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INTERVIEW: The Black Sea Trade and Development Bank (BSTDB) has ongoing loan deals worth EUR 75 million and is ready to provide more financing to the local private sector, says Andrey Kondakov, the lender’s president »page 10



JUNE 16 - 22, 2014 / VOLUME 18, NUMBER 22

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ELECTRICA IPO FUELS BVB’S EMERGING AMBITIONS Electricity supplier and distributor Electrica aims to raise at least EUR 435 million from an IPO starting this week, which could become the biggest in Bucharest to date and help upgrade the local market to emerging status » page 9



Face time

Reaping the benefit

Local Facebook users are more social and mobility oriented than their regional peers, Marcin Brus, the social network’s CEE head, said at ICEEfest

Mauro Maria Angelini, president of Confindustria Romania, says the number of Italian owners of local farmland is poised to increase

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» page 6 Business Review | June 16 - 22, 2014


NEWS in brief the Balasescu family.



Romania forces Romgaz, Petrom to trade gas output on stock exchange

GSK to close local plant

INVESTMENT Trade between China and Romania soars 23.5 percent to USD 931 mln in Q1 The amount of trade between Romania and China, the world’s second biggest economy, accelerated by 23.5 percent to USD 931 million in the first quarter of this year against the same period of last year, said economy minister Constantin Nita. Last year, trade between the two countries amounted to USD 3.3 billion. Last week, Nita concluded a three-day visit to China where he attended a meeting of economy and trade ministers from Central and Eastern Europe and their Chinese counterparts. Romania aims to attract Chinese investors open to developing industrial parks and building strategic electricity generation projects, such as two nuclear reactors at Cernavoda and the hydro pumping storage plant in Tarnita, which would require close to EUR 8 billion in investments.

Photo: Mihai Constantineanu

Local gas producers will have to trade some of their output on the commodities market from July 1, with natural gas suppliers expected to join the initiative in 2015. OMV Petrom SA and Romgaz SA, the two largest gas producers in the European Union, will be forced to trade part of their natural gas output, and the decree applies to imported gas as well, reports Bloomberg. The measure is part of a government plan to increase transparency and liberalize the energy market.

UK-based GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), the drugsmaker, said last week it would shut its Europharm plant in Brasov by the end of 2015 and transfer the production to Poland and Spain, reports Mediafax newswire. Last year the company announced its intention to sell the plant due to over-production of solid oral formulas, adding that this was a group decision. GSK said in a statement it had gone through a “rigorous process” to try to sell the factory but did not reach agreement with the potential bidders. The drugsmaker will slash 236 manufacturing jobs following this decision.

555 and counting The Bucharest City Hall has set up a monument in Victoriei Square commemorating the 555 years since existence the city was first documented. Abris CapiCefin Industrial Other projects are set to follow within a larger cultural program titled Park in Arad up for sale with Bucharest 555, covering the visual arts, theater, music and dance. EUR 26 mln of debts


FDI drop by an average of almost two thirds. Of these countries only Romania and Bulgaria saw FDI increases, of 27.4 percent and 2.1 percent respectively. The overall decline across the 11 new members was 64.5 percent, according to the report.

grants. Innovation Norway, the program administrator, has approved 15 projects worth EUR 14.2 million and made recommendations for three more seeking to receive EUR 2.2 million. Another four ventures, mainly developed by SMEs, are pending clarification and should receive EUR 1.6 million. The average grant stands at EUR Sibiu County Council opens 825,099. Another scheme, worth EUR ‘single counter’ for investors Sibiu has become the only county in 2 million, will back smaller projects, the country to have a “single counter” while EUR 215,000 has been allotted where investors interested in the re- to enhancing bilateral relations. A total gion can organize the necessary pa- of 34 projects will benefit from the perwork to make their business legal grants. (including all authorizations, except environment permits), according to The single counter, operational since June 1, means that Romania and Bulgaria only EU investors are likely to pay ten times less for consultancy and bureaucracy Abris Capital Partners buys countries to post FDI hike in when setting up a business. For in- Urgent Curier 2013 Romania led its southern neighbor stance, previously most investors Abris Capital Partners investment fund Bulgaria as the only two European needed a consultancy firm, which has bought Urgent Curier, which will Union member states to see foreign charge RON 200 for submitting the eventually merge with Cargus, in the direct investments (FDI) rise last year, necessary paperwork, to obtain just fund’s portfolio since 2012, reports according to new research. FDI in 23 one permit. Since June 1, they will Mediafax. Urgent Curier, owned by nations across Central, Eastern, and have to pay only a RON 25 charge at Sebastian and Corina Balasescu, South-Eastern Europe fell sharply in the single counter to secure the per- recorded a turnover of RON 115.95 2013 and even “alarmingly” in Slovakia mit. million in 2013. The new company and Poland, the Vienna Institute for will have a fleet of over 1,800 vehicles, International Economic Studies (WIIW) Norway to provide EUR 21.5 1,800 couriers and a logistics network said in its latest FDI analysis, quoted mln in grants for local green of over 142 deposits. Cargus general by According to the innovation director, Gian Sharp, will manage the Austrian financial institution, the re- Local industrial investments into green new entity, under the supervision of gion was hit by deleveraging, and the technologies will be backed by EUR a managing board that will include 11 newest EU member states saw their 21.5 million of Norwegian and SEE Abris Capital Partners members and


The industrial park built by Italian group Cefin in Arad, western Romania, in 2011 is now up for sale through direct negotiation after entering insolvency in 2013. Debts amount to RON 114 million (EUR 26 million), most of which is owed to Volksbank, according to Mediafax. The park features eight modules with a total surface area of 44,400 sqm, 2,600 sqm of office space, a three-storey unfinished building, a parking lot and 27,400 sqm of land. Offers can be submitted until June 25.

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Rosia Montana bill, project put on hold indefinitely Business Review | June 16 - 22, 2014


WEEK AHEAD June 16 Electrica IPO Romanian electricity distributor Electrica will start its initial public offering (IPO) on June 16, to last until June 25. Shares will begin trading on the Bucharest Stock Exchange and London Stock Exchange on July 3. Focus on Energy The outlook for the renewable sector following the overhaul of the incentives system and the avenues to increase the bankability of energy projects will be up for debate during the fifth Focus on Energy, organized by Business Review. Log on to the for more details about the speakers and registration. 9.00, Ramada Plaza Hotel, Europa Hall. June 18 Book launch Zamfirescu Racoti & Partners organizes a launch event for The Insolvency Procedure: The Legal implications on the Debtor’s Contracts, authored by Cozmin-Antoniu Obancia, partner with ZRP law firm. 18.30, Hilton Hotel, Regina Maria Hall.

