18 November 1997

SC Victoria Prahova SA a obtinut, in ultimele noua luni, un profit net de 4,6 miliarde lei (Monitorul)

Societatea comerciala Victoria Prahova a obtinut, in ultimele noua luni, un profit net de 4,6 miliarde lei, la un profit brut de 12,6 miliarde lei, a declarat agentiei MEDiAFAX directorul economic Mihaela Mihalache. FPS a vindut firmei Tofan Group, la inceputul acestui an, pachetul majoritar de actiuni - 51%. Programul de investitii, stabilit de cele doua parti, prevede modernizarea si retehnologizarea procesului de productie, precum si asimilarea in fabricatie de noi tipuri de anvelope.
Capitalul social al societatii este de 137,7 miliarde lei, iar capitalul propriu de 227 miliarde lei. Valoarea activelor imobilizate este de 1,51 miliarde lei, iar a celor circulante de 242 miliarde lei. Victoria Prahova fabrica si comercializeaza produse din cauciuc.

06 November 1997

The Rumanian Tofan will manufacture Nokia's Bulk tyres (Kauppalehti)

Nokian Renkaat, the Finnish tyre manufacturer, has made a co-operation agreement with S.C. Tofan Grup S.A., the Rumanian tyre manufacturer, over the production of Nokian's tyres in Rumania. Tofan will start to produce tyres for agricultural and industrial use gradually from the beginning of 1998. The turnover on the Rumanian production is to go up to between FM 30 million and FM 45 million in the next three to five years. Tofan has a turnover of over FM 1 billion, and a quality certificate ISO 9000.

Nokian Renkaat has a turnover of FM 300 million from its heavy tyre business. The transfer of bulk production to Rumania will increase resources in its Finnish factory, which will be used for strategically more important products.

JOURNAL-CODE: WKAP

01 November 1997

Wall Street Journal despre Tofan Grup - O poveste de succes pentru toata Europa de Est (Libertatea)

In numărul său din 27 octombrie, prestigiosul Wall Street Journal a făcut o analiză asupra companiei Tofan Grup din Romania, o poveste de succes nu numai in Romania, ci in toată Europa de Est. Cand dictatorul Nicolae Ceauşescu a fost dat jos, in 1989, Gelu Tofan dorea să emigreze. Dar Statele Unite, Africa de Sud şi Canada i-au refuzat viza. Aşa că dl. Tofan a rămas acasă şi s-a ocupat de ceea ce ştia mai bine: ANVELOPELE.

Incep‚nd cu un imprumut de 40 000 de dolari şi trăind numai la birou şi in maşină, dl. Tofan s-a dus direct la marii clienţi industriali şi le-a livrat anvelopele in curte ajut‚ndu-i să sară peste corzi. Şase ani mai tarziu, compania sa, Tofan Grup, este cel mai mare producător de anvelope, deţinand circa 70 la sută din piaţă şi 85 la sută din distribuţie. El este, de asemenea, singurul mare producător de anvelope din regiune controlat de un investitor local.

La sfarşitul anului 1995, Tofan a lansat cu succes o ofertă de cumpărare a 51 la sută din Danubiana, fosta fabrică in care a lucrat şi cel mai mare producător de anvelope din Romania.

Dorind să preia controlul şi in alte două fabrici, dl. Tofan a găsit şi un partener strategic, Nomura Internaţional, care a achiziţionat 49 la sută din acţiunile sale pentru suma de 6o milioane de dolari.

Analiştii ii dau lui Gelu Tofan, 36 de ani, note mari pentru energia şi simţul său de afaceri, dar avertizează că acest conglomerat va fi dificil de condus. Poate că este aşa, dar Tofan nu a incetat să crească. Grupul investeşte din greu pentru modernizarea anvelopelor pentru a le aduce la standardele de calitate occidentala.

27 October 1997

Editor's Notepad (The Wall Street Journal Europe)

Business opportunities can come in strange guises. Gelu Tofan, casting around for a fresh start after 1990, was determined to leave Romania, but the U.S., Canada and South Africa all turned him down for visas.

So the former factory foreman stayed home and stuck to what he knew best, tires. Living out of his car and office, he went after the weakest link in Romania's

tire industry: distribution. Starting in the country's farthest-flung regions and working back toward Bucharest, he quickly built a humming business by delivering directly to factories and helping them to cut out the state middleman.

Six years later, Tofan Grup is a $300 million business, with Nomura on board as a financial investor, and tentative plans to tap the markets by the end of next year. We tell Tofan Grup's story, and those of six other post-1990 start-ups, beginning on page 21.

Start-up businesses have a way of falling through the cracks. Banks in the region, focused on retail business and blue-chip corporates, don't tend to lend to them. Business journalists, equally focused on the same big, listed companies, don't tend to write about them.

But as any fund manager will tell you, new-company initial public offers -- and pre-IPO investments -- have been among the hottest plays in Central Europe. And the start-up sector, skewed heavily toward information technology and other services, promises to throw up the kind of companies that will lead the region beyond traditional heavy industry.

Our roster is anything but comprehensive, and it's risky business trying to say which company will be the next to rival Poland's ComputerLand, and which a flash in the pan. Indeed, new businesses typically reach a critical point a few years into the business, when entrepreneurs must become responsible managers -- or hand the job over to someone else.

The challenges are evident at Tofan, where Mr. Tofan told me that his growing company has had to focus more attention on areas like human resources, and invest in upgrading his products for the kind of quality he'll need to fend off competitors.

We wish him, and the other businessmen we profile, the best of luck.

---

As overrated ideas go, it's hard to beat the "German menace".

When the Berlin Wall came down, plenty of commentators in (and outside) the region raised loud -- and, given history, perfectly valid -- fears of German domination. In fact, a handful of big investments aside, the Germans have been conspicuous mostly for their absence.

No longer. As we report in our country focus, Germany's politicians and captains of industry are finally focusing their attention, and their money, on the East. German investments in Poland of more than $1 million have more than doubled since 1995, and Germany trades more with the region than it does with the U.S.

Forget the old stereotypes of domination by force, too. While older folk nurse historical wounds and begin reconciliation, Central Europe's club kids are dancing to German techno music, and Germany is seen as a model of economic success throughout the region.

Reed John. "Editor's Notepad." The Wall Street Journal Europe 27 October 1997: 3.

