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Property: Baneasa Developments opens the EUR 19 million Grand Cinema Digiplex at Baneasa Shopping City this week. CEO Ali Ergun Ergen says entertainment is the focus of the developer’s expansion strategy »page 10


September 19 - 25, 2011 / VOLUME 16, NUMBER 32


HEAD TO HEAD On an official visit to the US, President Traian Basescu met his counterpart Barack Obama, following the signing of a bilateral agreement for the building of a US ballistic missile defense system in Deveselu »page 4

Courtesy of

NEWS Andrei Lizar, GM of Tonka Distribution, hopes to reach sales of up to EUR 500,000 from the product portfolio of American manufacturer Zippo » page 6

NEWS Business lobby groups AmCham and the Foreign Investors Council are calling on the Romanian government to improve the country’s taxation legislation » page 7

ENTREPRENEUR Marius Lazarescu, CEO of digital agency Today’s, is looking to add US and UK clients to his firm’s portfolio, estimating a turnover of EUR 400,000 for 2011 » page 12 Business Review | September 19 - 25, 2011

BUSINESS AGENDA September 20 09:30 IBM Romania organizes an event for marketing professionals in Romania, at Howard Johnson Hotel. By invitation only. September 20 10:30 Kruk International organizes a press conference to mark the launch of an educational campaign on debt repayment at Patria Cinema. By invitation only. September 20 14:00 Forza Rossa organizes an event to launch a new Ferrari model at the Ferrari Showroom in Otopeni. By invitation only. September 21 10:00 Diesel One organizes a press conference to present the results of a conference on health and security labor at Ramada Bucharest North Hotel. By invitation only. September 21 10:00 A press conference will be organized to mark the launch of Capital Property Advisors, at Grand Hotel Continental. By invitation only. September 21 11:00 Baneasa Shopping City organizes a press conference to mark the launch of Grand Cinema Digiplex, on the premises of Baneasa Shopping City. By invitation only. September 22 14:00 Revevol organizes an event to mark the official launch of its Romanian branch at Pullman World Trade Center Bucharest. Dan Bulucea, country manager of Google Romania, and Laurent Gasser, group CEO of Revevol, will be among the guest speakers. By invitation only. September 22-23 09:30 Quartz Matrix organizes a conference on cloud computing, at which HP and Microsoft will present their solutions, at Ramada Hotel and Unirii Museum in Iasi. By invitation only. September 28 Jean-Marie Dru, president of TBWA\Worldwide, leads a conference on effectiveness in advertising. The event takes place at The Ark, the creative mall where TBWA\Bucharest is located. By invitation only


NEWS in brief BANKING Erste Group buys additional 24 percent stake in BCR Erste Group Bank AG has reached an agreement with four of the five SIF minority shareholders in BCR – SIF Banat Crisana, SIF Transilvania, SIF Muntenia and SIF Oltenia – under which Erste Group will acquire their 24.12 percent stake or 2.6 billion shares in BCR. With this move, Erste Group’s participation in BCR is set to increase to over 93.5 percent. The total value of the transaction is EUR 435 million (based on a one-month average share price of Erste Group of EUR 25.69, EUR 519.7 million.) The cash portion of the transaction will be financed from retained earnings.

Visa Europe launches campaign to stimulate online payments Visa Europe, along with member banks in Romania, announced last week the launch of a national campaign promoting the use of cards for online payments. The campaign includes marketing and PR components and should end by December, when the Christmas shopping season begins. Visa will invest over EUR 1 million in communication campaigns for cardholders this year. Currently, fewer than 200,000 cards of the total 9 million pre-enrolled by banks in Romania have been activated in 3D Secure platforms, such as the service Verified by Visa, which secures online transactions by card.

Indirect income is instead gained through several sales vehicles like the Adevarul shop.

RETAIL Cora hopes to get RON 23 million from wine sales this year French retailer Cora, which operates seven hypermarkets locally, estimates that its wine sales will reach RON 23 million (approximately EUR 5.4 million) this year, 2 percent up on 2010. More that 5 percent of the total sales volumes is represented by private label wines. The retailer’s target is to increase this share to about 10 percent of the total sales volumes on the long run. Cora sells 40 varieties of wines under its own private label, some of which are produced in France and the rest in Romania. Halewood Romania and Domeniile Ostrov are the two local companies producing wine under private label for Cora.

Flanco looks at 12 percent market share this year IT&C retailer Flanco estimates it will reach a market share of 12 percent by the end of the year. This will take the firm’s turnover to EUR 120-130 million in 2011. Flanco currently has 75 stores but plans to open another five or six units, one of which will be in Unirea Shopping Center. One of the retailer’s main competitors, Altex, already has a store in this location.


EBRD lends EUR 150 million to Raiffeisen Bank Romania

MedLife puts EUR 10 million into Brasov investment

The EBRD is lending EUR 40 million to Raiffeisen Bank Romania, part of a syndicated loan totaling EUR 150 million. This is the second syndication for the local lender, which aims to enhance the bank’s loan portfolio and maintain a strong market position by diversifying its funding sources and improving the maturity profile of its balance sheet. This will also be the first syndicated transaction in the financial sector in Romania since the global financial crisis of 2008. The loan aims to reopen access to debt capital markets for Romanian commercial banks.

