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New Mercedes off-road SUV offers space, luxury and safety

Written by b2b on . Posted in Business Briefs

Mercedes GL-ClassMercedes-Benz is to introduce a new luxury seven-seater off road SUV – the GL-Class. The seven-seater not only handles excellently on and off-road but offers plenty of space and the comfort of a luxury saloon. The GL-Class also incorporates the PRE-SAFE® safety system – a first time for the system in this segment of the market.

With the GL-Class, Mercedes-Benz clearly intends to gain a substantial share of this sector of the market with a distinctive design which exudes power and exclusivity. Powerful, wedge-shaped features and striking details give the impression the luxury off-roader is surging forward even when it is stationary. The spacious body (length 5088 mm, width 1920 mm, height 1840 mm) is beautifully proportioned.

The interior provides more than ample space and super comfort for up to seven people whether just popping into town, cruising hundreds of kilometres or negotiating rough terrain. Occupants still enjoy good freedom of movement even on the two full-sized individual seats in the third row of seats. If fewer seats are required, the rear individual seats can be stowed electrically at the push of a button, either individually or in tandem to provide a completely flat load surface.

With these seats stowed away the luggage compartment capacity amounts to 1240 litres in the five-seater version. The GL-Class can provide up to 2300 litres of load capacity, with the load compartment measuring 2128 mm in length.

The THERMATIC automatic air conditioning system fitted as standard in the GL 320 CDI provides consistent temperature for all seven seats both in the depths of winter and on sweltering summer days. The versions with V8 engines such as the GL 420 CDI, GL 450 and GL 500 come with the standard-fit multi-zone THERMOTRONIC system, which offers even greater comfort.

The GL-Class body combines optimum strength with intelligent lightweight steel design to provide excellent passive safety, while the occupant protection systems include:

Adaptive, two-stage airbags for the driver and front passenger;
Sidebags in the front, and in the middle row of seats as an option;
Windowbags across all three rows of seats from the A to the D-pillar;
NECK-PRO crash-responsive head restraints for the driver and front passenger as an option;
3-point seat belts on all seven seats; Seat-belt tensioners and adaptive belt-force limiters for the driver and front passenger; seat-belt tensioners and belt-force limiters on the outer seats in the middle row.

With the optionally available PRE-SAFE® preventive occupant protection system, a world first in this market segment, Mercedes-Benz has raised safety to new levels. Passive and active safety systems are interlinked so that PRE-SAFE® utilises the sensors in the dynamic handling control systems such as ABS, BAS (Brake Assist) and ESP® and optimises the protective function of the passive safety components in potential accident situations.

Mercedes GL-Class interiorWhile the GL-Class meets all the requirements of a state-of-the-art, luxury SUV the Mercedes off-roader hallmarks – superlative robustness, ruggedness and long-term durability – have not been compromised. In fact the model designation echoes its legendary precursor the G-Class – the evergreen off-roader which is now in its 27th year of production and will continue to be marketed alongside the new GL-Class.

4MATIC – the permanent four-wheel drive from Mercedes-Benz – provides the GL-Class with superior handling whatever the conditions. Together with the standard-fit AIRMATIC air suspension, the precise speed-sensitive power steering and the ADS Adaptive Damper System also fitted as standard, the imposing GL-Class (wheelbase 3075 mm) handles impressively.
Handling when pulling a trailer is equally impressive as a result of ESP® trailer stabilisation. This defuses critical driving situations involving a trailer before they become dangerous by precisely applying the brakes, while AIRMATIC provides fully automatic level adjustment.

Mercedes GL-ClassThe Off-Road Pro engineering package – which is standard on all ECE models and includes a two-speed transfer case with a low range ratio and 100 percent differential locks for the transfer case and the rear axle – means the GL-Class can also handle the most extreme off-road terrain. The modified AIRMATIC air suspension, designed specifically for the more demanding conditions, increases the ground clearance to a maximum of 307 millimetres where required, and raises the fording depth to 600 millimetres.

Alongside the 165-kW/224-hp V6 engine in the GL 320 CDI, the range of diesel models includes the new-generation high-performance V8 diesel in the GL 420 CDI, which now has an output of 225 kW/ 306 hp and maximum torque of 700 Nm. Both diesel-powered versions undercut the EU 4 limits and feature a maintenance-free diesel particulate filter. In addition to the newly developed 5.5-litre, 285-kW/388-hp engine in the GL 500, launched earlier in the new S-Class, the second unit in this ultra-modern V8 family of engines is celebrating its world premiere in the GL-Class. In the GL 450 the 4.6-litre engine develops 250kW/340hp. Both engines also fulfil the stringent EU4 limits (USA: LEV II standard).

