Deputy Prime Minister Étienne Schneider is heading for Japan today for a working visit dedicated exclusively to the space sector.
During the trip, Minister Schneider will meet Japan’s minister of education, culture, sports, science and technology, Toshiei Mizuochi, and Yosuke Tsuroho, the secretary of state for space policy, with a view to building future collaborations between Japan and Luxembourg within the framework of the Luxembourg initiative SpaceResources.lu.
Minster Schneider’s trip will include visits to the Japanese company ispace, and to the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA).
As part of the Spaceresources.lu initiative, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed in March between the Luxembourg Government and ispace whose European branch is due to set up shop in the Grand Duchy. Through the collaboration with ispace, Luxembourg will be part of the launch of a small robot on the moon before the end of this year.
Image: Etienne Schneider with Takeshi Hakamada, CEO of ispace, in March this year. © MECO
A private care home for the elderly, Les Jardins d’Alysea in Crauthem, is inaugurating a new extension in June this year adding 44 new beds in single rooms and apartments with private bathrooms, of which 35 are reserved for people with poor memory functioning.
The “5 Star” care home is staffed with a multidisciplinary team of nurses, nurses’ auxiliaries, educators, occupational therapists, physiotherapists, psychologists, pharmacists and doctors who provide practical and medical support and follow-up.
The ground floor of the new extension accommodates four apartments for couples and one single room, all with their own kitchenette. These units are intended for autonomous or semi-autonomous people who want a certain independence. This brings the number of beds provided by the home up to 138, suitable for autonomous, semi-autonomous or dependent persons needing care.
The extension incorporates a ground-floor cafeteria, a secured terrace as well as a restaurant that can be converted into an activity room where residents meet for meals, snacks and various workshops on the second floor, as well as lounges on each of the three floors.
As has always been the case at Les Jardins d'Alysea, professoinal care is provided by health professionals trained in the fields of dementia and Alzheimer's disease, as well as standard and other disciplines.
More visitors came to enjoy Luxembourg City this Easter says the The Luxembourg City Tourist Office (LCTO), which recorded a 5.13% rise in visitor numbers on the year before, which was reflected in a sizeable increase in the number of guided visits, up 40.68%, and in the number of visitors to Casemates du Bock, up more than 15%.
The LCTO ascribes this success to “Explore Luxembourg” promotional events hosted by the city, including the Emaischen, which the LCTO says remains a cultural and tourist attraction of the first order.
Visitors came from far and wide, with more than half coming from the Greater Region excluding Luxembourg, just over 11% from Luxembourg itself, and the remaining 34% from further afield.
The 2017 tourist season was launched on Good Friday morning by Minister Francine Closener, State Secretary for the Economy Patrick Goldschmidt, Echevin to the City of Luxembourg Marc Angel, President of the Luxembourg City Tourist Office Tom Bellion, Director of the LCTO and representatives of the five regional tourist offices.
On Friday the 14th and Saturday the 15th of April, the Place d'Armes became a "Mini Grand-Duchy of Tourism" which set the country's tourist offer. During these discovery days, many visitors were able to learn about the new and touristic-cultural products in the different regions of Luxembourg. For the capital, the LCTO has highlighted the Bock Casemates, guided tours and key events of the year 2017. The tourist village was enhanced by a select Luxembourg music program, including the passage of Daniel Balthasar who Presented his new album "Presence of absence".
Specially installed in front of the Cercle-Cité for the occasion, an oversized LuXembourg lettering of more than 14 metres in length was a huge success with the visitors who took the new promotional signature of the Grand Duchy. The stand will stay until 22 June at the Kinnekswiss, in the municipal park of the city of Luxembourg, before being exhibited in the other regions around the Grand Duchy.
In line with the Tour de France in the Grand Duchy on 3 and 4 July 2017, the theme of cycling was highlighted during this edition of "Explore Luxembourg". Therefore, a "Luxembourg - Let's make it happen" chalet, dressed in visuals with a bike theme, invited visitors to discover the "Velosland Lëtzebuerg" and the Grand Duchy’s 600km of bike paths.
