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Sunday, April 29, 2012

Privatisation in Romania; The New Cohort of Opportunists

My First Book online, download for free:

Dr Olga Lazin wants you to see a pin 'Near UCLA, with my dogs.', on

Dr Olga said:

"a cute pic with dogs in the Homlby park."

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What you need to get into UCLA: 1 Offical transcripts from college.
My requirements for a letter of recommendations:
"You are required to provide letters of recommendation from individuals who are well acquainted with your performance in a work setting, preferably from direct supervisors. If you have been working less than two years, you may include an academic recommendation in place of one that is work related. The title or position of your recommender is less important than their ability to comment knowledgeably about your managerial and professional abilities and/or potential".
The other recommendation will come from my employer who I worked for this last summer, but as you can see I can replace the other work one with an academic recommendation if you comment about my potential. Attached are 4 recommendations from my employers, so you can get an idea of my business potential and abilities in the work place. "
On ROmania:

April 16, 2012 10:19 pm, FT
Shared services: Offices in smaller cities attract IT outsourcing
By Jan Cienski in Krakow

Growth industry: the office parks of suburban Kraków are home to one of the most dynamic shared services markets in the world
Poland’s medieval capital is well known as a tourist magnet, but away from the market square, royal castle and gothic churches, the office parks of suburban Kraków are home to one of the most dynamic shared services markets in the world.
The sector provides more than 25,000 jobs and companies such as Lufthansa,Shell, Google and HSBC have set up back-office operations in the city.

These businesses are attracted by the large number of skilled and multilingual local university graduates, cheaper labour than in western Europe, and the growing availability of modern office space.
“About 80 per cent of our clients are shared service companies,” says Dorota Turska, marketing officer at Buma, a Kraków developer.
Some of the company's recent projects have been rented out to Capgemini, the consultancy, andMotorola, the US electronics group.
Andrew Hallam, general secretary of Aspire, a Polish business process outsourcing (BPO) organisation, says that the sector’s headcount is growing by about 25 per cent a year.
Putting all those people behind computers in new office parks is becoming a driver of the local real estate market in Kraków. Office stock in the city has reached 517,000 sq m, according to DTZ, the property company.
The vast majority of this is aimed at the BPO sector, which places Kraków second to Warsaw in the Polish office market.
The capital, with 3.6m sq m of office space, caters to a much broader range of clients and is becoming too expensive, due to higher labour costs (labour accounts for about 80 per cent of the operational costs of a BPO investment), low unemployment and office costs that are close to €20 per sq m in the centre of the city, compared with about €13 in Kraków.
While Kraków has been the most successful regional magnet for BPO investment – a recent ranking of the top BPO centres in the world by Tholons, the consultancy, put it in 11th place – this dynamic has been repeated around the country.
Hadley Dean, managing partner for central Europe at Colliers, the property company, estimates that about 80 per cent of the office demand in Poland's secondary cities comes from BPO investments.
This has put a premium on designing flexible open-plan office space with reinforced floors and ventilation in order to accommodate banks of servers and high-quality telecommunications links that allow workers to connect with customers and head offices in other countries.
“The demands of the companies are often very high. IBM or Infosys [the IT companies] cannot afford to rent a building that does not meet their standards,” says Waldemar Olbryk, managing director of Skanska Property Poland.
As investments have grown, vacancy rates in the most popular secondary cities have begun to fall. Kraków has a vacancy rate of 7.8 per cent, according to DTZ, but that is expected to tighten to 5-6 per cent by the end of the year; Wroclaw has a vacancy rate of only 4 per cent.
Tighter property markets as well as the hunt for untapped labour markets is beginning to push investors into cities such as Bialystok and Rzeszow in Poland's undeveloped east, says Jacek Levernes, an executive at HP, the computer maker, and head of a Polish BPO lobby group.
“There are cities beyond Wroclaw and Kraków that need a couple of benchmark investments to make the sector come alive,” he says.
BPO also plays a huge role in the office markets of other central European countries. The region captured about a fifth of new outsourcing business globally in 2010, says Tholons.
Although Prague continues to attract new shared service centres, costs are rising and more investments are beginning to spring up in Czech cities such as Brno and Ostrava.
“Capitals such as Sofia, Budapest and Bucharest are not saturated with BPO investments like Warsaw and Prague,” Mr Dean says. “[Here] you can find effective rents for under €10 per sq m, which is impossible in Warsaw and increasingly difficult in Kraków and Wroclaw.”
The vacancy rate in Budapest hovers around 20 per cent, finds a new study by Jones Lang LaSalle, the property company, and new BPO entrants continue to arrive.
In Romania, Bucharest is still the main hub for BPO investments, and has a vacancy rate of about 17 per cent.
Although central Europe faces fierce competition from Indian and Chinese cities, the region has advantages stemming from its close geographic and cultural proximity to western Europe, which should allow shared service offices to continue to grow.


