Italian investments in Romania – achievements and prospects


Italian entrepreneurs were among thefirst investors that saw the opportunitiesprovided by Romania in the years immediatelyafter the 1989 revolution, when thecountry opened to the free market.The first Italian investments inRomania, which largely came from Veneto,at least in this first phase, focused on labourintensive sectors and were characterised bythe partial outsourcing of production andthe development of processing typologiesto the account of third-parties, using raw orsemi-processed materials coming fromItaly.As a consequence, the economic contextgradually changed, the opportunitieswhich, little by little, were crystallised inthe country attracted investors from all theregions of Italy, besides those coming fromthe rest of Europe.One of the most important years for therecent history of Romania was 2007, whenthe country acceded to the EuropeanUnion. This event was also important inrelation to the presence of Italian businesspeople,some sort of “water breakers” at atime characterised by a phenomenon ofreal outsourcing to another, in fact, a phenomenonthat had already started the previousyears, during the pre-accession phasecharacterised by a real internationalisation,with more structured and oriented investment,also, toward entering the local market.

At the same time, Romaniaadvanced economically andbecame a strategic country for thecompanies interested in takingprofit on the big opportunitiesprovided by the centre and east ofEurope.Italian entrepreneurs startedfounding joint-ventures or stipulatingcontracts with local producersfor providing and assemblingmechanical parts or instrumentalgoods, up to the directinvestments made by large Italiangroups. The developments in thesector of services developed inparallel.Today, one can affirm thatItalian enterprises reached thematurity phase of a net orientationof productive operationstoward the main scope of enjoyingan advantage in terms oflabour costs. This phase thatcharacterised the Italian presencein the decade that followed therevolution was accompanied by amore evolved way of internationalisation,aimed at stabilising apermanent position of the Italianenterprise in the Romanian economy.This evolutionary phenomenonalso referred to the enterprisesthat, in the beginning, simplydelocalised their productive operationsbut which, in time, withthe increase of labour costs,which were no longer as satisfactoryas in the past, restructuredtheir production processes, grewroots and became an importantpart of the local economic tissue.Today, these companies look tothe market of Romania and ofeastern Europe with differenteyes, have created strong economicand affective ties with theterritory, feel Romanian and trulyunderstand how to be protagonistsof the future economicdevelopment of Romania.Today, not only small andmedium-sized enterprises arepresent, but also Italian companiesof average and large size arepresent and transferred significantfinancial and technologicalinvestments to Romania.In spite of the crisis, the countrycontinues to provide opportunitiesfor investments. The sectorsconsidered as particularlyinteresting in terms of developmentactions for the promotionof Italia FDIs in Romania areinfrastructure, the production ofenergy, agriculture, solving theproblem of waste, food processing,the metalmechanic industry,health and outsourcing.The access to the EU and thesubsequent European supportrepresent the strongest incentivefor a development which thecountry had never experiencedand represent one of the majorways of overcoming the effects ofthe economic crisis. It is thus anunprecedented opportunity providedto Italian entrepreneurs –powerful in terms of own technologyand experience acquiredin using the EU structural funds– in order to expand in Romania.The presence of the Italianentrepreneurship is already widespreadthroughout the wholecountry, even though data stillshow a certain concentration inthe regions of the country firsttargeted by Italian investments.Among these, relevant is the traditionalpresence of entrepreneursin the North-West, especiallyin the Timis province,where it was reproduced a realmodel of Italian province (morethan 2,755 active Italian andcompanies and joint-ventures).This geographic area and in theadjacent provinces (Arad, Bihor,Cluj) still regroup almost onethird of the Italian entrepreneurialpresences in Romania (34.1pc), while a fifth of our companiesinvested in the Bucharestmunicipality (21.4 pc).On 31 December 2013,according to data released by theNational Trade Register Office, atotal number of 37,029 companieswith Italian participationwere registered, of which 17,883were active, with a subscribedcapital of approximately EUR1.614 bln. In 2013, 1,986 newcompanies with Italian participationwere registered, accountingfor 31.1 pc of the total number ofnew companies with foreign participationregistered in Romania.Taking into consideration thenumber of new companies withforeign participation (data takenfrom the Trade Register), 6,385new companies were registered inRomania last year, which puts thetotal number of companies withforeign participation at 192,416since the year 1991.For over 10 years, Italy continuesto be the main investorstate through the number of registeredcompanies, while ranking7 among the first investors, interms of invested capital.As for the capital subscribedby the companies with Italianparticipation, the first place isoccupied by the sector of financialintermediation (17.3 pc), followedby the sector of rubber andplastics (17.3 pc). In the traditionalmanufacturing sectors,which experienced an investmentboom in the ‘90s (such as foodindustry, manufacturing ofleather and garment items, woodprocessing and the manufacturingof furniture), this presence isno longer significant, with textileproducers accounting for only1.2 pc, while garment manufacturersrepresent only 1.3 pc. Inthe TOP of companies withItalian participation, also in termsof subscribed capital, we findBanca Intesa San Paolo SA, followedby Pirelli Tyre RomaniaSrl, SIAD Romania SRL, FataAsigurari SRL, Veneto BancaHolding, Acciaierie Beltrame,Edenred Romania SRL andButangas SPA. (Made by ICE Bucharest, usingdata from the Trade Register)

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