Romanian private medical operator MedLife has invested EUR 10 million in the opening of a hospital in Brasov and in acquiring 100 percent of the Eva clinic in the city, the largest maternity facility in the region. The EUR 10 million investment represents the first step in the operator’s development and expansion strategy, with Brasov being the first city outside Bucharest where MedLife offers integrated medical services: hyper clinic, hospital, maternity ward, laboratory and pharmacy. The new hospital has a 5,500sqm surface area and offers 30 medical specialties.

MEDIA Dinu Patriciu adds new media investments Dinu Patriciu, the owner of Adevarul Holding, has announced the launch of Click FM, which is expected to be on air from September 19. Adevarul TV, a television station that is currently broadcasting through the internet, will be launched in the following months. According to Patriciu, the print media is doomed unless more newsstands are opened, as the current 5,600 are insufficient for improving print publications’ circulation. Patriciu also said that he was not considering implementing a pay-wall for the digital versionof Adevarul newspaper.

IT&TELECOM Endava to double number of employees within one year Endava intends to double its number of employees by hiring over 350 people within a year, which will see the company reaching a national team of more than 650 workers. Most of the recruitment will take place in Iasi, where 200 more people will be added to the roster by next year. From February 1, one more story of office space will be rented in Palas Business Center. In Bucharest, 100 more people will be hired by July 2012. In Cluj, Endava will recruit another 60 staff members

WEEK in numbers

3 billion euros – the estimated value of trade between Romania and Poland in 2011, according to Marek Szczygiel, the Polish Ambassador in Romania

1.1 billion euros – the value of FDI in Romania in the first half of the year, according to data from the Central Bank

3.8 billion euros – the estimated value of the local telecom market this year, according to A.T. Kearney by April 2012. The company is at the moment rolling out an employment strategy with the aim of exceeding 1,000 employees overall by the end of June 2012.

POWER Nordex enters Romanian market Nordex, a German developer and manufacturer of wind farms, will set up a branch in Romania in the next few months. The company has already received two orders for a total of eight wind farms with a projected output of 20 megawatts. These wind farms are expected to start operations by the end of 2011. The German manufacturer considers Romania’s wind market potential excellent, with a forecasted output of 3,000 megawatts by 2015.

RBS lends EUR 32 mln to Hidroelectrica RBS Romania has approved a loan of EUR 32 million for Hidroelectrica, the main energy producer in Romania. The loan will be used to finance the firm’s working capital and will be repaid in one year. Hidroelectrica is the main electricity producer in Romania, the main producer of energy system services and the main energy producer on the regulated market. The company manages over 270 hydroelectric plants and pumping stations, with power installations totaling 6438 MW. Business Review | September 12 - 18, 2011


Basescu’s official US visit takes bilateral relationship into new stage

Courtesy of

President Basescu took a delegation to Washington


he Romanian President, Traian Basescu, met last week with his US counterpart Barack Obama in the White House’s Oval Office. The highlevel meeting lasted about 25 minutes and was part of a one-day meeting involving a Romanian delegation that flew to Washington in an effort to consolidate the traditional ties between the two countries. Other local participants in this state visit included the heads of intelligence services SIE (Foreign Intelligence Service) and SRI (Romanian Intelligence Service), the national defense minister Gabriel Oprea and presidential counselor Iulian Fota, together with foreign affairs minister Teodor Baconschi and the US Ambassador in Romania Mark Gitenstein. During the work visit, each member of the delegation had talks with his American counterpart. Teodor Baconschi and Hillary Clinton, heads of Romanian and US diplomacy, signed an agreement on the deployment of the US ballistic missile defense system in Romania. The official document was finalized after eight bilateral meetings. It states that 26 ground rocket interceptors will be hosted in Deveselu Airbase, Olt County, with deployment expected to occur in 2015. Basescu said at the end of the official visit that once put into practice, this agreement will see Romania achieve the highest level of security in its history. Basescu also signed with Obama and Vice President Joe Biden a joint declaration on strategic partnership for the 21st century between the United States of America and Romania. The areas where the US and Romania should strengthen their cooperation in-

clude the military, politics, security and the economy. President Obama has endorsed legislation to reform the Visa Waiver Program, allowing Romanians to travel to the United States for tourism or business for up to 90 days without a visa. According to the agreed partnership, Romania will have to enhance its counter-terrorism cooperation with the United States in order to qualify. Other areas where contacts between the two nations should be facilitated include trade and investment, education, and science and technology. The two countries will also collaborate in the energy sector, on the development of smart grids and alternative energy sources and transport routes such as the Southern Corridor, it was said during the official visit. Romania will continue its efforts to liberalize its energy market to attract new investments and will also research unconventional sources of energy, including shale gas. Chevron, an American energy company with extensive experience in shale gas projects, has already concessioned four blocks in Romania, covering 2.1 million acres, in Barlad and the Dobrogea region, which contain significant deposits of shale gas. Exploitation works in these areas may commence after prior agreement from the Romanian government is secured. A foreign investment made by IBM, an American multinational technology and consulting firm, was also confirmed during talks between Baconschi and Clinton. The company will create a new unit in Romania, expected to create 3,000 jobs. ∫ Ovidiu Posirca

