Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Nikki Beach owners want Panama resort to stop using its name

After 6 years of aggressive marketing, the partners of the Nikki Beach panama development have parted ways. According to court papers filed by Penrod International, a Panama company Casa de Campo Farallon misused its Nikki Beach trademark to open a resort in December 2010 and finally to misrepresent the nature of their termination in a publication of February 10, 2011.

Eventually, the hotel changed its name to Royalton Playa Blanca, after a management agreement was signed with Blue Diamond, a hotel operations company owned by Sunwing Group of Canada. Panama company RG Hotels announced this change in a March 14 press release which still contained the NB word.

While U.S. courts may be appropriate venue for a legal action under U.S. law, a winning plaintiff could find problems when enforcing a judgment against assets abroad of the foreign defendant unless proper notice of the initial action from the beginning.

The 2007 article gives an idea of the high expections under which the original project was sold to individuals. Thse buyers may be the ones left to lose more as they purchased relying on an internationally known brand of the "sexiest hotel in the world".

Nikki Beach Severs Ties with Playa Blanca Resort

Playa Blanca, Panama (January 2011)

Nikki Beach has severed ties with a condominium hotel project under development in Playa Blanca on Panama’s Pacific Coast.

In 2007, Nikki Beach signed an agreement to operate Nikki Beach Hotel and Resort Playa Blanca, the first condo hotel in this coastal location. The opening was originally scheduled for 2008, but the project was delayed more than two years. The agreement has been terminated and all ties severed. Approximately 80 of the 140 condo hotel units are now finished, and the owner is continuing to market the property as a Nikki Beach Hotel & Resort.

Nikki Beach has no affiliation with the project and does not condone use of the Nikki Beach Trademark which is unauthorized and the subject of litigation.

For further information, please direct all inquiries to Nikki Beach Corporate, 786.515.1130.

Nikki Beach sues owner of Panama hotel

By Jerry Limone
Full text in http://www.travelweekly.com/Travel-News/Hotel-News/Nikki-Beach-sues-owner-of-Panama-hotel/#
Nikki Beach drops hotel project in Playa Blanca Panama, Due to non-compliance with brand Standards

February 11, 2011 05:44 PM Eastern Daylight Time

MIAMI BEACH, Fla.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Nikki Beach recently severed its ties with a condominium hotel project under development in Playa Blanca on Panama’s Pacific Coast, and has taken legal action against the local developer, Panama’s RG Inmobiliaria, according to Peter Higney, director of operations, Nikki Beach Hotels & Resorts, Miami Beach.

“As a global five-star brand, we set certain standards for the design, construction and operation of our properties”

“As a global five-star brand, we set certain standards for the design, construction and operation of our properties,” Higney said. "We have a responsibility to maintain our brand standards and under no circumstances would we allow the developer to use our brand and misrepresent us to our loyal Nikki Beach customers."

On Thursday Nikki Beach filed an injunction in U.S. District Court in Miami against the Panama developer to prevent the unauthorized use of its name, brand and any other intellectual property belonging to the company.

A growing global hotel and resort operator, Nikki Beach has a strong Hotel Division with offices in Europe and the Middle East. The company has 10 projects in the pipeline in locations such as Croatia, Greece, Cyprus, Qatar, Cape Verde, Thailand, Spain and new projects in the making, added Higney.

Referring to the situation in Panama, Higney said that as of August 2010, the local developer had breached an operating agreement by failing to conform to the brand’s standards, architectural guidelines and operating requirements, as well as by misrepresentation of the brand. Additionally, the developer missed the opening date in 2008.

Consequently, Nikki Beach declared the developer in default, but gave the developer another chance to correct the numerous problems found by an on-site inspection in September 2010. When the developer did not respond, Nikki Beach sent a notice of termination on November 22, 2010.

