Business in Romania blog
The business in Romania blog writes about the Romanian business landscape, doing business in Romania, investing in Romania business and debating on business issues in Romania. Check this Blog's Policy here.



Thursday, March 31, 2005
Business in Romania blog
Domestic carmaker Automobile Dacia will contribute up to 1.5 percent of French car manufacturer Renault's profit forecasts for the fiscal year 2005.

According to Dacia officials, the domestic company expects to post 1 billion euros in turnover this year, while its profit would account for five percent of this amount.

Posted by Iulia Rasoiu : 3/31/2005 09:27:00 am
Business in Romania blog
Business in Romania blog
Real estate company Eurisko yesterday made public a report regarding the local real estate field as it appears in 2005.

This report refers to all sectors of the real estate field, namely offices, residences, industrial and retail buildings, land and investments.
The 2004 report is on http://www.eurisko.ro/index.php?page=remo

According to the report, the prices for apartments in Romania are overevaluated, and owners tend to wait for price increases in order to obtain higher revenues.

The 2004 average rental for offices was 18 euros per square meter, three percent below the 2003 average.

Eurisko's report says that mortgage credits will be the most frequent financing method for residential purchases, as almost 80% of the residences to be bought this year by individuals will be financed by loans.

Posted by Iulia Rasoiu : 3/31/2005 09:22:00 am
Business in Romania blog
Business in Romania blog
Romania saw its trade deficit exceed 500 million euros in the second month of this year, after the volume of imports grew at a faster pace than exports.

According to the National Statistics Institute (INS), the free on board exports totaled 1.6 billion euros this February, which represents a 10.2 percent jump compared to the same period from last year.

At the end of the first two months of 2005, the trade balance deficit amounted to 885 million euros, from exports worth more than 3.1 billion euros and imports of 4 billion euros.

The European Union remains the economic region having the largest influence over Romania's exports. Romania exported about 73 percent of its products to the EU and in return over 63 percent of its total imports came from the Union.

Posted by Iulia Rasoiu : 3/31/2005 09:16:00 am
Business in Romania blog
Wednesday, March 30, 2005
Business in Romania blog
Three Romanian journalists have been kidnapped in Baghdad, the government said Tuesday in a development that could test the resolve of President Traian Basescu, whose administration recently dispatched an extra 100 troops to Iraq.

The journalists had finished interviewing Iraq's interim Prime Minister Ayad Allawi hours earlier when one of them sent an ominous text message back to her newsroom: "Help, this is not a joke, we've been kidnapped."

The three were abducted Monday night near their Baghdad hotel, officials said. They were identified as reporter Marie Jeanne Ion, 32, and cameraman Sorin Dumitru Miscoci, 30, from Bucharest-based television station Prima TV, and Romania Libera reporter Ovidiu Ohanesian, 37.

Cristi has more details here.

Posted by Mihai Botea : 3/30/2005 10:20:00 am
Business in Romania blog
Tuesday, March 29, 2005
Business in Romania blog
The U.S. IT supplier Ness Technologies said it would take over the Romanian company Radix on April 10 this year for 4 million euros, in a move to expand its network in Central and Eastern Europe.

Following the purchase, the local firm will change its name to Ness Romania.

The U.S. investor will pay an additional 3 million euros if Radix achieves its financial targets for the next couple of years.

Posted by Iulia Rasoiu : 3/29/2005 09:44:00 am
Business in Romania blog
Business in Romania blog
Blue Air, the only local low-price airline operator, today launches a Bucharest-Dusseldorf flight for which a roundtrip ticket costs 64 euros, including fees, says a company release.

This is the only Romanian flight to Dusseldorf and takes places every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.

Planes for Dusseldorf will take off from the Baneasa Airport. People will fly to Dusseldorf in 148-seat Boeing 737 planes.

Posted by Iulia Rasoiu : 3/29/2005 09:43:00 am
Business in Romania blog
Business in Romania blog
Edwin Botterman has been appointed as Brau Union Romania's new general director.

Botterman is replacing Werner Schneidhofer, who managed the beer distribution company over the last five years, says a company release.

In addition, Marius Melesteu was appointed sales and marketing director, replacing Janos Velkey.

The company's new human resource manager is Diana Ghita.

In April, Willem de Jonge will become technical director, replacing Christian Eilenberger.

Posted by Iulia Rasoiu : 3/29/2005 09:41:00 am
Business in Romania blog
Business in Romania blog
The new director of the SAPARD Agency, appointed following a contest held at the end of last week, is Samoila Szabo, according to an Agriculture Ministry release.

Szabo is the executive director of the Harghita County-based foundation Lorincz Aron and coordinator for several programs of the Cluj-Napoca-based foundation Transilvania Trust.

