UHY global real estate guide 2017...




UHY Global Real Estate guide 2017 – Out now!

As the world becomes more globalised, many investors, both corporate and private, are looking for international opportunities. Investors need to effectively navigate the rules and regulations of the country where the property is situated. Similar to other major investments, proper planning is needed to avoid pitfalls.

Readers can access information from over 70 countries featured in the guide, covering areas such as real estate regulations (e.g. deduction of expenses and interests), tax rates (e.g. VAT, wealth tax and inheritance tax) and also touches on some tax planning techniques. Given the scope and complexity of each individual country’s laws and regulations, this publication should be viewed as a tool by which readers may first become familiar with the issues involved.

“This guide reflects the commitment of UHY member firms to providing outstanding real estate advice and offers the possibility to connect directly with experts in each country, identified in the guide, “concluded Clive Gawthorpe, chair of the UHY Tax special interest group and tax partner at UHY Hacker Young, Manchester, UK.

Notes for Editors

UHY global real estate guide

Every effort has been made to ensure the facts in this publication are correct at the time of going to press.  These details are intended for general guidance only.  Each individual country’s regulations and tax rates are continually changing; therefore, it is not possible to provide detailed rules on which to base specific action.  When information is required on a country, reference may be made to the laws, regulations and tax rules of the specific country, and a professional tax advisor should be consulted.  No responsibility can be accepted for loss occasioned to any person acting or refraining from acting as a result of any material in this publication.  

The contents of the guide have been carefully compiled by over 70 member firms of UHY, an international network of independent accounting and consulting firms.  The tax partners and staff of UHY member firms throughout the world combine knowledge with regional, national and international skill sets to help our clients achieve further business success.

Additional information for Editors

About UHY

Established in 1986 and based in London, UK, UHY is a leading network of independent audit, accounting, tax and consulting firms with offices in over 325 major business centres across more than 95 countries.

Our staff members, over 7,850 strong, are proud to be part of the 16th largest international accounting and consultancy network. Each member of UHY is a legally separate and independent firm. For further information on UHY please go to www.uhy.com.

UHY is a member of the Forum of Firms, an association of international networks of accounting firms. For additional information on the Forum of Firms, visit www.forumoffirms.org

For more information on UHY, please contact Dominique Maeremans, marketing & business development manager, UHY International, Quadrant House, 4 Thomas More Square, London E1W 1YW, UK.  Tel: +44 20 7767 2621, or email: d.maeremans@uhy.com

UHY global real estate guide 2017...



The UHY global real estate guide has been developed to provide property investors with information on rules and regulations from over 70 countries featured in the guide, covering areas such as real estate regulations (e.g. deduction of expenses and interests), tax rates (e.g. VAT, wealth tax and inheritance tax) and also touches on some tax planning techniques.


Issue 2018

This edition includes six case studies featuring a range of international clients across a variety of market sectors: engineering, financial services, health sciences & biotech, leisure and media & communications.

Bank lending to European businesses now 25% lower than pre-credit crunch, hampering return to economic growth...



Bank lending to the private sector in Europe is now on average 25% lower last year than it was before the financial crisis, hampering European economies’ return to economic growth, reveals a new study by UHY, the international accounting and consultancy network.

According to UHY, in 2016 a total of USD 12.2 trillion was lent to businesses in the European economies studied – down from USD 16.3 trillion in 2008.

By contrast, on average across all the 24 countries studied around the world, private sector bank lending increased by 24% over the same period in absolute terms.

UHY says that countries like Spain and Ireland which were hardest hit by the banking crisis are seeing the slowest recovery in private sector credit.

Bank lending to the private sector in Ireland is 69% below 2008 levels (USD 148 billion in 2016, down from USD 475 billion), while in Spain, it is 51% lower (USD 1.3 trillion down from USD 2.7 trillion).

Even in Germany, widely seen as the economic powerhouse of Europe, there was a 21% decrease, falling to USD 2.6 trillion last year from USD 3.3 trillion in 2008, and the UK is also down by 20.3%.

UHY says that small businesses continue to be worst affected by the ongoing bank lending slump.

