Hennig-Olsen says he was motivated to launch the new company due to the lack of international connections at Kristiansand Airport - Kjevik. Michel Bovas.

Selby Jennings Seek Portfolio Manager for Monaco Office  selbyjennings.com 27 Feb 13 Selby Jennings, a niche Hedge Fund based in Monaco is looking to expand its experienced Fund Management team and bring in a seasoned Portfolio Manager. The candidate will be expected to have delivered consistent positive returns and provide a track record for this globally-renowned alpha-generating Equity Investment Fund. Candidates should operate currently or recently on a Global or European market neutral coverage and have been in a fund handling position ideally for more than three years. Please send a Word-formatted CV to apply.a33hoiw6ro@selbyjennings.aptrack.co.uk

Regional unemployment climbs 10.6 per cent  rivieratimes.com 27 Feb 13 The latest figures from national job centre Pôle Emploi have revealed a 10.6 per cent increase in the number of jobseekers within the space of just one year in the Alpes Maritimes. This puts the region at the top end of Provence Alpes Côte d'Azur in terms of unemployment. Among the 3.17 million people on the hunt for work in France in January 2013, a total of 57,124 were located in the Alpes Maritimes. Here, the 10.6 per cent rise on the same time last year almost matches the national increase of 10.7 per cent - a record high since 1997 and its 3.19 million jobseekers. Isabelle Younane.

Nice and Cisco Unveil the World's First Virtual City Hall  marketwatch.com 25 Feb 13 Committed to a process of improving public services for local residents, the Nice Cote d'Azur Metropolitan Area and the City of Nice have joined forces with technology leader Cisco to launch the first worldwide pilot of the 'virtual city hall cabin'. A cabin has been installed in the Nice Etoile shopping mall. Equipped with Cisco high definition video equipment, it allows residents to carry out different administrative formalities by interacting face-to-face with a remote agent. Cisco Press Release.

Optics firm gets Monaco backing  scotsman.com 22 Feb 13 Envestors, a subsidiary of Braveheart Investment Group, has attracted funds from a number of Monaco-based private investors towards a £1.2 million package for medical devices firm Cipher Surgical. Cipher, which presented at an event hosted by the Monaco Venture Capital Association, has pioneered an accessory that will help surgeons in laparoscopy (minimally invasive surgery through the abdomen) keep the optics clear. The funding will help launch the device in the UK.

Alpes-Maritimes to be 100% fibre-optic by 2020  20minutes.fr 19 Feb 13 Surfing the Internet at the speed of light, as you can on the coast, will be available in all of the inland valleys and hills by 2020.  The Department of the Alpes Maritimes are planning to lay 300,560km of fibre optic cables through a deal with private operators says the President of the Council Eric Ciotti. The budget for the project is estimated at between 140-180 million euros of which 50-60 million will be supplied by the regional authorities.

Monte-Carlo SBM celebrates its 150th anniversary  etravelblackboard.com 18 Feb 13 In 1863, under the auspices of its founder, François Blanc, the « Société des Bains de Mer et du Cercle des Etrangers à Monaco » is born, known today as Monte-Carlo SBM. Its founder had accepted an invitation from Prince Charles III of Monaco, following a visionary inspiration from his mother Princess Caroline. Through the development of the establishments included in the Société des Bains de Mer, a new neighbourhood will emerge, on the top of the Spélugues plateau, named Monte-Carlo in 1866. The inauguration of the new Casino in 1863 is the founding act of the Société des Bains de Mer. Adjacent to the Casino, François Blanc then creates a Palace (Hôtel de Paris), a social gathering place and restaurant, the Café Divan (future Café de Paris) and a spa dedicated to health and well-being (Les Thermes Marins). Press Release.

SBM brings UK buyers to 150th anniversary celebrations  meetpie.com 15 Feb 13 Monte-Carlo SBM began its three-day celebration of its 150th anniversary on 15 February, with 150 buyers attending from around the world, including 20 from the UK from agencies such as Zibrant and Banks Sadler.The hospitality company started life in 1863 when François Blanc founded the Société des Bains de Mer et du Cercle des Etrangers à Monaco, which today – mercifully – has been shortened to Monte-Carlo SBM. The company will continue celebrating and telling its unique story throughout the year.

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie go into the wine business  telegraph.co.uk 15 Feb 13 Wine buffs will be rolling out the red carpet next month to taste the Hollywood king and queen's very first bottles of organic Provence rosé, made from grapes grown at their vast £35 million Riviera property. Fans may be disappointed to know it will not be sold as Chateau Brangelina, as the power duo are known. Instead, the wine will be known as Miraval Côtes de Provence. The stars' names will be on the back label under the more sobre title of "Jolie-Pitt". Marc Perrin, well-known in the world of Provence winemaking, will also get a mention on the bottles after teaming up with the couple. Henry Samuel.

Hyatt to manage four of France's top hotels  irishtimes.com 13 Feb 13 Hyatt Hotels will be taking over the management of four of France’s best known hotels beginning from April next. In Paris the Concorde La Fayette, with views of the Eiffel Tower, will become the Hyatt Regency Paris Etoile. The historic Hotel du Louvre will retain its name but may become an Andaz boutique hotel. On the Cote d’Azur, the celebrity haunt the Martinez in Cannes will become a Grand Hyatt and almost equally famous, the Palais de la Méditerranée in Nice will become a Hyatt Regency. Joan Scales.

Easyjet fined for not flying handicapped man from Cannes  tourism-review.com 11 Feb 13 The Paris Appeal Court confirmed the fine for EasyJet of €70.000 for discrimination. The airline refused the access of a plane to three not accompanied disabled persons mentioning safety reasons. Besides the 70.000-euro fine, the Court has condemned the EasyJet Company and a subcontractor to pay 2.000 euros of damages to each of the three plaintiffs. One of the plaintiffs, Laurent Gianmartini, a high-level disabled tennis player, explained that the access to a plane bound for Nice was refused to him on 19 Nov 08, while he wanted to get back home in after a competition.

French Riviera Welcomed 11 Million Tourists in 2012  tourism-review.com 11 Feb 13 French Riviera is still very popular among travelers. In 2012 the destination welcomed 11 million visitors according to the CRT Riviera. In spite of the economic crisis, 12.5 million overnight stays were registered in hotels and holiday residences. The revenue from hotel rooms increased by 4%, according to a MKG survey. The overnight stays in 4* or 5* hotels represent 13% of the total income. These two categories represent for the first time more than 40% of the hotel overnight stays. French Riviera boasts 32 five star hotels among which 6 are in Antibes, 6 in Cannes and 3 in Nice.

Traffic continues to increase at Nice Airport in January 2013  tourmag.com 05 Feb 13 Traffic at Nice Côte d'Azur airport continued to grow in January 2013, up 5.5%. According to the CRT, airline reservations made by visitors in the coming months will increase 9% in the first quarter of 2013 and 8% in the second quarter. Supporting this trend, the airport Ambassadors Club 'Fly 2 Riviera' run by the tourist offices of Nice, Antibes, Cannes and Nice Airport alongside hoteliers in Nice and Cannes have planned a series of international meetings to promote Nice as a destination. The first will be held in early March in Prague, followed by 8 to 12 April in New York. In May, there will be a mission to Shanghai to support links with China. Michel Bovas.

