A MAGAZINE OF THE AMERICAN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE IN GEORGIA
Includes articles from the FT
Sochi Prepares for Winter Games
From Downtown to Out of Town
Three Views on Trading with America
The Key to Tourists?
Investment in Brief
A brief synopsis of
new investments and
CNN: Eye on
Georgia’s reforms and
From Downtown to
Out of Town: A shift
to the suburbs
A new suburb at Lisi
Lake might boost
broader interest in
19 Poaching on
track a new
market and better
Hunting tours, hunting
restaurants and hunting
stores. Georgia has a
long tradition – and
potential for the hunting
Annual July Fourth Picnic
22 Event tourism: key to
From MTV to folklore,
wrestling to gourmet
concerts are an effective
way to attract tourists
and their pocket books.
36 Emerging Market
Investors Cast Wider
FT report on investors
looking to new markets.
26 Creating a Brand:
Facebook and other
types of social media
are transforming how
brand their products
and communicate with
39 Georgia’s Quest for
One Bed at a Time
in new hospitals
is spurring the
government’s plans to
modernize the country’s
14 Selling, Selling, Sold
Online auctions are
gaining traction in
The Financial Times
30 The power of the
tried and tested
FT report on the market
value of established
16 Ancient Kvevri Wine
could bolster Wine
Tourism and Exports
The ancient – and dying
– technique of making
wine in clay vessels
could be Georgia’s key
to bolster wine tourism
32 Sochi boosts
prepare for the
FT report on Sochi’s
building before the
42 Zviad Tsikolia:
Tsikolia has left his
mark on designs for
Bugatti, Castel beer,
Khvanchkara wine and
Georgia’s latest military
10 Building Georgia’s
An interview with
Redjeb Jordania, the
son of Georgia’s first
president Noe Jordania.
12 Trading with
Better marketing and
can help Georgian
companies break into
the US market.
35 Poland begins terms
as EU president
FT report on Poland’s
turn at the EU helm.
44 Success in
from Burns Supper
Finance IT Education
The first large scale
Tbilisi Charity Gala
Burns Supper raised
enough funds to equip
a small computer
room, provide internet
maintenance funding to
get the IT education ball
AmCham Georgia Patron Members:
© The American Chamber of
Commerce in Georgia, 2011
All rights reserved. No part of this
magazine may be re-printed, or reproduced
or utilized in any form or by electronic,
AmCham Executive Director
Editor in Chief
mechanical or other means now known or
hereafter invented, including photocopying
and recording, or in any information
storage or retrieval system without
Marketing & Promotion
Bella Makaridze, Diana Karibova
The opinions expressed in this magazine
Magazine Design and Layout
do not reﬂect the opinion of the American
Chamber of Commerce in Georgia nor its
Board Members or staff, unless otherwise
Molly Corso, Maia Edilashvili, Monica Ellena,
Eteri Maisuradze, Nino Patsuria,
Jefferson Sommers II
stated. AmCham Georgia neither endorses,
Molly Corso, Davit Khizanishvili,
Kakha Chkhataraishvili, Peter Nasmyth
service advertised within the pages of this
Investor.ge is printed by CEZANNE
nor can be held liable for any eventuality
arising from the use of any product or
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Special thanks to the AmCham Editorial Board – Irakli Baidashvili, Betsy Haskell,
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Peter Nasmyth for the generous use of his photograph on page 10, and The
Financial Times (FT).
Tel: 2 22-69-07
[email protected], www.amcham.ge
predominately of red wine (about 70
A brief synopsis of
new investments and
business news compiled
by Investor.ge’s Eteri
15-16 hectares of plantations in Adjara.
The company expects the ﬁrst harvest
in 2013-2014 and is planning to export
the majority of the crop to Turkey and
Europe. The company bought farm
machinery in Turkey and saplings of 12
high-yielding varieties of bilberry in the
US. Subtropic Fructice was founded with
Georgian investments in 2010; to date
the company has invested 1 million lari
in the project.
Clean Energy Invest AS to
develop Hydro-power Project
lean Energy Invest AS, an Oslobased company, will invest
up to $385 million to develop
a hydro-power plant (HPP) cascade
project on the Adjaristskali River in the
Adjara Autonomous Republic. The project involves construction of a four-stage
cascade with a total capacity of over 257
MW. The cascade includes the following
plants: Zomleti HPP, Vaio HPP, Koromkheti HPP and Chorokhi HPP.
Georgia Expects $1 billion FDI
The Georgian government expects
foreign direct investment to double this
year, after falling 65 percent over the past
two years, said Minister of Economy and
Sustainable Development, Vera Kobalia.
Georgia may receive more than $1
billion of investment, mainly in hydropower projects. Tourism is also expected
to lure investors after more than 2 million
people visited the former Soviet republic
Foreign direct investment fell to
$553.1 million last year from $658.4
million in 2009 and $1.56 billion in 2008.
Israeli Investors to cultivate
Greenhouse in Kobuleti
Israeli businessmen are planning to
use 23 000 Ha of land in Adjara to build
a fruit greenhouse. They plan to cultivate
5 000 Ha in by the end of 2012. (National
Investment Agency, July 2011)
Corporation (IFC) Invests in
Georgian Healthcare Group
IFC, a member of the World Bank
Group, is investing $3 million in equity
in Archimedes Health Developments, a
newly-created company established by
Archimedes Global, a Georgian-based
medical insurance group to help expand
access to health insurance and health
services in Georgia and other emerging
markets in Eastern Europe and Central
Bilberry to be Cultivated in
According to Dato Khilaishvili,
representative of Subtropic Fructice,
the company will cultivate bilberry on
Four Countries Consume 76%
of Georgia’s Wine Exports
Georgia’s exports to Ukraine (worth
$18 million, or 46 percent of total),
Kazakhstan ($5.9 million, 15 percent),
Belarus ($3.9 million, 10 percent) and
Poland ($2 million, 5 percent) account
for 76 percent of the country’s total wine
exports. Exports to the United States
were worth $986,000 – three percent of
the total wine exports.
In total, Georgia exported $39.3 million of wine in 2010, an increase of 22.8
percent compared to the previous year.
According to the Georgian Wine Association, 80 percent of wine produced in
Georgia is white, which is very popular
in the local market, while exports are
X-ray Installed at Poti Railway
A new X-ray scanner will enable
customs ofﬁcials to check all incoming cargo at the port without opening
containers. The Chinese government
ﬁnanced the system with a $30 million
Bananas from Kakheti
The ﬁrst batch of Kakhetian bananas,
cultivated in a local village, will hit the
market soon. The bananas have been
grown in Grujaani.
Pernod Ricard Sells Shares in
Pernod Ricard, the French drinks
giant sold shares in Georgian Wine and
Spirits LLC (GWS) to the Georgian unit
of Marussia Beverages BV, wine and
spirits group registered in the Netherlands. The prices of the shares has not
been disclosed. (Rustavi 2 July 28 2011)
Food Producers to be Fined for
The Parliament has adopted legislative amendments, imposing fines on
food producer companies from July 1
Unauthorized production or distribution of food will be subject to a 300
Other companies will have until June
1, 2012, to meet food safety standards.
A week of reports on
the world’s largest news
network put Georgia and
its successes and obstacles
in living rooms around
the world. Now it is up
to Tbilisi to hold viewers’
attention and turn exposure
on CNN into tourism and
Eye on Georgia:
CNN highlights reforms and traditions
rom First Lady Sandra Roelofs’
second job as a delivery nurse
to new discoveries in Dmanisi,
CNN viewers had a front row seat on
life in Georgia during a week-long proﬁle on the network’s Eye on Georgia
The proﬁle was the last in a string
of programs dedicated to developing
“. . . we have been to India, we have
been to Ukraine, Germany – they are going to Mongolia next – I think you just
try to look for countries that don’t get
a lot of exposure but are interesting…
We have this huge Arab spring going on
and all these different revolutions in all
It is important to go back to a coun8
try that had a revolution a while back,”
commented the program’s presenter,
Ms. Newton also suggested that
now is a good time to look back on the
changes that have happened since Georgia’s Rose Revolution.
“. . . it is a good opportunity to access
what happened, what are the challenges –
what has worked, what hasn’t worked…
What can you accomplish, what can you
get done in an eight year period.”
The proﬁle looked at reforms to the
police force and the education system,
the government’s experiment to revive
the agriculture sector by bringing farmers
from South Africa to cultivate the land,
as well as the First Lady and the latest
discoveries in Dmanisi.
Newton, an international correspondent who last visited Georgia in 1999,
stressed that the program ran live during
prime-time for European audiences and
as a result it should bring Georgia to the
attention of a whole new audience.
“We believe that our viewers are
interested – whether that interest in the
story really pulls through and gives
Georgia any long term recognition is an
open question that I can’t really answer,”
“At the same time if you see that
people are searching on cnn.com [for
Georgia], considering that we have millions of unique viewers every month to
our website in general … that has got to
say that it is reaching people that it would
not have if we were not here.”
From Downtown to
Out of Town: A shift
to the suburbs
A new suburb at Lisi Lake might boost broader interest in
suburban living – a trend that is slowly catching on in Tbilisi.
ust ten minutes from downtown
Tbilisi, Green Town Lisi could
jump start a new demand for suburban living, developers believe.
Projects like Rakeen’s Uptown Tbilisi (scheduled to open later this year) and
Tbilisi Diplomatic Village – a development of 45 American-style houses – are
also tapping into a new desire to move
out of the city.
With multifunction recreation zones
and modern architecture, Green Town
Lisi, a 355 hectare project, will aim to
create a health-spa suburban experience
complete with walking trails, sulphur
baths and a spa center.
Out of town developments are increasingly part of Tbilisi’s broad development. In an earlier interview, Tengiz
Bendukidze, commercial director with
Rakeen, said that the Uptown Tbilisi
project is “creating a destination” outside
“This is a psychological moment,”
he said. “We are creating a destination,
not just shopping. People can go there
Nikoloz Urushadze, the general
director of Paragon, a Tbilisi-based real
estate consulting company, said residents
of Tbilisi who want the quiet life of the
suburbs have previously opted for Tskneti or other villages that border Tbilisi.
“What happened in the big industrial
cities many years ago, is now taking
place in Georgia,” Urushadze told Investor.ge.
“Projects like Lisi will spark even
greater interest towards this new trend.”
“Construction has started on the ﬁrst
The U.S. Embassy in Tbilisi was one
of the first to move to the suburbs
phase, which will take one year and end
by July 1, 2012,” said Mariam Zaldastanishvili, the marketing and artistic director
of Lisi Development. According to her,
sales are “quite intense.”
If the project generates enough demand it could be an impetus for new
building projects in the suburbs and
downtown, Urushadze said.
“[This project] will increase competition with the buildings downtown and at
the same time increase the need for high
quality projects,” Urushadze said.
The group purchased the land in 2007
for $182 million.
The initial investment cost of the
project is estimated at over $100 million,
and is being ﬁnanced with assistance by
the US Development Bank OPIC and
the Netherlands entrepreneurial development bank.
Redjeb Jordania and Tamara Megrelishvili at Prospero’s
Building Georgia’s Image Abroad
As more and more Georgians settle abroad, the Diaspora’s potential to
popularize its distant homeland is increasing. One of Georgia’s most
famous émigré sons, Redjeb Jordania, is bringing stories and images of his
father’s homeland to readers around the world through his books of short
eorgia’s culture – its glorious
heritage of art, literature and
music – will keep émigrés
coming back and encourage them to
teach others about their distant homeland, says Redjeb Jordania – the émigré
son of Georgia’s first president, Noe
For Jordania, his father’s stories of
his native village in Guria created a
magical land he later weaved into the
mosaic of his short stories. Available in
English online and at Prospero’s Books
in Tbilisi, Escape From The South Fork:
And Other Stories include tales from
Georgia, France and elsewhere.
Born in Paris after his father was
forced to leave Georgia following the
10 AUG.-SEP. 2011
Bolshevik invasion in 1921, Jordania
grew up listening to tales of life in an
idyllic Lanchkhuti at the turn of the 20th
The images of his father’s homeland,
coupled with a love of Georgian music
and culture, helped forge in him a core
identity as a Georgian, albeit one who
could not travel home until he was over
70 years old.
“You are always Georgian, you are
from Georgia and when it became possible, naturally – I had heard everything
about it and dreamt of it and here we are,”
he said during a visit to Tbilisi in May.