In mid-February, Agriculture Minister Gheorghe Flutur appointed Dan Gherghelas general interim director of the agency.

Posted by Iulia Rasoiu : 3/29/2005 09:37:00 am
Business in Romania blog
Business in Romania blog
An international competition to complete online employment skills certifications has revealed astonishing breadth and diversity in the world"s workforce.

The contest currently underway until April 4th, was developed and conducted by Brainbench, the global leader in online skills and employment assessments, to assess job skills and knowledge on a global scale.

They have also shown some surprising results that challenge commonly-held views about concentrations of the world"s technical talent pools:

• Eastern European nations such as Romania, Latvia, Bulgaria, and Belarus lead Western countries such as the U.K., Australia, Germany, and France in total certifications.

• As a percentage of total population, Latvia, Estonia, and Bulgaria lead the world (along with some extremely small nations such as San Marino and American Samoa.) Traditionally tech-savvy nations such as Singapore, Israel, and Sweden score farther down the list.

• As in 2003 and 2004, the United States, India, and the Russian Federation still lead the list in total certifications, and Romania is the next.

During the contest period, the tests are available free of charge to anyone registering with Brainbench, including their 6 million existing users.
Approximately 100,000 tests have been completed in the first week.

Daily Leader Board results are posted on the Brainbench website ( www.brainbench.com ) showing overall country stats, percentage of population comparisons and soon the individual leaders.

For more information visit www.brainbench.com .

Direct web address for the Bench Games Leader Board: http://www.brainbench.com//xml/bb/landing/offer/promotion.xml?contentId=2313 ,

Posted by Iulia Rasoiu : 3/29/2005 09:31:00 am
Business in Romania blog
Monday, March 28, 2005
Business in Romania blog
Romania’s Prime Minister Calin Popescu Tariceanu said the Romania has agreed with the EU to liberalize the capital account by April 11, but a decision on the deadline would be made by the central bank.

The central bank board is expected to vote a decision on allowing non-residents access to the short-term local leu currency deposits starting April 11 as part of its moves to liberalise the capital account.

The bank’s board is expected to vote on this decision on meeting scheduled for March 31.

Initially the central bank announced that the non-residents would be allowed to have access at leu deposits by mid 2005.

In its efforts to liberalise capital account, the central bank also allowed local corporate and non-resident banks to trade on the local foreign exchange market.

Posted by Iulia Rasoiu : 3/28/2005 12:49:00 pm
Business in Romania blog
Business in Romania blog
National airline operator Tarom will give the green light to over 200 charter flights, using Boeing 737 aircraft, heading for Turkey, Greece, Spain, Egypt and Italy.

Another 50 flights will go to France and Norway.

Most of 110 new charter flights will travel to Turkish resorts Antalya and Bodrum.

Posted by Iulia Rasoiu : 3/28/2005 12:44:00 pm
Business in Romania blog
Business in Romania blog
French transportation, warehousing and logistics company FM Logistic wants the concession right for 14 hectares of land in the Timisoara Industrial Park.

Eight of these 14 hectares will be discussed tomorrow by the Timisoara Local Council.

City hall spokesman Sorin Lazar said on Friday there will be a promotional bidding price for the land, in order to lure foreign investors.

The industrial park was opened in 1999 and covers 51 hectares.

Posted by Iulia Rasoiu : 3/28/2005 12:42:00 pm
Business in Romania blog
Business in Romania blog
The prime minister said on Thursday evening during a TV show that Romania's main priority as a future EU member is the Bucharest-Timisoara highway, not the Brasov-Bors one.

The Brasov-Bors highway contract signed with the U.S. company Bechtel will be financed based on how much money is left after the government allocates all the required funds for the pan-European highway between Bucharest and Timisoara.

Following Tariceanu's statements on Thursday, Bechtel representatives said that changing the budget for the Brasov-Bors highway will not amend the schedule of the construction or the contractual obligations of the parties.

Posted by Iulia Rasoiu : 3/28/2005 12:35:00 pm
Business in Romania blog
Business in Romania blog
The state minister for business environment and small and medium enterprises, George Copos, will soon be responsible for the business environment-related activity within the Ministry of Economy and Commerce, according to a recently approved government decision.

The government's general secretariat will take over eight functions from the Economy Ministry that deal with the coordination of the business environment.

Two weeks ago, the Romanian Agency for Foreign Investments, the National Agency for Small and Medium Enterprises went under Copos' authority.

Posted by Iulia Rasoiu : 3/28/2005 12:33:00 pm
Business in Romania blog
Saturday, March 26, 2005
Business in Romania blog
It seems that rumors about Tiriac Bank being in a poor financial state have started to be sent over the e-mail by people with an important interest in this matter.

