Gala BURSA "Deceniul European din Centenarul României"
BURSA 28.09.2017

A.S. (translated by Cosmin Ghidoveanu)
 
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     Central European Media (CME), the owner of Pro TV, is currently in negotiations to sell the four TV stations it still holds in Central and Eastern Europe, according to Echo 24, which quotes several concerned sources.
     Echo 24 claims that Czech television station TV Nova will be sold bundled with TV Markiza of Slovakia and with the stations in Romania and Bulgaria. "The price for all these TVs will exceed 1 billion dollars", the Czech site says.
     The portal mentions: "Chinese investors, represented by the CEFC group, who recently left Empresa Media, have not lost their appetite for an influential media purchase".
     "We do not comment on speculation concerning our company", Pavel Bednaű, the spokesperson of the CEFC, told a Slovakian publication.
     Echo 24 says that the PPF group of Petr Kellner, who previously held shares in TV Nova may also be interested in this sale.
     The portal mentioned other potential buyers: "Penta, who provided financial services to CME, has also announced its interest in TV Nova. Penta owns the VLM publishing house, which publishes regional magazines and newspapers. The name of Andrej Babis and that of his company are also being mentioned in relation to this transaction".
     On July 10th, Central European Media Enterprises announced the sale of the operations in Croatia (Nova TV) and Slovenia (POP TV) to Slovenia Broadband S.r r.l., a subsidiary of United Group B.V. The transaction is set to complete by the end of the year, subject to approval from regulators.
     The purchasing price paid cash was 230 million Euros (262.5 million dollars), and the earnings will be used to pay off a loan of 250.8 million Euros due in 2018.
     CME recently estimated that this year, the operating profit before depreciation and amortization will increase 13-17% at constant exchange rates. The company recently announced that it intends to use this year's growth to start reducing part of its 1 billion dollars debt.
     CME's portfolio in Romania includes: Pro TV - the leader of Romanian TV networks, Pro X, Pro Gold, Pro Cinema, Pro 2, MTV România and Pro TV Internațional.
     In 2016, the Pro TV Group had a turnover of 172.9 million dollars, representing an increase of 11.3%, at constant exchange rates, over 2015.
     In 2016, TV network Pro TV had the biggest market share (25%) in the prime-time.
     In 2016, CME had a turnover of 638.013 million dollars.
     At the end of last year, American US conglomerate AT&T announced that it has reached an agreement to buy media giant Time Warner Inc, for 85 billion dollars, according to Wall Street Journal. Time Warner is present on the Central and Eastern European market through Central European Media Enterprises (CME), the parent company of Pro TV.
     In 2011, Time Warner bought from Czech fund PPF Investments a block of 5.5% of the shares of Central European Media Enterprises (CME), for over 60 million dollars, which increased its stake to 34.4%.
     * Chinese-based CEFC, indirect owners in Rompetrol Rafinare as well
     In December 2016, the agreement was signed between Kazakh company KMG and CEFC for the sale of the 51% stake in the KMGI group, which is the majority shareholder of Rompetrol Rafinare (48%), in which the Romanian state holds 44.69%.
     The holding of KMG and CEFC in the new KMGI joint-venture will be 49%, and 51%, respectively. Chinese company CEFC announced, in May 2016, that it would pay 680 million dollars to acquire 51% of the shares of KMGI, the former Rompetrol Group, and has committed to invest at least 3 billion dollars in the next five years.
     In September, CEFC China Energy announced it would pay 9.1 billion dollars for a stake of 14.16% of the investments of Russian oil giant Rosneft from a consortium made up of Swiss-based Glencore and investment fund Qatar Investment Authority.
     The international media claims that Rosneft is by far the biggest and most influential Russian company, with close ties to Kremlin. Having access to the reserves and refining capabilities of Rosneft is an important step in the strategy of CEFC to become an important player on the international energy market.
     * FT: "Rise of CEFC - tied to the political growth of Chinese president Xi Jinping"
     "An obscure company, with ties with the Army of the People's Chinese Republic, came out as the main buyer of assets in the former Soviet bloc, strengthening the relations between Beijing and Moscow", according to an article recently published by Financial Times, which mentions: "The rise of CEFC China Energy of Shanghai occurred along with China's economic assault in Central Asia and Eastern Europe, amid cooperation with Russia, in issues such as disputes over the Asian islands or the conflict in Syria".