“I grew up with the impression that
Lanchkhuti was the most important place
in Georgia, if not the world – even though
I was living in Paris.”
That 1991 trip inspired him to write
his book of memoirs at age 71. He went
on to publish two books of short stories,
some of which are based on Georgia.
The work has made him a literary
ambassador for his father’s homeland –
a role Jordania said he did not plan on,
but is a natural part of being an émigré.
“Let’s say that anyone from any
country who has a certain amount of
authority – even if he or she doesn’t want
to – becomes a representative of their
country,” he said.
“It happens automatically.”
The growing Georgian Diaspora
will increasingly take up that role, he
predicted, noting that even the third and
fourth generation feel a connection to
their ancestral home, thanks to Georgia’s
powerful cultural heritage – especially its
music and language.
“In many ways it is a good thing for
Georgia that there is an increased Diaspora,” he said.
AUG.-SEP. 2011 11
Trading with America: Three Views
Better marketing and more organization can help Georgian companies
break into the US market – and bring more US investors to Georgia,
diplomats and business advocates believe.
Batu Kutelia: Database, Sector
Specific Summits Needed to
eorgian – and American – businesses need more information
about market conditions and
investment opportunities in each country, noted former Ambassador to the US
Business trade summits and preferred
trading programs are good for raising
awareness but Georgian companies need
more specific, market information to
enter the US market, Kutelia said in an
email interview with Investor.ge
“When it comes to the US market,
Georgian businessmen encounter substantial challenges which impact signiﬁcantly their desire to go for it,” he said,.
“[E]ducation and training interchange” is needed to “increase interest
and motivation for businesses to consider
the US market,” Kutelia said, adding that
more promotion of Georgia’s strengths is
needed to attract “multinational companies” to Georgia.
“[W]e have signed a memorandum of
understanding with EXIM bank, which
underlines 7 key sectors of cooperation.
Some projects are under negotiations
and hopefully, they will end successfully
because time has come to start utilizing
these mechanisms,” he noted.
Now the deputy head of the National
Security Council of Georgia, Kutelia
said stronger trade ties will lead to more
investment opportunities for business in
12 AUG.-SEP. 2011
“One success will lead to another
and other companies will follow suit,”
Davit Rakviashvili: Platform
Needed to Bring Trade
More follow up with business is
needed to capitalize on the Georgian
government’s efforts to attract investment and new trade partners, according
to Deputy Ambassador to the United
States Davit Rakviashvili.
“Government continues to make
signiﬁcant steps on the policy level…
now is kind of the right time to capitalize
on all of that,” he said during a visit to
Tbilisi in August.
Rakviashvili’s vision is to create a
trade mission or platform where a well
informed staff can make the embassy’s
contacts with chambers of commerce and
the business community more effective.
The idea was born from the gap between the government’s efforts and the
impact on the ground.
“When you try to analyze the situation, you see there is deﬁnitely a lack
of the follow up on marketing,” he said.
The exact shape of the new organization – which could be based in capitals
around the world – is still under discussion. But the key, noted Rakviashvili,
will be creating an effective platform to
support potential trade and investment.
“If one manages to have the coher-
ent policy and platform which can accommodate not only the government
efforts but also the private sector and
business association efforts, then it will
be a synergy, you would have ﬁlled that
gap,” he said.
Mamuka Tsereteli: Interest in
Awareness about Georgia’s potential
for investment and trade is growing,
noted Mamuka Tsereteli, the president of
the America-Georgia Business Council.
Just two years ago, it was hard to
attract participants to the council’s biannual investment events. Today, however, he said there is an “increase in that
interest currently, toward the country
again, toward speciﬁc businesses here.”
Part of that stems from a new conﬁdence in Georgia’s stability. But it is
also a reﬂection of a global trend: private
groups and hedge funds are shopping for
better returns on investments in emerging markets.
To capture and sustain their interest,
however, Tsereteli noted there is a need
for well written, easy to understand proposals for speciﬁc industries and sectors.
There is also an absence of “positive
stories” about investors who have turned
a proﬁt and left the market, examples
of how investing in Georgia can be a
On October 25, AGBC is holding its
annual conference in Georgia – an opportunity, Tsereteli noted, to turn interest
into future business.
“There is a tremendous potential
upside. The thing is to ﬁrst let those opportunities be known to those potential
investors. That is the purpose of our
conference,” he said.
“I think we need to make sure the
positive stories of companies which exited Georgia with a proﬁt are known…
we need to publish the positive cases.”
nline auctions are gaining traction in Georgia: in August the government used an online auction to privatize the management
rights of the country’s main television tower and
Tbilisi City Hall launched online property auctions
this year. Investor.ge publishes a brief summary of
sales over the past three months.
Management of Alfa-Com, Tbilisi, which owns the largest television tower. The
initial list price was 100 thousand lari; the winning bid – by a business – was 110
776 square meter plot of land with buildings, Marneuli. The initial list price was
150 thousand lari; the winning bid – by an individual – was 160 thousand lari.
482 square meter plot of land with building, Tbilisi. The initial list price was 47
thousand lari; the winning bid – by an individual – was 50 thousand lari.
776 square meter plot of land with buildings, Tbilisi. The initial list price was 27
thousand lari; the winning bid – by an individual – was 30 thousand lari.
141.24 square meter building plot, Marneuli. The initial list price was 25 thousand
lari; the winning bid – by an individual – was 27 thousand lari.
67 square meter plot, Zugdidi. The initial list price was 1,300 lari; the winning
bid – by an individual – was 7,100 lari.
14 AUG.-SEP. 2011
The Michael Guramishvili Pediatric Clinic LLC. The initial list
price was $1 million; the winning
bid – by an individual – was $2.16
Central Republican Hospital.
Estimated worth of assets is $20
million; the buyer, InterHealth
Canada, will invest $25 million
AUG.-SEP. 2011 15
Ancient Kvevri Wine could bolster Wine
Tourism and Exports
The ancient – and dying –
technique of making wine in
clay vessels could be Georgia’s
key to bolstering wine tourism
and wine exports, industry
specialists believe. Now the
country has to work on getting
the word out.
16 AUG.-SEP. 2011
growing trend for wine
aﬁcionados to travel abroad
to experience new vintages
with unique ﬂavors, in exotic locations
could also provide a powerful boost for
Georgian wineries and traditions.
In particular, Kvevri Georgian
wine made using the ancient method
could help catapult wine tourism –
and eventually wine exports, sector
The ancient technique of
fermenting wine in enormous hand
crafted clay vessels led the Travel
Channel’s Isabelle Legeron – host
and creator of the ‘That Crazy
Frenchwoman’ wine travel program –
to ﬁlm a show about the process.
Legeron is fascinated by the Kvevri
and its story – a history and tradition,
she said, that makes Georgian wine
unique and attractive for wine lovers
around the globe.
“There is an extraordinary story to
tell [in Georgia]... It is not only a very
beautiful country but it is has a unique
wine-making tradition, the Kvevri,”
she said in an email interview.
Kvevri is the Georgian name for
large – some as big as 500 kilograms
– handmade vessels that have been
used for thousands of years to ferment
Georgian grapes into wine.
The vessels are made with
Georgian clay, moulded into the form
of a giant spinning top – a fat middle
and two tapered ends. The jugs are
treated with a lime wash and buried
deep in the ground, where the grapes
ferment into wine.
The process is completely natural,
creating pure, organic wine. In her
show, Legeron noted that the clay gives
the beverage a unique taste.
“A good wine is one with
character,” she said during the
program. “I think the tradition is what
really makes the wine unique.”
Some wineries in Georgia are
making Kvevri wine, although the
craft is on the decline since it is labor
intensive and produces less wine than
But returning to Georgia’s wine
roots makes good business sense, noted
Giorgi Margvelashvili, general director
of Tbilvino Winery.
Tbilvino started producing and
exporting Kvevri wine this year.
“The Georgian wine industry
should try to present unique Georgian
wines on the international market and
minimize copying western wines,” he
“We have a bigger chance to take a
niche through local wines; lately wine
buffs are seeking new, different wines
and tastes – and Georgia has the chance
to promote its wines which are based
on an ancient methodology but are new
to the West.”
The Georgian method of using
Kvevri to make wine dates back eight
thousand years, noted Tina Kezeli,
executive director of the Georgian
“Nobody has such an uninterrupted
wine-making practice,” she said, “for
us wine is not a product made for
proﬁt; it is intertwined with culture
and religion… Foreign marketing
specialists tell me that they make
legends out of nothing while we have
plenty of ready-made legends and we
have to use them.”
From Vine to Tourist
Kezeli and other wine specialists
are hoping to capture a growing
interest among wine lovers: traveling
in pursuit of new vintages and unique
A USAID Economic Prosperity
Initiative (EPI) report on tourism
development noted that wine tourism
is “expanding in most major wine
growing regions” – a trend that has
made billions of dollars for the wine
industry across the globe, from the
United States to New Zealand.
The Wine Institute, a Californiabased organization dedicated to the
state’s wine industry, reported that
20.7 million tourists visited vineyards
and wineries in California last year,
spending $2.1 billion.
New Zealand has experienced
a similar boom: the number of
international tourists traveling to
vineyards increased from 126.9
thousand in 2003 to 177.7 thousand in
Working with EPI, the Georgian
Wine Association together with
Georgian wine producers and tourism
agencies has created a strategy to
duplicate that success in Georgia. In
June a group traveled to wineries in
the United States to experience the
industry ﬁrst hand; they returned with
an action plan to make wine tourism a
reality at home. The trip was funded by
the US Department of Commerce and
AUG.-SEP. 2011 17
In May the government hosted a wine tasting event in Tsinandali
USAID, and organized by AmCham
Georgia. A wine tasting for Georgian
wines in New York to showcase local
vintages was sponsored by American
Friends of Georgia and AmCham.
Topping the list is the need to
18 AUG.-SEP. 2011
educate foreigners (and Georgians)
about the country’s “hidden treasure”
Ia Tabagari, president of the
Association of Georgian Incoming
Tour Operators, is working with the
Georgian National Tourism Agency to
create a database of Kvevri wineries
as well as universal standards for wine
producers who use the technique.
Kezeli said a Kvevri Symposium is
planned for September – an event that
will bring elite wine connoisseurs and
writers to Georgia. There are also plans
to support (and promote) Georgia’s
unique tradition of producing wine in
“Some famous wine experts
and writers discover absolutely
unbelievable things when they come
here,” she said, adding they are
“astounded” by the country’s rich wine
history and art.
“We have to make this Kvevri
Symposium an annual event to raise
awareness of our country and make it a
wine tourism destination.”
Legeron’s show has already made
an impact, noted Tabagari, who is also
the head of Caucasus Travel. She said
60 British wine experts are planning
to visit Georgia in September – a trip
planned after they watched the Travel
Legeron said Georgia has
“untapped potential” to develop
wine tourism at home, especially if
infrastructure to promote Kvevri wine
“I know foreigners will be very
interested to discover this tradition. I
have had great feedback from people
who watched the show and their
response was unanimous. Everyone
who has seen the show wants to come
and visit Georgia,” she said.
“Once people have been to Georgia,
they will then seek to buy the wine in
their home countries. This opens up
markets for wine growers. Developing
wine tourism is a sure way to build a
customer base outside of Georgia.”
Poaching on Business: Hunters track a
new market and better regulations
Hunting tours, hunting farms,
hunting restaurants and hunting
stores. Georgia has a long tradition
of hunting – and the potential to
develop a rich niche market for
local and foreign hunters if it can
find a balance between protecting
its natural resources and promoting
eer, poems and folklore are
dedicated to hunting in Georgia – a rural survival skill that
has evolved into a booming business in
Shops dedicated to selling guns and
hunting apparel dot the city.
Sales at Denti, a hunting store in
Tbilisi, peak in August during the weeks
preceding the autumn hunting season.
Paata Museridze, the owner, said they
sell twice as many guns in August than
during the rest of the year, when sales
average at 20-30 a month.
This can be a good business as hunt-
ing clothing and paraphernalia, from
guns to boots to dogs, is expensive – guns
range from 800 to 5000 lari, and hunting clothes can be just as expensive. But
hunting entrepreneurs believe hunting
tourism could be even bigger.