All GL-Class engine variants come with the 7G-TRONIC seven-speed automatic transmission with DIRECT SELECT as standard. Excellent performance and low fuel consumption result from the perfect combination of ultra-modern engines with 7G-TRONIC and the friction-optimised power train.

Seminar on Spanish property purchases

Written by b2b on . Posted in Business Briefs

Marrache & Co are to hold a series of biannual seminars to inform their clients and the local financial community about the latest developments in particular areas of the law. The first of these – on “Buying property in Spain” – will held on May 10 at the Elliot Hotel.

The topic for the second seminar, which is planned for September, will be “Financial Services in Gibraltar”.

The seminar will deal with the entire purchasing procedure, from the initial search for a property to mortgage selection and the legal and tax ramifications involved in the purchase of a property in Spain.

It will be chaired by Benjamin Marrache of Marrache & Co, Gibraltar and speakers will include Gabriel G Benavides, the senior Spanish lawyer practicing on the Rock, Jesus Hernandez Carmona, Lino Brydges of the Royal Bank of Scotland’s Real Mortgage department, Brian Francis managing director of Brian Francis & Associates and Jeremy Boyd, the sales and lettings manager of Norwich & Peterborough Building Society.

As space will be a limited, anyone wishing to attend the seminar should reserve a place by phoning the seminar coordinator Anna Moffatt on 79205 or by email on:

Marrache & Co offers culture “bridge”

Written by b2b on . Posted in Business Briefs

In the 17 years since local international lawyers Marrache & Co. opened a dedicated Spanish law department the firm has clocked up a string of successes at whose core lie the many advantages an English speaking client dealing in Spain enjoys by using a Spanish department in a Gibraltar company as a “bridge” between the two jurisdictions and their disparate cultures.

Marrache’s Spanish department focuses on three main areas of practice. The main thrust of its conveyancing department is to ease what can be a complicated process for purchasers of property in Spain. Its active commercial department specialises setting up companies in Spain and Marrache’s Spanish department is also well versed in the Spanish tax system and can offer expert advice on tax planning.

“Although our Spanish department’s main workload comprises these areas of the law, we are here to offer advice on all Spanish legal matters, untangling and explaining in everyday language what for many may be an unfamiliar and alien legal system,” a spokesman for the firm says. “We can provide assistance in such typically problem areas as mortgages, securing title, tax and inheritance advice, wills in Spain, and obtaining a Fiscal Identification Number (NIE).

“Our lawyers are all fluent in English thus bridging the language barrier that so often complicates and clouds such matters.”

The five-strong Spanish legal team and their support staff is led by Gabriel Garcia Benavides, who has been with the department since its inception. And the department’s success has prompted Marrache & Co. to open an office in Torreguadiaro near Sotogrande – in addition to those in Gibraltar, London and Lisbon – from May this year.

The new Marrache office will deal exclusively with Spanish law in a similar vein to the work that has been carried out by the Spanish department for almost two decades.

Data Protection legislation explained

Written by b2b on . Posted in Business Briefs

Data Protection legislation explainedIn January the Legislative Support Unit of the Government ran a series of information seminars on the Data Protection Ordinance – legislation which though passed in 2004 has not yet been brought into force. The seminars were intended to inform businesses about their responsibilities regarding data they hold.

The main purpose of the legislation is to ensure that data held is accurate and up to date and to ensure that people know how information about them is being used. It places responsibilities on people who control information and gives rights to those about whom information is kept.

There are four basic principles behind the legislation:

• The data must be obtained fairly and lawfully;
• it must be accurate and, where
necessary, kept up to date;
• it must be collected for a specific purpose or purposes and not further processed in a way incompatible with that purpose or those purposes; it must not be excessive in relation to that purpose or purposes and not kept for longer than necessary; and
• appropriate security measures must be taken to prevent unauthorised access to, and accidental or unauthorised alterations to, the stored data.

Most businesses and organisations, including public bodies, which process or store information by computer will in due course need to register with the Data Protection Commissioner which
is the Gibraltar Regulatory Authority.

Businesses and services may incur some costs in complying with the Data Protection Ordinance but the LSU assures that every effort has been made to keep these as low as possible. Companies should appoint a senior individual with responsibility for data protection within their organisation. This individual should familiarise themselves with the Ordinance and look to ensure that their company is in a position to comply with the Ordinance when it is introduced. The appointed person will also need to keep a record of what personal data has been collected and what purpose it is used for as well as ensuring that the data is held securely.

