The situation with the commercial real estate market in Belarus: Romeo Abdo and his experience

The purpose of this article is to highlight the main factors that will determine in which direction the modern construction market in Belarus is developing. Also, the reader will be able to determine for himself the type of basic investment. At the same time, this article will talk about the role Romeo Abdo plays in the modern market.

A brief history of the economy

Since 2005, the government has re-nationalized many private companies. In addition, companies have come under pressure from the government and local authorities, including regulatory changes, multiple rigorous inspections, retrospective application of new regulations and laws, and arrests of opposition businessmen and company owners.

For a long time, the country has had state control over economic operations, the entry of companies into the market, both for local and foreign ones. Government statistics show that GDP growth was above 10% in 2008, even despite tight regulation of the economy, high inflation and unemployment. However, the global economic crisis caused a sharp slowdown in GDP growth to 0.2% in 2009. The plummeting demand for Belarusian exports hit industrial enterprises hard. To compensate for the negative balance of payments, the government of the republic turned to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) with a request for a loan. In accordance with the terms of the IMF, in 2009 Belarus depreciated the ruble by more than 40% and slightly changed its tax policy and the principles of monetary policy.

On January 1, 2010, Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus began merging into the Customs Union on the basis of common trade documents and a customs code. At the end of January 2010, Russia and Belarus revised the 2007 oil supply agreement. The new conditions caused a rise in prices for oil products in the country and increased the current account deficit in Belarus.

In December 2010, Belarus, Russia and Kazakhstan signed an agreement on the formation of the Common Economic Space, and Russia canceled duties on oil supplied to Belarus.

Economic orientation of Belarus

The report contains a summary of expert assessments and recommendations on key areas of cooperation between Belarus at the bilateral and multilateral levels, a summary within the framework of the Union State and the Eurasian Economic Union. These theses were formulated during a series of joint expert sessions throughout 2021. As the analysis shows, integration gives real results not only for economies and political systems, but, first of all, for citizens, ensuring their well-being.

However, a situational approach to allied relations is futile, as it erodes achievements. The union state is facing growing sanctions and military-political pressure, foreign interference in internal affairs. Systematic work is needed to deepen integration, taking into account the interests of the citizens of our countries in the economy, industry and digitalization, as well as in the humanitarian sphere. This will serve as a reliable guarantee of progressive economic development and strengthening of the civilizational unity of Belarus with the EU countries.

Foreign trade relations

The Republic of Belarus implements a multi-vector foreign economic policy and actively participates in international integration processes. Belarus is an export-oriented state with a well-developed manufacturing sector and agriculture. 61% of manufactured products are exported. Belarus maintains trade relations with more than 200 countries of the world.

BNK Holding, investments in commercial and residential real estate – Rubin Plaza and Silver Tower business centers, Galileo shopping center and others. In Belarus, Romeo Abdo is one of the founders of the BNK Estate group of companies, which built the Galileo shopping center, Rubin Plaza and Silver Tower business centers in Minsk.

Business partners Romeo Abdo previously took part in the creation in the Republic of Belarus of the Closed Joint Stock Company Bank for International Trade and Investment (CJSC Mezhtorgbank). Subsequently, Mezhtorgbank CJSC was acquired by the Alfa Group consortium. Currently, the businessman’s partners are co-owners of two large banks in Nepal.

Biography of Abdo Romeo and his history of work in Belarus

Abdo Romeo Abdo was born in 1975 in Lebanon in the city of Kobayat. Since 1994 he has been living in Belarus. Since 1997, he has been looking for foreign investors to invest in the construction of various facilities in the territory of Minsk. In 1998 he became the general representative of the Ruby Rose group in Belarus. In 2007, he initiated the creation in the country of a new holding company for the implementation of investment projects in construction and industry, BNK-Engineering, of which he is to this day. He is married and has a daughter and son.

He met his current partners in BNK Holding, Nepalese Upendra Mahato and Niraj Shrestha, when in 2001 at an auction he competed for a 25% stake in Hotel Planet. The Lebanese company Ruby Rose Group, whose interests Abdo represented in Belarus during 1997-2006, unexpectedly defeated Nepalese investors, who by that time had strong positions in the fuel market and bought controlling stakes in Mezhtorgbank and Amkodor.

The results of the auction were canceled in 2003, when the Planet became the property of the UDP President of the Republic of Belarus. But under Abdo Romeo Abdo, Ruby Rose Group managed to implement several landmark projects in the capital’s real estate market.

In 2007, Abdo joined forces with Nepalese investors in his own business – BNK Holding. In 2012-2013, one of the group companies completed the modernization of the Central Bus Station, where the Galileo shopping center opened its doors to visitors in August 2013.