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The battle between Pogonaru and Ciurezu, won by Bîlteanu

Adina Ardeleanu (Translated by Cosmin Ghidoveanu)
Ziarul BURSA #English Section /

The battle between Pogonaru and Ciurezu, won by Bîlteanu

The profit of SIF Oltenia remains unallocated, for now  

Shares of SIF5 fall 7%

Tudor Ciurezu, the CEO of SIF Oltenia, seems to have won the first battle in the conflict with businessman Florin Pogonaru, at least according to the way some investors are viewing the outcomes of yesterday's General Shareholder Meeting, where none of the dividend alternatives was approved, and last year's profit remained unallocated.

The attempt of businessman Gheorghe Iaciu and of the funds controlled by ING to get a higher dividend from SIF Oltenia (0.21 lei/share, compared to 0.16 lei/share, proposed by the management), proved to be a bad move, because it dissipated the number of votes across the two proposed dividends, so that none of them achieved the majority of votes in the General Shareholder Meeting.

This situation pleases Tudor Ciurezu, as it keeps the money in the company, but voices from the market expect things will not stay that way. Most likely, the distribution of the profit will be discussed again at a future General Shareholder Meeting, sources from the market are saying.

Some people think that the team between SIF1 Banat Crişana and SIF2 Moldova, which controlled 5% of the votes each, was negotiated the outcome of the General Shareholder Meeting. Not paying dividends is "the trademark" of SIF1 Banat Crişana, and some people are saying that Dragoş Bîlteanu did not abandon this practice and he voted against the two dividend proposals. SIF Moldova allegedly helped spread the votes, by giving its 5% of the votes to the proposals for a lower dividend and catching the faction that wanted higher dividends, which included Florin Pogonaru and BCR, on the wrong foot.

After the outcome of the General Shareholder Meeting was announced, the shares of SIF Oltenia fell by approximately 7%, to 1.755 lei/share.

When two argue, it's Dragoş Bîlteanu (the CEO of SIF1 Banat Crişana) that wins - it would seem that this is the rule when it comes to the SIFs lately, and yesterday's outcome of the General Shareholder Meeting indicates that SIF Oltenia has joined the club or at least is on the way to doing so.

The precedent was set at SIF Muntenia, where SIF1 has extended its influence after it settled the conflict between Gheorghe Iaciu and the CEO of SAI Muntenia Gabriel Filimon.

The shareholders of SIF Oltenia voted for Victor Căpitanu as board member on the position after the previous elections. Căpitanu submitted the only candidacy for the position.

The conflict between Tudor Ciurezu and Florin Pogonaru was revealed in February, when the CEO of SIF5 had a public controversy with Ana Bobircă, his colleague on the Board of Directors. The cause of the conflict was the 6% stake that SIF Oltenia had in BCR.

Ana Bobircă and two other board members of SIF Oltenia, considered close to Florin Pogonaru, resigned on March 28th.

After those resignations, the Financial Oversight Authority (ASF) has asked SIF Oltenia to convene a shareholder meeting for electing three members on the Board of Directors, but some of the investors in the market are still expecting that the shareholders will hold elections for the entire management at the meeting. It remains to be seen whether the shareholders will ask for dividends again.

Prior to the General Shareholder Meeting, the Financial Oversight Authority has identified three groups acting in concert at SIF Oltenia, which have exceeded the legally allowed holding limit of 5%: SIF Banat-Crişana, SIF Moldova and ING.

The ASF did not consider the BCR-Erste, which owns 8.78% of SIF Oltenia, as acting in concert, due to a court ruling which invalidated the concertation decision issued by the Romanian National Securities Commission last year.

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