Orange Romania ditches greenbacks but still goes green

The Romanian arm of operator group Orange announced the sale of its retail banking business and, soon after, the purchase of a bunch of renewable energy.

The coincidence of the two moves owes more to correlation than causation but are perhaps symbolic of a broader strategic shift by Orange in general. Orange France announced it was selling its retail banking interests a few months ago, making it highly likely that other territories would follow suit. In Romania, that business is being acquired by Alpha Bank.

“Thanks to a strong team of digital banking specialists, Orange Money Romania has grown steadily, becoming today a top digital financial solution, recognized by customers and the market for the quality of its services and innovative vision,” said Haris Hanif, CEO of Orange Money Romania.

“The strategic path of Orange Money has always been geared towards integrating the application and its products into a banking ecosystem and, in order to achieve this goal, we signed the transfer of the retail Orange Money business to Alpha Bank Romania. Alpha Bank’s expertise will provide continuity to our customers, and their banking products will also enhance the suite of services to which Orange Money users have access today.”

“We are delighted to benefit from the strengths of Orange Money Romania and excited by the opportunity to build an ecosystem of digital solutions for our customers, said Sergiu Oprescu, Executive President of Alpha Bank Romania. “Our strategic thinking, flexibility and long-term vision are thus complemented by an infusion of agility and expertise in the field of market-leading digital financial services.”

Barely pausing for breath, Orange Romania followed up with the announcement that it has entered into its first virtual power purchase agreement with ENGIE Romania, which consists in the virtual purchase of long-term renewable energy. Over the contract period of six years, Orange Romania will get 30 GWh of its annual electricity needs from solar power. Needless to say, the main reason Orange is making a noise about this is to gain ESG brownie points.

“We are aligned with the objectives of the Orange Group and continue to integrate sustainability at the heart of our actions, in order to reduce our impact on the environment,” said Liudmila Climoc, CEO of Orange Romania. “Decarbonisation and the use of more renewable and sustainable energy sources is a priority for us, along with using resources efficiently through reuse and recycling. Thus, the signing of the vPPA contract with ENGIE Romania is another important step in the long-term commitment that Orange has assumed, to contribute to the sustainable development of society.”

Orange positioned the banking move as being in line with its ‘lead the future’ strategic masterplan. While the green move made no equivalent reference, it seems clear that going green is very much part of the company’s strategic thinking. It’s just a shame the two colours don’t go together better.


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