Cover Story - Burning Rubber (The Wall Street Journal Europe)

Company: Tofan Grup

Country: Romania

Estimated `97 revenues: $300 million

When his countrymen toppled dictator Nicolae Ceausescu in 1989, Gelu Tofan was ready for a fresh start abroad. But the U.S., South Africa and Canada all turned him down for visas. So Mr. Tofan stayed home, and stuck to what he knew best: tires.

The former factory foreman saw an opening in Romania's shoddy distribution system, which doled out tires under quotas, often met late if at all. Starting with a $40,000 loan and living out of his office and car, Mr. Tofan went straight to big industrial customers, delivering directly to factory courtyards and helping them to jump the queue.

Six years later his company, Tofan Grup, is Romania's biggest tire producer, with an estimated 70% market share for production and 85% of distribution. It's also the only major tire maker in the region still controlled by a local investor.

The achievement is doubly remarkable in a country where "businessman" is often used as a dirty word and many of the fortunes made since 1990 have come under official scrutiny. Observers say Mr. Tofan built his empire on grit and hard work, not cronyism and connections; company officials are quick to point out that government anti-graft investigators combed its books (like those of many other private companies) but found nothing to investigate.

Just two years after plunging into distribution, Mr. Tofan had a nationwide business, and big enough cash flow to build a greenfield retreading plant outside Bucharest. At end-1995, he launched a successful $35 million bid for 51% of Danubiana S.A., his former employer and Romania's biggest tire maker. Looking to gain controlling stakes in two additional factories, Mr. Tofan went shopping for a strategic partner, eventually hooking up with Nomura International PLC, which took a 49% stake this year for $60 million.

Analysts give the 36-year-old Mr. Tofan high marks for his energy and shrewd business sense, but warn that the sprawling conglomerate will be tough to manage. "I'm not sure he can swallow such a big piece of cake," says Lucian Perl of Danube Fund, a local venture capital fund.

That may be, but Tofan isn't through growing yet. In a bid for vertical integration, the group is negotiating to take majority stake in a state research company for tires, plus two rubber and steel companies. It's also investing heavily in modernization in an effort to bring its tires up to Western quality standards, and is mooting an initial public offer, probably by the end of next year, for as much as 33% of the company. All in all, not bad for a start-up.

Reed John. "Burning Rubber." The Wall Street Journal Europe 27 October 1997: 22.

01 October 1997

Global Tyre Report (European Rubber Journal)

International tire companies have acquired the best of eastern Europe's tire makers, but local players can still make money out of the remaining factories table ranking the top 7 Eastern Europe tire makers by 1996 sales, with 1994 and 1995 sales.

While international tire companies have acquired the best of eastern Europe's tire makers, local players can still make money out of the remaining factories. For example, Tofan Grup SA (Bandag, Romania) has quietly acquired majority control of Romania's 3 largest tire makers, Danubiana SA in Bucharets, Victoria SA in Floresti, and Silvania SA in Zalau. The 3 plants, plus the Bandag plant, produce 15,000 units a day. Groupe sales rose to $100 mil in 1996. The acquisitions of Victoria and Silvania in 1997 will more than double sales. The full-text article discusses the companies in the East Europe market and provides a table ranking the top 7 Eastern Europe tire makers by 1996 sales, with 1994 and 1995 sales. When the 1997 global Top 50 tyre company rankings are published next year, the name 'Tofan' will debut among the top 35 companies, boasting sales of more than $200 million.

"Who?" or "What?" is Tofan, many will ask.

What started out six years ago as a handful of retail locations and later a Bandag retreading franchise has grown into a tyre manufacturing and distribution company boasting more than two-thirds of Romania's manufacturing capacity and annual sales of $200 million.

Tofan Grup SA is a privately-owned Romanian enterprise, founded and directed by 37-year-old Georghe Tofan, who quietly has bought majority control of Romania's three largest tyre producers, Danubiana SA in Bucharest, Victoria SA in Floresti, and Silvania SA in Zalau. Daily production from these three tyre plants, plus the Bandag plant, is 15,000 units. The group recently launched an in-house developed all steel truck radial, being produced by Silvania.

Group sales grew more than 80 percent last year to $100 million, and the additions this year of Victoria and Silvania will more than double the 1997 sales figure exports are expected to represent up to one-quarter of sales, including $10 million in sales to the US.

The purchases of Victoria and Silvania were underwritten partially by Nomura Securities International, which arranged $100 million in financing for Tofan's growth projects.

To date, Tofan has not linked with any western tyre maker, either commercially or technically, but it shouldn't be long before the courtship process begins.

Tofan's sales efforts received a boost recently when Victoria and Danubiana were among four eastern European firms selected by Titan Tire Corp of the US for offtake production of Titan agricultural tyres, primarily for the European market. Titan also has signed off-take deals with Romania's Rotras SA and Ukraine's Valsa.

Tofan's sales are nearly even with the other remaining independent central/eastern European tyre maker, Matador AS.

Elsewhere in E. Europe

With one main plant in Slovakia, a satellite factory in Russia, more than $250 million in annual sales, and a reputation for engineering competence, Matador is considered a viable potential candidate for partnering with one of the major global producers. Bridgestone Corp and Matador have held exploratory talks, but have not come to any conclusions. One stumbling block to a partnership with Matador appears to be the Slovakians' insistence that the firm's non-tyre activities--conveyor belts and other general rubber goods--be included in any deal being negotiated, sources familiar with the situation said.
Elsewhere in the region, investors in Mitas AS and Beltyr spo in Czech Republic have pooled their resources and created a holding company, called Czech Rubber Co., for these two small tyre plants, and some other non-tyre activities.

Mitas in Prague formerly was part of the Barum Holdings group, and Beltyr is the renamed Barumtech in Zlin, a spinoff of Barum Continental.
Otherwise, the 'cream' of central Europe's tyre manufacturing has been skimmed off by Michelin, Goodyear and Continental. Their purchases of Barum, Stomil Olsztyn, TC Debica and Sava Rubber mean they control roughly one-half of the estimated $2200 million in tyre sales in the region (excluding Russia, for which reliable sales data are not available).