This is partly due to regulators tightening banking rules in response to the financial crisis to increase the amount of capital banks need to hold to cover their liabilities. With less capital available to lend, banks tend to be more likely to focus on larger businesses that they see as having better security and repayment prospects.

Smaller businesses more negatively impacted by the fall in bank lending as they are less able than large corporates to rise cash by issuing corporate bonds as an alternative for bank loans.

Bernard Fay, Chairman of UHY, comments: “Almost a decade on from the global financial crisis, many European small and medium-sized businesses are still suffering from a shortage of credit.”

“As regulators have forced banks to shore up their balance sheets and reduce risk, many SMEs have found their access to lending severely curtailed. While some larger companies may have been able to get around this by accessing the bond market, smaller businesses are unlikely to have been so lucky.”

“Recent economic crises in some Eurozone countries and the prospect of Brexit also continue to hit lender confidence. Across Europe, this is making the road to recovery even more of an uphill journey, with even the strongest economies adversely affected.”

“Without the capex they need to fund investment, businesses will struggle to capitalise on growth opportunities or drive innovation, ultimately risking losing ground to global competitors.”

Alan Farrelly of UHY member firm UHY Farrelly Dawe White Limited in Ireland comments, “As the Irish economy rebounds and confidence returns, access to bank lending will play a critical role in helping businesses to reach their potential, both in domestic markets and on the world stage. It is important that the government and EU policymakers do all they can to ensure small businesses are not left behind.”

“However, as in other countries, initiatives to ensure that the private sector is less dependent on bank lending, for instance via alternative financing sources, are also starting to take effect. New options like crowdfunding and P2P are increasingly gaining traction.”

G7 economies lag well behind BRICs

UHY adds that the G7 group of leading world economies is also lagging behind – while BRICs economies power ahead. On average, the G7 saw a 1% decrease in real terms over the period, whereas BRICs (Brazil, Russia, India, China) enjoyed an average increase of 209%.

China topped the UHY table, with bank lending to the private sector jumping 270% between 2008 and 2016.

Bernard Fay says, “It is debateable whether the appetite to lend to BRICs and other emerging economies is sustainable, as debt levels increase while economic growth slows in countries like China. Scrutiny of companies’ ability to service their borrowing will be increasingly intense.”

“What is more, if interest rates – particularly in the US – were to rise that could put the brakes on lending to both developed and emerging economies, as companies think twice about taking on more expensive borrowing.”

Oscar Gutiérrez Esquivel, managing partner at UHY member firm, UHY Glassman Esquivel y Cia, S.C., in Mexico says, “Bank lending to the private sector is vital to the economy of the country, but currently the Mexican banking system is highly concentrated in four main institutions.”

“In order to reduce costs to borrowers and stimulate lending, greater competition should be promoted by the authorities. Development banks should recover their role as main lenders to small and medium sized companies, many of which currently are not serviced by commercial banks.”



Notes for Editors

UHY global press contact: Dominique Maeremans, marketing and business development manager on +44 20 7767 2621,

Email: d.maeremans@uhy.comwww.uhy.com

Nick Mattison or Peter Kurilecz, Mattison Public Relations

+44 20 7645 3636, +44 7860 657 540 or email peter.kurilecz@mattison.co.uk

About UHY

Established in 1986 and based in London, UK, UHY is a leading network of independent audit, accounting, tax and consulting firms with offices in over 325 major business centres across more than 95 countries.

Our staff members, over 7,850 strong, are proud to be part of the 16th largest international accounting and consultancy network. Each member of UHY is a legally separate and independent firm. For further information on UHY please go to www.uhy.com.

UHY is a member of the Forum of Firms, an association of international networks of accounting firms. For additional information on the Forum of Firms, visit www.forumoffirms.org


Customs duties in US, UK and other developed economies less than half of the global average – benefitting consumers...



  • Relatively low import tariffs help keep goods costs down
  • Free Trade Agreements an increasingly critical policy area


Consumers in the US, UK and other developed economies benefit from customs duty rates around half the global average, saving them significant amounts of money according to a new study by UHY, the international accounting and consultancy network. 

