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Report: Romania will reach a real GDP growth of 4 pct in 2019

Romania will have a real GDP of RON 171 billion in 2019, 4 percent higher than in 2018 and a GDP per capita of USD 12,247, according to data provided by The Institute of International Finance (IIF).

Real GDP at the national level would be next year by about RON 7 billion higher than in 2018. At the same time, GDP per capita in 2019 will be USD 661 higher than in 2018.

IIF estimated also a 1 percent decline in government spending and a 4.5 percent drop in consumption. At the same time, imports of goods and services would register an increase of 4.9 percent and exports of 5 percent.

The share of GDP in agriculture would be 6.9 percent (down 0.1 percent as compared to 2018), industry will by 21.6 percent (down 0.4 percent), construction of 5.1 percent ( decrease of 0.1 percent) and the share of services would be 66.4 percent (increase of 1.4 percent).

IIF figures differ from those provided by the National Commission for Strategy and Prognosis of the 2018 Summer Intermediate Prognosis. For the following year, it shows a share of GDP in agriculture of 4.1 percent, industry of 24.2 percent, of construction 6.1 percent and services of 56.7 percent.

However, the forecasts of the Prognosis Commission also include net product taxes, which would have a weight of 8.9 percent of GDP. With regard to the number of employees, the International Finance Institute (IIF) estimates a figure of 4.9 million employees, with 100,000 more than in 2018 and by 500,000 more than in 2012.

As a consequence, the unemployment rate will be of only 2.5 percent – it is estimated at 3.5 percent for the current year. Last but not least, in 2019, Romania would have about 50,000 inhabitants less than in 2018, bringing the total population to 19.45 million people.

The Institute of International Finance is a global association of financial industry – commercial banks, investment funds, insurance companies, sovereign funds, central banks and development, with 450 members from 70 countries.

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Cybercriminals are using decades-old vulnerabilities for DDoS attacks

Cybercriminals can use old vulnerabilities even for new technology. The last report of Kaspersky Lab on DDoS (distributed denial of service) show that, in the past three months, the attacks are using botnets (a botnet is a number of internet-connected devices) such as video cameras and printers. After the attacks, cybercriminals are trying to monetize with the help of cryptocurrencies.

In the second quarter of 2018, DDoS botnets attacked online resources from 74 countries. For the first time in the history of DDoS reports, Hong Kong has ranked among the top three most attacked countries in second place: its percentage has increased fivefold and accounted for 17 percent of all DDoS attacks with botnets. China and the US remained first and third, while North Korea fell to fourth place.

The most attacked resources in Hong Kong were hosting services and cloud computing platforms. Interestingly, in the second quarter, Hong Kong was replaced by Vietnam in the top 10 countries hosting the most active command and control servers. The US ranks first in this top, with nearly half (45 percent) of all C&C servers with active botnets in the period considered.

Windows botnet activity has dropped almost seven times, while Linux botnet activity has increased by 25 percent. Thus, Linux bits represent 95 percent of all DDoS attacks this quarter, which has caused a sharp increase in SYN flood attacks – from 57 percent to 80 percent.

During the period under review, cybercriminals began to use some very old vulnerabilities in their attacks. For example, experts have reported DDoS attacks that rely on a vulnerability in the Universal Plug-and-Play protocol, known since 2001, and the Kaspersky DDoS Protection team noticed an organized attack based on a vulnerability in the CHARGEN protocol, which was still described since 1983. Despite the considerable length of service and its limited use, there are still many CHARGEN servers on the Internet. These are, in most cases, printers and copiers.

Mastering old techniques has not prevented cybercriminals from creating new botnets. For example, 50,000 surveillance cameras for DDoS attacks have been used in Japan. One of the most popular methods to monetize DDoS attacks remains targeting cryptocurrencies and cryptocurrencies exchange offices.

A typical case is cryptocurrency Verge – hackers attacked some mining pools and stole 35 million XVG (USD 1.7 million) in confusion. And game platforms continue to be targeted, especially during eSport championships. In addition, according to Kaspersky Lab, DDoS attacks affect not only game servers (often in order to get a ransom, under the threat of otherwise spoiling the game).