Luxembourg insurance company, Cardif Lux Vie has recorded revenues of €2.3 billion for 2016, up 4.7% on 2015, putting it second in the industry in Luxembourg.
Solid performances across its business lines saw the company pass a milestone of having €20 billion of assets under management, and a recorded net income before tax of €53.9 million, up more than 1.1% on the year before.
Cardif Lux Vie ascribed some of the across the board growth seen to ongoing investments being made as part of its transformation plan, including transaction security, improvement in client experience, and digitalisation.
Despite low interest rates and a lacklustre market, Cardif Lux Vie confirmed the success of its 2014-2016 development plan based on the international diversification of its clients' home markets, the markets on which its products are distributed, partners, and solutions proposed. The Wealth Management business registered an increase of nearly 5% in gross inflows compared with 2015. It ranks second on the Luxembourg market for new money in account units. Net inflows rose 22.3% to more than €821 million. Regarding investments in account units, the company's portfolio holds more than 4,250 dedicated internal funds, deposited with around a hundred custodians and managed by more than 230 asset managers.
Growth in recurrent savings premiums, a sharp rise in life insurance inflows, up 12.5% on 2015, and a significant amount of new business are three indications for an excellent 2016.
The Employee Benefits offering was overhauled to improve the client experience, with innovations to make the range of insurance products better suited to the Luxembourg social security system.
In Savings, Cardif Lux Vie's retail business registered revenues of €128 million, up more than 16% on 2015, putting the company in an industry leading position for the third year.
"Cardif Lux Vie produced very good results across all of its business lines in 2016, and confirmed its position as a major player in the Luxembourg insurance business,” said Jacques Faveyrol, CEO of Cardif Lux Vie.
“The Company is upholding its growth forecasts by making the investments needed to remain competitive over the long term. It is accelerating its IT transformation, the necessary cornerstone of its digitalisation strategy, and maintaining its commitment to programmes for managing regulatory change and improving the partner and client experience,” he added.
The financial sector regulatory authority, CSSF, has estimated a profit before provisions for the Luxembourg banking sector of €6.36 billion for 2016, a rise of almost 15% on the year before partially reflecting the proceeds from the sale of a significant interest by one of the banks concerned.
Against a backdrop of low or negative interest rates, the interest margin increased by 5.3% over one year, an increase shared by a little more than half of Luxembourg’s credit institutions, and representing 57% of the banking product of the financial centre, combining volume and price effects.
Business volume grew for 64% of Luxembourg’s lending establishments, while 65% succeeded in increasing their average return on assets. A joint effect of these two factors was observed among a thirds of banks. Some banks have also begun to pass on negative interest rates to their institutional clients. Nevertheless, the CSSF says it remains to be noted that the extent of the increase is linked to a limited number of credit institutions.
Net income from commissions decreased by 2.3% year on year. The decline in these revenues, which is largely the result of asset management activities on behalf of private and institutional clients, is linked to a less favourable year-on-year stock market environment, especially for the first half of the year, year. This negative effect could only partly be offset by favourable developments in the financial markets from the third quarter of 2016. The decrease in net commission income affects more than half of banks in Luxembourg.
Other net income increased sharply, up 33.9% compared to the same period last year. By its composition, this position is very volatile and very often influenced by one-off factors specific to a limited number of institutions. This was especially true for 2016 thanks to the sale by one bank of a significant stake which raised its growth from an unadjusted 1.1% to 97% for 2016.
General expenses increased by 1.2% over the year, while personnel costs remained stable at 0.1%, and other general expenses increased by 2.4% year on year. The increase in other general expenses concerns the vast majority of the banks in the financial centre and reflects both investments in new technical infrastructures and the charges to be borne by the banks for their compliance with a regulatory framework with complexity and increased costs .
As a result of the above developments, earnings before provisions increased by 14.9% year on year. Excluding the exceptional effect related to the aforementioned sale, the increase in earnings before provisions would have been limited to 1.5%.
Image: © CSSF
Many people’s favourite season of the year, asparagus season, is upon us for which Cactus supermarkets have announced that they are now selling asparagus grown by Weiswampach growers Luc Hoffmann and Berny Schroeder.
