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  • BCR achieved a sound operating profit and increased market share in 2010 in a very challenging environment

I.HIGHLIGHTS FOR THE BCR GROUP[1]:

Sound operating result in a very difficult economic context

Operating result stands at RON 2,853.4 million (EUR 676.4 million) in 2010, down 12.5% on 2009 in a continuing very difficult economic context. Operating income declined by RON 444.9 million or 9.0% on 2009 mostly due to diminished net income from interest, fees and trading, as a result of market conditions: reduced interest rates, low eligible demand, lower transaction volumes and the impact of OUG 50 implementation. In the same time Operating expenses were reduced by RON 36.8 million or 2.2% y/y. Net profit after taxes and minority interests amounted to RON 465.0 (EUR 110.2 million) down by 46.7% on 2009 mainly on still high provision expense due to the continuing difficult market conditions heavily impacting BCR’s customers.

Efficiency and risk positively managed

Cost-income ratio remains very good with a slight increase to 36.9% in 2010 (34.4% at year-end 2009).

NPL formation slowed in 2010 compared to 2009, but remains at high levels and is not expected to significantly decrease on the short run. NPL remain manageable, with the coverage ratio comfortably at 127.4% (collateral and provisions). The slowdown in NPL formation caused a decrease of Risk costs by 12.5% (to RON 1,997.7 million) on 2009.

ROE went down to 6.7% at end-year 2010 (13.5% at YE 2009).

Business development continued despite a weak economy

BCR (bank only) slightly increased its market share in lending to around 22.2% over the last year due to a good performance in corporate lending which resulted in an improved position in this segment (+1.2 pp y/y) and a modest increase in housing loans (+0.2 pp y/y). On deposits BCR holds around 20% of personal individual deposits in Romania, based on competitive pricing and the strength of the BCR brand – the most trusted banking brand in Romania. The retail business is self–funding, retail loan to deposits (LTD) ratio standing at around 78%, according to local standards. The bank has strong liquidity and a sound capital base well above regulatory minima.

“2010 has been a very difficult year for our customers and therefore for BCR. As expected, the results are heavily impacted by the continuing difficult market conditions in Romania: the economy was subject to a significant austerity programme and VAT rise – the effects of which are still being felt, stated Dominic Bruynseels, BCR CEO. We continue to provide support for our customers, to improve the way we serve them and operate our business. The increase in our market share demonstrates our commitment to look for ways to help Romania return to a growth path ” Mr. Bruynseels added.

II. FINANCIAL PERFORMANCE OVERVIEW FOR BCR GROUP

BCR Group’s operating profit decreased by 12.5% to RON 2,853.4 million (EUR 676.4 million) from RON 3,261.5 million (EUR 772.0 million) in 2009 as a result of the operating income drop and despite improved efficiency.

The net operating income went down from RON 4,970.1 million (EUR 1,176.4 million) to RON 4,525.2 million (EUR 1,072.7 million). The main driver of this decline was the decrease in interest rates and the knock on effect on interest income (down by 21.8% or RON 1,927.4 million y/y) from RON 8,840.4 million (EUR 2,092.5 million) to RON 6,912.9 million (EUR 1,638.8 million) pressured by low eligible demand for loans and increasing competition for quality business.

The Romanian economy stayed in recession in 2010 so many corporate clients faced a dramatic reduction in demand for their products and services. Unfortunately a large number of businesses also closed, mainly micros and SMEs. This had a negative impact on the transactions they made with BCR.

The confidence of the retail customers was also badly affected by the austerity package and VAT increase that caused the reduction of their household income and by fear of job losses. As a result they were much more cautious in their spending.

The confusion resulting from the implementation of OUG 50 in the second half of 2010 and the subsequent legal turmoil also disturbed business flows and cut our fee income.

The net trading result decreased by 26.6% y/y as record fixed income trading results in 2009 returned to more normalized levels in 2010. BCR is the biggest player in both primary and secondary Romanian market in TBills and bonds.

Operating expenses went down moderately from RON 1,708.6 million (EUR 404.4 million) in 2009 to RON 1,671.8 million (EUR 396.3 million), as a result of ongoing efficiency and productivity improvements counteracting the increase in VAT. BCR continued to invest in “good costs” especially in internet and card channels and BCR maintained its commitment to the retail branch network increasing it by 7 branches y/y.

The consolidated net profit after taxes and minority interests in 2010 is RON 465.0 million (EUR 110.2 million), down by 46.7% on 2009 mainly on still high provisioning and lower net income.

Risk costs

BCR is adjusting risk provisioning appropriately to the still difficult current economic conditions. The NPLs burden remained significant although the NPL formation rate flattened in the last months on lower interest rates, relatively stable local currency and on reduced unsecured retail lending provisions.

