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Armenia's Economic Pulse

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  • Re: Armenia's Economic Pulse

    After moving to Baku, “Samsung” regional representation made biased decisions about Armenia

    In the interview with Aravot, already former head of “Samsung” official representation Andranik Shahbazyan explains why the globally recognized “Samsung” is leaving Armenia. – Mr. Shahbazyan, according to some rumor, “Samsung” official representation in our country is shut down. Can you tell why the recognized brand has decided to leave Armenia? – I work for “Samsung” company since 2005, and until 2011, we were Moscow’s “Samsung” headquarters office, so as Azerbaijan and Georgia. In 2011, it was decided to include the Caucasus region into the “Samsung” Kazakhstan Central Asian HQ region, which is located in Almaty. Any strategic issue can be raised at the leadership in Almaty, and decisions were made based on the logic of the question, its operation, economic situation or business environment of the given country, and at the same time driven from the interests of the “Samsung”. Everything was going well until the end of 2014, when the “Samsung” General HQ management decided to set up an independent Caucasus HQ, which was going to be a part of the large HQ of the “Samsung” in CIS territory, and it was decided that it should to be located in Baku. The first reaction to this decision was quite negative both by Armenian economic entities who are in business relationship with “Samsung” and by the employees of the representation. We in a very simple and logical way explained to them that the person sitting in Azerbaijan for known reason cannot be impartial in decisions about the employees in Armenia, their salaries, bonuses or even the business and the pricing policies. However, our voice was not heard, and our excuses were neglected. – Has the Armenian representation of “Samsung” felt the discriminative approach? – I will tell you an incident. We supported a company directly cooperating with “Samsung” in Stepanakert that was selling the “Samsung” official products to replenish its workshop....

    Read more at:
    Politics is not about the pursuit of morality nor what's right or wrong
    Its about self interest at personal and national level often at odds with the above.
    Great politicians pursue the National interest and small politicians personal interests


    • Re: Armenia's Economic Pulse

      Why is “Samsung” leaving Armenia?

      Read more at:
      Politics is not about the pursuit of morality nor what's right or wrong
      Its about self interest at personal and national level often at odds with the above.
      Great politicians pursue the National interest and small politicians personal interests


      • Re: Armenia's Economic Pulse

        Microsoft To Boost Support For Armenian IT Sector

        Հրապարակված է՝ 27.05.2015

        Microsoft Corporation pledged to step up its contribution to Armenia’s burgeoning information technology sector on Tuesday with a new regional software development center to be opened in Yerevan soon.

        In return, the Armenian government promised stronger protection of the U.S. giant’s world-famous products against widespread software piracy in the country.

        The two sides formalized their mutual commitments with a package of agreements which Microsoft’s top executive for central and eastern Europe, Don Grantham, signed in Yerevan with Armenia’s ministers of economy, education and defense. Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamian and the U.S. ambassador to Armenia, Richard Mills, underscored its importance with their presence at the signing ceremony.

        “The agreements signed today will serve as a basis for even closer cooperation between the government of Armenia and Microsoft,” Abrahamian said at the ceremony.

        A statement released by Abrahamian’s press office said the deal calls for the establishment of a Microsoft-sponsored “regional” center” in Yerevan for mobile applications and so-called “cloud computing,” which allows such software to be operated over the Internet. It said Armenian students and engineers working there will use Microsoft’s technological resources to develop more advanced solutions of this kind. This will make Armenia more competitive in global hi-tech industries, it said.

        According to the statement, the new facility will operate in conjunction with the Microsoft Innovation Center Armenia (MICA), an enterprise “accelerator” that has assisted in the growth of dozens of local IT startup firms. The MICA, which is partly funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), has provided them with free office space and equipment and even helped some of them secure funding for their innovative projects.

        These and other startups have added to recent years’ rapid growth of the Armenian IT industry, the most dynamic sector of the country’s struggling economy. According to government data, the sector currently employs over 11,500 engineers. Its overall business turnover was equivalent to about 5 percent of Gross Domestic Product last year.

        The MICA set up was set up in 2011, one year before launch of the Microsoft IT Academy at the State Engineering University of Armenia (SEUA). The academy helps to address the still inadequate quality of education at the IT programs of the SEUA and other state-run Armenian universities.

        Abrahamian stressed the importance of the upcoming new Microsoft center in Yerevan, expressing confidence that it will solidify Armenia’s status as a regional IT leader. Grantham, for his part, said it will enable Armenian software engineers to develop their skills and eventually result in new jobs.