According to the producers, the land around Weiswampach is particularly suited to the cultivation of asparagus thanks to the higher, cooler altitiude and difficult terrain, which creates the environment for a long, slow growth period allowing the vegetables to absorb all the flavours and minerals in the soil.
The Luxembourg House of Financial Technology (LHoFT) has partnered up with insurance provider, Foyer Group, who joins the ten other LHoFT members, BCEE, BGL BNP Paribas, Clearstream (Deutsche Börse Group), Deloitte Digital, KPMG, POST Luxembourg, PwC, Société Générale, Six Payment Services and Telindus (Proximus Group).
The LHoFT Foundation is a public-private sector initiative working in technology innovation for Luxembourg’s Financial Services industry. The other partners of the LHoFT initiative are Chamber of Commerce, the City of Luxembourg and the University of Luxembourg, and the initiative is supported by the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Economy and Ministry of State.
Marc Lauer, Managing Director of Foyer S.A. said of the deal, “Next to quality, innovation has undoubtedly become a must for the insurance business. At Foyer Group, we wish to encourage innovation and creativity, to continue answering the needs of our clients with the best service. We are very pleased to be the insurance member of the LHoFT and we are confident that this partnership will make Insurtech grow in Luxembourg.”
Insurtech, as a subset of Fintech, is drawing increasing attention in the way it can transform customer experiences and reduce costs for both firms and the customer. Cost reductions in distribution along with access to new and more precise data are leading to the development of new insurance products in niche markets that were previously cost prohibitive. Venture capital investments into InsurTech increased by +156% over the last year with $4.74 billion invested in InsurTech worldwide, according to data released by the LHoFT.
The LHoFT Innovation Hub has taken up temporary residence at the House of Entrepreneurship in Kirchberg, with a view to moving to a new showcase facility in 2018.
Claudia Monti was sworn in as the new mediator by Prime Minister Xavier Bettel today.
"Throughout her life, Claudia Monti has fought decisively against injustice and committed to the weaker and the less affluent. Mrs Monti is predestined for this position," said the prime minister during the swearing-in.
Ms Monti will officially take office on Monday 24 April.
On the heels of their North American tour announcement, Queen + Adam Lambert have revealed that the band will return to Europe later this year for 24 arena dates, including an exclusive show at the Galaxie in Amnéville on 12 November, produced in cooperation with Den Atelier.
Queen drummer and co-founder Roger Taylor insists the 2017 tour “will look entirely different to the show we took around before. Production has really changed a lot, the things you can do now, you have a much broader palette, the technology has really come along. But we don’t use it all. We don’t play to click track. It’s 100% live. We're planning on doing stuff we either haven't done before or haven't done for a long time. We started as an albums band, that's what we were. The fact that we had hits was just a byproduct,” he said.
Guitarist Brian May confirms Queen’s 2017 shows will have a more ambitious musical agenda. “The general public knows the hits, so you've got to cater for that,” he says, “but we can chuck in a few things that people really don't expect. We’ll do quite a bit more of that this time around. There are so many dimensions to Adam, which of course fits with our music. He can get down and do the rock stuff really dirty, and you have all those dimensions, and we can explore that even more.”
Adam Lambert welcomes the challenge of digging deeper into the band’s canon of classics. “What people should know if they came to the shows a couple of years back, is obviously we will still be playing the big hit songs you know and love from Queen, but we thought it would be good to challenge ourselves a bit,” he explains. “Change it up a little bit, change the visuals, change all the technology, change the set list to some degree. We will probably be pulling some other songs out of the Queen catalogue which we haven’t done before, which I am very excited about.”
Tickets will go on sale on Friday 21 April 2017 at 10:00 from: www.atelier.lu and www.le-galaxie.fr.
Members of both Queen and Adam Lambert's fan clubs will be able to purchase tickets before the general public on-sale on Wednesday 19 April 2017 via a hidden link on www.atelier.lu.
As part of the reorganisation of the Schifflange interchange and the pipeline works and networks, the exit from the A13 motorway from the A4 direction and the access to the motorway to Schengen will be blocked from 09:00 on 24 Apri to 18:00 on 25 April inclusive.