Ramaz Chadashvili, a long-time
hunter, senses that there is untapped
business potential in the Georgians’ love
This summer he opened a hunting
restaurant, Nabuli, in Tbilisi’s Saburtalo
district. At Nabuli, hunters wear their
passion on their sleeve. Hand-carved
hunting scenes adorn the ﬁreplace while
hunting-themed paintings and deer horns
hang from the walls.
AUG.-SEP. 2011 19
“Hunting tourism development needs
special infrastructure and our restaurant
is part of that,” he said. “Such restaurants
are a commonplace in the West.”
Chadashvili hopes the restaurant,
which boasts an exotic menu – including
roast pheasant – will become a hang-out
for hunters and gourmands, and the base
for more hunting-related businesses.
“We’ll cooperate with the tour agencies to attract foreigners; in the future we
may even acquire license for a [hunting]
farm…” he said. Expansion plans also
include opening shops in popular tourist areas such as Svaneti, Signaghi and
Ivris Chalebi (Iori Groves) is part of
the Kazbegi Business Group and in 2006
opened a lodge which allows hunting,
investing half a million lari in the business. The farm has 1,530 hectares in the
Kakheti region - Sagarejo, Signaghi
and Dedoplistskaro, where along with
ﬁshing, the hunting of wild boar, pheasant, partridge, various species of duck
and goose is permitted as well as of fox,
wolf, jackal, hare and badger.
Hunting farms must pay a hunting fee
to the state. For killing a wild boar the
20 AUG.-SEP. 2011
fee is 100 lari, while killing a hare costs
2 lari and for a pheasant the fee is 15 lari.
Ivris Chalebi consultant Gia Asatiani believes hosting groups of foreign
‘hunting tourists’ is a natural extension
of their business, although at the moment he admits that few guests come for
On the crossroads of one of the largest bird migration paths in the world,
Georgia is a paradise for bird hunting,
particularly quail and pheasant.
Bear and rabbit hunting is also popular: Georgians have been hunting bears
for centuries, especially in the mountainous regions.
compared to 124 last year.
Dalis Mta (Dali Mountain) hunting
farm in Kakheti is home to 132 bird species, 31 varieties of reptile, 25 types of
mammals and three species of amphibian. Poachers have wrecked havoc on the
farm, noted director Beka Gonashvili.
“We just had to give up this business,”
By law in Georgia hunting is allowed
only on specially allocated areas such as
hunting farms and only at certain times of
the year on those species which are not
on the verge of extinction but many hunters and environmentalists don’t believe
the system is working.
Fight against poachers
The appearance of new huntingthemed businesses is a sign of optimism
for the industry. However, a potentially
crippling mixture of poachers, high
prices and environmental concerns
threaten to stunt growth even as local
entrepreneurs pursue foreign hunters and
Government ﬁgures show a slight
increase in poaching this year: 133 cases
were registered from January to May
There are plans to help hunting farms
develop – a move the government and
conservationists believe will help business and the wildlife.
The Ministry of Energy and National
Resources plans to issue farms licenses
of longer validity and allow them to develop farms on bigger areas. However,
ofﬁcials told Investor.ge there are no
plans to increase the ﬁnes or punishments
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Event Tourism: Key to millions?
22 AUG.-SEP. 2011
From MTV to folklore, wrestling
to gourmet cooking, festivals,
conventions and concerts are an
effective way to attract tourists
and their pocket books. But
planning and promotion are key to
translating events into revenue.
op star Enrique Iglesias rocked
Batumi to MTV fame on August
2, a concert that reportedly attracted several thousand fans and generated thousands of lari in revenue for local
hotels and restaurants.
The MTV event was the latest in a
long series of concerts choreographed to
bring international fame – and its lucrative sidekick tourism – to Batumi. In the
month leading up to the Iglesias concert,
Batumi hosted Chris Botte, Sting, Macy
Gray, and a score of jazz musicians.
MICE means money
The music is nice, the publicity – a
welcome change from conﬂict-driven
headlines. But the flashy lights and
sounds of MTV mean much more: concerts are one part of a lucrative formula
that turns tourism into a heavy hitter for
local business and economies.
Last year, meetings (and other events,
like concerts, conventions, and exhibitions) brought a cool $106 billion to
the US GDP, according to a 2011 report
published by the Convention Industry
Council – making it the tenth largest
industry in the United States.
The ﬁndings in Canada are similar: a
report issued last year found that meetings and event-type tourism led to $32.2
billion in domestic spending, and $11.3
billion to the country’s GDP.
Meetings, Incentives, Conferences,
Exhibitions or, for industry insiders,
MICE, is a type of tourism packaged
as destination travel that could be pure
gold for Georgia, local tourism industry
Events, like conferences and festivals, could help Batumi reinvent
itself from a summer beach resort to a
year-round city destination, noted Vaja
Diasamidze, the acting head of the department of tourism in Adjara.
“All spring, we need some festivals,
famous singers, to bring more tourists
and to give tourists more attractive activities [to come],” he said in an interview
before the summer season.
Folk festivals, Turkish pop stars, and
conferences – like the annual Batumi
Expo – are all geared to bring tourists
during the off season.
Maia Sidamonidze, the head of the
Georgian National Tourism Agency
(GNTA), stressed that MICE tourism
could be a vehicle to promote tourism
outside of the traditional resort spots –
like Batumi – and into the regions.
“MICE tourism in general, meetings, concerts, events and all kinds of
festivals, I would say these are a priority
for us. First of all to promote Georgia as
a tourism destination but also it is quite
interesting market for us because we
think it has potential,” she said.
GNTA has paired up with USAID’s
The May “Vine to Wine” event in Kakheti brought wine experts from around the world.
AUG.-SEP. 2011 23
Economic Prosperity Initiative to develop MICE tourism in Georgia. The
agency is preparing a catalogue of potential MICE venues around the country, and an action plan to develop more
infrastructure and promotion.
Promotion: the key to success
Fashion shows, wine conferences,
tasting exhibitions, and folklore festivals
could provide a steady stream of visitors, noted Ia Tabagari, president of the
Association of Georgian Incoming Tour
Operators, if they are properly promoted.
In July, there was no information
available about upcoming concerts or
festivals at the main tourism center in
Tbilisi. The lack of information is frustrating for tour operators like Tabagari.
Festivals and concerts “attract tourists,” she said, but only if tour operators
know about them in advance.
She added that sometimes tour operators only ﬁnd out about festivals in
24 AUG.-SEP. 2011
Svaneti or other popular tourism destinations a day or two before the event.
“[I]f something happens we are always trying to [bring tourists] but it is
very hard to get information about when
it happens. If we know it, we try to bring
tourists there,” Tabagari said.
Sidamonidze stressed that the GNTA
is publishing a quarterly calendar of
events, although sometimes festivals and
regional celebrations are planned too late
to be included. In addition, the agency’s
website is only partially operating due to
a rebranding program.
The key to cultivating interest is to
create annual events, noted Natia Cholokashvili, a founder of Smart Pencils, a
PR and Event-management company
based in Tbilisi.
Cholokashvili and her team have
brought guests from around the world to
fashion shows and a wine tasting event
“If there will be many interesting
events, many festivals, it can give support to Georgia to attract many tourists,”
“So I think it should be done annually, like wine. I think it will be great if
it is every year to attract people.”
Events like the Jazz Festival and the
native folkart Artgene Festival, have attracted a following among tourists.
Mikheil Giorgadze, the director of
Eastern Promotions – the company that
produces the annual jazz concerts, said
tour operators from Israel and other
countries contact him through Facebook
to arrange trips around the concert dates.
“Both the number of people increase
from year to year and the number of
foreigners. This year we have direct
bookings from tourism agencies, asking
for arrangements for people in Israel, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Ukraine, and Baltic
States,” he said.
“They came to us. This makes us
happy because they came to us.”
AUG.-SEP. 2011 25
Creating a Brand: Competition has
sparked innovation in marketing
Facebook and other types of social media are transforming how
Georgian companies brand their products and communicate
with consumers. Companies are also increasingly aiming to
produce highly localized brands by highlighting their connection
to the country with the ues of Georgian celebrities and traditional
Facebook users in Georgia have increased to
approximately 640 thousand this year. Map
courtesy of www.icrossing.co.uk
26 AUG.-SEP. 2011
arket savvy Georgian companies are
building brands – and brand loyalty – as
market competition grows.
New advertising campaigns, corporate logos,
product placement and sponsored television shows
are pushing marketing strategies into popular culture.
Bank of Georgia is at the frontier of the push,
using Georgia’s popular Nichieri (Talent)
show to promote name recognition, and
playing up features on its Facebook site
to engage clients.
A new advertising campaign for the
bank’s exclusive deal with American
Express uses Georgian faces to popularize the global brand.
The plan to go local came from the
bank, noted Alexander Katsman, when
they realized Georgians were disconnected from the product.
Although it took a lot of effort to
convince American Express to give them
the green light, the marketing strategy
has been a success: Georgians began
connecting with American Express and
the product took off.
Katsman, the bank’s chief branding
ofﬁcer, started the strategy a year ago
when he moved to Bank of Georgia from
Sarke, a local advertising agency.
“We launched this brand on the glob-
al platform before and we saw that people
were a little bit lost with the brand and
the connection was not strong,” he said.
“We need a strong connection between the brand and the customers.”
Creating a connection is the cornerstone of Bank of Georgia’s new branding
efforts – and a driving trend for big companies in competitive sectors, according
to Elena Gordeeva, the program director
at NIMA marketing school in Tbilisi.
Branding, Katsman commented, is
more “customer-centric” than marketing
since it seeks to “create… a promise and
to build around that promise.”
“. . . ﬁnally what are we trying to
do? – we are creating some set of values
and ideas so that people will love to be
engaged with us and become the fans and
the advocates for our brand,” Katsman
Gordeeva said that while the art of
marketing is still developing in Georgia,
Bank of Georgia is not the only company
looking to build a brand in the Georgian
market. Telecom carriers like Magticom,
Geocell and Beeline are using colors,
prime time ads and television personalities to push their products.
Competition is driving the race for
innovative branding strategies for mobile
phone operators as well, noted Magticom’s Chief Marketing Ofﬁcer, Irakli
“Enormous” competition within
the telecoms industry – where three
operators are “pushing” for customers
and new clients – is driving marketing
departments to use branding to create
loyalty, he said.
“When we have a huge variety of
products on the market and when the
supply is higher than the demand and
the consumer has to choose between
two identical products, then branding
matters,” Lobzhanidze explained, adding
that selling a simple message that strikes
the right note with clients about quality,
price and service is key.
Magticom has invested in its local
branding story: a local company built
by Georgians who invested in building
a strong Georgia.
In addition to stressing the quality of
its services, Lobzhanidze said focusing
on its local roots is a core part of the
“Our slogan is “We are doing Georgian [business], we are doing it for
Georgia,” he said.
“That is our attitude and our company
strategy. For Georgians it is important to
realize that this company is doing something for this country and it is not just a
team that generates revenues.”
Geocell, a competitor, is also focused
on building its customer base.
Geocell enjoys one of the highest loyalty rates in Georgia: in 2010 Extended
Performance Satisfaction Index scores
for Geocell and Lailai (a service provided
by the company) were nearly 90 percent
-- Geocell 89.5 and LaiLai 87.9. Loyalty
ratings were also high, Geocell 93.8 and
A rebranding campaign has been very
successful: Geocell has also been branding itself aggressively. The company
adopted a new purple colour in a wave
of advertisements in 2009, blanketing
the market to the extent that everything
purple now seems connected to Geocell.
A long and successful partnerships
with Georgian actor Duta Skhirtladze
also stimulated the company to stay
engaged with consumers and promote
Facebook and social media are also
a major focus. for Katsman and his team
as they seek to build the bank’s brand.
By using Bank of Georgia’s fb proﬁle to
engage with potential clients, they give
people a chance to comment on services
AUG.-SEP. 2011 27
At Bank of Georgia, Katsman and
his team seek to build the bank’s brand
by using Bank of Georgia’s Facebook
proﬁle to engage with potential clients
by giving people a chance to comment
on services and expectations.