The e-mail letters speak about major clients of Tiriac Bank who, being aware of the situation, have already started to take out their money from the bank. The receivers of the e-mail letters are being told to do the same, while they have time.

The strategy of these rumors is simple..If you can convince most of a bank's clients to take out their money in the same time, you have a high chance in pushing that bank into bankruptcy.

Still, the letters seem to be only rumors, as NBR officials state that Tiriac Bank is in excellent condition, with all its indices in the right parameters.

I wonder if there is any legal manner in which to trace back the people who originated those rumors...

Posted by Mihai Botea : 3/26/2005 02:06:00 pm
Business in Romania blog
Business in Romania blog
Nestlé sales in Romania grew by some 60 per cent to around €62 million last year, helped by the continued importance of the biscuit and confectionery sectors there. The Romanian wafers market is worth some €40 million a year (Nestlé has around 35-40 per cent of the market), while the wider confectionery market is valued at around €150 million.

The Timisoara plant accounts for approximately 50 per cent of Nestlé Romania's total production, and also produces wafers for export to Bulgaria, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and the countries of FYROM.

Nestlé said last year that it planned to invest around €3.5 million in its Romanian business between 2005 and 2007, and while Nuber said that the latest investment was not particularly great in terms of value, it was nonetheless important to help the company increase its share of the mini wafer market.

Nestlé bought the Joe company – a locally owned, greenfield plant built in the mid-1990s- from a Romanian entrepreneur in 2002, and since then has invested more than €10 million in production and marekting. Nestlé has about 350 employees in Timisoara and about 200 in Bucharest.

The success of the Joe Mix brand in particular can be put down to the snacking habits of the Romanian consumers. They are the biggest consumer of roasted sunflower seeds in Europe, and the popularity of this traditional Romanian snack has helped companies develop strong sales of more modern snack poducts.

Posted by Mihai Botea : 3/26/2005 01:20:00 pm
Business in Romania blog
Thursday, March 24, 2005
Business in Romania blog
The comments below are copyright of Moody's.

In its annual report on Romania, Moody's Investors Service says that the positive outlook on the nation's Ba1 rating is based on the benefits of EU accession, stronger economic and political institutions, and improved external liquidity, balanced against the risk of overheating.

"The rapid growth of credit to the private sector (particularly in foreign currency), the related sharp increases in asset prices, and the large widening of the current account deficit all give us cause for some concern," cautions the report's author, Senior Vice President Nina Ramondelli.

The analyst explains that "the situation is further complicated by the government's decision to shift the monetary framework from relying on the exchange rate as an implicit anchor to inflation targeting later in 2005; this change occurs at the same time that the capital account is to be liberalized in order to allow nonresident investment in local currency instruments."

Moody's is optimistic, however, that EU membership will furnish support for sustaining the growth momentum now underway and for further improving the nation's debt and debt-service burden. "Deepening trade, financial and institutional integration with Europe should bolster Romania's ability to withstand potentially destabilizing capital flows," Ms. Ramondelli states.

For the complete comments please go HERE.

Posted by Mihai Botea : 3/24/2005 07:35:00 pm
Business in Romania blog
Wednesday, March 23, 2005
Business in Romania blog
Tommorow the IT&C Awards in Romania will be presented at the Cotroceni Palace. These are annual awards that are offered by the Romanian authorities for the most important successes of the Romanian IT&C market.

This year's categories for the awards include:
- Best Educational Project
- Best Integrator
- Best software product
- Best communication solution
- Most innovative Romanian product
- Most important personality in Romanian IT&C

For more details please consult the www.premii-tic.ro website (Romanian language only).

Posted by Mihai Botea : 3/23/2005 01:34:00 pm
Business in Romania blog
Tuesday, March 22, 2005
Business in Romania blog
I found today about a very nice service in Romania. The service is avaibale at www.digitalyou.ro and their basic offer is transforming your digital pictures in prints.

What is very cool about it is that it is very simple to use (three easy steps) and that they deliver the photos to your place, at the time you specify.

I wish to congratulate them for it and I hope they will last for a long time.

Posted by Mihai Botea : 3/22/2005 05:41:00 pm
Business in Romania blog
Business in Romania blog
Right after being bought by Vodafone, Connex will partner with Nokia for the commercial launch of the 3G services on the Romanian Market.

This way, the new Nokia 6630, with features like e-mail, multimedia access, video conferences and video streaming, will be available in Connex shops in the near future.

Connex will start offering its servcies in Bucuresti, Cluj, Timisoara, Brasov, Constanta, Ploiesti, Craiova si Iasi.

The phone will look like in the picture below (not the picture on InvestRomania)



As we are developing software applications on a Nokia 6630, i had the opportunity (thanks, Maria!) to see it in our office. It looks quite nice and it has a lot of functionality (even a movie director).