June 21 DHL Marathon DHL Express Romania, with the support of the Sports Council of Brasov County, will organize the fifth edition of the DHL Marathon Carpathian Relay in Poiana Brasov. This year’s event will be held on the traditional Predeal – ParaulRece – Rasnov – Poiana Brasov trail. The alternative forms of participation are in a relay team (six people running 7 km each; men, women or mixed) or individually. The DHL Marathon has previously raised funds for charity projects, and this year the charity of choice is Save the Children. Start: 10.00, Predeal Military Unit. Save the date AmCham Romania invites members, partners and friends to this year’s US Independence Day Celebration on July 4! Access by invitation only. Contact AmCham Romania at or by phone at + 40 21 312 48 34 to buy your invitation.

While Romanians’ behavior on Facebook is not much different from their regional peers, they do stand out by being more mobility oriented and highly social. Marcin Brus, Facebook’s CEE head, tells BR that many businesses are focusing on making complex applications that few people use, instead of investing in creative ways to reach their audience. ∫ OTILIA HARAGA “If you look at mobile usage, Romanians are very advanced. Romanian consumers seem to be very social with an above average number of Facebook friends in regional terms. As in other markets, they consume a lot of content, and check their newsfeed an average of 14 times a day, which is great news for marketers,” Brus tells BR. He is not alone in his views. A recent Google survey called Internet in Day-to-Day Life, carried out in Romania, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and Poland, revealed that Romanians are the most-mobility oriented internet users in this part of Europe. Most local consumers start their day online, write on blogs and are very open to new technologies. Approximately 67 percent of Romanians use their mobile phones to go online, and 32 percent use tablets. Romanians like tablets and smartphones more than Poles and Hungarians do, would want to be online even on a desert island, and have started to watch more videos on the internet than they do TV programs. Laptops and PCs are the most commonly used devices for online searches, while smartphones and tablets are used for social media. Some 97 percent of Romanians who use social media have a Facebook account, 75 percent use social media and 72 percent communicate online via text messages. “Everyone knows about mobile, so there is nothing special in marketers talking about mobile. What is special is marketers who act on the mobile revolution. For instance, now in summer everyone goes outdoors. No wonder TV advertising is so cheap in summertime, because very few people are watching. To reach these consumers and sell, use the mobile. There are 4.9 million Romanians using Facebook on their mobiles every month. This is a huge opportunity which we are still under-using. Some marketers already know they need to create ‘reach on the beach’ and there is no better place than Facebook for this,” says Brus. How is this news for advertisers who wish Romanians to engage with

Courtesy of ICEEfest

June 20 - 21 Think Leadership Impact Hub and invite young professionals and career-oriented graduates to this special event, where they can learn and develop new abilities to help them achieve their professional ambitions. The agenda includes panels and debates on such topics as management, motivation, leadership and inspiration. More information is available at or

ICEEfest: Facebook CEE head says Romanians ‘more social’

Marcin Brus, Facebook’s CEE head, pointed out some of the do’s and don’ts of Facebook promotion for businesses their brand? “Fans are important but this is not the definition of success. What we should be focusing now is on making much better creatives and investing in their distribution and reach,” says Brus. He draws attention to one common mistake: “What we see still happening quite often in this region, including in Romania, is a lot of investment going into developing complex applications. Our data shows that only 1 percent of these applications are used by more than 2,000 consumers. So, if you’re heading a big business, this is a waste of money because quite often these 2,000 consumers are very young, they often come to win something and they don’t really bring sales. So, the huge cost of this development is often a waste,” says Brus. Companies need to be budget conscious because there are few that can afford bigger promotional budgets every year. “If you don’t want to waste your budget, don’t operate on a big scale. You don’t need to operate on a big scale; this is a myth. You don’t need to post everyday. Post for the people that matter to you during

the time that matters to you, have a good creative and invest in reach. This is when success starts.” To do this, companies in the CEE region can “take a shortcut and learn from the best practices on markets like the United States and United Kingdom,” recommends Brus. Currently, advertisers in Romania can get the most out of Facebook by seeking help from ThinkDigital, the Facebook partner on the Romanian market. At the moment, Facebook has a regional office in Warsaw, which has been open for two years, but the company does not yet have either a Romanian office or Romanians working on its Warsaw team. “We are looking for people who have media experience, client experience, who are willing to learn, work well together and are ethical. We have different kinds of people working with us: people who were marketing directors in big FMCG companies, or who were for many years in big media houses, people who spent a lot of time working in ecommerce. So they have different sets of skills, but what I think unifies them is their values,” says Brus. Business Review | June 16 - 22, 2014


Cheap farmland and CAP funding lures in more Italian investors Foreign investors control about 8.5 percent of Romania’s farmland, and out of this, almost a quarter is owned by Italians. Their presence is about to increase even further, Mauro Maria Angelini, president of Confindustria Romania, told Business Review. ∫ SIMONA BAZAVAN What sectors of local agriculture interest potential Italian investors? Given that we are talking about medium- and long-term investments and not about speculative operations, among the most attractive sectors we would mention the wine industry, especially considering that the government’s investment program for this sector provides funds of over EUR 48 million through to 2018. Looking at the Italian investments made in recent years, sunflower production, which last year was up by half y-o-y, and grain production in general remain sectors of interest. Another one is soybean production, especially as Italian companies active locally have recently implemented a new technique which increases yields to three times the national average. How many Italian companies are active in the local farming sector? Italian investors represent about 6.5 percent of the sector’s total turnover. About 8.5 percent of Romania’s farm-

land is owned by foreigners and out of this, 24 percent is held by Italian companies. Are new Italian firms entering the Romanian market? Confindustria Romania has exclu-

sively represented Confagricoltura in Romania since 2013 and in this capacity we continuously receive numerous requests for information, clarifications and concrete business opportunities in the local agriculture sector. The interest is coming both from large companies and individuals looking to invest especially in grain production, livestock, rice production, the processing of fruits and vegetables, the milling industry and dairy production. And this is not surprising. Land costs less and is widely available and the workforce is becoming more qualified without getting more expensive. New investors are also attracted by the new the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) for the period 2014-2020 under which Romania has an allocation of EUR 19 billion. In addition to this, the liberalization of the land market came into force on January 1, a measure that undoubtedly attracts Italian investors to start a business in Romania. We expect Italian investors to set up numerous small and medium-sized businesses in Romania in the near future as a direct result of this.