An organized DDoS attack on key players may affect the team and lead to elimination from the competition. Cybercriminals use similar tactics to monetize attacks on streaming channels and video games. Competition on this segment is intense and, using DDoS attacks, offenders can influence online broadcasts and, implicitly, the earnings of a video creator.

“There may be different reasons behind DDoS attacks – political or social protests, personal revenge, competition,” says Alexey Kiselev, project manager, Kaspersky DDoS Protection team. “In most cases, however, they are used to make money, so cybercriminals usually attack those companies and services that can bring them big gains. DDoS attacks can also be used as a diversion to hide theft, or a ransom may be required to prevent an attack. The money earned as a result of blackmail or theft can reach tens or hundreds of thousands, even millions of dollars. In this context, protection against DDoS attacks seems a good investment.”

Kaspersky DDoS Protection combines Kaspersky Lab’s extensive experience in combating cyber threats and unique company in-house developments. The solution protects against all DDoS attacks, regardless of their complexity, magnitude or duration.

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Referendum for re-defining Romanian family in Constitution to take place this autumn, says PSD head

The head of the ruling party PSD, Liviu Dragnea, says that the Romanians will be invited to vote in a referendum designed to change the definition of the family in the Constitution at the end of September or in the first Sunday from October.

Dragnea said in September the ruling coalition will discuss a schedule for organizing the referendum, adding there has to be a vote in the Senate to start the procedure.

“It’s a sensitive subject. Each citizen needs to have the possibility to live in the way she/he feels, without disrupting the others,” said Dragnea.

At present, the Constitution states the family is formed through the “consenting marriage between spouses”. In the amended version, the article would state that the marriage is between a male and a female.

This change, which has been backed by 3 million signatures, would essentially block any attempt to legalize gay marriage. For same sex couples, the ruling party proposed the legalization of the civil partnership, but it’s still too early to say when such a draft bill could be signed into law.

In mid-April, the PSD said it would hold a major rally in support for the traditional family, in the next month. This initiative was later abandoned.

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What’s the wealth of candidates vying for DNA’s leadership?

Four candidates are competing for the position of chief prosecutor of the National Anti-Corruption Directorate (DNA). Here are some of the most important information from their wealth statements.

Elena Grecu, head of service in the central structure of the DNA, owns four pieces of land – two in Techirghiol and two in Eforie, two homes in Eforie Nord and two Toyota cars. She was paid RON 220.098 by the DNA in 2017. This year, she took a bank loan of RON 128,765.

Marius Iacob, deputy chief prosecutor of the DNA, earned an income of RON 215,000 in 2017, out of which RON 153,432 represented the wage and the rest was overdue income paid following court decisions. He owns an apartment of 75 sqm and a car. He has personal savings of EUR 5,000 and RON 40,000.

Cristian Lazar, deputy head in the section of Criminal Investigation for the General Prosecutor’s Office, owns an apartment of 60sqm in Timisoara and two Ford cars. His annual income stands at RON 198,237 He has two bank loans of RON 199,754 and RON 90,000.

Florentina Mirica, chief prosecutor in the department combating corruption, jointly owns with her husband two pieces of land in Dambovita county and an apartment of 70 sqm in Bucharest. They also have two cars. She was paid RON 100,587 by the DNA, on top of which she received RON 6.400 in overdue income paid following court rulings.

 

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Cheil Germany takeover of Centrade Integrated is examined by the Competition Council

The Competition Council is examining the transaction by which Cheil Germany GmbH takes over the sole control over Centrade Integrated S.R.L., according to AGERPRES. Cheil Germany GmbH is a limited liability company operating under German law. The company carries out planning, development and implementation of advertising and marketing concepts, respectively marketing strategies. At present, Cheil Germany is not active on the Romanian market.

Centrade Integrated S.R.L. is a Romanian company operating on the media market. The main activity of the company is the provision of marketing communications services.

According to the provisions of the Competition Law (No 21/1996), the proposed operation is an economic concentration that exceeds the value thresholds provided by the law and is subject to control by the Competition Council.

As a result, the competition authority will assess this transaction in order to establish compatibility with a normal competitive environment and issue a decision within the time limits set by law.