Further east, Ukraine's Rosava has secured preliminary guarantees for more than $50 million worth of equipment and assistance to modernise and expand the Belaya Tserkov factory, while Belarus's Belshina Tyre Combinat in Bobruysk has secured an off-take production contract with Sweden's Trelleborg Industri, for heavy-duty tractor and implement tyres.
Rosava (formerly Belotserkovshina) is proceeding with an in-house directed project to improve radial car tyre production, according to the equity research firm Wood & Co, which said most of the new equipment will come from Japan's Mitsubishi Machinery.

Rosava is one of only three factories in the former Soviet Union with steel-belted radial car tyre manufacturing capacity, and its annual capacity of 4.4 million units is comparable to Nizhnekamskshina, the larger of the two Russian tyre plants with radial capacity (the other being the Matador/Omskshin joint venture in Omsk).
Rosava and the other two Ukrainian tyre manufacturers, Dniproshina in Dnepropetrovsk and Valsa in Belaya Tserkov, are privatised, but still with measurable government share ownership, according to a Wood & Co study of the Ukrainian chemical industry.

Outside interest in the company is expected to be piqued by an upcoming tender offer for 40 percent of the firm's stock, according to the Wood study, which also evaluated Rosava as 60-percent undervalued, when compared with Polish or Russian tyre makers. Rosava has reduced employment by about one-third in the past few years, to 8400 currently.
At Belshina, Trelleborg technicians spent a year at the Bobruisk plant, training the staff and preparing the factory for Trelleborg-quality production. Production was 'low volume' at first, but is scheduled to build up gradually throughout 1997.

Trelleborg also has helped Belshina with production technology and training of personnel in 'western' manufacturing methods. The Swedish company also coordinates procurement of raw materials for the off-take production.
Belshina employs 16 000 at a complex of four factories in Bobruisk, about 135 km southeast of Minsk. Capacity for car, truck and farm/OTR tyres at the 25-year-old plant is listed as 5 million units a year.


Prospects for Ukraine's other major producer, Dniproshina, are less clear, the Wood study concluded, although management there has invested considerably in recent years to build up car tyre output as a complement to the unit's traditional heavy truck and agricultural tyre heritage. The firm reported a pre-tax profit of 14 percent of turnover last year, said Wood.


TOFAN GRUP HOLDINGS

Danubiana SA - Bucharest
- cross-ply car, truck and tractor tyres
Victoria SA - Floresti - radial and cross-ply car, truck and tractor tyres

Silvania SA - Zalau - radial truck tyres

Bandag Retreading Plant - Bucharest

Retail Locations 41


Note: All figures in US $mil.
EASTERN EUROPES'S TYRE MAKERS--TOP 50 TURNOVER

(In millions of US dollars) Co. (Location)/owner 1996 rank 1995 1994 rank

Barum/Continental 357 ** 345 ** 230.0 **

Dniproshina (Ukraine) 260 24 n.a. -- n.a. --

Stomil Olsztyn/Michelin 232 ** 196 29 146.6 34

TC Debioa/Goodyear 224 ** 196 29 141.1 36

Rosava (UKR) 197 33 n.a. -- n.a. --

Matador 193 34 196 29 166.3 31

Sava 177 37 159 39 144 35


JOURNAL-CODE: EURRUJOG
LOAD-DATE: December 17, 1999

15 September 1997

Nomura Takes Minority Stake in Tofan Grup (Central Europe Automotive Report)

Nomura International plc snapped up a 49% stake in Tofan Grup for $60 million and will arrange debt facilities worth $40 million. The Tofan Grup owns tire manufacturing and distributing companies in Romania. Nomura's investment, made in July, is the second largest foreign investment ever made in the Romanian
automotive industry.

"The tire industry may not be a very exciting industry, but it is nevertheless interesting," said a Nomura official. "You have 23 million people [in this] market, and then you have the markets in the neighboring countries. We did believe --
and still do -- it was a sound business opportunity."

[for more on the aggressively expanding Tofan Grup, see this month's Company Spotlight on page 10]

Company: Tofan Grup
Location: Bucharest, Romania
Contact: Gelu Tofan, Owner
Business: Tire Manufacturing and Distributing

“Putting Romania on the Right Track”

This ambitious mission statement belongs to an equally ambitious man, Gelu Tofan, owner of Tofan Grup, a tire manufacturing and distributing company. His is a classic success story, which began in 1991 when the 30-yearold Mr. Tofan was one of the 4,500 employees of the Romanian tire manufacturer, Danubiana. He bought a second-hand truck and started a tire distribution business —Tofan Trans.
The small business grew quickly and three years later he opened Romania’s first modern tire re-treading facility — Tofan Recap. Today, Tofan Recap recycles lorry and truck tires, both on customers’ demand and through its own network of dealers who have solid relationships with transport companies.

Cash Cows Fund Expansion.
In 1993, Tofan Grup was established. The company focused on tire trading and production and established a countrywide distribution network. Both businesses — Tofan Trans and Tofan Recap — turned into profitable cash machines and soon Mr.Tofan started looking for other investment opportunities. Such an opportunity came in the form of Danubiana, Tofan’s former employer, which he took over in December 1995 by buying 51% of its stock from the State Ownership Fund (“SOF”). The Bucharest-based Danubiana is the largest of six Romanian tire producers. The company manufactures tires, tubes, flaps, and stripes for wheels and has an annual capacity of 2 million tires. Actual production in 1996 was about 1 million units.

Danubiana is the leader in several market segments, including tires and tubes for
agricultural vehicles and machinery (60% market share), tires for lorries and buses (50% market share), and tires for trucks and off-road vehicles, supplying both OEMs and the spare parts market.

“Danubiana has been a worthy acquisition due to its significant export potential. Exports — mainly of tires for agricultural machinery — to very demanding markets such as the US, Germany, UK, France, Sweden, and Italy, have increased from $3 million in 1991 to over $20 million in 1996,” said Tofan. Under Tofan Grup’s leadership, Danubiana’s turnover increased from $73 million in 1995 to $80 million in 1996, while gross profit doubled over the same period. According to the company’s business plan, output should grow by 50%, with exports accounting for the bulk of this increase.

“The tire industry [has] high entry barriers and fierce competition,” says Tofan. “If you don’t make at least $300-$350 million turnover per year, you’re [in serious trouble].” Consequently, in April 1997 Tofan Grup cut a new deal with the SOF, taking over two other Romanian tire manufacturers, Victoria and
Silvania.