Many companies will already comply but those that are not in a position to do so should start preparation as soon as they can. Below is a checklist for companies to help them. If you can tick all the boxes then it is likely you’re your company is up to date and probably already complies with the proposed legislation. If there are boxes that you are unable to tick then you should begin making provision to enable your company to comply.

No date has yet been set for the introduction and commencement of the Ordinance although the LSU is keen to hear the business community’s views on commencement, including the possibility of phased commencement. Phased commencement would concern new data collected and stored by companies and would not refer to historic data. Members can send these views directly to the LSU or via the Chamber.

Assessment Checklist – Do you comply?

Fair obtaining:
• At the time when we collect information about individuals, are they made aware of the uses for that information?
• Are people made aware of any disclosures of their personal information to third parties?
• Have we obtained people’s consent for any secondary uses of their personal information, which might not be obvious to them?
• Can we describe our data collection practices as open, transparent and up-front?

Purpose specification
• Are we clear about the purpose (or purposes) for which we keep personal information?
• Are the individuals about who we keep personal information also clear about this purpose (or purposes)?
• If we are required to register with the Data Protection Commissioner, does our register entry (or entries) include a proper, comprehensive statement of our purpose (or purposes)? [Remember, if you are using personal information for a purpose not listed on your register entry, you may be committing an offence.]
• Has responsibility been assigned to a member of staff for maintaining a list of the different types of personal information which we keep and the purpose associated with each different type?

Use and disclosure of information
• Do we have clear defined rules about the use and disclosure of personal information?
• Do those rules comply with the Data Protection Ordinance?
• Are all staff aware of these rules?
• Are the individuals about whom we keep personal information aware of the uses and disclosures of their personal information? Would they be surprised if they learned about them? Consider whether the consent of the individuals should be obtained for these uses and disclosures.
• If we are required to register with the Data Protection Commissioner, does our register entry (or entries) include a full list of persons to whom we may need to disclose personal information? [Remember, if you disclose personal information to someone not listed on your register entry, you may be committing an offence.]

• Do we have a list of security provisions in place for each different type of personal information including both information kept on computer and data kept in manual records (i.e. non computerised)?
• Do we have a procedure for the development and review of these security provisions? Is someone responsible for this?
• Are these security provisions appropriate to the sensitivity of the personal information which we keep?
• Are our computers and our databases password protected, and encrypted if appropriate?
• Are our computers and our servers securely locked away from unauthorised people?
• How do we store personal information which is in manual form (i.e. not on a computer)? Is this information securely kept from unauthorised people?
Adequate, relevant and not excessive
• Do we collect all the personal information we need to serve our purpose(s) effectively, and in a way which treats individuals in a fair and comprehensive manner?
• Have we checked to make sure that all the personal information we collect is relevant, and not excessive, for our specified purpose(s)?
• If an individual asked us to justify every piece of information we hold about him or her, could we do so?
• Do we have a policy in this regard?

Accurate and up-to-date
• Do we check that the personal information we hold about individuals is accurate?
• Do we know how much of the personal information we hold about individuals is time-sensitive, i.e. likely to become inaccurate over time unless it is updated?
• Do we take steps to ensure that the personal information we hold about individuals is kept up-to-date?

Retention time
• Do we have a clear policy on how long we keep items of personal information about individuals?
• Are we clear about any legal requirements on us to retain personal information for a particular period of time?
• Do we regularly purge our manual and computer records of personal information which we no longer need, such as personal information relating to former customers or former staff members?
• Do we have a policy on deleting personal information as soon as the purpose for which we obtained the data has been completed?

The Right of Access to Personal Information
• Is a named individual responsible for handling requests for access to personal information?
• Are there clear procedures in place for dealing with such requests?
• Do these procedures guarantee compliance with the requirements of the Data Protection Ordinance?

• Are we clear about whether or not we need to register with the Data Protection Commissioner?
• If registration is required, is the registration kept up to date? Does the registration accurately reflect our practices for handling personal information? Does the registration accurately reflect all of our processing operations? [Remember, if your data-handling practices are out of line with the details set out in your register entry(ies), you may be committing an offence.]
• Is a named individual responsible for meeting our registration requirements and ensuring that our registration is kept up to date?

Training & Education
• Do we know about the levels of awareness of data protection in our organisation?
• Are all of our staff aware of their data protection responsibilities – including the need for confidentiality?
• Is data protection included as part of the training programme for our staff?

