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Back payments loans in RON up by 1.66 pct, back payments in foreign currency down by 3.68 pct in February

The total value of back payments of loans in RON went up by 1.66 percent, while the back payments in foreign currency went down by 3.68 percent in February to RON 4.232 billion, according to the National Bank of Romania (BNR).

The total loans in RON reached in February RON 147.07 billion, out of which RON 61.69 billion contracted by the economic agents and RON 81.47 billion loans taken by population.

The loans in foreign currency amounted to RON 88.909 billion in February, out of which RON 44.81 billion loans taken by economic agents and RON 41.17 billion loans taken by population.

Bucharest registered back paid loans at the end of February amounting to Ron 1.64 billion and in foreign currency to RON 2.01 billion.

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United States to expel 60 Russian officers as part of the UK attempted murder of Russian spy; Romania also expels one Russian diplomat

US President Donald Trump has ordered the expulsion of 60 Russian intelligence and diplomatic officers, as well as the closure of the Russian consulate in Seattle.

The country thus joins the UK and the EU in sanctioning Russia for the country’s alleged attempt to murder a former spy who lived in the UK, Sergei Skripal, using a nerve agent identified by experts as being of Russian origin.

After having expelled 23 Russian diplomats from its territory, the UK last week also recalled its ambassador from Moscow.

Germany, France and Ukraine have also announced that they are expelling Russian diplomats.

Russia denied any connection to the nerve agent attack.

UPDATE: One Russian diplomat in Romania was declared persona non grata by the Foreign Affairs Ministry, and he will be obligated to leave Romania’s territory.

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PSD says referendum to redefine family could take place in May; Dragnea calls for civil partnership law

Deputy PM Paul Stanescu said today that the referendum for the constitutional redefinition of the family “should take place in May”, and the Social Democratic Party discussed the issue in the meeting of its national leaders today.

The organisation called “The Coalition for the Family” submitted an initiative to change Article 48 of the Constitution two years ago, supported by 3 million signatures from signatures. They propose that the definition of the family should change from “the consenting marriage between two spouses” to “the consenting marriage between a man and a woman”, so as to exclude any possibility for the legalisation of same-sex marriage in the future.

PSD president Liviu Dragnea agrees that the referendum for what is effectively a ban on same-sex marriage should be organised as soon as possible, but also wants a law to be issued for civil partnerships, which currently don’t exist in Romanian legislation – “My reason is not fear of possible protests, but the fact that there is a minority which we can’t pretend not to see or that it doesn’t exist.”

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Romania’s state-owned road company to create subsidiary for replacement of private contractors in failed projects

Romania’s state-owned road company (CNAIR) will create a road construction subsidiary in order to replace private contractors which don’t complete government road building projects, according to the transport minister Lucian Sova, quoted by Agerpres.

“We made a reorganization project for CNAIR. During the last week, we approved a project for the organization of a company that could take over various sites abandoned or canceled for various reasons by entrepreneurs so as to shorten the time we lose where the projects are not successful,” Sova said.

The minister showed he is dissatisfied by many delays recorded in various road, rail or airport infrastructure and said there is a need for reorganisation of major infrastructure projects’ administration.

Sova said on March 14 that sections 3 and 4 of the Sebes-Turda motorway, totalling 28 kilometres, could be open to traffic in May.

The Sebes-Turda motorway had been due to open in 2016 according to initial plans.

The minister said that his objective of opening 60 km of motorway this year. Romania currently has 748 km of motorway in use.

 

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Bucharest City Hall starts work on expanding Glina wastewater treatment plant

The Bucharest City Hall has announced on Monday that works will begin for the expansion of the Glina wastewater treatment plant and for the construction of the sludge incinerator.

The investment goes up to RON 1.8 billion and will be made through European funds.

This contract will allow the construction of a treatment plant for the whole wastewater debit collected in the Bucharest sewage system, both from the Capital and the neighbouring areas, as well as the construction of a sludge incinerator.

The peri-urban areas included in the beneficiaries of this project are: Glina, Popesti-Leordeni, Jilava, Chiajna, Chitila, Mogosoaia, Voluntari, Dobroesti, Pantelimon, Cernica, Caldararu, Taganu, as well as the Henri Coanda International Airport in Otopeni.

The duration for the implementation of this contract is 40 months.

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Raiffeisen Bank doubled the number of Smart Mobile clients in 2017

Raiffeisen Bank doubled the number of Smart Mobile clients in 2017, the mobile banking app Raiffeisen Smart Mobile has increased by close to 100 percent.

Romania has the highest number of digital clients of International Raiffeisen Bank group, after Russia.

Clients choose mobile app for payments due to the easy manner of login and payment authorization or via iPhone X, through Face ID.

At the end of the last quarter of 2017, over 475,000 clients were active on the online booking platform, and their number increases by close to 12,000 monthly. The transactions through internet apps and mobile banking reached to 16 million in 2017.

43 percent of the operations migrated to multi-functional machines (MFMs). These results are due to the our colleagues from agencies, who teach day by day, the clients to use the new technologies in their own interest.

„We continue to make banking, but helped by technology, we offer a better experience to our clients and more autonomy,” says Florin Boldescu, chief digital transformation officer in Raiffeisen Bank.

At the group level, the requested loans through digital channels represent 14.5 percent of the overall portfolio.

 

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Schweighofer Group sells its Romanian forests to Sweden’s GreenGold Group

The Schweighofer Group announced today the sale of its subsidiary Cascade Empire S.R.L. (Cascade Empire), as well as the Forest Management Division, Ocol Silvic Cascade Empire S.R.L., to the Swedish GreenGold Group. The move signals a change in the company’s strategy in Romania.

