Romania's Richest Man Says He Has No Faith in the Romanian Capital Market

Romania's Richest Man Says He Has No Faith in the Romanian Capital Market

Romania's richest man, Dinu Patriciu, whose fortune is estimated at 2.5 billion dollars, says he does not trust the domestic capital market and expects steep declines in the coming period, Ziarul Financiar reported.

"I do not invest on the Romanian capital market. When the fifth-largest bank in the States (Bear Stearns i.e.) collapses, you want me to have faith in the Romanian market? I'd rather invest in hedge funds, derivatives and a variety of shares on other capital markets, which can offer better medium and long-term yields than a market that is experiencing a crisis," said Dinu Patriciu, chairman and chief executive of the Rompetrol petroleum group.

He says the value of the capital market in Romania is now twice as high as its actual value. Patriciu owns two companies that are listed on the Bucharest Stock Exchange, Rompetrol Rafinare and Rompetrol Well Services, about which he suggested not to buy shares into from the capital market.

The businessman also reiterated his statements about the decline of the domestic real estate market, and also announced a 200 million-euro project, which is scheduled for development near Casa Presei in Bucharest over the next two years.

"Look at the volume of transactions since the beginning of the year and compare it with the volume twelve months ago. Real estate developers continue to ask for high prices, but it seems no one is willing to pay them," Patriciu said.

As far as his own real estate project is concerned, Patriciu says the main purpose is to build Rompetrol's new headquarters, several office buildings and 1,000 homes.

"In 1991, I bought 150,000 square metres behind Casa Presei. Over the next two years, we will build Rompetrol's new headquarters, several office buildings and 1,000 houses. The value of the project amounts to 200 million euros and will be implemented in partnership with a major real estate fund," Patriciu explained, but did not reveal the land's price or the name of the property fund.

Dinu Patriciu, who still owns 25% in Rompetrol together with his American partner Phil Stephenson, after the deal whereby he sold 75% to state-owned KazMunaiGaz, says he does not want to sell the rest of the shares.

"It's about all or nothing here. I cannot sell to another interested investor, only to KazMunaiGaz; as such it is about nothing at the moment. We are good partners but I am not considering a sale yet," Patriciu stated. The businessman sold 75% in Rompetrol group in a deal put at 2.7 billion dollars, calculated from the 3.6 billion-dollar figure at which the entire group was appraised.

Patriciu says the group's business will reach 12 billion dollars this year.

"Across the entire group we will reach turnover worth 10-12 billion dollars this year, more likely 12, especially due to the increase in the trading segment where we sold 7 million tonnes of petroleum. Dyneff (a French company Rompetrol took over in 2006) generated 3 billion dollars last year, but I think the business will reach 3.7 billion dollars this year," Patriciu added.

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