UHY found that customs duties in the G7 are, on average, just 0.8% of the total value of imported goods. The global average is 1.8% of the total value of imported goods*.

This means that consumers in the G7 typically pay comparatively lower prices for goods than consumers in many other parts of the world – including many emerging economies – where costs are pushed up by higher import taxes.

UHY studied customs duties levied by 22 economies around the world as a percentage of the total value of their imports, as a simple indicator of the impact of a country’s trade barriers.

In the US, where protectionism has been rising up the political agenda, raising the possibility that higher import duties may be levied, customs duties are currently worth just 1.3% of the value of imported goods. This compares to 1.8% in China.

In the UK, where Brexit is also creating uncertainty over the future of UK trade deals, customs duties are currently even lower, worth just 0.5% of the value of imports.

European countries generally impose comparatively low rates – the European average is 0.4% – so British consumers could be at a significant disadvantage if the UK fails to keep duties at a similar level on leaving the EU.

UHY points out that many regional trade blocs – and in particular the EU – help to keep import tariffs low. Given the size of UK/European trade, this highlights the importance of securing low or no customs duties post-Brexit for both the UK and the EU.

Other multi-lateral trade agreements are also under pressure. For example, the US has signalled it wants to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and has abandoned the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), throwing the future of both into doubt.

Bernard Fay, Chairman of UHY, comments: “Customs duties can be a major burden on consumers and significantly distort an economy.”

“Globalisation and protectionism are powerful forces at play. While talk of securing national interests may be gaining traction, the question of how citizens will respond to higher trade tariffs is yet to be tested.”

“Such policies could end up having an adverse impact on the industries governments are trying to protect, potentially undermining efforts to stimulate competitiveness or drive innovation.”

Eric Hananel, Tax Principal at UHY’s US member firm UHY Advisors, says: “Motivations to adopt a protectionist stance to safeguard jobs and nurture home-grown industry can be very compelling. However, there is often a price to pay through higher costs of goods. Lower income consumers tend to be worst affected.”

“The US has historically been a strong champion of free trade deals, but there’s now real uncertainty over America’s future participation. Given that we are talking about the world’s biggest economy, this is a highly significant global issue.”

Bangladesh has the highest customs duties as a proportion of total imports of any country in the study at 12.1%.

Of the major emerging economies, Brazil also imposes relatively high rates, with duties worth 7.6% of the total value of its imports. The Brazilian government is currently seeking to protect specific products and industries from foreign imports by increasing customs duties, for example in the cosmetics sector.


Bernard Fay adds: “Free Trade Agreements are becoming an increasing critical – as well as contentious – policy area.”

“As protectionist moves on the part of some governments are putting some Free Trade Agreements under review, other countries are embracing them with as much enthusiasm as ever, if not more.”

For example, earlier this year, Canada entered into formal free trade negotiations with Mercosur, the South American trading bloc and also launched a consultation period on a possible deal with China. Its plans for a free trade deal with the EU have recently been approved by the European Parliament.

Koko Yamamoto of UHY’s Canadian member firm McGovern Hurley LLP says: “Canada has a wide array of free trade deals in place and is actively pursuing several more with potential partners around the world. These initiatives, along with tariff-reduction measures introduced in the recent Budget, should strengthen the competitiveness of Canadian manufacturers both at home and abroad.”

Canada’s 2017 Budget eliminates tariffs on a broad range of agri-food processing ingredients and introduces changes to origin rules to allow more clothing products imported from low income countries to benefit from duty-free treatment.

Roy Maugham, Partner at UHY’s UK member firm UHY Hacker Young says: “For a post-Brexit UK, the continued appetite on the part of many countries for mutually beneficial trade deals represents a huge opportunity, but also poses a threat.”

“While a favourable attitude from some potential partners might make it easier for the British government to strike deals outside of the EU, there’s also a risk that if it fails to do so, it could be left far behind.”