The net charge with risk provisions for loans and advances totalled RON 1,997.7 million (EUR 473.6 million) down by 12.5% on 2009 developing in line with expectations as mainly the SME segment continued to experience cash-flow, liquidity and profitability constraints and the austerity package implemented by the Romanian government inevitably affected households’ income level and their spending behavior as well as the retail lending eligible demand.

The loan portfolio developed satisfactorily in 2010, given the circumstances – NPL remain manageable, weighting 16.8% of the total loan portfolio. BCR Group is enjoying a comfortable NPL coverage ratio of approx. 127.4% (collateral and provisions).

BCR continues to focus on implementing sustainable solutions for helping customers reorganize their finances to deal with their individual situations – thousands of families and companies are already benefiting from these solutions which help our customers through these difficult times.

In the same time BCR has a prudent approach in lending, adapted to the current environment.

GDP surprised to the upside in 4Q10 advancing by a marginal 0.1% q/q (s.a.), most likely helped a positive contribution of net exports, while domestic demand may have been neutral. Latest data may signal that the end of recession is near, but the recovery ahead will be rather gradual, below Romania’s long term potential. The economy is expected to advance by around 1-1.5% in 2011, visible mainly in the second half of the year. The NPLs burden should decrease and companies and people’s appetite for loans and other banking products should increase.

Solvency ratios remain comfortably above the required levels. Tier 1+2 capital ratio in 2010 (provisional data): approx. 12.8% RAS ratio against min. 10% according to the current requirements of the National Bank of Romania and approx. 17.1% IFRS consolidated. RAS solvency ratio considerably improved in 2010 clearly showing the BCR’s strength and the continuing support of Erste Group.

(RAS: Romanian Accounting Standards)

III. BUSINESS ACTIVITIES IN BRIEF (bank only – unconsolidated, IFRS)

In 2010 BCR continued to positively manage a sound and sustainable business in line with expectations in an economy in recession.

The bank increased its Total assets by 8.4% to RON 69,925.9 million (EUR 16,406.8 million) in 2010 from RON 64,526.9 million (EUR 15,231.9 million) as at December 31st, 2009. BCR consolidated its leading position in the market by assets, with a market share of 19.8% compared to 19% in 2009.

Lending has developed well on a still weak eligible demand, BCR acting as a main financial supporter of the Romanian economy. BCR slightly increased its market share in overall lending to around 22.2% over the last year, due to a good performance in corporate lending which resulted in an improved position in this segment (+1.2 pp market share y/y) combined with a slight increase in housing loans (+0.2 pp market share y/y).

The volume of aggregate Loans to customers portfolio (before provisions, IFRS) rose by RON 2,093.7 million (up 4.5%) to RON 48,607.8 million (EUR 11,404.9 million) from RON 46,514.1 million (EUR 10,979.9 million) as at YE 2009 and maintains well balanced by customer segment and industry.

In 2010 BCR expanded its lending to the productive sectors of the economy. Corporate lending went up by 15.6% y/y mainly on providing working capital for companies and funding for public sector enterprises. This good performance has lead to a 1.2 pp market share increase in this area.

The Retail loan portfolio (including individuals and micro business) declined by 7.3% y/y matching the people’s lower income and the market trends. The positive trend in secured lending (mortgage and secured consumer loans) driven mainly by the governmental mortgage loan program “Prima Casa” has been outbalanced by the decline in the flow of new unsecured consumer loans.

“Prima Casa” program positive impetus continued, BCR being the leader of the program with a total of over EUR 525 million lent to more than 13,000 families since the start of the program, helping them to own their first home.

The share of loans in domestic currency in bank’s portfolio – of 39.3% of total loans, is above the market average. FX loan portfolio of BCR is dominated by EUR (58% of the total portfolio). No loans were extended in CHF or other “exotic” currencies.

Corporate Loan portfolio is 57% of total customer loans while Retail (including micro business) is 43%.

Secured loans are weighting around 65% of the total loan portfolio.

Deposits from customers increased by 4.1% y/y to RON 37,289.0 million (EUR 8,749.2 million) from RON 35,824.9 million (EUR 8,456.6 million) as at YE 2009 due to increases in both customers segments – by 3.4% of the corporate segment and by 4.3% on retail deposits.

RON deposits are prevalent (65.8%), growing by 7.6% y/y as a result of competitive pricing while FX deposits decreased by 2.1%.

The bank maintains its No 1 position in the market on primary deposits. Customer deposits remain the main BCR funding source, the bank also enjoying a strong support from its parent bank.