Victoria Soars.
Victoria concentrates on the passenger car tire segment where it holds an
overwhelming 80% market share. Its recently launched Montana brand will be used by Romanian OEM customers, including by Daewoo for its Cielo/Nexia and Espero models. The Montana brand will also be targeted at the important budget brand tire market. The Tofan Grup paid some Lei 135 billion ($30 million) for 51% of Victoria’s stock, but Mr. Tofan isn’t complaining about the price. The company achieved a turnover of Lei 159 billion in 1995, Lei 259 billion last year, and forecasts 1997 turnover at Lei 557 billion. As for Victoria’s profits, they are going through the roof, totaling Lei 2.6 billion in 1995, Lei 3.7 billion in 1996, and Lei 45 billion this year. Victoria has successfully taken advantage of the Tofan Grup’s extensive dealer network.

Silvania Struggles.
Prospects are not as bright for Silvania, a manufacturer of radial tires for lorries and heavy trucks. Although it is Romania’s newest tire producer (starting operations in 1981), the company has 1,400 employees, is highly indebted, and has been bleeding red ink for some years now. The SOF conditioned Victoria’s takeover with the purchase of the money-losing Silvania. “It’s going to be tough — we launched a heavy investment program in those three companies — but we’ll work it out, don’t worry,” said Tofan.

Today, Tofan Grup employs 12,000 workers and is the 26th largest tire manufacturer in the world. The company exported goods worth $50 million in 1996, and expects exports to total $75 million this year and $100 million in 1998. The key for this expansion will be focusing on sales of its niche products — farm
machinery tires and budget brands — to the US, EU, and Middle East.

Fresh Foreign Capital.
Yet the big news for the Tofan Grup came on July 1 of this year — Nomura International plc bought a 49% stake in Tofan Grup for $60 million and will arrange debt facilities worth $40 million. “Five years down the road I’m positively sure we’ll be [among] the top 20 tire producers in the world,” said Tofan.

Catalin Dimofte (Bucharest)

01 September 1997

Tofan Group emerges in Eastern Europe (Rubber and Plastic News)

BUCHAREST, Romania--What be-gan six years ago as a handful of retail locations in Romania is becoming one of eastern Europe's largest tire manufacturers.

Tofan Group S.A., a privately owned Romanian/Canadian tire production and distribution company, should post sales of $200 million this year.

Founded and directed by Georghe Tofan, the company has an annual production capacity of 15,000 units, obtained when Tofan bought majority ownership of the three largest tire manufacturers in Romania: Danubiana S.A. in Bucharest, Victoria S.A. in Floresti and Silvania S.A. in Zalau.

Tofan--also a Bandag Inc. retreading franchise--controls more than two-thirds of Romania's tire production capacity. The firm recently launched an in-house-produced, all-steel truck radial, which is made by Silvania.

The company's sales grew more than 80 percent in 1996 to $100 million.

The addition this year of Victoria and Silvania will more than double the 1997 sales figure.

Exports are expected to represent up to 25 percent of sales, including $10 million generated in the U.S.

The purchases of Victoria and Silvania were underwritten partially by Nomura Securities International, which arranged $100 million in financing for Tofan's growth projects.

Tofan hasn't linked with any western tire maker, either commercially or technically.

The firm's sales base is on par with Matador, the other remaining independent central/eastern European tire maker.

Bruce Davis

Tofan Group grows in Romania (European Rubber Journal)

BUCHAREST, ROMANIA - A year from now, the name 'Tofan' will appear for the first time in our top 50 tyre company rankings. The company will appear within the top 30, boasting sales of more than $200 million.

Who?

Tofan Group. Of Romania. What started out six years ago as a handful of retail locations; and later a Bandag retreading franchise has grown into a tyre manufacturing and distribution company boasting more than two-thirds of Romania's manufacturing capacity and annual sales of $200 million.

The group recently launched an in-house developed all steel truck radial, being produced by Silvania.

Tofan Grup SA is a privately-owned Romanian/Canadian enterprise, founded and directed by Georghe Tofan, which has quietly bought majority control of Romania's three largest tyre producers, Danubiana SA in Bucharest, Victoria SA in Floresti, and Silvania SA in Zalau.

Daily production from these three tyre plants, plus the Bandag plant, is 15 000 units.

Group sales grew more than 80 percent last year to $100 million, and the additions this year of Victoria and Silvania will more than double the 1997 sales figure; exports are expected to represent up to one-quarter of sales, including $10 million in sales to the US.

The purchases of Victoria and Silvania were underwritten partially by Nomura Securities International, which arranged $100 million in financing for Tofan's growth projects.

To date, Tofan has not linked with any western tyre maker, either commercially or technically, but it certainly won't be long before the courtship process begins.

Tofan's sales base puts it on level ground with the other remaining independent central/eastern European tyre maker, Matador.

24 July 1997

Automaxima 2000 - Un program national de distributie a anvelopelor (Auto Capital)