*Based on World Bank data – 2015, most recent available year

**Russian Federation Federal Statistics Service, 2015

Notes for Editors

UHY press contact: Dominique Maeremans on +44 20 7767 2621

Email: d.maeremans@uhy.comwww.uhy.com

Nick Mattison or Peter Kurilecz

Mattison Public Relations

+44 20 7645 3636, +44 7860 657 540 or email peter.kurilecz@mattison.co.uk

About UHY

Established in 1986 and based in London, UK, UHY is a leading network of independent audit, accounting, tax and consulting firms with offices in over 325 major business centres across more than 95 countries.

Our staff members, over 7,850 strong, are proud to be part of the 16th largest international accounting and consultancy network. Each member of UHY is a legally separate and independent firm. For further information on UHY please go to www.uhy.com.

UHY is a member of the Forum of Firms, an association of international networks of accounting firms. For additional information on the Forum of Firms, visit www.forumoffirms.org

Smart Buildings Reach for the Skies...



They are efficient, connected and cool – and construction is booming.

Ask somebody what constitutes a ‘smart home’ and they might talk about a central heating system controlled remotely by an application on a mobile phone, or a fridge that texts its owners to warn about milk approaching its ‘use by’ date.

While both of those are examples of smart home technology, they barely scratch the surface of what a smart home can entail. A universally accepted definition of the term is hard to pin down, but it is commonly understood that a smart home, as opposed to a home with one or two pieces of smart technology, is a building that utilises an ecosystem of connected devices to automate a wide range of domestic activities.

Smart TVs, speaker systems and thermostats are in the vanguard of the smart technology movement. For example, many consumers have invested in wifi-enabled heating systems that can be controlled remotely via mobile app, allowing them to turn the heating on at home when they leave the office.


But these are small beginnings for a market that Transparency Market Research predicts will grow to USD 21 billion in 2020 (USD 4.4 billion in 2013). To meet that target, the piecemeal adoption of individual smart home technologies will be replaced by a more systematic approach that brings automation to every aspect of home life, from entertainment and security to sustainability and comfort. Increasingly, homes will be designed and built with these smart features in mind.

David J Burns, MBE, director of UHY Saxena, UHY’s member firm in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), says that the process is already underway in Dubai and other UAE cities. The UAE smart home market is expected to grow by nearly 15% annually between 2016 and 2022.

“In Dubai, a smart home means automation of everything and control of the technology by mobile phone,” says David. “The Internet of Things (IoT) is developing at a rapid rate and nowhere more so than in Dubai. We are a hotspot here for smart home building because homes tend to be built new rather than retro-fitted, meaning smart home technology can be designed into buildings at the planning stage.”

Sean Heckford, chairman of the Middle East chapter of CoreNet Global, the association of corporate real estate professionals, identifies two main drivers behind the increasing ubiquity of smart home technology in the UAE. “Smart home solutions connected to the IoT are constantly being presented to differentiate one high-end development from another,” he says. “There is a very prevalent snobbery when it comes to gadgetry in the UAE. It is an affluent place and there is always a need to be first, biggest and best.”

But while comfort, convenience and a desire to appear more technologically savvy than your neighbours are partly pushing smart home construction, Sean thinks that another factor is even more important. “The UAE has a smart approach to buildings in general, primarily because of the correlation between smart and sustainability,” he says. “Many sustainability initiatives have been launched in Dubai over the past decade, the most recent of which being the Smart Dubai initiative. Residential developers are actively encouraged to comply with its guidelines.”


The sheer quantity of new construction in the UAE makes it something of a test bed for smart home technology, and the patterns emerging in Dubai are likely to be repeated around the world. The piecemeal installation of individual smart home technologies by consumers is increasingly being matched by the systematic construction of smart homes, hotels and offices, driven by building companies wanting to add points of difference to high-end developments and governments pushing sustainability agendas.

That pattern is also discernible in the United States, another hotspot for smart home technology. In 2017, American consumers will buy more smart home systems than anybody else, and the US is also home to companies that increasingly push the boundaries of what a smart home can mean.

One such company is Fluxus, a client of UHY LLP in New York. Fluxus has created a prefabricated housing system uniquely designed to be sustainable in its production, construction and use. As one example of that, Fluxus uses just nine advanced and standardised components, each performing multiple functions.

