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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, June 30, 2005
Business in Romania blog
The official data released for the first five months of the year show that the imports have climbed 22.4 percent compared to the same period the year before, reaching about 12 bilion EUR.

In the same time, the exports have climbed about 17 percent, reaching about 8.60 bilion EUR.

63 percent of the imports and about 70 percent of the exports are traded with countries form the EU.

It seems the gap between the imports and exports is growing, which is obviously not very good. This why I belive some measures are to be expected in the sense of raising the consumer taxes for some products over the imports. Or, a more healthy measure would be to have some more facilities for countries exporting products, in order to stay competitive.

In the software industry, certainly there is a lot to be improved, in the sense that we could try to export more value-added products, and not only software development outsourcing services. eKontent could be one of those products, which we will market to Germany and UK in the near future :), as it already has a great impact in Romania.

What do you believe about this? What other products we could develop for this matter? What other existing software products would be appealing in other countries? Looking forward for your comments.

Posted by Mihai Botea : 6/30/2005 07:12:00 pm
Business in Romania blog
Wednesday, June 29, 2005
Business in Romania blog
Business Development Team (BDT), one of the dealers of brand Ford and Mazda in Romania established a leasing firm, which will most probably become operational this year’s fall.

This year, BDT traded new 212 vehicles and 174 commercial vehicles, around 85% being purchased in leasing system.

BDT offers buy-back services, 25% of the newly sold vehicles this year being the result of such contract.

Business Development Team has been activating as Ford dealer since 1993. The company has as main activity object the sale of new vehicles, the sale of second-hand vehicles as well the sale of Ford and Mazda spare parts and accessories.

Posted by Mihai Botea : 6/29/2005 08:23:00 pm
Business in Romania blog
Monday, June 27, 2005
Business in Romania blog
Dacia is the best-known Romanian brand, with an instant recognition factor of 45.1 percent in 2005, according to the High Impact Brands 2005 study by research company Synovate and Biz magazine.

Claiming second place in the list is Arctic, with an instant recognition rate of 26.3 percent. The third Romanian brand on the list is the BCR. The commercial bank was cited instantly by 18.7 percent and is closely followed by: Logan with 14.2 percent, Borsec with 13.5, Izvorul Minunilor with 11.2, Ursus 9.2, Romtelecom 8.8, Frutti Fresh 8.4, Dero 7 percent, Poiana 6.9, Pro TV 6.8, Farmec 6.4 and Carpati with 6.4 percent.

The global brand with the highest impact in Romania however is Ariel, which was cited by 40 percent of respondents. Next was Colgate, which the study showed was perceived as a friendly, accessible and approachable brand.Nokia, which last year occupied the fifth spot, rose two places to third this year.

Coca-Cola fell from the top spot to fifth in the list of high-impact brands in Romania, with 36.1 percent mentions from all answers.

Posted by Iulia Rasoiu : 6/27/2005 10:49:00 am
Business in Romania blog
Sunday, June 26, 2005
Business in Romania blog
It happens to all of us to brose the web and reach a website that requires you to register in order to have access to some content. For example, the New York Times at http://www.nytimes.com.

In order to avoid this, you can make an account to that website, or better yet, use an existing account. This is what BugMeNot.com does...they have a database of accounts for different websites and you can use one of them in order to get past that annoying registration thing.

You can check it out here: www.bugmenot.com.

Posted by Mihai Botea : 6/26/2005 01:43:00 pm
Business in Romania blog
Friday, June 24, 2005
Business in Romania blog
Romanian company Softwin won 28 percent of the French antivirus software market in the first quarter of 2005, with its product, BitDefender Professional, GfK research data shows.

“We foresee a 35 percent market share in France in 2005,” BitDefender sales director Maciej Dziobek said.

The product, launched in 2002, ranks second for sales in French shops. Its main competitor in France was Symantec. The Romanian product is third on the German market.

The Romanian company estimates it has a 2 percent market share worldwide. It aims to get to 40 through its distribution network. Softwin currently has distribution partnerships with companies in 37 countries.