Co-ordination and Compliance
• Have we appointed a data protection coordinator and compliance person?
• Are all staff aware of his or her role?
• Are there mechanisms in place for formal review by the coordinator of data protection activities within our organisation?
• Are we required by the Data Protection Ordinance to appoint a personal data protection official? If so have we appointed one and ensured that they are equipped to undertake their role?

Copies of a guide published by the LSU on the Ordinance may be obtained from the home page of the Government’s website:

If you have any further questions about this Ordinance or are
unclear as to what your responsibilities are, please contact the Chamber directly on 78376 or by email Alternatively, you can contact Nathalia Berkowitz directly at the LSU on 45925.

As Gibraltar’s luxury property boom continues the gap in "affordable" housing grows

Written by b2b on . Posted in Business Briefs

With more than £75 million worth of new private developments in the pipeline – almost all intended for the upper rungs of the housing ladder – and a further £100 million of luxury accommodation either recently finished or close to completion, for how much longer can Gibraltar’s property market continue to expand? None of the local developers to whom B2B has spoken puts a finite figure to either saturation point of demand or the stage of expansion where new developments are no longer profitable or economically viable; but all expect the boom to continue for the foreseeable future.

Gavin Sharrock and his daughter Zoe Triay prepare the office from which sales of the Clifftop House apartments were launched.At the other end of the scale, lower-priced, “affordable” housing remains scarce – in spite of Government promises to develop and promote many more low-cost homes. Prices for “moderate” homes have more than doubled in the past five years, prompting developer Gavin Sharrock of Sharrock Shand to wonder “just what do we mean when we refer to ‘affordable’ today?”

In fact the rising prices and the scarcity of lower-cost properties continue to encourage the Rock’s first time purchasers – and some expatriates – to buy homes in the compact town-house estates which are mushrooming in areas such as Santa Margarita across the border. Though Spanish coastal property prices also continue their upward spirals, these are nowhere near as steep as those in Gibraltar. And – bad news for the Rock’s retailers – those who have established homes in Spain tend to do their shopping there too.

What’s more – in spite of Chief Minister Peter Caruana’s assertion that the Government’s new housing projects were intended to attract the return of Gibraltarians from residence in Spain to the Rock, when the new projects were advertised less than 30 of the applications were from people wishing to return to the Rock.

Developer Greg Butcher has included “a few” lower-cost apartments in his plans for the second phase of the Ocean Village development which will take the over all cost of the project close to £100 million. The apartment blocks will provide a total of about 150 new homes and some of these are promised to fall within the “affordable” price range. However, given the continuing upward spiral in the price of homes, “affordable” could well put the costs of cheaper flats in the 90-apartment Grand Ocean Plaza and the 60-apartment Majestic Ocean Plaza at £200,000 or more.

Butcher’s plans for two more apartment blocks includes a shopping mall – a complex which he claims will create somewhere in the vicinity of 500 new jobs.

Roof wettings…All but two of the homes in Taylor Woodrow’s Rock Gardens development were sold out before the roof-wetting ceremony in March (top picture) while Trade and Industry Minister Joe Holliday “did the honours” at a similar ceremony for Greg Butcher’s Ocean Village project.None of the 20 apartments in the Taylor Woodrow Rock Gardens development, where a “roof-wetting” or “topping-out” ceremony was held at the end of February, was priced at less than £300,000 while the top-of-the-range homes were sold for slightly under £1 million. All have been bought.

And the demand for luxury homes shows no sign of abating. David Evans of Elegant Homes – the developers of The Island project at Queensway Quay – told B2B the company have already sold 28 of the 40 new two-and three-bed luxury apartments they are building in a £28 million project which stems from the demand partly created by would-be buyers who failed to obtain a home on The Island. Like Sharrock and Butcher, Evans sees no end of the boom for the foreseeable future.

Sharrock Shand – whose successful development of the historic Town Range complex has enhanced the Rock’s architectural heritage – has launched a £12 million luxury development on the Lathbury Barracks site. It will offer 20 apartments and two penthouses at prices which range from £300,000 for a single-bedroom home on one of the lower of six floors to close to £1 million for a penthouse flat. The largest apartments have a floor space of 170 sq.m. and a further 60 sq.m. of balcony.

Roof wettings…All but two of the homes in Taylor Woodrow’s Rock Gardens development were sold out before the roof-wetting ceremony in March (top picture) while Trade and Industry Minister Joe Holliday “did the honours” at a similar ceremony for Greg Butcher’s Ocean Village project.“There is no sign of a let up in demand and – even before we actively started to market the new development Clifftop House, we had a string of enquiries from would-be buyers,” Sharrock said.

