Cyprus is a modern, cosmopolitan, transparent business centre offering opportunities for investment across a wide range of sectors.
In Cyprus, laws and regulations, systems and infrastructures are all continuously enhanced to ensure we remain one step ahead. Cyprus is committed to offering a high-quality service in a duly regulated environment in order to ensure the best possible experience for investors and business people worldwide. As a member of the European Union since 2004 and the European Monetary Union since 2008, Cyprus is committed to quality, efficiency and transparency in transactions. Its EU membership ensures safety and stability for investors, also offering them market access to more than 500 million EU citizens.
Cyprus not only lies at the crossroads of big international energy routes but is surrounded by substantial oil and gas resources. Assessments by USGS bring the level of undiscovered oil and gas resources in the Eastern Mediterranean to a total of 3.4 billion barrels of oil and circa 345 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. Even more significant undiscovered hydrocarbon resources are said to exist at the west of the island. Major international specialists in the hydrocarbon industries are already establishing in Cyprus. Noble Energy says “the total deep oil potential is enough to cover the supply of natural gas to Europe for 20 years.” Cyprus’ hydrocarbons find in particular has captured the attention of several global energy companies, such as Eni and Total, who have since set up on the island, while more recently Cyprus welcomed oilfield services giant Halliburton’s decision to base its Eastern Mediterranean operations in Cyprus – with fellow giant Schlumberger expected to follow.
Gas giants Halliburton and Schlumberger have chosen Cyprus as their base of operation for the entire Eastern Mediterranean
"A vast number of specialised professionals are relocating to Cyprus to work for the oil and gas industry thus directly boosting the housing industry in Cyprus"
Cyprus Investment Funds
Cyprus Private Funds regulated under the ICIS Law have tripled in number since late 2008. The country’s comprehensive and transparent regulatory regime with minimal red tape, a business friendly environment well suited for international businesses and with a UK based legal system, a low cost base and an efficient tax system with a large network of Double Tax Treaties, make Cyprus Private Funds a highly attractive choice for fund managers.
"Supported by robust productivity and growth in employment, Cyprus’s real GDP growth was among the highest in the EU over the last decade"
The Cyprus Shipping Registry is the 2nd largest in the EU (it is estimated to constitute 25% of the whole EU “fleet”) and the 10th largest worldwide. Moreover, Cyprus is the biggest third party ship management centre in the EU and the Cyprus flag is on the white list of Paris MOU. Cyprus has the most modern, competitive, flexible, fully approved Tonnage Tax system in the EU, combined with an excellent infrastructure and an extremely competitive tax system with the lowest corporate tax rate in the EU. The Limassol port is home to over 140 multinational shipping companies based there.
The Limassol Port
Some of the shipping companies based in Cyprus:
Knight Frank’s Global Lifestyle Review
"Out of a total of 23 countries worldwide, Knight Frank’s Global Lifestyle Review puts Cyprus in fifth place as the best relocation destination in the world"
Cyprus is widely recognised as a centre of excellence in the provision of professional services. With an abundance of highly-skilled and experienced multilingual professionals, Cyprus offers a full range of modern, advanced professional services at competitive rates. Lawyers, attorneys, auditors, tax advisors, financial advisors and other specialists, who are often educated at the best universities worldwide, offer high-quality services to support all types of businesses, from large listed entities to family offices and entrepreneurs. Further evidence of Cyprus’ recognition as a reputable international financial and business centre is the decision of two of the world’s leading accounting organisations, the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) and the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA), to select Cyprus as the first country in the world outside the United Kingdom to train ICAEW and CIMA accountants. Cyprus offers a wide range of professional accounting, auditing, management consultancy, taxation, financial advisory and other administrative services to both the private and public sectors.
With top international accounting firms also established in the island providing services to local as well as international investors. Accounting in Cyprus follows the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS). The country’s legal system is based on English Common Law principles, incorporating the body of laws and regulations of the EU known as the acquis communautaire. The majority of legal professionals in Cyprus have studied and/or qualified in the UK and other top worldwide destinations, and law firms provide a wide range of high quality legal services in areas such as international law, corporate administration and management services, while most large law firms are affiliated or collaborate with international law firms.
"Standard & Poor’s upgraded its assessment of Cyprus to BB+, stating the outlook was ‘positive’"
The country’s largest lender, Bank of Cyprus, recently announced the success of an oversubscribed private placement of over four billion new shares for a capital-raising of €1 billion. The shares were allocated to a wide range of institutional investors from Europe, North America and Russia. Among the interested parties was the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) as well as foreign hedge funds which submitted offers for a significant stake in the bank – including two major American hedge funds with offers for a €600 million stock purchase.