        According to the statement by Abrahamian’s office, Grantham went on to emphasize the Armenian government’s commitment to a stricter enforcement of Microsoft’s intellectual property rights in Armenia.

        Mills was reported to make a similar point. The U.S. ambassador said that a more effective copyright protection will help Armenia attract more foreign investors into the IT sector.

        Major U.S. companies such as Synopsis, National Instruments, Mentor Graphics and VMware are already present in the sector. Oracle, the world’s second largest software developer after Microsoft, inaugurated its Armenian branch late last year.

        Cybersecurity will be another new area of the government’s cooperation with Microsoft. Under agreement signed by Grantham and Defense Minister Seyran Ohanian, Microsoft will help Armenia protect its online databases and resources against hacker attacks.
        <<եթե զենք էլ չլինի' ես քարերով կկրվեմ>>


        • Re: Armenia's Economic Pulse

          Another IT Facility Launched In Armenia

          Հրապարակված է՝ 25.05.2015

          Highlighting the rapid growth of Armenia’s information technology (IT) sector, D-Link Corporation, one of the world’s largest manufacturers of computer networking equipment, inaugurated its newly constructed research and development center in Gyumri on Monday.

          The center is one of the three facilities of its kind operated by the Taiwanese IT group around the world. Its creation was made possible by an agreement which D-Link signed with the Armenian government in January 2013. The government provided the company with a plot of land in Gyumri for that purpose.

          D-Link had opened software development branches in both Gyumri and Yerevan even before that agreement. It reportedly employed some 200 people in Armenia as of last year.

          With annual worldwide sales exceeding $1 billion, D-Link is principally engaged in the research, development, manufacture and distribution of computer network systems, devices, wireless communication products and components.

          “This center will play a significant role in the development of Gyumri and Armenia’s strong scientific potential as well as the country’s integration into global information technology processes,” Economy Minister Karen Chshmaritian said at the inauguration ceremony that was also attended by President Serzh Sarkisian.

          Chshmaritian added the Armenian government has a strong interest in having “multinational corporations” expand their presence in the domestic IT industry, the fastest-growing sector of Armenia’s economy.

          The export-oriented sector had expanded by an average of 22 percent annually since 2008. The government expects this growth to continue unabated in the years to come. Some officials have forecast that the sector’s annual turnover will pass the $1 billion mark by 2019.

          According to government estimates, the combined output of the nearly 400 IT firms operating in the country reached almost $475 million last year. The figure is equivalent to about 5 percent of its Gross Domestic Product.

          Much of this growth has been driven by U.S. hi-tech giants like as Synopsys, National Instruments, Mentor Graphics and VMware. Synopsys, a global microchip design leader, employs about 700 engineers in Armenia, making its local branch the country’s largest IT enterprise.

          <<եթե զենք էլ չլինի' ես քարերով կկրվեմ>>


          • Re: Armenia's Economic Pulse

            Tumo Center opens in Gyumri

            Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan attended the solemn opening ceremony of Tumo Center for Creative Technologies in Gyumri today.

            Establishment of Tumo Center in Gyumri has been initiated by the Armenian President and implemented by Shant TV company.

            In the beginning, the Center will be located at Gyumri Technological Center and then it will be moved to the building of neighboring Gyumri Theater (former People’s House) which is going to be overhauled. During the visit, the President of was informed that the territory will include 60 working place and will be able to host 500-1000 students.

            Tumo Center for Creative Technologies is an open educational environment where 12-18-year old teenagers study on their own.

            The first Tumo Center (Tumo Yerevan) was initiated by Sam and Silva Simonians by the Simonian Educational Foundation. It opened the doors to students on August 14, 2011.

            Owing to “Knowledge for the Sake for Development” project implemented by the Central Bank, Tumo opened in Dilijan as well in 2013 (around 300 teenagers attend it).

            Currently, intensive construction works of Tumo Center are underway in Stepanakert. In September 2015, the construction will be over and the Center will open its doors to 1000 teenagers from Artsakh (Tumo Stepanakert is the joint project of Simonian Educational Foundation and AGBU).

            <<եթե զենք էլ չլինի' ես քարերով կկրվեմ>>


            • Re: Armenia's Economic Pulse

              Government To Privatize Armenian Postal Service

              Hovannes Shoghikian

              Հրապարակված է՝ 27.05.2015

              The Armenian government announced on Wednesday plans to privatize the country’s state-owned national postal service employing thousands of people.

              Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamian’s cabinet approved the planned sell-off during its weekly session in Yerevan. The decision took the form of draft amendments to an Armenian law that lists state companies subject to privatization. It therefore also requires the parliament’s approval.

