ATE BANK ROMÂNIA, ACQUIRED FOR 10 MILLION EUROSUmbrărescu and Burduja fulfill their dreams of a bank with Romanian capital

ALEXANDRU SÂRBU (Translated by Cosmin Ghidoveanu)
English Section /

Umbrărescu and Burduja fulfill their dreams of a bank with Romanian capital

Marinel Burduja: "We want to serve the Romanian entrepreneurs"  

Other Romanian businesspeople will also enter the shareholder structure of the bank

The acquisition of ATE Bank România by Dorinel Umbrărescu is the result of the desire to lay the foundation of a lender with domestic capital that would serve the interests of entrepreneurs in Romania, said Marinel Burduja, former first vice-president of Raiffeisen Bank România, who was the "architect" of the transaction.

The option of acquiring a bank which was already present on the local market, instead of building one from scratch was chosen due to reasons of simplicity and speed, he explained.

Piraeus Bank yesterday announced that it has sold its entire stake in ATE Bank Romania, representing 93.27% of the share capital of the lender, in a report sent yesterday to the Athens Stock Exchange. The deal, worth 10.3 million Euros, will take place after the division of the bank and the transfer of its assets and part of its liabilities to the Romanian subsidiary of Piraeus. The agreement will also need to be approved by the National Bank of Romania (NBR).

BURSA yesterday announced that businessman Dorinel Umbrărescu and banker Marinel Burduja were involved in the deal.

Marinel Burduja said that the entire portfolio of loans of ATE România will be absorbed by Piraeus Bank România, whereas part of the deposits would remain with ATE, with how many of them will remain with the branches to be decided on a case by case basis.

"We have only committed to acquiring a limited number of branches. The deposits opened by them will remain with the acquired bank, and the rest will go to Piraeus Bank România. We don't know the weight of these deposits in the current portfolio", he said.

Aside from Dorinel Umbrărescu, other businesspeople will become shareholders of the bank, according to Marinel Burduja.

In fact, at the launch of the Forum of Domestic Investors, Ioan Niculae, the owner of "InterAgro", said that he intends to buy shares in the new bank and that he knows other people who would want to do that.

The project of the new bank involves the participation of Romanian entrepreneurs not just as customers, but as shareholders as well, says Marinel Burduja. "The activity of the bank will focus mostly on serving companies, as well a number of carefully chosen individuals, especially those that have ties to the companies financed". All the people involved in the management of the bank will also be its shareholders, he said.

The banker said that he hopes the lender will become operational by December 1st, at the latest, in order to "give Romania a present". The name of the bank will be changed, as the new name and the new logo have been done, according to Marinel Burduja.

The BURSA newspaper wrote, as early as September last year, that Marinel Burduja intends to set up a bank controlled by domestic shareholders, as he was in talks with the five SIFs at the time, as well as with several Romanian businesspeople, including Dorinel Umbrărescu, Gabriel Popoviciu or Gruia Stoica. The goal of the lender was supposed to be the financing of the companies with Romanian funding, our sources were saying at the time.

Marinel Burduja left Raiffeisen Bank România in mid-2012, after spending more than ten years there. In the last seven years, he served as first executive vice-president of the bank, after having led the corporate banking division, as executive vice-president. The banks he previously worked for Bancorex, Creditanstalt or ABN Amro. If he gets appointed at the helm of the new lender, it would be the first time that Marinel Burduja serves as a bank president.

On Monday, he was appointed on the Board of Directors of Bank Leumi România.

Dorinel Umbrărescu - "the king of the asphalt" with a fortune of over 300 million Euros

Dorinel Umbrărescu, with a fortune estimated at 320 million Euros, is the owner of "UMB Grup", with activities in construction and the maintenance of highways, of the domestic and international shipping and sale of fuel and lubricants. The most well known companies of the group are "Spedition UMB" and "Tehnostrade", which, between 2009 and 2012, earned approximately 1 billion Euros from the Romanian State National Company of Highways and National Roads (CNADNR) for the works performed, which earned him the nickname "king of the asphalt" given to him by the press. The association between the two companies has won the call for tenders for the construction of a road segment of 8.7 kilometers between Gilău and Mihăieşti, with the value of the contract being 57 million Euros.

"Spedition UMB" has participated in the construction of the Bucureşti-Ploieşti highway, has rehabilitated highways and is working on the construction og the Timişoara-Lugoj highway. Together with "Spedition UMB", "Tehnostrade" has developed the first segment of the highway, with a length of 9.5 km, which was commissioned at the end of October last year, and has rehabilitated several roads in the country.

Two weeks ago, Tudor Ciurezu, the president of SIF5 Oltenia, said that the company he leads wants to sell its stake in the domestic branch of ATE Bank, which represents 0.6% of the share capital, thus blocking its sale. At the time, he was saying that the people involved in the process have promised him that the shares owned by SIF5, which were valued at 300,000 Euros, would be bought.

ATE Bank România was created in 1990, under the name of Bank for Small Industry and Free Initiative (Banca pentru Mica Industrie şi Libera Iniţiativă). It was the first bank with joint capital (domestic and foreign) in Romania. In June 2006, Agricultural Bank of Greece (ATE Bank Greece) acquired the majority stake of the bank. Piraeus Bank Grecia holds 93.27% of the shares of the bank, the National Union of Craftsmen Cooperative - UCECOM holds 3.83%, and other shareholders hold 2.9%.

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