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E n j o y t h e Q u a l i t y ***** A d m i r e t h e V a l u e *****

m a g a z i n e

w w w. b u s i n e s s - a r e n a . r o


“The most important thing is not where we stand now but where we want to get to”. to” pages 06-08

special section inside



pages 42 - 59

No.75/2018 23lei



WARNING SIGNALS In a time when the focus of the ruling coalition seems to be more and more out of touch with the country’s actual development needs, there is an increasing number of red flags for the economy. For example, a quick glance at the statement released by the IMF at the end of its recent mission to Romania should be enough to send a few chills down the spines of local political decision-makers. Meanwhile, the business community is showing increasing dissatisfaction with the general conditions offered by the local business environment. Coming back to the IMF’s statement, it noted that in spite of the strong economic expansion, without policy changes, Romania’s growth would “turn increasingly fragile.” It said: “Monetary tightening alone would have to push interest rates to a level that weighs on investment and competitiveness. Continuing sizable fiscal deficits, especially with low investment spending, would also reduce the space to support the economy in future downturns and weaken Romania’s growth potential.” The IMF expects growth to decelerate from last year’s 6.9 percent level, quoting multiple factors: “a waning fiscal impulse, low public investment, slow progress on structural reforms, and tightening financial conditions.” It added: “We project GDP growth to be about five percent in 2018 and to slow towards three percent over the medium term. Risks to this outlook are tilted to the downside. Global financial volatility, further deterioration in fiscal and external balances, or weakening of institutions could dent investor confidence in Romania. The continuation of current expansionary policies would undermine the country’s capacity to withstand a severe shock.” In this context, the Foreign Investors’ Council said the latest results of the FIC Business Sentiment Index confirmed the steep decline in trust recorded last year, even though 54 percent of respondents forecast a growth in revenues.


Cristian Cojanu

“Over 70 percent of respondents said that events in the past six months (the reference period) have lowered their trust in the local business environment and believe this has deteriorated,” an FIC statement noted. The FIC Business Sentiment Index has identified several structural constraints holding back new investments: “68 percent of respondents believe the available workforce is not competitive enough compared to other peer locations; 85 percent believe the Romanian fiscal system is uncompetitive and we believe this is mostly due to the constant changes of the Fiscal Code and the lack of modernization of the fiscal administration; 96 percent said they face difficulties in operating their business due to regulation that is unclear and in constant flux; 92 percent characterized the available infrastructure as uncompetitive which is no longer a surprise for anybody; 100 percent of respondents have said bureaucracy is a burden compared to other locations in Europe where they do business and respondents have also unanimously complained about the transparency and consistency of public policy.” The FIC also pointed out that foreign investments reached 4.5 billion euro in 2017, slightly up compared to 2016 and 2015, but still far from the pre-crisis volumes recorded in 2007-2008. It added: “The FIC message for policy makers is that as long as existing investors harbor the current perception regarding the local business environment the chances of attracting significant new investments will be slim. With this level of trust, it is unlikely Romania will attract new investments in areas with continued high unemployment, in key economic sectors like utilities or in public-private partnerships which the Government is currently championing.” Meanwhile, Business Arena will continue to keep an eye on all the issues affecting the business community, reflecting its views, hopes and challenges. From all of us here at Business Arena, Enjoy the quality, Admire the value!



In spite frequent changes in legislation and dwindling numbers of skilled workers, Romania continues to be an attractive market for Austrian investors, according to Her Excellency Ms. Isabel Rauscher, the Ambassador of the Republic of Austria. In an interview with Business Arena, the Austrian diplomat outlines the priorities for bilateral cooperation, prospects for even closer economic cooperation and Austria’s view on the future of Europe.


From Brexit, to a rise in euro-skepticism and populism, the European Union has seen some difficult times lately. Many leaders have suggested that profound changes were necessary so the EU could adapt to the new realities on the continent. What is Austria’s view on the issue? What needs to change in the EU, so things could run more smoothly? Would Austria support a multi-speed Europe? Undoubtedly, the European Union has been confronted with unexpected challenges over the past decades; allow me to recall, as examples, the financial crisis, events in our neighborhood, the migration crisis, terrorism within the EU and Brexit. In our view, certain adaptations are called for to the way – and the rapidity in which – the Union reacts. Furthermore, we need to concentrate on priorities, i.e. those areas in which acting jointly as a Union provides added value and added impetus. The European Union is, at present, at a turning point. Austria is in favor of tackling the challenges that lie before us in a more efficient way. The upcoming departure of the United Kingdom from the EU should provide / serve as momentum to bring about certain adjustments to the current approach and procedures. This is why the debate on the future of

Europe is of utmost importance: in our view, the EU should concentrate on key challenges, bring subsidiarity to the fore and regain the trust of its citizens. The key policies and challenges are migration and protection of our external borders, internal and external security, economic and social development, deepening of the Economic and Monetary Union, the future scope and priorities of the EU’s finances and the functioning of the Union. I would like to explain this more in detail: from an Austrian point of view, the EU should cooperate more closely on the big issues in line with the principle of subsidiarity. At the same time, the EU should avoid overregulation and restrain itself on issues where Member States or regions can act more efficiently on their respective levels. Consequently, Austria is committed to “doing less more efficiently”, as proposed in the European Commission White Paper on the Future of Europe. In domains with only limited EU added value the EU-27 should stop or reduce its activities. Austria is not in favor of a multi-speed Europe. We have instruments for a differentiated integration at hand, if needed, but our focus is rather on the combination of joint priority actions and subsidiarity. We should avoid creating gaps between or camps among Member States and should instead jointly shape our European future.


Her Excellency Ms. Isabel Rauscher, the Ambassador of the Republic of Austria

How would you characterize Romanian – Austrian relations, and what areas of cooperation could be improved? The excellent relations between Austria and Romania are shaped by geographical proximity, historical commonalities and intensive economic links. Our cultural ties are extremely close, similarities obvious. Naturally, there is always room for more – for increased investment opportunities, for deeper in-depth knowledge of the other, for additional city partnerships and for more people-to-people contacts.

It is precisely this varied and open-ended agenda which not only constitutes our professional life but also makes it so interesting and rewarding.

What was the estimated volume of bilateral trade in 2017? According to the figures just released for 2017, the total volume of bilateral trade amounted to 3.65 billion euros. This is an increase of 9.1% compared to 2016 and confirms the steady annual growth in our bilateral trade.


What is the total volume of Austrian investment in Romania, and how many Austrian-owned companies are currently registered in Romania? As you are aware, Austria is one of the leading investors in Romania. Some of the most significant investments ever made outside Austria in its post-war economic history were undertaken in Romania. I need only refer to OMV/Petrom and Erste Bank/BCR. The total volume of Austrian investments is to the order of 7.58 billion euros. Over 3,000 firms with Austrian capital are registered in Romania and these companies directly employ more than 100 000 Romanians.

Is there any untapped potential for economic cooperation between the two countries? In what sectors? As always, and as I mentioned earlier, there are infinite possibilities for further cooperation. Romania has significant potential and manifold resources. Given the expertise available locally, Romania is a particularly attractive location in the field of information technology. Another potential of special interest lies in the tourism trade, both incoming and outgoing. There are still vast untapped opportunities for expanding in this sector. Furthermore, to take just a few examples, Austria is a leader in the field of effective use of alternative energy, energy generation from waste recycling and biological agro-production.


What are the main difficulties that Austrian investors have encountered in Romania lately? To what extent could those negative aspects deter further investments here? Romania is and remains of interest to Austrian investors. Some concerns that have been mentioned to me by Austrians doing business in Romania are an increasing lack of skilled labor and certain regulations that at times seem erratic in their repeated and unexpected changes. What specific improvements in the local business environment could encourage more Austrian investors to come here?

A stable economic and legal environment – stable in the sense of predictability and continuity in the legal framework would certainly reassure many current and future investors.

What assistance can the Embassy provide to Austrian investors looking for opportunities in this market? The Commercial Section of the Austrian Embassy, the Austrian Foreign Trade Center, is the representative of the Austrian economy in Bucharest. It is extremely active in promoting and supporting Austrian investors, in bringing Austrian expertise and Romanian demand together and in acting as an interface between interested investors and identifiable possibilities. The Austrian Foreign Trade Center offers a broad variety of services both to Austrian companies and to their international business partners. What are your main professional objectives in 2018? In the second half of this year, Austria will assume – for the third time since we joined the EU – the Presidency of the Council of the European Union. In this role, we will be followed immediately by Romania which will take over the Presidency during the first half of 2019. Our joint professional objectives will clearly be marked by the agenda of our backto-back Presidencies. At the same time, 2018 is a year of historical relevance both to Romania and to modern Austria. Both of our states were founded in 1918, both of us now look back and celebrate jointly a centenary of our modern existence. What major objectives would you like to have achieved by the end of your term in Bucharest? I have just arrived, so I prefer to look forward rather than pre-empt a retrospective! Having said that, naturally I very much hope and intend to push forward certain projects and agendas in the coming years – politically, economically, culturally and people-topeople. By the time I move on, I would like to know that our contribution as a team at the Austrian Embassy will have left tangible proof of the ever-intensifying relations between Austria and Romania.

in partnership with

The most important female figures in business, fashion, culture, and diplomacy were among the award winners at the previous editions of Business Arena’s Most Admired Business Women Awards.