Cyprus’ largest foreign direct investments and contributors:
Wilbur L Ross
Wilbur L Ross, Secretary of Commerce for the United States of America and investor and former Executive Managing Director of Rothschild Group Inc., one of the biggest fortunes in the world, has placed investments worth €1 billion into the Bank of Cyprus and has stated he is confident in the growth of the Cyprus economy. Mr Ross is known for restructuring failed companies in many types of industries and specializes in leveraged buyouts and distressed businesses. As of February 2017, Forbes magazine lists Ross as one of the world’s billionaires with a net worth of $2.5 billion. Mr Ross has helped restructure over $400 billion of corporate liabilities. He was also awarded a medal by the Korean government for assisting in their financial crisis, and in 2014 was awarded ‘Order of the Rising Sun’ with gold and silver stars by the Japanese government.
Cobalt is a new international airline based in Cyprus with a route structure across the UK, Ireland, France and Greece. Cobalt will be the flag carrier for the Republic of Cyprus with a network of flying rights within all of the EU and additionally with special rights to the East and South of Europe. It will not only bring the world to Cyprus as an attractive destination, but will use Cyprus as hub to connect Asia, Middle East, Africa and Europe. Cobalt has close links with China and one of the biggest investors in the airline is a Hong Kong based company. Cobalt is to be the first airline in Cyprus to offer direct flights to Chinese airports which are due to start in 2017.
Third Point & Wargaming.net
The island’s two biggest lenders, Bank of Cyprus and Hellenic Bank, have already garnered significant investor interest. New York-based hedge fund Third Point became a major shareholder in Hellenic Bank in 2013 and recently strengthened its position by purchasing €7.7 million worth of convertible bonds. The hedge fund currently owns 22.5% of Hellenic Bank, with Belarusian international video game company Wargaming.net also owning 22.5%.
Following a 9% increase in sales in 2015, Cyprus property sales have risen by 43% in 2016 according to the latest official statistics published by the Department of Lands and Surveys. Building permits issued for the construction of new homes increased by 12.3% in the period January - November in 2016 compared to the same period in 2015. Property sales in Cyprus have risen significantly in February 2016 compared to the same period last year according to official statistics published by the Department of Lands and Surveys. There was an 87.4% increase in sales of property from 2013 to 2016.
Cyprus offers an attractive and transparent tax regime fully compliant with EU, OECD and international laws and regulations. Cyprus is becoming increasingly popular amongst investors and businessmen. Its main features are:
- One of the lowest corporate income tax rates in the EU at 12.5%
- Dividends exempt from tax
- Exemption on disposal of securities (e.g. shares, bonds, debentures)
- No withholding taxes on dividend, interest and royalty payments abroad
- No succession taxes
- Attractive Intellectual Property regime
- Tonnage tax for shipping companies
- Notional interest deduction for investments into Cyprus companies
- Personal tax exemptions for new residents and non-domiciled individuals
- More than 60 double tax treaties
- There are no taxes applied to the interest earned by offshore bank accounts
- Cyprus has legislation in place to protect the privacy of offshore bank account holders and Cyprus International Business Companies
"Enjoy the best tax system in Europe"
The Cyprus Government has put in place very attractive Property Tax Schemes to promote investment in the real estate sector.
- Buy now and pay only 5% VAT, a saving of 14% VAT on your purchase of a new property in Cyprus. When a property is purchased as a private residence the purchaser can apply and receive permission to pay only 5% VAT. All applications so far have been successful with a 100% approval rate.
- No transfer fees apply on property resulting in saving approximately 8% on the value of the property (when VAT is paid at the time of purchase).
- Cyprus has a Nil (0%) rate of Inheritance Tax. This means that when the time comes for your children to inherit your real estate investments in Cyprus they will not have to liquidate the asset in order to cover huge inheritance tax bills.
- No Capital Gains Tax when exchanging private residential properties, provided that the whole of the gain made on the exchange has been used to acquire the other property. The gain that is not taxable is deducted from the cost of the new property, i.e. the payment of tax is deferred until the disposal of the new property.
- Immovable Property Tax (IPT) was reduced in 2016 to approximately a quarter of that in the previous year and is abolished in 2017.
- Ranks in the top European countries with low property tax, land rates and municipal fees.