What are the challenges? Even though the industry has reported strong growth in recent years and has become, alongside industrial production, a leading sector in the Romanian economy, some Italian investors are still discouraged by the existence of structural issues. Investments are particularly impeded by the excessive fragmentation of land, which forces Italian entrepreneurs to consolidate land in order to reach the number of hectares required by a farming business. This is a rather challenging endeavor, both in legal and bureaucratic terms, due to the lack of a land registry until 2007. The low level of mechanization, the reduced storage capacity, the current lack of skilled labor and underdeveloped infrastructure are other issues. On one hand this deters Italian investors, but on the other hand it shows the hidden and still unexploited potential of Romania’s agriculture, where an investment made today can be an advantage for the future, especially in terms of land availability and its competitive price.


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

Monica Biota

Coroaba is a certified tax advisor.

has been promoted to assurance partner by PwC. She is a graduate of the Academy of Economic Studies in Bucharest and a member of the Romanian Chamber of Auditors and ACCA. In her new capacity, she will be responsible for managing the company’s office in Timisoara as well as driving new business.

Diana Coroaba

has been promoted by PwC to leader of the tax and legal services financial services practice and coleader of the VAT practice in Romania. She will also develop new solutions for banks and insurers.

Olga Grygier-Siddons

is the new CEO of PwC Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), to be based in Warsaw. She is taking over from Mike Kubena, who has served two four-year terms as CEO, the maximum allowed under PwC CEE’s governance arrangements. Siddons is the first woman and the first local professional to serve in this position. Her previous role was managing partner of PwC Poland, to which she was appointed in 2009. She has extensive experience in advising governments and international energy and infrastructure companies.

Paul Markovits

has been appointed marketing VP of United Romanian Breweries Bereprod (URBB). He is replacing Roccos Cosmatos, whose term has ended after he had held the position since 2012. Markovits will be responsible for marketing strategies for all of the brewer’s

brands. He has over 20 years of experience in marketing, having worked for companies such as P&G and Vodafone as well in the beer industry. Markovits, 46, has a master’s degree in international marketing communication from California State University, Chico.

Viorica Milea

is the new marketing director of Carpatica Asig. She is returning to the company after working for Groupama Asigurari as marketing specialist and research and market analysis manager for the past seven years. Milea has been working in the insurance sector for nine years and has a 20-year professional background in marketing. Her last position at Carpatica Asig was development director.

Wolfgang Peter

has replaced Anca Budinschi as Pro

TV’s program director. Hofer has over 15 years of experience in media, having previously worked for ORF – Austrian Broadcasting Corporations. He holds a PhD in Psychology from the University of Vienna. Budinschi stepped down from the position.

Francesca Postolache

has been promoted by PwC to assurance partner in Romania. She will also take over leadership of the assurance practice in the Republic of Moldova, her native country. Postolache has a PhD in financial analysis. Business Review | June 16 - 22, 2014


BRIEFS EUR 7.5 mln Bucharest villa is country’s most expensive property for sale A Bucharest villa up for sale for EUR 7.5 million is currently the most expensive property available for purchase on Romanian real estate portal The 2,000 sqm villa (carpet area) is located on a 1,200 sqm plot of land in the capital’s historic center, close to the headquarters of the National Bank of Romania. Two similar properties with asking prices of EUR 6.5 million and EUR 7 million are also up for sale in the Romana and Universitate areas. Outside the capital, prices are significantly lower, dropping to EUR 1.2 million to EUR 2.3 million for similar properties.

Lindab wants double-digit growth, open to acquisitions Swedish building materials producer Lindab has not ruled out the possibility of expanding through acquisitions, and Romania is on its list.

Wienerberger to build e4 brick house concept in Corbeanca Bricks manufacturer Wienerberger will start this month the construction of its first local ‘e4 brick house’, an energy efficient residential concept. The house will be located in Corbeanca, close to Bucharest, and the beneficiaries are a family with two children. The concept was launched in 2012 in Austria as a sustainable and energy-efficient building that meets the energy requirements for new constructions that will come into force in 2020 (Directive 31/2010). Under this directive, by December 31, 2020, all new buildings will need to have “nearly zero-energy consumption”.

EC approves EUR 47 million investment for road infrastructure The European Commission (EC) has approved the allocation of EUR 47 million from the Regional Development European Fund for the development of road infrastructure (DN56) connecting Craiova and Calafat in south-eastern Romania. DN56 is part of the TransEuropean Transport Network (TEN-T) and is the only connection between Craiova and the Calafat-Vidin bridge which links Romania and Bulgaria.

Cefin Industrial Park in Arad up for sale with EUR 26 mln of debts The industrial park built by Italian group Cefin in Arad, western Romania, in 2011 is now up for sale through direct negotiation after entering insolvency in 2013. Debts amount to RON 114 million (EUR 26 million), most of which is owed to Volksbank, according to Mediafax. The park features eight modules with a total surface area of 44,400 sqm, 2,600 sqm of office space, a three-storey unfinished building, a parking lot and 27,400 sqm of land. Offers can be submitted until June 25.