     According to FT, CEFC is not a regular private company, as its CEO, YE Jianming, is sponsoring a pro-Chinese working group, with ties to retired military intelligence officers and does business with people from China's military elite.
     FT claims that the rise of CEFC is tied to the political rise of Chinese president Xi Jinping: "The company's global level deals have been in lockstep with the state visits of the Chinese president.
     For instance, this year, shortly after American president met with Donald Trump Xi Jinping, the CEFC bought 20% of New York-based brokerage firm Cowen Group. (...)
     But the biggest focus has been on the former Soviet bloc. Prior to Xi Jinping's visit in the Czech Republic, in 2016, CEFC bought Czech assets worth 1.5 billion dollars, including soccer club Slavia Prague, a brewer, the Renaissance buildings, a steel factory and a media business, (ed. note: Empresa Media), owned by a former tourism minister. The group exercised his option to sell the media business this month".
     According to FT, CEFC also owns a financial services firm in Slovakia and had talks on creating a bank in Georgia, where it is also considering the creation of an industrial park. In China it has built an oil storage unit on the Hainan island, a business which normally isn't available to private companies, the publication further states.
     Despite its expansion, CEFC hasn't worked with many consultants on an international level, aside from those of Lazard in the Cowen Group transaction, while the rest of the businesses had internal consultants, according to FT, which further writes: "At the end of March, the CEFC had assets of 25 billion dollars and a rather large debt, of 112 billion Yuan, (16.9 billion dollars), according to a report by United Credit Ratings. In spite of that, the ratings firm increased the rating of the group from AA to AAA". 
 

 
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LAURA CODRUȚA KOVESI:
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English Section
21.11.2017
     The Council of the European Union and the European Parliament have sent to the ECB, in the beginning of this year, a request concerning the sending of some proposals to revise the framework for managing crises.  details
20.11.2017
ANPC STRIKES AGAIN
     * BCR: "Ongoing contracts no longer contain the clauses that have been subjected to examination"
     * Sources: "ANPC has 6 lawsuits against BCR, which will lead to enormous losses for Erste Bank if BCR loses in court"
       After forcing Raiffeisen Bank to eliminate the unfair practices from the loan agreements, the National Consumer Protection Authority (ANPC) strikes again, this time the biggest bank in the system. BCR lost in the court of first instance, against the ANPC, in a class action lawsuit concerning abusive lending clauses.  details
16.11.2017
THE QUICK RISE OF THE INDEX WHICH SETS THE TREND FOR INTEREST RATES ON LOANS DENOMINATED IN LEI ISN'T STOPPING
     The 3-month ROBOR rate, which is used to calculate the interest rates, the majority of the loans denominated in lei, has jumped past the 2% psychological level, and yesterday reached 2.06%, up from Tuesday's 1.92%, according to data from the NBR.  details
16.11.2017
THE PARLIAMENT IS ASKING FOR INFORMATION CONCERNING THE INVESTIGATIONS WHICH OMV PETROM HAS BEEN SUBJECTED TO
     * Minister Toma Petcu, former ministers Răzvan Nicolescu and Victor Grigorescu, the representatives of the state in the executive structure of OMV Petrom and Mihai Busuioc, the president of the Court of Auditors were heard today in the Investigation Commission
       The executives of OMV Petrom mentioned, in a letter addressed to the parliament, the existence of four lawsuits brought by the National Energy Regulation Authority (ANRE) and of seven audits by the Authority, between 2012-2017, as the recent request for information by the Commission for the Investigation of the activity of the ANRE targeted a period of 12 years, from 2015 to 2017.  details
14.11.2017
THE EURO AT AN ALL-TIME HIGH
     * Vasilescu: "We cannot say that the currency market has gone off the rails, the exchange rate has moved 4 bani in 4 days"
     * "Perhaps it is a simple coincidence the fact that on November 8th was approved the Emergency Ordinance of the Fiscal Code and it was also on that day that the Euro rose past 4.6 lei", said Mr. Vasilescu
       The leu yesterday reached a historic low against the Euro, 4.6495 lei/Euro, up 1.05 over the previous meeting, marking the fourth day where the exchange rate was above 4.6 lei.  details
13.11.2017