6 NEWS Business Review | September 19 - 25, 2011


Zippo selects new local distributor, aims for sales of EUR 500,000

Photo: Laurentiu Obae

Andrei Lizar, general manager of Tonka Distribution


generating between 5 and 8 percent of total sales. The business was set up four years ago by Andrei Lizar and Cristi Dumitrescu and includes four divisions. In addition to distributing alcohol and accessories – Zippo is the company’s main partner – Tonka Distribution distributes Nescafe professional machines and has a third division dedicated to Zebrapay payment terminals. The firm also owns two alcohol and accessories shops in downtown Bucharest and Pipera. It plans to open a third shop this year and to add two more outlets each year as of 2012 for the next five years. The firm’s other shareholder, Cristi Dumitru, owns the Tonka club and the Tonka Jeans clothing store, both located in Romana Square. Zippo Manufacturing Company produces about 12 million lighters each year, which accounted for about 56 percent of the company’s USD 200 million global sales in 2010. Forty percent of the company’s sales are generated in the US. ∫ Simona Bazavan

Photo: Laurentiu Obae

ippo Manufacturing Company, famous for its windproof lighters, has selected Tonka Distribution as its sole distributor for the Romanian market. The American producer hopes to sell up to 30,000 lighters in Romania by the end of 2011 and reach a turnover of approximately EUR 500,000, according to Andrei Lizar, general manager of Tonka Distribution. “We have been selling our products in Romania for the past 20 years but we want to expand our local portfolio as part of our global strategy. A quarter of the company’s annual sales come from Europe and Romania is an important market,” said David Warfel, global marketing director at Zippo. He estimates that the local business will grow by 10 percent yo-y for the next five years despite the current economic conditions. In addition to lighters and related consumables, other Zippo products that will be sold in Romania include men’s watches and perfumes. The shelf price of a Zippo lighter varies between RON 70 and RON 150 while watches cost from RON 300 to RON 500. The product portfolio will be further extended from the end of this year based on consumers’ reaction to the brand, added Warfel, who said that the company’s first priority was to select a local partner. Before Tonka Distribution, another local firm, Alb International, was the official distributor. “The products will be brought from the US, which is home to the only Zippo factory in the world, by ship or courier in emergency cases. We will make use of all the usual distribution channels. Our clients include the Inmedio press distribution network and Mol gas stations as well as tobacco and smoking accessories shops. Negotiations with Rompetrol and Lukoil are also at an advanced stage,” said Lizar. Tonka Distribution reported a turnover of EUR 4 million last year and estimates that the figure will grow to EUR 6 million in 2011 with the Zippo products

David Warfel, global marketing director at Zippo

NEWS 7 Business Review | September 19 - 25, 2011


State-owned companies to get private management in 2012


partnership made up of George Butunoiu Group and the Biris Goran law firm, Pedersen & Partners and Agentia de Servicii Professional have been shortlisted in the auction for providing consultancy services for the recruitment of top management personnel in state companies, the Economy and Commerce Ministry announced last week. The selected consultant will prepare the task books for the bid to choose the headhunting firm that will find top managers for five state companies: Hidroelectrica, Oltchim, Societatea Nationala a Lignitului Oltenia, Electrica and Romarm. The selected consultant will work with representatives of the ministry to set the guidelines for selecting candidates. The move to select private management for stateowned companies follows an agreement with the IMF. According to Andreea Paul Vass, an


AmCham Romania and FIC call for tax law changes


epresentatives of business lobby groups the American Chamber of Commerce in Romania (AmCham) and the Foreign Investors Council (FIC) are calling for changes to the Fiscal Code that would modernize Romania’s administrative collection capacity. The country’s tax collection level is currently below that of Bulgaria. The percentage of revenue collected by the state budget is 32-33 percent of GDP, while the EU average is 42-44 percent. An increase of 10 percent in the tax collection rate would see Romania gain an additional USD 12 million for the budget. Bulgaria has already implemented an integrated system which saw tax collection rise by 6 percent. The joint efforts of the FIC and AmCham, which together came up with over 220 proposals with the aid of 100 experts and practitioners, resulted in Government Ordinances 29/2011 and 30/2011. However, only a small fraction of the proposals forwarded to the Romanian Finance Ministry were actually included in the fiscal legislation. Ionut Simion, vice-president of AmCham Romania, said that the suggestions were submitted to Dan Lazar, state secretary in the Finance Ministry, and Gheorghe Ialomitianu, minister of Public Finance. Simion also said that proper legislation had to be put into place, allowing the Finance Ministry and ANAF (fiscal administration unit) to improve their collaboration. AmCham and the FIC are still calling for the rewriting of the Fiscal Code, a process that should have started in the autumn of 2011. The modernization of the fiscal legislation should improve Romania's competitiveness at a regional level, resulting in GDP increases and further gains in revenue to the state budget. ∫ Ovidiu Posirca

economic counselor of Prime Minister Boc, the first seven to ten state firms should have private management and new board members by the end of February 2012. This statement was made earlier this month in an official meeting with representatives of the private sector. The new managers will receive an attractive monthly salary package ranging from EUR 11,000 to EUR 75,700 gross with annual bonuses of up to EUR 3 million, according to a draft project that was submitted to the Romanian government. At the moment, managers of state-owned companies have their salaries capped at EUR 1,000. This applies to both companies that report healthy profits, mainly in the energy business, where there is a state monopoly, and companies that sustain losses and accumulate arrears, such as CFR, the national railroad operator. The private management contract

will be signed for a term ranging from one to four years, and can be extended through additional documents. The manager may receive a maximum share of 3.2 percent of the net profit, provided that the financial results exceed the performance criteria. The objectives and performance criteria will be annually negotiated and established based on the financial indicators of the previous two years. All such firms will have regular independent external audits, and will be required to report and publish financial data quarterly. The new legal framework should allow state-owned companies to be moved from the financial control of several ministries to the Ministry of Public Finance. The main provision is that key management positions (including the CEO and CFO) will be filled after an international search process conducted by