Earlier this year, the firm entered the Russian market, where its target is to meet in the medium term 5 percent of the software demand.
At end-2004, BitDefender technology protected around 41 million users in 100 countries. The software is now available in 17 languages, and the technical support in 14.

Posted by Iulia Rasoiu : 6/24/2005 12:30:00 pm
Business in Romania blog
Thursday, June 23, 2005
Business in Romania blog
French direct investments in Romania will gain some seven percent this year, according to Philippe Boin, the French commercial attache in Romania, who participated in a Romanian - French business forum also attended by Romanian President Traian Basescu.

By the end of last year, 3,472 French companies had invested 1.1 billion EUR in Romania.

The leading French companies operating in Romania are: Accor, Alcatel, Alstom, Air France, Bouygues, Bricostore, Cora, Danone, Eurocopter, Gaz de France, Hyparlo-Carrefour, Lafarge, Michelin, Orange, Renault, Serve, Soconac, Societe Generale, Veolia Water and Vinci.

In 2004, Romanian-French trade amounted to 3.5 billion EUR, up by 29 percent year-on-year. The Y2005 estimate is 4.5 billion EUR.

Posted by Mihai Botea : 6/23/2005 01:25:00 pm
Business in Romania blog
Wednesday, June 22, 2005
Business in Romania blog
The Council of Better Business Bureaus (CBBB), located in Arlington, USA, has agreed to grant an operating license to Romania's Better Business Bureau (BBB), which will provide a physical presence for the BBB outside of North America.

"I believe that CBBB's initiative, the first in Europe, will be received with enthusiasm by both the public and private sectors, and by the consumer. BBB Romania is a welcomed complement to our government's efforts and, as such, we look forward to being a partner in this process," said George Copos, state minister for business and small and medium size enterprises.

Founded in 1912, the BBB's mission is to promote and foster the highest ethical relationship between businesses and the public through voluntary self-regulation, consumer and business education, and service excellence. The CBBB and all local Better Business Bureaus are non-governmental, non-profit organizations.

The vice chair of the board of BBB Romania, Aurelia Dragomirescu, who is legal director of Connex, a founding member, stated that she and her colleagues had requested affiliation with the Better Business Bureau system for several reasons. "The BBB system has a successful history of fostering high standards of responsibility in business practices and services aimed at complementing consumer protection efforts by the government. By establishing a Better Business Bureau to serve Romania, we hope to have a positive impact on our country's business climate, develop stronger ties to the west, particularly the U.S., and demonstrate to the European Union the ability to exercise aggressive consumer protection and self-regulation," she said.

Well, we are looking forward to hearing more from the BBB and to see how it improves our business.

The founding members of BBB Romania consist of multinational and local companies. They include MobiFon; Philip Morris; Saatchi & Saatchi; Raiffeisen Bank; Microsoft Romania; Colgate-Palmolive; Coca-Cola; HBO Romania; Telemobil S.A.; IBM Romania; Rom Recycling-Trafigura Group; Experian Scorex; Stewart Information Services; Kasolvenzia; Finansbank; ANA Group; and media outlets such as Academia Catavencu, Ringier Group, Romania Libera and LEADERS Magazine. Also providing support for the launch of BBB Romania is an Honorary Board of Directors, led by Nadia Comaneci, and including Robert Turcescu, Lia Roberts, Andrei Postelnicu, Dr. Leonard I. Linkow and Radu Teodorescu.

Posted by Mihai Botea : 6/22/2005 02:53:00 pm
Business in Romania blog
Monday, June 20, 2005
Business in Romania blog
About a week ago, Grapefruit launched an initiative ment to help to the long-discussed process of Branding Romania.

The project consists in a forum opened at www.brandingromania.com. The idea is simple: some personalities (like Bill Clinton, Michael Bird, Marius Tuca and others) write articles about Romania and the branding process and people can comment on them.

I hope this project will turn into a success, but I believe the initiative must be promoted better, in order to attract more visitors. Also, an english version of the website (at least describing the initiative) would be welcome.

In the end, congratulations to Grapefruit, for their second initiative aimed at the general public. Previous was Wireality, a forum about branding and corporate ID.