              Speaking at the cabinet meeting, the head of the government’s privatization agency, Arman Sahakian, said the Haypost operator should be privatized because it needs substantial capital investments.

              “The company’s privatization will foster the development of postal communication in Armenia through new investments, installation of new equipment, and rehabilitation and modernization of its physical infrastructure,” Sahakian said.

              The official added that the sell-off is also supported by a private firm that runs Haypost in accordance with a 10-year management contract which it signed with the government in 2006. That company is controlled by Eduardo Eurnekian, an Argentinian billionaire of Armenian descent who has extensive business interests in Armenia.

              It was not clear whether this means Eurnekian would like to buy Haypost. Nor did the government explain just how it will seek to privatize the company and its asking price will be.

              Haypost has an authorized capital of only 512 million drams ($1.1 million) despite employing around 3,000 people at its Yerevan headquarters and some 900 postal offices across Armenia. Many of those offices have been refurbished since 2007.

              The company not only provides traditional postal services but also collects utility payments and some taxes and duties, handles wire transfers of cash and even distributes travel insurance.

              <<եթե զենք էլ չլինի' ես քարերով կկրվեմ>>


              • Re: Armenia's Economic Pulse

                Resumption of Nairit plant in Yerevan may cost from $250 to $350 million- minister says

                YEREVAN, May 13. / ARKA /. According to a World Bank study the resumption of Nairit chemical plant in Yerevan would cost from $250 to $350 million, Armenian energy and natural resources minister Yervand Zakharyan told a news conference today.

                He said World Bank experts believe that resumption of the plant’s operation is not desirable because it is not clear whether its main product, the synthetic rubber, would be competitive and whether the plant would find markets to sell it

                Zakharyan stressed that the study is preliminary and the final decision will be made by the government after discussing the findings and proposals of WB experts.

                The minister said also that over the last 4 years when the plant was idle it has accumulated 5.7 billion drams worth of wage arrears and had to lay off hundreds of workers and now has about 480 people on its payrolls.

                In early April Armenian Central Bank chairman Artur Javadyan said the CIS Interstate Bank could write off Nairit’s debt and return the bank’s shares to the Armenian government. According to him, the plant’s debt stood at 102 billion drams, including 63 billion dram to be paid as loans.

                On January 22, 2014 the Moscow Arbitration Court ruled that Rhinoville Property Limited, the owner of Nairit, pay $107.95 million to the Interstate Bank. Particularly, the court ordered that the company pay $68.6 million of principal debt as well as interests and penalty on an Interstate Bank loan.

                Nairit was the only plant in the Soviet Union to produce chloroprene rubber. The plant was closed in 1989 for environmental reasons and resumed operating partially in 1992. In 2006, 90% of Nairit’s shares were sold to British Rhinoville Property Limited for $40 million. The remaining 10% belong to the Armenian government.

                Rhinоville Property Limited has been co-founded by the Samex company (Poland), Intertex (USA) and Evrogaz (Russia). In 2010 production was suspended at the plant. The back wages in late 2013 were worth $12 million.

                The Interstate Bank was founded in 1993 by ten CIS countries – Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Ukraine. The bank promotes development of CIS member countries’ national economies.

                <<եթե զենք էլ չլինի' ես քարերով կկրվեմ>>


                • Re: Armenia's Economic Pulse

                  A 35 percent surge in electricity prices will prompt drop in consumption, management expert says

                  YEREVAN, May 19. / ARKA /. A 35 percent surge in electricity prices sought by Electricity Networks of Armenia (ENA), Armenia’s Russian-owned national power distribution company, will prompt a sharp drop in electricity consumption, a management expert Harutyun Mesropyan said to a news conference today.

                  "Falling electricity consumption will be tantamount to pushing the country's economy towards a collapse, because less electricity consumption means less services and goods and a blow to local producers, ‘ said Mesropyan.

                  "Effective management primarily means reducing costs, which in case of the Electricity Networks of Armenia are very inflated. When a natural monopoly faces the challenge of effectiveness, it is reflected directly on the state,’ Mesropyan said.

                  According to him, losses in Armenia’s power grid are equal to 12.7%, while in other CIS countries the figure ranges from 5% to 6%.

                  According to economist Artak Manukyan, a surge in electricity prices will lead to a loss of competitiveness. He said in 2014 electricity consumption grew by 0.5% after an increase in natural gas price made many consumers to switch to electricity.