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BMW Manager Markus Duesmann to become new Audi CEO, sources say

Volkswagen has announced that it will hire Markus Duesmann, a BMW board member, but did not make clear what his role will be in the group, according to the Financial Times. Insiders say that Duesmann will most likely become the new CEO of Audi, the group’s most profitable unit.

VW said in a statement that Duesmann is “one of the automotive industry’s most experienced and distinguished experts” and that he has “a wealth of knowledge in different areas of the industry, having served with various companies.”

Audi is seeking a new CEO after Rupert Stadler was arrested last month as part of the emissions scandal. The current interim chief is Abraham Schot and the possible move to make Duesmann the new CEO is seen as surprising. However, Duesmann’s contract at BMW would only allow him to leave the company six months from now, according to Germany’s Handelsblatt newspaper.

 

 

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The new leadership team of Piraeus Bank is lead by Nicolae Danila and Dominic Bruynseels

Piraeus Bank Romania has established its new leadership team after finalizing the takeover of J.C. Flowers and BERD. The CEO of the bank will be Dominic Bruynseels, and the president will be Nicolae Danila, both announced more than six months ago by J.C. Flowers. Also, Catalin Parvu will be first-vicepresident and member of the Board, Madalina Teodorescu will be vicepresident, Viorel Mischie will be vicepresident and Nikolaos Chaiotis will complete the number of vicepresidents.  

“Piraeus Bank Romania is in the right direction. We are supported by two powerful investors, with financial strength and extensive experience: the US private equity firm J.C. Flowers & Co. and the EBRD. With the support of our new shareholders, we are already a stronger player with access to financial resources and expertise. We have a solid business and a very good team. In the short term, we aim to be a more competitive and attractive partner for our customers and for the Romanian market,” said Dominic Bruynseels, chairman and member of the Board of Directors of Piraeus Bank Romania.

He will coordinate the bank’s entire business and take over the control functions of Piraeus Bank Romania directly. Dominic is one of the most experienced bankers in Romania and not only with a 38-year international banking practice – including Standard Bank of South Africa, Romanian Commercial Bank (BCR), Barclays Bank PLC – both in developed markets and the emerging ones.

In Romania, he held the position of general manager of the Romanian Commercial Bank (BCR) during May 2008-April 2012, during which the bank recorded record profits (2008) and excellent operational results (2009 and 2010).

Catalin Parvu, first vice-chairman and member of the Board of Directors, will manage the Corporate, SME, Treasury and Financial Markets, Product Development and Campaign Segments, Fraud Prevention and Capital Market Investments. He is one of the pioneers of the domestic banking market, with a 28 years of experience in the banking sector, whose development has contributed significantly.

He had a major involvement in the expansion of the card segment – debit and credit – and the bancassurance concept in Romania. For 10 years he served as CEO of Piraeus Bank Romania, where he coordinated the significant expansion of the bank’s network of units during the economic growth and successfully managed the impact of the banking system crises in Romania and Greece on the bank.

Catalin held top management positions in banking institutions such as Bank Tiriac and HVB-Tiriac in the banking and retail banking sector: he was Vice President of Tiriac Bank and member of the Board of Directors for 8 years in 2005, he became Vice-Chairman and member of the Board of Directors of Tiriac-HVB Group Bank. Due to his vast experience in banking, Catalin was a member of the Board of Directors of the Romanian Banking Association, working in similar organizations.

Madalina Otilia Teodorescu, vice-president, will continue to oversee the activities of Piraeus Bank Romania’s territorial network, the whole Bank’s Retail Activity – Business Development, Customer Segmentation, Performance Management and Business Analysis, and the Marketing Department.

She joined Piraeus Bank Romania in 2014 and made a significant contribution to the digitization process of the bank, as well as to the efficiency of the network of territorial units. She has almost 23 years of experience in banking, of which for the last 16 years in Top and Middle Management positions at Piraeus Bank Romania and Raiffeisen Bank, with extensive sales expertise.

Viorel Mischie, vice president and member of the Board of Directors, will coordinate the Financial and Data Management Division and Business Intelligence. He joined Piraeus Bank Romania in 2005 as Chief Financial Officer, after having held a number of key positions in the financial division of Commercial Bank Ion Ţiriac. In 2007 he became Assistant General Manager & CFO Piraeus Bank Romania, and in September 2009 he was appointed Deputy General Manager. Viorel Mischie has nearly 21 years of experience in banking and 27 years in the financial and accounting sector.

