SBM to officially acquire luxury resort in chic Courchevel within the week

On 3rd October, SBM President Stéphane Valeri will sign a deal to acquire property in the chic winter resort of Courchevel for an undisclosed sum. The former National Council president calls it his “most important” achievement to date within the group.

At a press conference on Wednesday 27th September at the Monte-Carlo Bay Hotel and Resort, Stéphane Valeri confirmed figures for the 2022/2023 financial year, revealed earlier in June, that the company had pulled in €667 million in turnover and achieved a record €72 million in profit.

It was also an opportunity for Stéphane Valeri, appointed head of the Société des Bains de Mer (SBM) in January, to highlight other projects being undertaken by the group.

Among them were SBM’s acquisition of the five-star ‘Palace des Neiges’ in one of the most prestigious winter resorts in Europe.

“On 3rd October, we will sign the purchase of this ‘snow palace’,” revealed Valeri. “It is the best located hotel in what they call the Jardin Alpin district, the first large hotel developed a few decades ago in Courchevel. It faces the forest and, behind it, it has all the palaces of the biggest named competitors we could have: LVMH, the chalet of Stéphane Courbit, a Xavier Niel hotel…

“But ours is first,” repeated Valeri. “We are very happy to be able to purchase the most beautiful location in the resort.”

Palace des Neiges

The hotel is located in a residential district, 600km from the ski slopes of the Three Vallées. Currently, it offers 78 guest rooms and suites.

According the Valeri, the hotel will operate its last winter season under the current ownership, before it undergoes a major renovation in the Spring of 2024.

To facilitate the acquisition and running of the hotel, the SBM Group approached the Vallat group, which has a “very advanced knowledge of the real estate market in the Northern Alps, and in particular in the Courchevel valley, where the family of Joffray Vallat, president of the group eponymous, has been installed for decades,” says the group.

The acquisition project, subject to generally applicable conditions, should be finalised in the coming days. Financial details have not been revealed.

Tackling the staff shortage

Acquiring winter properties is part of SBM’s International Development Policy. It is also an important part of the group’s strategy to retain staff year round.

On the same day that Stéphane Valeri is signing this property deal, the group will be holding a recruitment drive on 3rdOctober at One Monte-Carlo.

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SBM doubles operating profit in 12 months to reach €72 million

Photo source: SBM




EU bans “intentional” inclusion of microplastics in thousands of household products

ban microplastics

Glitter, cosmetics, toys and detergents are among the products in the firing line of a new EU law that is banning the intentional inclusion of harmful microplastics in a huge range of commonly used items. 

Within the next three weeks, the first products banned under a new EU law prohibiting “intentionally added” microplastics will disappear from shelves. They will include glitter and goods featuring microbeads, small pieces of plastics used for exfoliation. 

In the years to come, this list will expand considerably to cover a vast number of products, from infill used on artificial sports surfaces to detergents, cosmetic products and toys, to which non-biodegradable microplastics have been intentionally added.  

The definition of microplastics used by the EU in its legislation is broad in scope, according to lawmakers, covering “all synthetic polymer particles measuring less than five millimetres that are organic, insoluble and resist (bio)degradation”. 

These tiny particles cause untold environmental damage and have found their way into food and drinking water sources around the world, threatening human health too. According to the EU, this new ban will prevent the unnecessary release of 42,000 tonnes of microplastics in the bloc each year.

Some products and their manufacturers will be given more time to adapt to the new rules – the cosmetic industry has up to 12 years to comply in some cases, for example – but for others, the axe has already fallen.  

“Banning intentionally added microplastics addresses a serious concern for the environment and people’s health,” says Virginijus Sinkevičius, EU Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries. “Microplastics are found in the seas, rivers and on land, as well as in food and drinking water. Today’s restriction concerns very small particles, but it is a big step towards reducing human-made pollution.” 

There are some exemptions, with certain construction materials that include microplastics in their make-up intentionally, but do not or can minimise the release of these particles, falling outside of the landmark legislation.  

Manufacturers of the products that find themselves in the clear will still, nonetheless, be required to provide the estimated yearly emissions from these products as well as information on how they dispose of the microplastics without allowing them to enter the environment.   

Products that do not have microplastics intentionally added, but that are present, such as sludge or compost, are also not included in the ban.  