Posted by Mihai Botea : 6/20/2005 06:57:00 pm
Business in Romania blog
Friday, June 17, 2005
Business in Romania blog
This is not some very hot news, but it is still very important.

Flamingo is the first Romanian IT company to go public and make a public subscription offer for getting listed to the Stock Market.

The subscription period is 15 - 22 June 2005 and 17.000.000 stocks are being sold (with the possibility of increasing this value by 15% in case of over-subscription).

The price for each stock is between 18.000 and 24.000 ROL.

Flamingo is expected to get listed to BVB (Bucharest Stock Exchange) by mid-July the latest.

And here is some news: by the end of yesterday (16.06.2005) 40% of the listed stocks have been sold. This is also determined by the 10% stocks that will be given as a bonus to the first subscribers.

If you are interested in buying stocks for Flamingo you should consult the English Prospectus and the English Financial Statements of the company.

More details can be found on www.flamingo.info.

Posted by Mihai Botea : 6/17/2005 10:52:00 am
Business in Romania blog
Thursday, June 16, 2005
Business in Romania blog
UK-based international PR and public affairs firm Chelgate Limited has opened an office in Bucharest.

According to Terence Fane-Saunders, Chelgate chairman, the company’s client services in Romania will range from government relations and strategic public affairs to media relations and marketing support programs.

The Bucharest office is headed by Mirela Meita, who previously worked as a counselor in the Foreign Affairs Department of the Romanian Chamber of Deputies and as head of the office of the chancellery of the president.

Meita declined to name the company’s clients, saying it was Chelgate’s policy to keep a discreet profile about the companies they represent.

Posted by Iulia Rasoiu : 6/16/2005 03:00:00 pm
Business in Romania blog
Wednesday, June 15, 2005
Business in Romania blog
A friend of mine recently decided to start his own business. And I believe he came up with a great idea.

In short, the idea is about placing banners for companies on personal cars. He has a database with some hundreds drivers in Bucharest who are willing to place commercials on their cars for a fair ammount of monthly cash.

Also, it is a nice mean of promotion for companies, who now have a new medium to be creative in and some more space for advertising.

The prices are very decent too.

If you are interested in his offer or just interested in the business concept, take a look at www.colantauto.ro (only Romanian version of the website for now).

Posted by Mihai Botea : 6/15/2005 06:23:00 pm
Business in Romania blog
Business in Romania blog
According to the latest statistics, there were 4 milion Romanians on the web last month (May that is). This is 23% higher than the number in the beginning of the year and the figure is likely to reach 5 milion by the end of the year.

The Romanian websites have been visited by 4.105.000 people from Romania and 10.528.000 people from other countries. The most popular websites are the download websites, the news websites ( like this blog :) ), followed by entertainment and dating services.

82% of the visitors were using Internet Explorer and Firefox comes second with a 9.42%.

These statistics have been provided by Trafic.ro and they cover the data collected from 15.000 active websites in Romania.

Posted by Mihai Botea : 6/15/2005 10:31:00 am
Business in Romania blog
Tuesday, June 14, 2005
Business in Romania blog
Italy's UniCredit bank and German group HVB announced the banks' boards agreed with the fusion of the two financial institutions.

The transaction, worth around 20 billion euros, is Europe's largest banking deal.

The transaction created "the first European bank." as stated by HVB's executive manager Dieter Rampl, and will merge investments of the two banks in Central Europe and their local markets.

Alessandro Profumo will manage the new financial institution and will be president of the administrative board, which will include 11 people, five from HVB.

According to a UniCredit press release, key features of the transactions include undisputed leadership in Central and Eastern Europe, a bank more than two times larger than its nearest competitor by total assets, enhanced and diversified business and geographic mix, close to one billion euros of estimated annual pre-tax synergies fully realised by 2008, of which over 90% result from lower costs and the rest from increased revenues.

Posted by Iulia Rasoiu : 6/14/2005 05:11:00 pm
Business in Romania blog
Business in Romania blog
A delegation from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) will arrive today in Bucharest to discuss with the Romanian authorities about the two and three evaluations of the stand-by agreement.