GAIM Monaco: Hedge funds battered by euro crisis  ft.com 19 Jun 12 For many of the hedge fund managers gathered in the principality of Monaco this week, “The crisis has not even started,” said Jamil Baz, chief investment strategist at GLG Partners, part of the world’s second-largest hedge fund, the Man Group. “It will take 20 years for us to reach escape velocity,” he told a room of about 300 hedge fund traders and investors at a hotel in the Larvotto – attendees at one of the hedge fund industry’s biggest annual conferences: Gaim. “It will be devastating,” Mr Baz’s pessimism was outdone by Niall Ferguson, the Harvard historian in vogue in financial circles. “Over-optimistic,” he said. Sam Jones.

Luxe Pack Monaco 2012: Designer Mary Lewis guest of honour for 25th edition  packagingeurope.com 19 Jun 12 The guest of honour at Luxe Pack Monaco 2012 (24-26 Oct 12) will be the famous English designer, Mary Lewis. Known for her extensive work in the world of luxury design, she will give a keynote speech at the conference on Wed 24 Oct 12 on the theme: “First win the eye... then the heart... then the mind...” Co-founder and Creative Director of the Lewis Moberly agency, Mary Lewis re-invented the wheel when it came to packaging design. Her agency works with a large range of clients from the world of luxury goods: Moët & Chandon, Diageo, La Grande Epicerie de Paris, Selfridges, Jaeger, Duchy Originals, Jasper Conran, Hyatt…

UK investment funds in line for huge tax rebate as ECJ rules against France  dofonline.co.uk 10 May 12 The European Court of Justice (ECJ) has ruled that foreign investment funds that invest in French companies should not be liable to pay a discriminatory withholding tax on dividends. Prior to today’s judgment, under French corporate tax law, France levied a withholding tax of 15%, or in some cases 25%, on foreign investment funds investing in French companies while French investment funds were exempt. After today, UK pension funds and other investment funds that invest in French companies will no longer be discriminated against compared to French investment funds. PwC estimates that this case will result in tax refunds to UK investment funds of up to €5bn. Gary Howes.

SNCM and CMN ferries resume Corsica service after strike ends  fairplay.co.uk 09 May 12 SNCM workers voted Wed to suspend a strike that had halted most of the sailings to Corsica during the past eight days. The 150 strikers were protesting what they called unfair competition from rival operator Corsica Ferries, but they voted to halt the strike after being promised a meeting on 15 May 12 with one of new French President-elect François Holland’s team. SNCM claimed that the company was being held to ransom by a minority of strikers and said after the vote: “Reason has won out.” Corsica Ferries operates under the Italian flag with multinational crews. SNCM said the strike has cost it €2M in lost revenues and affected 20,000 passengers.

Adams & Adams close La Pomme Rouge to focus on core catering business  RLTV 08 May 12 La Pomme Rouge deli restaurant in Valbonne has closed 8 months after its launch and is already missed by its loyal clients. Opened by bespoke caterers Kate & Andrew Adams in Oct 11, Kate told RLTV that they want to focus on their core Adams & Adams business of high class catering for events such as the Cannes Film Festival, Monaco Grand Prix, corporate and private parties. "We have to maintain very high standards and cannot spread ourselves too thinly and with an exceptionally busy season ahead, something had to give." MD.

Louis Vuitton enters perfume business with Grasse nose and chateau  20minutes.fr 04 May 12 Luxury French accessories brand Louis Vuitton (LVMH), will begin their first perfume operation in Grasse in September. The famous "nose" from Grasse, Jacques Cavallier-Belletrud (pic) has already been recruited to create the first branded Louis Vuitton perfume. He previously designed "L'Eau d'Issey" by Issey Miyake, "Opium for Men" by Yves Saint Laurent and "Poem" by Lancôme. Louis Vuitton have acquired an 18th century chateau from Grasse municipality with 5,700m2 of land and two adjacent plots for €1 million. They plan to restore the derelict Chateau to its former glory. Work begins this September and production of the first scent is planned for 2013. AFP.

BNP Paribas accused of selling a product promoting tax evasion  challenges.fr 04 May 12 The daily Liberation accuses the bank BNP Paribas of marketing a product promoting tax evasion, by playing on European legislation. The Trust, named Luxumbrella, has been sold since 2005 to an upscale clientele in Switzerland and Monaco. Since 2005, all financial products distributed in a country with bank secrecy, must be subject to a withholding tax for the benefit of national tax authorities. BNP Paribas circumvented the law by offering its customers in Europe to sign an agreement with Heritage discretionary management. Under the regulations, it is not the customer who has invested in Luxumbrella, but the banker. BNP Paribas noted that the size of Luxumbrella did not exceed €902 million, or 0.3% of assets under management of its private banking activities. AFP.

Agreement signed between Compagnie Monégasque de Banque and Monaco’s New National Museum  monacomatin.com 02 Apr 12 The Compagnie Monégasque de Banque (CMB) has signed a partnership agreement with the New National Museum of Monaco. The financial agreement will allow Monaco’s National Museum to revive its policy of acquiring works of art. The amount of the arrangement has not been revealed. The CMB is already an active financial partner of cultural events in the Principality as a sponsor of the summer exhibitions at the Grimaldi Forum, the Philharmonic Orchestra of Monte Carlo and the Oceanographic Museum.

Prince Andrew opens Monaco branch of Banque Havilland  RLTV 29 Apr 12 The Sunday Mirror reports that Prince Andrew Duke of York privately flew to Monaco to open a new branch of David Rowland’s (pic) Banque Havilland. Andrew was guest of honour and it is understood Mr Rowland organised a private jet to take him there. The event was not an official visit. Andrew is a long-term friend of Mr Rowland, a multi-millionaire banker and former Tory Party treasurer. David Rowland and his son Jonathan acquired Banque Havilland from the defunct Luxembourg branch of the Icelandic bank Kaupthing. The Monaco branch of Banque Havilland was established in August 2011 after the Rowlands acquired Dexia Private Bank Monaco S.A.M. from Dexia Banque Internationale Luxembourg.

France strips Berezovsky of millions  rt.com 28 Apr 12 France has frozen €13 million worth assets of exiled Russian tycoon Boris Berezovsky. The measure follows a request from Russian prosecutors, and was taken alongside other seizures throughout Europe. Switzerland, Monaco, France and Ukraine have seized property and bank accounts of several individuals charged in high-profile cases in Russia, the country's Prosecutor General announced Saturday. The total amount of assets seized is estimated at €300 million. The office did not specify what of Berezovsky's property was seized, but said the Prosecutor General would report the details of the operation to the government at the end of May. Meanwhile, Berezovsky himself says he is not aware of any seizures or arrests. “I don't know anything about my property being seized. [Prosecutors] were talking about my yacht being seized, but then it turned out the yacht was not mine,” he told Interfax.

$1 million frozen in Monaco on account of Volgatanker case  RLTV 29 Apr 12 As part of a swoop on alleged illegal assets across Europe, at the behest of the Russian government, $1 million in a Monaco account has been frozen. The money is allegedly connected to Volgatanker, the former shipping company linked to the Yukos oil company. Volgotanker, like Yukos before it, was crushed by a bankruptcy process based on tax claims, which defendents claim were invented. Top managers of Volgatanker have been accused of fraud and money laundering by Russian authorities.

Metropole's Messant new VP of  Monaco hotel association  monacomatin.com 28 Apr 12 Jean-Claude Messant, general manager of the Hotel Metropole Monte-Carlo, has been elected vice-president of the Monegasque Association of the hotel industry. Messasnt succeeds Loïc Brasseur who had held the position since 2008. Chaired by Alberte Escande, the AIHM unites professionals in the hotel and catering sectors and provides representation in collective organisations and socio-economic institutions of the Principality. Messant joined the Metropole team in 2004 before moving to the Hôtel de Crillon in Paris in 2008. He rejoined the Metrople as general manager in January 2010.