BCR has slightly extended its retail branch network in 2010 focusing mainly on streamlining branches and on developing the alternative distribution channels based on its strategy to encourage customers to use the non-cash transactions. BCR added 7 branches to its retail network in 2010, reaching to a total of 668 outlets in 2010.

The bank continued to successfully enhance the functionalities of its Internet Banking and Phone Banking services (known as “BCR 24 Banking”), continued to develop the cards business and extended the range of services at ATMs as well.

Customers are increasingly enjoying the convenience of “BCR 24 Banking” and we are seeing a constant migration of transactions from cash to self service online and card banking – the number of transactions via BCR 24 Banking is increasing by 20% on average on a quarterly basis – 160% y/y growth. In 2010 only, BCR customers have performed more than 4.4 million online transactions through Click&Alo 24 Banking service and more than 2.1 million foreign exchange operations via FX ATM.

BCR continued to expand its ATM network by adding 165 new machines in 2010 up to 2,266 ATMs (5% y/y increase) and its POS network to 17,799 units (5% increase y/y).

BCR continued to consolidate its leading position on the debit and credit cards market managing a 1.9 million valid cards portfolio. As a result of customers increasing desire for convenience, the number of transactions on POS went up by 27% on issuing side and by almost three folds on acquiring side on 2009.  The value spent on POS went up by 22% y/y on issuing side and by 148% y/y on acquiring side as our strategy to capture the transactions of customers made in high volume retailers took effect. On ATMs the number of transactions decreased by 8% on issuing side and by 5% on acquiring side (with a decrease by value by 5% y/y on issuing side and by 3% y/y on acquiring side)

IV. Exchange rate development (the official exchange rates of the European Central Bank)

Rate at the end of the period Average of the month-end rates
2010 2009 % change
2010
2009 % change
RON/EUR 4.2620 4.2363 0.61% 4.2184 4.2249 -0.15%
Positive change = devaluation against EUR, negative change = appreciation against EUR

[1] All the below stated financial data are un-audited, consolidated business results of Banca Comerciala Romana (BCR) Group as of YE 2010 according to IFRS. Unless otherwise stated, the 2010 figures are compared to the figures as YE 2009.  Also, if not stated otherwise, foreign exchange rates used for conversion of figures into EURO are the ones provided by the European Central Bank. The income statement is converted using the average exchange rate for 2010 of 4.2184 RON/EUR when referring to 2010 and using the average exchange rate for 2009 of 4.2249 RON/EUR when referring to 2009. The balance sheets at 31 December 2010 and at 31 December 2009 are converted using the closing exchange rates at the respective dates (4.2620 RON/EUR at 2010 and 4.2363 RON/EUR at 31 December 2009 respectively). All the percentage changes refer to RON figures.

  • COSMOTE Romania continues its positive track in 2010 – increase in EBITDA margin and revenues

COSMOTE Romania announces key performance indicators for 2010 financial year, ended December 31, 2010, as reported today by OTE Group.

During 2010, COSMOTE Romania continued on is successful business course, having increased both its EBITDA margin and revenue market share, despite the challenging macroeconomic environment,  sustained competition and market saturation. Moreover, COSMOTE remained the indisputable leader in portability, for the second year in a row, with 61,442 port-ins.

Total revenues in 2010 reached 468.8 million Euro, posting a 7.2% growth on a y-o-y basis, while service revenues increased by 2.5%. At the same time, EBITDA rose to 73.7 million Euro, a 12.7% increase vs 2009.

Total customer base (including Zapp) reached 6.9 million at the end of 2010, with the postpaid ratio increasing to 21.9%, as result of the business segment growth.

“Despite the challenges of the ongoing financial crisis, COSMOTE Romania increased both its revenues and EBITDA, increased the post paid and business customers base and remained leader in portability. These are great achievements for us, and give us confidence for the future. We will continue to focus on the corporate and broadband segments and also on all core directions of the company, such as: network enhancement, latest technologies, customer care and retail. At the same time, we will continue to expand the products and services portfolio to the benefit of the Romanian consumers”, said Konstantinos Apostolou, Chief Financial Officer COSMOTE Romania.

With a market share of 24%, COSMOTE Romania has managed to alter market realities in the country. Since its launch in 2005, COSMOTE had invested in Romania almost 1 billion Euros.

