BCR: "The sale of Cemacon's debt for 1 Euro was intended to save the company"

ADINA ARDELEANU (translated by Cosmin Ghidoveanu)
English Section /

BCR: "The sale of Cemacon's debt for 1 Euro was intended to save the company"

The Romanian Commercial Bank (BCR) is saying for the first time, that the sale of the Cemacon was made at a price of 1 Euro, and the lender stressed that this was done to save the company.

Finance Minister, Ionuţ Mişa, recently criticized the manner in which banks sell non-performing loans at a discount, by saying that following an investigation of a bank, the ANAF set additional taxes of 104 million lei. The bank which the minister was talking about was BCR. BURSA recently reported that among the issues uncovered by the ANAF were the non-performing loans of 16.5 million Euros taken out by "Cemacon" and "Ambient", which BCR sold for 2 Euros.

The representatives of the bank have announced that they will challenge the back taxes set by the ANAF. They also told us: "We regret that the unwarranted accusations around these restructurings of commercial debt (for instance: the Cemacon case) are inducing the idea that it would be preferable to liquidate companies and thus lead to the loss of jobs. To put it simply: BCR found a solution to save a company which had accrued unsustainable debt. The sale of the debt at an administrative price of 1 euro was intended to save the company and the jobs.

I. First of all, it bears reminding that the restructuring of a loan represents a number of measures by which the bank protects its initial investment. In these cases, the bank was the one which, through its initial loan has supported the growth and the development of a commercial project, and has the right as well as the obligation under the law to recoup the invested amounts.

II. Second of all, any restructuring is done taking into account the real economic and financial situation. Law and good practice require objective criteria for evaluating a non-performing commercial loan. The restructuring measures taken into consideration are based on a strict economic evaluation of the viability of the business, of the degree of indebtedness, of the existing guarantees, of the market context.

III. Third of all, we emphasize the fact that in setting the sale price, which was determined based on the analysis of the entire restructuring process and not just one of its components, we have complied with the principles of the market price and we have acted correctly with a solution which yielded concrete results: a viable company. In the given situation, another creditor would have opted, most likely, for putting the company in insolvency and selling the collateral piecemeal".

BURSA wrote that the Tax Administration had a different assessment of the transfers of non-performing loans, as well as of the sale, in January 2014, of the stake that BCR had in the Business Capital for Romania Opportunity Fund (BOF) to Erste Bank, for the amount of 15.5 million Euros, based on an evaluation report drawn up by KPMG. The BOF fund, in which Erste has a stake of 83.33%, while the rest was owned by businessman Florin Pogonaru, is the one which had acquired, in 2013 and 2014, the receivables of "Cemacon" and "Ambient", for one Euro each.

In his speech about the audits of the ANAF at banks, Ionuţ Mişa mentioned the sale of a receivable with a face value of 14 million Euros, a case which seems to hint at "Cemacon", and the minister also mentioned that "there is also a criminal complaint involved".

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