Anders Berg, Lindab Group CEO

∫ SIMONA BAZAVAN After posting total sales of EUR 20 million in Romania last year, Lindab plans to boost its turnover by at least 10 percent in 2014, according to Andrei Sulyok, general director of the producer’s local branch. The growth will not be generated by market expansion but by the company’s organic growth, especially on the roofing tile sheet segment, the launch of new products and higher

sales of ventilation systems, he added. The manufacturer has seen sales climb over the past few years, but the level remains at half of the 2008 peak. The building materials market has been showing signs of gradual growth since last year and the trend is expected to continue, especially on the non-residential segment, said company representatives. “The signs we are seeing suggest that the market is gradually, step by step, rebounding. The heyday of 2008 (…) was not a normal state. What we see today in Europe is the new normal and this is what we need to work with,” said Anders Berg, the new CEO of the Lindab group, two weeks ago in Bucharest. Countries like Hungary are expected to post more consistent growth due to government support, something that is not happening in Romania, added Rickard Lindqvist, Lindab’s CEE regional director. Even if growth rates similar to precrisis levels are no longer possible in the current context, “there is business to do” and the entire region has a positive outlook, added company representatives. The producer did not rule out the possibility of expanding across the region. “If there are good opportunities we

will always be interested in Romania as well as the other countries where we are active. If the business climate is a little bit slower, that is usually frustrating but it also brings fantastic opportunities,” said Berg. Lindab Romania has recently celebrated its 20-year anniversary. The company employs 89 people locally and has two production facilities with a capacity of 5.5 million meters of product per year. Over the years it has invested some RON 95.4 million. Some 30 percent of the firm’s 2013 turnover was generated by roofing tile sheet sales. On this segment Lindab has a market share of around 8 percent in Romania. Other products it sells locally include rainwater systems, profile sheeting and ventilation systems. The residential sector generated around 75 percent of Lindab Romania’s turnover last year, against a CEE average of 20 percent.The entire Romanian roofing systems market is estimated at around EUR 120 million, with tile sheets representing around 60 percent. The Lindab Group is present in 32 countries, with over 120 branches and 4,300 employees.

Energy efficiency requirements drive up demand for AC systems Most of the Bucharest office buildings built more than three years ago need to upgrade their AC/heating systems, which in turn can reduce energy costs by up to 30 percent, says the founder of AVI Compact. its business is generated by the corporate segment where the average value of a project is EUR 50,000 – EUR As office developers and tenants start 100,000. This is lower than a year ago, to pay more attention to reducing util- but the firm now has more projects. Demand for new AC systems has ity costs and energy efficiency, sales of air conditioning (AC) and heating sys- also been driven by the coming into tems are expected to go up, said force last year of EU directive 2009/125 Florin Radulescu, founder of AVI on eco design requirements for enCompact, last week. By contrast, on ergy-related products, under which the residential market, which is the sale of non-inverter AC systems is split between premium solutions no longer permitted. With the exception of office projand the cheap “made in China” products, sales continue to stagnate, ects delivered over the past three years, most office buildings need to he added. The company saw its turnover upgrade their AC/heating systems, grow by 10 percent in the first semes- which in turn can reduce energy costs ter, after reporting sales of EUR 4.3 by up to 30 percent, said Radulescu. million last year. About 90 percent of One example, added company repre-


sentatives, is the BCR headquarters on Victoriei Road. The building’s 15-yearold AC/heating system consumed 700 Kw/hour. After a new system was installed, consumption dropped to 530 Kw/hour while the chilling capacity increased by 5 percent, said Marian Pandele, AVI Compact’s executive director. Maintenance costs also weigh in the decision to invest in a new AC/heating system. “If such an investment is not recoverable in five years, few buyers will do it,” he said. Company representatives estimate the AC systems market at around EUR 30 million, although there are no concrete statistics. Business Review | June 16 - 22, 2014


Local stock exchange on Government aims to raise over EUR 400 mln track to emerging status from Electrica IPO The government is poised to start to sell a 51 percent stake in Electrica Group, the electricity supplier and distributor, which could become the biggest offering on the Bucharest Stock Exchange (BVB) since its founding. The process is due to begin on Monday.

Electrica avenue: global depositary receipts (GDRs) will be sold in London

Courtesy of

The company will go through a dual listing in Bucharest and London, similar to the IPO of Romgaz, the state-owned natural gas producer, which raised EUR 391 million last November. The offering will be split into three tranches for small, large investors and institutional investors and will have a starting price per share of between RON 11 and RON 13.5. The company aims to raise at least EUR 435 million from the deal. According to Razvan Nicolescu, delegate minister of energy, the offering will run through to June 26, while the actual trading of shares will start on July 3. Ludwik Sobolewski, CEO of the BVB, told reporters last week that the key aspect in Electrica’s IPO is the ratio of shares to global depositary receipts (GDRs), which will be sold in London. “We are aware of the requirements to choose between these options, but we want to have – and I am sure that we will have – international investors that want to buy shares. Essentially this is the purpose: to sell as many shares as possible to international investors and get them directly involved in Romania,” said Sobolewski. The listing of Electrica is included in the privatization program agreed by Romania with the International Monetary Fund and the European Commission, the executive arm of the EU, under a

EUR 4 billion stand-by agreement. Last year, the government raised close to half a billion euros from the listing of Romgaz and Nuclearelectrica, the state-owned nuclear producer. Alongside Electrica, 2014 should have seen the IPO of Hidroelectrica, the stateowned hydroelectricity producer. The company, however, went back into insolvency earlier this year and analysts expect it to be listed sometime in 2015. Electrica distributed 16.1 TWh of electricity last year, 39 percent of all the electricity distributed in Romania, to around 3.6 million users. It has also supplied 9.7TWh of electricity, accounting for 22.1 percent of the total electricity supplied in the country, to around 3.6 million customers. The company mainly does business in central Romania. The group reported a net profit of around EUR 13.4 million in the first quarter of this year, slightly below the sum registered in the same period of last year. Last year the group generated consolidated revenues of around RON 5.2 billion (EUR 1.1 billion) and a consolidated EBITDA of around RON 749 million (EUR 168 million) from its operations. Citigroup, Raiffeisen Bank and Societe Generale have been appointed joint global coordinators and joint bookrunners for the offering. BRD was made manager, while SSIF Swiss Capital will serve as distribution agent.