Tofan Grup reprezinta, fara nici o exagerare, producatorul si distribuitorul Nr. 1 de anvelope in Romania. Productia realizata de cele trei firme-Danubiana, Victoria Floresti si Silvania Zalau, in care Tofan Grup detine pachetul majoritar de actiuni- este distribuita prin cele 40 de sucursale judetene ale Tofan Grup. Anul acesta, la 21 iunie, Tofan Grup a initiat un PROGRAM NATIONAL DE DISTRIBUTIE A ANVELOPELOR intitulat: AUTOMAXIMA 2000. Prin acest program, Tofan Grup vrea sa traseze drumul ideal al anvelopelor da la producator la utilizator, astfel incat satisfactiile clientului sa fie pe masura (atat in ce priveste dezideratul calitate/ pret cat si in ceea ce priveste accesibilitatea).
AUTOMAXIMA 2000 se adreseaza, in special, acelora care si-au legat viata de zi cu zi de domeniul distributiei de anvelope, vanzarii de piese de schimb si accesorii auot de orice tip, prestari de servicii in domeniul auto, dar si acelora care sunt interesati sa inceapa acm o afacere in acest domeniu.
Practic, AUTOMAXIMA 2000 se adreseaza miilor de intreprinzatori particulari, dinamici si eficienti, interesati de o relati conntinua si profitabila cu Tofan Grup.
Pentru inceput, AUTOMAXIMA 2000 are in vedere distributia anvelopelor de turism si camioneta produse de Danubiana si Victoria Floresti care, practic, acopera toate solicitarile productiei interne de automobile,de la Dacia la ARO, cat si pentrru autoturismele din gama DAEWOO.
Programul AUTOMAXIMA 2000 prevede ca dealerii cu care s-au perfectat contracte de claborare vor avea un stoc permanent, asortat de anvelope, in valoare totala de peste 20 milioane de lei, aprovizionarea urmand a se face prin sucursalele judetene ale grupului.
In perioada 23 iunie- 4 iulie, o caravana AUTOMAXIMA 2000 a strabatut 10 judete ale tarii si municipiul Bucuresti, purtand fructuoasele discutii cu dealeri de anvelope din 45 de orase, discutii soldate cu incheierea a zeci de contracte de colaborare intre Tofan Grup si reprezentantii unor societati care au ca obiect ce vanzare si anvelope.
In exclusivitate, pentru revista Auto-capital, dl Emil Savonea, Director la Tofan Grup, conducatorul grutului care a insotit caravana in calatoria efectuata in judetele Prahova, Brasov, Mures, Cluj, Bihor, Arad, Timis, Caras Severin, Dolj, Arges si municipiul Bucuresti ne-a subliniat faptul ca, pe tot parcursul, caravana a fost intampinata cu mult interes de catre cei dornici sa participe la acest indraznet program de distributie a anvelopelor in teritoriu care, asa cum au aratat numerosi dealeri, este deosebit de benefic pentru ambele parti.
Pana la 10 iulie, numarul contractelor inchiate cu dealerii din judete s-a ridicat la peste 100. Se prevede ca pana la finele anului in curs, numarul acestor contracte sa ajunga la 500.
-Domnule Sorin Florea, vicepresedinte Tofan Grup, am retinut ca, pentru inceput, AUTOMAXIMA 2000 are in vedere doar distributia de anvelope de turism si camionete produse de Danubiana si Victoria Floresti.Dar, din cate cunoastem, gama sortimentala a acestor doua mari producatoare de anvelope este mult mai diversa…
-Strategia Tofan Grup penrtu distributia anvelopelor in Romania este diferentiata pe grupe de produse. In cadrul grupelor turism si camioneta AUTOMAXIMA 2000 reprezinta una din ideile da baza, ea urmand sa aiba in termen foarte scurt o continuare, pe care vrem sa o pastram ca surpriza pentru clientii nostri.
In ceea ce priveste anvelopele de camion si agricole, strategia de vanzare a Tofan Grup este cea deja cunoscuta si care da, dupa opinia noastra, satisfactie pe intregul lant: producator-distribuitor-utilizatir.Vedeta programului AUTOMAXIMA 2000 este in fapt seria de anvelope de turism Montana cu dimensiuni care, practic, acopera toate solicitarile pe 12”, 13”, si 14”(peste 90 la suta din parcul de turism din Romania).
Aparitia, de ultima ora, a anvelopelor 185/65 R 14 din clasele de viteza T si H este cel mai bun exemplu al acestei grupe de anvelope, intreaga serie putand fi catata cu note maxime in ceea ce priveste aderenta pe uscat si pe umed, nivel de zgomot, confort, intr-un cuvant- performanta.
Uram un bun venit, calduros tuturor participantilor la PROGRAMUL NATIONAL DE DISTRIBUTIE A ANVELOPELOR AUTOMAXIMA 2000!

Vasile APOLOZAN

Tofan Grup pune Romania pe roate (Bursa)

Sub acest slogan, ”Tofan Grup”, producator de anvelope, a inceput campania de largire a retelei de distributie la nivel national.Intitulata“Automaxima 2000”, campania va acoperi 15 judete si se adreseaza intreprinzatorilor particulari in domeniu – comercianti sau prestatori de servicii. Automaxima are in vedere ,pentru inceput, anvelope de turism si camioneta produse de Danubiana si Victoria Floresti, care, practic, acopera toate solicitarile productiei interne de automobile, de la Dacia la Aro, dar si autoturismele din gama Daewoo, a declarat domnul Gelu Tofan, presedinte al “Tofan Grup”. Pretul unei anvelope tip “Dacia” (dimensiuni 8/13) este de 195.000 lei fara TVA, la care aplica reduceri variabile in functie de volumul comenzilor.
Tofan Grup s-a infiintat in anul 1994 si cuprinde; in prezent, sase firme: Danubiana SA,Victoria SA Floresti, Silvania Tyre Company, Tofan Recap, Tofan Trans si Tofan Tyre Distribution.

Laura Gablonz

17 July 1997

Caucicurile pun micile afaceri pe roti (Capital)

Sistemul de distributie Automaxima creeaza facilitati pentru firmele cu activitate in domeniul auto
Pentru micul intreprinzator care are o afacere in domeniul auto, a aparut o oportunitate: aceea de a intra intru-un sistem de distributie a anvelopelor pentru masini, in care sa achite marfa dupa vanzare.