Romania: struggling to privatise
April 12, 2012 by Andrew MacDowall

The abruptly cancelled privatisation of Romania’s largest copper mine is indicative of the challenges the country faces in selling off state assets. But while the process is dogged by controversy and disagreements over procedure, new momentum may be growing behind the liberalisation of state companies.
Last weekend, Reuters reported that the Romanian government had annulled the sale of Cupru Min Abrud to Canada’s Roman Copper, just a day after the Canadian company claims it had agreed to terms and conditions. Roman Copper won the tender to purchase Cupru Min for €200.8m in March. Cupru Min has estimated reserves of 900,000 tonnes of copper, 60 per cent of Romania’s total reserves, although output is low at present.
Officials said the deal foundered because agreement could not be reached on government terms added to the contract late in the process. These set conditions in three areas: transparency; swift payment; and that Roman Copper set aside more than €30m for “environmental investment”.Roman said it was willing to meet the new terms despite their late introduction. But the government said the deal was off.
Liviu Voinea, a Romanian economist, told beyondbrics the reason for cancellation was a realisation that the deal was not in Romania’s interests. He said the new terms should have been in the original tender and the country had been too willing to surrender its resources cheaply, to purchasers of dubious suitability. “The privatisation process is rotten,” he said.
The decision may also result from political pressure on an unpopular government in an election year, egged on by the economy ministry to pull the plug.
The episode has focused attention on Romania’s willingness to follow through with its privatisation programme, which has been at best intermittent over the past two decades. Backtracking on the Cupru Min deal is, as Voinea notes, further “bad marketing” for the process.
Romania pledged sell stakes in a number of state-owned companies, partly to meet loan conditions from the IMF, which has supported the cash-strapped country on the promise that it will shed some of the weight of bulky public businesses. With the Fund’s encouragement, stakes of 10 to 20 per cent in a number of enterprises, mostly in the energy and transport sectors, are due to be offered on the Bucharest Stock Exchange (BVB).
Last year, the government botched the sale of Petrom, an oil company, by overpricing its shares. But the sale of a 15 per cent stake in electricity distribution firm Transelectrica through a secondary public offering on March 27 was more than 50 per cent oversubscribed, raising around €38m.
Lucian Anghel, chief economist at BCR, the country’s biggest bank, and recently appointed chairman of the BVB – which stands to benefit from the listing of state companies – takes an upbeat view. He told beyondbrics the Cupru Min termination could even be a sign that the government is at last making the right decisions on privatisation.
“The government is giving a sign to international markets that we are moving in the right direction,” Anghel said. “From the Transelectrica offering, the first of its kind in more than four years, it is clear that Romania is learning from its experience and finding a new way to finance its economy through the stock exchange.”
Critics remain sceptical about the benefits of part-privatisation on the BVB. “A 10 per cent share sale won’t help capitalise firms as the money will be used to reduce the deficit, and it won’t bring know-how,” says Voinea.
But Anghel is confident that public offerings will now pick up pace, with energy generation firm Hidroelectrica expected to be particularly lucrative. A new listing of Petrom is also being lined up. The offerings should bring much-needed liquidity and activity to the BVB. Anghel and (more quietly) many in the government also see them as the first step towards further privatisation when the time is right.
“We need to take a gradual approach in this economic environment, and in an election year,” Anghel says."