human resources companies. These managers will be given sufficient autonomy and will be assisted by experienced board members who will be selected by shareholders and vetted by independent experts. Pedersen & Partners is an executive search company with offices in 41 countries. The Romanian subsidiary posted a turnover of EUR 825,000 last year. George Butunoiu is an experienced head hunter on the Romanian market, while Gabriel Biris, a fiscal expert and founder of BirisGoran law firm, is co-partner in the consortium with Butunoiu, participating in the bid for handling the private management recruiting process. The other shortlisted company is Agentia de Servicii Professional, mainly specialized in temporary work contracts, which had a turnover of EUR 9 million in 2010. ∫ Ovidiu Posirca Business Review | September 19 - 25, 2011


Bitdefender aiming for the top slot With more than EUR 1 million put into a rebranding campaign aimed to position Bitdefender among the top global players, this is a crucial year for the Romanian security solutions provider, as the company plans to ‘conquer the world’ by launching new products it hopes will make it global market leader on several segments.

Photo: Laurentiu Obae

Florin Talpes, founder and CEO of Bitdefender

∫ OTILIA HARAGA “We believe we are on the threshold of a new stage in the evolution of Bitdefender. So far, we have posted significant growth and we have confirmed we are one of the best actors on the market. What we now want is to reach the top spot in certain segments of the global market,” Florin Talpes, Bitdefender’s CEO and founder, tells Business Review. The segments he’s talking about are some with high growth prospects, such as virtualization, “which is very important for medium and large enterprises. We have started to deal with the securization of virtualization,” he says. “This year has confirmed our position as number one in what we call protection. The basis of security is protection and Bitdefender is the best protection product. This stage will also have certain effects on the value of the company, and a part of this plan is the new brand which is bolder, stronger

and more affirmative,” adds Talpes. The company has already launched its 2012 generation of products, which come with many new features. “We are working on the 2013 version of the products. We are going to follow our clients on all the platforms they want to use,” says Talpes. This year has brought two major launches so far. “Protection on Twitter, which has hit 100 million users, is a product we have launched only recently. Protection on Facebook is also a product we launched this year. We will now be launching a new generation of products for Android,” says Talpes. On the business consumer side, Bitdefender also promises substantial changes because “we have come up with virtualization and software as a service – these are two mainstreams in the security domain with very good future prospects,” says the CEO. The company’s shareholders are still analyzing the possibility of floating the com-

the opening of a new office in another repany on the stock exchange. However, this gion of the world,” says Talpes. will now not take place next year, as initially But mainly the business model is “deplanned. veloping some markets via partners.” “We want to be listed on the stock ex“As strategy, we rarely develop on a change when the company has a consistent market through ourselves; we approach the value. The listing will take place both on the market via our partners. This is our basic Bucharest Stock Exchange and on an international stock exchange,” says Talpes. model. Opening new offices in our case will be rare because we think we can attain our He adds that for the listing to take development potential via our partners,” he place both ways, the local stock exchange needs to be stable. “If we were to list in 2012, explains. Data from the Ministry of Finance we would only have chosen an internashow that the company posted a EUR 29 tional stock exchange,” says the CEO. million turnover last year, up 17 percent on Bitdefender’s shareholding structure the previous year. However, Bitdefender’s includes a group of American and Rorevenues are much higher, as a small mimanian investors who injected USD 7 nority of the company’s global turnover million into the company in 2007. They are comes from Romania. represented by Horia Manda, managing “Sales in Romania represent less than 5 partner of Axxess Capital, which runs the percent of global sales. We have 40 percent Balkan Accession Fund and the Romanianof the local market. The Romanian securiAmerican Enterprise Fund. “In 2007 a friend of mine, Horia Manda, ty solutions market is evaluated somewhere around EUR 10-20 million. The who leads several investment funds, joined overall Romanian security market repreour company as shareholder,” Talpes tells sents under 1 percent of the world securiBR. He declines to comment on the time ty solutions market,” he says. “This year is when the exit will take place. full of novelties. We are entering a stage in Bitdefender is a company with a footwhich we want to move from being among print on strong markets. The firm has two the best to being the leaders.” offices in the United States, one in Silicon The company invested EUR 1 million in Valley and another in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. It also has offices in Great Britain, the re-branding that should take it closer to the image it wants. The chosen symbol for Germany and Spain (one in Barcelona) the new brand was the Dacian dragon-wolf. and in addition a support center in Chile This symbol and the new logo ‘Awake’ with a team that serves clients in South were selected in collaboration with BranAmerica. dient. “When we started the re-branding, The company has several hundred emwe set up a small team to find the brand’s ployees, most of them in Romania. “There DNA,” says Talpes. are more than 100 abroad and I think in RoOne of the most difficult things was to mania there are around 300-400 employdecide whether to position Bitdefender as ees,” says Talpes. a Romanian or a global company. “The Some 99 percent of the research number of BitDefender clients is 20 times is done by the locally based teams. This is higher than the Romanian population,” why the R&D team, which comprises notes the CEO. more than 200 people, has very large Eventually, the symbol of the Dacian weight in the total headcount. “Until now, dragon-wolf, a mythical creature that is half the Romanian market has offered a satiswolf, half serpent, was chosen for its fying pool of talented people for us,” says “undying virtues.” Talpes. Expansion for the firm can take different forms. “Next month we will announce Business Review | September 19 - 25, 2011



