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On Tuesday 16 and Wednesday 17 January 2018, we welcomed over 1200 delegates to Vienna for the 23rd Central and Eastern European Forum. The 2018 conference explored the outlook for the capital markets in CEE for the coming year and assessed the impact of political instability in Europe and geo-political risk worldwide on the region’s economies.
We opened the Forum with a series of insightful live one-on-one keynote interviews with six Finance Ministers from the region:
H.E. Mr Vardan Aramyan, Minister of Finance, Government of Armenia
H.E. Mr Mamuka Bakhtadze, Minister of Finance, Government of Georgia
H.E. Mr Zdravko Marić, Minister of Finance, Government of Croatia
H.E. Mr Vilius Šapoka, Minister of Finance, Government of Lithuania
H.E. Mr Dragan Tevdovski, Minister of Finance, Government of Macedonia
H.E. Dr Dušan Vujović, Minister of Finance, Government of Serbia
This was followed by panel discussions on geopolitics, trade and rate cycles in 2018, and public debt management in the CEE. The borrowing strategies of the governments of Hungary, Serbia, Slovakia, and Slovenia were all discussed by their chief representatives. These panels were directly followed by parallel discussions on, a new topic to the agenda, non-performing loans, as well as opportunities in listed equity, fixed income investment, and private equity and venture capital.
Our regular sponsored workshops and roundtables focussed on individual countries and topics presenting delegates with a unique opportunity to meet and engage with policy and deal makers. This year we also hosted target tables which offered a more indepth and interactive dialogue on topics including corporate funding strategy, real estate and green bonds. We finished the first day with a discussion on the CEE banking sector focusing on Fintech, cross-border banking groups and the regulatory environment.
Ewald Nowotny, Governor of the Oesterreichische Nationalbank, and a member of the Governing Council at the European Central Bank opened the second day of the conference with a keynote address on Euro area recovery and economic growth in the CEE region. We were then joined by eight Central Bankers from the region who took part in parallel discussions on monetary policy.
These were directly followed by sessions looking at secured debt, and understanding green and ethical investors. The second day closed with an excellent economic outlook panel discussion looking forward to the year ahead, and beyond. Live audience polling for this session indicated that the majority of respondents felt that the markets are blind and cannot see the fundamental structural problems that caused the financial crisis in the first place - financial imbalance between savers & spenders/overextended credit/fiscal irresponsibility/self-serving financiers – are still there.
Frequently touted as one of the leading networking events for anyone with an interest in Central and Eastern Europe, it will continue to be the premier event in the calendar helping to set the financial agenda for the year ahead.
Euromoney Conferences would like to would like to thank all of our sponsors, speakers and participants for their support and for making the 2018 CEE Forum such a resounding success. We look forward to returning to Vienna in January 2019.
CEE Syndicated Loans
The CEE Syndicated Loans Executive Briefing took place after the Central and European Forum in the afternoon of Wednesday 17 January. It brought together a group of handpicked loan market experts - banks, private equity, corporate borrowers - for a roundtable discussion on current state of play of the CEE loan market.
Tamás Dékány, Head of Corporate Finance, Budapest Airport Zrt.
László Szabó, Director of Treasury and Accounting, MVM Group
Peter Tordai, Chief Financial Officer, E2 Hungary
Bill Fawkner-Corbett, Investment Director, CEE Equity Partners
Zsuzsanna Ortutay, Group Treasurer, MOL Group
Fabrice Dumontheil, Chief Financial Officer, Penta Investments
Thomas Spring, Partner, Syntaxis Capital
We thank our speakers and delegates for an insightful afternoon's debate and discussion, and look forward to returning to Vienna in January 2019.
At the Forum this year, we had our live interactive polling through our conference app. The poll produced some interesting and thought provoking results.
See below, the questions and corresponding results.