Without Nikki Beach serving as the “exclusive operator” of the resort as called for in the contract, the developer had no right to open the resort in December, 2010 using the Nikki Beach brands, added Higney, since Nikki Beach had no way to insure quality control over such unauthorized use of its five-star brand. “As a global lifestyle brand firmly growing in the luxury boutique hotel niche, protecting our brand’s standards and intellectual property are paramount issues,” Higney said.

The Daily Business Review

...Panama resort to prohibit use of its name. Miami Beach-based Penrod International, which operates Nikki Beach, claims in a lawsuit filed Thursday in...

02/14/2011 John Pacenti Subscription Required

Penrod International LLC dba Nikki Beach v. Casa de Campo Farallon, S.A. dba Nikki Beach Playa Blanca Resort et al

Date # Docket Text 2/11/2011 6 MOTION for Preliminary Injunction and Supporting Memorandum of Law by Penrod International LLC. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit A, # 2 Text of Proposed Order)(Peretz, Steven) (Entered: 02/11/2011) 2/11/2011 5 Clerks Notice to Filer re: Electronic Case - Documents Improperly Arranged. The Filer did not properly attach the Civil Cover Sheet & Summons. Future filings must comply with the CM/ECF Civil Case Opening Guide. It is not necessary to re-file this document. (vjk) (Entered: 02/11/2011) 2/11/2011 4 FORM AO 120 SENT TO DIRECTOR OF U.S. PATENT AND TRADEMARK (vjk) (Entered: 02/11/2011) 2/11/2011 3 Summons Issued as to Casa de Campo Farallon, S.A., Rugiere Galvez. (vjk) (Entered: 02/11/2011) 2/10/2011 2 Judge Assignment RE: Electronic Complaint to Judge Jose E. Martinez (vjk) (Entered: 02/11/2011) 2/10/2011 1 COMPLAINT for Compensatory Damages, Treble Damages, Statutory Damages, Injunctive and Declaratory Relief and Attorney Fees against Casa de Campo Farallon, S.A., Rugiere Galvez. Filing fee $ 350.00 receipt number 113C-3511301, filed by Penrod International LLC. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit 1, # 2 Exhibit 2, # 3 Exhibit 3, # 4 Exhibit 4, # 5 Exhibit 5, # 6 Exhibit 6, # 7 Exhibit 7, # 8 Exhibit 8, # 9 Exhibit 9, # 10 Exhibit 10, # 11 Exhibit 11, # 12 Civil Cover Sheet, # 13 Summon(s) Casa De Campo, # 14 Summon(s) Rugiere Galvez)(Peretz, Steven) (Entered: 02/10/2011)

Court documents available in:






Industry Insiders: Jack Penrod, Nikki Beach Principal

By Marcy MacDonald December 21, 2009

A family tragedy led entrepreneur Jack Penrod to choose a garden spot at his beach resort and name it after his daughter, Nikki. After some outside influences expressed interest in the location, Penrod decided to allow the garden to be used for parties and events, and it eventually became the well-known Nikki Beach Miami. The empire now includes locations in Cabo San Lucas, Marrakech, Marbella, Koh Samui , New York, Panama, St. Barts and Toronto, to name a few. The avid pilot and diver manages the jet set-friendly brand with his wife, Lucia and talks about the humble beginnings of a nightlife staple after the jump.

Nikki Beach Panama holds "Launching with Stars" http://mensual.prensa.com/mensual/contenido/2008/01/26/hoy/sociales.shtml Photo: Lucia Penrod and Rugiere Galvez, from prensa. com

Nikki Beach is Coming to Panama

By Mona Sutherland Published: 2007-01-22 Mona Sutherland

Mona Sutherland is the Search Marketing Specialist for WSI Panama.