Pirated software gets top IT retailers into hot water E

Courtesy of BSA

mployees of top local IT retailers have distributed or are still distributing pirated software without the knowledge of company bosses, according to a software industry group. Magda Popescu, Business Software Alliance (BSA) outside counsel, mentioned big names such as Altex, Domo and even Selgros among the offending firms. A decision in the Selgros case is still pending. “Altex had a problem until last year but it seems that our discussions with them bore fruit because there are no problems anymore,” Popescu told Business Review. At Domo, the issue still exists and a decision in the criminal trial is still pending, she added. “Domo is an illustrative example because it has the highest number of cases of illegal software distribution, and these are spread all over the country,” said Popescu. However, she noted that the distribution of pirated software took place without the knowledge of the management of these companies. “The computers should have been sold without software but employees of these retailers installed pirated software on the computers that they distributed to the client. The software was not written on the invoice, so we are also

Business Software Alliance officials are working with the police to combat piracy talking fiscal evasion here. The employee made extra money from this installment, but not a very high sum that could actually compare to the cost of the license,” said Popescu.

The piracy rate in Romania is 64 percent, according to the BSA, while the value of the pirated software installed on personal computers in Romania reached USD 195 million last year.

The BSA and the General Inspectorate of the Romanian Police (IGPR) have signed a protocol for the eradication of software piracy, the two partners announced at a press conference last week. The first result of this protocol is a campaign called Unlicensed Software is a Luxury You Cannot Afford, which has been designed to inform companies and individuals of the risks of using pirated software. The costs of the campaign are being borne by the members of the BSA, Popescu told Business Review. Some 13,000 firms will receive letters informing them of the technical, legal and image implications of software piracy. “The 13,000 companies were selected based on their domain of activity, number of computers and employees. Letters will be sent to those companies which are most exposed to the risk of neglecting to administer their software resources. They are companies with more than 25 computers or exposed because of the domain in which they operate such as software development, computer-assisted design or web design that uses specialized programs often acquired without a license,” said Popescu. ∫ Otilia Haraga

10 INTERVIEW Business Review | September 19 - 25, 2011

Baneasa Shopping City makes entertainment its priority EUR 19 million has been invested in Baneasa Shopping City’s cinema, Grand Cinema Digiplex, which opens this week. And the expansion doesn’t stop here. Ali Ergun Ergen, CEO of Baneasa Developments, talked to Business Review about the shopping center’s development strategy for the next five years and why it mainly focuses on expanding the entertainment options. ∫ SIMONA BAZAVAN

What about other future development plans for Baneasa Shopping City? We will not stop here. We are in this business for the long run. The area which we are part of is continuously developing and growing and I think that in the next five to ten years there will be more people living here. It is becoming perhaps a seventh district of Bucharest. So far the market we are serving is mainly made up of a lot of families with kids and a higher disposable income compared to the rest of the city. Kids’ clothing and food are leading the sales and we want to give more to the people. So we will probably go for more leisure,

Photo: Laurentiu Obae

What can you tell us about the cinema, the actual investment and your expectations regarding this addition? We decided to make this investment because it is an essential component of the offer. We have so far provided a large variety of shopping, fashion and food, but we were quite behind on the entertainment side. In the middle of the crisis we managed to put together the funds – it cost us EUR 19 million – and finally it is opening. Grand Cinema Digiplex is important for the center. It does not necessarily improve foot fall dramatically. It does not double the visit traffic, but what it does is increase the repeat visits, increase loyalty and extend the time spent in the mall. In this respect it is very important. Also, technology has advanced greatly in this industry and cinemas are no longer simply places where one can watch movies. This is not a standard cinema but an unconventional venue equipped with digital technology, meaning that it can connect to any event in the world. We expect primarily revenues from ticket sales, obviously, but we also expect to get other content from local and international events and sell tickets for that. A cinema usually has an occupancy rate of about 20-30 percent and here we have 2,634 seats. Additional products include premium seats in every room which come at a higher price. There are rooms with special sound and others that have retractable seating. We also have VIP rooms which come not only with a different ambience but also with VIP services which include a separate ticketing box and concierge, special loyalty services, a special seating area with sofas, a smoking lounge and a dedicated fully equipped kitchen with a chef and bartenders; we are working on a solution to allow customers to make orders during the movie.

more entertainment. This is the strategy and this is also the global trend. There will be new extensions. We are planning a new food court, an area with bowling, a fitness center, spa, a large indoor amusement park and areas with more shops. We don’t yet have official information regarding the timeline and the investment budget. These are plans for the next five years and some have already been approved by the board but a lot depends on what happens with the economy and this area. After this opening we will start the research for our future plans. How do you see this market evolving in the years to come? How do you think that shopping malls here in Bucharest will look in five years time? Every single large shopping center in Bucharest has almost the same mix of brands. What makes them different is the location and the architecture, and the management is very important. But what actually brings people in is not the shops but rather the food and the entertainment. This is what makes people come back. I think that what will happen in the future, and it has already started, is that existing malls will eventually become neighborhood shopping centers. They will mainly get customers from their surrounding area. What is different in our case is that because we have Ikea, which is a very important part of the retail park, a large Carrefour and now the cinema as well as

