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XPRIMM News - THE ROMANIAN INSURANCE MARKET NEWSLETTER
No. 89, August 2nd, 2007

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EDITORIAL


Private Pensions are coming! The business of the decade is now starting!


It is now official: 17th of September 2007 is the day after which Romanians will have to choose a company to administrate a part of the contribution saved for retirement years, instead of the State.
About 15 renowned international operators will come to the scratch, as the Private Pensions System Supervisory Commission (CSSPP) has so far authorized the first three specialized companies.

They are ready to take-off and attack the market through an impressive number of marketing agents as all companies made unprecedented recruitment campaigns in the last few months. The selling force is going to be stimulated through substantial fees, as the pot values around EUR 50 million just for the first four months of the adhesion period, according to the most recent evaluations.

These preparations are also justified by the high stake of the game... Thus, the private pension funds market is agnomen "the business of the decade" by specialists who also estimate that earnings from this activity will come up to EUR 1 billion in the first three years, followed in the next seven years by an accelerated growth rate as for the revenues to reach EUR 10 billion.

Private pension will also become a new competitive market in the financial sector, leading to a growth of the capital market, the number of issuers, liquidities and bringing some new financial equities.
Above all these aspects, launching the 2nd Pillar will mark a crucial moment in the post-communist history of Romania, meaning the change of Romanian people from passive, assisted persons in active economic agents, with investment skills.

In this context, today, the 2nd of August 2007, PRIMM-Insurance&Pensions Magazine has organized in Sibiu the Private Pensions Regional Forum. Placing this event in Sibiu represents the sequel of a didactic demarche of presenting the advantages brought to both employers and employees by the implementation of the new pension system.

The Forum will be attended by representatives of central and local authorities, politic personalities, operators from the private pensions market, leaders and specialists in human resources within the most important local companies and also media representatives.

by mihaela.circu@mxp.ro

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MUNICH Re
WILLIS

BCR Asigurari de Viata
ASIBAN
ASIGEST

ASIGEST Agri

MICROSOFT
OMNIASIG Asigurari de Viata
RUSSIAN POLIS
Competitive Distribution Strategies For The Insurance Sector ASIBAN
EDITORIAL | INTERVIEW | TOP PRESS | CEE, RUSSIA & CIS | FINANCIAL NEWS
INTERVIEW

Interview with Mr. Daniel TUDOR,
Chairman – General Manager,
ARDAF


XPRIMM: The company's financial recovery starts with the recent taking-over by the Czech PPF Investments Group. In this context, which will be the evolution of ARDAF in the next period?
Daniel TUDOR:
The key word is REORGANIZATION.
The restructuring I mean refers, mainly, to a significant (re)orientation regarding the quality and value, against the quantity. The accent will be fixed on a healthy development, on an equable portfolio, on an aright underwriting policy, based on prudence.
We modernize products and services, we adapt the tariffs, and also we keep looking for "contemporary" solutions, in order to face the most exigent requirements from clients and from the market in general.
I'm not hiding the fact that we are undertaking a consolidation process of the team, in plain head-hunting campaign, aiming to get the best specialists in the insurance industry.
Also, we consider the break of the existing perception regarding ARDAF and we are preparing a campaign powered by the revival of the company.

XPRIMM: What means the restructuring of ARDAF and what are the new elements prepared by the company you represent?
D.T.:
You have probably remarked that from the terminological point of view, I prefer the word REORGANISATION.
Of course, the ample process of reorganization of ARDAF implies restructuring too, referring to administrative aspects of the activity. The central element of this phase is the moving out of Central office of ARDAF from Cluj to Bucharest. The present administrative structure from Cluj is going to become a regional Center which will coordinate the underwriting activity and the unreeling of the formalities regarding the claims adjustments in 16 of the ARDAF's branch offices.
The specialist and the staff from back-office, who activate, at the present, within the Central Administration from Cluj are going to be integrated in the Bucharest team, obviously if they are ready and willing to assume the relocation in the capital.
All the decisions regarding the growth of efficiency by reducing the costs are based on some detailed analyses at the branches level or individually.
About the territorial network of the company, one of the major clock card of ARDAF (the company has one of the most developed territorial structure, with 200 agencies and organized selling offices in 32 branches), we consider the maintenance, the modernization and also its development.
We aim to increase the share in the low risk insurance products portfolio with a small claims rate (property insurance and goods insurance) and to optimize the corporate insurance offer.