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Photo source: Soren Funk, Unsplash


Groupe Michel Pastor strikes partnership with Roca Team

AS Monaco Basket logo on Salle Gaston Médecin court

AS Monaco Basketball announced on Tuesday their partnership with Groupe Michel Pastor for the ongoing 2023/24 season.

The Monegasque business has become the Premium Partner of the Roca Team for the duration of the 2023/24 Betclic Elite, Coupe de France and Euroleague campaigns. The partnership, which involves the affiliates of the group, including the Centre Immobilier Pastor, took effect in Wednesday’s Betclic Elite victory over Saint-Quentin.

Jean-Baptiste Pastor, the Administrative President of the Group, reacted to the signing of the partnership, saying, “Team spirit, competitiveness, and going above and beyond: these values incarnated by the group these past years showed themselves in sensational style last season.”

Yefimov: “It’s brilliant to have the support of one of the major actors in the Monegasque community”

Pastor continued, “The first French title victory, as well as the historic participation in the Euroleague Final Four, evidence the quality of the strategy put in place by the Roca Team’s management for the durable construction of a top-level side. We have also shared these values within our organisation for the past 40 years. Perpetuating our common quest for excellence, our partnership is logical.”

The Roca Team’s General Manager, Oleksiy Yefimov, one of the major influences in the Principality club’s meteoric rise, has also commented on the signing of the partnership.

“It’s brilliant to have the support of one of the major actors in the Monegasque community, an entity that we can always count on and with whom we share common values,” he began.

The Salle Gaston Médecin. Photo source: AS Monaco Basket

The Ukrainian General Manager continued, “This will be a win-win partnership for both the Roca Team and the Groupe Michel Pastor in terms of visibility and growth. Together, we will create sensational moments that are now experienced under the name ”Royal Hoops. I am convinced that this partnership is only the first in a long, fruitful and mutually beneficial collaboration that will last for seasons to come.”


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Photo source: AS Monaco Basket

Smart & Sustainable Marina Rendezvous brings fresh ideas and outlooks to Monaco

Following a successful edition of the Smart & Sustainable Marina Rendezvous, Yacht Club de Monaco President Bernard d’Alessandri has spoken of the need to “encourage initiatives to build a more eco-responsible yachting industry”.  

The Smart & Sustainable Marina Rendezvous, held at the Yacht Club de Monaco (YCM) on 24th and 25th September, was a huge success, attracting professionals and businesses from around the world, who travelled to the Principality to present their pioneering ideas and sustainability solutions to key financiers and decision-makers.  


The event, which “enables financiers, policymakers and innovators to get together at the Yacht Club de Monaco and be put in contact with the whole marina ecosystem against a backdrop of sustainable tourism”, is intended to showcase the latest developments in the maritime sector, with a particular focus on the creation of “smart marinas”.  

“Our idea of sustainable nautical tourism and, therefore in a broader way, a protected marine ecosystem is to make the sustainable marinas a part of the city and not apart from the city,” said Linos Voskarides, a “Blue Growth” Policy Officer at the European Commission, during the event. “Sustainable nautical tourism and sustainable development of marinas are the key to having a protected marine ecosystem and a well-preserved coastline in the future.” 


The event, in addition to presenting new ideas, also included the International Smart & Sustainable Marina Awards, which were presented on 25th September for three categories: Start-Ups and Scale-Ups, Marinas and Architects. French architect Jean-Michel Wilmotte chaired the jury that made the final calls.   

“We want to encourage initiatives to build a more eco-responsible yachting industry. Infrastructures such as marinas must reflect yachting today, a more restrained yachting in line with the environmental challenges we face today,” said Bernard d’Alessandri, President of Cluster Yachting Monaco and Yacht Club de Monaco General Secretary. 

The winners in the individual business category were EHP2 Marine for their solutions and technologies that encourage building more virtuous marinas and Nereid Water for “cutting-edge tech” aimed at environmental preservation. Omniflow, a “scale-up” that helps protect the environment through managing and creating smart marinas, also picked up an award.  

The Marina awards went to Limassol Marina and Karpaz Gate Marina for their vision that marinas are like “micro-citiesW and can be leaders in sustainable development for the cities they reside in.  