A key player in the impressive growth of Panama real estate is the recently arrived Nikki Beach. Nikki Beach, created by Michael Penrod, is one of the trendiest beach clubs in Miami, frequented by celebrities and models. Nikki Beach possesses facilities in Miami and Hollywood in Florida, New York City, Saint Bartholomy in the Caribbean, Cabo San Lucas and Puerto Vallarta in Mexico, Marbella in Spain, Sardinia and Saint Tropez in the Mediterranean, in Morroco, and now, in Panama. Two hotel projects will be constructed and will operate under the brand Nikki Beach, one in Playa Blanca and the other at the Amador Causeway.

Michael Penrod, the international representative of Nikki Beach, was in Panama the first week of December to attend the launch of Destiny Real Estate Sales & Marketing. At the launch party, Destiny Real Estate & Sales presented three real estate developments to be constructed in 2007, which will be primarily promoted to the United States market. The three real estate developments represent a combined investment of 110 million dollars.

The project Casa Grande Luxury Beach Community involves a total investment of 60 million dollars over its three stages. The project, administrated by Nikki Beach International, will be located in Playa Blanca and possess a Polynesian style residential community, including a 100-room condo hotel and resort. Construction will commence in January 2007 and the first phase is scheduled for completion in December 2007.

Nikki Beach will construct the Panama Canal Hotel & Spa on the Amador Causeway, between the Yatch Club and the soon-to-be Ghery Museum. Approximately 30 million dollars will be invested in the Panama Canal Hotel & Spa, and construction will begin mid-2007. The arrival of Nikki Beach may attract a new crowd to Panama.

Traditionally, Panama has been an attractive destination for retirees, baby boomers and snowbirds. However, the concept of Nikki Beach is quite distinct from these other groups. Nikki Beach is focused towards an exclusive market: People over 30 with purchasing power that want to have a good time in an exotic, unique environment.

Nikki Beach is exclusive property of Michael Penrod and his family, though at some of their clubs and hotels they do maintain strategic alliances with local investors. Also, they own their own magazine, music division, clothing line and television station.

How did Nikki Beach arrive in Panama? Raul Almeida, Puerto Vallarta’s Nikki Beach representative, reveals that they were in search of new markets when they met Rugiere Galvez, president of Destiny Real Estate, who proposed the ideal. After they visited Panama, the rest was a matter of sorting out the details.

Panama could be the new destination for this exclusive market of “jet setters.” Almeida, stressing the positive economic impact that these projects have on a region’s tourism industry, spoke about the group of individuals that travel to other countries for a weekend’s entertainment, and that Panama could soon become a hit destination for this distinct crowd.

Penrod, who spent his entire visit signing contracts with 5 new hotels that will operate under Nikki Beach, added that they plan to offer a place where tourists and personalities can come during the winter to have a good time.

Pendrod has seen in Panama an “international environment” and believes that Nikki Beach will complement those characteristics. His aspiration is to make “something big” in Panama, such as celebratory parties for film or fashion festivals, such as those in Cannes and Venice.

From panamarealtor. com


Sunday, March 13, 2011

Howard AFB becomes Panama Pacifico

Many vets formerly stationed in Panama remember Howard AFB, named after Maj. Charles H. Howard (1892–1936), who flew in Panama during the period 1926-1929 and who had been part of the crew on a flight of B-10 bombers to Alaska in 1934. With the decommissioning of the base in 1999, Panama realized that leaving it to private enterprise was better than having any government run it, so it has become a low-tax zone for service exporters called Panama Pacifico.

The Panama Pacifico Special Economic Area is an area assigned for the production of goods and services with high added value and technology. It is located in the former Howard Air Station. Panama Pacifico governs its relations with the Panamanian State by means of Law 41 of 2004.

Incentives are granted for the following activities:
  • Corporate Main Offices
  • Back Office operations
  • Call Centers
  • Multimode and logistics services
  • High technology products and manufacturing through processes
  • Aircraft maintenance, repair and reconditioning
  • Services transfer to the aviation industry
  • Offshore services
  • Movie-making industry
  • Transmission of data, radio, television, audio and video
  • Transfer of inventories between companies established in the area
  • Transfer of goods and services to ships, airplanes and their passengers
  • Sale of merchandise not manufactured in Panamá Pacífico, destined for export, when manufactured by multinationals or any other of its affiliates, subsidiaries or companies of the same economic group.