XPRIMM: What are the changes regarding the reorganization process, within the company's management?
D.T.:
The management of the company was totally changed, with the taking-over of ARDAF by the new shareholder. Only one member of the executive administration belongs to the anterior team of ARDAF. I am talking about Daniel BARABANT, Deputy General Manager of ARDAF Cluj, but he wasn't part of the oldest ARDAF administration. Mr. BARABANT is one of the specialists/technicians who was promoted after the taking-over, promotion based on competence and efficiency.

XPRIMM: What could you tell about the plans of the PPF Investments Group, in Romania?
D.T.:
PPF Investment Group represents a strategic investor, interested in sustaining the revival of ARDAF. Also, PPF is developing its insurance business on the Romanian market.

XPRIMM: How do you see the evolution and the performances of ARDAF from the financial point of view, in 2007 and in the future period?
D.T.:
First of all, the company's business strategy involves the derogation of losses. The race of reacquiring the credibility of ARDAF has begun by solving the situation of the residual unpaid claims and by revering the insurance contracts' obligations, which unfortunately were treated superficially by our predecessors. It's the most elegant way to say it. In this context, I want to mention the fact that the amount of paid claims starting with February 2007 is over RON70 million.
The new attitude of ARDAF was an assumed promise. We have engaged ourselves in a strong offense in order to reappear in the top of the insurance operators and we aim to prove to all our clients, partners, co-operators, to everybody that we offer services based on quality, that ARDAF is again a company you could trust, and also e serious partner. I dare to assure that this strategy, with the support of our major shareholder, will lead us to profit, maybe not this year, but for sure in the very next period.

XPRIMM: Thank you!

by andreea.ionete@mxp.ro

up


Daniel TUDOR
Mr. Daniel TUDOR,
Chairman – General Manager,
ARDAF

EFW MEDICOVER
EDITORIAL | INTERVIEW | TOP PRESS | CEE, RUSSIA & CIS | FINANCIAL NEWS
TOP PRESS

ICAR 2007

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by vlad.panciu@mxp.ro, 02.08.2007



RON 14.99 million capitalization on the brokerage market in 2006
At the end of 2006, the amount of subscribed social capitals by the 313 insurance brokers was almost RON 14.99 million (EUR 4.43 million), and the amount of the paid-up social capital was RON 14.88 million (EUR 4.4 million), according to the Annual Report of the Insurance Supervisory Commission.
The number of brokers whose social capital corresponded to the minimum limit of RON 25,000 requested by legislation was at 31st of December 2006, 201, representing 64% out of the total brokers. The total amount of the brokers' capitals was RON 5,025,000, representing 33,5% of the capitalization at the insurance brokerage market.
Taking into consideration the volume of the subscribed social capital, 14 out of 313 brokers have registered values of it over RON 150,000, and the cumulated value of RON 4,873,057 was attributed to a percent of 32,5 of total.
According to the Insurance supervisory Commission's report, 18 insurance brokers had a subscribed social capital between RON 100,000 and 117,310, the sum calculated for this segment representing 12.2% of the total capitalization of the profile market, meaning RON 1,832,590 at the end of 2006
Also, the number of insurance brokers with a social capital between RON 25,010 - 90,000 was 80, with a RON 3,254,687 total value of capitals; cumulating 21.7% of the whole subscribe social capital.
Thus, the first three insurance brokers after the amount of capital were OVB ALLFINANZ Romania Insurance Broker, with RON 1,871,110 subscribed social capital, followed by CORIS Roumanie, Insurance- Reinsurance Broker, with RON 418,640, and RCI Insurance Broker with RON 400,000.
by andreea.ionete@mxp.ro, 27.07.2007


