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The SIF elections are in play until the last minute

Adina Ardeleanu (translated by Cosmin Ghidoveanu)
English Section /

Surprise element: even though there are market rumors that BT is allied with Pogonaru, it is possible it will support Tudor Ciurezu at SIF Oltenia.

Surprise element: even though there are market rumors that BT is allied with Pogonaru, it is possible it will support Tudor Ciurezu at SIF Oltenia.

There are market rumors that the Banca Transilvania group, as well as Swiss Capital are the most important players in the elections

The ASF can use sanctions for acting in concert to tilt the scales in favor of one side or the other

The elections for new elections at the SIF are causing tumult on the stock market. What's at stake are the assets of 1.69 billion Euros of the five companies.

With a maximum holding limit of 5% in each SIF, the shareholders have already made their nominations for the directors of SIF1 Banat Crişana, SIF2 Moldova, SIF3 Transilvania and SIF5 Oltenia and are at the stage of negotiating the lists. Shareholders have to forge coalitions, because the vote is not cumulative, and the calculations have to be done in such a manner that candidates have to get at least 51% of the votes from the present shareholders, if they are to get a seat in the next executive structures.

Last minute betrayals and misleading rumors are nothing out of the ordinary, and one element that could change plans are the sanctions for acting in concert which the Financial Oversight Authority can issue. In the past, the predecessor of the ASF, the CNVM, decided that certain entities were acting in concert and restricted the voting rights for some shareholder groups, on the very night before two of the general shareholder meetings.

The elections of SIF Oltenia have drawn the highest interest, so far, judging by the name of 17 candidates, with the main "attraction" being the 6% stake in BCR that SIF Oltenia has in its portfolio.

There are rumors in the market that one of the most important players in this year's elections at the SIFs is the Banca Transilvania group, as well as the group led by Swiss Capital.

There are some rumors that BT seeks a greater influence on all the executive structures of the SIFs, after four years ago, the president of Banca Transilvania, Horia Ciorcilă, and Radu Hanga, executive director of Strategy Coordination Department of Banca Transilvania, joined the board of SIF Moldova.

Officially however, Banca Transilvania has recorded candidates only at SIF Moldova and SIF Oltenia.

Other voices claim that Swiss Capital wants greater influence at the SIFs, at, coincidentally or not, it has two candidates for SIF2 and SIF5, and furthermore, it is close to SIF1 Banat Crişana and implicitly, SIF4 Muntenia.

The interest of BT in SIF5 is demonstrated by the fact that the Group is moving Radu Hanga from SIF2 to SIF Oltenia, which has traditionally been the battleground between businessman Florin Pogonaru and current president Tudor Ciurezu.

Even though there is talk in the market that BT has made an alliance with Pogonaru, some sources are saying that there is a strong possibility of BT supporting Tudor Ciurezu as well, aside from Ana Bobircă, nominated by investment fund Business Capital for Romania Opportunity Fund (BOF), controlled by Florin Pogonaru and Erste Bank.

According to some market sources, BT and Pogonaru also support Cristian Micu, board member at the BSE, and Ştefan Filip, of the EBRD, for the management of SIF5. Ştefan Filip, who is also supported by SIF2 CEO Costel Ceocea, was nominated by Grigore Filip, who is the CEO of Aerostar, in which SIF Moldova, has a stake of 14.9%.

There are some rumors that the Ciurezu side also includes Swiss Capital, but which has nominated Sorin Apostol and Ioana-Valeria Avram, nominated by two shareholders.

Aside from Ciurezu, five members of the current Board of Directors, namely vice-president Anina Radu, Cristian Buşu (current president of Electrica), Victor Căpitanu (of One United Properties), Nicolae Stoian and Carmen Popa.

Bogdan Iliescu, who sits on the Boards of Electrica and Transgaz, wants a seat on the Board of Directors of SIF5, as does Gabriel Creţu, of Adwisers Financial IFN, and Liviu Giugiumică, of Trident Capital Investments, one of the oldest brokerages on the Romanian stock market. There are rumors in the market that it is backed by funds in London, involved in the Romanian market, as well as a major real estate investor in Romania. The shareholders of SIF Oltenia have also nominated Dorel Berceanu and Mircea Oancea.

With a battle of such scale, market sources are saying that all the candidates are making "pilgrimages" to the NN and Allianz funds for support.

Things are still fluid at SIF Oltenia, and the elections of April 4th will show more clearly the alliances in the market, which will also matter later for SIF Banat Crişana and SIF Transilvania.

On Friday, three "deal" transactions with SIF5 shares were made, representing 3.75% of the capital of the issuer in total, for a total amount of 41.38 million lei, at a price of 1.9 lei/share up almost 16% over the beginning of last week. Shares of SIF5 saw spikes of 4.15% and 3.63% in the two days that preceded the deals, which were made at a price 7.34% higher than the reference.

At SIF Moldova, the current Board has proposed five candidates. The agenda also includes the proposal to cut the number of members on the Board of Directors from seven to five: Horia Ciorcilă, Octavian Radu, Iancu Cătălin Jianu, vice-president Claudiu Doroş and chairman Costel Ceocea.

Swiss Capital has two nominations for SIF2 Moldova, namely Robert Cosmin Pană and Olimpiu Blăjuţ.

At SIF Transilvania, the elections will be held on April 28th, and over there, market sources expect a new confrontation between the shareholder faction that supports current CEO Mihai Fercală and that of Constantin Frăţilă, one of the biggest shareholders of SIF3.

The elections of SIF Banat Crişana will be held on April 20th. President SIF1 Bogdan Drăgoi and vice-president Octavian Avrămoiu each want a new term, just like the other board members Ion Stancu, Dan Weiler and Ionel-Marian Ciucioi. Aside from the current board members, three more individuals have submitted their candidacies: Marcel Heinz Pfister, deputy director Bank Alpinum AG, lawyer Radu Răzvan Străuţ, who between 2010 and 2015 worked with Reff şi Asociaţii, and Sorin Marica, former advisor in the Ministry of Tourism, former chairman of brokerage firm Active International and president of Dracula Park.

Market sources are talking about disagreements at the top of SIF1, and given that SIFs have holdings in each others, their resolution will influence the vote that SIF1 will cast in these elections.

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