Nikolaos Chaniotis, vice president, will coordinate the activity of Loan Recovery Divisions – legal entities and individuals – and Repossessed Assets.

In February 2015, Nikolaos joined Piraeus Bank Romania as deputy general manager, taking over the leadership of the Loan Recovery Sector. Nikolaos has nearly 25 years of banking experience in financial markets and has held a number of key responsibilities in institutions such as Tirana Bank, Uniastrum Bank-Russia, Bank of Cyprus, Arab Bank PLC – Athens, Piraeus Bank, Credit Lyonnais Greece.

Nikolaos has extensive experience in managing and restructuring bad loans, corporate banking and credit risk. Nikolaos holds a Master’s degree in Business Administration, Finance at the University of Toledo, Ohio, and is licensed in Economics at Slippery Rock University, Pennsylvania.

After successfully completing his bank assignment, Athanasios Psathas, vice president of Operations and IT, will return to Piraeus Bank Greece at the end of July. His successor will be announced later.

At the same time the composition of the Board of Directors of Piraeus Bank Romania changes. The Board of Directors is headed by Nicolae Danila as president, mandated for the next four years, and includes executive directors Dominic Bruynseels, Catalin Parvu and Viorel Mischie. Chief independent director is Pedro Miguel Weiss, and Andrea Secci and Bogdan Ciobotaru are non-executive directors.

Nicolae Danila is one of the most experienced and respected bankers in Romania, with a career of 42 years in this field.He has held top management positions in banking institutions such as JP Morgan Chase (Romania), Chase Manhattan Bank (Romania) and Romanian Commercial Bank, and was, in turn, Counselor to the Governor of the National Bank of Romania and Strategic Consultant within the BNR.

Danila has attended specialty courses at prestigious institutions in London, Paris, Frankfurt, Lausanne, New York. He is a member of the Association of Economists in Romania, Member of the Academy of Scientists of Romania, Member of the Club of Rome – Romania section, Member of ASPEN Romania, Member of SOREC Romania.

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TeraPlast wants to sell 6 million meters of polyethylene pipes this year

The TeraPlast Group plans to sell more than 6 million meters of polyethylene pipes this year, 50 percent more than the volume delivered in 2017.

According to the company’s representatives, TeraPlast sold about 4.1 million linear meters of polyethylene pipe last year, among the most important customers being the builders and distributors. According to estimates, the company is targeting a 50 percent increase in sales by the end of this year, compared with 2017.

”Although the local building materials market is going through a difficult period because of the large infrastructure works, few being in the deployment phase and many stagnated, in the private sector and resellers we have an ascending direction . This positive trend is also reflected in our projections this year. So we are glad to be able to offer our direct and indirect customers top quality products and solutions in line with the company’s assumed responsibility for the environment and the society in which it operates, ” Ovidiu Gurau, TeraPlast commercial director states.

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Corporate loans increased in June for the first time in years more than household loans

The balance of non-government credit extended by credit institutions increased 1.4 percent in June 2018 (1.4 percent in real terms) as compared to May 2018, up to the level of RON 242.45 billion, according to data of the National Bank of Romania (BNR). But while the credit for households went up by 1 percent compared to the previous month, the loans for companies increased by 1.7 percent, signaling a modification in the corporate credit trend.

In May 2018, non-government credit climbed 0.3 percent versus April.

The credit in RON increased by 1.9 percent (1.9 percent in real terms) in June compared to May, as loans to households rose by 1.9 percent to RON 88.86 billion, and those granted to other sectors recorded an advance of 2 percent to RON 68.83 billion. On total, non-government credit in national currency was RON 157.7 billion in June. On the other hand, the RON-denominated credit increased by 0.4 percent (expressed in EUR, the foreign currency credit increased by 0.1 percent) in June compared to May, amid a 1 percent decrease in the loans granted of households (RON 39.42 billion), but also by a 1.6 percent increase for other sectors (RON 45.32 billion).