  • COSMOTE to bring iPhone 4 to Romania on December 17

COSMOTE today announced it will launch iPhone 4 in Romania on December 17 with a range of tariff plans tailored for iPhone.

iPhone 4 features FaceTime, which makes the dream of video calling a reality, and Apple’s stunning new Retina display, the highest resolution display ever built into a phone, resulting in super crisp text, images and video. iPhone 4 also features a 5 megapixel camera with LED flash, HD video recording, Apple’s A4 processor, a 3-axis gyro and up to 40 percent longer talk time*—in a beautiful all-new design of glass and stainless steel that is the thinnest smartphone in the world. iPhone 4 comes with iOS 4, the newest version of the world’s most advanced mobile operating system, which includes over 100 new features. The revolutionary App Store provides access to more than 300,000 apps including the new iMovie app built just for iPhone 4.
We are pleased to offer our customers iPhone 4 and its wonderful features and applications, which have revolutionized the mobile experience,” said Costas Kapetanopoulos, marketing and communication director at COSMOTE Romania. „Starting December 17, our customers will have the chance to benefit from the most attractive COSMOTE iPhone tariff plans.”
Full pricing and availability details for iPhone 4 will be available soon, at http://www.cosmote.ro/iphone.
* Battery life depends on device settings, usage and other factors. Actual results vary.

COSMOTE Romania had 6.7 million customers at September 30, 2010. Launched in 2005, COSMOTE Romania achieved the fastest network development in Europe, according to the Citigroup report in June 2007. In less than 5 years, COSMOTE Romania surpassed its competitors in terms of national network coverage. Today, COSMOTE Romania offers seamless communication to more than 99% of the population and 90% of the territory. COSMOTE Romania is a subsidiary of COSMOTE Group, the operator with the strongest presence in SE Europe with 21.3 million customers in Greece, Albania, Bulgaria and Romania.

  • RYANAIR CABIN CREW STRIP OFF FOR 2011 CALENDAR

Ryanair, the world’s favourite airline, today (9th Nov) launched its 2011 Ryanair Cabin Crew Charity Calendar which it hopes will raise up to €100,000 for German charity “Tafel” which provides food to people in need all over Germany, many of them children and teenagers suffering poverty and malnutrition.

The proceeds of Ryanair’s 2011 cabin crew calendar will bring the total raised by Ryanair’s sexy cabin crew to over €400,000 since the first calendar in 2008.  The 2011 edition, which was shot in Fuerteventura in September, will raise up to €100,000 through the sale of 10,000 calendars onboard Ryanair flights, from ryanair.com or from local Tafel centres in Germany for just €10.

Ryanair’s crew chose the German charity “Tafel”, after over 400 charities across Europe applied for the charity calendar partnership.  This is the first year a German charity will receive the donation and follows strong sales of the 2010 cabin crew calendar in Germany, where over 30% of the 2010 cabin crew calendars were sold.

Ryanair’s Michael O’Leary said:

“Ryanair’s cabin crew stunners are delighted once again to strip off for charity and this year they’re doing it for the ‘Tafel’ charity in Germany.  We hope that the 2011 Charity Calendar will raise up to €100,000 to help ‘Tafel’ deliver even more food to people in need throughout Germany.

Every year the Ryanair cabin crew calendar is snapped up, especially in Germany where over 30% of the 2010 cabin crew calendars sold in just one month.  Those who want to help ‘Tafel’ and bring a smile to someone’s face all year long can buy 2011’s hottest calendar onboard Ryanair flights, on Ryanair.com or from local Tafel centres.”

Tafel’s Chief Executive, Gerd Häuser, said:

“We are delighted Ryanair’s cabin crew chose to partner with Tafel for the 2011 Ryanair Cabin Crew Charity Calendar and we thank everyone at Ryanair on behalf of our  50,000 volunteers who deliver food every day to people in need throughout Germany.  Ryanair’s 2011 Cabin Crew Calendar donation will help the Tafel deliver even more food to children and those who need it most and we encourage German passengers to buy even more Ryanair cabin crew calendars this year in the knowledge that every €10 they spend on the cabin crew calendar goes straight to Tafel.”

  • Valad secures new letting and expands existing lease at the A1 Business Park in Romania

Valad, the European multi-let real estate investment manager, announces that its Romanian team has signed a three year lease and extended an existing lease at the A1 Business Park in Bucharest on behalf of its Central European Industrial Fund (CEIF). CEIF was established in 2005 and invests in multi-let industrial property across Central Europe with a primary focus on Romania, Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic.

Tissue Land Distribution (Tissue Land), a wholesale trade company, has signed a lease totalling more than 310,000 on 1,773 sq m of warehouse and office space while D-Log (formerly Decomar Logistic), a leading provider of logistic services for small and medium requirements, has effectively doubled their initial leased area of 1,700 sq m taking their total leased area to 3,400 sq m.

Situated on the A1 Highway, the A1 Business Park is one of the leading developments providing small and medium-sized quality office, commercial and warehousing space in the Bucharest area. Existing tenants include DHL, Uniscan Trade, Valsider Production, Bravo Group, and Coleco Trade.