The forests owned by Cascade Empire amounted to 14,283 hectares, located in the counties of Hunedoara, Gorj, Vrancea, Prahova, Buzau, Neamt and Suceava. The Contracting Parties have decided not to disclose the transaction value and contractual details.

Cascade Empire acquired these forests between 2003-2011 and currently has a team of 19 employees, including forest management division staff. The entire team will be taken over by the new owner.

Holzindustrie Schweighofer entered the Romanian market in 2003. Today, the company operates in Romania three timber factories and two factories producing wooden panels with a total of approx. 3,100 employees. Also, starting in 2017, the company has implemented an action plan for a sustainable woodworking industry that far exceeds legal requirements. Holzindustrie Schweighofer remains committed to this action plan and will continue to optimize dialogue with non-governmental organizations and other stakeholders.

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Schweighofer Group sells its Romanian forests to Sweden’s GreenGold Group

The Schweighofer Group announced today the sale of its subsidiary Cascade Empire S.R.L. (Cascade Empire), as well as the Forest Management Division, Ocol Silvic Cascade Empire S.R.L., to the Swedish GreenGold Group. The move signals a change in the company’s strategy in Romania.

The forests owned by Cascade Empire amounted to 14,283 hectares, located in the counties of Hunedoara, Gorj, Vrancea, Prahova, Buzau, Neamt and Suceava. The Contracting Parties have decided not to disclose the transaction value and contractual details.

Cascade Empire acquired these forests between 2003-2011 and currently has a team of 19 employees, including forest management division staff. The entire team will be taken over by the new owner.

Holzindustrie Schweighofer entered the Romanian market in 2003. Today, the company operates in Romania three timber factories and two factories producing wooden panels with a total of approx. 3,100 employees. Also, starting in 2017, the company has implemented an action plan for a sustainable woodworking industry that far exceeds legal requirements. Holzindustrie Schweighofer remains committed to this action plan and will continue to optimize dialogue with non-governmental organizations and other stakeholders.

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NEPI Rockcastle begins the construction works of Shopping City Satu Mare following investment of EUR 40 mln

The real estate investor NEPI Rockcastle, has begun the construction works of Shopping City Satu Mare, the 18th commercial center in the Romanian portfolio, following investment of EUR 40 million. The opening is scheduled for the end of this year and will have a lettable area of 29,000 sqm and two floors.

„Satu Mare has been the natural choice in the continuation of expansion strategy that NEPI Rockcastle has in Romania, as the city needs a modern shopping destination and entertainment,” said Sebastian Mahu, head of asset management, NEPI Rockcastle.

Shopping City Satu Mare will be a commercial center adapted to the local trends. Out of the 90 brands that will be launched, some are brought in premiere in the region.

Thus, the center will cover the fashion segment, beauty, sports, technology, sports&deco, toys and products for children.

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BR Exclusive: Maguay, the Romanian IT company that supplies servers for The European Organization for Nuclear Research

In 1992 Eduard Pughin and his family started an IT business. Based on background knowledge and passion, Maguay company started importing IT equipment, mainly monitors from producers like Targa, CTX and Iiyama, and professional graphic cards. „It was the area in which we could see a future and we felt like we could make good business. At the time, there were no Romanian PC production companies”, said Eduard Pughin, the creator of Maguay. Even today, there are only a handful of IT&C producers, like Allview, Eboda, Evolio or Altex’s Complet Electro Serv.

By Aurel Dragan

Later on, the company started building PC systems (personal computer), servers, storage systems and notebooks. They also signed partnerships with big names, like Intel, Oracle, Fortinet, VMWare, Microsoft etc., certifying that all the products were of the highest quality. This allowed releasing systems that were at the same level of performance with international competitors, thus building the Maguay brand. “We wanted to make high quality and competitive products, unbeatable in terms of cost versus performance and also in total cost of ownership (TCO). More than that, we don’t have the restrictions that come with international brands products for components that are non-standard”, explains Eduard Pughin, Operations Manager at Maguay.

Growing slowly but surely, Maguay managed to get over the financial crisis by diversifying and investing in software, ending up as an integrated IT systems producer.

“Last year we had over EUR 20 million revenues, with a small growth from the year before. Considering that most of the IT investments were frozen in 2017, we take that it is a positive outcome”, explains Eduard Pughin. Nowdays, having the headquarters in Bucharest, Maguay employs over 100 people and it is facing the same problem as the rest of the industry: lack of professionals available. “What it is also concerning is the lowering level of general knowledge for broader utility in the industry. Over-qualifying on niche domains is a mistake because it lacks the essential capacity of being able to adapt”, explains Eduard Pughin.

Supplier for CERN

One of the problems that all Romanian companies have is expanding outside the borders. Maguay is no different, until they managed to become supplier for European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), in a EUR 3.5 million project, won in 2017. The company will provide a grid system with HPC (High Performance Computing) servers, based on 516 Maguay eXpertServer (with over 1,000 Intel Xeon Gold 6130 processors).

„Winning this project is a confirmation of our capabilities and we are among the very few Romanian suppliers for CERN”, says Eduard Pughin. According to IDC data, Maguay is the biggest Romanian producer of servers and in top 5 sellers, right after the big global producers. The company is also one of the best alternatives for data storage solutions, offering ‘software defined storage’, based on Maguay servers.

Building the software division, Maguay was able to create a range of services and solutions, like e-Learning for private companies, fleet management with iTrack, SMART Transportation or solutions for the health system, like Qcare – Patient Data Management System. Along the years, the company received many awards from corporations like Intel and Microsoft, and also from The Romanian Chamber of Commerce and ANEIR (The National Romanian Association of Importers and Exporters).

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