Compared to June last year, non-government credit grew by 6.8 percent (1.3 percent in real terms) on June 30, 2018, due to the 15.3 percent increase in the RON component (9.4 percent in real terms) and a 6.2 percent decrease in the foreign currency component expressed in RON (expressed in EUR, the foreign currency credit decreased by 8.3 percent). Loans to households grew by 22.13 percent compared to June 2017, while corporate loans increased by 7.6 percent. Loans to households grew by 22.8 percent compared to May 2017, while corporate loans rose by 8.5 percent.

As for non-government credit in foreign currency, the loans to households decreased by 10.1 percent and those for corporations by 2.4 percent. On the other hand, government credit declined in June 2018 by 3 percent compared to May 2018 to RON 98.13 billion. On 30 June 2018, government credit rose 1.4 percent (-3.8 percent in real terms) as compared to June 30, 2017.

Increase in deposits

Deposits of non-governmental clients grew by 1.4 percent in June 2018 compared to May 2018 up to RON 312.9 billion, while compared to June 2017 it increased by 12.4 percent or with 6.6 percent in real terms, according to the National Bank of Romania (BNR) data. In May, deposits of non-governmental resident residents grew by 0.5 percent in May 2018 compared to April.

RON deposits of households increased by 1 percent, to RON 114.4 billion, and recorded a 6.9 percent increase (1.4 percent in real terms) as compared to June 30, 2017. RON deposits of other sectors (non-financial corporations and non-monetary financial institutions) increased by 0.5 percent to RON 94.9 billion. On June 30, 2018, RON-denominated deposits of other sectors increased by 14.6 percent (8.7 percent in real terms) as compared to June 30, 2017.

Currency deposits of residents, expressed in ROL, increased by 2.6 percent compared to May 2018 to RON 103,5 billion (expressed in EUR, foreign currency deposits increased by 2.3 percent, up to EUR 22.2 billion). Compared to the same month of the previous year, the foreign currency deposits of residents denominated in RON increased by 17 percent (expressed in EUR, foreign currency deposits of residents increased by 14.4 percent).

As of June 30, 2018, household forex deposits, expressed in RON, recorded a 2.8 percent growth (2.8 percent in real terms) as against May 2018 (expressed in EUR, households’ increased by 2.6 percent). Compared to the similar period of 2017, household forex deposits expressed in RON increased by 18.9 percent (expressed in EUR, households’ forex deposits increased by 16.1 percent).

According to BNR data, foreign currency deposits of other sectors (non-financial corporations and non-monetary financial institutions), expressed in RON, recorded a 1.9 percent increase (1.9 percent in real terms) as compared to May 2018 (expressed in EUR , foreign currency deposits of other sectors increased by 1.7 percent).

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CME, the owner of PRO TV, income climbed 9.2 percent at six months to USD 95.6 million

Romania’s Central European Media Enterprises (CME), the owner of PRO TV, income climbed 9.2 percent in the first six months to USD 95.6 million. In the second quarter, the company had revenues of USD 49.6 million on the local market, 2 percent above those reported in the similar period of 2017.

Romania was the second market for the group, after the Czech Republic, both at the semestrial level, and in the second quarter, after having been the most profitable market for CME in the first three months. At a stable exchange rate, CME revenues in Romania increased by only 0.6 percent in the first semester and fell by 3.5 percent in the first three months.

Operating profit before depreciation and amortization (OIBDA) of CME in Romania advanced in the first half by 18 percent, to USD 43.1 million. In the second quarter, OIBDA was USD 24.1 million, 9.6 percent above one year ago. Excluding exchange rate fluctuations, OIBDA gained in Romania increased by 9.2 percent in the first six months and by 4 percent in the second quarter.

CME holds Pro TV, PRO TV International, PRO Cinema and MTV Romania in Romania, as well as several sites.

The company is currently selling its operations in Croatia and Slovenia. At the end of last year, the Chinese energy company China Energy Company (CEFC) and the Czech financial group Penta Investments filed a joint bid, circulating around EUR 500 million, to take over CME from the American media giant Time Warner.

In the same time, in the fall of 2016, Time Warner announced that it will be taken over by the US group AT & T in a deal valued at USD 85.4 billion. The resulting company will be the second largest supplier on the US media and telecommunication services market and one of the world’s leading players. Time Warner, whose portfolio includes HBO, CNN and Warner Bros. Studios, joined CME in 2009.

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