Silviana Badea, Country Manager at Valad Romania, said: We are pleased that Tissue Land has chosen the A1 Business Park as the location for starting their new production facility in Bucharest. Furthermore, the decision by D-Log to double its leased area demonstrates the importance of having local asset managers capable of servicing both existing and potential tenants.

Valad has let over 19,000 sq m of space in Romania and 80,000 sq m across the whole of the Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) region so far this year, through both lease renewals and new lettings. It manages more than 600,000 sq m of space in CEE across its four offices in Romania, Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic.

  • HTC 7 Mozart will be soon available for COSMOTE Romania customers

The new HTC 7 Mozart, with the recently launched Windows Phone 7 Operating System for mobile devices from Microsoft and a 1GHz processor embedded will be available in COSMOTE Romania and Germanos stores until the end of this month.

HTC 7 Mozart is a smartphone which can be used as a wonderful business tool, benefiting from the newly launched Windows Phone 7 operating system, 3G connectivity and a 1GHz processor offering thus an improved customer experience to its users, enriching the quality of the services they receive,” stated Alexandru Munteanu, Sales Operations Manager, COSMOTE Romania.

The handset is 3G compatible and data can be available via EDGE, HSDPA and HSUPA; there is also Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and USB connectivity. Thus, the users can benefit from high speed internet at speeds of up to 7.2 Mbps. Moreover, HTC 7 Mozart has 8GB internal storage capacity and a touch screen of 3.7” and 16 million colours marvel of technology with accelerometer and proximity sensor for auto turn-off.

HTC 7 Mozart is a mobile computer disguised in a mobile phone with the aim of offering entertainment around the clock. The list of features includes: 8 MP photo camera with autofocus and Xenon flash, 3.5 mm standard jack for professional headphones, hundreds of hours of standby availability and up to around 6 hours of talking time.

With Dolby Mobile and SRS surround sound, HTC 7 Mozart amplifies your audio experience by offering a high fidelity sound for a richer listening and viewing experience.

COSMOTE Romania had 6.7 million customers at September 30, 2010. Launched in 2005, COSMOTE Romania achieved the fastest network development in Europe, according to the Citigroup report in June 2007. In less than 5 years, COSMOTE Romania surpassed its competitors in terms of national network coverage. Today, COSMOTE Romania offers seamless communication to more than 99% of the population and 90% of the territory. COSMOTE Romania is a subsidiary of COSMOTE Group, the operator with the strongest presence in SE Europe with 21.3 million customers in Greece, Albania, Bulgaria and Romania.

  • Scholarships of $1,600,000 – Discover the Newest Innovation and Business Center of the World

On October 28th, between 5 pm and 8 pm, at Intercontinental Hotel, QS will bring to Bucharest the biggest business schools of the entire world, in order to present the offers of Full-time or Executive MBA programs. SKOLKOVO, the Management School of Moscow, is a joint project of Russian and international business representatives, who joined their efforts to create a business new-generation school from scratch.

The Moscow School of Management SKOLKOVO project is fulfilled by the governmental-private partnership within the framework of the Education Foreground National Project. The project is financed by private investors, and doesn’t use governmental budget recourses. The President of the Russian Federation, Dmitry Anatolyevich Medvedev, is the Chairman of the SKOLKOVO International Advisory Board.

Among the schools participating in the QS World MBA Tour we have: IE • Hult International Business School •TASMAC London School of Business • IESE • Vlerick Leuven • Kent Business School • INSEAD • Maastricht School of Management and many others which will offer the Romanian youth with a professional experience of at least three years the possibility to attend a MBAs in Russia, the USA, Great Britain, France, Spain, Austria, the Netherlands or Germany.

QS together with the schools participating in the World MBA Tour  offer scholarships of $1,600,000. Only the participants to the World MBA Tour may apply for the QS Scholarships, and thus, the interested professionals may take advantage of this opportunity by participating in the event organized on October 28th, in Bucharest.

Moscow School of Management SKOLKOVO is a joint project of Russian and international business representatives, who joined their efforts to create a business new-generation school from scratch. Focusing on practical knowledge, the Moscow School of Management dedicates itself to training leaders, who intend to implement their professional knowledge in the conditions of rapidly developing markets. SKOLKOVO is defined by: leadership and business undertakings, rapidly developing markets focus, innovative approach towards educational methods.

Since 2006 SKOLKOVO conducts short educational Executive Education programmes for top and medium-level managers –  open programmes and specialized, integrated modules based on the companies requests. SKOLKOVO launched  Executive МВА programme in January 2009,  now  the first  class  graduated and  two  classes  are studying. The first class of the international Full-time MBA programme was launched in September 2009.  Recently  School  greeted the second  MBA class  which  is studying  at  SKOLKOVO Campus.

