Archive for September, 2015


Portugal is the best European country to invest in and a fantastic gateway to Europe

In on September 30, 2015 by NEWCO


According to André Loesekrug-Pietri, founder and chairman of “A Capital,” a private Chinese-European investment fund that coinvests with Chinese groups in small and medium sized European companies with growth potential in China, Portugal is a fantastic gateway to enter Europe for Chinese companies with strategic value.

This factor takes on greater importance at a time when the Chinese economy is slowing down to its lowest levels seen in the past twenty-five years (7%), and consequently “the strategic need for Chinese companies to invest abroad has never been so high,” says Loesekrug-Pietri. He goes on to add that “many investment funds have 99% of their assets in China,” whereas they should be spread out among various countries in order to keep them more secure.

He also believes that given the difficulty Chinese companies face in becoming well known and the fact they “do not make an effort to explain who they are or what their strategy is,” Portugal is an ideal partner, especially because of its ties to Portuguese speaking countries. For this reason he would not be surprised to see “Portuguese and Chinese companies cooperating in Africa,” seeing as “the Portuguese project a positive image and have local contacts, while the Chinese can provide financial backing.”

Earlier this year, Guo Guangchang, CEO and founder of the largest private Chinese congalmorate, FOSUN Group, stated that “Portugal is the best European country to invest in” and that “Chinese entrepreneurs were not merely interested in the financial sector.”

In fact, in recent years Portugal has ranked 4th in the list of countries receiving Chinese investment in Europe, behind the United Kingdom, Germany and France, attracting in excess of 10 billion euros. Also contributing to this success has been the Authorizations for Investment Residence (ARI) programme organized by the Portuguese government, which is one of the most popular and competitive residence authorization programmes for foreign investment in Europe, also known as Golden Visa, most of the applications coming from China (86%).

Moreover, China last year became the third largest foreign direct investor in the world and it is already the second largest economy in the world, behind the United States of America. While Asia grows, Chinese investors are looking for opportunities elsewhere, which should result in an investment of 1.25 billion dollars over the next decade, as stated by Chinese President Xi Jinping in Seattle, U.S.A..

In addition to the aforementioned advantages, Portugal, through the International Business Centre of Madeira (IBCM), offers a privileged tax regime approved by the European Commission until the end of 2027, offering one of the lowest corporate income tax rates in the European Union (5%), among other benefits.

To find out how to invest in Portugal through the IBCM, please see the following:

Why Madeira

Webinar recording New Madeira tax regime (IBCM)

Related articles:

“Chinese group considers Portugal the best country in Europe to invest in”

“New rules for awarding Golden Visas in Portugal”

“Results confirm the success of the Golden Visas programme in Portugal”

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NEWCO participates in “Family Office in Portugal” Conference

In on September 25, 2015 by NEWCO


Represented by its Managing Partner, Frederico Gouveia e Silva, NEWCO was one of the entities present at the “Family Office in Portugal” Conference, held in Lisbon, which focused on the topic of “Foundations and Trusts”.

The event was organised jointly by the Associação das Empresas Familiares (Association of Family Companies) and the law firm RPBA – Ricardo da Palma Borges & Associados. The aim was to clarify the advantages of creating “Family Offices” as structures dedicated entirely to the provision of personal and family wealth management services.

Recent and future amendments to international and domestic tax law, in addition to the regulation of banking services worldwide, make this issue even more pressing and of considerable relevance to family companies both in Portugal and abroad.

On the one hand, traditional Portuguese families are increasingly seeking instruction on the best way to organise and manage their assets. And, on the other, whether for non-tax-related reasons or because of the favourable tax climate, Portugal has become one of the best jurisdictions for High Net Worth Individuals (HNWI) to relocate to.

Trusts and foundations, which were the subject addressed in Frederico Gouveia e Silva’s talk, are highly effective instruments for inheritance planning, shareholdings and the safeguarding of other assets. Consequently, they are increasingly being used to manage the assets of family companies and companies whose owners are not permanently resident in Portugal.

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Malta has second-lowest unemployment rate in European Union

In on September 23, 2015 by NEWCO


According to data published by Eurostat, Malta has the second-lowest unemployment rate in the European Union. The rate is 5.8% lower than the eurozone average (10.9% total unemployment), which, in July, reached the lowest figure recorded since February 2012.

The data from the European Union’s official statistics office show that the lowest unemployment rates were recorded in Germany (4.7%), Malta and the Czech Republic (5.1%), while Greece (25% in May) and Spain (22.2%) had the highest. The year-on-year unemployment figures for July fell both in the eurozone (down from 11.6% to 10.9%) and the European Union (down from 10.2% to 9.5%).

Furthermore, where unemployment among young people is concerned, Malta saw a record drop in the rate to 8.7%, almost half the 2012 figure of 14%. Consequently, the country’s youth unemployment rate for July 2015 is the second-lowest (8.7%), behind Germany (7%) and ahead of Estonia (9.5% in June 2015). The highest rates were seen in Greece (51.8% in May 2015), Spain (48.6%), Croatia (43.1% in the second quarter of 2015) and Italy (40.5%).