Negotiations will concern macro-economic growth, the fiscal and budgetary policy and also the budgetary rectification, sources from the Ministry of Finance stated.

Also, aspects of the monetary and wage policy will be discussed. Romanian officials and an IMF team discussed in February about this agreement but the technical discussion regarding the second and third evaluations were not finalized.

Posted by Iulia Rasoiu : 6/14/2005 05:08:00 pm
Business in Romania blog
Business in Romania blog
Gazprom, Russia's natural gas export monopoly, may secure partnership with E.ON AG, Germany's biggest utility, in energy distribution projects in Romania.

Ruhrgas AG, a gas unit of E.ON, last August won a bid to buy a majority stake in Distrigaz Nord SA, a Romanian distributor of the fuel. The sale still has to be completed, the Romanian government said last month.

Gazprom, which seeks access to gas users in Europe, where the Russian company supplies a quarter of consumed fuel, is in talks with E.ON on possible joint projects in gas production, marketing and power generation. Germany's E.ON is also buying power distribution assets in Romania.

In the same time, it seems Shell will be selling its GPL division and leave Romania....I wonder if they will sell to GAZPROM. More details in this article (romanian version only).

Posted by Mihai Botea : 6/14/2005 10:45:00 am
Business in Romania blog
Monday, June 13, 2005
Business in Romania blog
Last year, Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capital in Romania was 32 per cent of the average level registered in the EU member states, whereas Bulgaria’s was 30 per cent, according to Eurostat.

The highest level per capital, calculated according to the parity of purchasing standards, was registered in Luxembourg where this indicator had a value that was double as against the EU average.

From among the EU countries, Ireland had 40 per cent over the average, and 20 per cent over the average GDP was registered in Denmark, Austria, Holland, UK and Belgium.

Sweden and Finland registered values by 15 per cent higher, while France and Germany outperformed by 10 per cent as against the European average level.

A slightly higher GDP than the EU average was registered last year by Italy as well (+ 5 per cent). V

alues over average were registered in the three non - EU members - Norway (+53 per cent), Switzerland (+3o per cent) and Iceland (+ 16 per cent).

On the other side, Spain was right below the European average, followed by Greece, Cyprus and Slovenia, where this indicator had values by 20 per cent lower.

In Portugal, Malta and Czech Republic, this GDP per inhabitant was by 30 per cent below the average level, while Hungary was by 40 per cent below the average EU level.

According to Eurostat, GDP was half of the European average in the new members states, such as Slovakia, Estonia, Lithuania and Poland.

The lowest level per inhabitant among the EU member states was registered in Latvia, where this indicator was by 55 per cent below the average.

From among the countries whose accession is in progress, the highest value was registered in Croatia, 46 per cent of the EU average, followed by Romania (32 per cent), Bulgaria (30 per cent) and Turkey (29 per cent).

The Euro zone countries had last year a GDP per inhabitant that was by 7 per cent over the EU average level. (M.H.)

Posted by Iulia Rasoiu : 6/13/2005 01:38:00 pm
Business in Romania blog
Friday, June 10, 2005
Business in Romania blog
Axway, wholly owned subsidiary of Sopra Group – company quoted on the Euronext Paris stock market – announces the acquisition of a Romanian company, Crinsoft SRL.

Through its subsidiary Axway, Sopra Group announces the acquisition of Crinsoft SRL, a Romanian company specialised in research and development for software houses. Located in Bucharest, Crinsoft employs 50 staff.

This operation adds to Axway's current resource development sites in France. The decision to establish a foothold in Eastern Europe is in line with the strategic objectives of the company. It will help accelerate the evolution of current offerings and further extend the indirect distribution network.

More details on www.sopragroup.com.

Posted by Mihai Botea : 6/10/2005 12:48:00 pm
Business in Romania blog
Wednesday, June 08, 2005
Business in Romania blog
A recent article reveals Mugur Isarescu's salary (Mugur Isarescu is the Governor of the Romanian National Bank). It seems he earned about 91.000 USD las year, or an average of 6.200 EUR / month.