Qataris pull out of Monaco hotel joint venture  monacomatin.mc 26 Apr 12 Monaco QD, the limited company formed as a joint venture between the Qatar state owned company Qatari Diar (80%) and the Monaco state (20%), has been liquidated. The aim of the company was to research and acquire hotel groups. "No project has been identified in a competitive market despite intense work,” said Marco Piccinini, Monaco’s Government Counsellor for Finance and Economy. In this context, the Qataris told Monaco that they proposed a liquidation of the company. The Monaco government indicated to Qatari Diar that they remain interested in a collaboration if a specific project was identified.

SAS reinforces its services at Nice Côte d'Azur airport  tourmag.com 23 Apr 12 Hallvard Bratberg (pic), CEO of SAS for France, Spain and Portugal has told Tourmag.com that it will reinforce its services to Scandinavia from Nice Cote d’Azur airport. SAS have added 3 flights a week to Helsinki via its Blue 1 subsidiary and this summer will operate a seasonal service to Stavanger, Bergen and Trondheim in Norway. SAS operates daily flights to Stockholm and Oslo from Nice and two daily flights to its main hub in Copenhagen. Between 2010 and 2011, SAS increased the number of seats between Nice and Scandinavia by more than 20%. In 2011 the airline carried 215,534 passengers at Nice. Activity in the first quarter of 2012 has already increased by 8.6%. Michel Bovas.

Lawrence Graham welcomes four lawyers to partnership  thelawyer.com 18 Apr 12 Lawrence Graham (LG) is making up four new partners in its 2012 promotions round, double the number that made the grade last year. All four of the new partners are based in the firm’s London headquarters, although the firm promoted Monaco corporate lawyer Nathalie Tanzi (pic) to its partnership in February. The new partners, who take up their position on 01 May 12 are: private capital associate Rose Chamberlayne; finance associate Jon Lent; real estate consultant Carole Peet; and real estate associate Caroline Walker.

Go ahead given for three new Casinos in the Var  varmatin.com 17 Apr 12 France’s Ministry of the Interior have granted three new Casino permits for the Var department. They will be located in Sanary, Frejus and La Seyne-sur-Mer. They expect to open for business in two years. The Viking Group will operate two new casinos in Sanary and Frejus. The Joa Group will operate the new casino in La Seyne-sur-Mer. Gambling revenues dropped 20% since 2007 and has only recently been showing  signs of recovery. The new casino operators believe that supply will create new demand and jobs. After facing new competition, Casinos in Bandol & Hyères registered a 4.5% decline in business, not enough to affect employment, according to their operators.

No hedge fund mass exodus from UK to Monaco & Switzerland  ft.com 15 Apr 12 Major hedge fund managers are staying put in London despite fears that higher taxes and regulation might make them relocate, according to research group HedgeFund Intelligence. “The statistics don’t support the view that London is being affected by higher tax rates,” said Neil Wilson, managing editor of HFI. “At the margins, there are a few people moving to Monaco or Switzerland, but there is no mass exodus.” London remains the largest centre for hedge fund managers outside the US, with 57 firms managing at least $1bn each in assets – not including the London offices of 100 major US hedge fund groups. Sarah Silver.

SAMM closes shop after Monaco watchdog issues warning  RLTV 14 Apr 12 SAMM, formerly the Monaco arm of Stewart Asset Management has shut up shop in the Principality after Monaco’s Commission for the Control of Financial Activities (CCAF) issued a warning about its core funds; SAMM Capital Guaranteed Fund (Series I) SP, SAMM Financial Funds SPC and Panorama Capital Guaranteed Fund (Series I) SP. The regulator says that the funds “promised an investment pointing up raised yields between 12% and 20% a year while having capital guaranteed” adding that, “these products don’t present all the guarantees necessary for their marketing.” SAM Monaco was authorised to operate in Monaco in 2008 and was operated by Brian Stewart and Jackie Fowler claiming to offer independent investment advice. The ownership of SAMM changed last year when a substantial part of the business was sold to new investors. Rob Rutter, formerly of Carax and Merrill Lynch was appointed CEO. MD.

Israeli spa empress opens spa in Cannes  ynetnews.com 14 Apr 12 Cosmetician-turned-international spa empress Ronit Raphael is readying to open a new luxury location in Cannes. The health club – called L. Raphael – is located at the Hotel Martinez. "The spa is almost ready… but there's still much to be done," says Raphael. The spa employs 9-12 workers year round, and is expected to employ 30 during peak season. Raphael is the founder of the L. Raphael brand, which has several health centres in Switzerland and a facility in Moscow. She has also forged an agreement with the Four Seasons, and now operates the spas at the prestigious chain's hotels in Paris and Provence, among others. Meirav Crystal.

Cruise terminal to be built at La-Seyne-sur-Mer  meretmarine.com 12 Apr 12 The Var Chamber of Commerce and Industry has announced the construction of a new cruise ship terminal at La-Seyne-sur-Mer. The new building will be located on the old armaments pier, where the cruise ships call. It is expected to be completed late 2013. In the meantime, a temporary structure will be installed by next month to better deal with transit guests. For the 2012 season, 120 cruise ship calls are scheduled between April and Dec. For the city of Toulon, the economic impact of this traffic should exceed €17 million, including benefits for the tourism sector (hotels, restaurants, shops ), an increase of 343% between 2008 and 2012.

Hedge fund Tyrus moves to Monaco  reuters.com 11 Apr 12 Well-known London M&A hedge fund firm Tyrus Capital has moved the bulk of its operations to Monaco, one of the first managers to relocate to the principality in response to looming European Union regulation and UK tax rates. The firm, which runs approximately $2.7 billion and which was founded by Tony Chedraoui (pic) in 2009, shifted most of its staff around the start of April. Tyrus's move opens up the possibility that Monaco, which is home to only a handful of hedge fund managers, could become a favored destination for UK traders fleeing tighter rules and higher tax burdens. Previously managers have largely opted for Geneva or elsewhere in Switzerland. Sinead Cruise & David Cowell.

Record 5.5 million passengers for Monaco railway station in 2012  monacomatin.com 11 Apr 12 The Monaco raliway station recorded a record 5.45 million passengers in 2011. The increase is attributed mainly to the rise in petrol prices as commuters take the train instead of driving into the Principality. When the new station was inaugurated in 1999 it registered around 3 million users anually, rising to 4.8 million in 2005 when the rise in passenger traffic reached a plateau. Preliminary figures for 2012 already show a further 7% increase in January year on year, and could reach 10% for the entire year. An increased reliability in services is also being cited, reaching 90% in 2011. Anne-Claire Hillion.

Hydropolis opens new showroom in Sainte-Maxime  ledauphine.com 09 Apr 12 The Avignon based upscale bathroom specialist Hydropolis has opened a new showroom in Sainte-Maxime to tap into the potential of the Cote d'Azur market. Its first showroom in Avignon will also be revamped and an on-line store in being launched. Hydropolis owner Daniel Labails says the new Sainte-Maxime showroom cost €50,000 and that he expects turnover to reach €1 million per year. The Avignon showroom revamp will cost between €80-100,000 and see the store shut for 15 days in August before its relaunch in September.

