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Bucharest
July 31, 2021
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NEWS IN BRIEF

League 1, round 1


Romania’s football champions CFR Cluj will kick off the 2010-2011 season away against Universitatea Craiova, July 24, according to Thursday’s draw at the headquarters of the Professional Football league (LPF). The round’s match schedule is as follows: Rapid – FC Vaslui; FCM Targu Mures – FC Brasov; Universitatea Cluj – Steaua; Universitatea Craiova – CFR Cluj; FC Timisoara – Gloria Bistrita; Victoria Branesti – Gaz Metan Medias; Astra Ploiesti – Dinamo; Sportul Studentesc – Otelul Galati; International Curtea de Arges – Unirea Urziceni.


Hodgson named new Liverpool manager


Roy Hodgson was tasked with reviving Liverpool’s flagging fortunes on Thursday when the much-travelled 62-year-old was confirmed as the club’s new manager after resigning from Fulham. The 18-times English champions, who parted company with Spaniard Rafael Benitez in June, said Hodgson had agreed a three-year contract. Vastly experienced, Hodgson takes over after a woeful season for the Anfield club, who finished seventh and missed out on qualifying for the lucrative Champions League.


Tour de France
is starting



Tour de France Cycle race starts on Saturday in Rotterdam. Once again, Alberto Contador is the Tour de France favourite and, once again, Lance Armstrong stands in his way. Although Luxembourg’s Andy Schleck seems to be his main challenger, Armstrong will lead a very strong RadioShack team that could, if they do not help their man to win the Tour, cause havoc in the three-week race and deny Contador a third title.

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Football: Lucescu, Ukraine’s best coach


Mircea Lucescu, the Romanian coach of Ukraine’s Shakhtar Donetsk, has been chosen best coach in the Ukrainian 2009-2010 season, a title he wins for the second year in succession, according to standings of the Ukrainian Premier League, the Shakhtar website reports. The top rankers in the other categories are as follows: best player – Darijo Srna (Shakhtar), best player; best goal keeper – Andriy Pyatov (Shakhtar); best referee – Victor Shvetsov. All the winners will be handed awards at a ceremony July 4, before the start of Ukraine’s Supercup game pitting Shakhtar against Tavria Simferopol, in Zaporoje.


Romanian referees
in Europa League



Romanians Marius Avram and Istvan Kovacs will be central referees in two of the Europa League first round games to be played Thursday, according to the UEFA website. Avram will referee the FC Rabotnicki Macedonia) – FC Lusitans (Andorra) match, and Kovacs, the game between Azerbaijan’s FL Qarabag and Macedonia’s Metalurg Skopje.


Gymnastics:
Forminte back with the national team



Nicolae Forminte, a former coordinating coach with the women’s gymnastics team, eventually agreed to join the technical staff coordinated by Octavian Bellu, Mariana Bitang and Anca Grigoras, Agerpres reports. Forminte, who originally declined the offer, met with Octavian Bellu, Mariana Bitang and Gymnastics Association officials Tuesday, to establish how the collaboration will unfold. “He is at the training site. We have set some major targets at the World Championships, the Olympic games, and will definitely try to achieve them,” Mircea Apolzan, the Association’s general secretary said. The technical staff will make their debut against England, in Ispwich, August 12-16.

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Chamber of Deputies budget-finance
committee scraps
lump tax



The Chamber of Deputies budget-finance committee has passed an amendment eliminating the lump tax. “It was an older law with several fiscal provisions, among which scrapping the lump tax. Today, in the budget-finance committee, Liberal Party deputies, together with those of the Social Democrats, held the majority and succeed in passing that amendment,” PNL Deputy Eugen Nicolaescu said, quoted by Agerpres. He said an amendment cutting foodstuffs VAT to 5 per cent was also passed. “There are several tax , including the foodstuffs VAT being cut to 5 per cent, and a number of state assistance schemes for small and medium-sized enterprises in difficulty, containing payment exemptions for up to five years, after a notification to the European Commission, but the legislative framework has been created whereby the economy can work better than until now,” Nicolaescu explained, adding the draft law in question received a favourable report expected to reach plenum in autumn most likely.