  • GTC signed with CORA Hypermarket in Galleria Arad

Galleria Arad, which is scheduled to open doors in the last quarter of 2011, will offer one of the most important hypermarket chain besides variety of wellestablished national and international fashion brands. Romania  Hypermarche decided to open a 9.000 sqm Cora hypermarket in Galleria Arad as the first shop in the city. Reserved, Sprider, Leonardo, House of Art, Fox, Cinema City, Tina R, Altex and many other brands already become a part of Galleria Arad.  Galleria Arad is already over 60% leased and GTC is in negotiations with several other
important international fashion brands and also attracts the interest of local retailers.

Galleria Arad is consisting about 33,000 sqm leasable area with an investment of 70 million Euros. The project is financed by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. The Mall is located on the main artery of the town with a dense populated area, on Aerel Vlaicu Street. With its location, tenant mix and architectural features, Galleria Arad aims to be the main attraction of the city.

‘ We are very happy to start a long term collaboration with one of the most professional and respected hypermarket chain, Cora. We are very happy to announce that we’ll move this collaboration to other projects of GTC as well. With this partnership, we believe Galleria Arad will become much stronger and we continue to introduce to Arad community more brands in a close time.’ Declared by Shimon GALON, CEO of GTC Romania.

GTC Romania entered retail market in partnership with Aura Investments for developing ‘Galleria’ international chain of shopping malls. GTC holds 85% of shares in Galleria Arad while Aura Investments holds another 15%. The ‘Galleria’ brand is the name under which GTC develops the shopping and entertainment centers in Central and Eastern Europe and now in Romania and Bulgaria. Besides Galleria Arad, GTC Romania owns three more shopping centers under operation in Buzau, Suceava and Piatra Neamti. GTC Romania has another shopping center project in pipeline in Galati and the construction works of the project will start by next year.

GTC Romania is the subsidiary of Globe Trade Center S.A., one of the leading developers in Central and Eastern Europe, since 1994. GTC invests in three main sectors of the real estate market: shopping and entertainment centers, office buildings and residential property. GTC develops real estate projects in Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic, Romania, Serbia, Croatia, Bulgaria, Slovakia and Ukraine. The group has been listed in Warsaw Stock Exchange since April 2000.

  • British Airways’ suggestions for traveling this fall are Bangkok, Australia and New Zealand

Bangkok, Thailand. Thailand holidays often centre around cosmopolitan Bangkok and Thailand’s regal Grand Palace. Thailand’s beautiful southern seas and islands definitely merit some exploration as well. Holiday around northern Chiang Mai for trekking and rafting with Thailand’s hill tribes. Culture vultures on holiday in Thailand will love the UNESCO-listed ancient capital, Ayutthaya. Plenty of spicy local cuisine tops the holiday off a treat.

British Airways’ most attractive fare to Bangkok starts from just 784 EUR for a return ticket in World Traveller, all taxes included. *

Australia is the place where the laidback lifestyle and cosmopolitan culture meet. From beach-fringed Sydney to elegant Adelaide, you’ll find a melting pot of cultures and a medley of theatre, restaurants, nightlife and events. Australia has so much for you to explore, whether you want nature, wildlife, outback adventure, islands, rainforest or reef, and British Airways can help you do it. Discover Australia’s cities, from Brisbane’s famous South Bank Parklands to Melbourne’s cutting-edge cultural precincts at exceptional prices: Brisbane – 1098 EUR**; Perth – 1086 EUR**; Sydney – 1080 EUR**; Melbourne – 1066 EUR**; Adelaide – 1128 EUR**. The prices are for return tickets in World Traveller, all taxes included.

New Zealand is a country of stunning and diverse natural beauty: mountain peaks, fiords, lakes, rivers, and active volcanic features. So spectacular it leaves many lost for words. You need to see it to understand. New Zeeland’s destinations included in the British Airways promotion are: Auckland at 1294 EUR**; Christchurch at 1270 EUR**; Wellington at 1256 EUR**; Queenstown at 1312 EUR**. The prices are for return tickets in World Traveller, all taxes included.

Our guests who travel with their children can take advantage of a further reduction: an additional discount of approximately 33% will be applied to children’s ticket price, if they are between 2 and 12 years old.

More than that, flying with British Airways brings a lot of benefits due to London Heathrow’s T5 which delivers consistently high levels of customer service and operational performance. The airline’s punctuality in winter 2008/2009 improved at Heathrow by around 25 percentage points against the same period the year before and 77% of the customers were either extremely or very satisfied with their journey with British Airways, an improvement with 13 % over the last year.

