1. Is 2014 the year when we ‘forget’ about the economic crisis and start a new growth cycle? Give us your personal opinion about the evolution of the Romanian economy in 2014 and beyond.
If we take into consideration what the C-suite executives answered in our survey ‘A vision for growth 2014’, the answer would be positive. 28% of respondents foresee a significant growth of 10 to 30% for their company’s turnover in 2014 compared with 25% in 2013, while 67% expect a growth rate of 5 to 10%, compared with just 51% at the beginning of last year.
Personally, I believe that, as 2013 was a better year than 2012, 2014 will follow this trend. Businessmen have internalized the current economic conditions and are aiming for growth.
Our survey reflected quite clearly the increased focus companies have on coping with the challenging business environment in a way that secures their potential for growth.
2. What will the next cycle of growth look like compared to the previous one? What has changed?
What are the lessons we should not forget, in order not to repeat the mistakes of the past? How will the ‘new normal’ look for the Romanian economy?
I would see three factors as paramount for the new cycle of growth. First, supporting the local capital market as a source of financing the economy and the removal of barriers that still prevent or hinder access to foreign investors should remain the priority actions. Second, reforming and strengthening the institutional capacity of regulatory and supervisory authorities and last, but not least, preparing and implementing of consistent national development plans for strategic directions such as IT, automotive, energy and infrastructure that facilitate investment in these areas.
3. Does Romania still have a future potential to attract FDI or do we have to ‘manage’ with internal resources?
I believe that Romania still has the potential to attract FDI, but we must strive to develop a strong entrepreneurial environment. Regarding FDI, Romania remained on the 10th position in Europe regarding the number of jobs created through foreign direct investment in 2013, according to the ‘European Attractiveness Survey’ annual EY report.
That means that last year Romania has attracted foreign investment that generated 6,157 jobs, 13% less than the previous year, when FDI generated 7,114 jobs in Romania.
According to the same survey, Romania is on the third place in terms of attractiveness for foreign investors. Romania has surpassed Hungary in the ranking of the most attractive countries for foreign investment in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) in 2014, after Poland and Czech Republic. However, the top two countries are on a downward trend in 2014 compared to 2013, while Romania’s attractiveness increased by 2 percentage points. If this trend continues, Romania could exceed the
Czech Republic in 2015, becoming the second country in terms of attractiveness for foreign investors in CEE.
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4. Which are the most important changes you have made in your business over the past years to help you grow in the future?
The evolution of EY Romania was as expected in 2013, as the company grew in all lines of business it is active in, i.e. audit, tax and legal advisory, transaction advisory and business consultancy - the last two recording the highest increases.
5. How do you see the priorities and opportunities for your business in 2014 and beyond?
We anticipate maintaining the growing trend in 2014, with principal factors that will support the trend being: access to finance, which will remain a priority, growing need for consulting assistance in complex projects involving business model transformation through a multidisciplinary approach, but also specialized and increasing complexity of laws and regulations, as shareholders need to get comfort linked to the performance of companies in which they hold shares.