Goicea: Energy
producers must
be privatised



Romania’s energy strategy is ‘a dead paper’ and the state must privatise energy producers because it has no money to invest, First Vice-President of the New Energy Sources Employers’ Association (SunE) Adrian Goicea says. The energy strategy paper prepared in 2006 originally provided for the privatisation of some energy producers, operations in which several prominent energy groups in Europe showed an interest. The following governments, however, kept amending the strategy and, finally, scrapped the objective. ‘All thermal power stations must be revamped in order to curb NOx. The alternative is closing down or buying emissions certificates, which would raise the price of energy no matter how that energy is generated – by thermal power stations, hydroelectric power station, from renewable sources, etc. Who’s going to invest what it is required, knowing that the state has no money available?’ Goicea further said.


New retail vice-president at BCR


As of yesterday, Banca Commercial Romana (BCR) has a new vice-president in charge of retail operations – Oana Petrescu, replacing Martin Skopek who has been appointed on the Executive Board of Erste. So far, Petrescu has served as Operations and IT executive vice-president. BCR’s CEO Dominic Bruynseels will take over the co-ordination of the Operations and It line of business. Petrescu is also Vice-President of the Romanian Banks’ Associations.


RON 4.3 M for IT projects


The Ministry of Communications and Information Society (MCSI) has approved the payment of RON 4.3 M worth of structural funds for projects designed to promote Internet access, Mediafax informs. The sum accounts for 78 per cent of the total contracted amount within the first call for projects addressed to the IT sector. According to its own data, MCSI has signed a total of 122 projects worth RON 5.6 M with various small and medium operators. The contracted projects are aimed at helping companies connect to broadband internet and purchase appropriate IT equipment. Eligible expenditures are those with the procurement of IT equipment, software licenses and company/NGO presentation website.


ANAT: Tour operators won’t raise prices


Tour operators who are members of the National Association of Tour Operators (ANAT) are not raising summer packages’ prices following the VAT increase, Mediafax informs. ANAT says, in the context of austerity measures taken by the government, sales for selected destinations in the last two months were down some 20-40 per cent compared to the similar period last year.


ANAF collects incomes worth RON 11.23 bln


The National Agency for Fiscal Administration (ANAF) in June collected for the state budget incomes worth RON 11.23 bln, 0.5 pc more than planned and 11.2 pc more than a year ago, against the background of better than expected VAT incomes, Mediafax reports. The incomes planned by the Public Finance Ministry for June amounted to RON 11.17 bln. Revenues to the state budget in June reached RON 7.38 bln, 5.32 pc more than planned and 24.97 pc above the incomes of June 2009, of RON 5.9 bln. The better than expected result was mainly driven by the value-added tax, which brought RON 3.23 bln, 12.68 pc more than provided by the budget and 18.32 pc higher than a year ago. Excise duties brought RON 1.37 bln to the budget, i.e. some 3 pc less than planned, but 22.72 pc more than in June last year.

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Heat insulation financed with
state-guaranteed bank loans



Regional Development Minister Elena Udrea Wednesday evening stated that the executive had adopted a normative act giving owners of homes included in the thermal insulation programme to pay their share of the cost with a state-guaranteed bank loan with a subsidized interest rate, Mediafax informs. The loan will be possible to take for a period of five years. The youth housing programme will be implemented with financing raised through public-private partnerships. The current heat insulation programme is 50 per cent funded by the government, 30 per cent by municipalities and 20 per cent by homeowners’ associations. The government approved an emergency ordinance setting up the National Housing Agency, introducing the option of developing housing programmes in public-private partnership. More specifically, the normative act promotes the development of a programme for the construction of homes to be rented out or/and sold by attracting private capital under public-private partnerships, and allows for buildings that have been already developed to a certain stage to be completed in the framework of the programme.