Irina Sak, CEO of Publicus Hepta’s
Caucasus ofﬁce, noted that Georgia is
one of the “fastest growing” Facebook
users in the world. Socialbakers, a site
dedicated to statistics on social media,
reported that the number of Georgians
using Facebook grew from 480 thousand
in January to 641.6 thousand in July –
nearly 15 percent of the population and
over 49 percent of the country’s online
This makes the social networking
site a “fantastic tool” for marketing – if
marketing departments know how to use
it – skills Georgian companies are still
Lobzhanidze said social media is
part of Magticom’s marketing strategy,
but a relatively small part. In his opinion
television is still the most effective way
to reach the biggest share of Georgian
Marketing departments however, are
increasingly using social media to gauge
the success of television advertising
Katsman said the dialogue and chat
platforms on Facebook help Georgians
feel included in the product and the process of doing business – which is vital for
building relationships with future clients.
“We are not just trying to sell the
product to them, we try to improve the
product and make the services better
– we ask people and we consider their
opinion,” he said.
“We have pushed the boundaries in
terms of communication because I think
the end result of that is that people themselves feel a part of the big game and an
important part of it.”
28 AUG.-SEP. 2011
Nescafe “Coffee World” Romania
A case study provided by Publicis Hepta
As the leader of the soluble coffee market, NESCAFÉ is perceived as
the most innovative brand, covering various consumer needs and coming
up with new products and solutions. Nevertheless, it also has to overcome
the misconceptions Romanians have that soluble coffee is not 100% natural (like roasted and ground coffee) nor does it have any health beneﬁts
The approach is 360, but in addition to using the traditional channels
Zenith Optimedia innovatively also activated the digital marketplace
since 40% of potential NESCAFÉ consumers search the Internet daily
on health-related subjects
The idea was to create a virtual branded coffee plantation, where each
subscriber had to complete the actual production process to get a great
tasting mug of NESCAFÉ.
A NESCAFÉ branded online game platform was created.
The incentive to play was a chance to win a Fiat Punto (as the major
prize) & 2 NESCAFÉ Dolce Gusto beverage systems.
Social media was used to gather a community of players.
To get “coffee money” players would have to get as many people as
possible to visit their game plantation; more people = more game money.
Therefore each plantation owner would promote his page link to all his
friends, their visits allowing the owners to develop further.
Results (in 2 months):
5,170,798 unique users (out of 10 million unique users in Romania)
155,689 active accounts
Almost 1 million virtual NESCAFÉ mugs were created
Business objective achieved:
Increase soluble cup share by changing consumer misconceptions
regarding soluble coffee.
Communication objective achieved:
Increase the percentage of total coffee consumers that view NESCAFÉ
as being 100% natural.
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AUG.-SEP. 2011 29
The power of the tried
and tested brand
30 AUG.-SEP. 2011
NATASHA CULZAC AND ALICE ROSS
und managers are continuing
to seek out the most popular
brands in emerging markets, to
beneﬁt from higher consumer spending
and higher standards of corporate
Many believe companies with
internationally recognised brands,
which can allow them to charge
higher prices and sell products as
status symbols, now make the ideal
“Brand value is often very
intangible - it is driven by how it
makes consumers feel, or how they
want to be perceived, and that is
something you want to maintain and
grow,” says Matthew Vaight, head of
global equities at M&G. “The power
of the brand is such that people pay a
premium for it.”
Some fund managers believe that
western brands are a better choice
in emerging markets - rather than
domestic equivalents - due to their
perceived superior value and status.
This is particularly evident in the
luxury goods sector. With Chinese
millionaires outnumbering those in the
UK or France, according to a recent
report by Capgemini and Merrill
Lynch, emerging markets have become
a key regions for sales of premium
Scilla Huang Sun, manager of the
Julius Baer luxury brands fund, says
that top-end western products have
huge appeal in emerging markets - and
the most sought-after brands are made
“Brand is so key,” she says.
“Companies have to manage the
positioning of brands in the markets
carefully as it is the brand that has
High-end fashion sales are
booming, with Tiffany, Burberry
and Hermès enjoying strong results
recently, due in part to their exposure
to emerging markets. This week,
LVMH, maker of the popular Louis
Vuitton bags, issued results for the ﬁrst
half of the yearshowing revenues up 13
per cent year-on-year.
Ben Cook of Dominion Funds
focuses on other forms of “luxury”
spending - casinos in Macao, private
education in China, and demand among
the Chinese for expensive mountain
bikes. But not all successful brands
are in the luxury sector. Paint and
toothpaste attract loyal consumers, too,
according to Vaight.
He has invested in Finnish paint
company Tikkurila, which operates in
eastern Europe and recently met Indian
distributors Berger Paints - both have
large domestic market shares due to
their consistent quality and marketing.
Colgate is also now a global brand,
with nearly a 50 per cent share of the
toothpaste market worldwide.
However, there is one major risk
when investing in brands: if anything
happens to sully the brand’s reputation,
its pricing power and share price can
be damaged irreparably.
“If you tarnish your brand, it’s hard
to get it back,” says Vaight. He points
to a number of domestic Chinese
companies that have recently suffered
health and safety scares - such as
shampoo company Bawang, whose
shares fell from more than HK$6 to
HK$1.3 last year. After a slump in
value like that, Vaight says it is difﬁcult
to build a brand up again.
So, as companies enter emerging
markets, the ability to understand
customer attitudes is crucial. Some
brands have failed to do this.
Hyundai, for example, had to
adapt its cars to the Chinese market by
putting more chrome on them - in order
to meet what Vaight calls an appetite
Peter Kirkman, portfolio manager
of the JPM Global Consumer Trends
Fund says: “Many western brands
fail in emerging markets because
they fail to adapt to local tastes and
preferences.” He points to US electrical
goods retailer Best Buy. It pulled out
of China this year after ﬁnding Chinese
consumers are less likely to value its
customer service and warranties.
It is not all one-way trafﬁc, though.
Fund managers are also trying to spot
quality local brands with the potential
to go global. For example, Snow Beer,
a Chinese brand, is now the largest
beer company in the world by volume,
while Samsung is the second largest
handset maker after Nokia. According
to Kirkman, most of China’s other
domestic brands are yet to realise their
AUG.-SEP. 2011 31
Sochi boosts infrastructure to
prepare for the Games
hen Sochi won its bid to host
the 2014 Winter Olympics
four years ago, Alexei Khraban, the city’s deputy mayor, likened the
night to a new birthday for the city; and
so in a sense it was.
Once a Soviet-era resort with little
infrastructure, Sochi is now in the process of being transformed into what the
Kremlin views as a 21st-century city.
A single road running the length of
32 AUG.-SEP. 2011
the city is being replaced with highways,
roadways and roundabouts, while highspeed train lines will connect Sochi to
neighbouring cities in the Krasnodar
region and facilitate transport between
the coast and the mountains where the
Olympic skiing and snowboarding events
will be held.
With fewer than 1,000 days to go
before the Games begin, Russia is scrambling to pull off what even the president
of the Olympics organising committee
concedes is one of the most ambitious
projects in the world.
Sceptics will be watching to see
whether the country can host the Games
on time, on budget and without too much
evidence of corruption.
But the legacy of the Games will be
just as big a test.
Following the closing ceremony,
Russia must prove it can orchestrate an
event of that size again with the Fifa
World Cup in 2018, and replicate the successful aspects of Sochi’s infrastructure
overhaul across the entire country.
“There are so many things happening, not only in the region, but on
the national level ... that would never
happen if Sochi didn’t host the games,”
says Dmitry Chernyshenko, president
and chief executive of Sochi 2014, the
Games’ organising committee.
“The state leaders consider the big
social and sport events as catalysts to
accelerate the process of redeveloping the country’s environment and the
economy,” says Mr Chernyshenko.
Sochi, he adds, is meant to be a “model
city” for Russia.
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The task of getting Sochi ready for
the Olympics is not a small one. The
second-longest urban area in the world
after Los Angeles, until recently it had
just one road running the length of it,
causing trafﬁc jams when trucks transporting construction materials began to
clog up the street.
By the end of the year, the committee hopes to complete the partially open
Adler ring road, a freeway that will
provide an additional route for travelling
from the airport to the city centre.
Sochi residents say they are excited
about the new road opening but bemoan
the trafﬁc conditions they have endured
over the past three years, with some
complaining that their average commute
times have increased from 20 minutes to
an hour and a half.
Dmitry Kaptsov, a local resident and
vice-co-ordinator for Environmental
Watch in the North Caucasus, an advocacy group, says he knows the trafﬁc
problem is only temporary, but that he
and neighbours worry about what the city
will become after the Olympics.
“The trafﬁc problem they’ll ﬁx ﬁrst,
because of its effect on the Olympic site,”
34 AUG.-SEP. 2011
he says. “But all the remaining problems:
the trash, the polluted sea, won’t be
solved. And they won’t be resolved, because the cost of ﬁxing them could be as
much as the cost of the entire Olympics.”
Mr Chernyshenko admits that environmental standards for the project
were not at the highest global level,
mainly because the standards in Russia
had been so low. “We had to create our
own standards,” he says. Now, thanks
to foreign consultants, the situation has
much improved, he insists. “Things are
really getting better.”
He believes the Games will provide
the impetus to raise environmental
standards across the country, while simultaneously providing residents with
better infrastructure and higher living
“We are redeveloping the entire
region. This is not just infrastructure for
the competition. This is roads, power
stations, sewage works. It will mean a
better living standard for the people who
live there,” he says.
Meanwhile, the World Cup will extend what is happening at Sochi to the
national level, he says. “Thanks to the
preparation for the World Cup, highspeed train connections will be built for
the majority of cities with 1m people or
more. That’s the most tangible legacy
of the Fifa cup: it will bring our regions
closer to each other,” he says.
For residents of Sochi, however, it
is sometimes hard to believe the legacy
of both events will actually be worth it,
especially given the number of corruption allegations surrounding construction
tenders, and the cost of certain projects.
Alik Le, a local activist, says he has
been disappointed by the disregard for
people’s livelihoods in the course of
preparations. He is one of dozens of
residents who have been moved from
their homes to make way for the Games,
and, by his account, not properly compensated.
“The government names its price
and you don’t have the right to dispute
it,” he says.
While he wants to believe that the
Winter Olympics will provide the type
of legacy Mr Chernyshenko describes,
he has his doubts. “It is so much money,”
he says. “And then in a matter of days
it is all over.”
term as EU
JAN CIENSKI AND JOSHUA CHAFFIN
oland began its ﬁrst European
Union presidency with a
promise from Donald Tusk,
prime minister, to lead a “no taboos”
discussion about the bloc’s next longterm budget.
Mr Tusk, noting the EU’s
overwhelming popularity in his nation,
also pledged to confront a rising
tide of Euroscepticism, which has
accompanied a debt crisis that has
threatened the single currency and
shaken the bloc’s conﬁdence.
“I think we should ﬁght that and
argue against that,” Mr Tusk told
reporters in Warsaw. “I think it’s quite
an exciting task to persuade others that
the EU is a great thing - that it’s the
best place on earth where you can be
born and live your life.”
Although the institution is less
powerful than before the passage
of the Lisbon treaty, Poland’s turn
at the head of the bloc’s six-month
rotating presidency is an opportunity to
highlight an EU success story at a time
of general gloom.
“There are large expectations for
the Polish presidency,” said Jerzy
Buzek, the Polish head of the European
Parliament. “There is a feeling that we
can breathe in a new spirit, something
that today’s Europe really needs.”
With €67bn in structural funds
during the current seven-year budget
cycle, Poland is the largest beneﬁciary
of EU largesse. The money has gone
for a nationwide effort to catch up
to western Europe after decades of
backwardness caused by the war and
communist dictatorship. Flying into
Warsaw from the west, one sees a
remarkable sight of an earthen slash
cutting across the green countryside
- the location of a future east-west
highway paid for in part by the EU.
Those funds, as well as billions
more spent on Polish farmers, have
made the EU enormously popular in
Poland, which joined the EU in 2004,
and are a factor in the country’s strong
economic growth - expected to come in
at more than 4 per cent this year.
Poland’s presidency began
with ceremony and symbolism: the
European anthem played in parliament,
where Bronislaw Komorowski, the
president, noted that Poland takes over
exactly 20 years after the dissolution of
the Warsaw Pact, marking the end of
its time as a Soviet satellite.
“The Polish presidency is a good
time to consider how much the EU
has given Europe, and how much
we Europeans can join in its further
development,” said Mr Komorowski.
Although Poland is hoping to
push priorities such as improving
the EU’s ties with former Soviet
countries such as Ukraine, opening
membership talks with Serbia and
ﬁnalising Croatia’s accession to the
Union, Mr Tusk recognises that the
Greek crisis is likely to dominate the
country’s presidency, and repeated a
call for fellow leaders to resist populist
pressures and support Athens.
