Page 1

CITY: A selection of works by Brancusi, Picasso, Romanian icons and French impressionists will go on display at Art Safari, a public art pavilion being set up in Bucharest’s George Enescu Square »page 12



MAY 19 - 25, 2014 / VOLUME 18, NUMBER 18


SEEKING SAFE HARBOR Photo: Mihai Constantineanu

Greek companies appreciate Romania’s secure business environment, with total investments exceeding EUR 4 billion, according to Grigorios Vassiloconstandakis, the Greek Ambassador to Romania » page 8 NEWS


Euro to-do list

Testing times

The country must pursue a major reform plan to enhance the competitiveness of its economy before joining the Euro zone, say economists

Local SMEs are still facing high taxation, bureaucracy and inflation, and are waiting for growth in domestic consumption to fuel their development

» page 4

» page 5 Business Review | May 19 - 25, 2014


NEWS in brief BANKING Garanti Bank Q1 net profit up to EUR 9.2 mln on higher lending The net profit of Garanti Bank, part of Garanti Group Romania, rose by 8.9 percent to EUR 9.2 million in the first quarter against the same period of last year, supported by higher lending, according to bank data. Garanti reported a net profit of EUR 10.6 million at group level, which is a 7.4 percent increase year-on-year, while assets expanded by 15.6 percent to EUR 1.96 billion.The net profit of Garanti Consumer Finance (under which Ralfi IFN operates) stood at EUR 600,000. Garanti Leasing (a Motoractive IFN brand) and Garanti Mortage (the trading name of Domenia Credit IFN) reported net profit of EUR 600,000 and EUR 200,000, respectively. The bank’s net revenues amounted to EUR 28.2 million. The loan book gained 9.8 percent to EUR 1.14 billion on the back of growth in the retail, SME and retail segments. Customer deposits surged 33.2 percent, but the bank did not mention to what level.

UniCredit Tiriac Bank Q1 profit climbs to EUR 16 mln The consolidated net profit of UniCredit Tiriac Bank and UniCredit Consumer Financing rose 18 percent to EUR 16 million in the first quarter against the same period of last year on the back of lower provisioning, while demand for new loans remained weak. The bank’s operating income climbed 0.5 percent to EUR 83.2 million, due to gains in commission and trading incomes. Operating expenses, meanwhile, increased by 4 percent to EUR 39.5 million.UniCredit Tiriac Bank’s loan book shrank by 2.5 percent against the end of last year to EUR 4 billion (EUR 4.5 billion if externalized loans are included) as demand for new loans failed to pick up. Provisioning for risky loans fell by 11 percent to EUR 25 million. The bank said it had registered a 50 percent gain in income from loan facilities granted to projects backed by EU funds to EUR 576,982, taking the loan utilization volume to EUR 73.2 million.

DEFENSE Gov’t to waive historical debts in defense industry The government has decided to waive the fiscal debts of 15 companies in the defense industry that produce or trade weapons, munitions and war gear, arguing that the current geopolitical context requires the “improvement of Romania’s defense capacities”. Prime

Minister Victor Ponta announced that the historical debts of the defense industry would be wiped through procedures agreed with the EU, in order to save jobs and re-launch what the PM described as an essential sector for the Romanian economy.

ENERGY Unilever inks food waste supply deal with Genesis Biopartner Group Consumer goods giant Unilever unveiled last Monday a new agreement with Genesis Biopartner Group for the collection and transformation of expired food products into renewable energy, as part of a sustainability plan. The waste, which includes expired ice cream and mustard from Unilever’s deposit in Aricestii Rahtivani, will be turned into renewable energy at the Filipestii de Padure plant in Prahova County.The biogas cogeneration factory was opened last summer, following a EUR 5 million investment by Romanian holding Genesis Biopartner. The holding’s founder is German Michael Dietrich, who also controls construction group Baupartner. The plant has 1 MW of installed capacity for electricity generation and 1.2MW for thermal energy. Its first client was local meat producer Cristim, which uses the steam at a nearby factory.

OMV Petrom Q1 net profit down 19 percent on lower sales OMV Petrom’s first-quarter net profit fell 19 percent on the year to RON 1.07 billion (EUR 241.5 million), due to higher fiscal burdens and a weaker market environment. Romania’s largest oil and gas company recorded sales of RON 5.78 billion in the first quarter of 2013 and a net profit of RON 1.33 billion.

LOGISTICS DHL delivers new terminal in Cluj German courier company DHL inaugurated last Thursday a new operational terminal inside the Avram Iancu airport in Cluj-Napoca, in a move designed to improve delivery times in north-western Romania and increase its parcel processing capacity. The company said the new investment would also make same-day deliveries available in Cluj and neighboring counties and reduce the processing period for international

deliveries by up to one hour. In the last two years, the company has added 100 new delivery vehicles and started operating two new cargo planes in Arad and Cluj.

MEDIA TBWA and Friends Advertising to merge TBWA Bucharest, part of TBWA Worldwide, and local independent agency Friends Advertising announced last Thursday that they will combine their operations in Romania. The newly formed agency, which will trade as Friends TBWA\Bucharest, will take responsibility for TBWA’s existing local and international client base in Romania, under an affiliation agreement. The business will be headed by the Friends management team, and it is anticipated that a substantial number of TBWA employees will be moved to the Friends Advertising office, close Bucharest’s Old Town. TBWA’s current managing director in Bucharest, Doris Danner, will assist with the transition of business to Friends.

ONLINE Netopia MobilPay processes 40 percent more transactions y-o-y in Q1 Netopia MobilPay has announced that it processed 810,000 transactions in the first quarter of the year, up 40 percent y-o-y on the first quarter of 2013. The growth is due both to Romanians’ willingness to make more online payments but also the fact that the payment platform attracted 200 new traders, according to company officials. Out of the total volume of payments processed by Netopia MobilPay in the first quarter of the year, approximately 700,000 were online card transactions while the remaining 110,000 were mobile payments via SMS and the MobilPay mobile wallet. The average sum per processed transaction stayed the same as last year, at EUR 37 for card payments, EUR 7 for SMS micro-payments and around EUR 40 for payments via the mobile application MobilPay MasterCard.

PHARMA Pharmaceutical market declines 1.5 percent to RON 3 bln in Q1, below expectations The local pharmaceuticals market

shrank by 1.5 percent to RON 3 billion in the first quarter against the same period of last year, due to lower sales of prescription drugs and in the hospital segment, according to Cegedim, a data provider for the pharmaceutical sector. The Cegedim report found that the value of the market (converted into euro) fell by 4 percent to EUR 669 million in the first three months of this year. The report added that prescription drugs fell 2.2 percent to RON 2.1 billion and by 4.7 percent to EUR 472 million, the over-the-counter segment (OTC) gained 2.4 percent to RON 490 million and lost 0.3 percent to EUR 109 million. The hospital segment, meanwhile, shrank by 2.3 percent to RON 397 million and by 4.9 percent to EUR 88.2 million. The biggest producers by sales in Romania were Roche (RON 197 million), Sanofi (RON 209 million) and Novartis (RON 171 million), according to Cegedim’s ranking.