Photo: Mihai Constantineanu


Razvan Nicolescu delegate minister of energy

Ludwik Sobolewski BVB CEO


The government is set to approve an emergency government ordinance this month designed to cut red tape and ease access to the market, according to Sobolewski. The bill was written by the Financial Supervision Authority (ASF) with contributions from the BVB, Ministry of Justice and Ministry of Finance.

he prospect of the Romanian stock exchange moving from the status of frontier to emerging market in 2016 is “realistic”, provided that trading barriers are removed, said Ludwik Sobolewski, CEO of the Bucharest Stock Exchange (BVB), last week. He tipped Romania to make the watch list of the MSCI Emerging Markets Index in the middle of 2015, and join the elite club the following year. Romania would rank alongside other CEE-based emerging countries such as Poland and Hungary. Sobolewski said that in order to make it onto the list, the local market needs three companies with a market capitalization above USD 1 billion and a free float of around USD 500 million. In addition, their shares would have to be very liquid – the sole criterion where Romania is falling behind. He mentioned oil major Petrom, gas producer Romgaz and lenders Banca Transilvania and BRD Groupe Societe Generale as the listed companies that could secure Romania emerging status. The initial public offering in Electrica, the state-owned electricity supplier and distributor, would also help the country in this regard. The government aims to raise over EUR 400 billion from this listing. “With respect to market cap and free float, we will meet requirements after the Electrica IPO, and for liquidity we have to eliminate the barriers to clear a highway through this jungle for investors with money, so international guys,” Sobolewski told reporters. He warned of a one-year gap in the listing of state-owned companies after Electrica, because hydroelectricity producer Hidroelectrica will be ready for an IPO sometime in 2015. The company, which is currently in insolvency, is part of the privatization program agreed with international lenders.

Wooing private companies The CEO said convincing private companies to go public on the BVB remained a priority, predicting that listings will come once the legislation is streamlined and more investors enter the market. “Access to the market must be easier, so we will have a more liquid market and better secondary trading, which will lead to better valuation. This will be another incentive for private businesspeople to come to the market,” said the CEO. He added that the BVB is working on turning its Alternative Trading System (ATS) into a market for small firms in the second half of this year. Sobolewski did a similar thing during his tenure as head of the Warsaw Stock Exchange, where he set up the new Connect Platform. More than 400 small companies were listed here, some of which even listed on the main market. He outlined some of the changes he has made since coming to Romania in late 2013, such as the pilot program for extending trading hours and the restructuring of BVB indices. According to BVB data, the value of trading for the regulated market, public offers included, rose in the first months of this year by 25.8 percent compared to the same period of last year to EUR 1.1 billion. The market capitalization on the regulated market amounted to EUR 29.7 billion last month. ∫ Ovidiu Posirca Business Review | June 16 - 22, 2014


BSTDB aims to boost lending to local businesses and banks Andrey Kondakov, president of the Black Sea Trade and Development Bank (BSTDB), says the lender has approved loan agreements worth EUR 307 million in Romania, out of which EUR 75 million constitutes ongoing deals. He says the bank is targeting an array of sectors nationwide, ranging from agribusiness to infrastructure and energy efficiency, adding that the BSTDB is seeking to increase its loan exposure locally. ∫ OVIDIU POSIRCA

How has the BSTDB developed since its founding? Has its lending strategy changed at all? This month the bank marks the 15th an-

CV Andrey Kondakov July July 2010 2010 –– present present BSTDB president president 2007-2010 2007-2010 BSTDB BSTDB vice-president, vice-president, banking banking 2003-2007 2003-2007 member member of of the the BSTDB BSTDB board board of of directors directors for for Russia Russia Graduated Graduated from from the the Economics Economics Faculty Faculty of of Moscow Moscow State State University University and and has has aa PhD PhD in in Development Development Economics Economics

Courtesy of BSTDB

How much did the BSTDB register in profit last year, and what is your forecast for this year? What is the level of nonperforming loans? The BSTDB has been consistently profitable for nearly a decade since 2005, investing those profits back into its operational activities. 2013 was a solid year of progress for the bank operationally and institutionally, with net profit exceeding EUR 13 million. We are expecting another good year in 2014. At the same time, I must say that profit maximization is not an objective in itself for us. As a development institution, we pay prime attention to the development impact of our investments. Maintenance of portfolio quality has always been a key feature of BSTDB operations. The bank’s portfolio development has taken place against a backdrop of conservative risk management and comprehensive due diligence. We have been making due provisions for losses and non-performing loans (NPLs). Furthermore, with NPLs, we always work closely with the client to find a mutually acceptable solution to save the operation. This approach has resulted in limited financial losses and generally low levels of non-performing loans. Naturally, the financial crisis and its consequences hurt all business processes, generating higher operational risks and amplifying probabilities that a borrower may not be able to serve obligations under a loan agreement fully or in a timely manner. The BSTDB faced increased levels of NPLs in 20102012, peaking at over 8 percent of the portfolio. The bank’s prudent practices and joint efforts with our clients helped us to substantially reduce this level to around 5 percent at end 2013. Overall, in 15 years of operations, the bank has had only 11 NPLs. Most of them were successfully restructured and recovered. From the total sum of over EUR 2.6 billion disbursed by the bank to its clients in the region, the amount written off under NPLs is a negligible 0.02 percent of the portfolio.

niversary of its operations in the Black Sea region. During this period, the BSTDB has sought to fulfill its dual mandate to support economic development in its member countries and to promote regional cooperation between them by providing financing for investment operations and trade transactions. Starting from scratch, the bank has developed a broad range of financial products and services for banks, firms and agencies active in all its eleven member countries – Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Georgia, Greece, Moldova, Romania, Russia, Turkey, and Ukraine. The initiative to establish the BSTDB was undertaken in the 1990s, a stressful period of systemic transition, macroeconomic constraints and occasional political turmoil for many of the bank’s member states. Despite these difficulties, the shareholders remained committed to the idea of the creation of a wholly locally owned and focused development bank. This commitment has

been sustained and enhanced over the years, forming the bedrock for all the bank’s achievements. Since the start of its operations in 1999, the BSTDB has approved nearly 300 operations totaling about EUR 3 billion. Over EUR 2.6 billion has been disbursed to support national economic policy priorities in member countries, focusing on key sectors generating economic growth and employment – manufacturing, energy, transport, telecommunications, agribusiness, trade and the financial sector. Today, the BSTDB is recognized as a regional success story, having established itself as an attractive partner for clients, sponsors and co-financiers active in the Black Sea region. Support to small and medium-sized business (SME) development has been a significant cross-sector priority. SMEs account for the vast majority of operational and employment growth across the region. Under its SME support program, the