As a general trend, more and more women are entering the workforce worldwide, yet more needs to be done to advance women to senior leadership positions. Even so, an increasing number of women manage industrial facilities, major companies and build their own successful businesses in Romania nowadays. They have achieved a high level of recognition. Therefore Business Arena Magazine proudly announces the upcoming special awards gala dedicated to the ladies that make a difference in business. Business Arena Magazine recognizes the creativity and leadership of women in the workplace and their vital contribution to the success of business and banking activities throughout Romania.

For more information please contact Cosmin Stangaciu at or phone 0755.274.125


APULUM SHAREHOLDERS SEE THEIR EFFORTS PAY OFF After ten years of hard work, the shareholders of Alba Iulia-based porcelain manufacturer Apulum finally see their efforts pay off. During that time, the company has succeeded in increasing its monthly turnover from 2.5 million lei to around 14.5 million lei. It has also expanded its staff from 600 to 1,500, while recording a profit every year since 2011. And there is more good news, as 2018 brings the first dividends to the shareholders.



made the transition to a new managerial strategy, with ambitious policies, new technology and annual investment programs. This new Looking back with pride, company co-owner approach has led to a solid increase in producRodica Vasin said: “Together with my business tion capacity, allowing the company to secure partner, Mr. Alvaro Santini, we have managed a significant coverage of the domestic market to help this porcelain manufacturer gain a portand expand on foreign markets. According to folio of important customers, while achieving a the company, its production has achieved a sizable increase in production capacity, a modvery high quality level, being on a par with ern technological flow, and a diverse producmajor international brands.      tion. It’s been hard work, but we’ve succeedApulum started ed, without the use exporting to the of European or “Building a company’s image Middle East, and it local funding.”        begins with an efficient has gradually Over the last 10 expanded its reach communication policy, respect years, the compato demanding ny’s image has for partners, both internal European markets, changed dramati(employees) and external with a long tradition cally, from a trouin porcelain manu(suppliers, customers, bled entity, grapfacturing (the UK, pling with large institutions, banks), and it is the Sweden, Italy, debts and poor first investment that a confident Greece, France, production quality, etc.). Today, it is a to a strong organientrepreneur will make.” constant presence zation that has Rodica Vasin at major internationmade a name for al specialized trade itself on the marfairs (such as Ambiente in Frankfurt), and it ket, with its products, services and care for its already has firm commercial relations with own employees.      important customers in Norway, Spain, “Building a company’s image begins with an Mexico, Ukraine, Germany, the Netherlands, efficient communication policy, respect for and Denmark.    partners, both internal (employees) and exterIn that context, Rodica Vasin believes that nal (suppliers, customers, institutions, banks), clear objectives represent the key to business and it is the first investment that a confident success. “The clearer the targets, the bigger entrepreneur will make,” said Rodica Vasin.    the odds to succeed. However, in life, in any Following the acquisition of its majority activity, one should allow for a bit of spontanestake by a sole investor in 2007, the company





ity and spur-of-the-moment inspiration,” she tions, but they provide realistically planned said, and added: “I’m saying that because, objectives.”       back in 2007, I made an important decision, Speaking about professional success, of which I am proud. I invested in the Apulum Rodica Vasin emphasizes the importance of porcelain factory, which is today, in 2018, the being aware of our own skills and abilities. largest porcelain producer in Europe, offering a “It gives us a great advantage in making the wide range of products and enjoying worldwide right choice that, in the long run, can bring recognition."       fulfilment and satisfaction.” She also said: Rodica Vasin also believes that business “A woman must lead a constant battle in a success requires a strong will to succeed, society asking her to fill specific roles. She a lot of effort, ambition, and a bit of luck. needs to prove her strength and, with tact and “One should be able to see the opportunities diplomacy, turn feminine sensitiveness and and seize them when they appear. Sometimes, candor from apparent weaknesses into proofs I saw them, sometimes, I didn’t, but I know for of strength and self-knowledge.” On that note, a fact that I have even created some opportushe points out that that the image she has nities for myself. Even so, I have always created for herself is that of a “strong, ambiregarded success as the result of a team tious person, who has committed herself to effort.”     beating limitations, with a strong confidence in She added: “Business decisions are made her own capacity to learn constantly from others every day. They and from her own are all important, experiences.”  as their role is to Rodica Vasin com“A company’s corporate identity is improve operapleted her professional not just an image stunt. A successful tions, reduce education in Romania, company has an identity, a true and costs, increase but since 1980 she has product quality, had the chance to genuine behavior. To create a employee and explore new opportunipositive image, companies can use customer satisties abroad. “I spent both classic advertising, targeting an faction. Our the first three years in entire range of potential customers, most recent the commercial segstrategic deciment, as I was appoinand corporate advertising, allowing sions include the ted commercial managrecipients to form an opinion. A launch of a higher just six months after company’s image and strategy don’t end range of I joined a fashion prooffer immediate solutions, but they products, with duction company. The limited volumes, business contacts I provide realistically planned targeting a segmade in Europe and in objectives.”     ment of the luxuthe United States ry market.” allowed me to consider The compaentrepreneurship on ny’s management team has built the Apulum my return from the US. So, in 1983 I started a brand, under the majority shareholder’s guidcompany on my own, focusing on distribution ance, and its consolidation and growth are on the Italian market. Of course, I favored ensured with new future projects focusing on Romanian companies, and I became a regular development and efficiency improvement, crecustomer for important companies such as: ating new jobs and implementing an integrated Emailul Medias, Apulum SA Alba Iulia, Iris Clujmanagement system. “A company’s corporate Napoca, Arpo Curtea de Arges, Ceramar, identity is not just an image stunt. A successCesiro, and Stil Glass Suceava”. ful company has an identity, a true and genComing back to the present and to the uine behavior. To create a positive image, near future, one of our goals is to improve companies can use both classic advertising, and strenghten the presence of Apulum on the targeting an entire range of potential cusdomestic market. Today 90% of the production tomers, and corporate advertising, allowing reaches foreign markets, tomorrow we would recipients to form an opinion. A company’s be pleased and proud to see Apulum’s brand image and strategy don’t offer immediate soluon more Romanian tables.

in partnership with

Business Arena Magazine is proud to announce the 18th edition of its annual event dedicated to the leaders in the financial market:


Some 200 persons from the financial and baking sectors, directors of investment funds and representatives of some of the largest companies in Romania, together with representatives of the local authorities, high government officials and diplomats will take part in this exclusive event. Invited to give the opening remarks at last year's edition, Radu Gratian Ghetea, President of CEC Bank and Honorary President of the Romanian Banking Association, emphasized that Romania needed true leaders in business, but he pointed out that the path to becoming a leader was long and difficult. "From graduating university to actually becoming a manager and then from being manager to becoming a leader we are looking at two very long journeys that need to be traveled. Tonight, we are about to find out who are the people and organizations that have succeeded in achieving leadership status in their business sectors,� said Ghetea. Business Arena Magazine is proud to recognize the achievements and successes of banks, financial institutions and business leaders that have found the winning strategies in spite of the challenging economic background.

For more information please contact Cosmin Stangaciu at or phone 0755.274.125



In an interview with Business Arena, Tal Lahav, CEO, SIXT Group Romania, looks at the main developments in the market and outlines the company’s 2018 priorities.


How would you characterize SIXT Group’s activity on the Romanian market in 2017? What were the group’s main successes, and which areas of business failed to meet expectations? In 2017, more than ever, we focused on our “Always Yes” philosophy. We looked closely at the market and at our customers’ needs with a view to building strong collaborations and partnerships and developing our products so we could provide the best valueto-price, tailor-made solutions to our customers. Also, because we believe that people come first, we looked inside our company and invested in the development of a synergetic, proactive Group, with a talented and creative team of professionals. From a financial perspective, our Group recorded a 2017 turnover of over 28 million euros, posting a five percent increase from the year before. The total investment value for the same period stood at over 13 million euros, a 10 percent hike from 2016. Last year, the fleet of SIXT Leasing and SIXT Rent a Car reached over 4,000 cars in administration, accounting for a 15 percent increase from the year before. SIXT SH (the multi-brand secondhand car division of SIXT) and Union Motors (the Opel new car sales division) reported combined sales of over 1,000 cars. The Union Motors car servicing and repair unit, one of the largest such facilities in Romania, also reported a 15 percent increase in operations, providing services for Dacia, Renault, Opel, and multi-brand vehicles at a rate of 80-100 units daily. We have long-term plans and aspirations in a market where only the most flexible and innovative ones can create value and make a difference.