Posted by Mihai Botea : 3/22/2005 10:54:00 am
Business in Romania blog
Monday, March 21, 2005
Business in Romania blog
ProCA, a Romanian company that imports Spire products in Romania, has announced that they will bring the premium brand Pininfarina-designed computer cases to the romanian market.

Being designed by the famous Pininfarina studio in Italy, the cases are manufacturered from aluminium, featuring good radioation protection and a superb design.

The cases should be available in Romania starting April 2005.

This is how a typical Pininfarina case looks like:


Posted by Mihai Botea : 3/21/2005 06:03:00 pm
Business in Romania blog
Sunday, March 20, 2005
Business in Romania blog
The number two player on the wine market, Jidvei Romania, has estimated its sales for this year will reach 18 million euros, being driven by the same portfolio it had in 2004, when it turned in sales of 15 million euros.

Sales last year went up 12% in terms of value, while witnessing a 3.5% retreat in terms of volume.

Jidvei Romania owns 1,450 ha of vineyards in the Tarnave region of Romania and does not foresee buying any more vineyards or competitors in the industry.

Posted by Mihai Botea : 3/20/2005 07:42:00 pm
Business in Romania blog
Thursday, March 17, 2005
Business in Romania blog
Credit Office, a private Romanian organization that monitors individuals' and small companies' credits, has three new shareholders.

Following a shareholders general assembly meeting last week, Volksbank Romania, ABN Amro Bank and Egnatia Bank have become shareholders in the organization.

Now, the Credit Office includes 27 shareholder banks.

Posted by Iulia Rasoiu : 3/17/2005 04:59:00 pm
Business in Romania blog
Business in Romania blog
Local telecommunications companies Astral Telecom and Romania Data Systems (RDS) signed an agreement according to which subscribers of the two networks can make phone calls between the networks, an Astral Telecom said yesterday.

Aurel Costea, Astral's Telecom general director, said that both companies want to improve the quality of their services and their financial results.

RDS' general director, Alexandru Oprea, said this agreement is a great step forward in the local telephony market.

Posted by Iulia Rasoiu : 3/17/2005 04:56:00 pm
Business in Romania blog
Tuesday, March 15, 2005
Business in Romania blog
The rebranding of Connex was completed a couple of months ago. Here comes the aquisition of the Romanian company by Vodafone.

Vodafone today announces that its wholly-owned subsidiary Vodafone International Holdings B.V. has entered into agreements with Telesystem International Wireless Inc. ("TIW") of Canada to acquire approximately:

79% of the share capital of MobiFon S.A. ("MobiFon") in Romania. This will increase Vodafone and its subsidiaries' ("Vodafone Group") ownership in MobiFon to approximately 99%;

100% of the share capital of Oskar Mobil a.s. ("Oskar") in the Czech Republic
for a cash consideration of approximately USD 3.5 billion (GBP 1.8 billion) to be satisfied from Vodafone Group's cash resources (the "Transaction"). In addition, Vodafone Group will be assuming approximately USD 0.9 billion (GBP 0.5 billion) of net debt.


Commenting on the acquisitions, Arun Sarin, Chief Executive of Vodafone, said:

"I am delighted that MobiFon and Oskar, both fast growing mobile operators, will become part of Vodafone, where they will benefit fully from the global services and scale benefits that our group can deliver. These acquisitions will create value for our shareholders and will be good for our customers. They are also consistent with our stated strategy of increasing investment in Central and Eastern Europe."

More info HERE.

Posted by Mihai Botea : 3/15/2005 06:37:00 pm
Business in Romania blog
Monday, March 14, 2005
Business in Romania blog
The value of the transaction made Friday through the Bucharest Stock Exchange (BVB) accounted for 87.4 billion ROL (2.4 million euros), the lowest level reported this year, even though quotations slightly went up.

According to Alin Brendea, trading director at Prime Transaction, the BVB had a bad start last week, with a small amount of transactions.

The poor BVB performance was due in part to the BVB decision to transfer several companies listed in first tier and the financial investment companies from the Horizon to the Arena trading system.

Posted by Iulia Rasoiu : 3/14/2005 02:27:00 pm
Business in Romania blog
Business in Romania blog
Timo van Voorden was appointed chairman of the insurance company Interamerican Romania, a unit of Dutch Eureko Group BV, while former head Athanasios Alexiadis resigned for personal reasons, according to the company.

Van Voorden was appointed country manager in November 2004. As such, he coordinated Eureko's insurance and health sector activity.

Interamerican was purchased for more than $2 billion by Euroke, one of Europe's largest financial groups, in 2001.