“In the Fluxus System, passive building design principles are implemented to minimise energy use, collect renewable energy and sustainably manage water and waste,” says Fanyu Lin, Fluxus’ chief executive officer. Fluxus housing is the opposite of high-end, consumer driven smart home developments, and current target markets include post-disaster and conflict housing, affordable housing for the regeneration of failing neighbourhoods, and student housing.

But it is smart nevertheless. Fluxus housing, customised for local conditions and aesthetics, can be implemented quickly and cheaply, using advanced cloud-based computerised systems for the streamlined planning, design, construction and management of projects. The Fluxus System is also designed to smoothly incorporate other smart home technologies from the outset. “It can build homes with smart home devices, appliances, technology and infrastructure that can readily sense, understand, respond to and gradually anticipate users’ needs,” says Fanyu. She adds that the system allows for the easy incorporation of sensors that monitor and adjust heating, lighting, ventilation, water consumption and security settings.

Fluxus is an emerging company and has the support of UHY LLP. “UHY LLP in New York is playing an instrumental role in the success of Fluxus as our consultant, helping with business development, financial planning and public relations,” says Fanyu. “They provide significant value-added services and help in the successful process of establishing our company via leveraging of experiences, resources, and partnership opportunities.”


With UHY LLP’s help, Fluxus is in a position to benefit from the opportunities that the smart building boom affords. The smart home markets in Dubai and New York are clearly different, but are following a similar path. In both the US and UAE consumers are driving the uptake of gadgetry that controls entertainment systems, appliances and heating, while technology that delivers more sustainable housing is being actively encouraged by local and national authorities.

In Singapore, another smart home hotspot, this status is being driven largely by consumers demanding connected entertainment and security systems. Kelvin Lee, partner at UHY Lee Seng Chan & Co in Singapore, says, “According to our technology experts here, government incentives have made little difference to the take up of smart home technology.”

This contrasts strongly with New York, where Fluxus pilot projects and others are being supported by the New York City Economic Development Corporation, which offers tax benefits, access to financing, and assistance with the formation of strategic partnerships.

In many countries, authorities and companies are simultaneously realising that smart buildings offer long term economic benefits too. A boom in smart hotel construction in Spain is being driven by a post-financial crisis desire to cut operating costs, alongside consumer preference and government incentives.

“Without any doubt, ecology and sustainability are now on top of every agenda, as part of the social corporate responsibility strategy of companies,” says Miriam López Jadraque, national marketing director for the Spanish UHY member firm, UHY Fay & Co.

“It is clear that new norms and rules will promote sustainable developments and that hotels choose this route because, in the end, it has positive economic effects. Sustainable hotels can make major savings in water consumption and electricity use amongst others, but also gain competitive advantage. They fulfil the public demand for products manufactured or provided by companies that are socially responsible.”


UHY Fay & Co provides accountancy services for the Fuerte Hotels group, a leader in the sustainable tourism market. All the group’s new hotels are built using bio-climatic design principles, which take advantage of natural resources to reduce environmental impact. One example among many is the positioning of hotels to make the best use of natural light, significantly reducing power consumption.

New Fuerte hotels are also fitted with what the company calls ‘the robot’. According to José Luque, general manager of Fuerte Hotels group, “this is a cutting-edge software system that controls all water and energy consumed anywhere in the hotel. Thanks to this system, we can find out about energy demand levels at any given time and adjust parameters to improve efficiency.”

Like others in the business of smart buildings, José believes smart hotels offer a series of benefits. They help companies cut costs, and local and national governments meet carbon reduction targets. At the same time, they are attracting a new generation of tourists who want comfort and style but at minimal environmental cost.

“As long as the building sector is in good health there will be plenty of opportunities for the growth of smart buildings,” concludes Miriam López Jadraque. “There is a clear return on investment and those left behind risk losing competitive advantage.”

And that is perhaps the secret of the smart building boom, and one that suggests it is here to stay – driven by a perfect storm of powerful forces from technology-obsessed consumers and environmentally aware tourists, to companies and governments with long-term financial and ecological targets to meet.

