Page 1

INTERVIEW: Oenologist entrepreneur Aurelia Visinescu, managing director of Domeniile Sahateni, tells BR about the potential of the local premium wine segment and some of the major export destinations such as China, Japan, Thailand, Taiwan and South Korea »page 6


JANUARY 22-28, 2012 / VOLUME 16, NUMBER 1



Photo: Mihai Constantineanu

The protests that erupted in Bucharest last weekend have now spread around the country and show no signs of abating. Demonstrators are angry about issues ranging from the government’s austerity measures to the corruption of local politicians »page 4 NEWS





Proximity buy

High expectations

Tech future

Further reading

Carnage proximity stores might be sold to US retailer 7 Eleven as the company struggles with outstanding debts » page 4

Dacia is betting on the growth of the local car market and a program to replace used vehicles to see its business expand » page 7

A review of the most keenly anticipated gadgets of the year for the fashion-addicted early adopters of technology » page 8

Librarium Group has opened the Bastilia bookstore, its first venue in the capital, in Piata Romana » page 12

This black comedy with a simple plot stands out with its witty dialogue and well orchestrated silences » page 13 Business Review | January 22 - 28, 2012


NEWS in brief


PICTURE of the week

Courtesy of Artmark

HEALTHCARE Anima takes over Diagnosis clinics The Anima network has bought a majority stake in the Diagnosis chain of clinics, taking its share in the company to 70 percent. The share package was purchased from major shareholder Gemisa investment fund and one of the minor shareholders. Two of the founders, Dan Ionescu and Adrian Pop, are still shareholders in Diagnosis, holding the remaining package of shares. Following the merger, the company estimates it will post a turnover of EUR 5 million.

INVESTMENTS Turkish companies favor Romania as investment destination Representatives of TIAD, the Association of Turkish Businesspeople in Romania, are calling for closer economic cooperation, following a strategic partnership agreed by the Romanian and Turkish presidents last month. This new partnership aims at doubling trade between Turkey and Romania to EUR 10 billion. The two countries will also increase cooperation in the energy, environment and military sectors. Companies with Turkish capital have invested over EUR 2 billion in the Romanian economy during 2010.

MEDIA Bollywood TV channel could launch in Romania A request for a launch authorization for Bollywood TV, a channel that will broadcast Indian films and entertainment, has been submitted to the National Audio-visual Council (CNA). The request was made by the company ISG TV SRL, based in Bucharest, which has as equal shareholders Israeli citizens Shimshon Shai and Elazar Gilad, each having 45 percent of the shares, and Noemi-Gabriela Samoila-Zamfirescu, who holds 10 percent of the shares, according to Mediafax newswire.

WEEK in numbers

10 % of power companies Hidroelectrica and Nuclearelectrica will be listed on the Bucharest Stock Exchange, under a recent government move

1.5 % is the Romanian GDP growth predicted for 2012 by the World Bank in its Global Economic Perspectives Report

REAL ESTATE Bucharest’s forthcoming MegaMall is 20 percent leased Real4You Group has obtained the PUZ (zoning urban plan) for building MegaMall Bucharest, a 70,000 sqm mall to be developed at the junction of Iancului and Pantelimon Streets, on the site of the former Electroaparataj plant. The PUZ is an important step towards getting the construction permit and starting construction mid-2012. According to the leasing agents, the forthcoming MegaMall project is approximately 20 percent leased. Real4You Group has also announced plans to develop several shopping centers throughout Romania, in cities such as Satu Mare, Focsani and Targu Mures, branded as Mega Mall.

LeasePlan increases turnover by 21 percent in 2011 Operational leasing company, LeasePlan,

Down the memory lane of the Communist Golden Age… Artmark has opened an exhibition featuring items reflecting public and private life in Romania under Communism. The Golden Age exhibition includes paintings, photos, propaganda items and gifts received by the Ceausescu family from leaders of Communist regimes in Asia and Africa. See further details in the Cultural Agenda on page 14. has increased its turnover by 21 percent year-on-year to EUR 30.9 million at end2011. The company’s portfolio increased by 57 percent year-on-year to EUR 57.7 million. LeasePlan administrated 6,267 vehicles in 2011, up 30 percent over the period. “In 2012, we plan to increase the vehicle fleet by 20 percent to 7,400 administrated units. In addition, we will invest EUR 30 million in the acquisition of cars and light commercial vehicles, with a maximum capacity of 3.5 tons,” said Bogdan Apahidean, managing director of LeasePlan.

RETAIL Metro Group reports sales drop in Q4 2011 German retail company Metro Group, which runs the local Metro Cash&Carry and Real networks, registered EUR 17 billion in sales last year in Eastern Europe, up 0.4 percent y-o-y. The company saw regional sales go down by 1 percentage point in Q4 2011, due mainly to sharper decreases in Romania and Poland. Metro Group did not disclose last year’s financial results for Romania.

Five more stores for H&M this spring Swedish fashion retailer H&M will resume expansion this year by opening five stores outside Bucharest, said Mediafax, citing inside sources. The new shops will open in Iasi (Palas commercial center), Arad (Armonia Mall), Craiova (Electroputere), Braila and Suceava. H&M runs 11 outlets in Romania, six of which are in Bucharest.

Network One Distribution buys extra 30 percent of eMag Network One Distribution, formerly Asesoft Distribution, controlled by Iulian Stanciu and Sebastian Ghita, has taken over another 30 percent stake in online retailer eMag. The value of the transaction is evaluated at several millions of EUR. At the moment, 80 percent of shares are owned by Network One Distribution, 3 percent by Asesoft Web, both run by Stanciu and Ghita, while 16 percent of the stock is controlled by eMag founder Radu Apostolescu. eMAG posted a turnover of EUR 62 million in H1, 2011.