RETAIL Kika to boost sales by 15 pct in 2014 following Steinhoff takeover Furniture retailer Kika plans to increase its sales in Romania by 15 percent this year after cutting shelf prices by 15 percent on average and changing its business strategy, said Lars Lund, country manager for Kika Romania, Croatia and Serbia, last week. The Kika/Leiner group, which is present in seven countries with some 73 stores, was taken over last year by South African Steinhoff Group. The company operates one shop in Romania which it opened in 2008.

Vodafone launches Firsts program Vodafone Romania has launched the debut local initiative of its Firsts program, as well as the Pitch Your First competition, run by the group in 10 countries. Vodafone Firsts is a new global brand program, launched at the beginning of this year, through which the operator aims to inspire people to do something remarkable for the first time, using mobile technology. Launching the venture, blogger Adrian Hadean, a passionate chef, will travel around the country sharing the experiences, recipes and stories gathered during his journey, through social media channels. The recipes will be collected in the Taste of Romania mobile app, powered by Vodafone, which will be available to all users including roamers in Romania. Business Review | May 19 - 25, 2014


WEEK AHEAD May 20 Meet the Man! Alexandru Negrea, head of the Facebook department at Spada, is the speaker at Meet the Man!, an event organized by Women in Business. The topic will be Promoting Your Business on Facebook. 19.00, Capital Plaza Hotel, Bucharest

May 22-25 European Election European Parliament ballots will be held in every EU member state, the eighth pan-European parliamentary election since the first direct elections in 1979. In Romania, the ballot will be held on Sunday, May 25. Log on to for more information on the Romanian candidates and election proceedings. May 26 SME’s HOW TO For the second year in a row, Business Review is organizing SME’s HOW TO, an event dedicated to providing fresh and relevant information for the SME sector. The event will bring together entrepreneurs, policymakers and SME support organizations from the private and public sectors, with other intermediary bodies. Register on the website or email 08.30, Platinum Hall, Howard Johnson Hotel, Bucharest

MOST READ 1 Russian diplomat threatens to fly a bomber into Romania. MAE demands explanation

2 Deutsche Bank inaugurates the DB Technology Center in Bucharest, which hires 200 people by yearend

3 RCS&RDS dismisses rumors of takeover by Vodafone

4 Skanska is looking for tenants and wants to buy more land in Bucharest

5 Layoffs continue at PRO TV


ver 7,000 Europeans aged 16-30 came together last week at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France, to exchange ideas on youth-related issues. European Youth Event (EYE) attendees took part in panel discussions on four major topics: European values, youth employment, the digital revolution and sustainability. They also shared their ideas on the future of Europe with politicians, journalists and other decision makers, with all the input going into a report that will be handed to newly-elected MEPs during their first plenary session in July. One of the hottest topics at EYE was youth unemployment, with 5.4 million young people currently looking for a job in EU member states, although there are 2 million vacancies, noted Stefan Jahnke, president of the Erasmus Student Network. According to Yannis Darmis, head of the EU media services and monitoring unit, one in four Europeans under the age of 25 are out of work, with the rate rising to one in two in the worst hit countries. Androulla Vassiliou, commissioner for education, culture, multilingualism and youth, struck a positive note, arguing, “We know for sure that by 2020, there will be 900,000 digital jobs vacant.” Youngsters themselves can effect change, said Peter Matjasiac, president of the European Youth Forum. “If you want Europe to be democratic, you need to vote. If you don’t vote, someone else will vote instead and that someone most likely won’t care about mobility programs, quality education, or your

Photo: Natasa Vidakovic

May 20 - 21 Joe Biden visits Romania US Vice President Joe Biden will travel to Romania at the start of the week to discuss the Ukraine crisis. Biden will meet with President Traian Basescu and with US and Romanian troops conducting a joint military exercise. Vice President Biden also plans to give a speech to Romanian civil and youth leaders.

Youth tackle Europe’s future

EU and you: The event included more than 200 workshops and seminars involving 180 speakers and MEPs, exchanging ideas on Europe’s future direction

rights or needs as a young person,” he warned. “The most important thing is that young people have a say on the EU and can participate and contribute on an eco-basis with all the players, because this is going to be their future, their reality in the coming years,” added Gras Leszek, head of the EP visits and seminars unit. Statistics show that most countries expect a turnout of close to 30 percent for this month’s European Parliament elections. “One of the main reasons why

people don’t vote is lack of information. We want to provide them with this information, make them understand how Parliament works, what are its competences, what is the daily impact on their lives,” said Aleksandra Kluczka of AEGEE Europe – European Students’ Forum. EYE involved three days of debate between young people, who came up with proposals including stronger legislation to protect trainees, uniform EU election rules and better education on European affairs. ∫ Oana Vasiliu, Strasbourg


‘Reforms needed’ for euro target


he country needs a new reform package to increase the competitiveness of its economy before attempting to adopt the euro, said economists during last week’s Emerging Funding for the Real Economy event. Attendees largely agreed that Romania will fulfill all the nominal convergence criteria related to inflation and the public deficit by 2019, the target set by the government for joining the Euro zone. However, the main challenge is bringing individuals’ standard of living closer to the average of the more advanced economies in Western Europe. “The biggest issue for Romania is the real convergence criteria: in my opinion, we cannot reach 60 percent of the GDP per capita in the Euro zone by 2019. There were countries that joined the Euro zone with a smaller GDP per capita, but I do not think this will be possible this time. 2019 as an accession date is an anchor for reforms and I believe it is an important one, although we will join it later,” Dan Bucsa, CEE economist at UniCredit Bank in London, told BR.

He added that the bank estimates it will be “pretty difficult” for Romania to achieve real convergence with the 18member Euro zone bloc before 2025.

Euro zone preparations The structural reform of state-owned companies and changes in the immigration law, to compensate for population aging, are two options the country should look into before adopting the euro, according to Bogdan Olteanu, deputy governor of the National Bank of Romania (NBR). He suggested that policymakers also focus on increasing labor participation, by encouraging more people from the countryside to find employment in industrial areas in the cities. Lucian Anghel, president of the board at the Bucharest Stock Exchange (BSE) and CEO of BCR Pensii, commented that Euro zone accession should be turned into a national strategic goal, such as joining NATO and the EU in the last decade. “In my opinion it is not the date itself (…) that is extremely important (…) We need to have this national project,

with a clear detailed program – which institutions are responsible, what measures and what structural reforms must we make to meet the real convergence criteria, because the nominal ones will be fulfilled,” he added. Anghel stated that the country’s participation in the Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM II) should be limited to two years. One of the convergence criteria, this involves the exchange rate of a non-euro area nation being fixed against the euro and allowed to fluctuate within certain limits. Meanwhile, the local economy is expected to continue growing this year, in line with other EU members. Bucsa of UniCredit tipped Poland’s economic growth to exceed 3 percent this year, while approaching the same level in Hungary and the Czech Republic. Romania’s economy is set to grow by 2.7-2.8 percent in 2014, excluding agricultural output. Last year it gained 2.4 percent, stripping out the effect of the good harvest, while combined GDP growth stood at 3.5 percent. ∫ Ovidiu Posirca Business Review | May 19 - 25, 2014