Fiscal Incentives:

  • Exemption of any tax, fee, tariff, encumbrance or customs duties on any merchandise, product, equipment, service and other goods in general that are introduced in Panamá Pacífico.
  • Exemption of Transfer Taxes of Real Estate transfer and Services Taxes (ITBMS).
  • Exemption of any tax, customs duties, tariff, fee or charge with respect to the movement or storage of fuel or other hydrocarbon and its byproducts.
  • Exemption on any commercial or industrial license or registration tax.
  • Exemption of the Fiscal Stamp Tax.
  • Exemption of the Real Estate Tax on lands and commercial/industrial improvements, as well as improvements as of Real Estate Transfer Tax.
  • Exemption of the export/re-export tax of any other type of merchandise, product, equipment, goods or services.
  • Exemption of any tax, fee, customs duties, encumbrance, retention or other charges of similar nature applied to foreign creditor payments, for the interest, commissions, royalties and other financial charges generated by the financing or re-financing granted to companies of Panama Pacifico and for the financial lease of the equipment necessary for the development of the activities, businesses and operations that take place within Panamá Pacífico.

Labor Incentives:
  • Fixed tariffs for overtime (25%) and work in laborers holidays (50%).
  • Flexibility for assigning holidays to the employees.
  • The companies can open on Sundays and other holidays.
  • Foreign laborers: possibility to exceed the percentage rule of the Labor Code. The companies can request additional expat employees in excess of 15% if local labor is unavailable.
  • Higher Education Training Center.
  • Justified cause for dismissal due to losses and/or market fluctuations.

Immigration Incentives:
  • The one-stop-shops of the site handles all the procedures related to visas and labor permits for their employees.
  • Special visas are available investors and laborers (3 to 5 years is the standard period of time).
  • The visa benefit is extended to the immediate relatives of the laborer: spouse, dependant children up to 25 years of age, dependant parents over 62 years of age.
  • Introduction, only once, and tax-free of any personal and domestic belonging (up to US $ 100,000).

Important: Panama Pacifico has a One-Stop-Shop, where the process is promptly attended for the establishment of a business in the Howard area. This process joins the coordination of 15 government offices within the one sole site, and includes the paperwork of the visas and labor benefits which saves time and money to the companies.


Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Property Investing in Panama

View a database of carefully selected investment property in Panama

SUMMARY : Panama City is one of the world's least expensive first-world cities. It is also among the most modern and prosperous cities in Latin America with over 3 million people. The city's array of tall skyscrapers is reminiscent of Miami. It boasts incredible shopping where almost any product from the U.S. may be easily found. During the past several years Panama has been consistently rated in the top ten for the best retirement locations worldwide. A welcoming community, safe environment, low crime statistics, excellent incentives for retirees, together with the natural beauty and ethnic diversity that is Panama, all appeal to the increasing number of baby boomers from North America and Europe who are looking for a different option for retirement.

Currency: (USD) Dollar

US Dollar: A global benchmark currency. Little or no exchange rate parity fluctuation against Middle East currencies. The cost of living is significantly lower than that of Western Europe.

Economic climate: The trend towards an open economy and possible trade pacts with such nations as the U.S. and Mexico are conducive to investment in Panama. There are also no government expropriation or interference as in many Latin American countries. A business-oriented government encourages foreign investment. A government that realizes the value of private business to a developing country backs all investment. In 1946 Panama's business-oriented mentality led to the creation of the Colon Duty Free Zone, considered to be the second largest free trade center in the world, after Hong Kong. In addition, the Panamanian government offers foreigners who invest in Panama many attractive incentives such as legal residency and tax privileges.