January 23 18:30 IBM organizes an event to mark the launch of its smarter planet initiative at Crowne Plaza Hotel. Bogdan Balaci, country general manager IBM Romania, will attend. By invitation only. January 24 08:30 The British Romanian Chamber of Commerce organizes a business breakfast briefing on the implications of the new Code of Civil Procedure for the business environment, at Capital Plaza Hotel. Catalian Predoiu, minister of justice, will attend. The event is free of charge. 10:00 Visa Europe organizes a press conference to present its annual results for Romania and Europe at Athenee Palace Hilton. By invitation only. 10:30 Romanian Business Stock Exchange, the first intermediation and business consultancy platform in Romania, launches at Cesianu-Racovita Palace. By invitation only. January 25 09:30 The Property Fund and the Bucharest Stock Exchange (BSE) organize a press conference to mark one year since the fund's listing on the BSE. Lucian Anghel, president of BSE, will attend. By invitation only. 10:30 The Post Privatization Foundation organizes a press conference to announce the results of a study on entrepreneurship in creative industries at Intercontinental Hotel. By invitation only. January 26 10:00 The Italian Chamber of Commerce in Romania organizes a seminar on the updated legal framework for renewable energy, at Novotel Hotel. By invitation only. January 30 Johnson Controls organizes a press conference to mark the launch of a new car seat factory in Craiova. By invitation only. February 9 ∫EVENT Swiss Business Forum BR organizes the third edition of this event, dedicated to exploring the opportunities and challenges that Swiss companies are encountering when doing business locally. For more information on the event please go to Business Review | January 22 - 28, 2012


Wave of civil unrest reaches Romanian cities T

Courtesy of Vodafone

housands of people gathered last week in Romania's major cities to protest against austerity measures imposed by the central right coalition. The resignation of Palestinian-born Raed Arafat, a symbol of Romania’s emergency health system, sparked the initial wave of demonstrations that soon targeted President Traian Basescu and the government. Although Arafat has returned to his job the anti-government rallies have continued. University Square in Bucharest was the focus of the unrest in the capital, as around 1,000 people started gathering daily to protest against the harsh austerity plan imposed by the troika (IMF, European Commission and World Bank). The government has cut 200,000 public sector jobs and reduced wages by 25 percent in the last two years, while increasing VAT by 5 percent. President Basescu announced the cuts in the spring of 2010 and since then has pursued a reform package in employment, education, justice, and more recently healthcare. The new healthcare bill would allow private companies to enter in competition with the state for funds allocated from the budget, prompting the citizen-

People calling for an end to austerity and corruption

ry to take to the streets in protest. Around 20,000 people are demonstrating daily in Romania's major cities according to police, who have struggled to contain the unrest. On the third day of general protests, Universitatea and Unirii Squares in Bucharest turned into a battlefield when the police fired tear gas at rioters who started throwing rocks, smashing the windows of banks and shops and lifting barricades on the main boulevard connecting the two squares. The authorities detained dozens of suspects, calling them football hooligans. Police officers were injured in the clashes, along with protesters and even journalists. PM Emil Boc said that peaceful protests that respect the law were legitimate, but street violence was unacceptable. Meanwhile, Traian Basescu has refused to comment on the events, although most of the protesters were calling on him to step down. After the unrest spread to all cities, helped by extensive coverage from major news outlets, Boc decided to step up the dialogue in ministries and prefectures and invited trade union representatives to negotiate. Opposing coalition USL saw the protests as an opportunity and

organized a demonstration of their own, attended by over 20,000 according to coalition officials. Victoria Nunland, spokesperson for the US Department of State, said last week that the protests in Romania had been caused by austerity measures that the government had taken in response to the financial crisis. “What we would say to Romania and Romanians is the same thing that we say to others around the world and what we said to Greece and Greeks at the time, which is that we support the right of people around the world to protest and express their views peacefully, but we call on both protestors and authorities to refrain from any violence,” said Nunland. Anti-government protests have been staged in Bucharest, Timisoara, Constanta, Cluj, Craiova and in other smaller towns, and there are no clear signs that they are running out of steam. Students, senior citizens, the unemployed, teachers and political party members can be found in the protesting crowds, each with a different set of demands. However, most are calling for early elections and improved living standards. ∫ Ovidiu Posirca


Dinu Patriciu could sell to US retailer 7 Eleven


utstanding debts to suppliers and banks could force local businessman Dinu Patriciu to sell the proximity store network. According to market sources quoted by Mediafax, Patriciu is negotiating the sale of or a possible association with 7 Eleven, the largest proximity store operator in the world. “Negotiations with 7 Eleven started in the autumn of 2011 and will be finished by March 2012. There is talk of a possible EUR 60 million capital infusion into the network,” markets sources told Mediafax. 7 Eleven was founded in 1927 in the USA and now operates 43,500 stores in 16 countries. stores were launched in October 2010 with big ambitions for the future. “If I have a wish, it is that the commerce imported piecemeal from the West should die,” said Patriciu at the time. The businessman previously announced EUR 200 million of investments and plans to open 1,000 fixed shops and 2,000 mobile units by the end of 2011. Things, however, have not moved as swiftly as he had initially hoped. In September 2011 there were about 830 stores and 58 Macro and miniMax

outlets, all operated by Patriciu’s Mercadia Holland company. Not only had the initial target of stores not been reached, but existing outlets began to face serious problems. Outstanding debts to suppliers led to tens of companies, including Romaqua Borsec, Dorna Lactate, Dr. Oetker and Ocean Fish, calling for Mercadia Holland’s insolvency in court. Many of the stores have had empty shelves for months now while others were simply closed after the rent was not paid. Suppliers accuse Patriciu of having financed the expansion of the network from their money, as paid them more than 240 days late. Mercadia Holland has also taken out credit worth more than EUR 45 million from BCR, Unicredit Tiriac Bank and BRD. Dinu Patriciu was named Romania's richest businessman for the third consecutive year in 2011, according to the Forbes rich list, with a fortune estimated at EUR 2.2 billion. Patriciu, who has investments in media, energy, real estate, banking and IT&C, made most of his money by selling oil company Rompetrol to Kazakhstan’s state-owned energy operator KazMunaiGaz in 2008. ∫ Simona Bazavan Business Review | January 22 - 28, 2012


Lady in red has nose for wine market Winemaking has proved a profitable business for Romanian entrepreneurs despite the market decreases in the past couple of years. Aurelia Visinescu, an award-winning Romanian oenologist and managing director of Domeniile Sahateni, told BR what it is like to sell Romanian premium wine in China and shared her opinions on whether 2012 will be more of a vintage year for the local market. ternationally as wine-producing destinations and where everything is much cheaper than in Romania – and costs are very important for large players. Here it would be very hard to invest in anything except the acquisition of an existing company. I have been struggling for 10 years to buy 100 ha of vineyard that is simply at a decent distance from the winery. It is quite hard to consolidate a plot of no more than 3 ha of vineyard.