     In October, the Romanian Commercial Bank, through Schoenherr și Asociații, has submitted, with the County Court of Bihor, a request for the insolvency of the European Drinks group, owned by the Micula brothers. That group includes: European Drinks, Transilvania General Import-Export, European Food, Starmill SRL, Scandic Distilleries SA, Rieni Drinks.  details
10.11.2017
DUMITRU COSTIN (BNS):
     * The executives of OMV Petrom, summoned to appear in the Parliament for the third time
     * Sevil Shhaideh and Radu-Spiridon Cojocaru, the representatives of the state on the Supervisory Board of OMV Petrom, also called in for hearings
     * Costin: "We have notified the Audit Body of the Prime-Minister"
       The management of OMV Petrom, namely Mrs. Mariana Gheorghe, as well as the representatives of the Romanian state on the Supervisory Board of OMV Petrom, Sevil Shhaideh and Radu-Spiridon Cojocaru will be invited to appear in the hearings on the Investigation Commission for the activity of the ANRE, the members of the Commission decided on Thursday.  details
09.11.2017
     * The fear that wages will drop is unjustified
       The government's proposal to transfer the social security contributions exclusively to the employee is not at all a social-democratic measure and not even one of redistribution, rather it is one of an ultra-liberal nature, which leaves the employer in the unique position in Europe of not contributing in no way whatsoever to the social security systems (retirement and unemployment) or healthcare.  details
08.11.2017
     * A 39% stake belongs to Russian millionaire Sergey Lobanov, who is being criminally investigated in Russia for alcohol contraband
       Banca Transilvania intends to buy an initial stake of over 39% of Victoriabank, the third largest bank in the Republic of Moldova, and together with the EBRD, would own a majority stake, according to a press release sent yesterday.  details
07.11.2017
     * Brokers: The depreciation of EL, amid the drop in the market, as well as due to deal with the FP
     * Adrian Simionescu: "Investors feel the price at which EL has acquired from the Proprietatea Fund its stakes is very high and unjustified"
     * The FP-Electrica deal, among the topics of the PNL vote of no-confidence against Energy minister Toma Petcu
       It seems the stock market did not take kindly to the approval of the transaction by which "Electrica" acquires the stakes of the Proprietatea Fund in its branches, at least for now, because EL stock dropped abruptly, immediately after the general shareholder meeting of October 26th.  details
06.11.2017
     Finally, after many statements concerning the fundamental changes in the fiscal policy, announced from one day to the next and then denied, we have the argumentation note and the draft of the emergency ordinance to amend the Tax Code published, which the Ministry of Public Finance will apply starting with the beginning of next year.  details
01.11.2017
PSD SENATOR EUGEN TEODOROVICI:
     * "The MADR made a «shopping list» of projects - with local level libraries and a ferry for crossing the Danube"
     * "Within three years at most, Romania can draw 3 billion Euros in European funds"
     * "Unfortunately, Romania promotes politicians instead of promoting specialists"
       Romania has embarrassed itself with the proposals that had been initially prepared for the Juncker plan, said Eugen Teodorovici. Mr. Teodorovici is the president of the Budget and Finance Commission of the Romanian Senate, member of the European Affairs Commission and former minister of European Funds.  details
01.11.2017
ADVERTISING
     Esports, no longer the "unruly" child of the tech and sports entertainment fields, has established itself as a legitimate and profitable industry. Romanian production company PGL is at the forefront of its acceptance and growth.  details
30.10.2017
     Ludwik Sobolewski handed in his resignation.
     Wow!
     Friday, the Bucharest Stock Exchange (BVB) posted on its website the text of a "Current report":
     "The Bucharest Stock Exchange is announcing that on October 27th, 2017, Mr. Ludwik Sobolewski has notified the company about his resignation from the position of CEO of the company".  details
27.10.2017
RUMORS: THE NEW CEO OF THE BSE, SOUGHT IN THE BANKING INDUSTRY
     * Two months have passed since Sobolewski's term expired
       Even though the management of the Bucharest Stock Exchange has not been officially announced, the result of the interviews for the position of CEO held on September 25th, it seems that already a new search has been launched, which focuses on the banking sector.  details
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