The first operators were authorized for Pillar II
The Supervisory Commission of the Private Pension Scheme authorized on the 25th of July 2007 the first three companies which will administrate compulsory private pension funds.
Those three operators are: ALLIANZ - TIRIAC Pensii Private, ING Fond de Pensii and AVIVA Pensii. ALLIANZ - TIRIAC is authorized both for the administration of facultative pensions funds and for the administration of compulsory private pension, the representatives of the Supervisory Commission of the Private Pension Scheme emphasized.
In the same time, the Council of the Supervisory Commission of the Private Pension Scheme will continue the authorization/ appraisal process of the operators from the private pension market: administrators, prospects of the pension schemes, pension funds, depositories, auditors and marketing agents in order to finish the requests and documentations which were put in for until now and the adhesion process to start on 17th of September 2007.
by mihaela.circu@mxp.ro, 26.07.2007


VIENNA Insurance Group officially announces the purchase of ASIROM
VIENNA Insurance Group expands in Romania, buying the majority share package of ASIROM.The first step consisted in the takeover of 30% shares from INTERAGRO, for EUR 46.8 million, according to a press release by the Austrian insurer.
"This transaction contributes to the expansion plan of WIENER Staedtische in the main developed market of the group, Romania. The takeover of a participation at ASIROM will strengthen our position on this market with growth potential in the new Europe", Gunter GEYER, CEO of the group, stated.
For the moment the transaction is the subject of the needed approvals from the regulatory and supervisory authorities from Romania and Austria.
According to the legal provisions from Romania, once taking over the majority share package of ASIROM, the group intends to make an offer to the minority shareholders of the insurer.
In the first trimester of the current year, ASIROM underwrote an amount of RON 218.16 million gross premiums (EUR 64.42 million), in nominal increase in European currency with 9.19%, with a share market of 10.58%, according to the Insurance Profile Review.
According to some estimation, the market value of the company, holding the second place in the top of the profile companies in 2006, is between EUR 160 - 170 million, while capitalization is EUR 255.5 million.
So, ASIROM, together with OMNIASIG, OMNIASIG Asigurari de Viata, UNITA and AGRAS will be part of the Romanian family of VIENNNA Insurance Group, which is on the first position on the domestic market after the first semester of 2007, with a cumulated market share of 17.7% for those four companies.
by andreea.ionete@mxp.ro, 25.07.2007


RON 345 million for BCR Asigurari in the first semester
BCR Asigurari underwrote in the first semester of 2007, gross premiums of RON 345 million, the equivalent of EUR 109 million, raising 85% comparing to the similar period of 2006, according to a press release of the company.
The insurance classes with significant growths in the portfolio of BCR Asigurari were the damages to property and goods insurances, motor insurances, electronically equipment insurances, engine, installation and installation for accidental wound insurances and montage-building work insurances - all risks and the constructor's liability.
Also, the insurer's representatives have stated that the permanent interest in the satisfaction of the protection need and the post-sell assistance determined the implementation of a modern claim system, with instant component, the system intended to meet the clients' expectations, easing and increasing the efficiency of the claims' payment process, the claims being paid in maximum 48 hours.
BCR Asigurari, with a RON 30 million social capital, operates exclusively on the general insurances' segment, with a 148 territorial network units, offering to its clients, natural persons or corporatist, a large series of products. Its target for this year is to get a 14% market share.
by andreea.ionete@mxp.ro, 25.07.2007