Sarkozy condemns offshore oil drilling plans in Med  bloomberg.com 07 Apr 12 French President Nicolas Sarkozy condemned oil and natural gas exploration in the French Mediterranean as protesters prepared to march against a drilling plan Sun 08 Apr 12. “It’s a crazy idea, go and look for oil somewhere else if there is some,” Sarkozy said in a campaign speech Sat 07 Apr 12 in Saint-Raphael. Sarkozy, who is seeking re-election in a two-round vote 22 Apr and 06 May 12, reiterated remarks made against drilling near the Calanques cliffs, a popular tourist spot near Marseille. Melrose Resources Plc (MRS) and partner Noble Energy France have applied to the French government for an extension until November 2015 of an exploration license in the French part of the Mediterranean.

PACA region supports 4G / LTE developers  pacainfoeco.com 06 Apr 12 Com4Innov is a public/private shared platform by Solutions Communicantes Sécurisées and supported by the PACA region, for manufacturers and researchers to develop 4G / LTE and M2M (Machine to Machine) technologies. Com4Innov will assist SMEs wishing to develop and validate wireless applications and services benefiting from the latest wireless telecommunications infrastructure and development tools. Com4Innov will commence testing  4G / LTE technologies in the 2.6 GHz band at Sophia Antipolis this summer, extending to Marseilles before the end of the year. Monaco Telecom will use the platform to test LTE services in Monaco.

Antibes requires Veolia to reduce water rates by 43.3%  lefigaro.fr 05 Apr 12 Antibes successfully negotiated a deal with Veolia that gives its residents the cheapest water in France. The average cost has now dropped 43.3% with a rate of €2 per m3 against €3.44 previously. The average rate in France is €3.39 per m3. "The Antibois now benefit from the least expensive water in France", says Mayor John Leonetti , who chaired the council meeting on Thursday that validated the new rate.  Households consuming less than 120 cubic meters per year will receive a 78% lower rate, with a reduction of 34% above that.  Veolia Environnement's debt stands at nearly €15 billion euros, and their shares closed down 0.84% on Thursday. Guillaume Mollaret.

TV Business gets fashionable at MIP TV Cannes  RLTV 04 Apr 12 Miss World and Elle Macpherson were at MIP TV, the TV programme market in Cannes (01-04 Apr 12). Venezuelan Miss World, Ivian Lunasol Sarcos Colmenares, was promoting the Venzualan TV production company Venevision. Model turned buisinesswoman Elle Macpherson was promoting US network NBC’s reality format Fashion Star. Distributed internationally by Ben Silverman's Electus, the reality fashion competition series is set for broadcast in more than 75 countries. The 10-episode competition co-stars Jessica Simpson, Nicole Richie and John Varvatos and gives unknown designers a chance to win multi-million dollar contracts to launch their clothing lines at Macy’s, H&M and Saks Fifth Avenue.

Monte Carlo Bay Hotel 5 Mondes Spa wins Best Spa Resort prize  tourmag.com 03 Apr 12 The 5 Mondes Spa at the Monte Carlo Bay Hotel & Resort (SBM) in Monaco has won the Best Spa Resort category in the Trophies Spa Awards at the fourth edition of Mondial Spa and Beauty in Paris. The awards are based on data collected by Qualitelis based on customer satisfaction. Over two months the participating spas sent and collected questionnaires from their customers. In 2009 the 5 Monde Spa won the Best Vacationing Hotel Spa in Europe award. The 900m² spa offers 11 treatment rooms (including 2 VIP suites), a sauna and a hammam (pic). Michel Bovas.

Cannes-Mandelieu leads Med Airports Organisation  ainonline.com 01 Apr 12 As airports along the western Mediterranean coast watch business aircraft movements climb slowly back toward pre-recession numbers, a move has begun to create an organisation of FBOs and airports involved in ground handling, fuel and services for this industry segment. According to Umberto Vallino, marketing and statistics manager at Cannes-Mandelieu Airport, such an organisation would benefit the ground handlers as well as business and private aircraft owners and operators. “We really do not compete for the same customers at the same times. In Cannes the seasonal spike in activity comes in May for the Cannes Film Festival.” Kirby J. Harrison.

CleanEquity Monaco closes with awards for CleanTech innovators  RLTV 30 Mar 12 CleanEquity Monaco, the forum for emerging cleantech companies closed Fri 30 Mar 12 with an Awards Ceremony presided over by H.S.H. Prince Albert II of Monaco. The conference showcases cutting-edge emerging cleantech companies to financial and strategic investors, established industry players, key policymakers and international trade media. H.S.H. Prince Albert II audited the judging process and awarded the prizes. The award for Excellence in the Field of Environmental Technology Research went to ArcActive Limited, a New Zealand company developing a new negative electrode for the Lead Acid battery for use in Start/Stop or Micro Hybrid vehicles. PR Newswire.

MIP TV Cannes - New tech to change TV  news24.com 30 Mar 12 Beamed onto iPads and smartphones, with new channels going live daily, television is morphing into a radically new beast, experts said ahead of a top industry show. "We're in a time of massive transformation for the entire industry," said Laurine Garaude, head of the TV division at Reed Midem, which is organising the four-day Spring MIPTV industry show in Cannes 01-04 Apr 12. As TV shifts from the home set onto computers and mobile devices, there has been an upsurge in the number of channels worldwide. In Europe alone, 375 new television channels launched last year, with 8 900 now available across the region according to the latest EU data. Watch our MIP-TV report here.

British Airways launches new Nice -  London Gatwick services  deplacementspros.com 28 Mar 12 British Airways began their new Nice - London Gatwick services 25 Mar 12 with three daily flights. Adding to BA’s services from Nice to London Heathrow and London City, this new route to London’s second airport means that British Airways will now have eleven daily flights to the British capital this summer. Times: Nice to London Gatwick Departure: 07.05 - Arrive: 08.05: Departure: 11.20 - Arrival: 12.20: Departure: 16.50 - Arrival: 17.50: London Gatwick-Nice Departure: 07.40 - Arrival: 10.40: Departure: 13.05 - Arrival: 16.05: Departure: 19.20 – Arrive: 22.20.

PACA region: Unemployment up 5.4% year on year  francesoir.fr 26 Mar 12 Unemployment in the Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur (PACA) region increased 5.4% between Feb 11 and Feb12. The national rate over the same period is 6%. Full time job seekers in the PACA region increased from 263,200 to 277,300. For all job seekers (including part time workers) unemployment in the region rises from 356,500 in Feb 2011 to 378,600 in Feb 12. There are 48,600 unemployed youth in the PACA region, an increase of 4.2% over one year.

Peter Cruddas: from East End lad to 'Monaco boy'  guardian.co.uk 25 Mar 12 The ex-Tory party co-treasurer and hedge fund manager is a self-made man, hailing from Hackney. With an estimated £750m fortune, according to the Sunday Times rich list, Peter Cruddas is one of the wealthier members of the Conservative party and had been its co-treasurer since June of last year. For several years he was one of the City's "Monaco boys" living in the tax haven and commuting to work via London's City airport. Following a career in foreign exchange trading, in 1989 he established his own company, CMC Markets plc, with a capital of £10,000. It is now worth an estimated £1.25bn. Caroline Davies.

5% increase in Crusie traffic on the Côte d'Azur in 2012  tourismag.com 26 Mar 12 The French Riviera Cruise Club, established 5 years ago by the CCI Nice, the CRT Riviera Côte d'Azur and the offices of Nice, Cannes and Villefranche-sur-Mer, have presented trends for local crusie ship traffic. With nearly 400 calls and 727,000 cruise passengers expected in 2012 at the ports of Cannes, Antibes and Nice-Villefranche, traffic should grow 5% over 2011. Cannes is the most popular port of call with a 40% increase expected (318,000 passengers - 154 calls). In a few days Cannes will open a new ferry terminal. However Nice is down (-30%) due to a lack of infrastructure and the Bay of Villefranche is penalised due to its limited capacity for buses and transfer shuttle boats.

