September
2008
FOREIGN INVESTMENTS
 
Vol. 4 No.7  
 
CYPRUS
  • Bank continues retail drive
    Bank of Cyprus plans to have ten branches open by the end of 2008, with a plan for an estate of 40 branches by the end of 2010. Currently the bank has five branches in Bucharest and one in Constanta and intends to expand to twelve other major cities by 2010.

CZECH REPUBLIC
  • Jet training maker buys Avioane Craiova
    Aircraft producer specialised in military training jets Aero Vodochody has bought 81 per cent of aero-space parts and aiplane manufacturer Avioane Craiova from the Privatisation Authority (AVAS) in a 16 million Euro deal. The initial investment of the Czech company is worth 3.3 million Euro, but in the next five years Aero Vodochody plans to invest 8.8 million Euro in the development of Avioane Craiova. The Czech firm wants to transform Avioane Craiova into an aero-space parts supplier for constructors such as Sikorsky, Alenia, Airbus and Boeing. In the future Aero Vodochody plans to involve the Romanian producer in developing a new training military aircraft.
  • Investors pick up gas firm
    Czech investment fund PPF Investments has acquired Romanian natural gas distributor Grup Dezvoltare Retele for 6.5 million Euro. The Czech firm will continue its acquisition campaign on the local market of natural gas transmission and supply. Last year, PPF Investments bought Gaz Sud for 50 million Euro. Gaz Sud’s main activity is investment in natural gas distribution networks.
DENMARK
  • Pharma chain snapped up
    Part of the Danish Moderna Group, Phawrma Investment recently acquired Pharmaline Group, a chain of 15 pharmacies in Bucharest and its environs. The Danish company is currently investing in the retail pharma sector in central and eastern Europe, where it operates more than 300 outlets. In Romania Pharma Investment owns 50 per cent of Remedio Pharmacies’ share capital. Remedio has 68 pharmacies countrywide.

FINLAND
  • Kiosk group plans 100 stores by 2009
    Finnish company Rautakirja, owner of the Romanian press distribution company Hiparion Distribution, will invest in a convenience store chain in Romania, planning to open 30 stores under the R-kiosk brand in 2008 and to reach over 100 stores by the end of 2009. Hiparion Distribution was established in 1999, and was bought out in 2004 by the Rautakirja Corporation. Currently  there are R-kiosks throughout Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Russia. Rautakirja is part of the SanomaWSOY Group.

FRANCE
  • Finance giant opens new leasing firm
    Leasing firm BNP Paribas Lease Group is opening a local subsidiary in Romania, which will be headed by Philippe Chabert, previously head of the French company’s Lease Group in Italy. This is part of BNP Paribas’s non-banking assualt on Romania, including its consumer credit arm Cetelem, operational leasing firm Arval and insurance group Cardif.

GREECE
  • Investment bank snapped up
    Piraeus Bank Romania has bought out Romanian-based independent investment bank Capital Partners for 32 million Euro. Piraeus Bank bought 51 per cent of Cyprus-registered Finnagan Holdings Ltd, the sole shareholder of Capital Partners. Run by four ex-bankers from Romania, Capital Partners was set up in December 2005, has a staff of 17 and focuses on deals in the range of five to 100 million Euro.

SPAIN
  • Law giant opens through merger
    Legal firm Garrigues has entered Romania through the integration with local law firm Mares & Asociatii. The Romanian law firm’s founder Mihai Mares will become a partner in Garrigues, while Jaime Fuster will be the central and eastern Europe managing partner. Last year Garrigues opened an office in Poland and this is a continuation of the firm’s strategy to focus on  emerging markets.

RUSSIA
  • Software engineering services bought out
    IT services firm Luxoft has bought 95 per cent of the shares in Romanian software outsourcing provider expert in the telecom industry, ITC Networks (ITCN). Luxoft is focused on application and product engineering outsourcing services for enterprise IT organisations and software vendors. The company hopes the purchase will boost its firm’s presence in the telecom sector. ITCN provides software engineering services to brands including Nortel Networks, Avaya and Trapeze Networks.

PORTUGAL
  • Point of sale payment systems plan big
    Portuguese electronic payment services company PayUp will invest around six million Euro in 6,000 locations by the end of 2009. This includes POS terminals in all sectors of retailers which offer bill payment services for utilities and telephone top-ups. As we went to press, the company was under negotiation with retail chains in Romania. “We will start in main cities but very soon we’ll go to small medium villages and even rural areas,” said a spokeswoman for the company. In the last year PayUp has began operations in Poland, Serbia, Portugal and Spain. Registered in the Netherlands, PayUp is funded by Portuguese banks Banco Efisa and BPN and CEO Luis Janeiro.

USA
  • Car giant to invest in own brand network
    US owned Ford Romania, which last year bought the car plant Automobile Craiova from the state, will take over the import, marketing and distribution of the Ford brand in Romania from August 2010. This will end Ford’s agreement with Romcar, part of the TiriacAuto group, which is owned by former tennis player and Romanian business mogul Ion Tiriac. Ford is currently the only brand in Romcar’s portfolio as the company has lost exclusivity for imports of Mercedes-Benz, Smart, Chrysler, Jeep and Mazda. Romcar has 37 dealers and estimates a 340 million Euro turnover for 2008. Ford Motor Company plans to invest over one billion Euro in manufacture in Romania in the near future.


 
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