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“Romanian model” for the Sovereign Fund: investments in “small projects with high rolling speed”

de Victor Bratu 7.5.2017

The Government is in a hurry and building the Sovereign Fund for Development and Investment (FSDI) so that it can come to fruition as quickly as possible.

FSDI will be built following “a Romanian model based on the experience of the other countries” and will focus first on “small projects with high rolling speed, meaning implementation, listing, sale of shares, refinancing, so that it can meet the big challenge of Romania’s industrialization and medium and long-term strategy,” according to an interview with the Minister of Economy Mihai Tudose (foto) for News.ro.

“We should make decisive steps, perfectly matched to what the fund means at the moment of the establishment and then, as it gains capitalization, increasing and more determined steps for sustainable development,” told Mihai Tudose for News.ro.

The government program mentions a mixed investment identity of FSDI, between the model aimed at building infrastructure and a model that pursues profits as high as possible in the medium term, rather inspired from the private equity investment practice.

According to the government program, the FSDI’s contribution is designed for:

  • Construction of highways, but also for
  • “establishing many manufacturing units in agriculture and industry”, or
  • “the capitalisation of many existing large businesses”.

Money

The fund will be financed by the dividends from the companies from its portfolio and have “an initial capitalization of about 1.8-1.9 billion lei as working capital. Dividends will come from the 25-30 state-owned profit-making companies that operate under the ministries of Energy, Transportation, Economy and Health, whether listed or not, but ultimately all the companies from the fund’s portfolio will be listed on the stock exchange.”

It is also under discussion whether to also finance the FDSI “by a share of royalty fees. Of the offshore royalty, yes or no. These are the last arrangements.”

On the other hand, the Minister of Energy, Toma Petcu, says: “We have asked the companies from the Ministry of Energy to mandatory forecast at least 20% (from the revenues, editor’s note) for investments this year. (…) We have forced them to bring another billion for investments in the budget because investments further generate taxes and employment,” said Toma Petcu, quoted by Agerpres.

How it will be administered

The fund will be administered “just as the corporate governance is now, the former Law 109, 111 now, with a supervisory board and the directorate. We try to have as many control keys as possible to make things go in the right direction, based on a competitive, apolitical management,” said Mihai Tudose.

However, in the first supervisory board, the Parliament will be represented, besides the National Bank and the Government, within a “structure of technical experts, to early warn on any potential of financial slippage. Then, the representatives appointed in the first phase, but with a legal term, to implement this type of corporate governance, the new Law 111, under a competitive selection of the management, present themselves with a letter of expectations,” added the Minister of Economy.

One of the ex-ante requirements set by the European Commission was “for this fund, which will be defining for Romania’s development, to have the stability and predictability component,” said Mihai Tudose, quoted by News.ro

Agenda

The Government strives to catch up with the timeline for the establishment of the Sovereign Fund for Development and Investments (FSDI) and will launch for a public debate the draft ordinance for setting up the fund probably on 15 May, when it will also be sent to “the international bodies, Eurostat, for validation,” said Mihai Tudose.

The 30-day public debate would end on 14 June, and the Government is to approve after a month the constitutive document of the FDSI, according to the agenda set in the memorandum of establishment approved in mid-February.

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