Aiming 3 - 4% share market, ASITRANS will become EUROINS Asigurari
After the EUROHOLD Group from Bulgaria has took over the majority share package, ASITRANS has important plans for the future. This way, the insurer estimates for this year EUR 30 million gross written premiums, while at the end of the next year the business figure to exceed EUR 50 million.
"We intend to obtain a 3-4% market share by the 2010", Bogdan STAN, CEO of ASITRANS, stated.
The EUROHOLD Group Bulgaria got the approval of the Insurance Supervisory Commission for the purchase of the share package of ASITRANS, thus perfecting the transfer of shares.
"This transaction was extremely important as part of the development strategy, aiming two principal objectives: to get satisfaction for the precedent shareholders of the company and to offer evolution prospects for the company's employees", Bogdan STAN added.
At present, ASITRANS has over 500 employees in its over 100 branches and agencies in the country.
The integration of ASITRANS in the holdings' structure is expected to be over by the end of 2007. Also, by the end of this year it will start the rebranding process, changing its name in EUROINS Asigurari. The cost of it is forecast at EUR 500,000.
In the meantime, the insurer will double, in August, the social capital, from RON 12.1 million to RON 24.2 million. Also, this year, the company will grow the capitalization with EUR 5 million.
The expansion of EUROHOLD in Balkans won't stop here, the group intending to make acquisitions in Serbia and Turkey. Also, the expansion strategy includes the opening of a branch in Hungary by the end of this year.
In the first 6 months of 2007, ASITRANS Asigurari underwrote a volume of EUR 14.5 million gross premiums, meaning a 45% increase comparing to the similar period of the last year.
by mihaela.circu@mxp.ro, 26.07.2007


A 24% growth of the insurance density in 2006
In 2006, the amount of gross written premiums for direct insurances and receipt in reinsurance was RON 5.73 billion, representing EUR 1.69 billion, according to the Annual Report of the Insurance Supervisory Commission.
Thus, the insurance market registered in 2006 a real growth of the volume of gross written premiums comparing to that registered last year, respectively 23.68%, comparing to 17.01% in 2005.
In the total amount of gross written premiums, general insurances represent RON 4.59 billion (EUR 1.36 billion), while life insurances register RON 1.14 billion (EUR 336.6 million).
The insurance density, as ratio of the volume of gross written premiums to the number of population (21,565,119 persons at 31st December 2006, according to the estimations of the National Statistics Institute) was RON266/person, the equivalent of EUR79/person, in real growth with 23.94% comparing to the previous year.
Since general insurances continued to account for 80.1% of the premiums, more than the 76.5 % of the last year, the general insurance density was RON 213/person, and for life insurance it was RON 53/person.
As concern the penetration degree of insurances, expressed as the ratio between the gross written premiums and Gross Domestic Product, this was 1.67% in the analyzed period, rising in comparison to 2005, when the index was 1.54%.
Comparing the volume of gross written premiums for general insurances to Gross Domestic Product, the Insurance Supervisory Commission indicates a penetration degree of 1.34%, up with 0.16 percents comparing to 2005. For life insurances, this indicator was 0.33%, down with 0.03 percents.
by andreea.ionete@mxp.ro, 26.07.2007


UNITA increases its participation at AGRAS
The insurance company UNITA has increased its participation at AGRAS purchasing a 1.24 million share package on the Bucharest Stock Exchange. The price paid by UNITA for each share was RON 0.76.
The mediator of this transaction was RAIFFEISEN Capital&Investment. Thus, UNITA holds more than 93% of the capital of insurance company specialized on agricultural insurances.
Both UNITA and AGRAS are members of VIENNA Insurance, which has overtaken a 30% shares package of ASIROM.
In the first five months of 2007, UNITA underwrote an amount of gross premiums of RON 202.97 million, with 89.26% more than the similar period of 2006, while paid claims pooled RON 78.9 million, up with RON 2.8 million in comparison to the first five months of the previous year.
According to the declarations of Iulian DUMITRU, President of the company, the evolution of UNITA is due to the reorganization of the retail network, to the implementation of the profit centre concept at the branch level, to the revision of the tariffs at auto insurances, especially motor third party liability, based on actuarial calculations, being influenced by the renegotiation of mediation contracts, and to the permanent monitoring of the commissions' amount according to the quality of the policies' portfolio.
by mihaela.circu@mxp.ro, 27.07.2007