What are your priorities in terms of growth and expansion in 2018? We aim to continue our development in the Romanian market and keep a market-leading position in all our activities. In 2018, SIXT Group Romania will continue to capitalize on its differentiators, the “Always Yes Philosophy” and the “One-Stop Shop System”, and offer all its services under the same umbrella: operational leasing (, rent a car (, SH cars (, new cars (Opel authorized dealer – and servicing and repair services – one of the largest in Romania (authorized for Dacia, Renault, Opel, and multi-brand – We aim to provide cutting-edge, value-adding solutions to the market at the best price-to-value ratio. We strive to continue to be adaptable and flexible for our customers and to support the market’s development by creating value and making a difference. We will continue to provide for our customers the same partnership, which includes, among others, tailor-made solutions, top-quality services, and flexibility. We will keep supporting SMEs, offering them similar advantages, which are usually available for large companies. All our efforts are concentrated on facing challenges with an “Always Yes” attitude. We have the right services, the unique mix of professional team and the right attitude to continue developing our business. How developed is Romania’s fleet management market compared to other markets in the region? What growth opportunities can it provide? One of the main challenges in the local market is that the advantages of car rental


and leasing have yet to be fully understood. At international level, operational leasing and rent a car services are common services, very well integrated in the daily life of individuals and companies.

In Romania, the operational leasing market is at a low level when compared to western European countries. To be more specific, in recent years, this has accounted for less than one fifth of the total number of newly regis-



tered cars in one year, compared to a rate of one half to one third of the overall new registrations in western countries. One main reason for this is that there is still a market learning curve related to the benefits of operational lease and rent a car. Operational leasing and rent a car services are great products for mature markets, and in the eastern European countries they have grown steadily. In the last few years, the operational leasing industry has seen a two-digit growth every year, and more and more companies are using cars as a tool rather than an asset. This has led us to the conclusion that the local business environment is developing and making progress in understanding that for efficient operations, most of the time, operational leasing and rent a car services are the better options.

What was the estimated volume of Romania’s operational leasing sector last year and what was your market share? According to ASLO and our estimations, the operational leasing market closed the third quarter of 2017 with an increase of over 10 percent compared to 2016, with less than 50,000 units in administration. Our operational leasing market share stands at around seven percent, and we intend to increase it to eight – 10 percent in the near future, while reaching a total rent a car and operational leasing fleet of 5,000 cars.


What investments were allocated to your rent a car division in 2017? What are the main elements that your development strategy has been built on? In 2017, our Rent a Car and Operational Leasing divisions managed over 4,000 cars. We first focused on investing in the level of services provided, the quality of products, and the flexibility of our offers, combined with tailor-made solutions and our “Always Yes” attitude, all wrapped in affordable packages for our customers. Furthermore, we concentrated on investing in our people, our professionals - the main drivers of our “Always Yes” attitude. What are your expectations regarding the new and used car sales in Romania this year? We will definitely keep reinforcing the same elements, bringing even more value and personal



For impressive business results, achieving a high level of brand awareness and client satisfaction.

approach to all the services offered to our customers, whom we consider to be our partners. First of all, we are “Always Yes”. Secondly, SIXT SH is part of the “One Stop Shop System”. And, last but not least, we offer unique products such as “The First SH Car” or “The Peace of Mind Package”. “The First SH Car” program was launched in 2015, in a context where the Government decided to launch the First Car Program to support Romanians who want to buy a new car. The program came in addition to the First House program, both designed to support the middle class that we perceive as the engine of the economy. “The First SH Car” program offers customers access to a used car, without unpleasant surprises, providing full transparency, clear and reliable car history, the most comprehensive warranty package, and the best price-to-value financial offers. This program has no competition in the market and thousands of cars have been sold since its launch. Definitely, when choosing a car from SIXT SH, our clients buy a “problem-free” used car,

What changes have you seen in the market since your arrival in Romania? How is competition in this market? Romania is a developing market, with a great potential as a whole. We have competitors, but there is space for all, in a fair and correct competition. Our lines of business have seen tremendous growth in Romania, mainly due to the general economic growth and a better understanding and knowledge of our products and their benefits. We expect this growth in employment, trade, and investment to continue in the future. To what extent would you say that Romania’s business environment has been affected by last year’s changes in legislation and taxation regulations? We are indeed going through a period of regulatory- and taxation-related instability and changes. Instability is never a positive factor in terms of confidence and clarity for people, investors, and companies. In addition, most of these changes and the instability have directly affected the middle class, which is the engine of the economy, and we have all seen the impact of a strong private consumption on Romania’s economy in 2017. At the same time, there are effects in terms of people’s confidence, which must be addressed through clarity of regulation, political stability, and long-term projects initiated by the government.

a safe one. SIXT SH is only company in the market offering two-year comprehensive, bumper-to-bumper warranty, or the “Peace of Mind Package”, which makes a difference in the market. What difficulties have you encountered in your operations in Romania? We like to use the word “challenges”. Each day in this business we are facing challenges. The challenge to keep running, to be different, to be always present, to have the best team, to keep our customers satisfied, and to be market leaders and socially responsible in all that we do.

What are Romania’s 2018 economic prospects in your view? I believe that Romania will continue its strong economic growth that we have seen in recent years. We see a tremendous development of the middle class, which in turn contributes to the GDP with significant private consumption. At the same time, there is enormous potential for core economic development, resulting from a strong need for infrastructure, housing, hospitals, schools, etc.. In addition, we see a huge growth in the number of business and leisure visitors in Romania, and we believe this will continue further. Indeed, Romania needs more political and regulatory stability and clarity, but the fundamentals are there, and they will continue to push the Romanian economy forward.


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Romania’s untapped business potential could generate new business opportunities for Austrian investors in a wide range of business sectors, from renewable energy to tourism, the participants to Business Arena’s Austria-Romania Roundtable Business Conference have learned. Business leaders, investors, entrepreneurs and government officials got together to discuss and share their views on the latest economic trends, challenges and their impact on Austrian investments in Romania, bilateral trade, and development prospects. Frequent changes in legislation and taxation regulations, stuffy bureaucracy continue to represent major hurdles for investors in Romania. However, Austrian business people have positive expectations and continue to remain strongly committed to their development plans in this country.


BY CRISTIAN COJANU Invite to provide an overview of the Austrian investment and trade activities in Romania, Her Excellency Mrs. Isabel Rauscher, the Ambassador of the Republic of Austria, pointed out that Austria’s economic presence here was “impressive.” “I have only been in Bucharest for a few months, so everything is new to me, but I am always pleasantly surprised and delighted by the reception I am getting, not only personally, but as an Austrian, and this is always linked to the Austrian economic presence in Romania, which is very impressive.” She added: “As you know, the two largest Austrian post-war investments were made in Romania: OMV Petrom and BCR Erste. Traditionally, Austria used to be a country of small- and mediumscale enterprises, and it was only due to the fall of the Iron Curtain that Austrian companies were able to pick up. We never had the Swedish or Swiss grand multinationals, but this is changing and Romania was the key example for investments on a large scale.” Looking at the trade figures, the Austrian diplomat expressed satisfaction with the cur-

rent positive trend. “We have just received the figures for the 2017 total volume of trade. It stood at 3.65 billion euros, a nine percent increase compared to 2016. In fact, ever since 2014, there have been significant and continuous increases in bilateral trade from one year to the next. The latest increase of over nine percent in one year speaks volumes.” On the investment front, Austria continues to be one of the main sources of FDI in Romania. “Another figure which is very impressive in the total Austrian investment. Before I came to Bucharest, I was in a very different part of the world, dealing with very different issues and hardly any Austrian investment. It was a warzone, far away. When I arrived in Romania, preparing for my posting here, I saw the investment figures and I found them simply mind-boggling for a small country like Austria. Depending on the way the investments are counted, we have two statistics. One speaks of 7.5 billion euros, while the other, which is the most recent one from the Romanian National Bank, puts Austrian investments at 8.3 billion euros. Given that Austria has a population of right million, it’s not bad,”

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said Ambassador Isabel Rauscher. In addition, she mentioned that over 3,000 Austrianowned companies were active in this country, directly employing around 100,000 people. Emphasizing that Austrian investments could be found in most business sectors in Romania, she pointed out that the interest for Romania’s opportunities is noticeable even at the gates of Vienna’s airport: “I am always amazed at the flights from Vienna, regardless of which day of the week, which time of day, they are always full with people doing business here, or having interests here, or looking for business opportunities here.” As for new business prospects, Ambassador Isabel Rauscher sees a lot of growth potential in areas such as renewable energy and tourism. “Romania is a tremendously varied country, with ecosystems other parts of Europe can only dream about, and with untouched areas whose potential for tourism exceeds expectations. So, there is a big scope for investment in both directions.


Not only are we interested in bringing Romanian tourists to Austria, but also the other way around. That is where economics ties into politics, that is very much our job to secure people to people contacts, bringing Romania into the Austrian conscience as an attractive country, not just for investment, but also for tourism, education, etc..” She added: “In terms of positive market aspects, I would mention the variety and diversity of the country and the size of the country. You have a tremendous internal market. I know that many people are complaining about the brain drain and the exodus of young professionals from Romania, which I understand is an issue, but there is still a tremendous market in the country, still to be developed and that of course is attractive for any investor.” Answering a question about her main objectives in Romania, Ambassador Isabel Rauscher said: “There is a certain automaticity in bilateral relations and depending on the actors involved they become more or less

intensive. One of my roles is to keep them as intensive, as mutually beneficial, and as closeknit as possible.” Another major objective listed by the Austrian diplomat concerns people to people contacts, which she considers to be a priority in order to facilitate better mutual understanding. “Romanians know more about Austria, than Austrians know about Romania. It’s a fact. I see that as one of the jobs for my team, to increase the knowledge factor, to increase people to people contacts, trying to eliminate stereotypes and create more understanding for what shapes the thinking of the other. Romania is a very diverse country, I have noticed that reactions in various parts of Romania are different to certain topics, and that also has to be understood and explained.” In turn, Paula Parvulescu, State Secretary for Foreign Investments, Ministry for Business Environment, Trade and Entrepreneurship, acknowledged the fact that the Austrian business community represented a traditional

partner for Romania. generating long-term successful businesses and being an important source of foreign direct investment. “Austria is the third-largest investing country in Romania, according to the National Bank, covering a wide range of activities, including some key sectors such as banking, insurance, financial operations, steel industry, energy, constructions, heavy industry, logistics, food processing, and automotive,” she said, and added: “Today, Romania continues to stand as a country of opportunity, providing good return rates for investors prepared to cash in on its competitive advantages. I truly believe that now it is the moment for us to put to good use our business offer, to turn investment projects into success stories. Therefore, as head of the foreign investment body, I invite the Austrian entrepreneurs and multinationals companies to benefit from our core expertise and proficiency in turning their business into a real success story that we can all be proud of.”