∫ SIMONA BAZAVAN You are the first female oenologist turned investor in Romania. Has the fact that you are a woman ever been a professional setback? I get this question very often. The answer is no, it hasn’t been a disadvantage, on the contrary. However, I did get a head start in my career. I decided I wanted to become an oenologist in my final year at the Horticulture Faculty and I chose to major in this field. After graduation in ’93, I learned that a major local player at that time, Vinexport, was hiring an oenologist but that they were looking for a man. I simply went, knocked on their door and left a CV. They called me back and after an interview they hired me. By chance, my first assignment was in Sahateni village.

How much have you invested so far in the Domeniile Sahateni business and what are your plans?

How did the local market evolve last year and what are your estimations for 2012?

Courtesy of Domeniile Sahateni

The official numbers aren’t out yet but in 2011 the market continued to decline on all segments. I believe by the end of the year there could have been a slight recovery. Overall, I would say the Romanian wine market shrank by about 10 percent last year in volume. Nevertheless, the market is evolving, in the sense that local consumers are maturing and winemakers too are investing in quality. The premium segment especially is starting to gain share because as imports have gone up, consumers were able to make comparisons and many are now turning to Romanian premium wines due to a better price-quality ratio. I estimate the premium segment in Romania, both imports and locally made wines, to be no more than 10 percent of the total market in 2011. On the other hand, we see that when it comes to wine, Romanian consumers continue to be very conservative in favor of established local brands. Young people are more willing to experiment and try lesser known labels. This year I don’t see the market continuing on a downward trend. If anything, it will maintain last year’s levels.

CV Aurelia Visinescu

What about exports? Are foreigners interested in Romanian premium wines?

1998-2006 Production manager and managing director at Cramele Halewood, part of Halewood International February – March 1999 Winemaker at Griffith, NSW, part of Nugan Quality Foods in Australia March – April 1997 specialization at Orlando Wyndham in Australia

There isn’t a lot of interest in Romanian wine in general. Exports of Romanian wines have been on a downward trend ever since 1990. Those who come to taste local wine appreciate it, but many foreigners don’t even know that Romania is a wineproducing country. The image that Romania has abroad is also an issue, but I would say that the main problem is the fact that those of us looking to export are mainly small companies and this makes it hard to set a global trend as happened in the case

of countries like New Zealand, for example. Large local players are less interested in expanding abroad. Perhaps this will change in the years to come. Romanian wine sells very well in China, because it is a huge market and right now it is easier to sell there than anywhere else. Asia in general is a good market, followed by the USA, while in Europe it is harder to sell.

Last year about 30 percent of our turnover was generated by exports. It is much more profitable to sell abroad than in Romania. Asia was our main export market with countries like China, Japan, Thailand, Taiwan and South Korea, but we have also exported in Europe. In 2012, I would like to consolidate our position in Japan and enter the British market.

Do you think that we could witness large international players entering the Romanian market? Several investments have been made in smaller wineries in the past years and this is a very good thing for the local wine industry. And we will probably see more such entrepreneurs in the years to come. As for large international players coming here, I don’t see it happening. Romania is an expensive market for such companies in the sense that there are other countries that have already established themselves in-

The company was set up in 2003 and the first production to be entirely bottled at our winery was in 2007. The initial investment was about EUR 2 million, including EU funds and a loan. I own 50 percent of the business and my associate (e.n. Steve Cacenco) the other half. To date we have invested roughly EUR 5 million, about EUR 1.8 million of which are various EU funds. We own 70 ha of vineyard in the Dealul Mare region and a modern winery close by. I intend to buy an additional 15-20 ha of vineyard and this year we plan to replant 14 ha of the existing land. This spring we will finalize an investment project in boosting the winery’s production capacity with a focus on premium wines. Early next year we plan to start work on a 20-room pension close to the winery. The project will cost about EUR 300,000 with about two thirds coming from EU funds.

What is your turnover target for 2012 and do you plan to launch new products? Last year we managed to grow by about 50 percent to roughly EUR 1 million and in 2012 I estimate that business will go up by more than 50 percent. It is only normal considering that we are a start-up. The growth will come both from the internal market and exports. There are three collections of wines that are sold under the Aurelia Visinescu brand. Locally about 70 percent of our sales are generated by horeca, specialized wine shops, and we also have a mainstream brand, Nomad, that sells in large retail networks albeit it doesn’t perform locally as well as it does abroad. On the premium segment we have the Artisan collection which consists of six wine varieties sold exclusively in horeca and specialized stores and the Anima collection which are limited edition wines produced only from our best vintages. This spring we will launch the Karakter collection which will initially consist of four wines, all of which are internationally known varieties – chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, rose and cabernet sauvignon.

NEWS 7 Business Review | January 22 - 28, 2012



Dacia hopes car market will move up a gear in 2012

Alro ponders lowering production due to cost of electricity


ar manufacturer Dacia sold 30, 867 units in Romania last year, down 16 percent year-on-year on a market that shrank by 8.3 percent, but forecasts an increase in sales for this year. “We had good signs last year as the fleet segment registered growth, and this will continue in 2012 as well. If the REMAT program is extended and the fleet and commercial vehicles segment continues rising, 2012 will be a growth year,” said . He added that the auto market will increase, as there are positive signs regarding the volume of sales. Dacia holds a 29 percent market share. In addition, the gap in the number of cars per 1,000 inhabitants between Romanian and Western economies is significant. For instance, in Romania there are 200 cars per 1,000 inhabitants, while in Italy the number increases to 500. REMAT is a government program that offers economic incentives to purchase new vehicles when trading in old ones. Almost half of Dacia’s total local sales were made through this program and the manufacturer is hoping it will resume this year. Romania has recently approved a new version of the car pollution tax that will apply to cars registered before 2007. Dubruel said this tax was founded on the principle that the polluter should pay. “There are 5 million vehicles in total in Romania, out of which 2 million are more than 10 years old, so REMAT is a necessity,” said the commercial director, who added that Dacia will not make an electrical vehicle on the short or medium term. The carmaker will this summer launch Lodgy, a family car that will be produced in Morocco as the plant in Mioveni, Pitesti County, is already at full production capacity . “Romania will definitely remain on the map of Renault Group. Dacia’s production facilities haven’t moved abroad, but the Mioveni plant can’t accommodate new production facilities. This is the only reason why some Dacia models will be manufactured in other countries,” said Dubruel. Worldwide sales of Dacia decreased year-on-year by 1.5 percent, falling to 343,000 units. France remained the top export destination with 94,278 units. ∫ Ovidiu Posirca