“We cannot cheat ourselves: if we
provide assistance, let’s say to Greeks,
under the conditions that will cause
them not to be able to pay back the
loan, it’s not assistance at all,” Mr Tusk
He also urged a “quick conclusion”
to troubled negotiations between
member states and the European
Parliament on a package of ﬁscal rules
intended to prevent the debt build-ups
that precipitated the crisis. Another big
priority for the Poles will be leading
discussion on a nearly €1,000bn budget
plan that the European Commission,
the EU’s executive arm, published this
week. Poland, as the largest recipient,
has an enormous stake in a generous
budget, but will have to tread delicately
with net payers such as Germany and
(c) 2011 The Financial Times Ltd.
AUG.-SEP. 2011 35
investors cast wider net
merging markets have become
such a strong focus for fund
managers that the topic enjoyed
a whole day to itself at the recent Fund
Forum conference in Monaco. Those attending heard that interest has widened,
both in geographical and asset class
terms, but were warned not to expect
Investors are increasingly pinning
their hopes on emerging markets as
developed countries grapple with debt
problems and ﬂat economies. But they
are looking beyond the Brics (Brazil,
Russia, India and China
Unlike earlier years they are broadening their horizons, no longer focusing on
just a handful of large emerging markets
such as Brazil, Russia, India and China
[Brics], but diversifying to a wider mix
of smaller countries, including frontier
markets, according to the industry at the
Fund Forum conference in Monaco two
“Diversiﬁcation is crucial in emerging markets,” says Slim Feriani, chief
executive and chief investment ofﬁcer
36 AUG.-SEP. 2011
at Advance Emerging Capital, which
invests 80 per cent of the $850m assets
under management in emerging markets
and the rest in frontiers. “The emerging
market story is not just about China, Asia
or Brics but about an investable universe
of roughly 25 countries - deemed emerging by index providers - and another 50
countries called frontier markets,” he
While China has “taken the spotlight
and put emerging markets on the global
map over the past decade”, he believes
the best investment opportunities are currently in countries beneﬁting from China
and Asian growth such as resource rich
countries like Brazil, Russia and Africa,
particularly Nigeria, and parts of the
Middle East such as Qatar.
Cheap valuations are attractive, say
asset managers. Mr Feriani maintains
frontier markets offer “compelling value
and are among the cheapest global asset
classes”. They are under researched and
lacking in aggregate data which provides
“plenty of valuation anomalies to exploit
for those doing their homework”, he
Qatar is trading at a trailing price/
earnings ratio of 13.5 times and Nigeria
a trailing 13.7 times, says Mr Feriani.
He also believes valuations in Turkey,
a trailing 10.9 times price/earnings are
compelling, particularly as the country
has good fundamentals. He also likes
Russia which, although not a frontier
market, trades at a trailing price/earnings
ratio of 7.5 times. “Yet these countries do
not get the positive coverage that China
or Asia get”, he adds. In comparison the
MSCI World index is a trailing price/
earnings ration of 14.5 times.
Mr Feriani believes the risk/reward
trade off in Nigeria, Qatar, Russia and
Turkey is “worth it at this stage”. At current levels of valuation a signiﬁcant part
of the risk is priced in. This is particularly
visible in the case of Russia, he adds.
Mark Mobius, chairman of Templeton’s Emerging Markets Group, is also
keen on Russia. It offers the cheapest
prices as “people are so negative on
the country that stocks are cheap,” he
says. Unlike many investors who worry
about political risk, governance and
the country’s heavy reliance on natural
resources, he believes Russia is “going
the right way”.
He also has large exposure to China
where he likes local telecommunication
companies and consumer stocks when
the price is right but is keen to broaden
the gamete of Templeton’s Frontier Market Fund, which has $1bn of assets under
management. He is currently looking at
markets such as Laos, Cambodia and
Vietnam, which he believes are “feeling
their way towards a market economy”.
More exotic frontier markets such
as Mongolia are moving into the frame.
Hong Kong based Quam Asset Management, recently launched the Silkroad
AUG.-SEP. 2011 37
Mongolia Fund, focusing on the country’s commodity-driven growth and local
Factors such as rapid economic
growth, driven by the rise of middle
class consumers, and lower debt levels
than those in developed economies are
also catching investor interest. Public
and private sector debt levels compared
to reserves in regions such as the Middle
East and Africa are far healthier than in
Europe or the US, according to the IMF.
Asset managers recommend an early
entry into a range of smaller emerging
markets, while prices are cheap but investors could be in for a long wait before
they reap any gains. The MSCI Frontier
Market index has underperformed the
MSCI Bric index by more than 70 per
cent since March 2009, when global
equities rallied after the ﬁnancial crisis.
Traditionally investors have gained
exposure to emerging markets largely
through equities but are looking at other
asset classes such as currency and local
“If you go into countries like Ghana
and Nigeria you can get double digit returns in local currency terms. But choose
38 AUG.-SEP. 2011
your countries carefully and on the credit
side look at companies with good balance
sheets and solid management. Look at
the fundamentals,” says Zin Bekkali,
chief executive of Silk Invest, an emerging market specialist.
According to EPFR Global, the fund
data provider, local currency emerging
market bond funds have attracted twice
as much new money as their dollar
counterparts in the second quarter of
the year. While emerging markets dollar
bond funds took in a net $3.63bn, local
currency ones attracted more than $8bn.
Accumulative monthly institutional
ﬂows for emerging market local currency
bond funds from the end of 2005 to the
year to date are $30bn. So what accounts
for the interest?
“EM local currency debt offers
something for the yield hungry, a hedge
against long-term dollar weakness and, if
you believe emerging markets are largely
on top of inﬂation and interest rates will
start to come down in the ﬁrst half of
next year, it still offers some value,”
says Cameron Brandt, research director
However the question of just how
much further emerging markets will
go before blowing up continues to be
a concern. Opinions vary. Mr Mobius
discounts a bubble in the short term
because new money in initial public offerings in Asia is boosting the region. In
2010, $450bn poured into the region’s
companies, surpassing the US, effectively banishing any spectre of a bubble
for now, he says.
China is leading the recovery of the
global economy, says Linda Yueh, an
economist and director of the China
Growth Centre at Oxford University but
if it wants “to sustain its place and secure
another golden era of growth it will have
to open its economy,” she adds.
She is cautious on the risks of investing in a country “where so much reform
is needed. “Go in a bit at at time,” she
Rick Lacaille, global chief investment ofﬁcer at State Street Global Advisors is equally cautious about the wider
emerging market scene. “Don’t expect
too much and have overblown expectations of returns but there is still a case for
emerging market currencies, such as renminbi denominated products,” he says.
Bed at a Time
Private investment in new
hospitals is spurring the
government’s plans to
modernize the country’s
Investor.ge is starting a new
series of sector overviews
to provide background,
summaries and analysis of
priority industries for investors
in the Georgian economy.
This is the final article in a
series dedicated to the health
industry. For more information
please contact Molly Corso [email protected]
ust as Rome wasn’t built in a day,
the transition of healthcare from
the cradle-to-grave assistance of
Soviet times into a private business has
taken Georgia well over a decade.
In 2006 the then State Reform
Minister Kakha Bendukidze said
that turning the healthcare industry
over to the private sector would lead
to increased competition, increased
patient choice and ultimately the
provision of higher quality services.
Today his plans are slowly becoming a
reality as private companies invest in
the government’s hospital privatization
As the private insurance program
is well under the way, increasing the
efﬁciency of the hospital network
remains another challenge the
According to ofﬁcial data, between
2000 and 2009 the number of hospitals
increased from 229 to 241, but the
AUG.-SEP. 2011 39
number of beds decreased sharply from
21,200 to 13,600. Of these, only 30%
are in use and in addition most of the
facilities are in dire need of renovation
and technological upgrade.
The process of outsourcing the job
to the private sector will bring around
8,000 beds into private hands: so far
investors have completed 1,600 and a
further 5,600 are expected by the end
of 2013. The task is to improve the
efﬁciency of bed-use: not more beds,
but beds more utilized. It is believed
the number of beds will actually
decline further, to around 10,000.
The policy has also helped improve
access to healthcare, noted Patricio
Marquez (Washington-based) Lead
Health Specialist for Europe and
Central Asia region for the World
The government’s cooperation
with insurance companies has helped
to insure over one million families, he
noted – now the focus should be on
access to healthcare facilities.
“Efforts are needed in the future
to improve the stewardship capacity
of the government in the healthcare
sector, particularly to ensure that
people enrolled under health insurance
arrangements receive quality health
services, and to facilitate access to
quality essential drugs,” Marquez
wrote in an email interview.
100 New Hospitals; maybe
Early in 2007 the government
launched a nationwide ‘100 New
Hospitals’ program to transfer
ownership of hospital sector
restructuring; the ﬁnal goal: transfer of
ownership of all state-owned, privately
administered hospitals in the country
to the private sector by means of direct
sale. That is, adding the healthcare
40 AUG.-SEP. 2011
system to the vast privatization
However, not all has gone
according to plan. First the ﬁnancial
crisis and then the war with Russia
led original investors to default
on promises and in mid-2010 the
government revised the plan.
Private insurance companies are
now engaged in hospital reconstruction
Currently 114 hospitals with
5,235 beds are being constructed or
rehabilitated – 23 with state budget,
91 with private investment. The latter
includes both insurance companies
such as GPI, Imedi International
and Aldagi BCI and non-insurance
investors such as Block Georgia and
“Hospitals are scheduled to open
towards the end of 2013,” explains
director of the Curatio International
Foundation Dr. Giorgi Gotsadze,
“my assessment is that the project is
currently on track and being closely
monitored, almost on a weekly basis,
by the Ministry of Health. It seems
promising although the ﬁnal outcome
yet remains to be seen.”
Putting the development of the
hospital sector in private hands
deﬁnitely seems to be the way forward
to alleviate pressure on the state
budget. Still, money is not the only
“Georgia spends 10% of its GDP
on healthcare, a high ﬁgure relative to
its economic development,” explains
Gotsadze. “The issue is the inefﬁciency
in the system due to weak and outdated
hospitals and their management,
along with oversupply of doctors and
undersupply of nurses.”
Opportunities for investors
are multiple: bringing in Westernstyle management and know-how
to improve efﬁciency; establishing
training schools for nurses; introducing
new technology for clinical quality
management like telemedicine for
the network of hospitals and digital
imaging so remote locations can
improve the quality of diagnostics.
“What we need the most is knowhow.”
Investors have seen the potential
of a market to be built almost from
scratch. Modern facilities with stateof-the-art medical technology have
been built across the region. As the
100 hospitals program fell through,
the government modiﬁed and invited
insurance companies to bid to
build additional medical facilities.
Georgian Prime Minister Nika Gilauri,
illustrating the process in a Parliament
hearing explained for example that
having IMEDI win the tender in Telavi,
Akhmeta and Kvareli regions, the
company would insure all vulnerable
people living there and, at the same
time, it would be responsible for
building a 70-bed hospital in Telavi, a
15-bed one in Akhmeta and a 15-bed
hospital in Kvareli.
International organizations have
also been ready to support the sector’s
modernization. The World Bank’s
Health Sector Development Project,
due to end in December 2011, has
been injecting $28 million into the
system to improve the coverage,
the use and the quality of healthcare
facilities, along with strengthening the
government’s stewardship function in
the system. The results are tangible:
103 primary healthcare facilities in
mountain areas of Imereti, Adjara and
Shida Kartli have been rehabilitated,
equipped and staffed with trained
personnel; 30% of the population are
now covered with re-trained family
medicine providers (compared to 0.6%
at the beginning of the project); 72%
of the rural population has access
to a primary health clinic within 30
minutes of transportation/walking
and the immunization rate of DPT3
(three doses of diphtheria, pertussis
and tetanus, which the World Health
Organization uses as a common
measure of the availability of health
services) increased by 20% to reach
98% in 2009.