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With total investments of around 800 million euros, Holzindustrie Schweigfofer has built a solid business in Romania over the last 15 years. Its General Manager, Dan Banacu, emphasizes that Schwighofer Group’s operations in Romania are concentrated on wood processing activities, without involving wood harvesting operations. “Our achievements in Romania are based on the vision of our owner, Mr. Gerhard Schweighofer, who has built a sustainable business, inspiring us with his passion, experience, and his 500-year family history,” said Dan Banacu. According to Banacu, Holzindustrie Schweigfofer employs 3,100 people in Romania, while 10,000 more people work for the company indirectly. Its contributions to the state budget exceed 150 million euros, while 5.7 million euros has been spent on corporate social responsibility projects. “Our factories represent greenfield developments, using the latest technology. Our products are used in the furniture industry, in constructions, interior decorations, and we also produce burning material,” said Banacu., who also indicated that the company had implemented new measures to check wood origin. “We consider ourselves responsible members of the communities where we work and where our mills are located. Therefore, we have invested a lot of money and a lot of effort into developing those communities. We have spent more than 5.7 million euros on projects involving hospital modernizations, bringing schools to European standards, we have granted scholarships, and we have been training young students in vocational schools.”

As for the general conditions of doing business in Romania, Banacu takes an optimistic stance: “In spite of the current difficulties, we would encourage foreign investors to see Romania as a country with a huge potential, and we believe that Romania has a fantastic future. I would also send a message to the authorities, asking them to listen to investors, to listen to their problems and suggestions, because I think that would lead to progress, which is what we all want to achieve.” Banking on sustainability

Ionut Apostol, Project Manager with Holzindustrie Schweighofer, spoke about the company’s compliance, sustainability and social responsibility initiatives. One such initiative is the unique wood traceability system called Timflow, which is based on GPS tracking of saw log deliveries. Another project, “Tomorrow’s Forest”, focuses on helping small forest owners regenerate their lands. “Whether we talk about damages created by natural hazards or problems generated by land restitution, fragmentation of property, and by a lack of administration, there are many situations that require external intervention, and that’s where a project such as “Tomorrow’s Forest” comes in,” said Ionut Apostol. The project is a partnership involving the Association of Forest Administrators, the University of Suceava and Holzindustrie Schweighofer. “We provide the project management operations and all the resources needed for the implementation of the project, with the current aim of planting one million young trees. In fact, that means a bit more than one million because, on average, we need to come back with 20 percent more young trees in the second year.” Ionut Apostol added: “We launched the project in September last year, and in November we had the first planting session in Suceava county, at Poieni-Solca. The problem there was property fragmentation due to land restitution, and 4.7 hectares of forest was restored with the help of volunteers from the community, volunteer high school and university students, and colleagues from our sawmill in Radauti. This year, we are planting in six areas all over the Carpathians.”



Taking a different view on the idea of investment, Kent Orrgren, CEO, World Class Romania, emphasized the importance of investing in oneself, and started with a recommendation: “Exercising for health should be as natural as brushing your teeth every morning. It should be something that you do as a daily routine in some way, depending on personal goals and conditions,” he said. Moving on to the main topic of discussion, Kent Orrgren pointed out that Romania provided outstanding growth opportunities. “I have been working in this industry for 30 years and I have never actually seen such great opportunities as I do today, working in the health and fitness industry in Romania. I am saying that even though I was working in Sweden when we were young and the sector was growing. Here we have huge opportunities.” On that note, among the advantages of investing in Romania, the World Class official mentioned the country’s strategic geographic location and its proximity to other markets in Europe. “There are not that many foreign investors in the health and fitness industry at this point, but I am pretty sure there will be in a few years. We will see a large number of investments in this industry, coming from the larger players in this sector, because we are in the European Union and the country offers easy access to qualified labor, if you compare it to other regions in Europe,” he said. Quoting the findings of the latest Eurbarometer on sport and physical activity,

KENT ORRGREN Kent Orrgren noted that participation in physical activities was not widespread in Romania. However, that offers major growth prospects. “On average, 15 percent of the European population is engaged in some kind of health and fitness activity. In Romania, only four-five out of 100 people go to the gym. This is a big challenge, but on the other hand we can see it as a great opportunity.” With around 29 billion USD in revenues, the European health club market has exceeded its American counterpart to become the largest market for the industry. “Our objective at World Class is to support, influence and educate Romanians to live healthy lives and be more active more often. Obesity is a growing problem in Europe and we want to support a healthy lifestyle. Today, we have nearly 60,000 members and we hope to reach around 70,000 members by the end of the year. We plan to continue to grow our company, to be near our customers and take care of our members, proving that it’s worth investing in Romania and it’s worth investing in health.”


LAWYER FOR HUMAN RIGHTS In Romania, at least, business people must be increasingly alert and put together competitive business plans, while ensuring a high and positive visibility for their business. This piece of advice is offered by lawyer Artin Sarchizian, President of the Romanian Society for Human Rights and research scientist with the Romanian Academy’s National Institute for Economic Research. “That saying full of wisdom, ‘advertising is the soul of commerce’, is on everybody’s lips, and certainly every business person lives by it. I wonder, however, how many of them are actually able to apply it differently, through indirect actions, for example,” said Sarchizian.



Moreover, for those who want to start a business Sarchizian has an important suggestion: “Be as close as possible to the people.” He points out that Romanian companies do not excel in that area and explains: “We do not have soul-inspiring companies, popular with the public, whose actions stimulate Romanians’ emotions and sensitivity.” He emphasizes that, in other countries, people are loyal to certain companies, even though they are not fully convinced by their products or services. Companies can get involved in social projects, giving back some of the revenues they make within the local community. However, people are lacking trust, the lawyer points out. “We have become more and more suspicious and reserved. There are few examples of companies thinking about the community, and we have come to see them as unusual, suspecting them of something,” he said. However, Sarchizian relies on the fact that those companies’ managers will intensify such activities, and if they become a constant occurrence, suspicions will go away, being replaced by respect and appreciation. “A company virtually becomes one of our fellow citizens, whom we evaluate based on their own

deeds, and with whom we become close. This is the result all business owners would like to achieve,” he said. The President of the Romanian Society for Human Rights declares himself a “fan” of the corporate social responsibility concept and believes that it can be successfully implemented in Romania in such a way that it can create that bond between companies and consumers. “The future belongs to those who understand that in a normal society fairness is at the core of all things. It’s ok to want to make profit, but be fair and return some of what you’ve gained. Sure enough, tomorrow you will gain even more, because people will know that part of that profit will indirectly be returned to them,” he said. He also touched upon the difficulties facing those who open a new business. “The fiscal area has been grappling with an avalanche of regulations and even interpretations of the law that are not normal. The fiscal segment requires regulatory clarity and uniformity in interpretation.” While emphasizing that the spirit of law should also be observed, not just its letter, Sarchizian believes that, in this context, new entrepreneurs need constant fiscal and legal counseling for a smooth-running business. As for the new data protection regulations,

stipulating that, staring May 25, 2018, companies must appoint data protection officers, Sarchizian hopes those new jobs are not going to be simply formal positions. “We have yet to acknowledge the existence of those individual rights and our obligation to protect them. For example, my telephone number is considered personal data. We even have a recent case in which a divorce decree is considered personal data, and its use or disclosure is restricted. Those elements come under the concept of individual privacy and should be respected as such,” he said. If he were to define human rights, he fears that he would probably end up restricting them: “I would categorize them under certain concepts, and I am afraid that such a move would obstruct and block their evolution. Human rights represent everyone’s freedom to do what they like as long as they don’t harm others, to be free of interference, unjust and unfair limitations,” said Sarchizian, and added: “We have come to rely on the idea that the law stipulates that you have the right to something or allows you to do something. But things should be looked at from a totally different perspective: does the law forARTIN SARCHIZIAN bid certain actions? What is not forbidden is allowed, that is the golden rule.” judges to work for the betterment of society, He also speaks of a lack of personal to rely on fairness and not just on the letter of accountability in justice, as judges hide themthe law, which can be too rigid and narrow. selves behind institutions. “Why should I say “Judges should know the society, they should that a certain sentence was passed by the be more mature and have life experience,” Court of Appeal, when, in fact, it was passed by said Sarchizian. a particular judge?” In addition, Sarchizian In the future, Sarchizian hopes to launch his believes there should be more ways of appealpet project on the deterministic view of crimiing a sentence, emphasizing that society can nal responsibility. While people nowadays are only afford to reduce the number of appeal convicted and sent to jail based on the free rights when the judicial system enjoys a high will theory, he argues that, several years ago, degree of public confidence. “A mistake in not Oxford University researchers put forward a dangerous. It is dangerous not to have ways of theory stipulating that there is determinism in addressing mistakes when you see one. neurobiological behavior. Under that theory, Without such tools, confidence stays low. It’s there is a region in the brain that is responsino use having a perfect law, if I do not trust ble for people’s moral behavior. He would like those who enforce it. This is a dangerous pheto get involved in that research project togethnomenon, affecting the rule of law.” He goes er with a group of experts, because a specialon noting that, today, laws are interpreted in ized center and clinical studies would revolutechnical terms and enforced as such, while tionize the penal system, he added. the system needs to focus on training young