Fewer and older
At the level of each generation from ECE countries of the European Union will exist an replace rate of 60%, a survey of ALLIANZ and ALLLIANZ Global Investors highlights.
In these conditions, they estimate that the population in this region will diminish. The Romanian population will decrease until 2050 with approximate 20%. Also, by 2050, Bulgaria will lose almost a quarter of its population and Poland 10%.
At the regional level, in the ECE countries, members of the European Union, they forecast a 15% diminish of population , which in absolute terms , means 16 million persons, from 102 million now to approximate 86 million by 2050.
Some of ECE countries react to these expected changes. The implementation of the pension systems' reforms in the last 15 years has been a process which took into account the demographic evolution. At the domestic pension scheme level, the result has materialized in the decrease of the weight of the pay-as-you-go pension system in the favor of the individual planning system through capitalized funds.
by mihaela.circu@mxp.ro, 24.07.2007



The main word for ARDAF is Reorganization
ARDAF is undertaking an important reorganization process, having as start point its recent takeover by Czech investment Group PPF.
"The main word for ARDAF is "Reorganization" and when I say that I refer to a significant reorientation towards quality and value, instead of quantity. The accent is on healthy increase, a equilibrated portfolio development, improvement of products and services and on a correct underwriting politic", Daniel TUDOR, President - General Director of ARDAF, stated.
"The new attitude of ARDAF is an assumed promise. We engaged ourselves into a powerful offensive as to be again in the top of the profile operators and to demonstrate our clients, partners, collaborators and public opinion that ARDAF became a credible insurance company, a serious partner", Daniel TUDOR added.
"Our business strategy firstly provides the losses' diminish. The race of ARDAF for the credibility's regaining started by paying the remaining claims, by respecting the obligations assumed in insurance contracts, obligations which, unfortunately, were superficially and with disinterest approached by our predecessors. In this context, I wish to mention that the paid claims starting with February 2007 has exceeded RON 700 billion.. I am convinced that the application of this strategy with the help of the majority shareholder will lead to profit, if not this year, in the next period surely", the quoted official declared.
Briefly, ARDAF hopes 2007 to be a dynamic year, with numerous positive changes.
The new majority shareholder, PPF Investments Group, is one of the leaders of financial and insurance market in Central and East Europe and Asia and represents a strategic investor, interested in supporting the re-launch of ARDAF and developing the insurance business on the Romanian market.
by andreea.ionete@mxp.ro, 27.07.2007


AVIVA attacks Pillar II with 30,000 agents
AVIVA considers a positive aspect the fact that the uncertainties regarding the starting date of the private pension (Pillar II) were clarified by announcing as the date of adhesion of population to a private pension fund the 17th of September 2007.
The fact that the Supervisory Commission of the Private Pension Scheme has fixed a starting date of the period for the adhesion to a private fund is good news for administrators, who, thus, have a limited period within which to prepare. In the same time, this is a good news for Romanians because as some surveys show, they need an effective pension system, which to offer them a decent income after retiring.
"At this moment, we have established a target - to exceed 30,000 marketing agents until the 17th of September 2007. Our international experience has shown us that a large number of marketing agents gives you the opportunity to get to more potential clients, but the diference is made by the quality of the retail network and the quality of the post-sell assistance", Shan ROUF, CEO of AVIVA, stated.
by andreea.ionete@mxp.ro, 23.07.2007

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AUDATEX


Hotel CARMEN


NBM Reinsurance






WILLIS
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CEE, RUSSIA & CIS


Green Card checks on Romanian and Bulgarian drivers, abolished in EU
Bulgarian and Romanian drivers, traveling in European Union's member states, will not be checked on green cards, the international certificate of insurance, as of August 1.
The move enforces a directive of the European Commission (72/166/EEC), passed on July 9, after the fact that Romania and Bulgaria joined the multipartite agreement which is signed by the EU member states, the members of the CEE and ten associated members of the council of national bureaux of Andora, Croatia, Iceland, Norway and Switzerland.
In order to join the agreement Romania and Bulgaria had to prove a high percentage of MTPL range as well as the financial stability of the Guarantee Fund.
"It is a great achievement that Romanian drivers will travel much easier in the EU countries, without being checked on green cards insurance, also, they are obliged to respect the European and the national legislation of those countries and to possess an MTPL insurance", notted Angela TONCESCU, President, Insurance Supervisory Commission, Romania.
Also, the experts advise the drivers to keep the policy in case they are travelling in the CEE, in case of a road accident the MTPL insurance policy may not be read by the foreign authorities and registration plate verification may take unnecessary time if the driver just produces the Green Card certificate.
by oleg.doronceanu@mxp.ro, 17.07.2007