“Possibilities for investors are
vast,” says Thomas Lubeck, Director of
the International Finance Corporation
(IFC) for the South Caucasus. In June
IFC, part of the World Bank Group,
announced its ﬁrst-ever ﬁnancing of a
health insurance program: a $3 million
investment in equity in Archimedes
Health Developments to help expand
access to health insurance and health
services in Georgia and other emerging
markets in Eastern Europe and Central
Asia. IFC’s investment, along with
$2 million additional ﬁnancing from
Archimedes Global will enable the
new company to establish health
clinics (two are currently being built in
Tsoniri and Lagodekhi). Cyprus-based
Yaron Inbar, AG’s Managing Director,
declined to comment on the agreement
“Health insurance is not the only
area investors can look at,” explains
Lubeck. “Establishing clinics is
another. In addition, facilities need to
be managed and that requires highly
skilled competencies. Management is
another possible area.”
Examples are out there. In March,
the Washington-based American
Hospital Management Company
(AHMC) announced it will manage the
Tbilisi State Medical University High
Technology Medical Center. George
Ingorokva, the facility’s principal
investor, stated that the highly trained
staff needed “a new philosophy and
new management model”.
Georgian industrial designer
Zviad Tsikolia has left his mark on
designs for Bugatti, Castel beer,
Khvanchkara wine and Georgia’s
latest military hardware. Investor.
ge spoke to him about his work and
how it feels to see his impact on
cars, planes and other consumer
ver the past 21 years, Zviad
Tsikolia’s signature designs
have left his mark on consumer
items on everything from luxury cars and
watches to hot dog stands and military
His signature style was immortalized in 2006, when a Bugatti car he
designed was displayed at the Concorso
d’Eleganza Villa d’Este, a prestigious
motor industry competition.
Once a senior designer with Design
Club International - a Japanese company,
Tsikolia has also exhibited his work at
motor shows in Frankfurt and Geneva.
A graduate of Tbilisi State Academy
of Fine Arts, Tsikolia said ﬁnding cli-
42 AUG.-SEP. 2011
ents – foreign or local – has never been
He has found success at home, as
well. During this year’s May 26 Independence Day parade; the military unveiled its new Didgori armored vehicle,
designed by Tsikolia.
The vehicle is named after a pivotal
battle in the 12th century when Davit the
Builder recaptured Tbilisi and made the
city the royal capital. But his real passion
however, is packaging.
Tsikolia Design R&D Ltd. has been
credited for revolutionizing glass bottle
design in Georgia. He has designed
bottles for 3D beer, Herzog beer, Castel
beer, Argo beer, Khvanchkara wine and
Likani mineral water, among others.
Packaging – a second skin for mar-
keting in Europe and the United States
– is still not prioritized in Georgia,
Designs for labeling, bottling and
packaging Georgia products are starting
to take off, but industrial design is lagging behind, he added.
“The development of industrial design is associated with industrial development, which is still a new process here.
Since we have wine and soft drinks,
packaging design – labels, postcards, etc.
are necessary and thus the graphic design
has succeeded more or less.”
“If our businessmen were aware
of how important design is to the company’s profits… Georgia’s industrial
design would not be so archaic looking,”
AUG.-SEP. 2011 43
The first large scale
Tbilisi Charity Gala
Burns Supper raised
enough funds to equip
a small computer
room, provide internet
to get the IT education
ball rolling for the
youth activity center in
by CHCA (Charity
program has made
a difference in the
children’s lives but more
work is needed to make
44 AUG.-SEP. 2011
Success in Shaumiani: Funds from Burns
Supper Finance IT Education for IDPs
JEFFERSON SOMMERS II, AN
EDUCATION PEACE CORPS
VOLUNTEER (2009-2011) WORKING
or children ripped from their
homes and relocated following
the 2008 August conflict, the
Shaumiani CHCA center is a safe haven
for activities like computer classes.
Demand for these classes comes from
the community. IDPs in Shaumiani, like
those in other IDP communities, have
difﬁculties reconnecting with their roots,
ﬁnding jobs and in general adapting to
their situation. This stems from the psychological impact of conﬂict and relocation, geographical isolation, a general
lack of, or disconnect from resources
and ﬁnancial instability. The settlement’s
youth loiter on the streets and when
asked what their goals and aspirations
are, some of them don’t know – or tell
you honestly that they don’t have any.
With cooperation and teamwork, a
dedicated team from the Burns Supper
was able to secure computers – donated
by UNICEF – and use the funds raised
at the event to purchase other equipment
for the children to use.
Together with the know-how and
equipment installation by staff from
KPMG Georgia, and working with local
community members a computer room,
complete with Internet access, was set
up. Finally, Fiona Coxshall, organizer
of the annual Burns Supper, recruited
me to teach the IT course.
Through observation I found that
most of the students at the settlement
are in an education gap, unable to
demonstrate educational competencies
expected and exhibited in traditional
In addition, Shaumiani is historically
an ethnically Armenian village, making
it difﬁcult for students to interact with
the local community. The relocated
town citizens also have to deal with
numerous other basic needs issues like
poor water quality/access, intermittent
electricity supply, unemployment and
The primary fundamental elements of
the classes I taught included: keyboarding, basic navigation of MS Windows
Operating System, word processing
through MS Word, creating presentations
through PowerPoint and an introduction
to the writing process. However, through
the IT classes I also tried to help build
self-esteem and develop critical thinking skills.
With a starting total of thirty youth
from ages 10 to 25, the highest impact
was observed in the 10 – 17 age group.
Aside from the handful of students who
were comfortable with mouse-controlled
computer games, most of the children
had little to no familiarity with computers
or how they function.
But after three months, students made
amazing progress and 11 were awarded
certiﬁcates and a ﬂash drive. Being held
to objective standards, students were
stretched beyond their comfort zones:
some of the introverted youngsters
opened up and every one of the students
walked away with a better comprehension of computers – some were able to
go from knowing nothing at all about
computers to writing page-long compositions or creating detailed and coherent
In order for this project to be sustainable, the work needs to continue. It may
not be the easiest path to take, but the
youth really thrive from interactive lessons where they can learn and practice
something new together with a patient
This year Peace Corps celebrates
their 50th anniversary internationally
and their 10th anniversary working in
AUG.-SEP. 2011 45
Welcome, John Ashworth
47 Batu Kutelia: Untapped
potential for trade between
US and Georgia
47 The Economist Tbilisi
47 MobiPay Invests: Preview of
October IT report
48 Regular Meetings with
Revenue Service Improve
49 New Finance Minister Dimitri
Gvindadaze Meets Members
46 AUG.-SEP. 2011
49 IT and Telecom Committee Met
Ministry IT Department Head
52 Member Directory
54 Social: Holiday Inn Pool Party
49 Thomas De Waal Presents
54 Social: Wine trip
49 A Farewell to Deputy Chief of
Mission at the US Embassy
50 Member Profile Deloitte
51 New Members, Resource page
56 Social: AmCham Georgia
Annual July 4 Picnic
Batu Kutelia: Untapped potential
for trade between US and Georgia
Trade talks between Washington and
Tbilisi can be a good “mechanism” for
strengthening business ties between the
two countries, noted Georgia’s former
Ambassador to the US Batu Kutelia.
Kutelia addressed AmCham members following the traditional brieﬁng
by US Ambassador in Georgia John R
Bass at Sheraton Metechi Palace hotel
on July 27. Kutelia, now serving as the
deputy head of the National Security
Council of Georgia, said sector-speciﬁc
business summits, company database and
more education on ﬁnancing mechanisms
could bolster business relations between
the US and Georgia. Ambassador Bass
spoke about the latest round of talks for
the US-Georgia Security Charter, as well
as the recent arrest of four photographers
on espionage charges. The ambassador
also introduced John Ashworth, new
Deputy Chief of Political & Economic
Affairs at the embassy.
Allen Gilstrap, MobiPay Chief Executive Ofﬁcer, OpenRevolution Georgia
JSC, spoke about MobiPay’s expansion
in Georgia and internationally. Currently,
15 percent of Tbilisians are MobiPay clients - taking advantage of ability to pay
bills, pay for goods and transfer phone
credit using a mobile phone.
The company plans to double its
staff to 300 by the end of the year, and
is expanding Georgian operations to the
regions, including Telavi and Batumi. It
is also expanding to Poland and Ukraine.
Other announcements included
SEACOR Response, which introduced
its new name..
MobiPay Invests: Preview of October IT report
Over the course of seven months,
MobiPay has become one of the fastest growing payment platforms in the
country. Using software developed in
Georgia, the company has created a “mobile wallet” that over 110 thousand customers, and 1800 merchants where the
system is used. Allen Gilstrap, MobiPay
Chief Executive Ofﬁcer at OpenRevolution Georgia, believes Georgia is an ideal
location to headquarter an IT business.
In 2009, when the company decided
to come to Georgia, they selected the
country from a list of over 50 possible
destinations. The pro-business environ-
ment, employable population and strong
mobile networks all contributed to their
decision to choose Georgia as their regional headquarters.
“[The] complete absence of business
corruption, fervency of the government
to promote foreign investment – Georgia
has a fantastic future in front of it,” he
said, noting that MobiPay’s success is an
example for other IT companies.
“[W]e are a poster child for what we
think they wanted to do.”
For more information on IT investment – and a longer interview with Mr.
Gilstrap, please read the October issue.
Conference In Tbilisi:
“Georgia Has Very Strong
Potential…In Tourism “
The Economist’s Conference in
Tbilisi panelist Arild Hovland, the
senior vice president of business
development at Rezidor believes
Georgia’s tourism sector will be
“a major factor” for the economy.
Radisson Blu Iveria and Radisson Blu Batumi are part of the
Rezidor Hotel Group. Hovland
said the group was eager to “get a
foothold” in the Georgian market.
He will be speaking about opportunities and challenges in the
Georgian tourism sector during the
November 17 conference in Tbilisi.
The number of tourists coming
to Georgia has increased from two
million in 2009 to three million
“Tourism will be a major factor for Georgia but it also needs to
develop other trade and business,”
Hovland said, noting that the hospitality business is “operating in a
tough competitive environment,”
but there is expectation for continued growth.
“For the medium and long term
our outlook is very positive as
Georgia has very strong potential
especially in tourism having such
a rich & unique culture.”
Welcome John Ashworth
and new Political/Economic
AmCham Georgia welcomes
the U.S. Embassy’s new staff in
the Political and Economic Department. A brief interview with John
Ashworth will be published in the
October issue of Investor.ge.
AUG.-SEP. 2011 47
Regular Meetings with Revenue Service
Improve Customs Climate
Better communication with the Revenue Service (RS) is helping businesses
tackle customs issues. AmCham’sTrade
and Transportation Committee has taken
the lead in utilizing the new relationship
between business and government as a
platform for helping member companies
Monthly meetings with department
heads at the Revenue Service (RS) –
and bi-monthly meetings with Jaba
Ebanoidze, the head of the service – are
producing concrete results for AmChammembers.
The RS’s willingness to discuss – and
deal – with problems and concerns is a
real change that is welcome for business, noted John Braeckeveldt, the head
of AmCham’s Trade and Transportation
“AmCham trade and transportation
committee has been trying to get this
result for years,” he said. “With the new
head of the Revenue Service [Ebanoidze]
and the appointment of a business ombudsman, the change is obvious: it is
very clear that government heard the
businesses’ requests for more attention.”
The Chamber’s Trade and Transportation Committee has initiated discussions with decision makers at the service
on a variety of obstacles that have hurt
businesses involved with customs and
trade in Georgia. Topping the list has
been basic improvements, like allowing
AmCham to review planned changes
to the tax/customs code before they are
submitted to the ministry and parliament.
In addition, there are plans to launch a
email dialogue platform with a guaranteed quick response.
With this new approach AmCham
is focusing on providing their members
direct contacts with the legislation makers and give direct comments on new
changes before they are even implemented in regulation.
Most importantly these meetings
are the opportunity for each Amcham
member who has an issue with the customs department to join (max. 3 persons
per meetings). Also a very important
project that was agreed on -- but has not
yet started – is the opportunity for any
business involved in transport/customs
brokerage to send a request to AmCham
for customs department training on site
at the company.
This is a win-win situation for both
business and the RS: business can show
firsthand what is not working on the
scene and RS can advise business how
they can work better.
AmCham Georgia, RS: A Successful Partnership
Sample/gifts in shipments
A decision was made to free samples from customs clearance
if not for sale.
Household goods of investors/ demand for
scales for customs store house
There’s a demand of the scales for the customs store house.
If the good is meant for transit, re export, the clearance of the
household goods will be streamlined. A new nomenclature code
regarding these goods is planned.