  • Philips announces Vision 2015 strategic plan

Royal Philips Electronics (AEX: PHI, NYSE: PHG) today outlined its strategic ‘Vision 2015’ plan to further strengthen Philips’ leadership in the domain of health and well-being. The company will detail its key priorities, market opportunities and investment focus areas for the coming years. Vision 2015 aims to fuel growth and bolster Philips’ competitive position in key markets, benefitting all the company’s stakeholders in a sustainable way.

“It has become customary for Philips to periodically provide our stakeholders a roadmap of how we want the company to develop,” Philips President and Chief Executive Officer Gerard Kleisterlee commented. “Our plan for 2015 is an evolution of our Vision 2010 strategy. We will continue to build on the key global trends to expand our leadership in key businesses such as home healthcare, LED lighting solutions and healthy living and personal care. I firmly believe Philips is uniquely positioned for growth as it continues to simply make a difference to people’s lives with meaningful, sustainable innovations.”

Vision 2015 defines several company-wide key priorities for the next five years:

  • Philips aims to expand its existing leadership positions whilst benefitting from several of its markets growing faster than global GDP.
  • Philips wants to be the preferred brand in health and well-being in the majority of the markets it operates in.
  • Philips is committed to being a leading company in matters of sustainability. The company looks at sustainability through the lenses of its sectors and defines specific ambitions for each of them, as communicated in its recent EcoVision5 program.
  • Philips wants to be seen by all stakeholders as making a positive difference in people’s lives.
As part of Vision 2015, Philips has set the following medium term performance aspirations for the Philips group:

  • Comparable annual sales growth on an annual average basis at least 2% higher than global Gross Domestic Product over the 2011 – 2015 period
  • Reported annual Earnings before Interest, Taxes, Amortization (EBITA) between 10% and 13% of sales in the 2011 – 2015 period
  • Growth of earnings per Share (EPS) at double the rate of comparable annual sales growth over the 2011 – 2015 period
  • Return on Invested Capital at least 4% above weighted average cost of capital

Gerard Kleisterlee will present Philips’ Vision 2015 in more detail to financial analysts and investors today at the company annual Lighting Capital Markets day in London. At this event, Lighting executives including Rudy Provoost, Chief Executive Officer of Philips Lighting, will present on the sector’s current market views, business priorities and ambitions.

“The lighting market is extremely dynamic,” commented Rudy Provoost. “We see the global shift to energy efficient lighting solutions and the rapid adoption of LED accelerating our growth.  Emerging market expansion continues and we expect to capitalize on the positive long-term trends in those markets.  Against this backdrop, we are strongly positioned to solidify our global leadership through delivering unique customer segment applications and solutions while leveraging our strong position in conventional lighting.”

During his presentation, Mr. Provoost will explain how Philips Lighting is well-positioned to grow sales and to further expand EBITA margins to 12-14% on a reported basis in the years to come.

Mr. Kleisterlee’s presentation will begin at 10:30 AM CET, or 09:30 AM GMT, and is expected to end around 12:00 AM CET, after which the Lighting Capital Markets Day will commence. All presentations can be followed via webcast at the Investor Relations website.

  • Valad secures letting in Bucharest to Italian steel giant

Valad Europe (“Valad”), the pan-European real estate investment manager, announces that its Romanian team has signed a four year lease totalling more than €800,000 for 4,303 sq m of warehouse and office space at the A1 Business Park in Bucharest, with Valsider Production (“Valsider”), a sister company of the Italian steel giant, Cordioli.

Situated on the A1 Highway, the A1 Business Park is owned by Valad’s Central European Investment Fund (“CEIF”) and is one of the leading developments providing small and medium-sized quality office, commercial and warehousing space in the Bucharest area. Existing tenants include DHL, Dobrogea, Heinrig and Decomar Logistics, which leased 1,800 sq m from Valad in June 2010.

Silviana Badea, Country Manager at Valad Romania, said: “We are delighted that Valsider has chosen the A1 Business Park as a base for its Romanian operations. Given current market conditions, it is encouraging to see a company with Valsider’s international reputation, invest in Romania with a long term view.”

Jacopo Palermo, General Manager of Valsider, commented: “The A1 Business Park’s strategic location, next to one of the key transport routes in Romania, together with its modern office space, made it a perfect match for our business. We are looking forward to using it as a base to expand our Romanian operations.”

Valad has let over 15,000 sq m of space in Romania and 75,000 sq m across the whole of the Central and Eastern Europe (“CEE”) region so far this year, through both lease renewals and new lettings. Valad manages more than 600,000 sq m of space in CEE and employs 16 people across its four offices in Romania, Poland, Hungary and Czech Republic.

In the year ending 30 June 2010, Valad’s European asset management team leased over one million sq m of space across Europe, through 1,500 transactions, averaging 30 leases signed per week and six leases signed per day.