Commerzbank: Import tax more effective than higher corporate tax


A tax on import would be much more effective than higher taxes on companies that anyway tend to be inclined to report loss more often than profit, Tatha Ghose with German bank Commerzbank suggests, according to HotNews.ro. The bank official is quoted in an analysis of the Romanian economy performed by Roubini Global Economics, showing that hiking taxes now would be a hindrance on Romania’s growth prospects and would also pose an important inflation risk. The Roubini Global Economics analysis say that, by keeping key-interest unchanged, Romanian central bank BNR meant to mitigate the effects of the VAT increase ad hedge against risks coming from the political region. Economist and Nobel Prize winner Paul Krugman warns about governments being wrong to expect tax rises and lumping demand to bring about economic growth. The price will be paid by dozens of millions of jobless people. Global economy may plunge into a new depression, therefore governments should take into account dropping consumption and deflation in their policies, Antena3.ro quotes the American economist as saying.


Some retailers not raising prices following VAT increase


A few retail chains have announced they were not going to increase prices following the value-added tax rise from 19 to 24 per cent and that they would meet the cost difference themselves. Two of them are Billa and IKEA. Carrefour, on the other hand, says it will keep prices unchanged until July 12 and CDE R Interex – until September 30. Online store eMAG will help customers recover the five per cent price difference by giving them coupons.

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Inflation ebbed by 1.4 pc in euro zone in June


The annual inflation rate ebbed, in the euro zone, from 1.4 per cent to 1.6 per cent in May, according to preliminary estimates presented yesterday by Eurostat. Inflation rate in June is below the economists’ estimates and indicates that prices remain exposed to negative pressures, which hinder the pace of economic recovery, Reuters informs. Eurostat provides, in its Wednesday release, no details on the inflation rate in the member states, nor any information on the factors influencing the price rise in June. According to Reuters, the June inflation in the euro zone was reduced, most likely, by the lower than estimated price rise in Germany, the biggest European economy.


EC fines 17 steel-
manufacturers
by EUR 518 M



The European Commission (EC) applied a total fine of EUR 518 M to 17 steel-makers, including ArcelorMittal and Voestalpine, for involvement in cartel-like activities, by which they fixed prices in most EU member states for 18 years, Reuters informs. EC announced yesterday that these companies formed a cartel between January 1984 and September 2002 which included all member states except for the United Kingdom, Ireland and Greece. The harshest fine, of EUR 276 M, was imposed on ArcelorMittal. According to the EU Executive, the companies involved in the cartel used to meet behind closed doors, during international events in the steel industry. The Commission claims it has evidence attesting that over 550 such meetings took place in hotels throughout Europe.


New member of the Public Finance Committee


The Parliament validated, on Tuesday, unanimously, in the absence of Social Democratic Party (PSD) and National Liberal Party (PNL) deputies and senators, Liviu Costache as member of the Public Finance Committee. Liviu Costache obtained 238 votes in favour, the votes of all MPs present. On the same day, the Parliament validated, unanimously, in the absence of the PSD and PNL deputies and senators, the five members who will make up the Tax Council. PSD and PNL MPs left the meeting during debates to elect the presidents of the National Television and Romanian Radio Society (SRR) Boards of Administration.


New strategy and business development director at Aviva Europe


Robert Lough is the new Strategy and Business Development Manager of Aviva Europe, as of July 1st 2010, the company announces in a press release. He will directly report to Andrea Moneta, chief executive, Aviva EMEA, and will be in charge with the corporate strategy, business development and M&A teams of Aviva’s European businesses, developing the franchise network in the region, including the developed markets of Poland, Turkey and Russia. Robert Lough has more than 20 years’ experience in investment banking as an advisor in the financial services sector, in international equity capital markets and corporate restructuring. He joins Aviva from the position of chief financial officer and head of strategy with Pioneer Global Asset Management – the fund management arm of UniCredit Group.


