AVE Romania aims to clean up on Moldovan market

Newsroom 04/02/2008 | 15:43

Before she joined the AVE Waste Management team, Cristina Bogdan, 26, was senior corporate relationship manager at Unicredit. Here she managed relationships with German and Austrian business officials and AVE was one of her clients. Bogdan was settled in banking, until AVE officials recruited her. “Because I had handled all AVE's banking operations in Romania, we developed a good relationship. I was surprised when they came to me with the proposal. I don't have experience, but I am eager to learn,” Bogdan told BR.
Boss from the beginning of the year, she is tasked with making a consistent profit and turnover in a traditionally male-dominated industry. A challenge, she says: “It is true that at the beginning certain people might look down on you because you're a woman, but once they see that you know what you're talking about they start seeing you as a partner.”
And a partner who has set a high goal for AVE team: to develop the company's services on the local market, expand the client portfolio and triple the turnover. “For me the goal at AVE is to build a good team in Romania, a team that can make real all these projects and develop in the same rhythm that the market does,” said the AVE CEO.

Shopping for garbage businesses
Bogdan says that this year the company has to reach a turnover of EUR 6.6 million, from EUR 2.2 million at the end of last year. “The turnover increase will be influenced by the expansion of the client portfolio. We're planning to reach 4000,000 residential customers, from just 200,000 last year and 5,000 commercial clients, a rise of 20 percent,” she added. The CEO believes this is feasible, given the company's plans to expand its operations to several cities. “We will expand only through acquisitions and different tenders. So far we have units in Odorheiul Secuiesc and Harghita and we are planning to expand to Cluj, Iasi and Bucharest. We have identified the companies we plan to acquire and we mean to finalize these acquisitions by the end of the year,” she added.
The company's projects do not stop there. AVE officials have announced that they will build in Romania, in partnership with Austrian company Swietelsky, a waste storehouse with a capacity of one million tonnes, which will be used for 30 years. “The project will be based in Petrila and at this point we are discussing the details of the association. We will definitely start the collaboration for this project, but there are some aspects that have to be made clear for both sides, in order to start the project in two-three months,” said Bogdan. To date the company has invested more than EUR 15 million in its current units in Romania.

Dealing with competition
Bogdan also told Business Review that AVE Waste Management is interested in the Moldovan market. “We've already had discussions with officials from Chisinau, the city where the AVE unit will be sited, and I can say that it is a done deal. The unit will be completed by the end of this year and at the beginning operations on the Moldovan market will be handled from Bucharest,” she said.
Competition on this business segment is fierce. The market is divided between Rosal, Remat, REBU, Urban and AVE Waste Management. The industry is just developing in Romania. “The competition is tough but thanks to our know-how the outlook is good for us. There are lots of areas where we can expand, because this segment has so far been overlooked. EU regulations have started to be implemented into Romania,” said the AVE CEO.
Recently, the Israeli company Environmental Energy Resources (EER), part of Shrem Fudim Kelner holding, signed a partnership to build a recycling factory in Romania, an investment estimated at EUR 30 million.
Rosal Group, one of the top companies on this segment, reported last year a turnover over EUR 30 million. Between 2006 and 2007, it made investments of approximately EUR 40 million. “At least 70 percent of our industry is not yet accounted for. This allows organic growth in the coming year,” said Honorius Prigoana, Rosal manager.
Players say competition will increase in the coming years. One factor is that the European Union has put at Romania's disposal millions of euros to invest in a clean environment.

By Dana Ciuraru

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