Capital Gains tax: Since the enactment of Law 8 of 1956, successive legislation has been passed offering tax benefits to developers. It has been widely accepted that, as a result of these incentives purchasers of real property have also benefitted. This tax is applicable if there is a capital gain. This tax is also regulated by Article 701 and applied at a flat 10% rate, whether a corporation or an individual is acting as a seller, on the gain resulting from the price of the sale minus the price of the acquisition by seller, as well as registration, notary and real estate agent expenses. If there is no capital gain on the transfer of a property, the 2% transfer tax, is also paid in advance for the sale, levied on the difference between the price of the sale or an appraised value increased at a 5% yearly rate (whichever is higher) and the price of acquisition by the seller.

Popular investment areas: Panama City has become a cosmopolitan modern metropolis - there are many raise buildings overlooking the ocean and the Bay of Panama. Exclusive residential areas like Marbella, Paitilla, Coco del Mar, Punta Pacifica and San Francisco offer a good range of apartments and condominiums for sale. Suburban residential areas in the former Canal Zone like Amador Heights, Balboa, Albrook and Clayton offer large and attractive single-family homes and condominiums. Casco Viejo -- the oldest city on the Pacific Coast of the Americas -- has become a desirable place for real estate investment, encouraged by the Panamanian government Casco Viejo investment incentives for the restoration of the historic Casco Viejo district. Outside Panama City, there are beautiful real estate properties located in popular destinations including, Chiriqui, El Valle, and Altos de Maria. Known mostly for their cooler climates, incredible flora and quiet peaceful atmosphere, real estate in the highlands of Panama are ideal for those interested in retiring abroad. Bocas del Toro is another popular destination for Panama real estate. Most known for its crystal clear waters, rich Antillean culture, unique over-the-water architecture and laidback tropical atmosphere. In recent times, Bocas del Toro has become a booming center for European and American Expats, as well as an impressive number of tourists. Several of these destinations are also considered Tourism Development Zones, where additional tax benefits are granted to investors in hotel projects. Real Estate Values in Panama and primarily in these Pacific Coast Beach areas has been appreciating very steadily, and as interest and growth increases so to do the real estate values.

Price ranges: The Panamanian government incentives for the restoration of the historic Casco Viejo district encourage investment here, this area reminiscent of New Orleans or SoHo years ago abounds with shells of graceful buildings that are crying out for renovation. Outside of Panama City excellent real estate properties are available for developers and individuals. The more remote the location the more reasonable the cost but be aware that you may be far from utilities or roads. The real estate in Bocas del Toro offers beautiful Caribbean beach property. Here palm-fringed golden sands surround the islands and turquoise waters where the rain forest meets the ocean. Here families shop by boat, enjoy water sports and the natural beauty of this wonderful location - better yet it is still affordable.

Budgetary guide: Prices per square meter in Panama vary according to the location (city, mountain, beach). In the city, you may find prices starting 1000$ per square meter in a new condominium. In the mountain, the price may drop down to 20$...yes this is not typo however in those cases you might want to research the access possibilities to this property. Many areas in the mountains have no road of access and local transportation might not be available. In the beach, prices depend on the zone. An hour away from the capital prices start at 600$ per square meter depending on the quality of the beach and neighborhood.