Valad Property Group is a leading multi-let investment manager with an international network of local offices managing over €6.2 billion globally.  In Europe, Valad manages 900 assets in 15 funds with a value of greater than €5 billion. Its core business is value-adding real estate investment management with local asset management teams taking care of over 8,500 tenant customers. Valad has 250 staff and 20 offices in 12 countries across Europe and 300 staff worldwide and is listed on the Australian Stock Exchange.

  • Ploiesti West Park becomes an European magnet for foreign investors in Romania

SC Allianso Business Park SRL, the Romanian subsidiary of Alinso Group, signed a sales contract with Lufkin Industries, Inc., a Texas based company active in oil and energy industry equipment and services. Lufkin Industries purchased a plot of 33 hectares in Ploiesti West Park on which it intends to construct a manufacturing facility which will employ 300 persons by 2012 at an estimated total cost of $126 million. This is not only the company’s largest investment in Europe, but also one of the major transactions in Central European industrial equipments sector.

“The fact that we found within 1 year after the start of the development of our park, two strong tenants such as Unilever and Lufkin, proves that people trust in our ability to deliver and that our choice for Ploiesti as location for our business park was the right one. The Ploiesti West Park team and Alinso Group are confident that very soon we will complete our park with new tenants and end users.  The good location in the logistics and industrial gravity center of the country is well appreciated by our prospects”, says Ivan Lokere, CEO Alinso Group.

This major investment will give new economic dynamics to Prahova County and to the Ploiesti industrial area, establishing Ploiesti West Park as a favorite base for companies operating in the industrial sector. Allianso Business Park SRL has already delivered 30 000 m² warehouse to Unilever in April, 2010. A new 20 000 m² logistics building will be available by the end of September this year. The next major development for Ploiesti West Park shall be the construction of the first SME (Small and Medium Enterprises) building complex. Ploiesti West Park is becoming fast a major logistics and industrial park, at both Romanian and European level.

Mr. Jay Glick, CEO and President of Lufkin Industries, stated „The new operation in Romania is a critical step in our strategy to expand our geographic reach to better serve our global customers. This will enhance our competitive position in the growing markets of the Eastern Hemisphere. Using Lufkin’s proven regional manufacturing strategy, the Romanian operation will serve as a strategic hub to serve the European market as well as acting as the focus for exports to Russia, Central Asia, North Africa, the Middle East and markets in East Asia. Locating this operation in Romania provides us with many advantages. Romania is becoming a regional energy hub due to the political stability provided by EU membership and the strategic benefit of its significant oilfield heritage, market and infrastructure. In addition, Romania provides Lufkin access to local sources of raw material and castings, a strategic location for favorable shipping routes and a technically-capable and highly-educated local workforce.”

ALINSO Group develops PLOIEŞTI WEST PARK in a joint venture with Petrica Usurelu, founder of the Piritex Group. ALINSO Group manages a substantial real estate portfolio including logistics, commercial, industrial real estate and offices. It has extensive expertise in re-conversion of industrial sites, Greenfield, as well as in providing tailor-made logistic and industrial solutions.

Founded in 1902 and based in Lufkin, Texas, Lufkin Industries, Inc. is a vertically integrated company and is the recognized leader in artificial lift systems for oil and gas applications and highly engineered power transmission gear systems. Lufkin employs more than 2,800 people worldwide.

  • Asmita Gardens will have a SPA of 1500 sqm


Starting the end of the year, the residents of Asmita Gardens will beneficiate of a new SPA, having a surface of 1500 sqm. The SPA will have, for the beginning, a swimming pool, a gym and aerobics.

The operator is one of the biggest producers of spa’s equipments in Europe. Over 200 SPA’s in Romania are already using their equipments.

Asmita Gardens June’s sales number: In June, 6 new families have found their dream apartment in our compound.  Half of them have used the Rent To Buy option, meaning 0 advance, monthly installments of 600-1000 Euro +VAT, on a period of 2 years and the rest of payment at the end of the period.

  • Change at the top of Ringier Romania


Marius Hagger will be leaving Ringier AG by 31.1.2011 at the latest. He has been working for Ringier since March of 2008 as General Manager responsible for our Romanian business in Bukarest. His successor has not yet been named.

Marius Hagger will be leaving Ringier AG at his own request to accept a new professional challenge at NZZ Group in Switzerland. Hagger has been leading Ringier Romania since March 2008 in a very challenging economic environment.

Florian Fels, CEO Ringier Central Europe said: „Over the past two years, Marius Hagger has streamlined the portfolio of Ringier Romania and implemented important cost-saving measures that provide a sound basis for the future of our publishing company. I thank Marius Hagger for his reliable and successful work in a turbulent Romanian media market and wish him all the best for his future”. A successor will be announced by the end of 2010.

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