Archive for March, 2012

Cayman airport expands to travel to US

Monday, March 26th, 2012

The Cayman Islands has announced that it is expanding an airport with a view to allow direct flights from Cayman Brac to the United States.

According to Airport Authority marketing manager Caren Thompson-Palacio, the expansion of the Gerrar-Smith International Airport is expected to boost tourism on the island. The construction should start in the next couple of months but an estimated cost for the project is not known yet.

Currently, travelers going from Cayman Brac to Miami must stop first in Grand Cayman as the smaller airport lacks adequate passenger screening facilities.

Cayman TIEA with South Africa enters into force

Thursday, March 22nd, 2012

The South African Revenue Service has disclosed that a protocol to facilitate the exchange of tax information within the tax information exchange agreement (TIEA) between South Africa and the Cayman Islands entered into force.

Signed last year, the TIEA between South Africa and the Cayman Islands was effective from February 23, 2012.

The new TIEA, incorporating the internationally-agreed OECD standard for the exchange of information for tax purposes, will apply to “taxes of every kind and description” imposed in all of the signing countries.

AMP Signs U-Go Stations Cayman as Distributor of Its Electric Vehicles in the Caribbean

Monday, March 12th, 2012

On March 7, 2012, AMP Electric Vehicles, an electric vehicle company specializing in truck conversions, signed a memorandum of understanding with U-Go Stations Cayman LTD. with a view to distribute all-electric SUVs to the Caribbean Islands. U-Go Stations Cayman will become AMP’s second international distributor.

In early January of 2012 at North American Auto Show AMP announced its first US dealership, AMP of Cincinnati.

Jim Taylor, AMP CEO, said that “the combination of the near perfect weather conditions of the Caribbean Islands, the high cost of gasoline, the inherent short commutes of an island community and the desire to reduce dependence on foreign oil makes for an outstanding scenario for our EV’s”.

The agreement gives U-Go Stations Cayman the exclusive retail and fleet distribution rights in the Cayman Islands as well as in the Bahamas, Bermuda, Jamaica, St John, St Thomas, St Kitt, and Barbados.

AMP plans to deliver its first Electric SUV to U-Go Stations Cayman for use in their EV auto show. The event is scheduled for the summer of 2012 in Grand Cayman.

Technology-based Special Economic Zone launches in Cayman

Wednesday, March 7th, 2012

Cayman Enterprise City (CEC) is the first Special Economic Zone (SEZ) of its kind in the Caribbean region, is now open for business and welcoming its first clients.

The official launch of the Special Economic Zone was observed at a celebration attended by His Excellency the Governor of the Cayman Islands Mr. Duncan Taylor, Cayman Islands Premier, the Honorable McKeeva Bush, CEC executives and prominent business and community leaders.

It should be reminded that the Premier signed a Memorandum of Understanding in January 2011. The document allows the CEC Development company exclusive rights to develop and operate a SEZ with a view to attract internet, technology, commodities and derivatives, media, and biotechnology companies from around the globe.

At the launch event, Premier Bush commented on the expedited process that resulted in the timely launch. He said: “It is an incredible accomplishment when we consider how much the elected government, the civil service and Cayman Enterprise City have achieved together in 12 short months to make this project a reality”. Also, he added that the SEZ Law was passed by the Legislative Assembly in September 2011 and the Special Economic Zone Authority was established shortly after that. In December 2011, the newly-established Authority held its first meeting and is now licensing the first zone companies.

“The cooperation and pro-business attitude of the Cayman Islands government and the civil service has been outstanding,” noted Cayman Enterprise City CEO Jason Blick. He added: “They truly understand the positive effect the zone will have on Cayman, and their support has been incredible.”

Cayman Enterprise City is expected to develop into the third pillar of the Cayman economy, alongside financial services and tourism, by attracting new technology based industries and global brands into establishing a physical presence in the Cayman Islands.

It is worth noting that a February Moody’s Investors Service report stated that Cayman Enterprise City is an important and credit positive diversification opportunity for the economy of the small island jurisdiction.

Mixed Results for Cayman Financial Sector

Thursday, March 1st, 2012

The Economics and Statistics Office of the Cayman Islands has reported that the juridiction’s economy began to recover from the economic downturn during the 1st 9 months of 2011. The growth of of 1.2% year-on-year was recorded, as compared with a contraction of 5.8% in the same period a year earlier.

Among the various economic sectors, the performance of the hotels and restaurants, and real estate, renting and business services stood out as these were estimated to have grown by 7.5% and 3.4% respectively. But the financial services sector continues to see mixed results.

Banking deposits decresed by 2% over the period to September 2011 to USD 5.16 trillion. As of September 2011, the total number of licensed bank and trust companies stood at 250, which is down by 4.6% from 262 a year ago. As regards licences issued to trust companies, these decreased by 4.7% to 123.

During the 9-month period, applicants from Europe and US led the Caymans’ banking licencees accounting for 29.2% and 26.4%, respectively. The distribution of other banking licence sources was the following: South America 17.2%; Asia and Australia 10.0%; Caribbean and Central America 8.4%; Canada and Mexico 5.2%; and the Middle East and Africa 3.6%.

The insurance industry saw the number of captive insurers falling marginally over the period, while premiums improved to USD 2.07 billion. The number of mutual funds fell by 1.7% year-on-year.

The Cayman Islands Stock Exchange experienced an increase in listings of 1.5% from 1 116 in September 2010 to 1 133 in September 2011.

Also, the growth was recorded in company registrations, to 7 063 compared with 6 192 over the same period of 2010. This was an increase of 14.1%.

Despite weak economic performance, the Cayman Islands government was successful in significantly reducing the deficit from USD 61.3 million a year ago to USD 17 million. Revenues increased by 6.5% over the period while expenditure increased at a lesser rate of 3.6%, while capital expenditures fell significantly.