Foreigners have stepped up acquisition of forests and farming land


Ioana David, Cristina Stoian

29 March 2010


Foreign companies have stepped up acquisitions of farming land and forests during the crisis, having spent more than 500 million euros so far. They currently own 3 to 5% of Romania's farming land, with Danish investors alone holding 130,000 hectares, that is 1.4% of the total, as one hectare of farming land is three to ten times cheaper than in the West, while a hectare of forest is five times cheaper.
The acquisitions were conducted in a very discreet manner, with few buyers having announced exactly what they own or the amount of money they paid.

The total area held by non-residents is not known by any public institution, however, given that foreigners are required to register local companies to make such investments.
The most active buyers lately have been those buying forests, which own more than 100,000 hectares throughout the country. Investments are excess of 300 million euros, at an average hectare price of 3,000 to 5,000 euros, according to ZF calculations. As for farming land, non-residents own hundreds of thousands of hectares, for which they paid hundreds of millions of euros.
More and more investor names have come up on the list of those buying farming land or forests in Romania lately, which begs the question about why foreigners are interested in Romania.
"The land quality is very good and the price is attractive, as it is much lower than in the West," said Vlad Crjan, a partner of Gilescu & Partenerii CHSH law firm. The firm has brokered deals involving more than 10,000 hectares of forests and over 30,000 hectares of farming land over the last few years.