Nicolae Stan este un mic intreprinzator care, inainte de 1989, nu visa ca va ajunge sa-si organizeze exstenta. Pensionat la 37 de ani, din motive medicale, in 1992 i-a venit ideea sa-si deschida o mica vulcanizare, in curtea propriei case, situata in apropiere de Soseaua Viilor, in Capitala. Si cum matusa dinspre mama, care traia in Germania, langa Essen, nu isi pierduse sufletul de romanca si a acceptat sa-i imprumute 7.000 de marci, cu banii respectivi, micul patron si-a cumparat niste automate de vulcanizare folosite si a dat o fata onorabila atelierului sau.
Acum doua luni, a citit intr-un ziar un articol publicitar despre Automaxima, sistemul national de distributie a anvelopelor, pe care intentiona sa-l promoveze compania Tofan.”Multi dintre cei care vin la mine sa le fac pana la roata ma intreaba daca nu vand si anvelope, ca sa nu se mai duca pe Oltenitei, sa le cumpere. Pana acum, am zis sa nu-mi imobilizez banii in produse, insa daca este vorba sa ma crediteze cineva cu marfa, pana la vazare, se schimba situatia. Cred ca as putea sa vand 100 de anvelope pe luna,fara probleme”, ne spune dl Stan.
Interesul pentru sistemul de distributie Automaxima, conceput de Grupul Tofan, a fost dublat de pelerinajul unei caravane care si-a propus sa strabata 15 judete, pentru a stabili contacte directe cu potentialii parteneri de afaceri. Dorind sa vina mai aproape de consumatorul final, Automaxima isi propune sa devina, in timp, o retea nationala care sa impanzeasca toate zonele cu anvelope pentru Dacia, ARO, Daewoo, Ford etc.; produse de Tofan Grup.
Juridic vorbind, intre distribuitori si furnizori se semneaza un contract de distributie. Partenerul de afaceri al grupului respectiv trebuie sa itruneasca urmataorea cerinta: sa promoveze produse oferite de firma Tofan si sa achite contraaloarea lor in 24 de ore dupa efectuarea vanzarii.
Deci este vorba despre un sistem de creditare a marfii. Nu exista obligativitatea ca intreprinzatorul sa vanda exclusiv anvelope produse de compania bucuresteana. De asemenea, furnizorul nu restrictioneaza adaosul comercial practicat de distribuitorii din sistemul de distributie Automaxima.
Aprovizionarea se face in mod gratuit de catre firma Tofan. Fiecare intreprinzator primeste un stoc de marfa a carui marime este stabilita de comun acord. Daca se doreste aprovizionarea cu un volum mai mare de marfa decat stocul cuvenit pentru creditare, ea se poate face, in conditii obisnuite de plata a marfii, adica la livrare. Anvelopele care stau o perioada de timp pe stoc, intr-un magazin, sunt preluate de furnizor si redistribuite in alte puncte din lantul de distributie Automaxima.
In acest fel, intreprinzatorul nostru beneficiaza si de o testare gratuita a pietei, pentru un sortiment de anvelope mai bogat decat cel pe care il vindea el pana la intrarea in canalul de distributie respectiv.
Intr-un an de zile, conducerea grupuluui Tofan apreciaza ca va avea intre 700 si 1.000 de distribuitori. Pana acum exista deja 500 de cereri de la cei care vor sa intre in Automaxima. In cazul in care cererea va depasi oferta, selectia va fi facuta de catre un reprenzentant al firmei Tofan, pe baza a cel putin doua criterii: amplasamentul spatiului si aspectul sau comercial. Deocamdata, afacerea este la inceput, in faza de constituire a bazei de date, primele contracte urmand a se semna in saptamanile urmatoare.

Distribuitorul Automaxima

Are o afacere in dintre urmatoarele domenii: distributie anvelope si/sau produse conexe (piese de schimb auto, uleiuri, cosmetice auto), vulcanizare sau service auto.
Are un spatiu comercial decent. Nu conteaza daca este amplasat intr-o localitate mica; poate sa fie plasat chiar si de-a lungul unui drum national sau european.
Va beneficia de o anume amenajare a spatiului care sa imprime o nota caracteristica afacerii. Echipa de marketing care a coceput sistemul promotional Automaxima nu pote preciza daca Grupul Tofan se va implica in finantarea schimbarii designului acestor sedii.
Va primi suporti pentru anvelope (pentru etalarea gamei complete), uniforme pentru de deservire, casete luminoase, tiparituri.

Laurentia Stelea

11 July 1997

Nomura invests in tyre producer (Finance East Europe)

Nomura International has bought 49 per cent of Romania's biggest tyre producer, the privately owned Tofan Grup SA.

Gheorghe Tofan, President and Chief Executive of Tofan Grup, said he signed a deal to have Nomura International invest $60 million in Tofan. The contract between Nomura and Tofan Grup stipulates that Nomura will also arrange loan facilities of $40 million for Tofan.

"It's the biggest one-shot direct investment in both the private and state industry in Romania so far," Tofan said in a telephone interview.

Nomura International associate director Declan Walsh confirmed the deal and its significance as part of foreign investments in Romania.

Tofan said Nomura's investment, the biggest so far in a Romanian private company, gives Nomura 49 per cent of Tofan Grup's share capital. The association with Nomura will be used to upgrade and develop Tofan Grup's performances.

Tofan Grup has 12,000 employees and in 1996 recorded a net profit of 5 billion lei. It is a privately held Romanian company founded by Gheorghe Tofan in 1993 as a distributor of tyres in Romania. In 1996 it bought state-owned tyre maker Danubiana SA, followed by the purchase of two more state-owned tyre makers, Victoria and Silvania. It has a current annual production of about 2.5 million tyres. It is the 26th largest tyre company in the world by net sales.

"Nomura invests in tyre producer." Finance East Europe 11 July 1997: Vol. 7, Iss. 13; pg. 17.

02 July 1997

Romania Tire Maker Granted $60 Mln Credit Line By Nomura (Dow Jones International News)

BUCHAREST (AP-Dow Jones)--Nomura International Plc granted a $60 million credit line to Romanian tire manufacturer Tofan Group, said a Tofan spokesman Wednesday.

Nomura International Plc is the London-based subsidiary of the Japanese bank Nomura.

Tofan spokesman Deniz Ducescu said Nomura will also arrange debt facilities for a further $40 million for Tofan on international markets in coming months.

Ducescu said the $60 million credit line is meant to upgrade technology.

Tofan is Romania's leading tire manufacturer.

Tofan Group is the holding group of three tire manufacturing companies, consisting of Danubiana Bucharest, Victoria Floresti and Silvania Zalau.

Ducescu refused to provide further details on the credit line or international borrowing plans.

Tofan Group produces about 2.5 million tires per year, including car tires and tires for agricultural machinery.

Adam Brown

01 July 1997

Nomura funds $100 mln Romania tyre project (Reuters)

BUCHAREST, July 1 (Reuter) - Nomura International Plc, the European arm of Nomura Securities Co Ltd investment bank of Japan, said on Tuesday it had provided $100 million in finance to leading Romanian private tyre maker Tofan Group SA.

In a statement sent to Reuters in Bucharest, Nomura said it had arranged a $60 million equity financing for the development of the group's activity. It also said it would arrange "debt facilities amounting to $40 million."

20 June 1997

Tofan Grup in ofensiva (Bursa)

Tofan Grup lanseaza un program national de distributie a unui nou tip de anvelope. Anvelopele se numesc AUTO MAXIMA 2000 si reprezinta unul dintre cele mai performante produse ale firmei mentionate.