Service Fees: Fees charged by the Public Notary and the Public Registry which total in the range of $200 to $300 for registering a buy/sell contract for the sale of real estate in Panama.The closing costs vary depending on the particular transaction. For example, if the property is held in the sellers personal name, and the buyer is transferring the property title to a Panamanian corporation (most recommended), then the closing costs would include; (1) the legal property transaction fee of US$1200 (includes; title search, buy/sell contract, closing, & property title transfer service), (2) public registry title transfer fees of approx. US$2.50 per every US$1,000 of the sales price and – if applicable - the mortgage amount, (3) escrow fees from 0.5% to 1% of the transaction amount (vary depending on amount of transaction), and (4) incorporation fee of US$1000 to setup the Panama corporation. However, if the property is held by a Panama corporation already, and the buyer is purchasing the shares of the corporation, then the transaction is relatively simple because there is no registration of title transfer, meaning that there is no title transfer tax, and no public registry title transfer fees. In this case, the closing costs would include; (1) the legal property transaction fee (includes; title search, review of tax liabilities, purchase of shares contract, and closing for US$800), (2) change of directors / resident agent of the corporation (approx. $350), and (3) escrow fees from 0.5% to 1% of the transaction amount (vary depending on amount of transaction).The notary and public registry costs total up to approximately $200 to $300 depending on the particular transaction. Title transfer taxes are by law paid by the seller. Escrow fees (if an escrow company is used), are normally paid by the buyer, and range from one half of one percent (0.5%) up to one percent (1%) of the transaction.

Mortgages: Between 60% - 70% of the purchase price or appraised market value, whichever is the lesser. Interest Rate from 5.5% to 6.5%, plus FECI tax of 1% per year.

For more information go to:

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Can Panama Become the Singapore/Rotterdam-style Hub for Latin America?

at 11:25 am by David

Frank Heemskerk: Happy to see economic relations between Panama and Netherlands growing stronger. President Martinelli is visiting Netherlands this year, discussing how to avoid double taxation between the countries. These have been some of the fastest negotiations ever.

Location is important, but it needs to be maintained and shared. The Netherlands’ success is a combination of location, business/tax climate, and quality of life. Education is very important and people want the best environment for their children. Freedom of press and freedom of speech — this is what people want. The Netherlands has met these goals and this the reason for their success.

Panama outpaces the Netherlands on GDP growth, but this an advantage to the Netherlands and to Singapore as it creates more wealth and more trade for the entire world.

José Domingo Arias: Panama has been developing it’s place as a trade and logistics hub for 400 years, starting with the gold trade from the continent’s Pacific coast to Spain. Terms have now changed. Trade comes from the west of the United States and travels to the east.

The Canal will expand its capacity to be able receive bigger ships. This takes a great deal of investment. Panama is already the eleventh most competitive country in the world, and offers the most efficient and competitive port in the Western Hemisphere. The free trade zone of Colon moves $20 billion in trade a year. The airport Tocumen is seeing 12 million passengers per year and expected to see this grow to 14 million. The government is also in the process of building the highway between Panama City and Colon and extending the highway across the country. The most important thing is that the government is doing all this with global commercial partners.

We are focusing on developing teaching and education in Panama, especially executive education. Most of these students are from the public sector. Our long term project is to renovate the country’s entire education system. Our private partners and universities have the capacity to identify their needs are and will handle their training.

Experience exchange with Singapore and the Netherlands is vital for us. We have studied their model. We are learning enormous amounts from Singapore in terms of technology, a field in which they have considerable experience. Someone from the private sector asked me what guarantees we could provide that we can deliver. Our prestige is on the line, and our style of the administration is to get things done.

Panel conversation: Success comes from collaboration of the private sector, the public sector, and investigations. The impressive thing about Singapore is they never stop trying to be the best, even though they are considered by many to be the best. Panama is trying to encourage entrepreneurship. How can it encourage creating a “critical mass” of ideas?

Will East coast U.S. ports on the East Coast be able to handle new big ships that will be passing through the expanded Canal? If not, this will be to Panama’s advantage as it mean ships will be unloading their cargo, although the United States will catch up eventually.

Panama is more of a logistics hub than a trade hub. Panama needs to build on this and improve. Suggestions include broadening the agenda using better social policy and better water management. Singapore and the Netherlands have been able to convince shippers of the value of going through Rotterdam’s and Singapore’s ports. They’re efficient, tariffs are cheaper, and they’re easier to use. Panama should follow these models.

More in http://www.as-coa.org/blogs/panama2011/