Posted by Iulia Rasoiu : 3/14/2005 02:26:00 pm
Business in Romania blog
Business in Romania blog
The Financial Investment Company (SIF) Transilvania Friday bought 2 percent in the Bucharest-based pharmaceutical producer Biofarm.

The transaction was worth 20 billion ROL (560,000 euros), at a price of 4,000 ROL per share, according to a release the investment company sent to the Bucharest Stock Exchange.

SIF Oltenia and SIF Banat Crisana gave the purchase start six weeks ago when they acquired around 13% in Biofarm for a total deal of 3.5 million euros.

SIF Muntenia has also become a Biofarm shareholder after buying 2% in the company for 640,000 euros.

Posted by Iulia Rasoiu : 3/14/2005 02:17:00 pm
Business in Romania blog
Saturday, March 12, 2005
Business in Romania blog
BBW will host the nineth edition of the CSR Awards in Romania. In the next issues, BBW will present companies that have interesting projects in the CSR (Corporate Social responsibility) field and also will give some awards in the end to the companies that had the best projects in this area.

The event will take place over a full ten-day period in mid-March in seven key locations nationwide, namely Bucharest, Timisoara, Oradea, Cluj-Napoca, Brasov, Sibiu and Constanta.

Winners of last year's BBW Corporate Citizens Awards included: Tuborg Romania, in the 'Effectiveness' category, OMV Romania in the 'Inventiveness' category and Sicomed, in the 'Togetherness' category.

Tennis legend Ion Tiriac was awarded the annual BBW Leadership Award, a category in which other nominees were sports queen Nadia Comaneci and former Foreign Affairs Minister Mircea Geoana.

If you wish to nominate a Romanian company for its CSR activity please send your e-mail to corinam@bbw.ro.

If you wish to be a partner in the project, please address to livia.flacau@bbw.ro.

More details about the project can be found at http://www.bbw.ro/csr1.htm.

Posted by Mihai Botea : 3/12/2005 05:08:00 pm
Business in Romania blog
Business in Romania blog
I am at CeBIT right now, represeting my company and I wanted to share with you some thoughts about how things are going around here.

Romania is for the first time at CeBIT with a national stand where 30 companies are present. In previous years, the organizers chose Systems as the German fair to attend with a national booth, but this year they switched to CeBIT.

From my point of view this is something very positive, as CeBIT is a much larger fair and is more accesible to interested people.

This year, the arrangement of the Romanian booth is better, also, and I am very happy about it.

As a result, we had a lot of visitors and a lot of interesting contacts until now and we are looking forward for more in the future days. I heard Monday and Tuesday should be the best days.

I noticed that Romania has a far better presence that other Eastern European countries like Bulgaria, Serbia and even Russia. I believe it is a reflection of our good organization as professionals in our industry and of our dedication to the German market.

I will keep you posted with more information after returning in Romania, until then is a very busy period. For those of you interested in visiting the fair, the Romanian booth is at B.15 in Hall 8.

Cheers !
Mihai.

Posted by Mihai Botea : 3/12/2005 04:09:00 pm
Business in Romania blog
Business in Romania blog
As you remember, some months ago there were some rumours about UPC buying Astral...well, nothing happened so far, but it seems the Romanian TV market is becoming an interest to potential investors. Here is an exerpt from an article in the Israeli press about two Israelian companies investing in Romanian TV venture.

--------------

Elran and Miloumor companies from Israel have an agreement to collaborate in a venture to set up in Romania a venture for multi-channel television (DBS) via satellite.

Elran and Miloumor will establish a company in equal shares, or will acquire at least 90% of an existing Romanian company. The parties have pledged to provide the Romanian company up to $10 million, in equal shares, and have established a dilution mechanism in the event that one party fails to inject its share.

Miloumor, controlled by Freddi Robinson, and Elran, controlled by Dori and Dan Dankner, are negotiating the acquisition with a third party through an allocation of shares in a Romanian-registered private company that launched the venture to provide multi-channel television by satellite. If these negotiations lead to an agreement, it will not affect the parties' financial commitments.

Romania currently has four cable television stations providing analog broadcasts.

----------------

Posted by Mihai Botea : 3/12/2005 01:35:00 pm
Business in Romania blog
Friday, March 11, 2005
Business in Romania blog
The privatization contracts for the local power producers Electrica Moldova and Electrica Oltenia will be signed around March 15, Economy and Trade Minister Codrut Seres said.

The two Electrica branches were put up for privatization in April last year.

This past February, the government approved the privatization of each of the two electric companies to Germany's E.ON and CEZ from the Czech Republic.

Italy's Enel last July bought the main stake in the Banat and Dobrogea units for a total amount of 112 million euros.