RAIFFEISEN BANK AND RBI REPORT GOOD 2017 RESULTS Raiffeisen Bank said its assets went up eight percent last year, to 36.1 billion lei, on the back of higher customer loans, whose net value gained eight percent, from 19.8 billion lei at the end of 2016 to 21.4 billion in 2017. The bank’s financial performance continues to be positive, its net profit advancing nine percent to 491 million lei at the end of last year. Its return on equity stood at 15.8 percent, based on a sustainable model of organic growth, the bank said.

“Our responsible and balanced development strategy is reflected in the growth of loans granted to customers: the volume of loans dis-



bursed to retail customers went up nine percent, loan volumes for SMEs gained 11 percent, while medium-sized and large companies saw a ten percent increase. We are very pleased with the progress of new loans in 2017, as they increased by 19 percent from the year before, to reach 13.6 billion lei. Nearly 60 percent of our total loans were granted to local entrepreneurs and large companies, representing a 21 percent increase from the previous year,” said Steven van Groningen, President and CEO, Raiffeisen Bank. The structure of the bank’s loan portfolio remained stable in 2017, with 57 percent of its loans being granted to individual customers and 43 percent to corporate customers. “We have a diverse range of financing sources that will allow us to continue to finance the economy responsibly and sustainably. Our capitalization level is also a sound one, with a solvency ratio of 15.9 percent in December 2017,” added Steven van Groningen. The bank’s revenues amounted to 2,044 million lei last year, slightly up from the year before, when revenues stood at 2,034 million lei (excluding the 95 million lei from the VISA transaction). Net revenues from interests went up four percent from the year before, slightly below the growth rate of its loan portfolio. The bank’s operating expenses advanced seven percent in 2017, to 1,208 million lei.

JOHANN STROBL, CEO OF RBI Investments in technology, digitization and simplification contributed to the increase in expenses. Even so, the bank said it would continue to invest in the digitization process, claiming that the future would favor easily accessible, quality products. The cost of risk decreased by around 25 percent compared to 2016, and the non-performing loan rate went down from 8.2 percent in 2016 to six percent last year. The bank’s customer portfolio continues to include around two million individuals, some 100,000 SMEs and 5,600 companies. In turn, Raiffeisen Bank International AG (RBI) said it generated a consolidated profit of 1,116 million euros in 2017. “We are very satisfied with the past financial year. We have achieved one of the best results in our company’s history and at the same time successfully completed important projects such as the merger with RZB,” said Johann Strobl, CEO of RBI. Therefore, it will be proposed that the Annual General Meeting approve a dividend of 0.62 euros per share.

This would correspond to a maximum dividend payout of 204 million euros and a payout ratio of 18 per cent. “We are pleased to be able to pay dividends again and propose a dividend of 62 cents per share for 2017. We aim to achieve a payout ratio of between 20 and 50 per cent,” Strobl said. Net interest income remained largely stable, with a slight increase of 11 million euros to 3,208 million euros. A rise in net interest income in Russia (up 84 million euros), primarily attributable to currency effects and margins, was offset by a decline in interest income in other markets as a result of the continuing low level of interest rates. Despite effects from currency appreciation, the Group’s general administrative expenses fell 1 per cent year-on-year, or 37 million euros, to 3,104 million euros. In particular, the average exchange rate of the Russian rouble appreciated 12 per cent year-on-year. The cost/income ratio improved 2.1 percentage points to 59.4 per cent also due to higher operating income. Net provisioning for impairment losses declined 62 per cent overall year-on-year, or 471 million euros, to 287 million euros. The NPL ratio declined 3.0 percentage points year-on-year to 5.7 per cent. “We have a lot of plans for this year, too. We want to grow in selected countries and continue RBI‘s digital transformation. Last year, we launched Elevator Lab, the largest Fintech Accelerator program in CEE. In May, we will start the second round,” Strobl said. RBI will pursue loan growth with an average yearly percentage increase in the mid-single digit area. Following very low risk costs in 2017 (287 million euros), the bank expects impairment losses on financial assets in 2018 to be above the 2017 level. RBI anticipates that the NPL ratio will further reduce in the medium term. The bank aims to achieve a cost/income ratio of below 55 per cent in the medium term. In addition, RBI targets a consolidated return on equity of approximately 11 per cent in the medium term. The bank also targets a CET1 ratio (fully loaded) of around 13 per cent post dividend in the medium term. Based on this target, RBI intends to distribute between 20 and 50 per cent (dividend payout ratio) of the consolidated profit.



EUROPEAN COMMISSION LAUNCHES THE EU BLOCKCHAIN OBSERVATORY AND FORUM The Commission has launched the EU Blockchain Observatory and Forum with the support of the European Parliament, represented by Jakob von Weizsäcker responsible for the recent report on virtual currencies. The Blockchain Observatory and Forum will highlight key developments of the blockchain technology, promote European actors and reinforce European engagement with multiple stakeholders involved in blockchain activities. Blockchain technologies, which store blocks of information that are distributed across the network, are seen as a major breakthrough, as they bring about high levels of traceability and security in economic transactions online. They are expected to impact digital services and transform business models in a wide range of areas, such as healthcare, insurance, finance, energy, logistics, intellectual property rights management or government services. Vice-President for the Digital Single Market Andrus Ansip said: "Technologies like blockchain can help reduce costs while increasing trust, traceability and security. They have huge potential for making social and economic transactions more secure online by guarding against an attack and removing the need for any middleman. We want to

build on Europe's substantial talent base and excellent startups to become a leading world region that will develop and invest in the rollout of blockchain." Valdis Dombrovskis, Vice-President responsible for Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union said: “Among the many technologies that are driving digital innovation, blockchain has the potential to be truly transformative for financial services and markets. The Blockchain Observatory and Forum will monitor developments and also inform our policy making.” Commissioner for the Digital Economy and Society Mariya Gabriel said: "I see blockchain as a game changer and I want Europe to be at the forefront of its development. We need to establish the right enabling environment - a Digital Single Market for blockchain so that all citizens can benefit, instead of a patchwork of initiatives. The EU Blockchain Observatory and Forum is an important step in that direction." The European Commission has been funding blockchain projects through the European Union's research programs FP7 and Horizon 2020since 2013. Up to 2020, it will fund projects that could draw on blockchain technologies for up to €340 million.

Encouraging governments, European industry and citizens to benefit from blockchain opportunities


European innovators and entrepreneurs are already offering blockchain-based solutions. Major players from traditional sectors, like banks, insurances, stock exchanges, logistics or companies are engaged in pilot projects. Many Member States have announced initiatives as they seek to reinforce their use of blockchain technology. The European Commission wants to build on the existing initiatives, ensure that they can work across borders, consolidate expertise and address the challenges created by the new paradigms enabled by blockchain (such as disintermediation, trust, security and traceability by design). The EU Blockchain Observatory and Forum will play an active role in helping Europe to seize new opportunities offered by blockchain, build expertise and show leadership in the field. It will be gathering information, monitoring and analysing trends, addressing challenges and exploring blockchains' socioeconomic potential. It will

enable cross border cooperation on practical use cases, bringing Europe's best experts together and promoting an open forum for blockchain technologists, innovators, citizens, industry stakeholders, public authorities, regulators and supervisors, to discuss and develop new ideas in order to learn, engage and contribute in an open way. ConsenSys, a global player now well established in Europe, has been selected as partner to support the Observatory's outreach in Europe following a call for tenders launched last year. As an important actor in the blockchain community, ConsenSys will bring strong commitment to blockchain development, solid expertise and connections with the global blockchain ecosystem, and an entrepreneurial approach to engage with stakeholders and experts in the EU and worldwide. It will work in close cooperation with Commission services to run the EU Observatory and Forum, after having signed the contract on 29 January 2018.

in partnership with

With its strong and diverse tradition in creating new platforms for the business community to share their views and ideas, and in recognizing business success and achievements, spanning over 17 years, Business Arena has launched a new project designed to expand the scope of its annual award ceremonies, with the addition of a new gala to its events calendar. The Awards for Excellence is already becoming a highlight on the business events calendar. Guests gather to celebrate excellence in business, sports, culture, and community, enjoying the company of friends and industry colleagues.