Tags: mining, privatisation

The new government, led by ex_FSN-istas (Ilicescu people) is trying to force the country back into its socialist path; but cannot privatise anything in the meantime.
Dr Olga Lazin


Mike Costache
CEO at Leo & Leo
I’ve known Mike since 2002 when he offered to help with the organization I founded, Blue Heron Foundation. From the very beginning Mike has shared our vision for helping orphaned and abandoned Romanian children, and over the years he has played a vital role in developing the infrastructure of the foundation and raising money for the cause. Mike helped increase the organization’s visibility and funding by organizing large fundraisers. He has demonstrated a great deal of generosity, intelligence, perseverance, business savvy, honesty and work stamina that one rarely comes across. I am very proud to be Mike’s friend and am for ever grateful for the priceless contributions he brought to the organization and ultimately to the disadvantaged kids we help.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Example; Letter of Recommendation


April 16, 2012
To: Whom It May Concern

This letter is to recommend in highest terms N. Pomoradi as an MBA candidate at UCLA.
I have known Nick for two years, as I supervised his work in the
Internet sales department at Four Seasons, a wholesale import/export company in Los Angeles.
He has a lot of good business potential and practice.

His apprenticeship working for his father’s business Four Seasons for two years brought out the leader in Nick. The global company where he made international transactions helped shape Nick’s experience hands-on in business.
Nick’s skills are excelling in ecommerce, that is marketing with social media.
Furthermore, as a Human resources Director, Nick has worked also with a Tutoring agency, called One-On-One, and was involved in academic tutoring, in selecting employees that would work for underserved Hispanic communities in Los Angeles.
Recently he has graduated Bachelor of Arts in Political Science (class of 2012) from the University of Michigan.

Consequently, I assure you that Nicholas P. is your best bet and will make a brilliant MBA candidate at UCLA.

Dr olga Lazin-Andrei
T. 1 310 454 8812

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Lights and Shadows of Globalization; Social and Civic networking

My latest book can be downloaded online from:

[docstoc docId="117829707" mId="-10" width="630" height="550" slideMode="false" showRelatedDocs="true" showOtherDocs="true" allowdownload="true" url=""]Light and Shadows of Globalization[/docstoc]

Dr Lazin, mom, Magdalena & Eugen. This book is dedicated to Eugen Lazin. The previous book was dedicated to my mother. May their soul rest in peace, and everlasting love.

The cover of the book (La postatda).

Buy the book: hard cover;

COpyrighted Dr Olga M Lazin-Andrei

Monday, April 2, 2012

My First Book; Prima Carte 718 pages

Links to my books and articles:

The second book:


With Gastion

With Dr James W WIlkie


Copyrighted, 2012 Dr Olga M. Lazin-Andrei

DrOlgaLazin: My Books and Articles Online

DrOlgaLazin: My Books and Articles Online

My Books and Articles Online

Dear book consumers: I have 2 books out in Spanish (hard copies and digitized as well), and one in English

Links to my books online, all digitized and free:

And on under books and publication.



Hungary: Mercedes plant, yes; foreign partners in Budapest water, no thanks
March 30, 2012 FT by Kester Eddy

Hungary is once again the darling of central Europe among foreign investors. Well, for a day or two at least, while news reverberates of the opening of a Mercedes plant at Kecskemét, bang in the country’s centre.
And reverberate it well might, given that the high-tech plant is an €800m investment, directly creates some 3,000 jobs (and about a further 10,000 indirectly) and its planned output of 100,000 Mercedes A-class and B-class compact cars will generate around 1 per cent of Hungary’s GDP.
“This is not an investment, it’s an alliance,” said Viktor Orbán, Hungary’s prime minister, at Thursday’s opening, according to the Associated Press. “I hope Mercedes in Kecskemet will be a new chapter in the great history of German-Hungarian economic co-operation.”
The Kecskemet development and an expansion by Audi at its plant in Györ in western Hungary have prompted scores of new developments by suppliers, foreign and local, in their respective regions. Car-making accounts for nearly 10 per cent of Hungary’s economy.
All good stuff to boost Hungary’s image as an investment location. By happy coincidence, as Orbán was opening the plant in Kecskemét, PwC, the global corporate services firm, was busy presenting its Investing Guide to Hungary 2012, in Budapest, 55 miles to the north.
“One of Hungary’s most important competitive advantages is the government’s commitment to making it easier to do business, and to help manufacturing companies achieve their best,” the 50-page glossy states on its cover.
But any executive with the odd €100m in his pocket burning to invest in Hungary should note that HITA – the Hungarian Investment and Trade Agency – is a co-publisher of this booklet, making it a less-than-independence slice of advice from PwC.

There’s plenty inside about case studies of investment projects by the likes of Audi, Bosch and Lego, along with glowing texts about Hungary’s transport infrastructure and “highly skilled and talented workforce” – lots that might have an eager investor fingering the chequebook.