In the eurozone and in the European Union, this rate stood at 21.9% and 20.4% respectively in July 2015, a year-on-year drop in both cases. In the eurozone 336,000 fewer young people registered as unemployed than in July 2014, while in the EU-28, the number of young people under 25 registering as unemployed was down by 465,000.

These data are in line with all the other macroeconomic indicators that demonstrate how resilient and dynamic the Maltese economy is: in the second quarter of 2015, the economic growth rate was 7.3%, almost four times higher than those across the eurozone, where the average economic growth rate was 1.2%.

This growth was driven by the volume of direct foreign investment which, in the space of two years (2013 and 2014), increased by around 14 billion euros across all sectors of activity, and by the sustained growth of purchasing power. Private consumption saw a 2.5% year-on-year increase in the first quarter of 2015, while salaries and average remunerations increased by 4.2%.

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Portugal and Malta among eight countries ratifying Agreement on Unified Patent Court

In on September 17, 2015 by NEWCO


Under Presidential Decree no. 90/2015 of 6 August 2015, Portugal has ratified the Agreement on a Unified Patent Court (UPC). The agreement was signed by the Contracting Member States of the EU on 19 February 2013 in Brussels, and was approved by Parliamentary Resolution no. 108/2015 on 10 April 2015.

So far, eight countries have submitted their instruments of ratification or accession, including Portugal and Malta (the others are Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Luxembourg and Sweden). For the UPC to become effective, it must be ratified by at least 13 countries, to include Germany, the United Kingdom and France.

The UPC has exclusive competence to resolve disputes relating to European patents with and without unitary effect. This means that it can: decide on the validity or invalidity of patents; order transgressors to pay compensation for losses arising from patent infringement; decree injunctions against suspected transgressors to prevent, prohibit or put an end to eventual infringements.

The Court comprises a Court of First Instance, a Court of Appeal and a Registry. The Court of First Instance comprises a central division with its seat in Paris and sections in London and Munich, and various local and regional divisions in the Contracting Member States at their request. A decision is currently pending about the possible siting of a local division in Portugal. The Court of Appeal has its seat in Luxembourg and the Registry is located at the seat of the Court of Appeal.

The Agreement also establishes the creation of a Patent Mediation and Arbitration Centre with seats in Ljubljana and Lisbon. These centres will provide citizens and companies with additional means for resolving disputes.

UPC proceedings will be conducted in the language of the local or regional division where the action is brought or in the language in which the patent was granted.

The following may have recourse to the UPC:

  1. The patent holder;
  2. The beneficiary of an exclusive licence relating to a patent, in accordance with the terms of the licence;
  3. The beneficiary of a non-exclusive licence, in accordance with the terms of the licence;
  4. Any individual or legal person or any organism that has an interest in a patent or is affected by a decision made by the European Patent Office.

By ratifying the UPC Agreement, Portugal and Malta are helping to make jurisprudence uniform in an acknowledgedly complex area, since European companies will no longer have to dispute patents in various countries because the legal decisions taken by this Court will be effective throughout the European Union.

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Malta is the fastest-growing economy in the European Union

In on September 10, 2015 by NEWCO


Based on the latest provisional data from Eurostat, the eurozone’s economy grew by 0.4% between April and June 2015, in comparison to the three previous months. Malta and Spain performed particularly well, with growth figures of 1.1% and 1% respectively.

Malta is not just the fastest growing economy in the European Union, but it is also the one which has seen the greatest growth since the global crisis.

According to data on the National Accounts published by the country’s national statistics office (NSO), economic growth in Malta during the second quarter of 2015 reached new heights, having risen 5.2% year-on-year, and 7.3% in nominal terms. These growth rates are almost four times higher than those recorded in the eurozone, where the average economic growth rate was 1.2%.

In turn, positive growth figures have been recorded across all economic sectors, including industry, where a nominal growth rate of 4.7% was seen during the same period. Meanwhile, the growth figures were in two digits for professional, scientific and technical activities, the administration sector, support services and the real estate sector. Businesses and companies progressed favourably, with profits above €107.4 million, corresponding to a year-on-year growth of 12.5%.

This economic growth was driven by the sustained increase in private consumption and more significantly by a sharp growth of 24.3% in investment. The former is indicative of the all-time record growth in employment, of the historically low unemployment figures recorded at the start of the year, and the increase in consumer confidence. The increase in investment reflects the Maltese government’s successful reforms in key sectors – energy in particular – and concerted efforts to diversify the economy.

Reacting to these figures, Malta’s Ministry of Finance, Edward Scicluna, affirmed that, “The macro and financial environment more favourable to companies, which the government has created, is fostering the right macroeconomic conditions which, in turn, will boost the confidence of consumers and investors in the Maltese economy.”

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