Former owners to receive FP stock, instead of cash


Former owners who were abusively deprived of their property during the communist era will not receive money compensations for the next two years, as the due sums will be converted into stock in the Proprietatea Fund (FP), under an Emergency Ordinance being drafted by the government. As provided by acting legislation, the people whose property was nationalised by communist authorities are entitled to receive cash compensations up to RON 500,000, while any sum that exceeds this ceiling will be converted into FP shares. “This draft Emergency Ordinance suspends the issuing of pay orders for a two-year interval, when the bills issued by the Central Commission for Compensations will be converted into shares in the Proprietate Fund, as per option,” reads the justification memo of the draft act.


Rompetrol Rafinare increase its capital by RON 450 M


Shareholders in Rompetrol Rafinare (RRC) okayed yesterday a capital increase by RON 450 M, via contribution in cash, in view of repaying part of the company debt to the state. “(…) This capital increase is made so the company can make a partial payment and repurchase an adequate part of the bonds issued by the company,” reads a communiqué sent to the Stock Exchange. The operation will consist in issuing a maximum 4.5 bln new shares, at a face value of 0.1 RON/unit, equal to the subscription price.


Transfagarasan reopens traffic


The Transfagarasan mountain road reopens today to car traffic for the summer months, the National Company of Roads and Motorways (CNADNR) announces. DN 7C will stay open from July 1st to August 31, but authorities warn that restrictions will be in effect on certain road segments. “Drivers must observe the existing traffic signs, as restrictions are in effect on the dangerous segments of the road. (…) Drivers must keep in mind that night traffic (9.00 PM to 7.00 AM) is prohibited from Km 104+000 to km 129+000 (Balea Waterfall),” reads a CNADNR release.

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Tarom changes checked luggage rules as of July 1


On July 1, Tarom is changing rules applicable to checked luggage from the current weight-based to a new per-piece regime, so that economy class passengers will pay five-times less for excess checked luggage, the airline informed on Wednesday. ‘Business class passengers will have the option of checking in three standard pieces of luggage and the economy class passengers will be entitled to one standard piece of luggage. Flying Blue passengers who hold Elite or Elite Plus cards may check two to four pieces of luggage according to their travel class’, a Tarom press release indicates. The change will be implemented only on flights operated with Tarom’s own aircraft.


Carpatair introduces online check-in service


Carpatair on June 24 implemented an online check-in service that is available for use by passengers up to an hour prior to the time of departure, according to a press release. The service is available for flights departing from Romania, R. Moldova, Hungary and Ukraine, but will soon be rolled out to the entire Carpatair flight network, including flights departing from Italy, Greece and Germany. Airline passengers can also choose to be checked-in traditionally, at the airport, without any extra charges. The new service allows passengers to choose the seat they prefer on the plane and have the option of checking their luggage at special drop-off points and can also complete the check-in procedure online for return flights that are schedules after a short period of time.


Faur Bucharest
delivers devices
for Airbus aircraft



Faur Bucharest (FAU), company specializing in manufacturing and repairs of rolling stock, has delivered to French company Latecoir the devices that will equip the assembling lines of the most recent large-capacity Airbus plane A380, Mediafax informs. Latecoir specialises in the engineering of and technical assistance for precision tools used for the mounting of the wings of Airbus planes. The company notes it is awaiting the results of the trials and that the next order is scheduled to be completed this autumn. The company is also developing a partnership for manufacturing cane hauling locomotives in Cairo, Egypt, having so far delivered over 50 such units and also ‘having progressed’ negotiations with the Transport City Authority of Alexandria, Egypt, in connection with a prospective tram delivery contract, Faur also notes.


Movidius scoops first Romanian R&D grant from EU


Movidius has been awarded a research and development grant from the first EU fund targeting Romania’s R&D sector. This grant from the Regional Competitiveness and Employment Objective will enable Movidius to allocate a team of engineers and academics, boosting its development of 3D video capabilities and design tools for its Myriad mobile multimedia platform, a press release informs. Since the company’s launch, Movidius has had a substantial development presence in Timisoara, Romania, today employing over 30 engineers focused on software development for the Myriad platform. Movidius is a fabless semiconductor company whose technology delivers unique video editing and post-production capabilities for the creation of User Generated Content for mobile social networking.

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