SMEs still grapple with major economic obstacles Excessive taxation, inflation and a slump in demand on the local market are some of the major issues that Romanian SMEs are facing. A new edition of the Business Review event SMEs How To will give insight into ways such firms can access financing and useful tools for handling a business from marketing, IT&C, fiscal and educational perspectives. ∫ OTILIA HARAGA The top business opportunities for SMEs this year lie in the growth in domestic consumption (cited by 63.48 percent of SMEs in 2014, though down slightly from 64.67 percent in 2013), the assimilation of new products (60.93 percent of SMEs in 2014 against 50.75 percent in 2013), penetration of new markets (42.77 versus 44.40 percent), the use of new technologies (30.66 percent compared with 26.37 percent in 2013) and sealing a business partnership (for 30.27 percent of SMEs against 26.93 percent in 2013), according to a survey carried out by the Romanian National Council of Small and Medium Private Enterprises (CNIPMMR) on 1,569 entrepreneurs. For only 9.75 percent of SMEs the opportunity will lie in boosting exports (as opposed to 7.65 percent in 2013) and for 7.65 percent (versus 11.31 percent) in obtaining a grant. Local SMEs still face major hurdles. According to data from the CNIPMMR survey, the three biggest difficulties SMEs are confronted with this year are excessive taxation, which is a problem for 58.06 percent of SMEs, followed by inflation (55.45 percent) and the decrease in demand on the local market (55.39 percent). However, SMEs’ troubles do not stop here. For instance, 45.70 percent say they are grappling with red tape, 44.55 percent with excessive controls, 40.92 percent with unfair competition and 32.25 percent with corruption. And there are other smaller obstacles such as competition from imported products (in the case of 22.75 percent of SMEs), growth of the wage bill (18.61 percent), the high cost of loans (14.60 percent) and the challenges of employing, training and maintaining personnel (14.53 percent). Meanwhile, other macroeconomic factors are playing a lesser part in SMEs’ fight for survival. These are the relative instability of the national currency, for 12.94 percent, the poor quality of the infrastructure (12.24 percent) and the difficult access to loans (10.45 percent). The challenges that worry small firms the least are delays in payment from private firms (for 9.56 percent of SMEs), falling demand for exports

moving in the right direction. According to Buligan, the budget that SMEs set aside for investment in software solutions to optimize activity is generally less than 10 percent of the annual profit. “Since the start of the year, we have seen much higher demand for the implementation of business software solutions, triggered by the fact that young entrepreneurs and SMEs have been able to access non-reimbursable funds from the state budget,” said Buligan. He recommends the cloud ERP as the most cost-effective solution, which even small and medium companies can afford because it does away with various expenses incurred through having their own server. SMEs will no longer have to worry about the Bogdan Balaci, Ymens Liviu Buligan, SoftOne costs of IT staff, with their own servers, equipment and so on. (7.07 percent), non-payment of bills by scheme until 2020, and the de minimis “A large weight of the total cost of a state institutions (4.21 percent), ob- payments will be made over 2015-2025, traditional ERP is implementation taining the necessary consultancy and as much as the budget allows,” stated costs, which include infrastructure training (3.95 percent) and ignorance government officials. and consultancy for using, configuraHowever, CNIPMMR officials claim tion and customization. These drawor lack of adoption of the community this project, although useful for big backs can be completely removed by acquis (for 1.91 percent). “From a strictly statistical viewpoint, players, will not be of much help to using a cloud ERP,” said Buligan. the indicators show that the crisis is SMEs. “This project is a very good one, According to Bogdan Balaci, CEO of over. However, the business environ- but for large companies. It is important cloud provider Ymens, who will also ment is waiting for much more,” said that the incentives correspond to the be present at SMEs How To, cloud Ovidiu Nicolescu, president of the size of the firm,” he said. The CNIP- computing technology allows small MMR proposed that the minimum and medium companies to access the CNIPMMR. Romania could have economic threshold of jobs created by firms be same applications and services that growth of 3 percent this year, said cut and made progressive. were once available only to enterprise “Our demands were that micro-en- organizations. “In a more and more Ioana Petrescu, minister of finance for terprises should create a minimum of dynamic market, an SME using cloud Reuters. “We hope that statistical data which three jobs, small enterprises should is agile, technologically updated and point to a 3.5-4 percent annual growth create five-six jobs and mid-size firms competitive,” he commented. will be true. For now, the indicators should create between 10 and 12 jobs,” Furthermore, the cloud brings show very high growth in the first said Nicolescu. great opportunities for optimizing opAt the moment, there are no signifi- erational costs. “In Europe, up to 81 months of the year. Our view is that some of this growth will come from cant differences between the Euro- percent of companies using cloud rethe crackdown on the black economy,” pean average number of jobs at SMEs ported cost reductions, while 41 perand the Romanian average, he said. commented Nicolescu. cent saw productivity increase and 35 In an attempt to lend a hand to percent gained new business,” said the SMEs financially, a government plan to IT can be an enabler for SME CEO. Balaci added, “In Romania, an partially cover salaries at firms that growth Ymens case study revealed that a generate a minimum of 20 jobs was Software solutions can help tackle medium distribution company inapproved in April. The financial sup- some of the financial leaks that beset creased the number of business opport will be provided for two years. portunities by 35 percent and the cash-strapped SMEs. “The new state aid scheme includes “In Romania, outdated solutions number of net new customers by 7 non-reimbursable financing, within that do not meet the current needs percent. These were the results relimits, of salary costs (for gross average and requirements of the market are ported by the firm after only three salaries) over a period of two consecu- still being used,” commented Liviu Bu- months of using cloud solutions in tive years where firms create a mini- ligan, executive manager at SoftOne order to better manage the relationmum of 20 new jobs through an initial Romania, who will attend the Business ships with customers.” investment. We can sign agreements Review SMEs How To event on May 26. for participation in the support He suggested that things are, however, Business Review | May 19 - 25, 2014


No drama: Greeks adjust to post-crisis market With over EUR 4 billion invested in Romania up until 2013, Greek investors have continued to seek local business opportunities, with close to 300 new companies with Greek capital having been registered last year. ∫ OVIDIU POSIRCA

Courtesy of Octagon Contracting&Engineering

Greek investments are particularly notable in banking, with a 12 percent market share in terms of assets, and in telecom. Four large Hellenic banking groups are present in Romania. Banca Romaneasca is owned by the National

Courtesy of Dirent Group

Banking and telecom stand out

Courtesy of Druckfarben Romania

The Hellenic business presence has remained intact in recent years, and even developed further, despite the ripple effects of the global economic crisis, according to Efrossyni Mita, counselor for economic and commercial affairs at the Embassy of Greece. Greek foreign direct investments to Romania exceed EUR 4 billion, if the figure includes investments by companies of Greek interest via third countries such as Luxembourg, Cyprus or the Netherlands, according to estimates by the office for economic and commercial affairs at the Greek Embassy. According to the national trade registry (ONRC), Greek FDI reached EUR 1.7 billion last year, accounting for 4.7 percent of total FDI. The National Bank of Romania (NBR) said that FDI from the Balkan country amounted to EUR 2.5 billion at the end of 2012, accounting for 4.3 percent of total investments. However, the central bank uses a different methodology to draw up data. “A significant number of new Greek companies were registered during the years in question (e.n. the crisis period), 2013 included. This included big investors, as well as small and mediumsized companies. In addition to newcomers, many Greek companies, already active in the market, proceeded with their investment plans,” Mita told BR. Romania is home to 5,790 firms with Greek capital, out of which 295 were founded in 2013. They have created around 45,000 jobs in various sectors including banking, retail and manufacturing. Meanwhile, trade between the two countries rose 5.5 percent to EUR 1.1 billion, with Greek exports to Romania gaining 6.3 percent to EUR 604.3 million, while Romanian exports to Greece rose by 10.9 percent to EUR 604.5 million. “This positive trend shows that there is much room for further improvement,” said Mita.