For more information about UHY’s capabilities, email the UHY executive office, info@uhy.com or visit www.uhy.com.

Notes for Editors

UHY press contact: Dominique Maeremans on +44 20 7767 2621

Email: d.maeremans@uhy.comwww.uhy.com

Is the Future Alternative?...



In 2016, Costa Rica ran for an unbroken period of more than two months on renewable energy alone – the second year in a row the country had achieved this feat. In May 2016, Portugal powered itself for four-and-a-half consecutive days without fossil fuels. In both countries, the lights stayed defiantly on.

Predictably, there is some dispute about what all this means. Sceptics argue that Costa Rica is a small country with an economy that relies far more on agriculture and tourism than power-hungry industry, and is hardly representative of global energy requirements. Portugal, they add, just got lucky with the weather.


While there is truth in both arguments, these achievements have been widely celebrated as the most tangible results to date of a period of record global investment in alternative energy sources.

Renewable energy can no longer be considered a fringe interest, by either policy makers or investors. According to the latest REN21 Renewables Global Status Report, 2015 saw the largest increase in renewable energy production capacity ever, with an estimated 147 gigawatts (GW) of new capacity added globally. And that despite an unfavourable market. “What is truly remarkable about these results is that they were achieved at a time when fossil fuel prices were at historic lows, and renewables remained at a significant disadvantage in terms of government subsidies,” says Christine Lins, executive secretary of REN21.

Renewable energy provided an estimated 19.2% of global final energy consumption in 2014, with wind, solar, hydro, geothermal and biomass energy making up the vast majority of that total. But some countries are running way ahead of the curve. In Costa Rica, Portugal and elsewhere, renewable energy has become a major contributor to national economic wellbeing, rather than simply a way to meet environmental targets.

“The importance of alternative energy to the national economy is huge,” says Omar Pérez Rosales, managing partner of UHY’s member firm in Costa Rica, UHY Auditores & Consultores S.A. “In Costa Rica, 96.9% of energy generation is from clean energy. And that figure will grow, because the interconnection between the countries of Central America encourages them to sell electricity between them.”


Uruguay is another Latin American country that sees renewable energy as an economic opportunity rather than a burden. The renewable sector has exploited a supportive regulatory framework and the country’s favourable geography and climate to run ahead of the pack. In 2015, 92% of Uruguay’s power generation was derived from renewable energy.

“Uruguay stands out as the developing economy with the most favourable framework for investment in clean energy,” says Hugo Gubba, managing partner, UHY Gubba & Asociados, Montevideo, Uruguay. “Investment law promotes clean energy, allowing industries that invest in renewable energy to finance up to 80% of that investment through taxation exemptions.”

The country is reaping the rewards of that support. Once a net importer of electricity, with a domestic capacity that could not meet demand at peak times, Uruguay is now a net exporter, selling its surplus mainly to Argentina. A new interconnection with Brazil will provide opportunities to supply electricity to the world’s ninth largest economy. Uruguay’s renewable energy supply is diverse, with the country generating power from wind, solar, hydro and biomass sources. This has created a range of opportunities for professional services companies like UHY Gubba & Asociados.

“We work specifically with clients in the wind energy sector, and they receive the very best advice and guidance in financial and tax planning, business advisory and audit services,” says Hugo. The advance of the renewables sector presents the company with the challenge of widening its specialist knowledge. “We must continue to specialise in renewable energy projects and we are working hard to acquire unique expertise in the industry.”

Around the globe, UHY member firms are doing the same, in recognition of alternative energy’s growing importance. The renewable energy companies and projects served by UHY’s global network are hugely diverse. In Canada, for example, UHY McGovern Hurley LLP in Toronto provides special audit services for the Smart Grid Fund Project, a government

scheme to support electricity grids in Ontario which is building one of the most advanced electricity grids in the world, with the aim of reducing energy use. The government supports various research projects, and UHY McGovern Hurley LLP audits the activities of recipients, helping to ensure that expenditures are in accordance with government requirements.