Thomas Dubruel, general director of Renault Commercial Romania


ocal aluminum producer Alro may reduce its production capacity as the electricity supply from hydropower generator Hidroelectrica has been reduced due to a drought that has forced Alro to use expensive electricity sources. Alro, Vimetco’s Romanian subsidiary, has been operating at 75 percent of capacity since 2008. The company was aiming to increase to full capacity last year, before the drought dented expansion plans. Moreover, international aluminum prices fell 27 percent in Q4 of 2011 from a maximum of USD 2,803 per ton, due to low demand. “At present, we are focusing on maintaining the continuity of our activity, despite fluctuations in the electricity supply,” said Gheorghe Dobra, general director of Alro.

“We are confident that we will find an acceptable solution for the delivery of electricity allowing us to implement our longterm strategy in Romania.” Alro receives only 50 percent of its electricity from Hidroelectrica, forcing the producer to plug the shortfall from OPCOM, the Romanian power market operator, at higher prices. Hidroelectrica should provide electricity to Alro by 2018, at a yearly 3TWh, which would still cover only 75 percent of its need at full capacity. The smelter is the largest electricity consumer in Romania. Hidroelectrica’s prices increased by 50 percent between 2007 and 2011, and the current drought affecting the Danube forced the hydropower generator to cut output. Vimetco wants to become energy independent and plans to build a co-gener-

ation thermal plant with an installed capacity of 250 MW in Tulcea. Alro’s exports totaled USD 525 million in 2011, putting it among the 10 largest exporters in Romania. ∫ Ovidiu Posirca Business Review | January 22 - 28, 2012


A peek into the tec anticipated 2012 g

The ‘apocalyptic’ 2012 is raining new launches that will shape our tronics Show in Las Vegas, which allowed gadgeteers to take a pe future. But what it will look like? BR asked some industry pundits ∫ OTILIA HARAGA “We are moving towards portability, connectivity and digitalization. Communication features in social media will remain basically the same, i.e. browsing, mail and socialization, but will be enriched with new applications and better integrated,” representatives of online retailer tell BR. This means, as Irinel Burloiu, marketing director at online store, predicts, that the key words will be ‘smart’ and ‘interconnectivity’: “a smart car, refrigerator, a car with direct access to social media, gadgets controlled by mind power or with your eyes,” he outlines. “This is the consumer side of the future, but ‘smart’ will also be a key feature when it comes to gadgets used in the office, whether at desk or on mobile. Touch sensitive screens, data platforms and applications in the cloud, with access from any point on earth will be important ‘assets’ for companies with mobile workers,” Burloiu adds. This year, thin, light and connected devices seem to be all the rage. “At this moment, for thin and light devices, ultrabooks seem to be one of the stars of the IT market. This high-performance super thin and light laptop creates new expectations for gadgeteers who need portability and power. More than 50 new ultrabooks will be released this year by various producers,” says the marketing director. He adds that “unique features, a great design and marketing will make the difference between present market leaders and future ones.” Speaking of market leaders, no big changes are waiting around the corner, pundits say. “Apple and Samsung will most likely continue to lead in sales and popularity. We do not foresee – at least not in 2012 – a surprising ‘tables-turned’ situation as 2011 was for Nokia, which lost the position of leader for smartphones,” say reps. BR has compiled a list of the most keenly anticipated gadgets of the year. In Romania too, several of these products (some of which were not even showcased at CES) are eagerly awaited. “Romania has sufficient early adopters to follow international trends, not only because part of the population is very ‘fashion-addicted’ but also because the new technologies really bring useful changes which allow people to be more connected, more organized,” say representatives.

iPad 3 Everybody is holding their breath for the release of the iPad 3, which is rumored to have a full HD display and be slightly slimmer than its predecessor, the iPad 2. Apple is said to be aiming to make the competition tougher by putting an A6

Portability, connectivity and digitalization are key feat Quad-core Processor in the iPad 3. The gadget will also come with the latest iOS 5, which will host multi-touch gesture technology. Last but not least, the iPad 3 is expected to include the retina display feature and 3D capabilities. Tech experts expect it to be launched in March or even earlier, on Steve Jobs’ birthday on February 24. “The new generation of Apple products is keenly awaited with great interest by consumers and investors alike and this will be a very important year for Apple’s success after Steve Jobs passed away,” says Burloiu,

iPhone 5 After Apple’s latest launch turned out to be the improved version iPhone 4S, the wait is still on for the iPhone 5, which will be launched without Steve Jobs’ obsessive monitoring. Some experts say that this phone will make or break Apple’s supremacy, even if the company is already being challenged by strong competitors such as Samsung. Regardless, the iPhone 5 is expected to have an even bolder design. Also, even though Jobs was adamant about upgrading to a bigger screen, the iPhone 5 will have a four-inch screen, which means it will be able to compete on an equal footing with many Android devices. It will also be 4G compatible, allegedly. “When talking about smartphones, everybody will most definitely want an iPhone 5 especially for the 4G connection, Business Review | January 22 - 28, 2012


ech future: most gadget launches

e our future, as has already been proven at the Consumer Elece a peek through the keyhole and glimpse the technological ndits.

key features of future tech devices when it is available in Romania,” say officials. But 4G has not arrived in Romania yet.