Dimitris Nikolakis CEO, Druckfarben Romania

Effie Valsamaki general manager, Dirent Group

Alexandros Ignatiadis, shareholder Octagon Contracting & Engineering

Bank of Greece (NBG), while EFG Eurobank controls Bancpost. Meanwhile, Alpha Bank and Piraeus Bank operate under their own brands. According to daily Ziarul Financiar, NBG will withdraw from Romania, having struck a deal with the EU’s anti-trust body. Banca Romaneasca’s assets amounted to RON 7 billion (EUR 1.5 billion) at the end of 2012. Aside from the lender, NBG’s Romanian operations include an insurer, a financial investment firm and a leasing company. Meanwhile, Eurobank registered a EUR 40 million loss in Romania 2013, up by EUR 5 million over the previous year. Its assets fell 6 percent to EUR 3.8 billion. Last year, Piraeus Bank sold a 93.2 percent stake in ATE Bank Romania to Romanian businessperson Dorinel Umbrarescu, in a EUR 10.3 million deal. The lender has been rebranded as Banca Romana de Credite si Investitii and will be run in a dualist system. Piraeus registered a gross profit of EUR 3.3 million last year, while its assets amounted to over EUR 2 billion. Meanwhile, Alpha Bank posted a pre-tax loss of EUR 4.7 million in Romania last year on the back of higher provisioning for bad loans. Moving to telecom, Romtelecom's total revenues amounted to EUR 609.5 million. Greek OTE controls 54 percent of the company’s shares, while the rest are held by the Romanian state. The state is planning to sell its stake through an initial public offering (IPO). Meanwhile, telecom operator Cosmote Ro-

mania, in which OTE holds a 70 percent stake, recorded revenues of EUR 458 million last year. Both Romtelecom and Cosmote registered a slight decrease in revenues year-on-year. The two companies will be rebranded as T-Mobile by September, which could represent another step in their merger, according to news portal

and related products, said the company has been impacted by the economic crisis, which has changed consumption patterns. “Romanian consumers’ shift towards more economical solutions in the last couple of years resulted in a slight decrease in the local turnover for both business units in 2013, offset by increased export activity to neighboring countries,” said Nikolakis. “Due to the prevailing market conditions, the previous year was a transitional one for Druckfarben, in which the foundations were laid for the future strategic positioning of our brands and the expansion to previously unexplored areas,” he added. He said the construction and building materials industries were expected to slightly decline or remain flat this year, depending on political developments. However, Nikolakis expects the paints business, represented by the brand Kraft Paints in Romania, to yield double-digit growth this year. He said the company holds 40 percent of the market for flexible packaging inks. The company is part of the Druckfarben group, which is active in the Balkans region with a consolidated turnover of over EUR 50 million. The turnover in the local construction sector continued to fall in 2013, although some of the sector registered a revival, mainly due to private initiatives, which continued in the first quarter of this year, according to Alexandros Igna-

Gauging Greek investment sentiment BR asked the heads of Greek firms active in various sectors about their experience in Romania and their outlook for 2014. Ilias Pliatsikas, general manager at Olympus Romania, said the company had launched new products locally last year and that its turnover had grown by 41 percent to EUR 55 million in the same period. He said this had allowed Olympus to register its first profit since starting production at its Brasov-based plant in Halchiu. This year, the company expects a 30 percent hike in turnover. Olympus relies solely on milk from Romania for its plant and exports 70 percent of its output. “2014 is important for the dairy sector. The price and quality of the raw material will play a key role in the industry,” Pliatsikas told BR. Dimitris Nikolakis, CEO of Druckfarben Romania, a manufacturer and supplier of inks and solvents for the flexible packaging industry, architectural paints Business Review | May 19 - 25, 2014


Courtesy of Embassy of Greece

Courtesy of More Group of companies

Ilias Papageorgiadis CEO, More Group of companies

Efrossyni Mita, economic counsellor, Embassy of Greece

tiadis, shareholder of Greek construction firm Octagon Contracting & Engineering. “Unfortunately, as this year is an electoral year, most of the public funds will be allotted to pensions and other areas that can bring votes, so the construction sector will not be a priority for public investments. At the same time, for pretty much the same reasons, the effervescence of the private sector has started to flatten out,” he told BR. He said this year will be broadly similar to the previous one for construction. The company more than doubled its turnover to EUR 19.6 million last year against the previous one. In 2014 the company is aiming to reach a turnover of EUR 16 million and to maintain its portfolio of clients. Effie Valsamaki, general manager at Dirent Group, said the firm had seen its turnover in the operating leasing service fall due to a weak market, while the short-term rental service has increased since its launch in Romania three years ago. “Although the car rental market in Romania has not seen huge fluctuations over the last three years since the big drop of 2009-2010, Dirent’s specific service has gained a bigger market share every year. The expectation for this year is to increase the turnover of the rent-acar service by 50 percent,” Valsamaki told BR. “The used car business has faced various obstacles, mainly due to additional

taxation and low demand, but the local market started to move much better at the beginning of 2014. For executive used vehicles with high engine capacity, the local market is still very difficult, the taxation very high, and prices would have to drop even more before local drivers would buy them. Otherwise these vehicles will have to be sold on foreign markets,” she added. Ilias Papageorgiadis, CEO of the MORE Group of companies, a consultancy, said that brokerage activities in the real estate sector recorded 7-8 percent growth last year. The company started to focus on income properties and investments in 2009. It grew its renewable energy business by 3.5-4 percent. In April 2013, the group decided to focus solely on biogas and biomass projects, due to changes to the incentives system. “Biomass and biogas will attract Greek capital, as Greece does not have the advantages of Romania in this sector and lots of companies are scoping the market and moving onto the next steps. Once the situation is 100 percent clarified, you could witness a new wave of investments in this sector that could surprise an outsider,” the CEO told BR. He added that demand in the real estate sector, especially for income-generating properties, such as farmland and forests. Greek investors hold a 20-25 percent share in the overall portfolio of clients. For Divertiland, the outdoor water entertainment park in eastern Bucharest, the first year of operations attracted over 100,000 people. “This year we will concentrate our efforts on developing a complete customer experience and position Divertiland as a city break destination within the city. Some of our efforts will go into the development of additional activities, such as events and parties,” Alejandro Poulakis, the park’s CEO, told BR. He added that 20 percent of the total number of visitors last year were foreign.