some exclusive brands, that might attract additional people, but other than this everyone will basically cater to their trade area. Retailers have a similar strategy. A retail brand positioned medium to high does not sell the same merchandise in all its stores. It depends on the location, customers’ purchasing power and their profile. This is something very new. It’s three years now since the crisis started. What would you say has been the worst period for the local market? I think the second half of 2009 and first half of 2010 were very hard. For a while people denied what was happening and it took some time until they understood and started downsizing their operations. Consumption dropped significantly and the real impact became visible in the second half of 2009 and the first half of 2010. Afterwards the situation started to stabilize. 2011 is slightly better than last year. How did Baneasa Shopping City react to the economic downturn? I think we were the first that reacted in advance to the crisis. We analyzed the figures and came up with some incentives to help the retailers. It is not necessarily rent reductions. Sometimes it was simply support to improve their marketing and sales, postponed payments and in a very few cases we reduced rents. We let some tenants go and brought in new ones. About 30 percent of the tenants have been replaced but given that we have only been on the market

CV Ali Ergun Ergen Before setting up and managing the Baneasa Shopping City project in the Baneasa retail park, Ali Ergun Ergen worked for Anchor Grup. He was part of the team that developed Bucuresti Mall – the first shopping mall in Bucharest which opened in 1999 – and went onto manage it. He later set up and managed Plaza Romania which opened in 2004. for three years this is normal. This proactive approach has given us a major upper hand. The occupancy rate has never dropped below 97 percent in the last couple of years and now it is 100 percent. Also the collection performance was never below 97 percent. We started this back in September 2008, unlike other shopping centers, which in the beginning seemed to have nothing to do with the crisis but all of a sudden were faced with huge vacancies. Looking at the figures for the first six months, our traffic has increased 20 percent and sales have gone up by 22 percent. What can you tell us about the results reported by Baneasa Shopping City last year and what are the estimations for 2011? Income last year was around EUR 30 million and we are expecting an increase of around 5 percent this year. It is sustainable. Business Review | September 19 - 25, 2011

FOCUS11 Business Review | September 19 - 25, 2011


Today’s business looks to expansion tomorrow Marius Lazarescu has managed to transform his hobby into a real business and has now notched up six years of operational activity. And his strategy is balanced, as web agency Today’s has a significant presence both on local and international markets. As for tomorrow, the entrepreneur is planning further expansion abroad. ∫ ANDA SEBESI

Courtesy of Today’s

For Marius Lazarescu, CEO of Today’s and Google AdWords certified expert, his early career played a crucial role in his decision to set up his own company. The businessman had gained a lot of experience in advertising and the telecom industry, which helped him to draw up his own business strategy. “I felt it was time to raise my performance and offer consultancy services to customers when they needed them. I created a closer relationship with the customers and increased the value of the sale. And that

would not have been possible without strong business and marketing knowledge,” remembers Lazarescu. So he decided to follow a master’s course in online marketing and two further courses in marketing. “Plus, after reading half a library full of marketing books bought from Amazon, I decided to become an entrepreneur, back in 2005,” says the CEO. He adds that his first intention was to offer email marketing and copywriting services exclusively, because there were only two local suppliers in this field, leaving plenty of space for a third player. “But the market proved to me that it was too difficult a tool to sell and implement, which is still the case today. Email marketing is still very undervalued in Romania even now, so I decided also to include in my portfolio web design services and online campaigns, the main aim of which was to support the other activity,” says the entrepreneur. In time customers started to appreciate his services but the rules on the local market changed, influencing Lazarescu’s portfolio of services. “My business developed and web design services accounted for about 80 percent of the business five or six years ago because there was no market to sell lead generation or online sales and marketing campaigns. But now things have changed a lot and 80 percent of my business comes from online campaigns and consultancy services,” he says.

The idea to set up the firm came as a natural step in Lazarescu’s career. He embraced the challenge of using state of the art online marketing techniques that he had read about in specialized books. “It was almost impossible at the beginning, but in time I started to like what I was doing and it became a passion for me. The hardest thing was to transform my passion into a business that could make a profit,” he explains. In his opinion the most difficult moment for his firm was last year when one of his biggest customers stopped working with Today’s while another one was considerably late in its payments. “We actually entered in a churn and we needed to quickly reduce our team and significantly cut costs,” says Lazarescu. If he started another business he would probably change the country where he sells his services, at least for the first two years of his operational activity. “But I would come back to Romania for sure,” states the CEO. Asked about the challenges his firm has faced, the entrepreneur says that the most significant one has been managing its relations with the customers and the way the agency sets out its actions and benefits to bring added value for its customers. He adds: “I think that the online industry is two steps ahead of the majority of Romanian businesses when it comes to marketing approaches that bring results on the short term. For small businesses I strongly believe that you have to focus 101 percent on generating sales and not building awareness of the ‘About us’ page, amassing friends on Facebook or having thousands of banners on so called ‘relevant sites’,” thinks the expert. He believes that another big challenge for any customer, industry or budget is quantifying outcomes. “Few measure the results and even fewer analyze and

