SEVE and MORE Group bring investors to Romania, among Greek turmoil

Ilias Papageorgiadis @ SEVE EventWednesday, 15th of June 2011, was a day of great upheaval for Greece, as thousands of people took to the streets in one of the greatest general strikes the country has seen since October 1989. The organizers of the “Exporting to Romania and its secrets” event, SEVE (The Exporters’ Association of Northern Greece) and their representatives in Romania, MORE Group, were uneasy and rightly so. 

They shouldn’t have worried, though. The hall of “Les Lazaristes” Hotel in Thessaloniki was filled with professionals and representatives of major companies interested in gathering information about Romania and the country’s potential. More than 150 people and 30 companies interested in exporting, expanding or investing in Romania were present, turning the event into a success not only for the organizers but also for further investments in Romania. 

The “Exporting to Romania and its secrets” conference, which had the support of the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs, brought together many of the most important names in the Greek and Romanian business sector, some taking an active part in the event, as speakers. Among them, we can name: 

  • Dimitris Lakasas, President of SEVE
  • Michalis Sotiriou, President of the Greek-Romanian Chamber of Commerce, CEO of Alumil Romania
  • Christos Seferis, COO of Ernst & Young for Central and Eastern Europe
  • Giorgos Pentaliotis, Head of Corporate of Bancpost, President of EFG Leasing Romania
  • Eirinikos Platis, Partner at Platis Basilescu Law firm
  • Panos Dialynas, Regional Operations Manager  Eurofast Global Limited
  • Ilias Papageorgiadis, official representative of SEVE in Romania, CEO of MORE Group.

Ilias Papageorgiadis, official representative of SEVE in Romania and CEO of MORE GROUP was the one to open the discussion, presenting Romania’s actual status and economic situation, focusing on the advantages of the country in regards to Greece and other Balkan countries and presenting the services that SEVE (through MORE Liaison Services) offers to Greek businessmen in Romania, also providing a short analysis regarding the Green Energy market in Romania,  he Real Estate market and the “5 simple practical steps needed to enter the Romanian business sector and establish your presence there”.

He was followed by Dimitris Lakasas, President of SEVE, who described Romania as: “a key market for Greece, with a strong interest for collaborations, exports and partnerships, as the 2 countries share many common points both in business and at a cultural and social level”.

Michalis Sotiriou, as President of the Greek-Romanian Chamber of Commerce, took to the stage next and stated that he believed Romania’s full potential is, as of yet, untapped. “We don’t export to Romania, we just sell there. We are so close.  For Northern Greece, especially, the distance required to sell to Romania is the same with Athens. Romania is a country where we feel comfortable and we share mutual respect with its citizens”. He also discussed the problems that some food exporters face and insisted that “the total overview of the country is positive, but people should also make careful market studies before entering”.

Then came the turn of Christos Seferis, COO of Ernst & Young for Central and Eastern Europe, who analyzed the economic situation of Romania, making a note of the ever present bureaucracy problem but stating that: “the country is exiting the crisis now and the potential is clearly positive”.

Giorgos Pentaliotis, Head of Corporate of Bancpost, President of EFG Leasing Romania, felt that Romania will witness progress during the following years and,probably, throughout the upcoming decade. He made it clear that Bancpost has started financing again, but this time “with different criteria then in the past and a new philosophy, adapted to today’s situation”. In addition, he explained the list of services and financing tools that his bank offers to exporters (and Romanian importers) and he clarified that Bancpost considers that the bilateral trade between the 2 countries “will increase and the bank will remain a main player in this market”.

Eirinikos Platis, Partner at Platis Basilescu Law firm, offered a much needed legal basis for the discussion stating that: “There are problems indeed, but if you study the market and you are organized, prepared and you collaborate with the right people, there is nothing unsolvable”.

Panos Dialynas, Regional Operations Manager, Eurofast Global Limited, was the last to speak, analyzing the financial and accounting standards of Romania, paying attention to the “many small changes which we need to keep an eye on, in order to avoid surprises”. 

About the “Exporting to Romania and its secrets” event,  Ilias Papageorgiadis, CEO of MORE Group and official representative of SEVE in Romania, had this to say: “As far as we are concerned the event was a success.I am very glad to see that there are many Greek professionals and companies interested in Romania for new business opportunities and investments.  We established many connections and the sheer number of people present at the conference, especially considering the social upheaval of today’s events in Greece, make us very hopeful for the future. ”

MORE Group in association with The Exporters’ Association of Northern Greece (SEVE) will organize several other events this year and also has planned a possible major event in Greece for companies interested in entering the Romanian Market. 

* The Exporters’ Association of Northern Greece (SEVE) was established in 1975 as a non-profit organization and is currently the largest association of exporting companies in Greece numbering more than 610 member-companies. 

SEVE’s mission is to consolidate, protect and promote the professional, economic, social and ethical interests of its members, to promote and support Greek products in foreign markets, to promote and support the development of international co-operation between Greek enterprises and those of other countries, to conduct market research in foreign countries, to collect and disseminate information and statistical data in order to inform its members, to cooperate with organizations worldwide and to implement European programs that sustain the economic interests of its members. 

*MORE Group has been active in Romania since 2004, being involved in over 300 deals, with a total value of approximately 500 million Euro. MORE has been active in international exhibitions since 2007, having participated in all the industry’s major events, representing Romania. The Group covers three fields of activity: Real Estate Properties, Services and Green Energy, focusing on Income Properties, Lands and opportunities.