Legal eagles survey the market

Newsroom 14/11/2009 | 17:45

The sums financed have dropped considerably, while loan-to-value has fallen to less than 50 percent. Financing also comes with very strict pre-sale and pre-lease conditions, which are very difficult to meet given the contraction of the real estate market, added Dudoiu. While we've already endured serious economic contraction, the troubles are not over yet. “We will see a second wave of problems across Europe in the summer of 2010,” said Terry Carter, partner in restructuring services with Ernst & Young Central and Southeast Europe. But it will be the consumer who will turn everything around. As for banks addressing their toxic loans issues, Carter says that while everybody seems to be blaming everybody else, bankers tend to make the same mistakes during all economic downturns. The current situation may offer plenty of opportunities, but is there enough cash going around, he wondered. If there are opportunities out there, they are not being taken at the moment, said Gisj Klomp, managing partner with ING Real Estate. The CEE region has become a no-go area for investors in Western Europe. However, pricing has become more attractive and buyers have the upper hand while they can do stock picking. Financing a business during a downturn might be an issue, but many have used this period to start their own companies. The main advantages of a start-up during an economic downturn are less competition and the possibility of more easily reducing costs, said Dragos Cabat, managing partner of Financial View. Even with opportunities around, with cash having run dry, the number of mergers and acquisitions has dropped by 62 percent this year in Romania, compared to last year, according to Dan Weiler, executive director of corporate finance and investment banking with BCR. The average transaction this year was worth EUR 10 million, compared to EUR 29 million last year. “Shareholders and entrepreneurs were and still are adjusting to the new market conditions after rejecting offers last year two-three times higher than the ones received now,” said Weiler. Many Romania sellers are often behind the curve and end up selling for a lower price in the end, he added. But there's a silver lining too: strategic buyers are slowly coming back to the market worldwide.

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