Posted by Iulia Rasoiu : 3/11/2005 10:21:00 am
Business in Romania blog
Business in Romania blog
Tudor Moldovan was appointed general director of the local insurance company Generali Asigurari Romania on March 9, after Guglielmo Frinzi's retirement, says a company release.

Moldovan started at Generali as a life insurance department executive director in 2001.

He became general assistant director of the company last September.

Posted by Iulia Rasoiu : 3/11/2005 10:20:00 am
Business in Romania blog
Thursday, March 10, 2005
Business in Romania blog
Shareholders of Romexterra Leasing are expected at the end of this month to discuss whether to list the company's shares on the Bucharest Stock Exchange (BVB), the institution's chairman, Cornel Coca Constantinescu, has said. The move is likely to take place at the end of 2005.

However, the company official added that such a decision would largely depend on the group's strategy.

Romexterra Leasing financed contracts of 18.5 million euros in 2004 and reported over 700,000 euros in gross profit.

Posted by Iulia Rasoiu : 3/10/2005 09:43:00 am
Business in Romania blog
Business in Romania blog
The introduction of the 16% flat tax, year end bonuses and higher state revenues, boosted the average net wage in January by 5.2%, according to the National Statistics Institute.

The institution announced Tuesday that the average net wage for the first month of this year topped 7.23 million ROL (200 euros), while the gross salary amounted to 9.52 million ROL (265 euros).

Compared to January 2004, the net wages advanced by 25.3%, while the gross went up by 18.8%.

Posted by Iulia Rasoiu : 3/10/2005 09:29:00 am
Business in Romania blog
Wednesday, March 09, 2005
Business in Romania blog
Authorities prepare for a new series of regulations for the consumption credit.

At a first glimpse, is seems the new measures would refer mainly to improving the credit return rates. In fact, it is about putting a new limit for the consumption credits and this issue represents an important element in the negotiations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
The 5% decrease of the reference interest rate announced by the Central Bank at the end of the week takes the new regulations closer to coming into force.

Prime minister Calin Popescu Tariceanu announced that the authorities are about to establish a series of clear rules for eligibility in consumption credits, in order to ensure the rates' return in time, without imposing tougher credit conditions.

"We don't want to impose tougher conditions for credit obtaining, we just want to define the framework for both the one who obtains the credit and for the institutions offering it".

The relaxing statements of the prime minister are contradicted by those coming from the banking business.

Some expect the decrease of the percentage of the monthly income allowed to be considered as bank rate.

The consumption credits added up to 80,202 billion ROL (2.1 billion euros) in January.

Just as much as data say Romanians working abroad sent some.

Compared to the real estate credit, the consumption credit is 2.4 times larger and 25% of the users live in Bucharest.

Posted by Iulia Rasoiu : 3/09/2005 10:02:00 am
Business in Romania blog
Business in Romania blog
Two national privatization authorities will merge into one entity in the middle of this year, in an effort to improve their efficiency.

The Authority for State Assets Recovery (AVAS) and the Office of State Holdings and Privatization in Industry (OPSPI) will be unified, as part of a government reorganization expected to take place after Romania signs the European Union accession treaty in late April, Prime Minister Calin Popescu Taricneau said yesterday.

The unification of the two agencies is not the only government restructuring planned to increase revenues collected by the state.

Earlier this year, in an effort to have more control and increase state revenue, the government approved an emergency ordinance so that the Financial Guard and the National Customs Authority are subordinated to the Finance Ministry.

PM Tariceanu yesterday said he is unhappy with the work of the Financial Guard and asked the institution's officials to "wake up."

Monday, Tariceanu and the Finance Minister Ionut Popescu had a meeting with the directors of the National Fiscal Administration and warned them their jobs are on the line if they do not keep the debt recovery schedule that companies owe to the state budget.

AVAS yesterday blocked the bank accounts of 1,183 companies, which had debts to the National Health Fund, in an effort to recover 4.6 trillion ROL ($136.2 million).

So far, the authority has only recovered 1.6 trillion ROL ($56.6 million) of these debts.

Posted by Iulia Rasoiu : 3/09/2005 09:41:00 am
Business in Romania blog
Business in Romania blog
The Administration Council of the National Bank of Romania (BNR) has decided to liberalize the forex, the bank's release reads.

The move will give a totally free go-ahead to foreigners to perform transactions on the Romanian inter-banking market.

"Residents' and non-residents' access to the Romanian inter-banking market to perform purchase-sale orders of foreign currencies is now free for all operations," BNR said.

Following the move, foreign banks that do not have a subsidy in Romania will be allowed to operate on the local banking market.

According to a source at the national bank, the decision is to be published in the Official Gazette and it will require the changing of foreign currency regulations endorsed at the beginning of 2004.

