Local businessman buys ATE Bank Romania

Newsroom 22/04/2013 | 07:54

Romanian millionaire Dorinel Umbrarescu last week acquired a 93.27 percent stake in ATE Bank Romania from Greek lender Piraeus Bank, in a deal worth EUR 10.3 million.

Umbrarescu has a strong presence in the construction sector, mainly road infrastructure. He ranks ninth in the Forbes list with an estimated fortune of EUR 360 to 380 million.

His companies, Tehnostrade and UMB Spedition, had a combined profit of around EUR 70 million in 2011. Critics say Umbrarescu has been able to secure major road infrastructure projects with state-owned companies for more than a decade because of his close ties with high-ranking government officials.

He is one of three “asphalt kings” in Romania, whose companies have secured lucrative contracts for building roads and highways. Critics complain that these businessmen were paid hefty sums from the public coffers but delivered poor results.
Marinel Burduja, who led the negotiation process, is tipped to become head of the new lender, according to Mediafax newswire. Last week Burduja was named board member of Leumi bank, the local subsidiary of Israeli Leumi Group. He was also the lead vice-president of Raiffeisen Bank Romania.

In the middle of last year, Piraeus Bank Greece acquired ATE Bank Greece, including all its subsidiaries in the region.
Deal making in the banking sector kicked off in March with Raiffeisen Bank Romania’s acquisition of the retail arm of Citibank. Raiffeisen took over a portfolio of 100,000 customers with assets of over EUR 90 million and deposits exceeding EUR 175 million.

According to media reports, Raiffeisen Banks is also interested in taking over the local subsidiary of Bank of Cyprus, with assets worth EUR 450 million. Romanian lender Banca Transilvania is another bidder for the beleaguered institution, which ceased its local operations on April 1. The two bidders were unsuccessful in their attempt to buy or partially take over the Cyprus-based bank, as they submitted offers below the consultants’ asking price, according to Mediafax newswire.

Law firm Tuca Zbarcea & Asociatii advised Piraeus Bank on the sale. The team of lawyers working on the deal was coordinated by Mihai Dudoiu and Razvan Gheorghiu-Testa, both partners at the Romanian law firm.

Ovidiu Posirca

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