Innovation, resourcefulness, perseverance and a culture of responsible risktaking have helped many overcome major challenges. Thus, the new awards gala brings recognition to individuals and organizations in business, culture, sport and civil society that recorded outstanding results and achievements. FIND MORE DETAILS ABOUT LAST YEAR’S CATEGORIES AND WINNERS ON OUR WEBSITE AT WWW.BUSNESS-ARENA.RO. For more information please contact Cosmin Stangaciu at or phone 0755.274.125



The Executive Board of OMV Aktiengesellschaft presented its 2025 OMV Strategy, which reveals that the international oil and gas company headquartered in Vienna, Austria, intends to substantially increase its market position and operating earnings in the coming years. The proven business model of the integrated production, processing and marketing of oil and gas will be expanded internationally, along with an increase in petrochemicals capacity. The company’s goal is to achieve a Clean CCS Operating Result in excess of five billion euros by the year 2025. This would mark a 70 percent rise on the basis of 2017.


“Our work over the past three years has resulted in an OMV that is in robust health. And this is the basis on which we will build. Our integrated strategy will allow us to achieve international, profitable and responsible growth with the goal of substantially increasing the company’s value,” said OMV CEO Rainer Seele. The company pointed out that strategy presented at the start of 2016 had been successfully implemented by the end of the 2017 business year, in just half the time. The Executive Board has reshaped the portfolio, cut costs, increased production, and improved both earnings and cash flow. The Upstream business has also been put on a more sustainable footing with a Reserve Replacement Rate of over 100% and greater cost efficiency. With its strong operating performance, improved competitiveness and portfolio adjustments, the Downstream Oil business made a substantial contribution to earnings. The Downstream Gas business has been made profitable through pursuing a new strategic direction and streamlining the organization. Thanks to the clear focus on efficiency, cost savings, and cash generation, OMV has become a highly competitive and profitable company within just three years. In 2017 it achieved the best operating result in half a decade of some 3 billion euros. What’s more, the company is freecash-flow-positive at an oil price over 25 dollars since the last business year.

GLOBAL DEMAND FOR OIL AND GAS IS RISING According to the International Energy Agency, global energy demand is set to grow by around 16 percent by 2030 to around 16 billion tonnes of oil equivalent per year as a result of global population growth. And oil and gas will still account for more than 50 percent of the overall demand in the future. Global oil demand is expected to rise by 7% to 4.7 billion tonnes of oil equivalent, primarily driven by the Asia Pacific and Middle East/Africa regions, in addition to a 70 percent hike in demand for petrochemicals products by 2030. Demand for natural gas is rising across the globe, with a 23 percent increase to 3.7 billion tonnes of oil equivalent forecast by 2030. INTEGRATED GROWTH STRATEGY OMV plans to make the most of its good starting position in this favorable market environment and forge ahead with its integrated growth. OMV CEO Rainer Seele: “Our goal is to make OMV bigger and even better. Here we will deploy a four-pronged approach: firstly, we will leverage on our proven concept of integration to generate growth. Secondly, we will make the production, processing and marketing of oil and gas substantially more international. Thirdly, we will build a strong gas market presence in Europe. Fourthly, we will expedite the optimization of our processes and continue to improve our performance.”


RAINER SEELE, CEO OMV The growth should be borne equally by Upstream and Downstream and will be achieved both organically and through acquisitions. In terms of the bottom line, OMV forecasts an increase in the Clean CCS Operating Result to more than five billion euros in 2025. To succeed in making OMV even more international will require diverse, flexible and highly capable employees. With this in mind, the HR strategy will center on a balanced mix of inhouse, international and local experts.

UPSTREAM: ENHANCING PORTFOLIO VALUE, DOUBLING RESERVES, IMPROVING PERFORMANCE From 2015 to 2017, OMV’s Upstream division slashed its costs by 42 percent, increased production volumes by 15 percent and achieved a ten-fold increase in its Clean Operating Result to 1.2 billion euros. The portfolio restructuring coupled with efficiency increases helped slash production costs to 8.8 US dollars. Increases in production in Libya and Norway in particular, along with the acquisition of the Siberian gas field Yuzhno Russkoye, led to a new record production level in 2017 of 348,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day.

From this solid starting point, OMV intends to achieve further increases in the value and size of its portfolio by 2025. Production should grow to 600,000 barrels per day by 2025. This growth will be secured through acquisitions in costeffective regions rich in reserves, whereby average production costs should not exceed 8 US dollars. Substantial, long-term contributions are expected to come from the Russian fields Yuzhno Russkoye, Achimov IV and V, as well as the Neptun gas field offshore Romania. In addition to replacing the quantities produced – the goal here is an average threeyear replacement rate of over 100% – the company will aim to double its secure reserves by 2025 to over two billion barrels of oil equivalent, whereby natural gas should account for more than half of this total. The geographical focus of the growth strategy lies in the four existing core regions: CEE (Austria and Romania), North Sea, Russia, and Middle East & Africa. Alongside this, OMV plans to develop an additional core region in the form of Australasia. Between 1.3 and 1.7 billion euros in annual investment has been earmarked for financing organic growth and ongoing operations until


2025. OMV plans to invest 300 million euros for the exploration and appraisal of potential resources, with an average of 15 to 20 exploration drillings expected per year. Johann Pleininger, Deputy CEO and OMV Upstream board member, said: “Our goal is to secure a higher quality portfolio that generates more cash. To this end, we will continue to improve the quality of our asset base and more than double our reserves in addition to extending our track record of operational excellence while cutting costs and increasing production.”


DOWNSTREAM: STRENGTHENING COMPETITIVE POSITION IN EUROPE, INTERNATIONALIZING THE REFINING BUSINESS The strategic measures implemented in the Downstream business made 2017 a record year. With a Clean CCS Operating Result of 1.8 billion euros, the unit achieved the best result in its history. Free cash flow underwent a two-fold increase to 1.7 billion euros from 2015 to 2017. The return on net assets (RONA) of 18% meant that Downstream achieved an industry-wide high in Europe. OMV Downstream will further strengthen its competitive position in line with the waning demand for fuel and growing demand for petrochemicals in Europe. By 2025 a cumulative one billion euros will be invested in the Schwechat, Burghausen and Petrobrazi refineries, facilitating the production of more and higher quality petrochemical products and aviation fuels. In order to safeguard revenue and profitability in Europe, by 2025 more than half of the refineries’ production should be sold via reliable captive sales channels. The move away from coal will mean an increase in demand for natural gas – the more environmentally sound option – on the European market. Together with the sharp rise in demand for imports, this will lead to a greater market potential in the medium and longer term. OMV thereby aims to establish itself as a strong market player from North West to South East Europe. Gas sales should grow to more than 20 billion cubic meters by 2025. Here OMV is aiming to secure a 10% share of the German market by 2025. Other plans include feeding additional equity gas from Norway and Romania into the European grid. The construction of Nord Stream 2 is of critical strategic importance for OMV as it will secure consistent, long-term gas supplies to Europe in combination with the

Central European Gas Hub in Baumgarten and the pipeline network of Gas Connect Austria. As part of the Downstream strategy, OMV will export its successful refining and petrochemicals business model to international growth markets. One goal here is to draw on the burgeoning demand in the Middle East and Asia for further growth, facilitated by higher production capacities coupled with better margins. Initial steps in this direction have already been taken, for example with the MoU signed with ADNOC in Abu Dhabi. Approximately five billion euros have been earmarked for financing the international growth in Downstream through acquisitions by 2025, the company said. In view of the global shortfalls in production capacities, OMV intends to practically double its refinery capacities long-term. OMV Downstream board member Manfred Leitner: “Today we stand as the most efficient Downstream oil business in Europe. We want to further strengthen this competitive position and use our knowhow to expand into promising international markets”.

VALUE-DRIVEN FINANCE STRATEGY CFO Reinhard Florey said: “OMV has sustainably strengthened its financial profile through its improved cost basis in particular and its strict, disciplined capital outlay. In terms of financial control, OMV adheres to the following principles: securing a solid financial base, increasing the company’s value and generating attractive returns for shareholders, as well as maintaining a strong investment-grade credit rating. The combination of high operating cash flow and a strong balance sheet gives us ample leeway for profitable growth”. For the period 2018 to 2025, OMV plans to make annual investments averaging 2.0 to 2.5 billion euros in addition to an acquisition budget of 10 billion euros to 2025. Furthermore, the company will continue to enhance its operating efficiency. The goal of the new efficiency program is to reduce costs by 2020 by a further 100 million euros against 2017. Under its amended dividend policy, OMV aims to increase dividends annually in line with financial performance – especially the development of free cash flow and the Group’s net income – or to at least maintain the level of the previous year. In order to ensure financial stability, OMV will continue to maintain a long-term gearing ratio of below or equal of 30 percent.



Members of the Bucharest chapter of Skål International have outlined the club’s 2018 priorities at the recent annual general meeting, focusing on organizing a Skål Club Torremolinos event of international significance and increasing visibility of the Young Skål Club. Moreover, Skål International Bucharest is celebrating its 20th anniversary next year, and it has announced a series of events to mark that important event.