GRAWE Insurance Group opens new office in Moldavia
The Austrian GRAWE Insurance Group has recently opened its new office in Chisinau.
"We have been cooperating with Moldova from 2004. In 2006, GRAWE and Moldavian life insurer DONARIS merged, also, we have recently purchased about 80% of shares of the insurance company CARAT. Such approach will allow us to strenghten our financial positions on the Moldavian insurance market and to develop more actively", notted Peter KASYK, General Director, GRAWE.
KASYK remarked that GRAWE Asigurari de Viata, specialized on the life insurance field, has already wrote 5,33 thousand insurance policies in Moldova.
"We are planning to expand the range of our services by including property insurance in our portofolio, and the CARAT experience will help us to succed in that. At the sime time, we are actively involved in the financial and real property insurance. GRAWE intends to invest into real estate, by purchasing 2,3 thousand square meters", added KASYK.
The total area of the real estate, owned by Grawe, came to 1,4 million square meters and the number of the company's tenants reached 22 thousand.
In 2006 GRAWE paid out EUR 363,8 million in claims, an increase by 13.4% compared to 2006 results. Authorized capital of the company increased by 24.4%, up to EUR 542.6 millions and the number of insurance contracts reached 3.37 million.
by oleg.doronceanu@mxp.ro, 1.08.2007


CARDIF begins operations in Croatia
CARDIF, a subsidiary of French BNP PARIBAS Assurance, has obtained approval from Croatian regulatory authorities to begin marketing non life insurance policies in Croatia, according to companies' press release.
The new unit will begin by offering creditor insurance linked to cash and car loans. It will subsequently expand the product portfolio to mortgage loans, as well as GAP insurance.
CARDIF operations in the country are headed by Ana IVANCIC, who has a large experience in banking and pension fund management business in Croatia thus bringing in depth knowledge of the local financial market.
"Creditor insurance for bank loans does not exist as such in the Croatian market and we believe our new offer is aligned with the expectations of Croatian consumers," said Ana IVANCIC, Chief Executive of CARDIF in Croatia.
With a population of 4.5 million, Croatia is a promising market. The country is enjoying annual economic growth of 4,6 % and has a GDP of EUR 57,4 billion.
The launching of CARDIF is a first step for BNP Paribas' implementation in Croatia.
With this new license CARDIF now operates in 37 countries, with strong positions in Europe, Asia and Latin America.
BNP PARIBAS Assurance is the life and property & casualty insurance unit of BNP PARIBAS. It counts over 5,500 employees, more than half of them outside France.
BNP PARIBAS Assurance's 2006 gross written premiums totaled EUR 15, 6 billion, including 28 % from business outside France and 44% from business with partners outside the BNP PARIBAS Group.
BNP PARIBAS Assurance is the fourth-largest life insurance company in France and a worldwide leader in creditor insurance.
by oleg.doronceanu@mxp.ro, 28.07.2007