COMPANY PROFILE Today’s Number of employees: 9 2010 estimated turnover: EUR 350,000 2011 estimated turnover: EUR 400,000 Total investment: EUR 8,000 -10,000 (just in assets)

act on them. If you don’t measure, you can’t manage and if you can’t manage you can’t optimize.” According to Lazarescu the Google AdWords local market is worth about EUR 1215 million a year and there are fewer than ten active players. “But the good news both for customers and agencies is that multinationals from Poland, Hungary and Slovakia are entering on the local market. Plus, local companies are starting to develop their own strong departments.” In addition, according to Lazarescu’s company’s estimation using Today's AdWords Monitor tool, there are about 14,000-15,000 advertisers, out of which fewer than 500 work with specialized agencies. “We have a market share of about 10-15 percent of the budgets managed by agencies.” As for future plans, the entrepreneur says that he wants to develop his business both locally and internationally. “We intend to add to our portfolio new customers from the US and UK but we also want to be very active on the local market, especially in those industries where we have expertise,” concludes the businessman. Business Review | September 19 - 25, 2011



Friends with Benefits ∫ DEBBIE STOWE Directed by: Will Gluck Starring: Mila Kunis, Justin Timberlake, Woody Harrelson, Patricia Clarkson, Richard Jenkins On at: Cinema City Cotroceni, Cinema City Sun Plaza, Hollywood Multiplex, Movieplex Cinema, The Light Cinema Let us spare a thought for a very pitiable group of people: young, rich, successful, beautiful New Yorkers who just cannot find love. Oh, how wretched they are as they mope around in their multi-million dollar show-home apartments, wander the streets in Prada-clad contemplation or sit forlornly at tables in painfully trendy bars searching for The One. Our hearts bleed.


The national Grigore Antipa Natural History Museum will reopen its permanent exhibition on September 17. The museum closed for renovation in January 2009. Info touch screens, 3D screenings, constellation projections and the reorganization of the over two million exhibits are just part of the Natural History Museum’s facelift.

1 Pavel Kiseleff Boulevard.

Book Street September 17 - 24

The Central University Library Carol I in Bucharest hosts the Book Street (Strada de C'arte) project. The openair event takes place on C.A. Rosetti, Boteanu and Golescu Streets and will fill these pedestrian areas with theater, music, painting and film events.

Star chemistry: Mila Kunis and Justin Timberlake get friendly

Two such unfortunates are our eponymous friends. We have Jamie (Mila Kunis), a top headhunter despite being in her mid-20s, whose yearning for true love is fuelled by her hippie mom not remembering who her dad is. She is trying to persuade commitment-phobic LA blogger Dylan (Justin Timberlake) to take a top job at GQ magazine. The two buddy up and, burned by their lack of relationship success, decide that as they are both gorgeous, young and single, they might as well enjoy no-strings-attached sex with each other. I hope it will not come as much of a spoiler to reveal that their convenient arrangement begins to get complicated when the pair start to develop deeper feelings for each other and realize they want more than casual congress. You probably don’t need to see the film to be able to guess the ending fairly accurately. There is absolutely nothing new here, as Friends with Benefits follows the blueprint of pretty much every romantic comedy ever made, particularly evoking No Strings Attached, which beat it to mul-

tiplexes by a few months. What raises it slightly above the boundless romcom sludge is three things. First, the chemistry of the two stars. Rumors that life is imitating art (I use the word art in its loosest sense) and Timberlake and Kunis are dating are believable, based on their convincing onscreen romance. Second, the supporting players. Romcoms like to give their protagonists quirky sidekicks – usually a kooky/sex mad/wise-cracking mom or best friend for her and loser-ish fat mate for him. Patricia Clarkson as Jamie’s promiscuous mother and Woody Harrelson as Dylan’s uber-gay GQ colleague provide high-quality humorous backup. Third, the pathos. A sentimental subplot involving Dylan’s father’s (Richard Jenkins) dementia lays it on thick but is effective. FWB is slick, well paced and has enough funny lines to punctuate the predictability. These benefits will win the movie a few friends, albeit not much love. Business Review | September 19 - 25, 2011

14 IN TOUCH GEORGE ENESCU FESTIVAL SELECTIONS September 19 World Music. Rami Khalife, Francesco Tristano & Aymeric Westrich Mihail Jora Hall, Romanian Radio Society, 19.00 Program: Rami Khalife – Chaos for piano; Rami Khalife, Francesco Tristano, Aymeric Westrich – Aufgang Great Orchestras of the World. Israel Philharmonic Orchestra Grand Palace Hall, 19.30 Conductor: Zubin Mehta; Soloist: Vadim Repin – violin; Program: P.I. Tchaikovsky – Andante Cantabile for cello and orchestra op. 11; P.I. Tchaikovsky – Concerto for violin and orchestra in D Major op. 35; P.I. Tchaikovsky – Symphony no. 4 in f minor op. 36 September 20 Recitals and chamber music. Saint Martin in the Fields The Atheneum, 17.00 Conductor: Jaime Martin; Soloist: Luiza Borac – piano, Viniciu Moroianu – piano Opera and Ballet. Romeo and Juliet I.L. Caragiale National Theatre, 19.00 Music: Hector Berlioz; Choreography: Thierry Malandain World Music. Missa Johnouchi – UNESCO Artist for Peace Mihail Jora Hall, Romanian Radio Society, 19.00 Great Orchestras of the World. Israel Philharmonic Orchestra Grand Palace Hall, 19.30 Conductor : Zubin Mehta; Soloist: Yefim Bronfman – piano; Program: G. Enescu – Concert overture on a theme in Romanian folk character in A Major op. 32; J. Brahms – Concerto no. 2 for piano and orchestra in B flat Major op. 83; G. Mahler – Symphony no. 5 in c sharp minor September 22 Recitals and Chamber Music. Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra & Choir The Atheneum, 17:00