Official confirmation that all new regulations/
changes to tax/customs code will be available
before RS/MOF send this to minister or
RS agreed to send all the new amendments and changes/news
to AmCham ﬁrst and give a period of one week for the revision
and comments. In case of need, the meeting with the RS Chair
and or with the Minister or Prime Minister is Possible.
Customs to prepare easy how to booklets for
Due to the size of the document, a decision was made to link
48 AUG.-SEP. 2011
regulations to the RS website which would direct readers to
speciﬁc procedures. A small booklet was published.
Concerning VAT on international transports
AmCham will send new draft suggestions for
changes to the law and the RS will review
A new law about the tax exemption of the cargo customs services is being reviewed in the Parliament of Georgia. The RS
noted that when such goods cross the border, a special commodity operation is determined. RS recommended creating a
list of the services. Also execution operations connected with
import now can be conducted via e-declaration.
Phytosanitary paper at the border
AmCham raised the issue related to obtaining the Phytosanitary
paper at the border. It was proposed by RS that from now everyone can ﬁll the sheet to get receive a phytosanitary certiﬁcate
online by using www.rs.ge.
Mobile Payment options for customs duties
Import payments conducted by Cell Phone is a ﬁnance operation, which according to the tax code is free of VAT.
New Finance Minister Dimitri
Gvindadze Meets Members
Newly appointed Minister of Finance
of Georgia Dimitri Gvindadze gave an
insightful overview of the Georgian
economy during the monthly member
luncheon on July 15.
According to the rating evaluation
of such organizations as the Standard &
Poor, Fitch Ratings, and Moody’s Inves-
tors Service, Georgia’s reform-driven
economy has a positive development
outlook. Despite serious challenges the
country received from the war and the
global crisis, the economy has shown
resilience with favorable public debt
situation. For details please visit:
IT and Telecom Committee Met Ministry IT
On July 8, Wouter Metz, facilitated
the discussion about the status of the
action points and presented the sheet
of Preliminary Consolidation of IT
Skill Demand Inventory. The Head of
IT and Innovations Department from
the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia made a
presentation about the Governmental
plans and actions for the improvement of
the Broadband capacity in Georgia; the
Power Point presentation was posted on
AmCham web site shortly. If any AmCham member wishes to join the monthly
committee meetings, please contact Gigi
Liluashvli at the AmCham ofﬁce.
A Farewell to Deputy Chief of Mission at
the US Embassy Kent Logsdon
On June 22, AmCham members
gathered at the Tbilisi Marriott Hotel to
hear from Deputy Chief of Mission of
the US Embassy Kent Logsdon whose
term is expiring and who left Georgia a
few days ago.
Kent shared memories of his time
in Georgia, the he updated members
on upcoming Embassy functions, and
briefed about recent developments in
the country. At the end of his brieﬁng,
Kent answered questions from the ﬂoor.
On June 30, AmCham
members met with Thomas
De Waal, author of the recent
“Georgia’s Choices” book at
De Waal is an acknowledged
expert on the unresolved
conﬂicts of the South Caucasus:
Abkhazia, Nagorny Karabakh,
and South Ossetia. From
2002 to 2009 he worked as an
analyst and project manager
on the conﬂicts in the South
Caucasus for the Londonbased NGOs Conciliation
Resources and the Institute for
War and Peace Reporting. He
is author of the authoritative
book on the Karabakh conﬂict,
Black Garden: Armenia and
Azerbaijan Through Peace and
War, which has been translated
into Armenian, Azeri, and
Russian. His latest book is The
Caucasus: An Introduction
(Oxford University Press, 2010).
AUG.-SEP. 2011 49
Club Prestige Platinum and Club Prestige
Gold for the Euro 2012
UEFA EURO 2012 – is the last
European football championship with
16 teams playing in the ﬁnal round.
Ukraine and Poland will host the
tournament from 8 June until 1 July
2012. It will be the third tournament
in the history of the European national
football championships with two
countries acting as the hosts.
The UEFA EURO 2012 Club
Prestige Program has been drawn up
for representatives from top companies
to provide them with the exclusive
opportunity to join the most prestigious
There are two types of product
– Club Prestige Platinum and Club
Prestige Gold. The Club Prestige
Platinum provides a prime location,
privacy and an exclusive experience for
your guests. Club Prestige Gold gives
an access to a shared business lounge,
with a combination of top-quality seats
and luxurious hospitality services. All
corporate hospitality packages are also
offered in the Stadium Series, Country
Series and Knockout Series.
50 AUG.-SEP. 2011
How can this help you with marketing and advertising
An effective business tool for creating, strengthening and developing
strong relations with business partners, clients, suppliers, management and
shareholders, this will take the relationship with your business partners to a
new level and give you the chance to shine during Europe’s most important
sports event. It is also an effective way of enhancing employee loyalty.
Club Prestige gives business representatives the right to attend the most
exclusive and prestigious football matches. Deloitte will endeavor to assist
companies and organizations as they take advantage of the opportunity that
EURO 2012 opens up to them by joining Club Prestige.
Deloitte, an international consulting ﬁrm, has been appointed as authorized sales consultant and will assist UEFA with the worldwide sale
of EURO 2012 Club Prestige packages. According to the agreement with
UEFA, Deloitte will provide consulting services regarding the purchase of
the hospitality packages.
Deloitte places special emphasis on sports business services, serving
clubs, leagues, regulating authorities and companies that build sporting
facilities as well as sporting event organizers.
The costs and benefits
The cost of the Golden Package varies between 2, 900 euros for the group
matches (admission to three matches) and 10, 950 euros for the ﬁnal matches
in Kyiv and Warsaw (admission to three group matches, the quarter-ﬁnal
and the ﬁnal). It is also possible to buy a package that includes admission to
all matches in one of the hosting countries, including the ﬁnal in Ukraine,
totaling 23, 900 euros. The cost of the Club Prestige Platinum Package varies
between 5, 200 euros and 18, 900 euros. Companies will receive top-category
seats for their employees and partners, excellent food, special entertainment
programs before and after matches and many more exciting offers.
LPA Legal Partners
Corporate B Member
Hall Booth Smith &
As a global leader
Established in February
Gvinadze & Partners is
Slover is a full-service
2009, Ioli is one of
a Georgian business law
Associated - LPA LLC
and diverse law ﬁrm with
the leading Georgian
ﬁrm. With its predecessor
is a full-service law ﬁrm
eight regional ofﬁces in
operations, and program
retail trade companies
ﬁrms – Georgian
providing legal advice
Georgia, Tennessee and
that is growing very
Consulting Group (GCG
and counseling in broad
South Carolina. HBSS
HILL has the human and
quickly. Coverage area
Law Ofﬁce), Ernst &
aspects of business and
is engaged in advising
technical resources, the
so far is Tbilisi only but
Young Legal (EY Law
and facilitating foreign
in the near future the
Georgia), Gvinadze &
corporate, civil and
investment in Georgia, as
and the depth of know-
company is planning to
Partners and then most
well as providing legal
how and experience
increase its retail chain
recently DLA Piper
services to Georgian
to help clients achieve
up to 25 stores, to attract
Gvinadze & Partners,
and US companies
success in any corner of
it has over 15 years of
concerning legal matters
for developing the retail
successful history of
chain and a central
serving and promoting
inward investment in
within the jurisdiction of
Investor.ge is publishing a list of government addresses and contacts as a reference. If there are other government
agencies or state organizations you are looking for and cannot find, please let us know: [email protected]
State Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic
Integration, Vice Prime Minister
7 Ingorokva Str. Tel: 93 28 67
Minister of Regional Development and Infrastructure
12 Al. Kazbegi Ave. Tel: 51 05 91, 51 06 88
Minister of Finance
16 V. Gorgasali Str. Tel: 26 14 44
Minister of Education and Science
52, D. Uznadze Str. Tel: 43 88 19
Minister of Environmental Protection
and Natural Resources
6 Gulia Str. Tel: 72 57 00, 72 57 20
Minister of Economic and Sustainable Development
12 Chanturia Str. Tel: 99 77 77
Minister of Energy
2 Baratashvili Str. Tel: 35 78 00
Minister of Justice
24 Gorgasali Str. Tel: 40 52 02
Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia
4 Sh. Chitadze Str. Tel: 28 47 47
Minister of Agriculture
6 Marshal Gelovani Str. Tel: 37 80 13, 37 80 09
Minister of Labour, Health and Social Affairs
144 A. Tsereteli Ave. Tel: 36 90 26
AUG.-SEP. 2011 51
AmCham Company Members as of August 2011
BP Exploration Georgia
38 Saburtalo St.
Tel: 2593400; Fax: 2593488
Exxon Azerbaijan Ltd
Landmark Suite 300, 95 Nizami St.,
Baku, AZ1010 Azerbaijan
Tel: (994-12) 4982460; Fax: (994-12)
7 Bambis Rigi St., 0105
Tel: 2508050; Fax: 2508060
17a Chavchavadze Ave., 7th ﬂoor
Tel: 2220211; Fax: 2220206
CORPORATE A MEMBERS
ABRIS Distribution AG.
21 Liubliana St.
Apt 3, 20 Kipshidze St., 0162
Tel: 2913892; Fax: 2252762
Alliance Group Holding, JSC
47/57 M. Kostava St., 0179
Tel: 2424181; Fax: 2998112
Avon Cosmetics Georgia LLC
117 Tsereteli Ave..
Tel: 2226805; Fax: 2226806
F H Bertling Georgia Ltd.
9 Tarkhnishvili St.
Tel: 2443356; Fax: 2443376
Betsy’s Hotel / Prosperos Books
32/34 Makashvili St. / 34 Rustaveli
Tel: 2987624, Fax: 2923592
5/7 Navtlugi St., Ofﬁce #1
Tel: 2277323; Fax: 2277377
HSBC Bank Georgia JSC
15 Rustaveli Ave.
44 Leselidze St.
Tel: 2505400-03; Fax: 2505406
77 Kostava St., Bld.6, 4th ﬂ.
Tel: 2941691; Fax: 2253814
Iberia Refreshments, JSC
Tetri Khevi Hesi District, Orkhevi
Tel: 2241091; Fax: 2241090
9 Khvichia St. 0160
Tel: 2244141, 2382825
5th Floor, GMT Plaza, Freedom
Tel: 2474040; Fax: 2470210
Imedi L International
20 Chavchavadze Ave.
Tel: 2223520; Fax: 2293075
SEAF Management LLC
7, Niko Nikoladze St. II Floor.
Tel: 2998115; Fax: 2923533
KPMG CIS Ltd. Tbilisi Branch
3rd Floor, Besiki Business Center,
4Besiki St., 0108
Tel: 2935713; Fax: 2982276
Sheraton Metechi Palace Hotel
20 Telavi St.
Tel: 2772020; Fax: 2772120
Chartis Europe S.A. Georgia
7 Bambis Rigi St., 0105
6a N. Ramishvili St., 0179
Tel: 2234311; Fax: 2234309
36a, L. Asatiani St., 0105
Tel: 2244566; Fax: 2244569
65, Kakheti Highway
DLA Piper Georgia LP
10 Melikishvili St.
Tel: 2509300; Fax: 2509301
Ernst & Young
44 Leselidze St.
Tel: 2439375; Fax: 2439376
Georgian American University
21a Chavchavadze Ave.,
2d Arch #3
Tel: 2915003; Fax: 2915004
Georgian Audit & Consulting
47 Kostava St. Suite 29
Tel: 2984039; Fax: 2438352
20 Chavchavadze Ave.
Tel: 2250010; Fax: 2232399
T&K Restaurants (McDonald’s
1 Dzmebi Kakabadze St.
Tel: 2921246; Fax: 2251422
Maersk Georgia LLC
6 Khetagurov St.
Tel: 2200800; Fax: 2200815
7 Marjanishvili St.
Tel: 2272727; Fax: 2228503
5 Politkovskaya St.
Tel: 2171717; Fax: 2171171
Marriott Hotels, Resorts & Suites
13 Rustaveli Ave.
Tel: 2779200; Fax: 2779210
Metromedia International Group
8000 Tower Point Dr., Charlotte, NC
Tel: 2171201; Fax: 2210101
Microsoft Georgia LLC
6 Marjanishvili St.
19 T. Abuladze St. 0162
6 Marjanishvili St.
Tel: 2959019; Fax: 2420215
CORPORATE B MEMBERS
AGV Czech Republic Ltd
63 Kostava St.
Tel: 2242559; Fax: 2242549
Aliance Georgia Ltd
33 Samurzakano St.
Alioni-99 Holding Company
12a Kazbegi Ave., 0160.