So he earns more than me :).....but less than:

- Alan Greenspan - 171.000 USD / year
- George Bush - 200.000 USD / year
- Mervyn King (National Bank of England)- 411.000 USD / year

If you want to see Mugur Isarescu's income papers, as well as the income statements of other NBR officials, please check www.bnro.ro/Ro/Org/declaratii.asp.

Personally, I can say I admire Mugur Isarescu ... he managed to do a good job as head of NBR for many years now, and the Bank has quite a good reputation in Romania. This is very important for a National Bank, and Isarescu managed to keep himself and the institution he runs out of major scandals. Keep up the good work !

Posted by Mihai Botea : 6/08/2005 02:42:00 pm
Business in Romania blog
Business in Romania blog
Interamerican Romania will increase its share capital by ROL108.6 bn. (EUR3 mn.), up to ROL275.93 bn., by cash inflows and re-conversion of two loans received by company in 2005 from Eureko BV, the major shareholder of the insurance company.

In January 2004, the Interamerican shareholders had on the daily agenda of an AGA (General Shareholders Meeting) session, the proposition on increasing the share capital by EUR3 mn.

At that time, the company’s officials said that the capital infusion has as purpose the development and launching of new health insurances products, that will be offered in conjunction with the medical services system organized by Interamerican which will include the first private hospital from Romania.

The plans on the company’s development were postponed until 2005.

In other news Interamerican will also launch the Medisystem private health policies, both for individuals and legal entities.

Interamerican entered the Romanian market in 1995 and it owns a distribution network including 55 territorial units.

Posted by Mihai Botea : 6/08/2005 12:44:00 am
Business in Romania blog
Friday, June 03, 2005
Business in Romania blog
Sabanci Holding, Turkey's second business group, is interested in opening a cement factory in Romania with a 150 million dollars investment and an estimated capacity of one million tons per year.

Sabanci also aims to become involved in marketing domestic or imported electrical energy.

The Turkish group own more than 70 companies with activities in fields like textiles, cement or energy.
In Romania there are 9 cement factories owned by Lafarge(France), HeidelbergCement(Germany) and Holcim(Switzerland).
In 2004, imports in this sector increased significantly, reaching 5-6% of total sales.

Posted by Iulia Rasoiu : 6/03/2005 09:53:00 am
Business in Romania blog
Wednesday, June 01, 2005
Business in Romania blog
The value of transactions carried out through remote access payment instruments and their numbers doubled in comparison with the same period of 2004, along with the number of users, Minister of Communications and Information Technology ((MCTI) Zsolt Nagy stated Tuesday.

He said the number of users for this type of instruments was approximately 56,000, most of them companies.

The value of transactions made through e-banking systems reached 12.6 billion euros.

According to Nagy, there are currently 33 remote access payment instruments being offered by 24 banks.

Posted by Iulia Rasoiu : 6/01/2005 10:57:00 am
Business in Romania blog
Business in Romania blog
The total value of the contract is estimated at 311 million euros.

The privatization process of Romanian gas distribution company Distrigaz Sud was concluded yesterday with French company Gas de France (GdF). The contract was signed last October after GdF agreed to pay 128 million euros for 30 percent of the Romanian company and invest another 183 million euros through a capital increase.

The latter should increase GdF's participation in Distrigaz Sud to 51 percent and the government will keep 49% of the gas company.

Distrigaz Sud's infrastructure covers 20 counties over a 100,000 square kilometer area and supplies natural gas to 11 million individual and 40,000 industrial consumers.

The management team of Distrigaz Sud will be "mostly French" in the first phase after the privatization in order to ensure the company's successful integration into Gaz de France, according to Jean Abiteboul, GdF manager for international operations.

The government's program for privatizations in the energy branch includes the sale of Romgaz SA, Electrica Muntenia Sud and other companies in the energy sector. Regarding the privatization process of Romgaz SA, local authorities announced the deadline for letters of intent from financial consultants is June 20.

Posted by Iulia Rasoiu : 6/01/2005 10:51:00 am
Business in Romania blog
Business in Romania blog


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