To be built on the site of the old Junior Ranks’ Club at the old Lathbury Barracks, each of the 20 luxury apartments and two penthouses will be allotted garage space for two cars in the sub-basement parking area and there will also be storage rooms in the basement of the six-storey block.

“The unique position of the site, with its panoramic and commanding views of Africa and Spain have clearly sparked considerable interest,” he added. “Residents will also enjoy the use of a ‘rock basin’ swimming pool with stunning views and an ‘infinity edge’ …where the water appears to flow permanently into space.”

Sharrock Shand acquired the former MoD property by public tender for an undisclosed sum a year ago, and obtained final planning permission recently. Work has already begun on preparing the site and demolition of the old double-storey Junior Ranks’ Club will begin soon. The project is expected to be completed and ready for the first occupants to move in by the middle of next year.

All of the main facades of the apartments in the Elegant Homes “Sails” project near Queensway Quay are south facing and tiered to the west to provide maximum terrace space. Terraces range from a minimum of 30 sq.m. to a substantial 100 sq.m., Evans tells me. Prices range from £580,000 to £825,000.

Gibraltar Cycling teams up with HSA

Written by b2b on . Posted in Business Briefs

Gibraltar Cycling teams up with HSAThe Gibraltar Cycling Association has arranged a new three-year sponsorship package for 2005-2007 with HSA, the Andover based cash plan and private medical insurer. The arrangement will enable Gibraltar Cycling to develop, and increase awareness of the sport.

“There has been little development of local cycling in recent times, and we are delighted to have the assistance of HSA to help turn this around,” says Tony Yusifredo, President of the Gibraltar Cycling Association. “We have a new committee at the helm of our Association, and we plan to organise several events to attract both the recreational andyounger cyclists as well as the more serious cyclist.”

“This is the first time HSA has been involved in cycling in Gibraltar, and its great to be a part of developing this exciting and growing sport,” explains John Dean, director of sales and distribution at HSA. “Keeping fit and active is essential to maintaining a healthy life-style. And, as a company we have been helping people’s health needs in Gibraltar for nearly three decades, it’s great to be able to encourage both young and old to get on their bikes.”

Some of the forthcoming events for the club includes a series of time trials and road races which will be staged for cyclists to try to qualify for next year’s Island Games in Rhodes so building a strong male and female team to represent Gibraltar.

Tony will act as team manager for the three cyclists who will be taking part in the 40km time trial at the Commonwealth Games in Australia in March. Sigurd Haveland, Julian Bellido and Chris Walker have all been training solidly for the past year to make sure that they are ready to perform at their best an Australia.
For further information on the Gibraltar Cycling Association, or to join, please call Sigurd Haveland on 43354

A portrait of times past

Written by b2b on . Posted in Business Briefs

Joe GaggeroJoe Gaggero, businessman and sometime visionary, was born with the proverbial silver spoon in his mouth at a time when many of his compatriots lived on the borderline of poverty. Born 78 years ago into one of the wealthiest families on the Rock, in maturity he parlayed the businesses he came to control into the Bland Group empire – expanding its interests in shipping, travel, hotels and its flagship GB Airways – which by March 2005 (the end of the 2004 financial year) had clocked up profits of £206 million.

Though Gaggero has made his home in England for many years, for much of his life his and Blands’ story parallels that of Gibraltar, so that his recently published autobiography “Running with the baton” reads not only as the “Gibraltar family history” of its sub-title but also as an socio-economic history of the Rock over the past six decades.

Tracing the Gaggero’s early family history on the Rock – as told to him in a fairly sanitized version as a child – Gaggero read at his best in the chapters dealing with his childhood – though it is probably to later chapters that future economic or social historians will turn.

And here his comments on the Chamber in its early post-war years will be of interest to members. He was 24 when he was elected to the Chamber’s board – seen in those days as a haven of the “old guard”.

“Other members were mostly old hands who had been through the rigours of the war and who, as long as I didn’t encroach on their interests, welcomed my youthful brashness with great goodwill and even a little attention,” he writes, later adding:

“Gibraltar’s commercial life took place in a time warp, stuck at least 20 years behind the times. Everyone sat behind their neat desks and just basically waited for the business to come in…”

It was this that drove him to expand the Bland Group’s interests, so, in a sense, the Chamber could almost take some of the credit for the Group’s present day success.

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