bank has approved more than EUR 875 million in SME financing. Regional infrastructure development is key for economic development. The lender has approved financing to support transport and telecommunications projects exceeding EUR 510 million. The BSTDB has assisted in a range of energy sector activities, including oil and gas, power supply and distribution, renewable energy and energy efficiency, having approved projects exceeding EUR 475 million. In recent years, the bank has become increasingly active in supporting municipal initiatives to develop local infrastructure, transport and public utilities, having approved municipal projects exceeding EUR 200 million. The bank’s trade finance program has supported the development of regional exports as well as import transactions among member states, to the tune of EUR 600 million. Since securing its initial investment grade rating from Moody’s in 2004, the BSTDB has been upgraded three times and currently possesses an A2 longterm rating. The lender has also obtained a long-term rating of A- from Standard and Poor’s. Today it is the best rated institution in the Black Sea region, and one of the highest rated in Central and Eastern Europe. These ratings attest to the bank’s solid financial fundamentals, portfolio quality and strong shareholder support. Over the 15-year period, the BSTDB mandate has remained unchanged, as have its strategic objectives to support regional cooperation and growth in member countries. Nevertheless, the bank has developed and implemented several four-year strategies and business plans, in close collaboration with member states’ governments, adjusting priorities and business targets to the changing economic environment and needs of governments and clients. As the sophistication of firms in the region has grown, the bank has broadened its array of activities, providing longer horizons and accommodating more complicated financial products and loan structures. The bank is extending its outreach to less well established firms which show growth promise, management quality, and vision. The BSTDB is increasing its activities targeting public and quasi-public sector enti- Business Review | June 16 - 22, 2014 ties, including municipalities and regional authorities, as well as public-private partnerships and other types of concessions. What are the strongest markets for the lender at the moment and how do you perceive Romania? How much has the BSTDB granted in loans to local companies and institutions to date? Currently, Turkey and Russia represent the largest markets for the BSTDB. Romania’s share is about 7 percent of the portfolio, similar to that of Bulgaria. It must be noted that the BSTDB used to be more active in Romania before the country joined the European Union and got access to cheaper money and special EU funds. As a development bank, we pay prime attention to countries with fewer financing opportunities. Cumulatively, the bank’s board of directors has approved 31 operations for over EUR 307 million in Romania. At the moment, eight operations are being implemented under signed agreements exceeding EUR 75 million. The BSTDB is working on several business proposals and we expect to increase our financing to Romanian enterprises and banks in the coming years. What sectors are you financing in Romania? Do you still consider the renewable industry an attractive sector given the changes in the local incentives system? Under the BSTDB country strategy for Romania drawn up in cooperation with the Romanian government for 20112014, the bank is supporting growth and investment with a special focus on infrastructure, energy efficiency, telecommunications, agribusiness and SME support. It is considering support for the renewable energy sector in Romania, and recently signed a EUR 10 million financing for a solar energy generation project. However, this sector receives plenty of private investment and is growing rapidly without a pressing need for financing from development institutions. Agribusiness is one of Romania’s main income and employment generators. There are idle capacities in this field that still need to be utilized by entrepreneurs. The BSTDB has provided a total of EUR 52 million to three agribusiness projects in Romania. This amount does not include small operations financed by Romanian financial institutions using BSTDB credit lines for SME support. The BSTDB will consider any bankable project, paying special attention to activities corresponding to the government’s strategic priorities. The bank is constantly exploring business opportunities in cooperation with our partner development institutions. How have the tensions between Ukraine and Russia impacted your lending activity? How much has the bank financed in Ukraine and Russia? Will you stay in these two countries? Over its 15 years, the bank has operated in a regional economic and political set-

INTERVIEW 11 ting that has experienced both good and challenging times. The shareholders clearly realized the importance of common goals and demonstrated a joint will to promote regional projects of mutual interest, while leaving aside political and economic disputes. Despite the challenges, the BSTDB has not experienced significant problems from the political tensions arising from time to time between some member countries. Our shareholders represented on the bank’s governing bodies have always demonstrated commitment to the bank’s development mandate to support growth and economic cooperation in the region. At the moment, Russia and Ukraine are the second and third largest BSTDB borrowers, with active portfolios exceeding EUR 200 million and EUR 140 million, respectively. The bank maintains close relations with the governments of both countries, and we are monitoring the situation. So far, the events have not materially changed our operational outlook. Russia and Ukraine both have financing needs that can be served well by an IFI (e.n. international financial institution) like the BSTDB, and so we remain prepared to develop further the bank’s business there. Has the financing environment in Europe changed since the start of the year – as the EU economy has begun to return to growth – albeit still timid? (I am referring to banks’ appetite to finance private companies.) We are cautiously optimistic as regards the financing environment in Europe, including, of course, Eastern Europe. The upturn in the economies of the EU is a key factor in this regard, and what we have observed in an increased appetite for the bonds of EU sovereigns extends to the corporate sector as well. Another important factor is that banks are adapting to new EU regulations – especially as concerns capital requirements – and while there may yet be ‘tweaks’ here and there, for the most part there is much less regulatory uncertainty today than there was in the previous post-crisis years. This will make it easier for banks to extend credit to companies over the next few years, although we wouldn’t rule out occasional hiccups. Caution is also necessary because financial markets are more responsive than ever to external disturbances or shocks. We are aware that the Romanian economy registered the highest growth rate of all EU countries in the first quarter of 2014, continuing on the path of healthy growth recorded in 2013. If this strong rebound in economic activity continues, it may exceed the availability of credit from private sources. Against this backdrop, the bank will consider enhancing cooperation with Romanian private companies in the context of its new medium-term strategy and business plan for 2015-2018 currently being drawn up. Business Review |June 16 - 22, 2014


The fight to save Romania’s silver screens Paradoxically, the decline of Romanian cinemas, from 630 in 1989 to 76 in 2013, has come at a time of growing worldwide recognition for the achievements of local filmmakers. One of them, director Tudor Giurgiu, has started a campaign to save the silver screens, an attempt to revitalize a once-loved local pastime: going to the cinema.

