10 April 2001

Gelu Tofan bets on bread and communications (Ziarul Financiar)

Gelu Tofan, the owner of Tofan Group, will head towards other activities, such as bakery and agricultural equipment assembling, after Michelin, the world's leader in the field of tyre manufacturing, takes over the largest share of the tyre business developed by Tofan over the past years.
Michelin is to take over Victoria Prahova and Silvania Zalau plants, Tofan Recap, 20 distribution warehouses and the entire network including 2,000 franchised Automaxima points of sale.
The transaction was announced and presented on Friday and the sale contract will be signed over the next weeks. Both Michelin and Tofan representatives announced they would not disclose the transaction value.
Sources close to the negotiations told Ziarul Financiar that the transaction value amounted to 100 million dollars, beside the investments Michelin will run at the Romanian plants.
The seller of the heftiest stake was Japanese investment bank Nomura, through its London-based subsidiary. In 1997, Nomura invested more than 100 million dollars in Tofan by loans and stock take-over. As all financial investors usually do, Nomura decided to get out of the business after several years.
Gelu Tofan, the owner of the Romanian group, still holds the Bucharest-based plant Danubiana, which manufactures tyres for tractors and agricultural machines, the tyre logistics transport business and Rotras plant, which manufactures huge tyres. According to the above-quoted sources, Nomura also holds shares in these businesses.
Gelu Tofan stated that he would further focus on developing the domestic and international transport network, the bakery business Unipan and the satellite communication system.
Moreover, Tofan will develop other three major projects: a plant for agricultural equipment assembling, a Biodiesel fuel plant with an annual capacity of 70,000 tonnes and a network of car and truck fast service to operate 300 stations over the next years.

Cristian Hostiuc

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