Nice wins IBM smarter city prize  pariscotedazur.fr 25 Mar 12 Nice is one of 24 cities world-wide to have won a smarter cities prize from IBM. The global IT corporation claim they will help solve economic, social and environmental issues using technology to transform core systems and optimise resources. Six IBM experts from Germany, France, India, UK, Switzerland & US have been seconded to work for three weeks alongside teams from Nice Cote d'Azur. These experts will diagnosis issues in sustainable mobility and deliver recommendations to build the city of tomorrow. The chairman of IBM France Alain Benichou says, “Through this programme IBM will help develop an Intelligent Transport System designed to make Nice Riviera, a reference area for mobility."

One in five PACA train travellers evade fares  leparisien.fr 23 Mar 12 One in five passenegrs on regional TER trains in the PACA region are travelling without a ticket according to a report by the Comité d'établissement des Cheminots. The national average is 11% compared to 20% in the PACA region. Evaders were split into three categories: Bona fide travelers who could not buy a ticket prior to train departure; those risking that there will not be a control on the train and hardliners who never pay for economic reasons or rebellion against the system. Losses are estimated at €23 million of which it is reckoned €13-15 million could be recouped through additional controls. AFP.

Minister Wauquiez visits Thalès-Alenia Space in Cannes La Bocca  nicematin.com 23 Mar 12 Laurent Wauquiez, Minister of Research and Higher Education, visited the Thalès-Alenia Space plant in Cannes La Bocca Thu 22 Mar 12. Satellites are assembled at the Cannes La Bocca site. "Space is not a luxury,” said Wauquiez, “it is an investment in the future with massive economic benefits." The minister warned that it is essential to avoid wasting energy in unnecessary competition. Mentioning the two major French operators in this field, Astrium and Thales, Wauquiez called for "reconciliation, synergies" between the two entities to be able to compete effectively with the likes of the USA and China. Gaëtan Peyrebesse.

Air France seeks to gain 250,000 passengers at new Nice hub  tourmag.com 23 Mar 12 Air France inaugurated its new regional hub at Nice airport Thursday evening in an effort to regain ground lost to low cost carriers such as Easyjet. Whilst Air France is still the leading airline at Nice with 2.8 million passengers, its market share has fallen below 30%. Of six new destinations from Nice announced recently, two (Barcelona & Istanbul) were dropped due to stiff competition. The remaining four new routes will be Athens, Tel Aviv, Naples & Venice. Philippe de Juniac, appointed Air France CEO in November 2011 said, "Here in Nice our goal is to gain at least 250,000 additional passengers." Michel Bovas.

Easyjet reveals high ambitions for new Nice hub  tourmag.com 22 Mar 12 Easyjet CEO Carolyn McCall and François Bacchetta, DG for France, unveiled the low-cost carrier’s plans for it’s Nice hub Wed.  Easyjet France also have hubs in Paris, Lyon and Toulouse and operate flights to 16 French airports with 170 destinations. “We want to better connect the French regions and open them up to Europe's major airports." Established in Nice since 1996, Easyjet is the second largest airline in Nice after Air France with 24 million passengers and 23 destinations. They recently added flights from Nice to Toulouse, Nantes, Bordeaux, Lille, Barcelona, Naples and Venice. So afr this year Easyjet in Nice grew 5% whilst Air France dropped 7.7% due to strike action. Michel Bovas.

Delta resumes daily flights between Nice and New York  tourismag.com 22 Mar 12 Delta Airlines will resume its daily round trips between Nice-Cote d'Azur and New York-JFK starting 25 Mar 12 utilising a Boeing 767-400 with a capacity of 246 seats. The flight is in partnership with Air France-KLM. The flight leaves Nice at 13.50 arriving on the other side of the Atlantic at 17.00. The return flight takes off from New York at 19.55 landing at Nice at 10.25 the next day.

Nice amongst Jetairfly new destinations from Belgium  deplacementspros.com 22 Mar 12 With its 2012 summer program, Jetairfly will offer five new destinations from Belgium: Ponta Delgada (Azores), Ohrid and Skopje, departing from Brussels Airport, Nice and Palma departing from Charleroi airport. The Charleroi-Nice route - already presented in January - is coupled with a Nice-Paris Vatry service. On arrival at Nice, the plane will not leave immediately for Belgium, but will head to Vatry and then return to make the Nice-Charleroi return in the late afternoon.

Decline in foreign investment in PACA region in 2011  info-economique.com 22 Mar 12 According to the French Agency for International Investment (IFA), 33 foreign companies chose to locate in the Provence-Alpes-Cote d’azur (PACA) region last year, creating 874 jobs. That is 37% less than in 2010. The Alpes-Maritimes welcomed 14 of these projects (245 jobs), the Bouches-du-Rhone ten (385 jobs), the Var seven (197 jobs) and Vaucluse three (47 jobs). As in previous years, the region stands out for new enterprises with high value-added decision-making centres and R&D, followed by extensions of businesses (33%). The United States and Germany remain the two top investing countries in the region. Spain comes in third.

Google help SMEs in PACA region to raise Internet profile  leparisien.fr 21 Mar 12 The U.S. internet giant Google launched an initiative Wednesday to help businesses, artisans and merchants in the PACA region to raise their profile on the internet and attract customers. The project that started January in Marseilles will be spread to other municipalities in the PACA region. The support offers simple solutions such as geo-location with Google Maps, Google + community network, the Express AdWords advertising solution and collaborative tools such as Gmail and Google Calendar. "This is the first time in Europe that Google has given such training," said Jean-Marc Tasseto.

Monaco fines operators of illegal taxi service  monacomatin 21 Mar 12 Two men, identified as George L and Bernard S (both 26 years old), were each fined €2,000 Tue by the Monaco Criminal Court for operating a luxury private taxi service without a license. They were caught by a patrol on the Bvd Albert I 20 Jul 11 and charged with unauthorised employment and operating an unauthorised business. The pair, who used a Porsche Cayenne, claim they were operating a test period without charge and say that there is a lack of authorised taxis in the Principality. The prosecution also claimed they were guilty of exploitation having paid their driver just €50 for six hours work.

Château de Bellet sold to property management company  nicematin 19 Mar 12 Thirteen hectares of vines behind Nice of the prestigious Château de Bellet wine brand, and seven hectares of Coteaux de Bellet, have been sold by the de Charnace family to La Française REM, a property management company that is among the largest in France. It has been turning to wine investments with properties in Bordeaux, Burgundy, Loire and Rhone valley. Patrick Ribouton, responsible for the wine division says, "Our investment in great vineyards is intended to diversify the portfolios of our pension & private wealth funds." The chateaux and park remain with the de Charnace family and Ghislain will stay on as an advisor. The sale price was not disclosed. Philippe Fiammetti.

Qatar increases stake in Monaco's Société des Bains de Mer  boursier.com 14 Mar 12 Qatari Diar Real Estate Investment Company, 100% owned by the Qatar Investment Authority, which is controlled by the State of Qatar, increased its share capital and voting rights in the Société des Bains de Mer de Monaco from 5.94% to 6.39%, dated 12 Mar 12. The securities were transferred to the company QD Hotel & Property Investment, controlled at the highest level by the State of Qatar. As a policy of diversifying from oil and gas, Qatar has been investing in property and businesses around the world including hotels. Earlier this year Qatari Diar acquired the Carlton Hotel in Cannes. Pic: Ghanem Bin Saad Al Saad, Head of Qatari Diar.

