Friday, 6 July 2007

Former Romanian Football Player Sells His Shares in a Wine Production Company

Former Romanian soccer player Gica Popescu wants to give up most of his shares of the Vincon Vrancea wine producer to businessman Gigi Netoiu, who will thus regain control of the company. Popescu now owns 49% of Vincon.

Gica Popescu will keep a small five percent share package, Luchi Georgescu, Chairman of the company's Board of Directors, told Business Standard. Ownership of Vincon Vrancea will pass back to Gigi Netoiu, who is close to both Popescu and Georgescu. "This is not the time to talk about shareholding changes, as negotiations are still ongoing. Talking about this could harm the negotiation process. What is certain is that Gica Popescu will sell his Vincon package by October," says Luchi Georgescu.

"There is an important three shareholder group at Vincon, of which I am one, and which includes Gica Popescu. I will buy the majority shares owned by Popescu and will become main shareholder," said Netoiu. The reason the former soccer player has given up his Vincon shares is because he is initiating several important real estate projects.

Gica Popescu bought 49% of Vincon back in 2002 valued at $500,000 from Luchi Georgescu. The company was experiencing serious financial difficulties because it had not paid two installments stipulated in the privatization contract.

Vincon's 2006 profit amounted to €2.1 million, against €1.7 million the previous year, 15% higher year-on-year. With some 3,000 hectares of vineyards located in Vrancea and Dobrogea, the company registered turnover of €34 million in 2006. Vincon also owns 20 wine cellars, whose storage and production capacity is some 80,000 tons per season. Sources on the market estimate the company's market value to be approximately €15-20 million. Its market share is about 8% for 750 ml bottles and some 10-12% for table wines.

The Romanian wine market is worth some €450 million, and major producers are Murfatlar, with a 27.8% market share (in volume), Jidvei, with 14.5%, Cotnari, 13.1%, and Vincon, with 7.8%.

(source Business Standard)

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