A club for tourism professionals and a trustworthy voice in Romania’s tourism industry, Skål International Bucharest brings together general managers and owners of major Bucharest hotels, travel agencies, as well as airline representatives. In turn, Young Skål Club is the youth organization of Skål International Bucharest and it is an incubator for the future generation of Romania’s tourism industry. A number of club members, general managers of large Bucharest Hotels, have had to cope with a lack of workforce for their front office, kitchen and restaurant departments. In a bid to address that problem, they have worked on promoting the prestige of hotel jobs among high school, university and vocational school students in partnership with Young Skål Club, The club’s members have also expressed hope that they continue to be a driving force in the tourism industry, together with their expat colleagues, representing hotels under international

brands. Skål International Bucharest is a founding member of the Bucharest Tourism Board, which was created in 2014 in partnership with the Bucharest Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Bucharest Airports National Company, Federation of Hotel Industry in Romania, Organization of Hotel and Restaurant Owners in Romania, National Union of Road Haulers in Romania, National Association of Travel Agents, Tarom, and the Bucharest City Hall. Member of the club since its launch in 1999, Florin Tancu is the current president of Skål International Bucharest, an affiliate of Skal Torremolinos Club, which has around 15,000 members in 90 countries. The word “Skål” has Scandinavian roots and it was originally used as a form of greeting. Now it is an abbreviation for Sundhet (health), Karlek (love), Alder (long life) and Lycka (happiness). The club’s motto is: “Our Attitude(s), Define(s) our altitude. The Sky is the Limit!”. SKÅL!



AccorHotels has announced a strategic partnership with the South Africa-based Mantis Group, a collection of award winning, privately owned, managed and branded five-star properties and lodges located around the world, across all seven continents. This strategic partnership is accompanied by the launch of Community Conservation Fund Africa (CCFA), a non-profit organization (NGO) which aims to amplify both Groups’ commitment towards preventing the accelerating decline of Africa’s wildlife and bringing together three internationally renowned conservation organizations - Wilderness Foundation, Tusk Trust and African Parks. Sebastien Bazin, Chairman and CEO, AccorHotels said: “Mantis is a pioneer in customized one-of-a-kind travel services in some of the most imaginative hotels across the world. With this strategic partnership, we are reinforcing the Group’s footprint in Africa and we have access to a brand with strong roots and heritage, recognised for its commitment to preserve the environment

and its prestigious credentials in the hospitality space.” Founder and Chairman of the Mantis Group, Adrian Gardiner, commented: “AccorHotels is one of the fastest growing hotel and travel operators worldwide. This agreement presents an attractive proposition for the Mantis Group to utilize AccorHotels’ robust distribution channels and world-wide reach to further develop the hospitality concepts and sustainability projects we have worked so tirelessly to grow. We are excited to embark upon this new chapter alongside AccorHotels where we will act as ambassadors for the development of both our Groups’ portfolios and offerings.” The Mantis network features 28 managed properties, plus a global network of branded hotels and residences, including boutique villas and flagship properties such as Founders Lodge – a South African game reserve located in the Eastern Cape, Mantis St Helena – a boutique hotel on the remote island in the Atlantic Ocean, as well as the Draycott Hotel in London.

special section






SIHH 2018: PARMIGIANI FLEURIER KALPA COLLECTION This year Parmigiani Fleurier debuted a new, more refined version of their Kalpa. The tonneau-shaped watch collection has been a signature of the company since its introduction in 2001. For SIHH 2018, the Fleurier-based watchmaker launched three models: the Kalpa Chronor, Kalpagraphe Chronomètre, and Kalpa Hebdomadaire. All pieces are highlighted by shaped movements designed just for the proportions of the case. And as you would expect if you know about Parmigiani, each movement features exquisite finishing seen only on the very best timepieces.From the 22K gold oscillating weight (in the automatic models) that is adorned with Parmigiani Fleurier’s signature barley grain motif, to the perfectly chamfered and polished bridges, to the polished jewel sinks, the movements are about as luscious as you can get. The tonneau case with its tear-shaped lugs has been reshaped resulting in better ergonomics and aesthetics. The Chronor and Chronometre cases measure 48.2 x 40.4 mm and are 14 mm thick, powered by 5Hz, 65-hour automatic movements (the Chronor movement is made of solid gold). The Hebdomadaire has a smaller 42.3 x 32.1 mm case that measures 11.4 mm thick and is powered by a 3Hz manual wind movement with an impressive 8-day power reserve. Like the case and movement, the dial is crafted to the highest standards and features guilloché, snailing and opaline finishes, hand applied indices, and large luminescent Deltashaped hands.

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The Kalpa Chronor will retail for $85,000, the Kalpa Chronometre $35,000, and the Kalpa Hebdomadaire $32,500.


PARMIGIANI’S LATEST ‘WRIST ENGINE’ DRAWS INFLUENCE FROM THE BUGATTI CHIRON Parmigiani Fleurier just debuted their latest Bugatti collaboration timepiece which pays tribute to the lastest Chiron supercar, which boasts a 1500hp quad-turbocharged W16 engine. As with previous models, which you can see in our Parmigiani Fleurier archives, the Bugatti Coaxial Type 390 timepiece features automobile design cues, such as a cylindrical mechanical movement with a flying tourbillon that is reminiscent of an engine. The manually wound movement, caliber PF390 measures 29.20 mm - 37.50 mm x 12.5 mm thick. It beats at 4Hz (28,800 vph), has an 80-hour power reserve, 302 components, and 32 jewels. Notably, the watch has a patent pending for the movement’s triangular coupling system and another for the 12° articulated case. Not to mention, it includes the world’s smallest ever ball bearing. The Parmigiani Fleurier Bugatti Type 390 case measures 42.5 mm x 53.00 mm x 19.5 mm and is available in rose or white gold, each with two 10-piece limited editions, for a total of 40 pieces. The Type 390 features a streamlined asymmetrical case with an upper portion that can articulate by 12 degrees to improve on-wrist comfort. The caliber itself—also an all-new creation—is modular in nature and features a worm gear that assists in transferring power to the time indication of the piece. From its planetary gear train to its dual-barrel “fuel tank”—series-coupled mainspring barrels with an 80-hour power reserve—the new piece is packed with automotive-inspired DNA straight from the Chiron. During a presentation early this morning at the Bugatti factory in France, Michel Parmigiani was quick to note the appeal of this modular caliber, both in terms of serviceability as well as in the brand’s capability to expand the model line with a variety of complications. Some of you may remember the Type 390 Prototype the brand launched a little while back. Since then, the case has been significantly refined for the production version. This initial presentation will be offered in white and rose gold ($295,000), though Parmigiani has stated that other case offerings will be coming in the new year. Further to this, the brand is also hearing the call for customization that has been echoing through the marketplace.



REINVENTING THE PERPETUAL CALENDAR First launched in 2015 in red gold and platinum editions, and then in two white gold editions, the LM Perpetual is now also available in a titanium case : a limited edition of 50 pieces. The fact that the new complication looks sensational and can be fully appreciated dialside is just one of the many benefits offered by the new movement, controlled by a mechanical processor (patent pending).



LM Perpetual features a fully integrated 581component calibre - no module, no base movement - with a revolutionary new system for calculating the number of days in each month. And it holistically reinterprets the aesthetics of the perpetual calendar by placing the full complication on dial-free display underneath a spectacular suspended balance. The fully integrated, purpose-built movement of Legacy Machine Perpetual has been designed from scratch for trouble-free use: no more

skipping dates or jamming gears, and the adjuster pushers automatically deactivate when the calendar changes, so no problems there either! Using an innovative system developed

LM PERPETUAL WHITE GOLD PURPLE 03.WL.P 18K WHITE GOLD LIMITED EDITION OF 25 PIECES especially for Legacy Machine Perpetual, the subdials appear to "float" above the movement with no visible attachments. The skeletonised subdials rest on hidden studs, which is technically impossible with traditional perpetual calendar mechanisms because they would block the movement of the grand levier. Taking a clockwise tour of the dial, at 12 o'clock we see the hours and minutes nestled between the elegant arches of the balance; day of the week at 3 o'clock, power reserve indicator at 4 o'clock, month at 6 o'clock,


retrograde leap year indicator at 7 o'clock, and date at 9 o'clock. Conventional perpetual calendars are generally modules comprising the complication, which is fitted on top of an existing movement. The calendar indications are synchronised by a long lever (in French: grand levier) running across the top of the complication and passing through the centre. As the date changes, this long lever transmits information to the appropriate components and mechanisms by moving backwards and forwards.

LM PERPETUAL RED GOLD 03.RL.W 18K 5N+ RED GOLD LIMITED EDITION OF 25 PIECES ENGINE Fully integrated perpetual calendar developed for MB&F by Stephen McDonnell, featuring dial-side complication and mechanical processor system architecture with inbuilt safety mechanism. Manual winding with double mainspring barrels. Bespoke 14mm balance wheel with traditional regulating screws visible on top of the movement. Superlative hand finishing throughout respecting 19th century style; internal bevel angles highlighting hand craft; polished bevels; Geneva waves; hand-made

engravings. Power reserve: 72 hours Balance frequency: 18,000bph / 2.5Hz Number of components: 581 Number of jewels: 41 FUNCTIONS/INDICATIONS Hours, minutes, day, date, month, retrograde leap year and power reserve indicators CASE Material: 18k 5N+ red gold, 18k white gold, platinum 950 or grade 5 titanium. Dimensions: 44 mm x 17.5 mm

LM PERPETUAL PLATINUM 03.PL.W PLATINUM 950 LIMITED EDITION OF 25 PIECES Number of components: 69 components Water resistance: 30 m / 90' / 3 atm SAPPHIRE CRYSTALS Sapphire crystals on top and display back treated with anti-reflective coating on both faces STRAP & BUCKLE Black, grey or dark brown hand-stitched alligator strap with gold / platinum / titanium folding buckle matching case material.