Google tablet The enduring rivalry between Google and Apple is well known, but now the Android giant has raised the ante with “brutal competition”, announcing it will launch a tablet that will put Apple’s iPad to shame in the first half of 2012. Google officials warned this will be a “very high quality gadget”. It remains to be seen if it will be. “Tablets are another range of products which are raising high expectations for this year: users are very keen to see new tablets running on Android Ice Cream Sandwich,” says Irinel Burloiu of

Samsung Galaxy S3 After striking gold with the Galaxy S2, Samsung is said to be busy at work on its sequel, the smartphone Samsung Galaxy S3. Tech experts expect the gadget to feature a Samsung Exynos 4212 processor at 1.8GHz and an ARM Cortex A9 chip, which will offer a 25 percent performance boost and a 30 percent reduction in power consumption. The Galaxy S3 is expected to run on Google’s latest OS – Android Ice Cream Sandwich. Speculation is that this version of Samsung’s smartphone is being lined up for launch at a similar time to the iPhone 5. “Rumors about the Sam-

sung Galaxy S3 are already in circulation, but they will probably come true towards the end of the year. Previous models caught on very well in Romania,” say officials.

Sony Xperia Play A long-awaited smartphone that features real game controls and is PlayStation certified. Includes a Qualcomm Scorpion processor, backlit LCD screen, 5.1 megapixel camera, over 150,000 Android apps, social network integration, stereo speakers, PlayNow service, 8GB of storage, and 1500mAh battery.

Apple HDTV Steve Jobs had long hoped for the launch of a TV set from Apple, and it is rumored that this will be launched before the 2012 holiday season. The TV will allegedly come in a range of sizes to cater for all tastes. Navigation will be done using an iPad, iPhone or Siri. There was also mention of iTunes, App Store, and iCloud integration in the Apple HDTV. “The newly emerging internet connectivity technologies which allow TV sets to pick up online content will be more and more appreciated on the Romanian market, even more than OLED technologies or movement control and face recognition functions,” say representatives. Business Review | January 22 - 28, 2012


New year rings the bell of change Banker Lucian Anghel has been appointed the new president of the Bucharest Stock Exchange (BSE), replacing the most prominent figure on the local capital market, Stere Farmache. With several public offerings of stateowned enterprises in the pipeline, BR asks the experts if the new man can improve the performance of the stock exchange. ∫ OVIDIU POSIRCA

Busy season for public offerings

BSE shareholders decided in January to change the board of administration, electing Lucian Anghel as president of the BSE board. The 39-year-old chief-economist of the BCR defeated Stere Farmache, who has been the figurehead of the stock exchange ever since it started operations back in 1995. However, Farmache will remain a member of the new structure. The new board includes representatives of several brokerage firms, banks, a law firm and the Property Fund.

Aiming for a modern BSE “Stere Farmache has long been identified as the creator of a modern stock exchange in Romania. At the same time, a fresh spirit can help and Lucian Anghel is a professional with an impeccable reputation,” says Madalina Rachieru, counsel at Clifford Chance Badea law firm. The former BSE board has been busy over the last few months, sacking the general director of the stock exchange, Valentin Ionescu, for failing to sufficiently monitor operations involving structured products and a lack of attention to the Petrom SPO (secondary public offering), which failed due to insufficient subscriptions. Alin Barbu was named deputy GM, but the new administration board will have the appointment of a new director as priority. “It is important for the new board of administration to ensure the integration and coagulation of approaches and actors, leading to the modernization and maturing of the capital market,” says Cristina Virtopeanu, capital markets practice coordinator at NNDKP. The board is currently working on establishing several objectives, and investors are waiting to see the plan. “Investors are confident. They have positive expectations regarding this change and are waiting for measures that will boost the attractiveness of the market,” says Miruna Suciu, partner at law firm Musat & Asociatii. “This move will bring fresh air into the dusty lungs of the BSE. Lucian Anghel is a highly reputed economist and already the Romanian stock market has jumped following his successful election. Stere Farmache sailed the BSE ship through tough storms, with positive and negative results, but after 16 years it was time to hand over command of the BSE to a younger, ambitious economist. I see this change as a positive one for the stock market in general and await more details regarding Anghel’s plans for the BSE,” says Vasile Szakacs, private consultant on stock market investments and owner of

All the president’s roles Although the general director handles the executive elements of the stock exchange, the president of the administration board is an informal leader, conveying the share-

Jittery markets should calm down given some attractive public offerings holders’ point of view, ensuring a functional relationship with public authorities, in a year that will be marked by the listing of several state-owned entities on the stock exchange. “Functionally, the president is the shareholders’ representative, ‘controlling’ whether the executive completes the objectives in the mandate. It is a crucial position as the president represents the will of shareholders regarding the integration of the capital market in Romania or in partnerships with other bourses,” says Dragos Cabat, partner at “Although the BSE president can’t influence the performance of listed companies on the capital market, it can impact its relationship with other market institutions, the BSE brand or even act indirectly to list the issued shares on the capital market.” Official data reveal the BSE had a market capitalization of EUR 16.3 billion at endDecember 2011, with more than 79 listed companies. The equities turnover was EUR 8 million/day. Management changes have taken place in the Vienna Stock Exchange as well, the platform on which 15 Romanian blue chip stocks can be traded under the Romanian Trade Index (ROTX EUR), which has a capitalization of EUR 2.7 billion. “The introduction of new instruments, the attraction of the high profile issuer, increasing market liquidity, and the coordination of technical trading conditions with those of regional performers are some of the expected measures with consequences on the local capital market,” says Virtopeanu.

Local equity market set to grow The Romanian equity market remains the most attractive in the CEE region, along with the stock market in Poland. The Turkish market is also rated positively by Erste analysts in the 2012 CEE Equity Strategy report. The equity market in Romania will be

BSE SNAPSHOT New Board of Administration at BSE Lucian Anghel – president, BCR Stere Farmache – Alpha Bank Dan Paul – Broker’s Association Schroll Matjaz – Franklin Templeton Valerian Ionescu – BCR Adrian Lupsan – Intercapital Invest Narcisa Oprea – Schoenherr & Associates Cosmin Pana – Swiss Capital Octavian Molnar – IFB Finwest Source: Bucharest Stock Exchange able to attract foreign investors provided that the government sticks to its plan of selling stakes in state-owned companies on the BSE. However, Erste analysts warn that the institutional investor base is low in Romania, which could reduce the subscription targets for offerings in utilities and energy producers. At the beginning of 2011, the Property Fund was listed on the stock exchange which increased liquidity on the capital market and boosted the financial results of the stock exchange. The net asset value of the fund is EUR 3.3 billion, with 86 percent being shared by companies in the energy sector, such as Hidroelectrica, OMV Petrom, Romgaz and Nuclearelectrica. However, Franklin Templeton, the sole manager of the fund, wants a second listing on the most dynamic market in Eastern Europe, the Warsaw Stock Exchange. This move is still under discussion, as the regulatory body, the Romanian National Securities Commission, fears liquidity will be drained from the BSE.

