Spirit and culture
Victor Vadaneaux founded Centerra following a 10 year career in Western European private equity. Romanian by birth, Victor was attracted by the opportunity to bring his experience and skills to his country of origin. In creating Centerra, Victor was motivated by the opportunity to develop high calibre projects. In leading the Centerra team, Victor worked to instil a culture of integrity, risk management and quality while upholding an entrepreneurial spirit.
By delivering projects of a high standard, usually difficult to find in a developing economy, Centerra was able to attract international financial and commercial partners, and ultimately buyers for the companies it managed in Romania. Coresi Brasov is a prime example of the high-value, complex projects Centerra was able to deliver due to its capabilities and access to Western capital and expertise.
Centerra was formed in 2006 to take advantage of the opportunities created by Romania’s imminent entry into the EU. At that time, many international investors did not have direct access to specific private equity investment opportunities in the new accession countries. The idea of Centerra was to identify specific assets that were available and presented opportunities for significant value creation. These were primarily real estate and industrial assets that could be acquired transparently at a good price, and which afforded significant development opportunities. Once acquired by investors, Centerra would organise a business around these assets and develop it to create value.
Centerra relied on the integrity and track record of its founder, and experience of its team, to attract investors. In the overheated market that preceded the financial crisis, Centerra found value in assets that other buyers didn’t have the vision to appreciate, such as industrial assets, and assets which required specialist expertise to develop. While many, especially local, investors sought quick gains through trading of assets, Centerra took a longer-term view of development. Centerra was thus able to create significantly more value through the delivery of quality projects.
Operating in an emerging economy, Centerra developed a process of anticipating and managing risks while entrepreneurially seizing opportunities. For example, in early 2008 it started the development of the Coresi Business Park, an office park housing IT and healthcare businesses that eventually employed 1,500 people, and which became a key source of the value created in Flavus Ltd. Similarly, Centerra used the financial crisis as a springboard for the development of the Coresi Shopping Centre by hiring the best development people from failed competitors. Another example is Centerra’s purchase of shares in Fondul Proprietatea at a significant discount to its later listing price on the Bucharest Stock Exchange.