BNR last month decided to withdraw restrictions for Romanian companies when buying foreign currencies so that they are no longer required to justify the purpose of the transactions.

BNR pledged to liberalize ROL deposits by the middle this year, after the move was postponed from its initial schedule in April.
However, the national bank is still maintaining barriers for foreign investors regarding the purchase of treasury bills and plots of lands in Romania.

Posted by Iulia Rasoiu : 3/09/2005 09:36:00 am
Business in Romania blog
Business in Romania blog
Prime Minister Calin Popescu Tariceanu yesterday appointed Laszlo Gyerko as a vice-president at the Authority for State Assets Recovery (AVAS).

The new AVAS vice-president was a credit inspector at the Harghita County branch of the Romanian Savings Bank, as well as a manager for mineral water producer Perla Harghitei.

AVAS' organization this year increased the number of its vice-presidents from two to four people. There is one more vacancy for this position.

Posted by Iulia Rasoiu : 3/09/2005 09:34:00 am
Business in Romania blog
Tuesday, March 08, 2005
Business in Romania blog
In the following 9 days I will be out of Romania. I will be at the CeBIT fair, in Hannover.

There, Kondiment Solutions has a Booth in the Romanian section where we will be presenting our Software Development services.

This is the first time for me to be at the CeBIT. Still, I have the experience of the Systems fair and this encourages me to believe the CeBIT fair will be really great. I hope to do some good business there....and to have some of that great German beer.

I will probably be quite short on posting on this blog, but I hope Iulia will cover up for me so you will be informed with the latest business news in Romania.

If you intend to visit CeBIT, you can reach me at B.15 stand in Hall 8, in the Romanian booth. Just look for the Kondiment Solutions company, we should be marked in RED.

Cheers !

Posted by Mihai Botea : 3/08/2005 04:44:00 pm
Business in Romania blog
Business in Romania blog
Banca Transilvania's brokerage firm BT Securities has acquired 5.035% in plastic plates and parts manufacturer Napochim Cluj-Napoca, following acquisitions on the RASDAQ.

Napochim's shares are listed on the RASDAQ and the stake held by Banca Transilvania's brokerage firm is worth nearly 8bn ROL (0.2 million euros) calculated at the last trading price on Friday of 3,400 ROL per share.
BT Securities officials were unavailable for comment. Napochim is controlled by the Employee Association, with some investors buying shares amid expectations of a significant price rise due to possible disbandment of the association, which currently owns more than 51% in Napochim.

The company made some 89,000 euros in net profits last year against a turnover of 3.6 million euros. Its net profits were over 48% lower than in 2003, while sales were down 4%.

Posted by Mihai Botea : 3/08/2005 01:56:00 pm
Business in Romania blog
Sunday, March 06, 2005
Business in Romania blog
Here is some nice news for those of you that are tech-fans.

Wouldn't it be nice if your cell phone could tell you when a potential love match was right across the street, or sitting behind you on the bus? That's what more than 1,000 single Singaporeans hope will happen since they've downloaded free BEDD software at bedd.com. It's simple: You program in your date-worthy attributes, a digital photo, and what you're looking for in a mate. Then, wherever you go, your cell automatically scans participating phones nearby. Once it finds a match, both phones alert their users that a great date may be just a few feet away. A similar service called Sense Six may hit the U.S. this summer, hoping to give people a high-tech way to just "bump into" a perfect partner on the street.

Thanks to Elisa for the news !

Posted by Mihai Botea : 3/06/2005 10:33:00 am
Business in Romania blog
Friday, March 04, 2005
Business in Romania blog
Orkla Foods Romania has acquired 100% of the shares of Ardealul SRL, the second largest Romanian company specialized in pate and canned meat. Ardealul reported about EUR 10 million in net revenues in 2004 and employs nearly 200 people.

"The acquisition is in line with Orkla’s long-term strategy for growth in the region," says Knut Johannessen, managing director of Orkla Foods International. "Ardealul is a well-run business in an interesting sector for Orkla," says Aliz Kosza, Chief Executive Officer of Orkla Foods Romania.

Ardealul was established in the Romanian market in 1994, as a brand and as a company. The company has a modern production technology. All the facilities and conditions meet the food safety standards required by the European Union.

Ardealul has been owned by Ovidiu Costea and Staicu Olteanu, two successful entrepreneurs with a considerable experience in the meat industry. The personnel, including the management team, have agreed to stay with the company after Orkla’s acquisition.

"We have built up the business virtually from scratch, so we are very fond of it and of its people," says Ovidiu Costea. "Orkla will add on more value to Ardealul, developing both the company and the brand," says Staicu Olteanu.

The two parties decided not to disclose the value of the transaction. The completion is pending on the approval by the Competition Council of Romania.