Austrian Erste Group, which gained a foothold in Romania through the acquisition of BCR, expects the Romanian equity market to enjoy increased visibility, as the government seeks to sell stakes in state-owned enterprises. Romania will this year sell a 15 percent stake in Romgaz, the largest producer of natural gas, which is currently engulfed in a corruption scandal, for EUR 300 million. The government will also try to raise EUR 40 million from the Transelectrica SPO and another EUR 85 million from the Transgaz SPO, both utilities where the minority stakes will be sold at a discounted price. Erste says that the IPOs of energy producers Hidroelectrica and Nuclearelectrica will be delayed until 2013, as the profitability of these companies hasn’t improved significantly. The same goes for telecom company Romtelecom and airline Tarom. The government failed to sell a 9.84 percent stake in Petrom on the BSE last year and no date has been set for resuming this offer. Last week, the government approved the privatization strategies of Hidroelectrica and Nuclearelectrica. Both energy companies will issue a 10 percent share package by increasing the current share bloc, allowing private investors to bid for the minority stake. This latest decision comes under the agreement signed with the troika (IMF, EC and World Bank), whereby Romania will sell minority stakes in state-owned firms, and reduce the level of arrears. The Ministry of Economy holds an 80 percent stake in Hidroelectrica, while the Property Fund has the remaining 20 percent. In Nuclearelectrica, the Ministry of Economy holds a 90 percent stake and the Property Fund 8 percent.

Hot stocks in 2012 Analysts at Erste say the most visible stocks in 2011 were Petrom, the two utilities Transelectrica and Transgaz, the Property Fund and the SIFs (financial investment firms). The companies posted strong financial results last year, allowing yields for dividends to climb above the 6 percent threshold, in some cases reaching more than 10 percent, as in the case of Transgaz. For 2012, Erste sees Transelectrica and Transgaz as good investments, despite a regulatory risk. The recent increase of the SIF ownership threshold from 1 to 5 percent should also raise interest. The deal closed between the SIFs and Erste Group Bank for BCR has changed the portfolio structure of the investment firms, which will raise the percentage of listed companies in their portfolio. Thus, trading will be done at lower discounts, less than 50 percent. Analysts say oil and gas company Petrom is also a good stock option as the strong upstream profile makes it a cheap stock in the current oil market. Business Review | January 22 - 28, 2012


ge at the BSE THE LEADERS’ PROFILES Lucian Anghel stock exchange gets new broom

Stere Farmache in on the ground floor

Less is known about Lucian Anghel, chief economist at BCR, whom shareholders have voted the new president of the BSE administration board. Aged 39, Anghel has spent his entire professional career with BCR, the largest Romanian bank. In his current position as chief economist, he is directly subordinate to its president, and is responsible for coordinating the bank’s research and strategy department. He also attends meetings with foreign investors and important clients. He began working for BCR back in 1996 shortly after graduating from the Cybernetics Faculty of the Academy of Economic Studies in Bucharest. Anghel started as a loan officer but one year later joined BCR’s treasury department as economist. Over the following years he gained indepth knowledge of the banking system by holding various positions within BCR, including counselor to the bank’s president Nicolae Danila, between 2002 and 2003, and deputy general director of the treasury. Anghel also holds a master’s degree and a PhD from the Academy of Economic Studies. In addition to this, he has undertaken post-graduate studies at Georgetown University USA in Washington and an executive development program at HEC Montreal Canada as well as various other courses. Alongside Farmache and Anghel, the new administration board of BSE consists of Dan Paul (president of the Brokers Association), Schroll Matjaz (Franklin Templeton, the sole manager of the Property Fund), Valerian Ionescu (head of the trading department at BCR), Adrian Lupsan (deputy general director at Intercapital Invest brokerage), Narcisa Oprea (Schoenherr and Associates law firm), Robert Cosmin Pana (counselor at Swiss Capital brokerage) and Octavian Molnar (general director at IFB Finwest brokerage).

Probably the first name that comes to mind when the Bucharest Stock Exchange is mentioned is Stere Farmache, the man who has led the BSE for the past 16 years, first as general manager and later as president of the administration board. Farmache is often described as the most prominent professional on the local stock market. At one point in 2010, he was one of the names proposed by the National Liberal Party (PNL) for Prime Minister, alongside Klaus Johannis, the mayor of Sibiu, and Mariana Gheorghe, CEO of OMV Petrom, in the event that the PNL’s censure motion had been passed. In 1995 the Bucharest Stock Exchange, an institution first established in 1882, was reopened after being closed down in 1941 by the authorities. That June, Farmache was appointed general director, a position he held until 2009 when he became president of the BSE’s administration board. Aged 56, Farmache graduated from the Faculty of Finance and Accountancy at the Academy of Economic Studies in Bucharest in 1980. He later attended a management program from the Regional Institute for Public Administration in Metz, France, between 1991 and 1992. He began his professional career in 1980 working as an economist for the Calarasi Steel Plant. Five years later he came to the capital and started working for Tehnometal Bucharest, a local company at that time. In 1987 he joined the Ministry of Finance where he held various positions over the years, including general director of the Securities Agency, chief economist and counselor to the minister. In 2009 Farmache joined Alpha Bank Romania as executive vice-president. Following elections earlier this month he lost the position of president of the BSE’s administration board to Lucian Anghel, chief economist at BCR. He remains, however, a member of the board. Simona Bazavan Business Review | January 22 - 28, 2012


New bookshop in Piata Romana Romanian bookstore chain Librarium Group has opened its fourth location and first Bucharest outlet in Piata Romana. The bookstore is located in a heritage building on the corner with Caderea Bastiliei Street.