Finally, the Architecture award went to Fresh Architecture, with a student prize given to S3-Group Guangzhou Academy for their new ideas in creating functional, attractive waterfronts.  


Prince Albert II attended the event, meeting with participants as well as high-level dignitaries such as: Prince Saud Bin Turki Al Saud, the General Manager of the Saudi Red Sea Authority; Ana Elena Pinto Lozano, Ambassador of Costa Rica to France and Permanent Delegate of Costa Rica to UNESCO; Rear Admiral Reda Ahmen Ismail, the head of the maritime transport sector in Egypt; and Elisabeth Anna Rebecca Chouraki, International Technical Expert PAMEx (Action Plan for a Model Mediterranean). 

The event, which was supported by the Prince Albert II Foundation and Extended Monaco, was organised by Monaco Marina Management (M3).  


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Photo credit: Yacht Club de Monaco

Basketball: Roca Team triumph on return to Monaco

AS Monaco Basket's Mike James verus Saint-Quentin

AS Monaco Basketball left it late to ensure the victory against newly-promoted Saint Quentin (77-75), but continued their winning run upon their return to the Salle Gaston Médecin. 

The Roca Team had looked to be sauntering to a comfortable victory to celebrate their return to the Principality. Midway through the second quarter, Monaco had constructed a 12-point lead (32-20) following a Donta Hall dunk. However, for many months, the Roca Team have struggled in the third quarter, and it was once again the case against Saint-Quentin.

Not only did Sasa Obradovic’s side let their lead slip, they allowed Saint-Quentin to construct a sizeable lead of their own. Monaco entered into the final quarter with a 10-point deficit, and with just 2:23 on the clock, they were still eight behind.

However, with the result on the line, Monaco raised their game, notably in the defensive phases, with John Brown III once again crucial, as Mike James (19 points) scored an and one to level the scores (75-75). It was money-time Mike who then stepped up in the final possession of the game to send the home crowd into raptures, launching a two-pointer to decide the game (77-75).

Obradovic: “We didn’t play a good match”

Monaco therefore took the victory by the most slender of margins and extended this season’s winning run to three games, therefore retaining their place at the top of the Betclic Elite tree.

Understandably, however, Obradovic wasn’t impressed.

“We didn’t play a good match. I don’t know how we won it. We need to erase last season from our minds. We think we are too good. We need to change the image we have of ourselves. Tonight, we were lucky, but we can’t rely on that every match,” said the Roca Team coach.

Bigger tests await Monaco, notably on Sunday when they will face Lyon-Villeurbanne, ahead of the beginning of the Euroleague season next Friday.


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Photo source: AS Monaco Basket

Time for action on perpetual traffic problems plaguing the Principality, says National Council

monaco traffic

Monaco’s National Council has called on the government to put in place an immediate plan to improve access to the Principality and alleviate the current traffic pressures that are causing endless jams and lengthy commutes. 

Anyone who has driven to and from Monaco, particularly during peak times, will be all too familiar with the long queues, slow moving traffic and widespread frustration experienced by the many thousands of others road users who make the arduous journey each day. It’s a national problem exacerbated by the road works and road closures in and around Monaco, and has come to be viewed as something of a plague on Principality. 

Now the National Council, the elected body that votes on bills and budgets proposed by the government, has added its voice to the chorus of calls for improved access in and out of the Principality ahead of an official round of debates on amendments to the state budget. 

Its members have said they would like the government “to compensate for the paralysis of traffic, which intensifies year after year” by taking the bull by the horns and implementing a plan that is up to the considerable challenge.  


National Council President Brigitte Boccone-Pagès invited the press on 25th September to put the issue into the spotlight. Joined by Nathalie Amoratti-Blanc, President of the Environment and Quality of Life Commission, as well as Jade Aureglia, Vice-President for Sustainable Town Planning and Major Works, and Karen Aliprendi, Vice-President for Mobility, she spoke of the “urgency” of making planning decisions on the topic. 

Meanwhile, on social media, the National Council proposed the “construction of an express metro line between Nice and Monaco, connected to all transport networks, so that commuters no longer have to take their cars on their way home and to work”. 

Other traffic-relieving measures will be suggested, the Council says, “in the coming days”, and will be reported via their various platforms.  


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Photo by Monaco Life