Greek investments 5,790 – number of companies with Greek capital in Romania 45,000 – jobs created by Greek companies in Romania EUR 4 billion – Greek FDI to Romania since 1990, according to estimates by the office for economic and commercial affairs at the Greek Embassy EUR 1.1 billion – value of trade between Greece and Romania in 2013 Business Review | May 19 - 25, 2014


Romania could join a stronger Euro zone Ambassador of Greece to Romania Grigorios Vassiloconstandakis says the euro’s current problems would most likely be solved by 2019, when Romania aims to join the Euro zone. His compatriots have invested over EUR 4 billion here and their development plans have continued despite the difficult economic situation. ∫ OVIDIU POSIRCA

What are Greece’s priorities for the EU presidency? Greece has assumed the presidency at a time when Europe is going through an extremely delicate phase. We have had the crisis over the last few years, which resulted in recession and unemployment, shaken the confidence of high numbers of European citizens in EU institutions and gravely affected social cohesion. Our challenge is to ensure prosperity and stability, because it is more and more obvious that the priority areas of our presidency cannot escape the pressing needs of European citizens today. In a few words: the promotion of policies and actions to achieve growth, combat unemployment, promote economic and social cohesion and structural reforms, deepening integration and completion of the European monetary union, as well as addressing external challenges, including EU enlargement, have formulated the priority framework of the Hellenic presidency.

CV Grigorios Vassiloconstandakis

Photo: Mihai Constantineanu

How are Greece and Romania collaborating in the economic field? What are the strong points and which areas still need improvement? Greece and Romania have very strong relations in all domains of economic collaboration. This is due to historical reasons, cultural ties and geographical opportunity, and I must say that these bilateral economic relations are mainly characterized by a strong Greek business and investment presence in Romania. The investment capital of Greek origin currently makes Greece the sixth biggest foreign investor. Total Greek investments have far exceeded EUR 4 billion, and I must stress that these investments are qualitative, reflecting the long-term Greek business presence in Romania. I believe that this is rightly appreciated, since all Greek firms have contributed to the modernization of the Romanian economy, and its gradual adaptation to the EU economic environment. Of course, Romania’s subsequent membership of the EU greatly enhanced our bilateral relations. Trade advanced significantly in 2013 both from the point of view of Greek exports to Romania and Romanian exports to Greece. I believe there is room for a further increase in bilateral trade as well as in Romanian investments in Greece.

Does Greece support Romania’s Schengen accession and do you think that something will happen this year given the unfolding crisis in Ukraine? It is well known that Greece supports Romania’s accession to the Schengen area because we think that Romania fulfills all the technical criteria; it complies with the acquis communautaire (e.n. European Community laws) in this field. We are doing our best, now that we have the EU presidency this semester, to promote Romania’s candidacy for the Schengen area. As you know, of course, this is not totally dependent on us, because accession into the Schengen area is a complicated procedure and the role of the rotating presidency is different, so Romania’s accession will come down to a synthesis of different options, positions, views and trying to find, when conditions are right, the common denominator in order to reach consensus. You know very well that unanimity is needed for this kind of decision, and we hope that consensus can be reached soon. Would you advise Romania to join the Euro zone, given the economic hardship suffered by Greece in recent years? What we must say from the beginning is that Greece joined the Euro zone some 12 years ago, when nobody could predict the architecture, procedures, outcome and the possibility of the euro positively impacting the economies of the Euro zone. I think that following the crisis that started three-four years ago, all Europeans are aware of the problems

related to the architecture of the euro as a common currency. And I think that over the last few years all of us have tried to find a new basis for this architecture so that the euro will never deal with the same difficulties we have gone through in the last few years. I understand that your prime minister has predicted that Romania could join the Euro zone at the end of the decade. The current problems of the euro would most likely be solved by then, and Romania, with its very good economic indicators, will be in a strong position to adopt the euro. Has the EU as a political entity emerged stronger from the recession? The first big advantage of being a member of the EU is that all members define Europe as a common place to be – as a family, as a great area of activities (economic, political and cultural) and this is an invaluable asset for all Europeans. Of course problems and challenges frequently arise and the EU has to be ready to deal with them, taking into consideration its weight, not only economically, but also politically and diplomatically.It is true that we are trying to move in that direction and these are the efforts made by the common institutions we all respect. That is the European Parliament; first of all, the European Commission, the Council, and I think that over the years this is the goal to which we are getting closer and closer. But you are right and I think that the

April 2013-present Greek Ambassador to Romania 2012 - promoted to Minister Plenipotentiary 2010-2012 - deputy director of the directorate for the Arab World and the Middle East, MFA Graduated from the Faculty of Law at Athens University. Completed a seminar on civil-military cooperation and conflict resolution at Harvard University’s JFK School of Government crisis like the one in our region, in Ukraine, indicates the need for coordination. And through dialogue and unanimity we have decided on a common response approved by all member states. We’ve seen more public officials jailed. Do you think that this is a genuine crackdown on corruption in the public sector? I think that Romania, like Greece, has taken big steps forward concerning the anti-corruption fight. We can see that and all of us appreciate these big steps, which have taken place over the last few years – over the last year to be more specific. We are confident that Romania is on the right path in this field. What issues are raised by Greek investors doing business in Romania? Greek investors consider the business environment in Romania a safe one. However we would like to see more stability and predictability in the legislative framework that applies to different domains of business and investment activity, especially regarding fiscal provisions and tax levels, as well as the incentives provided for investments in various economic fields. As an example, I could mention the changes in the renewable energy legislation and the insolvency law, but in general I understand that the biggest asset that Romania presents for foreign investments is the stability and security of the business environment. Business Review | May 19 - 25, 2014