Th. Viada

21 February 1997

“Nepotrivire de caracter” (Jurnalul National)

Dupa ce luni seara premierul Victor Ciorbea si-a prezentat programul de reforma economica, romanul s-a vazut dintr-o data mult mai sarac. Asista neputincios din fotoliu cum altii ii aranjau viata, invatandu-l cum sa stranga cureaua. Si cel mai oropsit de soarta nu putea fi altul decat muncitorul, cel care se trezeste cu noaptea-n cap si pleaca la munca cu o bucata de slana si-un bot de mamaliga in sac, trudeste opt ore si se intoarce acasa mai sarac decat a plecat. Singurul sau castig este doar speranta ca maine va fi mai bine. Incercand sa aflam ce este viata de muncitor in prag de reforma, am ales la intamplare Societatea Comerciala “Danubiana”, singura intreprindere din Romania care produce anvelope pentru tractoare si camioane si care numara 4.500 de angajati, salariul mediu al unui muncitor fiind de aproximativ 800.000 lei brut, dupa spusele conducerii.

Fete inmuiate-n smoala
Desi in regimul communist nu auzeam vorbindu-se decat despre muncitori catre trebuiau, de voie de nevoie, sa realizeze cincinalul in patru ani si jumatate sis a se mandreasca cu conditia de “om al muncii”, acum a devenit, parca o “meserie” pe cale de disparitie. CHiar daca in realitate lucrurile nu stau chiar asa, intalnim muncitori peste tot. De multe ori ne uitam la mainile lor zdrelite, la hainele ce s-au obisnuit sa miroasa a uleiuri si vaselina, la caciulile roase si raspurtate, la bocabcii dupa care-I recunosti “de la o posta”, la si la…
“Poarta” de sud a Bucurestiului si i-a ales de cativa ani buni ca “strajeri”. De cum intri, un miros de cauciuc ars iti da tarcoale. Oameni cu salopete uzate, cu fete muiate parca-n smoala te privesc cu suspiciune, “cocotati” intr-un minicar. In rest, liniste. Jur-imprejur, blocuri cu patru etaje, fara balcoane, te intampina stingherite parca de “hainele” ce le poarta. Par pustii. Ne uitam la ceas. E ora pranzului si mai mult ca sigur ca locatarii sunt la masa… in uzina. Unii la cantina unitatii, unde “toata afacerea” ii costa acum cam 3.000 lei pe zi, altii in fata unui borcan, nu prea mare, invelit in ziar. Primii au parte de o mancare calda, nu chiar ca la mama acasa, ce-i drept, iar cei din urma de o gustare aburita eventual pe una dintre conductele din hala. Fiecare dupa posibilitati si dupa cat de gras ii este buzunarul. “De la si jumate pan’ la fix”, atata este pauza de masa, timp destul sat raga o tigara pentru ca, vorba ceea, “doar asa le-o trece greata”. Greata de tot si de toate. De viata asta pacatoasa care le tot invrajbeste gandurile si le da insomnii. Viata asta care nu-I mai lasa sa respire.

Suntem dispusi sa fim o perioada saraci
Roti de cauciuc. Utilaje ruginite sau proaspat vopsie. Totul este inghesuit intr-o hala imensa. “Aici sunt patru sectii, spunea dl ing. Marin Anton, prima este de semifabricate, urmeaza cea de confectii, vulcanizare si camere de aer. Pe langa aceste sectii mai sunt si altele, auxiliare, vreo sase sau sapte la numar, plus sectia de anvelope grele si cea energetica”. Si totusi, oamenii care muncesc aici sunt toti la fel. Fiecare are familie, copii si greutati. Ne povestesc: Romascu Petru, operator chimist, are peste 22 de ani in unitate: “Eu astazi am venit la serviciu cu salam de vara si sunca. Si asta pentru ca le aveam in frigider de mai mult timp. Salariul pe care il iau aici este maricel fata de alte locuri, dar nu cine stie ce. Am noroc ca prin Contractul Colectiv de Munca ni se dau si sporuri, astea mai salta salariul. Cu doi copii si cu salariul nevestei, mai strangem cureaua si ne ajungem cu banii. Cred ca masurile luate de Ciorbea trebuiau luate mai demult, pentru ca trebuia sa fie si asa. Cred ca suntem dispusi sa fim o perioada saraci pentru ca apoi sa avem si noi salarii mari, iar munca sa fie platita la adevarata ei valoare”. Dumitru Cezar Florin, maistru chimist, 18 ani vechime la “Danubiana”” “noi aici ar trebui sa fim mandri ca avem locuri de munca garantate si salarii bunicele. Suntem privatizati, nu avem legatura cu Guvernul, dar asta nu inseamna ca daca premierul scumpeste mancarea, gazelle, apa, curentul electric, pe noi nu ne afecteaza. Suntem oameni si ne vor influenta toate acestea”. Capezan Constanta, operator chimist: “Sunt sigura ca ne va fi foarte greu dupa acest val de scumpiri. Nu ne putem permite sandvisuri, pentru ca sunt prea scumpe. Si la efortul pe care trebuie sa-l depui intr-o zi nici nu ti-ar tine de foame. Cred ca dupa noile tarife un salariu se va duce pe telefon, intretinere si altele, ale casei. Efectele o sa le simtim pe propria piele cam peste doua saptamani”. Gabriel Asavei, in varsta de 30 de ani, muncitor: “Ce pot sa va spun? Salariul meu este de 300.000 lei pe luna si imi ajunge cat sa traiesc decent. Sotia mea lucreaza si ea, dar, desi nu avem nici un copil, nu ne mai putem distra cum am vrea, pentru ca dupa opt ore de munca suntem tare obositi. Mai ales eu, pentru ca lucrez in conditiile astea”. Mariana Muraru, operator chimist: “Lucrez aici din 1990. Noi, femeile, suntem mereu racite, pentru ca suntem nevoite sa ne spalam la vestiare si conditiile de acolo lasa de dorit. Tot timpul este frig. Desi apa este calda, mizeria este la ea acasa si robinetele sunt ruginite. Nu mananc la cantinta pentru ca nu-mi permit sad au pe zi 3.000 de lei. Imi aduc de acasa ce da Dumnezeu. Am un copil de zece ani si cu un singur salariu este destul de greu. Prefer sa scutesc niste bani sau sa mancam mai putin”. Un grup de muncitori de abia iesit din tura, inainte de a-si spala negrul de fum de pe fata si de pe maini, se inghesuie pe o banca de lemn din vestiar. Acolo se simteau mai feriti de privirile sefilor si isi spuneau, care mai de care, pasurile lor. “In hala este foarte frig, tot timpul este current si trebuie sa stam cu pulovere groase pe sub salopete si cu caciuli pe cap. Peretii halelor nu sunt bine finisati, geamurile sunt sparte, iar caldura ioc. Despre salarii nu prea avem ce sa spunem. Asta e situatia, nu suntem prea multumiti. Si nici cu sanatatea nu stam prea bine. Iarna asta am fost gripati in mai multe etape. Fumul acesta pe care il inhalam tot timpul o sa ne duca, nu peste mult timp, pe paturile de spital. Scuipam fum. Uneori ne este frica sa nu murim electrocutati. Cand ploua, apa se prelinge pe acoperis, si, de pe el, inauntru pe malaxor. Motorul acestuia are 6.000 de volti si inchipuiti-va ce s-ar intampla daca ar face masa. Ne-ar fi fatal”. Pentru a se distra sau a se mai relaxa din cand in cand, unii uncenici se mai indeletnicesc cu o partida de X si 0 pe podeaua plina de cauciuc scurs de la utilaje. Iar daca sefii ii prind, ii mustruluiesc putin, si-si vad de ale lor in timp ce-i indeamna sa treaca la munca.