Laurentiu Obae

Bastilia bookstore hosts exhibitions, concerts and even tango classes


Laurentiu Obae

Based in Gheorghe Petrascu House, the shop comprises three floors, with each room dedicated to a categories such as literature, science fiction and fantasy, children’s literature and school books, dictionaries or history, religion, law, art and gastronomy. The noteworthy aspects of the bookshop start from the architecture of the building and continue with the way the books are arranged on the shelves, the small alcoves for private reading and the pleasant atmosphere brought about by the selection of wines, coffee and tea, plus the cute resident puppy Marcel and spoiled cat Asamj. “Last Letter,” a work written by the Romanian poet Mihai Beniuc, leads shoppers to the “9th Sky,” the name of the building’s attic. Lines of the poem have been hand written on the railing that leads up the stairs to the top floor where a coffee and tea shop and Afumeria (smoking place) have been transformed into an experimental place by drawings by the artist Ion Barbu and other surrealist decorations. The space has been designed to host weekly events from book launches, exhibitions, series of lectures for adults and children to concerts and evening tango classes. Cooking sessions using recipes from works of literature take place twice a month, with tickets costing RON 10, under the “Pork with pepper” slogan. The 530-sqm Petrascu House was built in 1912 and is part of a three-house compound which belonged to the Patrascu brothers, Nicolae, Constantin and Gheorghe.

The latter was a famous local painter from the interwar period. The house was designed in Neo-Romanian style by Spiridon Ceganeanu, a disciple of renowned Romanian architect Ion Mincu. It was refurbished in the 90s by architect Alexandru Beldiman. The building’s initial purpose was to host music and literary events. Librarium Group owns several other bookstores throughout the country such as Castelul de Nisip (the Sand Castle) in Timisoara, Book Corner in Cluj Napoca and Avant Garde in Iasi. The Librarium project is run through the One Distribution Company, which is owned by businessman Cornel Nicolae Moisoiu. More details on events organized at Librarium can soon be found on

Each room in the library is dedicated to a readung category Business Review | January 22 - 28, 2012



Carnage ANDREA OVANEZIAN Director: Roman Polanski Starring: Jodie Foster, Kate Winslet, Christoph Waltz, John C. Reilly Budget: USD 25 million, Box Office Mojo: USD 19 million (93 percent foreign/ 7 percent domestic for 16 Dec15 Jan) On at: Cinema City Cotroceni, Cinema City Sun Plaza, Grand Cinema Digiplex Baneasa, Hollywood Multiplex, Studio, The Light Cinema Carnage is a black comedy, based on four characters and a simple plot that unfolds within three rooms of an apartment and a hallway. After a playground scuffle between their sons, the parents meet to discuss the incident. Kate Winslet and Christopher Waltz play the “bully’s” parents – an investment banker, and a pharmaceutical attorney (who is staving off the onslaught of product liability litigation). Jodie Foster and Jon Reilly play the “victim’s” parents – a writer (specializing in ancient art and the conflict in Darfur) and a wholesale supplier of toilets. The ensuing conversations devolve into an absurd situation as different moral universes collide. Without delving deep or navigating anyone’s moral landscape, the film’s characters address a mosaic of moral issues (acknowledgement, accountability and responsibility, pretense and politics) within a multitude of everyday contexts (art, child rearing, marital relations, pharmaceutical product liability, and eight-yearolds playing with Kalashnikovs in Darfur). Although the characters do not ‘evolve’ (how many of us could in 79 minutes?), they progressively reveal more of their true personalities and that’s why things get out of hand. The way this film was scripted, staged and filmed ultimately makes for a delicious NY deli sandwich – with two thin slices of bread supporting a thick meaty middle, and without any “smear” of pretentious dressings. A simple plot, four actors and three rooms provide one of the slices. The other is added through fast-

The film was shot in Paris, although the story takes place in New York city’s Brooklyn district. paced action, magically pivoted through the use of six props (an art book, a bucket, a hairdryer, a mobile phone, a vase of tulips, and a purse). As for the meaty middle, that’s provided by the witty dialogue and well-orchestrated silences, which the actors perform like a finely tuned string quartet. Carnage was adapted from a modern morality play from the theater of the absurd. The God of Carnage, written by Yasmina Reza, has garnered prestigious dramatic awards since opening in 2006. The play was also staged in Romania at Teatrul de Comedie Bucuresti (2010) and Teatrul National de Iasi (2011), to mixed reviews. Among the motivations for adapting a play to the big screen is the opportunity to present a great story to a wider au-

dience. It’s also a daunting challenge, given audience attention spans and their different focal points for films (action) and plays (dialogue). Merging two different genres is tricky. Both Polanski and Reza succeed in creating an engaging and compelling film, by striking the right balance among dialogue and action for this story and its characters. Achieving balance is especially difficult when a film is based on a morality play. Perhaps that’s why I recalled another film adapted from a play – Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, written by Edward Albee. While the precarious balance in this older film (1966) endures for 131 minutes (four characters, set in one house), Carnage achieves its balance in just 79 minutes (four characters, set in one apartment). But

that’s where the creative similarities end. Whereas Albee insisted that the underlying theme of his play was “man’s real need to live with the truth”, Reza’s play seems to underscores man’s incompatibility for “living in truth”, especially when our moral compass is not absolute, but relative and ever changing. Carnage both shows and tells us how we choose our morals (Mrs. Cowan applies lipstick without using a mirror); ignore morals (Mr. Cowan is always connected to his cell phone but hardly present for his wife and son); confuse morals (Mr. Longstreet, a cigar smoker, abandons the family hamster for the alleged benefit of his asthmatic son); and debase morals (Mrs. Longstreet disregards a sick guest, while using cheap cologne and a hairdryer to refresh her precious art book). ∫ Business Review | January 22 - 28, 2012


BR welcomes information from readers. Submissions may be edited for length and clarity. Feel free to contact us at

Ilinca Stefanescu

Mircea Vasilescu

has been promoted to partner of the litigation & arbitration practice at Popovici Nitu & Asociatii law firm. Stefanescu has extensive experience in various types of conciliation, mediation and arbitration proceedings, advising/representing clients before Romanian and international courts of law.

a well-known journalist in the Romanian media, has been appointed president of the Soros Foundation for a two-year term. He has worked as editor-in-chief at Dilema Veche and leads the monthly magazine Dilemateca. Vasilescu has also taught at the La Sapienza University in Rome, collaborated with Radio Free Europe for several years and has written several books.