But, needless to say, there’s rather less on the downside. For example, is there any mention about the sudden, punitive crisis taxes imposed by the Orbán government in mid-2010 with zero consultation that sent the heads of banks, retailers, telcos and utilities apoplectic ?
Well, yes, there is – on page 43. but there is no reference to the fact that they were applied retroactively – a key complaint of foreign business people.
Tamás Löcsei, tax partner at PwC Budapest, admitted to beyondbrics that the crisis taxes were “partially retroactive,” but stressed that “if you are a production company you don’t have to [reckon] with crisis taxes.”
What’s more, “once the Hungarian government enters into an agreement with you, then they stick to it,” he stressed.

Really? So what about the current row between the Franco-German consortium of Suez Environnement and RWE and Budapest City Council? That is the one in which the consortium is being strong-armed into selling its stake in Budapest Waterworks back to the city some ten years before the formal end of the contract and at Ft 1.4bn (€4.8m) , or 8.5 per cent, discount on the contract price?

Löcsei concedes the point: “Let’s face it, if you are working in the service industry, and you are not a shared service centre [outsourcing], which the government loves, then the picture is getting, let’s say, more shady. There, investors think twice or three times as opposed to an automotive investor, where they are not thinking very hard where to put their new investment.”

So that’s the real bottom line for investing in Hungary from PwC, the “Trusted Business Adviser”. Manufacturing or outsourcing, you’re safe. But if you are in services, particularly in anything linked to the public sector, think twice or thrice. Just a pity Löcsei and colleagues didn’t spell that out in the booklet.
Related reading
OECD to Orban: sort your house out, beyondbrics
Transparency throws light on the darker side of Hungary, beyondbrics
Suez Environnement takes €185m charge, FT

My Second Book Online; Download for free

My second book online, on the lights and shades of Globalization in Mexico, Hungary, Romania, and East-Central Europe; the global fiscal crisis, free trade blocs, civic and civil society, smuggling, technological revolution, social media and academic freedom.



Also on $45 olazin

News about Romania: Romanian rate cuts: running out road

March 29, 2012 Financial Times, by Stefan Wagstyl

Romania’s central bank cut interest rates on Thursday for the fourth time in as many policy meetings, taking rates down to a record low of 5.25 per cent.

The whole 1-percentage-point reduction has been achieved with a barely a twitch in the leu, which has moved little from the 4.35 level against the euro where it when the central bank swung into action in early November.
But this has been achieved against the global rally in emerging market currencies this year.

Life will be much harder for the Romanian National Bank if there’s another sudden sell-off, as there was last spring.

The bank said in a short statement:
The NBR will continue to closely monitor domestic and global economic developments in order to, by accordingly adjusting its available instruments, to ensure the fulfilment of its objectives of achieving price stability, as well as financial stability.

Romania, which saw GDP plunge 7 per cent in 2009, is struggling to recover from that crisis. The central bank faces the challenge of encouraging growth in an economy expected to grow by just 1.5-2 per cent this year without jeopardising the inflation target or the currency.
With consumer prices rising by just 2.6 per cent in February, inflation isn’t a big worry right now. But the currency is. While it’s only fallen by around 1 per cent against the euro since early November, it is at 4.37 close to the top of its post-2008 range.
Mugur Isarescu, central bank governor, told reporters after the policy meeting that the leu was in an “equilibrium zone,” which moved when fundamentals changed.

The centre-right government of new prime minister Mihai Razvan Ungureanu is trying to keep the public finances stable in the hope of an economic recovery that would boost employment, tax revenues, and its own political support.
An International Monetary Fund precautionary programme is in place as a backstop, allowing the central bank to cut rates without scaring investors (in contrast to neighbouring Hungary).
Economists expect perhaps one further cut. But they warn that Romania is getting close to the limit in taking risks with the currency. As Capital Economics said in a report on Thursday:
We expect one further cut this year, but the threat of financial contagion from the euro-crisis is a formidable barrier to more aggressive easing. …With around two-thirds of household debt and one-third of corporate debt denominated in FX, Romania is extremely vulnerable to swings in the leu.
As such, the IMF programme acts as a backstop, shoring up investor
confidence – this allowed Romania to escape last year’s emerging market sell-off relatively unscathed.
programme is still there. But would it pass the test again if it came under pressure from investors in 2012?