Postal strike continues in the Alpes-Maritimes  nicematin.com 14 Mar 12 Unions representing postal workers at the Nice airport PIC sorting site vowed to continue their 3 week strike after negotiations with employers broke down yesterday. The unions are opposing plans to reorganise the site that would see 60 of the 350 workers transferred to other sites within a 30km radius. France Poste say that the changes are necessary as postal traffic declines. It is projected that postal traffic will decline a further 15% by 2015. Hundreds of postal workers occupied the PIC site last Friday. The industrial action has so far seen sporadic with localised delays and disruption to postal deliveries in the Alpes Maritimes. Grégory Parigi.

Plan to move IBM’s  Sophia employees to La Gaude scrapped  nicematin.com 12 Mar 12 Plans to move 96 IBM employees based at their offices in Sophia Antipolis to the La Gaude premises have been scrapped. The decision was announced at a special meeting last Thursday. Unions representing the workers at Sophia Antipolis had organised demonstrations to protest the move last November saying that the move would inconvenience the Sophia based workers with additional commuting time and unsuitable work conditions due to lack of suitable spaces at La Gaude. Instead, IBM will be merging the their two locations at Sophia Antipolis into a single building.

Le Domaine de Terre Blanche to leave the Four Seasons chain  varmatin.com 12 Mar 12 The 5 star hotel resort Terre Blanche at Tourettes near Fayence has left the Four Seasons portfolio of luxury hotels. Management will be restored to its owners Terre Blanche Hotel & Spa owned by German billionaire Dietmar Hopp who built the 300 hectare complex, that includes two world class golf courses, in 2004. The divorce, described by Terre Blanche CEO François Vaugoude as ‘amicable’, will become effective 01 Oct 12. Gilles Fouilleroux has been appointed the new manager of the Terre blanche Hotel & Spa. The 250 staff, already employed by Terre Blanche, will not be affected.

Slovakia's Danube Wings announces new Nice – Angers route  air-journal.fr 12 Mar 12 The Slovakian Danube Wings airline will launch a new Nice – Angers route  in May, bringing to five the number of French airports in its network. As of 14 May 12, Danube Wings will offer three weekly flights between Nice & Angers with a 70-seat ATR 72-200. Flights will depart Monday and Wednesday at 09.30 (arrival 11.30) and Thursday at 15.30 (arrival 17.30). Late March Danube Wings opens its first French base at the airport Dole - Jura, with three flights to Nice. Operating since 2008, Danube Wings offers flights between six airports from its home bases of Bratislava and Kosice.

Riviera companies cash in on export markets   nicematin.com 12 Mar 12 Foreign trade data shows that the Alpes Maritimes is responsible for 10.4% of French exports and the Var 4.4%. Export leaders include aerospace company Thales Alenia (Cannes) that assembles satellites, wines from the Var, perfumes from Grasse and animal health specialists Virbac (Carros). Niche products are also exporting well including intelligent lighting from Ragni (Cagnes-sur-Mer), electronic components by Fantastic Sourcing (Villeneuve Loubet), costume jewelry by Reminiscence (Juans-les-Pins) and Sofia Cosmetic (Carros). Artisan exports include macaroons to Canada and Biot glass to Moscow.

Meet Simon Morris - Barclays Wealth new man in Monaco  RLTV 08 Mar 12 With the creation of Barclays Wealth new SARL in Monaco, Simon Morris has moved from its Jersey office, where he has worked since 2009, to head up the operation. Before that he had been based in Geneva since 2005. "Wealth Advisory previously supported our Private Bank colleagues on a 'fly-in' basis from Geneva or Jersey. It became apparent that a permanent Wealth Advisory presence was required in order to maximise the opportunities that are present within the existing client base of the Monaco Private Bank," Morris tells RivieraLife.tv. "The SARL is a support mechanism for the Private Bank that allows us to have direct conversations with our clients about succession planning and transferring wealth effectively between generations." Barclays Wealth SARL was incorporated as the vehicle to deliver the additional services to the Private Bank in accordance with local regulatory recommendations. Barclays Wealth SARL is a separate legal entity to Barclays Bank Monaco PLC, although the SARL is a Barclays Group Company. Mark Dezzani.

Dutch rogue trader sentenced to 15 months in Monaco  nicematin.com 07 Mar 12 The Dutch rogue trader Edwin Presser, who has been working in Monaco since Sept 2010, has been sentenced to 15 months in prison for fraud and embezzlement. He had promised returns of more than 10% on investments, but Presser utilised sophisticated software, false contracts, documents and bank statements to con his clients. The Monaco court recognised claims from his clients amounting to €307,000, with the €89,000 found in his bank accounts being divided amongst them. Prosecutors say that Presser had been operating for thirty years but his business collapsed when investors asked to be reimbursed.

Experts back Monaco’s Scorpio as billionaires buy tankers  businessweek.com 05 Mar 12 The richest investors in shipping are buying gasoline tankers, anticipating that fuel demand will expand faster than the fleet for the first time in 9 years. Global shipments will jump 4.3% in 2012 as vessel capacity gains 3.7%, according to London-based Clarkson Plc, the world’s largest shipbroker. Monaco-based Scorpio is expected to report a loss this year, but its shares will advance 24% to $7.92 in the next 12 months, the average of six analyst estimates shows. Seven of eight analysts covering the company recommend buying the shares. “The two points on the graph are crossing,” said Charles Mantell, the analyst who compiles Clarkson’s tanker forecasts. Isaac Arnsdorf.

Club Med opens the first L'Occitane Spa in North America  ftnews.com 04 Mar 12 Club Med unveils the first L'Occitane branded spa in North America at its Florida property, Club Med Sandpiper Bay. The Club Med Spa by L'Occitane marks the conclusion of a major $28 million renovation project for the resort, enticing travelers with a new way to experience Provence with customized treatments. The resort includes a L’Occitane boutique and anti-ageing treatments using products from the Provence based cosmetics company. Press Release.

Monaco tops quality of life index for tax havens  ft.com 02 Mar 12 US magazine, International Living, has made a 120-nation league table based on cost of living, leisure and culture, the economy, environment, freedom, health, safety, climate and infrastructure. Not every global tax haven is included but, of those assessed; Monaco comes highest, followed by Andorra, Switzerland, the Bahamas and the Cayman Islands. Most havens score well on climate, poorly on cost of living, and relatively strongly on health and infrastructure – that is, the provision of hospitals, schools, telecoms and transport systems. In Monaco, income tax is generally 0%. A six-bedroom apartment, recently renovated, costs £25m from Knight Frank. IL score: 75/100. Graham Norwood.

Companies in Nice Arenas unite against prostitution  nicematin.com 02 Mar 12 44 companies in the business district of Nice Arenas have signed a petition to try to halt the spread of prostitution in the area. Between 3 and 12 prostitutes are present year round, from 11.00 to 06.00, between the Parc Phoenix and the Paul Augier Hotel School. "At first they were 2-3 in the summer, now we see them year round,” says Campanile Hotel Director Fabrice Verdillon. The Free Trade Union Association (ASL) of Arenas have circulated a petition. 44 companies representing more than 1,700 employees have signed it. A copy has been sent to the town hall and the prefecture. "There is a real image problem”, says the president of the ASL Philippe Sauvage. Charlotte Henry.