                  On May 8 the Electricity Networks of Armenia asked the Public Services Regulatory Commission to allow it to raise the price of electricity a third time in less than two years by 17.08 drams per one KWh. The company asks for a permission to increase the daily rate (from 7 am to 11 pm) from the current 41.85 drams per 1 kWh to 58.93 drams and the night rate (from 11 pm to 7:00 am) from the current 31.85 drams per 1 kWh to 48.93 drams.

                  The tariff went up 27 percent in July 2013 because of the increased cost of Russian natural gas, which generates more than one-third of Armenia’s electricity. The PSRC raised it by another 10 percent in July 2014, citing the need to end the company’s mounting losses.

                  Five major electricity generating companies – the Armenian Nuclear Power Plant, International Energy Corporation, the Yerevan TPP, Hrazdan Thermal Power Plant and Gazprom Armenia (it runs Hrazdan-5 power plant), as well as High Voltage Power Lines and Settlement Center companies have also submitted applications requesting permission to raise their tariffs.

                  Armenia’s leading opposition parties on Monday pledged to join efforts to try to prevent the increase.

                  Earlier energy and natural resources minister Yervand Zakharian called the ENA’s bid “totally justified,” because of the company’s 37.6 billion drams worth losses caused by unplanned halt of Armenia’s nuclear power plant’s operation, a drop in electricity generated by hydropower and ineffective management.

                  The Electric Networks of Armenia is a 100% subsidiary of Russian INTER RAO UES.


                  The Russian state owned entity clearly has management and operational issues. The idea that the punishment for their mistakes should fall on the consumer is ridiculous. It should sell the company to a private non government owned entity to rid itself of its losses instead of expecting the consumer to continue to pay for its errors. Hopefully the Armenian government has enough foresight to ensure the sale
                  <<եթե զենք էլ չլինի' ես քարերով կկրվեմ>>


                  • Re: Armenia's Economic Pulse

                    Thousands Rally In Yerevan Against Energy Price Hike

                    Hovannes Movsisian

                    Հրապարակված է՝ 27.05.2015

                    Thousands of people took to the streets of Yerevan on Wednesday to protest against a more than 35 percent rise in electricity prices sought by Armenia’s loss-making national power distribution network.

                    Protests against the highly unpopular measure, currently considered by public utility regulators, were also staged by civic groups and opposition parties in other cities and small towns across Armenia. They drew much smaller crowds, however.

                    Holding a huge banner that read “High Voltage” and chanting anti-government slogans, the protesters marched through central Yerevan after rallying in the city’s Liberty Square. They were joined by senior members of Armenia’s leading opposition parties strongly objecting to the price hike.

                    The protesters, many of them young people, booed and whistled as they reached Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamian’s office. They held a brief sit-in there before resuming the procession sanctioned by municipal authorities.

                    The Electricity Networks of Armenia (ENA) utility formally requested a higher tariff in a letter sent to the Public Services Regulatory Commission (PSRC) earlier this month. The Russian-owned company cited continuing financial losses incurred by it and the need to repay its outstanding massive debts.

                    The Armenian government essentially backed the ENA application, with Energy and Natural Resources Minister Yervand Zakharian calling it “totally justified.” Zakharian insisted that the existing energy tariffs are too low to allow the ENA to sort out its financial troubles.

                    Opposition forces and other government critics dismiss these explanations. They say the electricity network’s losses primarily result from the ENA’s mismanagement and corruption among its senior executives.

                    The daytime electricity price for Armenian households already went up by 27 percent in July 2013 because of the increased cost of Russian natural gas, which generates more than one-third of Armenia’s electricity. The PSRC raised it by another 10 percent in July 2014.

                    Although the campaign against a further surge in the tariff was initiated by non-partisan groups, the Armenian opposition seems eager to use it for mounting a fresh challenge against the government. Aram Manukian, a leader of the Armenian National Congress (HAK), said it could serve as a catalyst for the formation of a new anti-government coalition comprising the HAK and other opposition groups.

                    “This is not only possible but also desirable,” Manukian told RFE/RL’s Armenian service ( during the demonstration.

                    <<եթե զենք էլ չլինի' ես քարերով կկրվեմ>>


                    • Re: Armenia's Economic Pulse

                      Click image for larger version

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                      It is nice to see Armenia mentioned.

                      16 incredible European destinations that haven't been discovered by tourists:

                      #16)Near Armenia's Tatev Village is the Tatev Monastery, a ninth-century monastery sitting on a basalt plateau. It's incredibly well-maintained and provides breathtaking views.

                      Read more:
                      I Don't know if this is the appropriate place to share this, so if there is a thread about Tourism in Armenia please inform me.