Top 20 Greek companies in Romania COMPANY



319G Independentei Blv, district 6, Bucharest +40 21 404 12 34

1.94 billion

Satellite telecommunication activities



237B Calea Dorobantilor, district 1, Bucharest +40 21 455 99 98

893 million

Other financial transaction activities



6A Dimitrie Pompeiu Blv, district 2, Bucharest +40 21 30 20 789

789 million

Other financial transaction activities



42 Drumul între Tarlale St, district 3, Bucharest +40 21 256 14 76

657 million

Manufacturing of other wires and electric and electronic cables



119 Agricultori St, district 3, Bucharest

505 million

Construction work for utility projects in electricity and telecommunications



29-31 Nicolae Titulescu Blv, district 1, Bucharest +4 021 303 69 69

494 million

Other financial transaction activities



29-31 Nicolae Titulescu Blv, district 1, Bucharest +4 021 405 16 00

456 million

Other financial transaction activities



11 Dinu Vintila St 11, Eurotower Building, district 2, Bucharest +40 21 305 90 00

403 million

Other financial transaction activities



7A Bucharest-Ploiesti Road, district 1, Bucharest +40 766121299

265 million

Retail trade



42 Drumul între Tarlale St, district 3, Bucharest +40 21 402 41 00

211 million

Unspecialized wholesale trade



17 Fabrica de Glucoza Road, nr. 17, district 2, Bucharest +40 21 204 09 06

191 million

Other technology information activity services



109 Apei St, 525100, Covasna +40 268 308 050

169 million

Milk and dairy products



19-21 Ion Mihalache, district 1, Bucharest +40 21 307 99 71

140 million

Life insurance



67-77 Biharia St, district 1, Bucharest +40 21 201 11 80

120 million

Wholesale trade of home appliances, radio and TV sets



8 Take Ionescu St, district 1, Bucharest +40 21 411 70 86

110 million

Retail trade of new goods in specialized stores



3 N. Titulescu Road, district 1, Bucharest +40 21 308 21 00

93. 8 million

Specialized medical assistance activities



42 Drumul între Tarlale St, district 3, Bucharest +40 21 090570

86.2 million

Wholesale activities of metals and metalic ore



45 Gradinarilor St, district 3, Bucharest +40 21 3202013

74.2 million

Tour operator activities



6 Gheorghe Cantacuzino Sq, district 2, Bucharest +40 21 455 59 0001

72.1 million

Financial leasing



12A Bucuresti - Targoviste Road, Ilfov +4 0766748159

72.0 million

Wholesale trade of dairy products, eggs, oils and edible fats




Companies are listed according to their 2012 turnover. The financial information is provided by the National Trade Register Office (ONRC) Business Review | May 19 - 25, 2014


Cluj-Napoca top for regional office markets Over 60,000 sqm of modern office space will be delivered this year in the main cities outside Bucharest, the bulk of which, about 50,000 sqm, will be in Cluj-Napoca. A cheaper workforce and lower rents than in the capital combined with developing infrastructure are luring IT and outsourcing players to Romania’s main regional cities. So how high is the demand for offices and are developers keeping up? ∫ SIMONA BAZAVAN Demand for office space outside Bucharest went up by over 50 percent in the first quarter of this year compared to Q1 2013 and the trend is expected to continue throughout the year, Razvan Iorgu, managing director at CBRE Romania, told BR. Companies expanding their local footprint in regional cities is a trend that has been growing for several years now. Alcatel, Atlas Telecom, Bombardier, Deloitte, Endava, Evalueserve, Flextronics, Genpact, HP, Intel, SAP and Siemens are just a few of the companies that have opened sites outside Bucharest in recent years, their main destinations being Cluj-Napoca, Timisoara, Iasi and Brasov. There is also demand for Sibiu and Targu Mures, Marius Scuta, associate director, head of the office department and tenant representation at JLL Romania, told BR. The availability of a trained workforce and lower salaries than in Bucharest are the main reasons for this expansion. Cities such as Cluj-Napoca, Timisoara, Iasi and Brasov are also major university hubs offering an attractive labor pool for IT companies, SSCs (shared service centers) and BPOs (business process outsourcing). Demand for office space outside the capital continues to come mostly from such players, but also from the automotive sector and more recently from the agribusiness industry. “Following several good agricultural years, we have recently noticed a slight increase in office demand from firms active in connected industries such as farming equipment, fertilizers and grain trading,” Andreea Paun, associate director in the office agency at Colliers International Romania, told BR. The developing infrastructure and lower office rents than in Bucharest are other incentives luring players away from the capital. “For example, the total occupancy costs (rent plus service charge) for class A office space in regional cities are about 20-25 percent below the capital. For IT and telecom companies, which require generous surface areas, choosing a regional city is an option which on the long run generates economic advantages,” Madalina

Razvan Iorgu, managing director at CBRE Romania

Madalina Cojocaru, head of the office department at DTZ Echinox

Andreea Paun, associate director at Colliers International Romania

Marius Scuta, associate director at JLL Romania

Cojocaru, head of the office department at DTZ Echinox, told BR. Average class A rents are currently between EUR 12 and EUR 14/sqm/month in Cluj-Napoca, Timisoara and Brasov while in Iasi the range is EUR 13.5 to EUR 15/sqm/month, she added. For class B spaces average rents drop to EUR 7-EUR 11/sqm/month in most regional cities, according to DTZ data. Companies are looking mostly for class A office space but this is not always available. “Due to the limited class A office options outside Bucharest, some

tenants are still interested in leasing, or are opting for class B or even class C office space, like old refurbished warehouses or industrial buildings. There is a trend, though, of relocating from old buildings to new modern class A buildings, where available and where the rental costs are similar to or lower than in Bucharest,” said Scuta. Overall, supply and demand are balanced – the average vacancy level does not exceed 10-12 percent in most regional cities, whereas in Bucharest it is 15 percent, according to Iorgu. The exceptions are Timisoara, where the rate

is below this level, and Cluj-Napoca, where several office projects are being developed and the stock is expected to double by yearend, he added. A higher figure – 15 percent – is reported in Brasov, according to Cojocaru. “This vacancy rate reported for class A office space explains developers’ decision to slow down construction this year,” she commented. However, despite the growing trend of expansion outside Bucharest, at present only an estimated 17-20 percent of Romania’s modern office space stock is outside the capital. “The most active clients outside Bucharest are still IT and BPOs/call center companies. Only a few new companies to Romania have chosen to open their new office outside Bucharest. Almost all firms active outside Bucharest still have their headquarters or main office in Bucharest,” said Scuta. And the gap between the capital and the rest of the country will not narrow significantly in the near future. A total of some 50,000 sqm of modern office space is expected to be delivered this year outside Bucharest while the capital will gain another 120,000 sqm or thereabouts of office space. As for new developments, Paun says there is a growing interest from developers in Cluj-Napoca, Timisoara, Iasi and Oradea. Liviu Tudor, president of local real estate company Genesis Development, the owner of the West Gate and Novo Park office projects in Bucharest, told BR in a recent interview that he is looking at the office market away from the capital. “I am doing this because I see tenants are looking to expand outside Bucharest to the large cities. I am looking at Iasi, Timisoara and Cluj-Napoca (…).For now I am only following this phenomenon,” he revealed. While there is interest in such developments from various realtors, Scuta says he is not aware of new land transactions involving office developments in the main regional cities.

Best of the rest: Cluj-Napoca With its key position in the heart of Transylvania, a large and well trained labor force, good infrastructure and attractive occupancy costs, Cluj-Napoca, Romania’s second largest city, has also Business Review | May 19 - 25, 2014

grown to become the second most attractive hub after Bucharest for BPOs and SSCs. As a result, the town has the second largest office market in the country. JLL estimates Cluj’s modern office stock (class A and B) at 119,000 sqm (in 19 buildings) or 367 sqm per 1,000 capita. Class A office space represents 51 percent of the existing stock and the rest is class B. DTZ, on the other hand, puts the city’s office stock at 150,000 sqm. Cluj-Napoca’s office market is looking at considerable growth in terms of new stock with four office projects totaling more than 50,000 sqm to be delivered by yearend. These are the first phase of The Office (19,350 sqm) developed by New Europe Property Investments (NEPI) and Romanian businessman Ovidiu Sandor, United Business Centre Tower (10,000 sqm)


Coming soon: The first phase of The Office will be delivered this month

Regional office market City

Office Space under Headline stock (sqm) construction (sqm) rents class A

Headline rents class B

Service charges

Vacancy rate class A

Vacancy rate class B

Cluj-Napoca Timisoara Iasi Brasov

150,000 100,000 120,000 80,000

9-11 9-11 7-11 8-11

2-3.5 2-3 2-3.5 2-3.5

<10 <5 <8 15

15 15 10 10

42,000 9,000 10,000 0

12-14 12-14 13.5-15 10-12

Rents are expressed in EUR/sqm/month. Vacancy rate is expressed as a percentage.