Dutch rogue trader in Monaco court for fraud  monacomatin.com 01 Mar 12 Pressed by the need for money, Edwin Presser is accused of fraud and embezzlement of hundreds of thousands of euros. The 30 year old Dutch trader was attempting to ‘rebuild his life’ after his failure in his home country, but he was arrested and jailed in Monaco in September, following complaints from several customers that he cheated from his operations in the Netherlands. Presser claimed that he had intended to pay back the money he owed to investors from a business investment of €350,000 that never arrived. Prosecutors are requesting €500,000 compensation for his victims and an 18 month jail sentence. The judge will serve sentence on Tue 06 Mar 12.

Estrosi: Nice in need of a makeover  ft.com 29 Feb 12 Nice Mayor Mr Estrosi, a close ally of President Nicolas Sarkozy and a former industry minister, is leading what he intends will be a significant transformation of Nice and the surrounding Côte d’Azur area, long famous as a playground of the world’s wealthy but now, according the mayor, much in need of a long-term makeover. What Mr Estrosi and his team have in mind is changing the Côte d’Azur “brand” into something that is still based on the allure of the sun, sea and the mountains behind, but rooted much more in a modern, sustainable local economy, famous as much for its laboratories, enterprises, advanced technology and green credentials as it is for its super-rich inhabitants and visitors. Hugh Carnegy.

IGT's The Dark Knight video slot premieres at Monaco Casinos  bradenton.com 29 Feb 12 International Game Technology announced the installation of The Dark Knight video slot game in five Monte-Carlo SBM casinos; Casino de Monte-Carlo, Casino Monte Carlo Bay, Casino Cafe de Paris, Sun Casino and Casino Rascasse. The game features the popular Batman theme. IGT has a 53 percent floor share at the Monaco-based casinos with several orders for new Universal Slants, SAVPs and other IGT premium cabinets over the last few months. Additional IGT products at SBM properties include casino management solutions such as EZ Pay and Ticket In/Ticket Out (TITO). Press Release.

Cannes eyes convention competition from Nice  ft.com 29 Feb 12 Although Cannes Palais des Festivals is in the final throes of a €57m facelift, Cannes faces capacity constraints since the Palais cannot host conventions of more than 30,000 delegates. This limit has lost it business – in 2005, the Mobile World Business convention abandoned Cannes for Barcelona. The city will also face competition from nearby Nice, where Christian Estrosi, the mayor, is building a huge Eco-Vallée complex that will contain an exhibition park of 100,000 sqm. Mr Estrosi has said that Nice has for too long been regarded as a holiday resort and he aims to develop the region’s economy putting the accent on business tourism and high-tech industries. Scheherazade Daneshkhu.

McLaren P12 to be revealed at the 2012 Monaco Grand Prix  gtspirit.com 26 Feb 12 Sources suggest that McLaren’s F1 successor will be unveiled at this year’s Monaco Grand Prix. The event runs from the 24th to the 27th May. The new car is known at the moment as the P12 and will be the second model in McLaren Automotives line-up. Whilst the debut is expected at the classic Formula 1 street race, it won’t go on sale until at least 2014. Designed by McLaren’s chief designer Frank Stephenson, the British sports car will have dramatic styling and a two-seat configuration unlike the car it succeeds. Aside from the MP4-12C, Frank Stephenson’s other works include the new MINI, the Maserati MC12, Ferrari F430 and the Maserati Quattroporte.

ESA orders six satellites from Thales Alenia Space  nicematin.com 24 Feb 12 The European Space Agency (ESA) has ordered six satellites from Thales Alenia Space for $1.25 billion. The contract was signed in Paris on Friday 24 Feb 12 and will renew and expand the fleet of Meteosat weather observation satellites. The first prototypes should be sent into orbit in 2017. Thales Alenia Space has ten manufacturing sites in Europe, including one in Cannes and 7,200 employees.

Eco-tax for trucks on A8 to promote marine highway  info-economique.com 24 Feb 12 Nice mayor Christian Estrosi is proposing an eco-tax for trucks using the A8 motorway in an attempt to accelerate the highway of the sea project to try and move cargo between Genoa and Barcelona off the motorway and onto cargo ships. The project has so far failed to take-off due to the cost advantage of using road haulage. Many lorries use the A8 to avoid the high charges at the Frejus (€260) and Mont Blanc (€435) tunnels. It is estimated that one third of the annual 600,000 trucks that use the A8 could be moved to ships or trains. Some of the revenues generated by the eco-tax would be used to promote the use of cargo ships or trains.

Unions have 'difficulty swallowing' SBM recovery plan  monacomatin.com 23 Feb 12 Unions representing workers at Monaco’s Société des Bains de Mer (SBM) issued a joint statement describing the groups recovery plan as ‘hard to swallow’. They are upset at not being consulted. Olivier Cardot of the Union of Monaco said, “It was irresponsible not to discuss the plan with trade union partners”. The unions blame SBM’s management for recent losses saying that large investments in the failed Moods music club and renovating the Cabaret and Rascasse bar/restaurant have not been profitable. SBM recently announced €22 million losses for 2010/11. Anne-Clair Hillion.

Scorpio Tankers hit by impairment charge  tankeroperator.com 23 Feb 12 Monaco-based Scorpio Tankers recorded a net loss of $71.7 million, which included a non-cash impairment charge of $66.6M, for the fourth quarter 2011. Excluding the impairment charge, the net loss would have been $5.1M, the company said. This is compared to a net loss of $2.7M for the three months ended 31st December, 2010. For the full year, STI reported a net loss of $82.7M, which included the non-cash impairment charge of $66.6M. Excluding the impairment charge, the net loss would have been $16.1M. This is compared to a net loss of $2.8M reported in 2010. STI recently signed a contract for a newbuilding MR and sold three more.

Philippe Joannes leaves Lenôtre  to head Fairmont Monte Carlo  RLTV 22 Feb 12 Philippe Joannes resigned as Regional Director of Lenôtre Riviera to take up the role of Chief Executive at the Fairmont Monte Carlo from 20 Mar 12. Joannes leaves Lenôtre after 15 years in the group during which he launched their first shops in Cannes & Nice and a production facility in Moans-Sartoux. During his tenure Lenotre also acquired two restaurant & event venues; Park Lenôtre in Mougins and the recently restored Rotonde in Beaulieu-sur-mer. The Fairmont Monte Carlo will make an official announcement in the forthcoming weeks. MD with NiceRendezvous.com

Easyjet challenges Air France with seven new routes from Nice  tourmag.com 22 Feb 12 Whilst Air France recently gave up two new planned routes from Nice to Barcelona and Istanbul, Easyjet launch 7 new destinations 26 Mar 12, bringing its total of routes from Nice to 23. Easyjet will fly to Toulouse (7 flights per week), Nantes (five flights per week), Lille (3 flights a week), Naples and Venice (three flights weekly) from €33.99 and Barcelona (4 flights a week ) from €35.99. In January Air France business from Nice declined 5.6% with 191,165 while Easyjet continued to grow with 133,178 passengers (+2.9%). If the trend continues in 2012, the low cost airline could become the leading operator at Nice Cote d’azur Airport. Michel Bovas.

Barclays Wealth expands advisory service to Monaco  citywire.co.uk 22 Feb 12 Barclays Wealth has expanded its advisory business to Monaco in the latest step in its drive to grow the business. The wealth giant has established a local Société À Responsabilité Limitée (SARL) and appointed Simon Morris, who has worked at the firm’s Geneva office since 2005 and its Jersey office since 2009, to head up the service. He will work alongside Barclays Wealth’s Monaco-based private bankers to ‘support the increased focus on high and ultra high net worth clients’, the company said. Head of wealth advisory Rob Withecombe said Monaco was an important location for the wealth advisory business, which included estate planning and asset protection. Annabelle Williams.