Tel: 2922993; Fax: 2389737
GZ American Academy in Tbilisi
37a Chavchavadze Ave.
Tel: 2227441; Fax: 2227889
4 Freedom Square
Tel: 2988988; Fax: 2988910
MSD (Schering Plough Central
44 K. Abkhazi St. 0105
Booz Allen Hamilton, Inc.
7 Bambis Rigi St., 0105
Tel: 2439072; Fax: 2439059
1 Nutsubidze St.
Tel: 2393138; Fax: 2311107
7 Bambis Rigi Str., 0105
Tel: 2439001; Fax: 2439005
Bagebey City Group
49b Chavchavadze Ave.
Tel: 2913152; Fax: 2290169
British American Tobacco
71 Vazha Pshavela Ave.
Tel: 2399103/01/02; Fax: 2399104
48 B. Cholokashvili St.
154 Agmashenebeli Ave.
Tel: 2202222; Fax: 2202222-2226
Baker Tilly Georgia Ltd.
Meidan Palace, 44 Kote Abkhazi St.
Tel: 2505353; Fax: 2505353
Catoni & Co. Georgia
3 Lesia Ukrainka St. Apt.7
Tel: 2989230; Fax: 2922264
Hall, Booth, Smith & Slover, P.C.
41 Vaja Pshavela Ave. 0177
Tel: 2394417, Fax: 1-404-9545020
Radisson BLU Iveria Hotel
1 Rose Revolution Sq.
Tel: 2402200; Fax: 2402201
Bank of Georgia
3 Pushkin St.
Tel: 2444134; Fax: 2983269
52 AUG.-SEP. 2011
52 D. Aghmashenebeli St., Poti
Tel: 493-20660; Fax: 493-20688
2 Gr. Abashidze St.
Tel: 2925555; Fax: 2925544
Basis Bank JSC
1 Ketevan Tsamebuli Ave.
Tel: 2922922; Fax: 2986548
Batumi Oil Terminal
GMT Plaza, 4 Freedom Sq.
Tel: 2241818; Fax: 2241817
42 Kazbegi Ave.
Tel: 2545845; Fax: 2399204
23 Chavchavadze Ave, 3rd ﬂ. 0179
Tel: 2444687; Fax: 2235804
BGI Advisory Services Georgia
18 Rustaveli Ave., II ﬂ.
Tel: 2997292; Fax: 2996615
BLC Law Ofﬁce
4 Gudiashvili Sq.
Tel: 2922491; Fax: 2934526
1, 26 May Sq.
Tel: 2335519; Fax: 2334520
Education and Training
4 Kuchishvili St.
Tel: 2250945; Fax: 2250945
3 Gotua St.
Tel: 2770100, ext. 7435;
15a Tamarashvili St.
Tel: 2311788; Fax: 2311787
12 Rustaveli Ave.
Tel: 2999730; Fax: 2999660
Georgian Lottery Company LLC
34 Chavchavadze Ave.
Globalink Logistics Group
14-A Shartava St, 2nd ﬂ, Suite 7
Tel: 2253262; Fax: 2439002
1 Parnavaz Mepe Ave. 0131
Tel: 2243673; Fax: 2243673
3 M/D, Didi Digomi
Tel: 2596601/02/03; Fax: 2596600
10a Tashkent St. 0160
Gvinadze & Partners LLC
44 Leselidze St, Tbilisi 0155
Tel: 2235683, Fax: 2438971
Caucasus Online LLC
71 Vaja-Pshavela Ave.
Tel: 2480048; Fax: 2480048
1, 26 May Sq., 0171
Château Mukhrani, J.S.C.
III ﬂoor, Didube Plaza,
116 Tsereteli Ave.
Tel: 2201878; Fax: 2201878;
HRG Georgia “Sky Travel LLC”
Meidan palace Business Center,
44 Kote Apkhazi St.
4 Freedom Sq. 0105
Tel: 2547030; Fax: 2547040
13 Abuseridze-Tbeli St.
Development Solutions LLC
37 Rustaveli Ave.
Tel: 2241555; Fax: 2241552
40 Rustaveli Ave.
Tel: 2990994; Fax: 2990994
Donut Stop Cafe
10/12 Abashidze St.
Tel: 2251466; Fax: 2999252
Dutch Design Garden
20 km, Agmashenebeli Alley
Intourist Palace Hotel
11 Ninoshvili St., Batumi
Tel: 422-75525, Fax: 422-76606
Kor-Standard Bank JSC
43 Chavchavadze Ave.
Tel: 2507700, Fax: 2507707
Kutaisi Free Zone, Georgian
Int-l Holding Ltd
6 Shio Mgvimeli St.
Tel: 2232997, Fax: 2232997
Legal Partners Associated LLC
Ofﬁce #203, Besiki Business Center,
4 Besiki St. 0108
Tel: 2200203; Fax: 2250458
Liberty Bank JSC
74 Chavchavadze Ave.
Tel: 2555500; Fax: 2912269
Teliani Valley JSC
2 Marshal Gelovani Ave.
Tel: 2313245; Fax: 2313249
3/5 Kazbegi Street, 0179
Tel: 2474545, ext. 55
77 Kostava St., 0175
Tel: 2363672; Fax: 2364302
Dzidziguri (MKD) Law Firm
24 Suite, IV Floor,
71 Vaja-Pshavela Ave.
Tel: 2973880; Fax: 2973884
4 Besiki St.
Tel: 2449981/82/83; Fax: 2449980
Navigator Ltd Publishing House
34 Anton Katalikosi St.
New School - Int-l House
35 Tskneti Highway, Bagebi
57 Uznadze St.
Tel: 2911064; Fax: 2911068
Overall Management Group
12 M. Javakhishvili St.
Tel: 2436052; Fax: 2436052
17 V. Jorbenadze St.
Tel: 2745672; Fax: 2745671
Rakeen Development LLC
2 Baratashvili St. 0105
Tel: 2933393; Fax: 2933993
46 Rustaveli Ave.
Wimm-Bill-Dann Georgia Ltd
Village Ponichala, Tbilisi 0165
Wings and Freeman Capital
Green Building, 6, Marjanishvili St.
Tel: 2940051; Fax: 2940053
74b Chavchavadze Ave.
Tel: 2915315; Fax: 2915615
NON PROFIT ORGANIZATIONS
American Friends of Georgia
77 Nutsubidze St.
Tel: 2397174; Fax: 2388495
American Institutes for Research
Apt 28, 42 Abashidze St.
Tel: 2290644; Fax: 2290644
East West Management Institute,
3rd Floor , 5 Marjanishvili St.
Tel: 2505404; Fax: 2202441
The Eurasia Partnership
29/31/33 Chavchavadze Ave.,
2nd Floor, 0179
Foundation - Centre for Training
34 Al. Kazbegi Ave., Plot #3, 0177
Georgian Wine Association
5 Marjanishvili St.
Rompetrol Georgia Ltd.
39 Navtlugi St.
Tel: 2910727; Fax: 2910763
International Relief and
75 Paliashvili St.
Tel: 2250106; Fax: 2224837
95 Tsinamdzgvrishvili St.
International School of
Economics at TSU
16 Zandukeli St.
Tel: 2507177; Fax: 2984815
Statoil Azerbaijan AS
96 The Landmark Building, Nizami
Street, Baku AZ 1010.
Tel: +994 (50) 2168981; Fax: +994
(12) 4977 340
QSI International School of
Village Zurgovani, Tbilisi
Tel: 2537670; Fax: 2322607
Tbilisi Airport City
7 Bambis Rigi.
Tel: 8790-185000; Fax: 2439328
The Salvation Army
16 Ikalto St.
Tel: 2333786; Fax: 2330227
AUG.-SEP. 2011 53
The 15 member
traveled to wineries
in the United States
from May 30 to
June 8. The project
was initiated by
included the first
official wine tasting
of fine Georgian
wines in New
York City at the
Center on June 2.
54 AUG.-SEP. 2011
baptized its pool
with a party in
AUG.-SEP. 2011 55
On July 3, AmCham
Georgia held its annual
Day Celebration at
the U.S. Embassy. A
huge thank you to our
APM Terminals, BBQ
Club, Bertling Project
Logistics, Besiki Business
Center, Betsy’s Hotel,
BGI Legal, Booz Allen
DLA Piper, Goodwill,
& Central Asia,
Holiday Inn, IMSS, Kor
Standard Bank, Maersk
Line, Marriott Tbilisi,
Beer, Pepsi, ProCredit
Bank, Project Finance
Radisson Blu Iveria,
Palace, TBC Bank,
UGT,Wings & Freeman,
56 AUG.-SEP. 2011
AUG.-SEP. 2011 57
Board Of Directors 2011
David Lee, PRESIDENT
David Lee is the General Director of Magticom, the
largest telecommunications operator in Georgia and
took up his position March 2004. David is also the
Chairman of the Eurasia Partnership Foundation
and is a Chartered Accountant with an MBA from
Warwick Business School. A Russian speaker, he
has worked extensively in the former USSR and
served as a Royal Naval Ofﬁcer for 9 years.
R. Michael Cowgill,
Vice-President & Treasurer
In his 12th. year in Georgia, Michael Cowgill is
currently the President and co-founder of Georgian
American University’s business and law schools in
John Braeckeveldt, Director
John Braeckeveldt arrived in Georgia in 2003
as the General manager for GOSSELIN in the
Caucasus region. In recent years John also started
up a customs brokerage company, building new
European style warehouse in Tbilisi for freight
forwarding/storage solutions and customs bonded
warehousing for diplomatic goods.
Neil Dunn, Director
Neil Dunn is the general manager of BP
Georgia since October 2008. He has 30 years of
experience in the oil and gas industry, having
various engineering and operations assignments.
In Tbilisi since June 1998, Sarah Williamson is
the co-owner and Vice President of United Global
Technologies (UGT), the largest IT company in
Irakli Baidashvili is the Senior Vice President of
GMT Group. The company is one of the largest US
direct investments in Georgia, the owner of two
Marriott hotels, production facility SANTE and
several major real estate sites in Tbilisi .
Esben Emborg, Director
Esben Emborg has been in Georgia since 1999. He
has worked a General Manager for Caucasus Region
for Cadbury Schweppes and Nestle until 2008. Now
he is working as Principal Partner for an Investment
Fund (SEAF) that is currently managing a 30 mil
USD portfolio of investments all over Georgia.
Badri Japaridze has been the Deputy Chairman of
the Supervisory Board of TBC Bank since 1999
and the Vice-President of
Georgian Glass and Mineral Water Co. (GG&MW)
Steve Johnson, Director
Steve Johnson is the proprietor of Prospero’s Books
and the General Manager of The Hotel Betsy.
Prospero’s Books and Caliban’s Coffee House is
the leading English language bookstore in Georgia.
Ivo Bakhuijzen, Director
Ivo Bakhuijzen spent 9 years in the military, 5 of
which as an ofﬁcer within the airborne infantry;
with missions in the former Yugoslavia and
Ivo has been in Georgia since 2008 as the director
of Dutch Design Garden, a sister company of the
famous Dutch landscape architect Martin Veltkamp.
Betsy Haskell, Founding Advisor
Betsy Haskell is an 18 year resident of Georgia
who started four successful businesses, and is
currently developing a resort hotel and villas in
the wine country. For the past 15 years, she has
been the Georgia Contractor for Metrica, Inc, a US
Treasury Department sub-contractor.
58 AUG.-SEP. 2011
Ted Jonas is the Managing Partner of DLA Piper’s
Tbilisi ofﬁce. He advises clients on international
business transactions, energy and infrastructure
projects, government relations, and dispute
John Ashworth is the Deputy Chief of Political
and Economic Affairs and Senior Economic/
Commercial Ofﬁcer at the U.S. Embassy. He
worked previously in Uzbekistan, Barbados, and on
the State Department’s India Desk in Washington.
George Welton, Exec. Director
George Welton came to Georgia as a university
lecturer in 2004. Soon after arriving he started
working as a professional researcher and founded
GeoWel Research in 2008. His company conducts
research and analysis for non-proﬁts like KfW,
GIZ, UNDP, DfID, CARE International and some
AUG.-SEP. 2011 59