ALLIANZ interested in Kazakh Insurer ATF Polis

The Kazakh ATF Bank intends to sell 100% of the insurance company ATF Polis in the near future. ALLIANZ SE is interested in the acquisition, according to RP Newsline.
"We believe that the rapidly growing Kazakh market has good prospects and are currently considering ways to develop our representative office in this country. AFT Polis is an interesting company we are negotiating with", Hannes Chopra, ROSNO CEO, Chairman of the Board at ALLIANZ CIS Management and Executive Vice President of ALLIANZ SE declared.
AFT Bank Board of Directors decided to sell a 100% stake in the insurance company on July 16. The authorized capital of the insurer consists of 8,625 ordinary shares, the Kazakhstan stock exchange (KASE) reported on July 25.
Apparently, the decision to sell ATF Polis resulted from the ownership change in ATF Bank. This June, Bank Austria CREDITANSTALT, part of the financial group UNICREDIT, acquired 85% of the bank for EUR 1,7 billion.
Insurance company ATF Polis was set up by Kazakhstan-based ATF Bank in 1999. Its authorized capital amounts to EUR 10 millions.
In H1/2007, the company ranked among three leaders of the Kazakh non-life insurance market, accounting for 10.5% in premiums. In January-June 2007, the company generated EUR 14,2 millions in premiums and paid out EUR 529 thousands in claims.
by RP Newsline, 31.07.2007


BASLER granted operating license in Serbia
The National Bank of Serbia granted an operating license to the Belgrade based non-life insurance company BASLER.
Core activities of this company are non-life insurance, including accident insurance and voluntary health insurance, as well as other forms of property and liability insurance.
The founder of the company with majority interest is the legal entity BALOISE Holding, incorporated in BASEL, Switzerland. The same entity has recently set up a life insurance company in Serbia.
By establishing the non-life insurance company BASLER, this insurer has rounded up the full range of insurance services whom it intends to offer to its target consumer group in Serbia, which are primarily the physicians, dentists and other medical staff.
BASLER is the fifth insurance company established so far under the new Insurance Law of Serbia.
by oleg.doronceanu@mxp.ro, 27.07.2007


GENERALI is consolidating its position in Bulagaria
The Commission for Protection of Competition (CPC) approved the acquisition of the Bulgarian insurance company VICTORIA by FATA Assicurazioni Danni from Italy. The Italian company has bought 67% of the shares in the Bulgarian, according to insurance.bg.
FATA Assicurazioni Danni is owned by GENERALI, which holds several other companies in Bulgaria: GENERALI Bulgaria Holding, GENERALI Insurance and GENERALI Life Insurance. According to the competition regulator, the deal will not create dominant market position.
This acquisition, however, may allow GENERALI to make its market share as big as the ones of the four major companies on the Bulgarian market - UNIQA, VIENNA Insurance Group, ALLIANZ and aig. In this token the concentration may be beneficial for the competitiveness in the insurance field.
In the first quarter of 2007, GENERALI Insurance was one of the first ten companies in the non-life insurance market with 5.62% of the total gross premium written while VICTORIA was number 11 with 1.90% market share. GENERALI Life Insurance has 9.83% of the life insurance market in Bulgaria and is number 4 by premium written in Q1/2007.
by oleg.doronceanu@mxp.ro, 2.08.2007

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FINANCIAL NEWS



Romania's international reserves - EUR 24.07 billion

Romania's international reserves amounted to EUR 24.07 billion on July 31 2007, which is EUR 450 million over the level at the end of June, the National Bank announced, according to Mediafax.
The EUR 437.2 million currency reserve increase in July 2007 was the result of EUR 1.015 billion inflows, fuelled by European funds (EUR 185 million), revenues from the management of the international reserve, the increase of international prices of the governmental bonds in the BNR portfolio and others.
The monetary policy measures taken by the Romanian central bank (BNR) on Tuesday, such as increasing interests in the deposit facility and cutting the rate on the credit facility, are aimed at a better control of liquidity and diminishing short-term interest volatility, the specialists believe, Mediafax reports. "I think they want to have the best possible control over liquidity to prevent situations in recent history with overnight interest rates of 1 per cent or over 40 per cent", Radu CRACIUN, ABN AMRO Bank Romania analyst stated.
The Central Bank Board decided on keeping the 7% monetary policy interest rate halting the series of four consecutive cuts this year that brought the key interest down to 7 per cent from 8.75% early in the year.
by costi.boroda@mxp.ro, 2.08.2007