Six investigated in Como over failed Monte Carlo on-line gaming project  tio.ch 20 Feb 12 Six suspects are being investigated by the Swiss authorities for an alleged fraud involving a project to launch an online poker game and European poker tour using the Monte Carlo brand. It is claimed that they were paid €2 million in 2008 to secure authorisation from the government of the Principality of Monaco to use the ‘Monte Carlo’ brand. The authorisation was never issued and the project was copied by another company, whilst their company was placed into liquidation. The investigating prosecutor in Como, Antonio Nalesso, has been waiting 18 months for a judicial response from Monaco to find out whether any of those named actually had any links with Monaco’s SBM. The six suspects were named by the Swiss authorities as; Stéphan Morandi, François Poher, Jean-Marie Cornutello, Jean Chiavazza, Eric Cicéro and Michel Albert. Ticino Online.

PACA region loses 7,000 farms in 10 years  varmatin.com 20 Feb 12 Fewer but larger farms and fewer employees. Agriculture in the region is a mixed picture. According to initial trends published by the Department of Agriculture, there has been a 25% decline in farms over ten years. In the PACA region today, just 44,600 people are employed on farms: 11,260 in the Var (2.6% of the workforce), and 3,470 in the Alpes-Maritimes, not even 1% of the workforce. The number of farms is declining, but they are now larger than a decade ago. The region lost 7,000 farms, or one in four: 2,160 disappeared in the Var, 3,400 in the Alpes Maritimes. The region has 1,310 organic farms.

Cold Wave: Riviera restaurants affected - hotels spared  lhotellerie-restauration.fr 20 Feb 12 The hotel and restaurant trade in the Alpes Maritimes was largely spared from the recent cold wave, however Var establishments were impacted more. Whilst ski-resorts finally got full bookings, the coast had a slight fall in hotel occupancy says Michel Tschann, president of the Hotel Association of the Alpes Maritimes. Room occupancy is typically 25-30% at this time of year. Some restaurants lost up to 50% of revenues, especially on weekends, but for hotels  the Air France strike had more impact than the bad weather. In the Var, lost restaurant business has been estimated at up to 65% due to block roads with hotel bookings down an estimated 30%. Jacques Gantié.

Launch of Air France flights to Barcelona and Istanbul from Nice deferred  tourmag.com 16 Feb 12 Air France has decided to postpone the launch of two of its new routes from Nice (Barcelona and Istanbul). This information was confirmed by the airport but Air France have so far refused to comment. According to the airport, this decision was taken for reasons of availability of fleet or as a change of business strategy. Air France is expected to comment in the next few days.

SBM presents a recovery plan  monacomatin.com 15 Feb 12 After €22million losses for the year 2010/2011, and an early 2012 that does not look better, the Société des Bains de Mer (SBM) unveiled its "stimulus and recovery" plan Wed. Jean-Luc Biamonti, Chairman of SBM’s Board of Directors announde that "there will be no layoffs." The Joint Deputy Director Generals Jean-Louis Masurel and Isabelle Simon outlined four areas of development based on quality, winning new customers (including from Russia and and China), with new customer services, and the creation of "new centres of attraction ". Personnel costs currently represent 54% of turnover. Jean-Louis Masurel said "over three years, we expect not to replace retiring employees." An early retirement plan affecting fifty people will be negotiated.

PACA region launches 'Jeremie': A €20M guarantee fund for SMEs  econostrum.info 14 Feb 12 The PACA council have launched a guarantee fund for SMEs in the region. The fund, worth €20 million, is to help to generate a portfolio of bank loans of €108 million guaranteed up to 80%. 1,000 companies could benefit by limiting the level of personal guarantee required by a bank and by getting a reduced interest rate. The fund, baptised ‘Jeremie’, will guarantee up to 80% and a maximum loan of €1.5 million over periods of one to ten years. Eligible companies will be based in the PACA region who wish to implement an investment in a renewable energy and/or an energy efficiency project. The guarantee fund should be available from June 2012 until 2015.

Micro-entrepreneur as an alternative to unemployment  nicematin.com 13 Feb 12 With 25,000 micro-companies in the Alpes-Maritimes, the success of the device created in 2009 continues unabated. The Riviera is the second region for self-employed micro-companies after Paris-Ile de France, but these activities do not always generate a living wage. In 2010, 12,809 micro-enterprises on the Riviera achieved a positive turnover. However, their declared average annual revenues of less than €9,500 is not enough income to live on. For Bernard Kleynhoff, president of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCI) Nice, this new device has at least the merit of an "effective fight against illegal employment." Less than 30% of French micro-companies declare a turnover greater than €30,000, the ceiling beyond which they will have to change their status. Eric Galliano.

Societe des Bains de Mer: 2011/2012 will be ‘particularly difficult’  boursier.com 10 Feb 12 After a difficult 2010/11, when the Société des Bains de Mer (SBM) and its subsidiaries had their worst performance for 15 years, the Group says that despite improved turnover, 2011/12 will remain difficult with continued losses. “Only the implementation of the recovery plan will see a return to profit in the medium term” SBM announced in a statement. Turnover in the first 9 months of 2011/12 was up 8.7% at €313.4M against €288.3M the previous year. Turnover on gaming tables were up in the third quarter (€42.6M against €39.7M) but the take on gaming machines was down. The hotel sector improved 5% at €28.1M.

Azimut starts 2012 with inflows of €119m  investmenteurope.net 10 Feb 12 Azimut Holding, the leading independent asset manager in Italy, has reported inflows of €119m for January, of which €113m comprises managed assets. In December, the Milan-based group posted overall net asset inflows of €655m, which includes assets of the recently acquired wealth manager Compagnie de Gestion Monegasque. Last May, Azimut acquired a stake of 51% in the Monaco wealth manager. At the time of the acquisition, CGM had assets of €800m. For 2011, Azimut reported net inflows of €980m. Azimut reported total net inflows of €1.13bn for 2011. The group has total managed assets of €15.2bn and overall assets of €17.2bn, including insurance products. James Norris.

Var vintners in pursuit of excellence  varmatin.com 08 Feb 12 279 Var vintners presented their 2011 wines in competition at Pignans on Tuesday. 92 Bandol, 11 Bellet, 144 Coteaux-Varois, 651 Côtes-de-Provence and 197 Vins de Pays. 50% will be selected to go forward for competition in Paris where sought after médailles, indicating quality, will be awarded. Last year 269 médailles were awarded to Var wines. "These médailles have a real impact on sales, and the popularity of this contest reflects consumers' loyalty to the guarantee of quality," says Éric Paul, President of the Union of Var Vintners. The overall winner last year, was a group of winemakers from Bau, in the Pourcieux district, who won nine medals from eleven samples presented.

Goldman Sachs uinit takes stake in Robinson’s Altana Hedge Fund  bloomberg.com 01 Feb 12 A Goldman Sachs Group Inc. unit will take a stake in Lee Robinson’s (pic) Altana Wealth Ltd. after holding an earlier investment in his previous hedge fund. Goldman’s Petershill fund has exercised its right to invest in Monaco-based Altana, which Robinson started last year after leaving Trafalgar Asset Managers. Petershill was given the right to invest in any new venture set up by Robinson, 42, when it bought a 20 percent stake in Trafalgar in 2008. Trafalgar, which Robinson founded with former Deutsche Bank AG executive Theo Phanos, oversaw about $2.8 billion at its peak. Jesse Westbrook.

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