Obviously, we can’t change our wardrobe entirely every season, nobody does, and it wouldn’t be normal, either. What we can do, though, is keep certain items and bring them upto-date by wearing them with a few key pieces from the new collections that are already on sale. Here are the main items that I recommend you invest in during spring 2018.

Floral print shirts A well-chosen shirt can be the showpiece of your outfit, lifting it out of anonymity and giving it an extra bit of refinement. This season, more than ever, colors are in fashion, especially those floral prints in fine, non-strident tones. If the dress code is not too strict, then there is no reason why you shouldn’t include several such shirts in your wardrobe. They are versatile, so you can wear them both at the office, with a suit in classic colors (grey, black, navy blue), and in your spare time, with jeans. However, don’t forget that the first step in choosing a shirt is its quality. A shirt made from low-quality fabric will lose its impeccable


appearance after it’s been worn several times. That is why I recommend that you should invest in a shirt made by brands that not only observe the latest trends, but also the quality standards. One such example is the Danish brand Sand, which is available exclusively in Romania at the Trends by Adina Buzatu store.

Fun print T-shirts Of course, if you’re not exactly an unconventional person, you will never go to the office wearing a T-shirt, whose print is meant to put a smile on people’s face. However, that would be perfect for all the other moments, when relaxation is the key word: a night out with friends, a walk in the park, a barbecue, a night at the club, etc.. You can wear them with jeans or chinos, together with a leather jacket, a cardigan, a blazer, and even with a tuxedo jacket, and you will instantaneously achieve a cool, relaxed look, while maintaining that subtle note of refinement, necessary with men’s outfits, no matter the style.

Jackets in pastel colors Spring season trends are bringing under the spotlight a true color manifesto. It’s not about extremes and vividly-colored garments from head to

toes. It’s enough to choose one item, the piece de resistance, as it were, in refined, nature-inspired colors. Classic jackets, suit jackets, are losing ground in favor of models made from natural, thin fabrics in tones of light blue, lavender and red, like the jackets in the latest collection of the Italian brand Messagerie. They are easy to wear and integrate in almost any type of outfit. Just make sure you choose the right size, as jackets should not be too loose. They should follow the body line under the arm pit and down the side. Don’t leave out jackets with fine check patterns, they are still fashion this season.

Accessories with personality A well thought-out outfit relies on many details. But nothing must be left to chance, because elegance has its own fairly strict rules. Accessories such as cufflinks, watches, ties, bow ties, pocket squares and scarves can transform a plain outfit into an outfit with the wow factor. At the same time, they can turn a beautiful outfit into kitsch. Don’t forget that, ultimately, what you wear speaks volumes about you, and fashion has its own language. For example, using accessories in excess is a clear sign of a lack of confidence. You want to prove something, but you don’t know how. Apart from watches, cufflinks represent the definitive accessories for men. So, precious metal cufflinks stand for business success, shapes and colors talk about a daring spirit, while miniatures, representing specific objects (golf clubs, cars, animals), offer an insight into the wearer’s hobbies.





Rolls-Royce’s new Phantom model made its local debut at this year’s edition of the Bucharest International Motor Show (SIAB), being the first official presence of the British luxury brand at the most important automotive event in Romania. “Ever since its first launch, more than 90 years ago, this car has represented the supreme symbol of success. The presentation of this new symbol of absolute luxury is the perfect occasion to celebrate our debut at the relaunched Bucharest International Motor Show,” said Peter Schoppmann, Regional Director, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars. He added: “Our participation emphasizes the increasing importance of Central and Eastern Europe for Rolls-Royce, and we expect growth in the coming years.” Since Sir Henry Royce presented Rolls-Royce Phantom in 1925, it has been considered “The Best Car in the World” by experts. Consequently, the marque has attracted some of the most influential and powerful personalities in the world in the most important historical moments over the last 93 years. The new Phantom offers a wholly new, contemporary design interpretation of RollsRoyce Phantom DNA. It also features a

spectacular Bespoke advancement with ‘The Gallery’. An unprecedented new concept in luxury, ‘The Gallery’ reinterprets the motor car’s dashboard for the first time in 100 years. Owners will be able to commission a truly individual work of art that spans the width of ‘The Gallery’ and sits behind a single pane of glass in their New Phantom. WHAT IS THE ARCHITECTURE OF LUXURY? The Architecture of Luxury is an all-aluminum spaceframe architecture designed by RollsRoyce engineers that will underpin every future Rolls-Royce beginning with the New Phantom. As such, no future Rolls-Royce will be of monocoque construction as used by massmanufacturers and some mass-luxury brands. It is a truly revolutionary approach for the motor industry, and one that is informed by RollsRoyce’s standing as a luxury house in the business of cars. Whilst the majority of so-called luxury manufacturers are limited to sharing individual platforms in a specific sector with mass brands for say their SUV or GT offerings, thereby introducing unacceptable compromise, Rolls-Royce will be uncompromising in only using its own architecture across all its motor cars, whatever the sector.







Lagonda aims to be the world’s first zero emission luxury brand. It will confound traditional thinking and take full advantage of the latest advances in electrification and autonomous driving technologies, which amount to the biggest revolution in land-bound transportation since the invention of the car. “We believe people associate luxury in their cars with a certain traditional and even oldfashioned approach because, to date, that is all that’s been available to them,” commented Aston Martin President and Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Andy Palmer. “Lagonda exists to challenge that thinking and prove that being


modern and luxurious are not mutually exclusive concepts.” The Vision Concept showcases Lagonda design ingenuity. Both far shorter and lower than traditional limousines, the exceptional space efficiency that has been achieved by its radical design means there is room inside for four adults, each of two meters height or more, to stretch out in luxurious comfort. Its design also means a new level of convenience and ease of use can be delivered. Because the majority of the car’s structural strength comes through its floor, it has been possible to use apertures in the body far larger


than would be wise in conventional cars. As a result, the rear hinged back doors don’t just open outwards, the roof sections also open upwards to provide unprecedented ease of access. Occupants can therefore literally stand up inside and walk out of the car, or step straight into it. Similarly, the front seats are not mounted on conventional runners which always interfere with where those in the back would like to place their feet, but instead sit on cantilevered arms extending from the floor outside the seat frame providing a completely uncluttered floor area. And the seats are more like armchairs, with heavily bolstered arms because, given the choice people always use

arms to lower and raise themselves from chairs. The Lagonda Vision Concept also anticipates a world with a high level of autonomy. Its design is commensurate with level four autonomous driving, meaning the car is capable of driving itself in all routine circumstances and on all recognizable roads. As a result, the steering wheel can not only move from left to right hand drive according to need, in autonomous mode it can also retract entirely allowing front seat passengers to rotate through 180 degrees to engage in face to face conversation with those in the back. In the meantime, the car will not only have 360-degree awareness of the world around it, but also be fully connected to it, allowing occupants unprecedented access to bespoke concierge services and a level of connectivity and cyber-security few enjoy in their own homes, let along their cars. The Lagonda Vision Concept has been configured to accept powerful solid state electric batteries enabling it to cover up to 400 real world miles between charges. That’s the distance from Los Angeles to San Francisco, London to Edinburgh or Berlin to Vienna without stopping. The concept has also has been designed to be compatible with the latest wireless conductive charging technology.

Enjoy the Quality ***** A d m i r e t h e V a l u e *****


USINESS ARENA m a g a z i n e

Business Arena Magazine is a monthly English-language business magazine published by Business Arena Publishing Group SRL. The magazine was launched in October 2009, and, since then, it has gained reputation as a valuable source of information and analyses for business people and professionals, offering a wide range of exclusive interviews, feature stories and reports, market analyses and special columns. With over 15 years of experience in the business media segment, Business Arena Magazine’s team of dedicated journalists, graphic design artists, sales and marketing professionals count on innovation, responsibility and product quality as long-term strategies for development.


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Reproducerea sau folosirea, f\r\ permisiune, a con]inutului grafic [i editorial sunt interzise. Not\: Prestige Page = Advertorial / “Editorul Revistei BAM [i Colectivul redac]ional al acesteia, nu sunt r\spunz\tori pentru con]inutul articolelor redactate de catre jurnalisti independen]i CIRCULATION (free-lanceri) [i publicate `n spa]iul pus la dispozi]ie `n paginile revistei, `n aceste cazuri 10,000 r\spunderea revenind `n exclusivitate autorului articolului.”

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Business Arena Magazine nr. 75  

Business Arena Magazine is a monthly English-language business magazine published by Business Arena Publishing Group SRL. The magazine was l...

Business Arena Magazine nr. 75  

Business Arena Magazine is a monthly English-language business magazine published by Business Arena Publishing Group SRL. The magazine was l...