Source: DTZ Echinox

from Iulius Group, the second phase of Liberty Technology Park (13,400 sqm) by Fribourg Development and the second phase of Cluj Business Center (8,000 sqm) from Felinvest, according to JLL data. The largest of the four projects, the first phase of The Office, will be delivered by the end of May. The developers announced last week that they have signed up a new tenant, American IT company Yardi, which will occupy more than 3,000 sqm, and that they are in advanced negotiations with several other IT firms already present in the city and two potential newcomers. The other tenants include ThreePillar, Deloitte and Lunch Box. The Office, located in downtown Cluj-Napoca, will have a total leasable area of 54,000 sqm. The first 19,000 sqm will be delivered in the first half of 2014. The entire project should be completed by 2016. The project is not the first partnership between NEPI and Sandor. The businessman is also the developer of the City Business Centre office block in Timisoara, which he sold to NEPI in early 2012 for an estimated EUR 90 million. Outside Cluj-Napoca there will be little activity this year. The office stock in Iasi and Timisoara will gain 10,000 sqm and 9,000 sqm, respectively, in 2014, while Brasov will see its next delivery in 2015, according to DTZ data. Business Review | May 19 - 25, 2014


Art attack Bucharest premieres public art pavilion Bucharest’s first professional and public art pavilion, Art Safari, will be a comprehensive four-day Romanian art fair, comparable to the great pavilions of other European capitals. The venue, which is being constructed in George Enescu Square, will welcome almost 150,000 visitors. ∫ OANA VASILIU Art Safari will feature a wide range of artworks, from heritage pieces to contemporary creations. Over 100 galleries, museums and cultural institutions are due to attend the event. Major names – homegrown and international – will be included, such as: Brâncuşi, Klimt, Grigorescu, Rembrandt, Tonitza, Picasso, Luchian, Renoir, Aman, Chagall, Baba, Degas and Ţuculescu. Museums will exhibit works of art worth more than EUR 10 million. In the galleries area, Romanian art worth almost EUR 1.5 million will be on display. Iconic painter Nicolae Grigorescu will be represented through

five paintings with a total value of EUR 1 million, courtesy of Artmark. “Deutsche Bank has always been a patron of the arts and an active supporter of talent and we are thrilled to support this initiative in Romania. Art can truly develop when there is an appropriate institutional environment which guarantees a working dialogue between the artist-gallery-collector, cultural institution and the art market, which is exactly what Art Safari aims to accomplish,” says Mihai Ionescu, director of Deutsche Bank Romania, the event’s main sponsor. The Art Pavilion’s primary purpose is to facilitate an unmediated dialogue between Bucharest’s public and the au-

thentic values of heritage and contemporary art, presented in a refined curatorial manner. The organizers hope to encourage museum visitors, increase awareness of and interest in cultural events and contribute to the shaping of a national cultural identity Art Safari will be hosted in a specially built exhibition space in George Enescu Square, designed by Prof. PhD Arh. Dorin Ștefan. The pavilion will be divided into six distinct sections: Museums and Cultural Institutions; Heritage Art; Contemporary Art; Collectibles; Design; and Art Business & Media. An Art Dialogue area will host a series of debates, book launches and performances.

Heritage artists on display Art Safari brings several unique exhibitions to Romania for the first time. These will include a selection of Brâncuși’s artworks from museums and private collections, an exhibition dedicated to Balchik in the Romanian arts in partnership with the Art Museum of Constanța, a works on paper exhibition by French Impressionist Masters (Pissarro, Manet, Degas, Monet, Sisley, Cezanne, Renoir, Corot) organized by the Engraving Cabinet of the Romanian Academy Library, a selection from the George Oprescu collection of the Romanian Academy (Sisley, Monet, Picasso) and a range of artworks by Gustav Klimt from the Peleș National Museum. The focus will also include a unique contemporary art selection from the Deutsche Bank collection overseen by an international curator. The event is organized by ACOAR (Romanian Art Dealers Association), under the auspices of the City of Bucharest in a cultural partnership with AMPT (Monuments and Heritage Tourism Administration), with the participation of AGACOR (Romanian Contemporary Art Galleries Association). The pavilion will be open from 12:0020:00, Thursday 22 and Saturday 24 May; 12:00-02:00, Friday 23 May; and 12:00-18:00, Sunday 25 May. A one-day ticket costs RON 15. Private tours are available on request at

Art Safari Sections May 22-25 Heritage Art The Heritage Art Section will exhibit works ranging from Old Masters to modern art, including paintings, sculptures, drawings and decorative arts representative of heritage art galleries.

Collectibles In a unique curatorial concept, collectible cars, fine and rare wines, books and maps, antique weapons, coins and medals can be seen in this section.

Museums and Cultural Institutions Future exhibitions and initiatives designed to promote and support the art of museums and cultural institutions are presented here.

Contemporary Art Contemporary art will be represented by art galleries with a selection of Romanian and international artists leading the most innovative artistic trends of the moment, through paintings and sculptures, photography and video, installations and performance.

Design This section will showcase some of the most prestigious experts in design and applied arts, as design has become a significant component of the contemporary artistic environment, earning the right to an independent section at the greatest international art fairs. Art Business & Media The Art Business & Media section is dedicated to companies developing specialized products and services for the art market as well as to art publications. Business Review | May 19 - 25, 2014

Art Safari Data snapshot 4,000 sqm space Little Pavilion for museums of 800 sqm


WHITE NIGHT OF GALLERIES OFFERS NOCTURNAL ITINERARY FOR ART LOVERS May 23, 19.00-04.00 70 participating locations Read more at

Grand Pavilion for art galleries and conferences of 2,000 sqm Restaurant-café with 36 seats 350 Romanian and international artists 9 museums, 2 cultural institutes, 15 Art Business participants, 70 galleries 1,000 works of art 5,000 cultural objects 7 interactive debates 8 book launches, 3 screenings, 12 conferences and debates, 3 press conferences DJ Electric Brother concert Agora space for debates 9 wall-mounted plasma TVs Art Safari mobile app Almost 150,000 art lovers expected

Florica Prevenda: Facelook, AnnArt Gallery

The eighth White Night of Galleries brings a new itinerary of contemporary art events to Bucharest, with 38 galleries and 32 alternative spaces participating in the May 23 event. The organizers have come up with a varied program, including artists’ premieres, special productions, performances, installations and launches of new projects. The event, organized by Ephemair Association, is taking place mainly in Bucharest, but organizers say they are looking at expanding it to other significant urban cultural centers around Romania. The event first took place in 2007, when 12 galleries were involved, and the number of participating locations has been growing steadily ever since. A new city, Cluj, was added in the fifth year. The organizers are also encouraging the use of bicycles to go between locations. In 2010 they

Nicu Ilfoveanu / Working title 1: Valerica – Eau de vie, Working title 2: Jurgis Lemaire vs Christophe Baltrusaitis, Anca Poterasu Gallery

equipped 200 bikes with night safety equipment, providing the public with a free means of transport.