Robert Rekkers

Alexander Tscherteu

has resigned from the position of GM of Banca Transilvania. He has been at the helm of the lender for nine years and will be replaced by Peter Franklin, starting February, for an interim mandate. Rekkers joined the bank in 2002 for an initial mandate of four years that was prolonged three times by the board of administration.

has been appointed vice-president responsible for loan management at Volksbank Romania. Aged 37, he has over 10 years of professional experience in banking and financial advisory. Tscherteu began his career with Bank Austria Creditanstalt (BACA, the present Unicredit–Austria) and between 2001 and 2006 he worked for the National Bank of Austria. Between 2006 and 2008 he worked for McKinsey&Co.

Anca Stroe has been appointed marketing director at Danone Romaia as well as member of the company’s board of directors. She joined the company in 2006 as brand manager for Actimel, Danfruit and Savia. Over the next few years, Stroe became senior brand manager and then brand marketing manager for Danone’s health brands. In January 2011 she was appointed brand marketing manager for Romania, Moldova and the Adriatic countries, for the Nutriday, Casa Buna and Cremosso brands. She has previously worked for Elite Romania and Johnson Romania.

Tomas Spurny

CULTURAL EVENTS AGENDA OPERA Adriana Lecouvreur January 23 19:00, Bucharest Opera House

EXIBITIONS Greek Romanian Art Dialogue January 26 to March 26 19:30, Melenia Art Gallery The exhibition showcases the works of young Romanian and Greek artists, presented for the first time in Bucharest. The participating artists are: Nikos Koulakiotis, Gabriil Andronikidis, Christos Mitas, Maia Oprea, Marius Ovidiu Burhan, Laurentiu Midvichi, Mircea Nechita, Daniel Craciun and Mirela Iordache. Tue-Fri 13.0019.00, Sat 12.00-17.00, Sun & Mon closed.

Romanian soprano Angela Gheorghiu stars in Adriana Lecouvreur, a production recorded at London Royal Opera House (Covent Garden) under the direction of David McVicar.

AUCTIONS January 26 19:30, Athenee Palace Hilton

The Enchanted Island January 21 20:00, The Light Cinema (The Met live)

Francois Coste has been appointed by Groupama Insurance Romania as its new general director, replacing Sanda Nicoara who will become deputy general director and COO. Coste is experienced in emerging markets, having worked for Michelin between 1982 and 1999 and for AXA in the last 12 years. He has held several positions such as financial director, IT director, and regional operations director.

Stephane Barbazan

will be appointed CEO of Banca Comerciala Romana (BCR), replacing Dominic Bruynseels, according to Mediafax newswire. Spurny has run the CIB Bank in Hungary, an Intesa Sanpaolo subsidiary, since 2009. He previously ran the Czech investment fund PPF as well as Vseobecna Uverova Banka in Slovakia. Spurny, 46, is a Columbia University graduate. He started work in the banking system at the Manufacturers Hanover Trust, and continued to work with the European American Bank in New York. In the past, he was an associate of consultancy firm McKinsey.

is the new general manager of Novotel Bucharest City Centre, replacing Philippe H. Drivon. Stephane Barbazan's last assignment was the management of the five-star Grand Mercure Oriental Ginza in Shenzhen, China. A French national, he has spent 22 years in the hospitality industry in various senior management positions, with extensive international experience in Europe, Indian Ocean destinations, North Africa, North America, and the Caribbean.

ISSN No. 1453 - 729X

FOUNDING EDITOR Bill Avery EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Simona Fodor SENIOR JOURNALIST Otilia Haraga JOURNALISTS Simona Bazavan, Ovidiu Posirca COPY EDITOR Debbie Stowe COLLABORATORS Anda Sebesi, Michael Barclay ART DIRECTOR Alexandru Oriean PHOTOGRAPHER Laurentiu Obae LAYOUT Beatrice Gheorghiu

Inspired by 18th-century songs and masks, the Met brings to the stage a fantasy opera in an original baroque style with a star-studded cast: David Daniels as Propero, Joyce DiDonato as Sycorax, Danielle de Niese as Ariel, Luca Pisaroni as Caliban and Placido Domingo in a special appearance in the role of Neptune. This production is directed by Phelim McDermott and the extraordinary sets are made by Julian Crouch. Tickets can be purchased for RON 65 from The Light Cinema, Liberty Center, 151-171, Progress Road.

The Golden Age Luxury protocol gifts from the official visits of the Ceausescu family along with other decorative art works dating from the Communist regime will be going under the hammer in an auction organized by Artmark Auction House. The most unusual items are a pair of silver gilt doves given by the last Shah of Iran, Reza Pahlavi, during his official visit to Bucharest in 1977, and a Pilot Elite pen received on Ceausescu’s single official visit to Japan in 1975 . Avant-Garde and Expressionism For the first time in Romania, Artmark Auction House is putting up for sale two works by Brancusi. The drawing Hoopoe with tassel (pen on paper, 27.4 x 38 cm, est. EUR 5,000-10,000) belongs to a private collector. The second work is a photography-art piece Red Skins, dated 1906, which has an estimated value of EUR 2,000-4,000. The auction gives art lovers the chance to see an outstanding selection of 140 paintings and sculptures from the Avant Garde and Expressionist movements. Items can be viewed at the Artmark, Cesianu-Racovita Palace, from January 19 to 25 between 11:00 and 21:00 and at the Athenee Palace Hilton, on the day of the auction.

CIRQUE DU SOLEIL Saltinbanco February 9 16:00, Romexpo, Central Hall Cirque du Soleil will perform an exceptional new version of the show Saltinbanco, the ninth one since their first visit to Bucharest owing to public demand. Saltinbanco is the most performed Cirque du Soleil show, having premiered in 1992 and been revamped in 2007. For more details on hours and tickets price see


ADDRESS No. 10 Italiana St., 2nd floor, ap. 3 Bucharest, Romania LANDLINE Editorial: Office: Fax: EMAILS Editorial: Sales: Events:

Business Review No.1, January 22 - 28  

The protests that erupted in Bucharest last weekend have now spread around the country and show no signs of abating. Demonstrators are angry...

Business Review No.1, January 22 - 28  

The protests that erupted in Bucharest last weekend have now spread around the country and show no signs of abating. Demonstrators are angry...