Conducerea stie ce probleme au muncitorii
Dup ace stai de vorba cu muncitorii, prima impresie este ca toate-s bune si frumoase, dar asta pentru ca se simt supravegheati de ochii iscoditori ai sefilor. Le este frica sa spuna care este situatia lor reala, care le este salariul si care le sunt nemultumirile, pentru ca nu vor sa “deranjeze” sau sa devina “incomozi”. Privirile lor ii tradeaza. Se multumesc sa spuna ca o duc bine, dar recunosc ca intotdeauna se poate si mai bine. Un grup de salariati au tinut sa le “ia ochii” sefilor spunandu-ne: “In fiecare luna primim cinci kg de carne pe gratis ca antidot, un kg de lapte praf, sapun si, annual, cate doua salopete si bocanci”.
In acelasi timp, mai marii societatii spun: “Stim ca mai sunt si probleme, dar pe ansamblu treaba merge bine. Cunoastem situatia halelor, dar tot atat de bine stim ca muncitorii sparg vara geamurile pe motic ca le este cald. Iar noua ne este acum destul de greu sa le inlocuim, pentru ca un petete este facut numai din sticla si cei pe care i-am chemat sa le repare nu au avut de ce sa se agate. Stim ca salariatii sunt multumiti de salarii, mai sunt sporurile ce se mai adauga la ele, de exemplu muncitorii din sectia “O”, pe langa cele cinci kg de carne, mai primesc si un pachet de hrana rece (in acesta intra ceea ce doresc ei sa ia de la cantina in valoare de o anumita suma)”. Cristian Zurini, managerul societatii, spunea ca incepand cu aceasta luna intreprinderea se confrunta cu problema lichiditatilor deoarece masura Bancii Nationale de a retrage leii de pe piata a facut sa scada cumplit puterea de cumparare a beneficiarilor. Din aceasta cauza, pana la data de 1 martie a.c., societatea a fost nevoita sa reduca cu 10% pretul anvelopelor. Dupa aceasta data, se pare ca, aceste preturi vor fi majorate, majorarea incadrandu-se undeva in jurul a 50-100%.
Liderii de sindicat au tinut sa ne spuna ca “si aici sunt probleme, ca peste tot in economia romaneasca. Indexarea data de Guvern acum cateva zile nu ne ajuta prea mult. Daca salariul va fi ceva mai mare, si impozitul va creste. Pentru noi era mult mai bine daca se facea o reducere a impozitelor pe salarii. De fapt, asta ne interesa pe noi in mod deosebit. Cat despre compensatii, credem ca cel mai bin ear fi ca ele sa se distribuie in mod egal la toata lumea, fara diferentieri”.

Silvia Badea, Dorina Gheorghe

06 February 1997

Regele cauciucului e pe drumul cel bun (Capital)

Gelu Tofan intentioneaza sa devina cel mai mare peste cauciucari. Impreuna cu presedintele Charles Meeker de la Media Consult Corporation (fost presedinte la Metro Goldwyn Meyer), va pune in functiune, in acest an, un system de transmitere a informatiilor despre starea vremii si a drumurilor prin radio si pager. Tot pentru sprijinirea transportatorilor, a inceput amenajarea unor garaje pentru 100 de TIR-uri pe platforma Militari, pe o suprafata de 10.000 mp, si a unui motel pentru soferii acestora, la standarde cu adevarat occidentale.
Problema drumurilor ramane insa tot nerezolvata, dar nu depinde de cauciucari. Pacat!

09 January 1997

Romania private tyre maker buys two local plants (Reuters)

BUCHAREST, Jan 9 (Reuter) - Romanian private tyre maker and distributor Tofan Group SA bought a 51 stake in two state-owned tyre plants, in what the company called the biggest privatisation deal so far in the ex-communist country.

A company statement said the group, owned by industrialist Gelu Tofan, signed a deal with the State Ownership Fund (FPS) worth over 200 billion lei ($139 million) for a controlling stake in Victoria SA and Silvana SA plants.

The FPS is the majority shareholder in around 6,000 Romanian companies slated for privatisation.

"We have pledged ourselves to the task of restructuring the whole tyre-making industry," Tofan told Reuters.

He said the group had already paid in 20 percent of the cash, with the rest to be paid by the end of the month.

"We are persuaded that we will succeed, at least in tyremaking, to get Romania's industry rolling again," he said.

Under the deal, Tofan Group SA, with a staff of 12,000 and a reported 1996 turnover on sales worth $90 million, pledged to keep on its payroll over the next five years all the 6,000 employees of the two newly bought tyre plants.

It said the latest acquisition would enable the group, which took over Romania's largest tyremaker Danubiana SA in 1995, to raise its sales figure to $200 million this year.

Roxana Dascalu, Bucharest Newsroom, 40-1 3120264