The full program for the event is available at Business Review | May 19 - 25, 2014


WHO’S NEWS BR welcomes information for Who’s News. Submissions may be edited for length and clarity. Get in touch at

Elena Anghel

Sorin Biban

has been promoted from tax advisor to tax manager by Biris Goran. He joined the law firm in 2008, having practiced as a tax and finance consultant since 2004. His specialties include direct taxation as well as accounting matters. Biban is an active member of the Romanian Chamber of Fiscal Consultants and a member of the Romanian Chamber of Certified Accountants.

Marius Adrian Chiriac

is the new general manager of Hidrolectrica’s trading-supply department. He was director for energy acquisitions and sales at Enel Energie and Enel Energie Muntenia between 2012 and 2014. Chiriac was also deputy general manager and member of the managing board of Enel Energie and Enel Energie Muntenia between 2012 and 2013. He is a graduate of the Energy Faculty of the Polytechnic University of Bucharest, working at grid operator Transelectrica until 2007, when he was recruited by Italy’s utility firm Enel.

Robert Eiselt

is the new chief marketing officer of Evalueserve. His previous position was senior marketing director EMEA at Red Hat. Since joining Evalueserve

last month he is responsible for strengthening the company’s brand in global markets as well as developing and implementing marketing strategies. Eiselt has more than 20 years of experience in senior marketing positions at technology companies. He holds an MBA from the University of Missouri, Kansas City, in the US, and a diploma in computer science from Augsburg University, Germany.

Ana Fratian

has been promoted from senior associate to partner at Biris Goran. She joined the law firm in 2006 and has over 12 years of experience in a wide range of domestic and crossborder transactions, as well as commercial leasing matters. Fratian currently co-heads the firm’s corporate/M&A department.

Serban Toader

has been reconfirmed as senior partner of KPMG in Romania and Moldova for a third consecutive mandate. Toader, who took the initial mandate in 2007, coordinates the governance and strategy of the professional services firm. He is also a member of the executive board of KPMG for Central and Eastern Europe. In Romania, Toader is a member of the board of directors at the Foreign Investors’ Council, and of the managing board of United Way. He is a member of the CAFR, CECCAR, and ACCA UK, and has received a series of academic distinctions including the Executive MBA from Ecole Nationale des Ponts et Chaussees, Paris, the University of Edinburgh School of Management, London Business School and Harvard Business School.

FOUNDING EDITOR Bill Avery PUBLISHER Anca Ionita EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Simona Fodor JOURNALISTS Otilia Haraga - senior journalist, Simona Bazavan, Ovidiu Posirca, Oana Vasiliu COPY EDITOR Debbie Stowe PHOTO EDITOR: Mihai Constantineanu

ISSN No. 1453 - 729X

LAYOUT Beatrice Gheorghiu ART DIRECTOR Alexandru Oriean

phaned at 12. He had abandoned music and was shining shoes when the band was reformed. Wenders is not concerned with the genesis or logistics of the project. There are no scenes of stunned and tearful octogenarians being told they’re going to Europe or New York for the first time. The work is more of a portrait – both of the musicians themselves and of where they come from. The director sends his camera on a languid drive through the streets of Havana. A closed-off country, Cuba’s street life is history preserved in its vintage cars, panama hats and roadside games of checkers, against the pastel shades of its colonial and art deco architecture. Of course, we get workers hand rolling cigars. It’s an idyllic visual and aural depiction of a far from idyllic place – the songs noticeably stick to innocent themes like dreaming about girls, flowers and the beach, never straying into controversy. But Wenders’s remit is artistic, not political. His documentary’s most moving scenes come towards the end, when the band goes to New York for the Carnegie Hall show. The members’ travel experience is limited, and some are touchingly overawed by the Big Apple; Ferrer stares agog at the ranks of skyscrapers and shimmering lights whispering “lovely, lovely, lovely, lovely…” It’s impossible not to be touched by the bemused joie de vivre of these oldtimers, enjoying their unexpected last hurrah. Pushing 90, Compay Segundo says that he has five children and hasn’t given up on having a sixth. Singers Pio Leyva and Puntillita have to be dragged away from a tightly balanced dominos series for rehearsals. “You might be the best singer. But at dominoes, I’m the best,” boasts Leyva, before they are cajoled into the studio.

Donata Wenders

is the new deputy general director of tour operator Prestige Tours, part of Happy Tour Group. She is replacing Mircea Vladu who has retired. Anghel has over 15 years of professional experience in tour operator management. She will report directly to the group’s CEO, Javier Garcia del Valle.

Buena Vista Social Club

On a Wim: director Winders follows singers Omara Portuando, Ibrahim Ferrer and other Cuban veterans

DEBBIE STOWE Director: Wim Wenders Starring: Ry Cooder, Ibrahim Ferrer, Compay Segundo, Ruben Gonzalez On at: Sala Union, Friday 23 May, 19.00 From shining shoes to playing a sell-out Carnegie Hall concert is some career trajectory – and one that neatly sums up the musical phenomenon that is the Buena Vista Social Club. Originally a Havana members’ venue, where performers would gather in the 1940s for dances and jam sessions, the club was long forgotten and the musicians disappeared into obscurity. Then, in the 1990s, US guitarist Ry Cooder set about regrouping the performers – all well into their dotage – for a new album and concert, with German filmmaker Wim Wenders documenting the project. The result is a romantic homage to the music of Cuba. Most of the film is given over to renditions (not that kind, we’re not in Gitmo) of Latin, salsa, bolero and other lilting Caribbean rhythms – both in Havana rehearsals and the international shows that the ensemble would go on to perform. If this genre is not your glass of rum, then you won’t find much to savor here. In between the songs, the main performers are interviewed about their origins and how they came to be involved in music. X Factor this is not. Bolero singer Ibrahim Ferrer turned to busking to earn a living after being or-

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR George Moise SALES & EVENTS DIRECTOR Oana Molodoi SALES & EVENTS Sales managers: Ana-Maria Nedelcu, Oana Albu, Raluca Comanescu MARKETING Ana-Maria Stanca, Ana Maria Andrei, Iulia Mizgan PRODUCTION Dan Mitroi DISTRIBUTION Eugen Musat

Buena Vista Social Club is being shown as part of HipTrip (23-25 May), Romania’s first travel film festival. For the full program, visit:

PUBLISHER Bloc Notes Media ADDRESS No. 10 Italiana St., 2nd floor, ap. 3 Bucharest, Romania LANDLINE Editorial: Office: EMAILS

Business Review Issue 18/2014 May 19 - 25  

Greek companies appreciate Romania’s secure business environment, with total investments exceeding EUR 4 billion, according to Grigorios Vas...

Business Review Issue 18/2014 May 19 - 25  

Greek companies appreciate Romania’s secure business environment, with total investments exceeding EUR 4 billion, according to Grigorios Vas...