Seeking Friendlier Shores, More Greek Companies Pick Cyprus

(AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)

Buried under an avalanche of taxes and a corporate rate of 29 percent, Greek businesses are flocking to Greek-speaking Cyprus, with a jump of 77 percent in those seeking to register a subsidiary or relocate to the island since 2012.

Registrations of Greek companies rose from just over 1,000 in 2012 to 1,799 in 2016 and hit 1,779 in 2017, The Financial Mirror reported, including Greek giants like Hellenic Petroleum and the betting agency OPAP which set up branches on the island, and Greece’s major toy store chain Jumbo, which moved its base to the island.

Others jumping the Greek ship include IKEA’s Greek branch, Intersport, Leroy Merlin, Autohellas, Coffee Island and the Derlicious chain of restaurants.

Greek company registrations represent around 13.2% of the total number of registrations for 2016 and 2017 and the numbers are expected to jump markedly by the end of 2018, with the number of Greek companies some 8,187 by the end of September this year, lured by Cyprus’ corporate rate of just 12.5 percent.

Georgia Pekri, Senior Manager of Ernst & Young’s Compliance and Reporting Department, told the Financial Mirror that Cyprus financial environment plays a significant role in attracting Greek firms to relocate or open subsidiaries.

“We have seen a significant increase over the past two years in clients from Greece wanting to set up a company n Cyprus with their own managerial staff, as their number has more than doubled. The majority of companies are active in the technology and information sector,” Pekri said.