The long and tangled story of the life and death of Timpuri Noi factory

Newsroom 21/08/2018 | 15:01

Timpuri Noi is one of the factories that assisted the born of Romanian industry. Built in 1854, on a 5.4 hectares land close to actual Piata Unirii, it was a compressors, pumps and plant materials producer, that totaled almost 3,000 employees in the communist era. Now, with only 4 man, the shareholders of the factory, inactive since 2015, requested insolvency.

So, Timpuri Noi is following the road already paved by Steaua Romana Refinery from Campina, with actives on sale on Olx, or Traian Hotel in Iasi, on sale as well, around same age investments who witnessed the creation of modern Romania, its industry and services, and now took the road to perdition.

The company was, initially, a mechanical laundry, launched by French businessman  Louis Lemaitre and subsequent developed with a foundry, who produced weights and other official measuring instruments. Finally the company was nationalised in 1948 and produced heavy machinery, like locomotives and toggles.

After 1989, the financiar troubles started for Timpuri Noi and it was privatised in 2003 through a scheme that put down a lot of romanian companies. The employees’ association took over 70 percent of the shares, using the famous MEBO. In time, on an well known move, the shares concetrated in few powerfull hands.

The significant shareholders of the company are Gheorghe Ionescu, the father of Bogdan Ionescu, the former husband of Elena Basescu, the daughter of Traian Basescu (27.13 percent), the general manager of the company, Adrian Breazu (16.12 percent), Margareta Mandru (14.85 percent) and Gabriela Creteanu the wife of Sorin Creteanu, the majority shareholde fo construction company Comnors, (14.85 percent), and SIF Muntenia (22 percent).

The company was moved in Jilava in 2011, after the Bucharest land was sold for EUR 35 million to the developer Vastint which transformed the space in one of the most important real estate project, still in development, in the country, named Timpuri Noi Square.

The sad news is that the shareholders said that in 2007 they have received an offer of EUR 100 million for tha land. And probably that sum would have been enough to save the company, cover all the debts and fill the pockets of those in charge.

But, insead, it seems, that the EUr 35 million transaction was the end for Timpuri Noi. The turnover decreased anually, from RON 5.4 million in 2012, to only RON 466,249 in 2007. And the losses were even higher than the decrease of the turnover. In 2012, Timpuri Noi lost RON 7.4 million, and in 2017 RON 2.4 million. In total, around RON 30 million in the last five years. More than that, in 2017, the company owed RON 2 million to the state budget and had only 4 employees.

The withdrawall from the capital market

In 2015, three important events deadly affected the life of the company. The activity was completely halted, and Timpuri Noi was withdrawn from the Rasdaq market of Bucharest Stock Exchange and the decision started an animosity between SIF Muntenia (22 percent shares) and the other shareholders.

SIF Muntenia won in justice an action against the other shareholders and asked itself out of the company and demand the money for the 22 percent shares it owned, evaluated at around RoN 2,5 million.

But, according to, Timpuri Noi SA haven’t payed the money. Instead, in December last year, they decided in the shareholders assembly to reduce the company’s share capital by canceling the shares held by SIF Muntenia, moving the action again in court.

The short years of hapiness

After the sale of the land in Bucharest, the officials of the company said that EUR 20 million went to pay the debts, and the rest were used to build the new factory in Jilava. After the two years relocation project, finished, around 2013, the company changed is production profile and compressor, once the main commodity, cover only 20 percent of the productions, and the company concentrated on the production of castings for industrial aggregates.

There was even an intention to produce auto parts. All ended in 2015, and now with the insolvency all seems clear, the history of Timpury Noi factory ended after 154 years.

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