In the Philippines, UHY M.L. Aguirre & Co CPAs has several alternative energy clients, reflecting the expansion of the renewables sector in the country. One is the Restored Energy Development Corporation (RED), an innovative company that generates and supplies energy from biomass sources, and specifically rice husks. RED also constructs biomass power plants, and can name several major Filipino and international corporations among its customers. In fact, UHY M.L. Aguirre & Co CPAs has developed something of a speciality in the biomass sector, and also provides services to a Dutch and Filipino joint venture aiming to construct power plants fuelled by bana grass, a unique variety of elephant grass.


These kinds of projects are increasingly essential to the wider Filipino economy, helping to provide secure power supplies in rural areas, create jobs for local workers and promote the growth of the country’s SME sector. But Michael L. Aguirre, managing partner at UHY M.L. Aguirre & Co CPAs, believes companies starting out in the sector need to enlist the support of professional service providers with specialised expertise.

“Companies in the alternative energy sector should seek the support of professional service firms that can give them proper guidance as to the fiscal and non-fiscal incentives available,” he says. “They also need proper evaluation of the feasibility of their projects. With RED, for example, the payback period is projected to be a decade or two.”

Compliance with local laws must also be considered, with companies facing a raft of regulations that can differ between countries and even regions. The alternative energy sector is relatively new, and start-ups desperately need knowledgeable support if they are to build solid foundations. That client need creates opportunities for UHY member firms around the world too.


In breezy Northern Europe, UHY’s member firm in Denmark, inforevision A/S, is working with Connected Wind Services, the largest provider of wind turbine repair, maintenance and monitoring services in the region. Inforevision provides merger and acquisition services, drill-down financial analysis, and auditing and accounting services to the company. According to Carlos Christensen, CEO of Connected Wind Services, the company values the personal service they get from inforevision, alongside sector-specific knowledge. “Inforevision has an ability to make us feel like their only customer. There is always time for an urgent analysis, and there is always a thorough understanding of our business and our needs,” he says.

In sunny Italy, meanwhile, the focus is more often on solar energy, and the work of UHY Italy’s audit and assurance firm, UHY Bompani Srl, is evidence of a sector commanding considerable interest and investment. The company has undertaken six due diligences on alternative energy companies in the last five years, reflecting a market that is moving into a new phase of consolidation. UHY Bompani Srl has also worked for Chinese investors looking to sell solar products locally under an Italian brand, which again appears to indicate a sector in good health.

But managing partner Andrea Fantechi believes the picture is more nuanced, at least in Europe.

“In the last ten years, the proportion of alternative energy in total energy consumption in Italy has increased from 15% to 38%, but this growing trend is significantly reducing because of a cut in incentives for building new alternative energy productions plants,” says Andrea. His caution is borne out by the REN21 report, which finds that, while developing countries continue to pour money into the sector, renewable energy investment in developed countries declined by 8% in 2015. The most significant decrease was seen in Europe.


There is clearly a danger that the renewable energy boom could stall, especially in European countries where worries around Brexit are forcing governments to rethink financial priorities. For all its recent progress, the renewables sector is still heavily reliant on favourable legislation and government incentives. Arthouros Zervos, chairman of REN21, has talked of a sector “barrelling down the tracks, but running on 20th-century infrastructure.”

Nevertheless, nobody denies that the direction of travel for renewable energy is set, even if it faces short-term challenges. In Europe, where those challenges currently appear most acute, the sector needs all the help it can get. That is especially true when considering that many alternative energy companies remain limited in both size and experience.

“Very often, these companies are start-ups – though obviously, there are big players too – that require general help in transforming an entrepreneur’s idea into a solid business,” says Andrea Fantechi. “That means finding investors to finance the project, building business plans, introducing accounting, verifying tax incentives and more.”

The global UHY network is ideally placed to deliver these services, thanks to the increasingly deep pool of sector-specific knowledge that it can draw on and share.

Notes for Editors

UHY press contact: Dominique Maeremans on +44 20 7767 2621

Email: d.maeremans@uhy.comwww.uhy.com