OFR is the market leader in all the segments where it operates. OFR has the following brands: Bunatati de la Bunica, TOMI, TOMI Snek-up, Wiesana and Frühstück si La Minut.

Posted by Mihai Botea : 3/04/2005 01:47:00 pm
Business in Romania blog
Thursday, March 03, 2005
Business in Romania blog
HVB Bank Romania, the seventh leading bank in the system in terms of assets, has reached the conclusion that the only option available to it if it wants to develop on the retail service market is to buy another bank.

"We are one of the strongest banks on the corporate sector, but our network is our weakness. In a market like Romania, it is hard to grow organically and to attain critical mass in retail, so the only option is to buy," Dan Pascariu, HVB Romania president said.

He says the smallest acquisition HVB would make in Romania would be a bank with a similar market share to its own. At the end of last year HVB accounted for 4.63% of the total assets in the banking system, little more than one billion euros, representing a 1.23% growth on 2003.

The only other banks close to this and not yet backed by powerful foreign shareholders are Banca Transilvania, which climbed to tenth position on the market with a 2.9% market share, and Banca Tiriac.

Posted by Mihai Botea : 3/03/2005 06:29:00 pm
Business in Romania blog
Wednesday, March 02, 2005
Business in Romania blog
A nice comparison between Radio Romania and the NPR in America can be found HERE. Enjoy!

Posted by Mihai Botea : 3/02/2005 10:01:00 am
Business in Romania blog
Tuesday, March 01, 2005
Business in Romania blog
This is kind of a personal post, but it could provide some insight on Business in Romania as well.

Today I celebrate 2 years of working with my current company, Kondiment Solutions. And yes, it is a reason to celebrate as I love my work here very much and I enjoyed every single day with Kondiment !

I know I must be quite lucky to be able to say this, but it's true (no, nor Horia nor Lucian are paying me to say this :) ).

I started 2 years ago by doing Research in Kondiment Solutions and after one month I started doing also some HR. I did this for about 6 months, until I switched the research part with consultancy for our clients and some of the projects we are developing.

Currently, I am doing Consultancy and also Product Management for our main product, the eKontent Portal web content management solution. Also, I am involved in another project with Kondiment Solutions, but for security reasons I can't give you more details about it right now. (code name: TB).

You probably wonder why I like Kondiment so much. Well, here are a few reasons:
- the people here are great and the general feeling is very friendly. It's a great working environment.
- the company is growing visibly from month to month and this provides great career opportunities.
- the management is clearly involved and cares about each of the employees. This also helps to the general environment and the career opportunities.

Well, that's about it. I am looking forward to my career and I hope all of you will find the best place for you to work at. Kondiment is surely the place for me.

And a special THANKS to all my colleagues at Kondiment for making each day such a nice one !

Posted by Mihai Botea : 3/01/2005 12:42:00 pm
Business in Romania blog
Business in Romania blog
A gay rights group has filed discrimination charges against Romania's TAROM airline after the company allegedly excluded gays from a Valentine's Day discount offer for lovers, officials said Monday.

The state-owned company offered travel discounts during February to couples traveling together, but the offer excluded gays, said Florin Buhuceanu, who heads Accept, Romania's main gay rights group.

Buhuceanu said he tried to purchase tickets for himself and his partner for a two-for-one sale to Beirut, Lebanon, but the travel agency told him that people of the same sex didn't qualify for the discount package.

The travel company, Paralela 45, said TAROM issued written instructions that the discount applied to couples which included a man and a woman, said Florentina Toader, a ticketing agent with the company.

Buhuceanu said another three gay couples were not allowed to take advantage of the offer.

"It is not TAROM's business what sexual orientation the lovers have," said Buhuceanu. "TAROM is making a distinction between gays and heterosexuals," he added.

He said his organization filed charges against TAROM with Romania's Anti-Discrimination board, a state institution which enforces fair practices.

The board said it was investigating the allegations and would discuss the case on Tuesday.

"Such an offer would be illegal if it refers only to members of opposing sexes," said board member Roxana Truinea.

She said the company faces a fine of up to 40 million lei (US$1,460) if found guilty of discrimination.

Buhuceanu said his organization would also sue the company in civil court to seek damages on behalf of couples who were refused the discount.

Homosexuality was a crime in Romania until 2001, when the government removed the offense from the penal code to comply with demands from the European Union, which Romania hopes to join in 2007. The country has passed a modern anti-discrimination act which bans discrimination on the basis of sex, age, ethnic or racial origin or sexual orientation.

TAROM did not immediately return messages seeking comment.

Posted by Mihai Botea : 3/01/2005 11:24:00 am
Business in Romania blog
Business in Romania blog


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