World Music. Chava Alberstein Mihail Jora Hall, Romanian Radio Society, 19.00 Great Orchestras of the World. Orchestra Dell’accademia Nazionale Di Santa Cecilia Grand Palace Hall, 19.30 Conductor: Antonio Pappano; Soloist: Denis Matsuev- piano; Program: G. Enescu – Chamber Symphony op. 33; S. Rachmaninov – Concerto no. 2 for piano and orchestra in c minor op.18; N. Rimsky-Korsakov – Sheherezade op. 35 September 23 Recitals and Chamber Music. Jerusalem Chamber Music Festival The Atheneum, 17:00 Soloists: Elena Bashkirova – piano; Mihaela Martin – violin; Oro Kam – viola; Frans Helmerson – cello; Pascal Moragues – clarinet; Opera and ballet. Evgheni Oneghin Bucharest National Opera, 19.00 World Music. Dhafer Youssef – Divine Shadows Orchestra Mihail Jora Hall, RRS, 19.00 By Midnight. Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment The Atheneum, 22.30 Conductor: Trevor Pinnock; Soloists: Christina Landshamer – soprano, Toby Spence – tenor, Matthew Rose – bass; Program: J. Haydn – The Creation – Oratorio September 24 21st Century Music. Enescu and his contemporaries. Philippe Graffin and Claire Desert Small Palace Hall, 11:00 Great Orchestras of the World. Orchestre National de France Palace Grand Hall, 19.30 Conductor: Daniele Gatti, Program: G. Mahler – Symphony no. 9 in D Major September 25 21st Century Music. Enescu and his contemporaries. Itamar Golan, Ilya Gringolts & Garry Hoffman Small Palace Hall, 11:00

Conductor: Anton Koopman; Soloists: Dorothee Mields – soprano, Bogna Bartosz – alto, Tilman Lichdi – tenor, Klaus Mertens – bass;

For the full event program please see

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


Business Review welcomes information for Who’s News from readers. Submissions may be edited for length and clarity. Get in touch at

Irina Popescu has joined Fine Law, Iulian Patrascanu and Associates as partner. She has over 12 years of professional experience, having worked for various law firms as well as in the banking sector both in Romania and abroad. Popescu’s main practice areas are mergers and acquisitions, banking law and financing projects, European law, business law and risk management and compliance procedures. She has previously worked as consultant for White and Case Brussels. Over the years Popescu has also worked for Musat & Associates as senior associate, and for the European Investment Bank as a legal consultant in Luxembourg. She was also a senior associate at NNDKP.

Sorin Alexandrescu has left Antena Group, which he had managed since December 2010. He joined the group in 2008 for a two-year period, going from executive manager of Antena 1 to CEO. In December 2010, Alexandrescu took over the management of Antena Group, an entity that gathered under the same umbrella all the operations of Antena 1, Antena 2, Euforia and GSP. From now on, Antena Group will be coordinated by Aura Zahariu, CFO of the company, who will be in charge of financial matters, while the content will be managed by each of the managers of the four TV stations. 

Mihaela Ciortan joins Mercury 360 as HR manager. She has been working in the HR industry for the past seven years. Ciortan has previously worked for Centrofarm. Prior to that, she spent three years at the Relad Group as HR business partner and for another three years coordinated the HR activities of the SCR Group. Ciortan is a graduate of the Journalism and Communication Sciences Faculty and holds a master’s degree in HR psychology and marketing from the Babes Bolyai University and another one in communication management and HR from SNSPA.

Richard Ihuel has joined Vodafone Romania as brand and customer experience director. He will be in charge of all the activities related to advertising, media acquisition, events as well as the consolidation


of the Vodafone brand. Ihuel has over 20 years of experience in brand communication and e-business consultancy. He comes from Euro RSCG where he was, from 2008, European business development director. From 2002 until 2008 he worked as executive director for Eastern Europe at the same company. Previously, Ihuel was managing director for Asia at IconmediaLab as well as country manager and client service director at McCann-Erickson. He also worked for Lowe Group and Saatchi & Saatchi Advertising.

Laura Barbu has joined Vodafone Romania as online marketing manager. She will be in charge of the company’s online strategy. She will also strive to increase the adoption of online assistance services among Vodafone customers. Before joining Vodafone, Barbu worked for Pepsico International in various capacities such as brand manager, group brand manager and marketing manager for local and international brands. Prior to that, she worked for Sarantis Group where she developed operations for the household category in Romania. She also worked at Elvila as manager of national sales and general manager of the store network.

Monica Iancu has joined PeliFilip as partner. Her main practice areas are energy & natural resources, corporate and M&A, although her expertise includes areas such as general corporate and commercial law, privatizations, capital markets, arbitration, construction law and public procurement. Her previous professional experience includes having worked at NNDKP as associate, mergers & acquisition and energy practice.

Oana Albota has also been appointed partner at PeliFilip. She has extensive experience in her main practice areas, real estate, construction and arbitration, but her background also includes significant work in litigation matters. Before joining the firm, Albota also worked for NNDKP, Grosu&Associates and Marina Georgescu Law Office and was a legal counsel with the Ministry of Public Works, Transport and Housing, the State Inspection in Construction.

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

Business Review No. 32, September 19 - 25  

On an official visit to the US, President Traian Basescu met his counterpart Barack Obama, following the signing of a bilateral agreement fo...