All photos: Nicu Cherciu / TIFF

Movie matters: the Save the Big Screen campaign is backing a local initiative to restore an abandoned state film depot in Cluj, which needs EUR 7,000 to become a screening venue and, eventually, a museum of Romanian cinema

OANA VASILIU Award-winning director and Transylvania International Film Festival (TIFF) organizer Tudor Giurgiu had wanted to make a documentary about the state of Romanian cinemas, but after hearing some of the great stories of cinema employees, he expanded his scope. The next step was to launch an online platform,, a database where details of all the country’s cinema theatres could be introduced, with stories and pictures from then and now, to give a complete map of the situation past and present. The website worked well as a showcase, Giurgiu told BR. So he and his team decided to launch a campaign to save the big screen, first outlining their intentions at the Gopo Awards in March and now making concrete steps at TIFF. The Save the Big Screen campaign aims to prevent the further closure of state-owned movie theaters and rebuild a network of cinemas to help revive the distribution of domestic films. The campaigners want to raise awareness and put pressure on the government to ensure that at least a dozen cinemas are restored and digitalized within the next two years.

Supporting role: actress Debra Winger

Reel shame: more than 400 cinemas have closed since the revolution in 1989

Statistics: past & present

nia Film network, including just six modernized halls with digital equipment. Last year, 450 movies were screened in Romania, out of which 198 were premieres. In terms of admissions, ranked by the origin of firstrelease feature films, 250,000 people watched Romanian made films in 2013, only 315,000 movie goers selected European productions, whereas almost 8 million people viewed American movies.

1989 appears to be the golden year in terms of picture houses, when almost every town in Romania had one, and a total of 156 million tickets were sold. Nowadays, Romania has the fewest cinemas per capita in Europe, and only 9 million tickets sold in 2013. Statistics presented by Giurgiu at TIFF show that currently just 25 movie theaters out of 30 are still active in the state-owned RADEF Roma-

With only 76 cinemas across Romania, a figure that includes both state-owned cinema houses and multiplexes, the situation is dire, bemoans Giurgiu. “Unfortunately, the Ministry of Culture does not talk about the subject because responsibility belongs to another entity, the National Center for Cinematography. This body should have drawn up a national strategy for movie theaters by now, but they avoid the discussion, Business Review | June 16 - 22, 2014

CITY 13 cities with over 250,000 inhabitants. The other 46 cinemas were independent, with only one screen, none of them digitalized, so the center implemented a national program with the support of the Ministry of Culture. Thanks to this project, 153 screens have been revitalized, out of which 137 were digitalized, and in return, audiences were up fourfold on the previous year, with a 50 percent rise in the number of projected movies.

3Q Alexandru Belc director of Cinema, mon amour

Supporters of the “Save the Big Screen” campaign

arguing that the halls aren’t under “In small towns, the responsibility for their jurisdiction, and somehow the having a cinema lies with the city hall, debate moves onto RADEF Romania because the local authorities must Film, a company that has 30 theaters provide cultural services as a citizens’ under its control but no money and right. We managed to refurbish the also DNA problems,” Giurgiu told cinemas and fully equip them with Business Review. Under these condi- modern technology with European tions, he concluded someone had to funding, a convergence solution to take the initiative and come up with a eliminate the discrepancy between Poland’s rich and poor regions, a simsolution. Ideas emerged at the debate that ilar situation to what you have here in Giurgiu initiated at TIFF, with the Romania,” added Materska-Samek. Ivo Andrle, founder and manager help of some foreign guests who had managed to revitalize the silver of Aerofilms from the Czech Republic, screens in their countries. In conclu- explained the model that he implesion, Giurgiu told BR that he sees mented for movie theaters, which three major solutions: movie theaters now offer content for all types of congrouped into geographical regions to sumers, from babies to senior citizens. attract European funding, national Moreover, the country is very marketfunding if the cinematography law is ing savvy, offering the public “a blind changed in order to secure money date with the cinema,” where viewers from the National Center for Cine- do not know what movie will be matography, and a partnership based shown; the “adopt your seat” scheme, on collaboration and communication allowing viewers to pay in advance between local authorities, film dis- for a permanent seat in the cinema; tributors and movie theater managers. cinema cuisine, or a food and beverThe actual investment will not be ages menu, and senior screenings for steep, if the public authorities offer to pensioners. Tina Hajon of the Audio-visual help with renovations. A digital server, a screen, sound installations and a Center of Croatia said that her country projector cost from EUR 50,000, de- had only two private distribution pending on various factors, says companies, with 100 digital screens in Giurgiu.

Eastern European approaches to preserving picture houses

Cinemas in Romania in 2013*

Speaking at TIFF, Marta MaterskaSamek, board president of the Poland Cinema Development Foundation, described some solutions that Poland had implemented, such as premieres and high-quality exhibitions, 3D projections, famous cultural content (La Scala, Opera de Paris, METropolitan Opera, Bolshoi Theater, NTL Live) live in HD, a media literacy program, social activity center and easy access for elderly viewers and those from rural areas, as well as financial support from the Ministry of European Funds.

Active cinemas Seats Screens Admissions Gross box office Average ticket price Number of screenings

76 57,248 264 9,048,257 RON 160,523,144 RON 17.74 397,802

*statistics presented by Tudor Giurgiu at Transylvania International Film Festival (TIFF) 2014

Gherla city cinema gets a life-buoy The municipality of Gherla modernized the town’s movie theater at a cost of EUR 170,000, long before this campaign, but still they had issues in making it work, so the mayor, Marius Calin Sabo, asked Giurgiu for help. “He contacted me because he didn’t know from where to get the movies,” said Giurgiu at TIFF Talks. The Gherla cinema will open in July 2014 with 220 seats and a 3D audio-video system, managed by the city hall and widely open for cultural purposes. “It is also very important to be the mediators between all these entities, and to try to convince the Ministry of Culture to get involved,” concluded Giurgiu.

Photo: Catalin Georgescu / TIFF

Short cuts: Romania currently has just 30 single-screen picture houses

American actress Debra Winger, who was presented with a lifetime achievement award at TIFF, said she decided to adorn it with a Save the Big Screen Campaign sticker, partly through habit, as she admitted to being superstitious, and partly because she supports Giurgiu’s campaign, having visited the abandoned state film depot in Cluj and been at the screening of some sections of Cinema, mon amour. Asked by BR about Giurgiu’s initiative, Mihai Chirilov, artistic director of TIFF, said that to launch a campaign such as Save the Big Screen, we should first ask what culture means today and who is still consuming cultural products. He pointed out that the cinema used to attract big audiences but, somehow, they stopped going. An important question to ask these people is why they moved away from the movie theater. He concluded by saying, “Movies were made for the big screen, and this is an absolute truth, which is why this campaign must be supported.” Emil Boc, mayor of Cluj-Napoca, declared himself a supporter of Giurgiu’s campaign, pointing to the revamping of an old cinema in ClujNapoca which is now functional courtesy of the local community, who decided to restore the location to how it used to be. Moreover, Giurgiu told BR that since the official campaign launch several city mayors had contacted him in order to find together a solution to save their cities’ silver screens.