Romania, favorite country for investors in South - Eastern Europe
Romania is the main destination of foreign investors in South - Eastern Europe (SEE), according to a survey made by ERNST & YOUNG, quoted by Realitatea TV.
At the same time, Romania ranked the first among the countries of SEE which were appealing for foreign investments, between 2001 - 2005.
The foreign managers interviewed by ERNST & YOUNG believe that Romania will preserve this top position within SEE over the next three years, as well, but it may lose compared to countries of Central Europe because of poor infrastructure, political environment and bad life quality.
According to the survey, Romania attracted, between 2001 - 2005, 40% of direct foreign investments in the SEE region. Within this classification, Bulgaria is on second position, with 25%, followed by Turkey, with 20%, Serbia with 9% and Greece with 4%.
The main reasons due to which this region of Europe is regarded as appealing by foreign investors are low salary costs and productivity gains.
Most of the active international companies in the Romanian market registered higher revenues during the second quarter. They increased the number of staff and the volume of investments made, having a growing activity.
by costi.boroda@mxp.ro, 31.07.2007


First structural and cohesion funds reach Bucharest
Romania received the first structural funds from the European Union, a sum of EUR 75 million representing pre-financing of the "Competitiveness" operational program.
"The pre-financing awarded by the European Union would make up in the first year 2% of the total value of the programs. By the end of next week, the sums for the other four approved programs would be transferred so that the total funds received would reach EUR 300 million", Alice BATU, Secretary of state in the Ministry of Economy and Finances, stated.
Out of these funds, the state would cover the needed advance for the start of the projects elaborated by the public authorities and by the non-governmental organizations. For the public authorities the advance covers 15% of the value of the project, and for the NGOs the state can pay up to 40% of the investment's total.
"The first completely functional program would be the Regional one, and the management units of the other four approved programs would finalize the application guides and effectively start the activity by September", Bogdan DRAGOI, counselor for Sebastian VLADESCU - the secretary of state in the Ministry of Economy and Finances, stated.
At the start of July Romania obtained the European Commission's approval for five out of seven operational programs, thus ranking second after Austria in the EU member states table regarding the number of programs that received the European Executive's approval.
The Commission expressed its agreement for the Technical Assistance Operational Program, the Regional Operational Program, the Growth of Sector Economic Competitiveness Operational Program, Sector Transport Operational Program and the Sector Environment Operational Program.
The European Union funds for these programs amounts to around EUR 16 billion out of the total funds of EUR 19.3 billion that Romania could attract from the structural and cohesion funds. The two programs left in the approval procedure stage will receive the European Commission's green light in September.
by costi.boroda@mxp.ro, 26.07.2007


CNP: Net average wages to rise by 34.4%
Net average wages in Romania will increase by 34.4% in period 2007-2010, according to a report of the National Forecast Commission (CNP). Bucharest and Ilfov County are still expected to be the only one with values above the national average.
In 2010, the net average salary in Bucharest - Ilfov will reach RON 1,839, whereas the national average will be RON 1,370, reads a report titled "Regional gaps in 2010".
For this year, CNP estimates net average salaries of RON 1,019 at a regional level, and RON 1,345 for Bucharest - Ilfov.
In 2010, Bucharest will be followed by the South region, with RON 1,296. West, South-West, North-West, North-East regions will come next, with counties in the Central region ranking last with RON 1,210.
As compared to 2007, the only changes are reported for the South and West regions, which will switch places.
On the other hand, the Gross Domestic Product per capita will increase by over 45% in most development regions in 2007-2010, the only exception being the counties in the North-East region, where the GDP per capita will only pick up 12.2%. North-East is expected to remain the poorest region of the country. In terms of value, the GDP per capita in North-East will reach EUR 3,826 in 2010, as against the EUR 3,407 forecast for this year, reads the report.
According to CNP, the trade deficit of Romania will further deepen during 2007-2010, the only region with an excess during the whole period being the Southwest.
The region Bucharest-Ilfov will have the most important contribution to the trade deficit during the whole period, the difference between imports and exports rising from the level predicted for 2007, of EUR 13.83 billion, to EUR 22.13 billion in 2010.
by costi.boroda@mxp.ro, 24.07.2007


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