How did this project start? The initiative came from Tudor Giurgiu, who is very concerned about the dreadful conditions and the decline of Romanian cinemas, so he asked me to do a documentary about it. I started to search on the internet and in local newspapers. Then, we made a website,, a complete mapping of the cinemas. While working on this project, I realized that nobody really knew the actual situation of all the Romanian cinemas, which was a real surprise, so we did the job ourselves: locating cinemas, collecting data, taking photos and, of course, recording all the stories of the cinemas that still have a bit of life thanks to the people who work there. This is the reason that my documentary is about the people inside the cinema, who disappear along with the actual building, not about the cinema itself. What was the most impressive story that you heard? Every cinema has a story which is a tale of loneliness, friendship, expectation or unfulfilled dreams, as well as a story of the people who gave years of their lives to that place, spent most of their lives inside its walls, in the projection room or ticket booth. I found an impressive story in Piatra Neamt, where the movie theater manager refuses to join his family who immigrated to Italy and have been waiting for him for years, as without him the theater would not survive. The story is incredible because the theater has become his new home; his two employees are his new family. When is the premiere of the movie? Given the amount of material that we have gathered for this movie, I could easily finish it tomorrow, but we want to add more value to it so the official launch will take place at TIFF 2015, everyone expects. Business Review | June 16 - 22, 2014


Ready, steady, Urbatlon!


Edge of Tomorrow DEBBIE STOWE


Director: Doug Liman Starring: Tom Cruise, Emily Blunt On at: Cinema City Cotroceni, Cinema City Cotroceni VIP, Cinema City Sun Plaza, Grand Cinema Digiplex, Grand Cinema Digiplex Ultra, Grand Cinema Digiplex VIP, Hollywood Multiplex, Movieplex, Romtelecom IMAX, The Light Cinema

The National Arena will be transformed into a sports-fun arena on June 21, when fitness fans will gather to take part in a competition that will challenge athletes over five kilometers and seven tasks named specifically after urban activi- Time travel would certainly explain ties: urban cooler, garage adrenaline, why Tom Cruise, now in his second height show, traffic jam, labyrinth, half-century, still looks about 35. Arena assault and move & be happy. Doug Liman’s sci-fi thriller gives him Participants will run, do slalom, cross this ability, making Cruise’s character corridors, climb stairs and vault obsta- live the same day over and over in a cles, in an adrenaline-packed race. bid to – what else? – save the world. The competition tests various physEarth is under attack from aliens. ical abilities through such challenges as: Not dopey ones, that Will Smith could climbing a wall, shinning down a rope, knock out with one punch, but smart crawling through a tight space, com- “mimics”, with a capacity to “reset” pleting a series of cross-fit exercises and the day repeatedly, so they can work running 1.2 km. Contestants must apply out our battle plan and thwart us. Retheir arm strength to swing along a set member in Groundhog Day, when Bill of monkey bars 2 meters from the Murray used the time loop he was ground, scale obstacles, carry a back- stuck in to build up an encyclopedic pack through a maze made of cars, knowledge of Andie MacDowell so he climb stairs and stretch elastic cords. could get her into bed? Well, these Gabriela Szabo, minister of youth aliens are doing the same thing but and sports, said that according to the with the goal of world domination last Eurobarometer released by the Eu- rather than seducing a TV producer. ropean Union, half of Romanians do no Into this cauldron comes Officer sports, whereas the European average Cage (Cruise), a shallow adman is 39 percent. Unfortunately, the Min- whose televised blandishments have istry of Youth and Sports has no con- been used to recruit more cannon crete statistics, but believes the most fodder for humanity’s war effort. For active cohort is men aged 25-39 years trying to blackmail his way out of old, whereas women are most active at filming propaganda on the battlefield, 40-54 years old. Supporting the compe- Cage finds himself unceremoniously tition are Gabriela Szabo, a former ath- demoted and dispatched to the frontlete, trainer Zsolt Gyongyossy, former line to kick some alien butt. gymnast Andreea Raducan, cyclo-cross One of the rules of Hollywood – winner Razvan Juganaru, former ath- that in a war you will probably surlete Kallina Visoiu and fitness trainer vive unless you make the mistake of Mihai Dragomir. showing another soldier a photo of your sweetheart back home – is The event takes place on June 21, at the Na- swiftly broken, as rookie fighter Cage tional Arena. Participation costs RON 90. is fatally injured in combat. But as he lies dying, some acid from a stricken mimic seeps into his bloodstream,

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

Blunt force: Tom Cruise takes the lead from Emily Blunt in this progressive sci-fi dowing him with the enemy’s ability to start the day again – and over time fine-tune his tactics. The premise is appealing, if not original. As well as the classic Groundhog Day, the time-loop conceit was employed recently (and militarily) in 2011’s Source Code, where wounded pilot Jake Gyllenhaal used a similar trick to hunt a terrorist, and 2013’s saccharine fest About Time. By now we’ve all seen the time traveler win over the skeptic by accurately predicting who’s about to phone up and detailing the biography of a random passer-by. But Edge of Tomorrow rises above its unoriginal basis. With apt timing, given the recent D-Day anniversary, the Normandy beach scenes are strikingly rendered (especially in 3D), conveying the carnage and chaos of war.

Comic relief and good one-liners punctuate the action sequences. But the biggest surprise is how progressive the movie is. Cruise has an attractive younger co-star (Emily Blunt). No surprise there. It would normally be her job to be saved, try and dissuade Cage from acts of heroism and look concerned. Not here. Blunt’s character, fellow soldier Rita Vrataski, is more than Cage’s equal; indeed, she spends much of the film instructing him in the art of combat. This refreshing spin on a fun, but derivative, idea, combined with Cruise’s star quality, an impressive Blunt, good chemistry between them and a deft script, gives what could have been hackneyed multiplex fodder a real edge.

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Business Review Issue 22/2014 June 16 - 22  

Electricity supplier and distributor Electrica aims to raise at least EUR 435 million from an IPO starting this week, which could become the...