Wednesday, 7 December 2022

Who Will Benefit Most from Historic Croatia-USA Double Taxation Agreement?

December the 7th, 2022 - After three (very long) decades of negotiations, the representatives of Croatia and the USA in Washington are finally set to conclude the Croatia-USA double taxation agreement today. Croatia is otherwise the only nation in the EU and NATO that hasn't yet regulated this relationship.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marija Brnic writes, back during previous years, analysts assessed that the signing of the Croatia-USA double taxation agreement, which will finally result in the avoidance of having to pay tax on income in both nations to both nations, will not result in a sudden rush of American investors to Croatia, nor will it open up new businesses for Croatian companies on the American market. What it will primarily do is result in considerable benefits for companies that are already operating, as they will be less burdened by tax payments. It will also increase their level of competitiveness overall.

However, circumstances have changed somewhat over more recent years, and it seems that the number of those who will benefit from the settlement of fiscal relations between these two countries on each side of the Atlantic Ocean will be more significant. What will this mean exactly, and who will benefit the most from the signing of the historic Croatia-USA double taxation agreement?

Climbing the ladder

The USA was not among the major investors in Croatia for a very long time, but that has changed quite significantly in recent years. Steve Bubalo, an American entrepreneur with Croatian roots, has the longest investment experience here. He invested in the Vrana agricultural farm near Biograd in Zadar, as well as in rural tourism in Baranja, and one of his big takeovers was certainly Barr's takeover of Pliva back in 2006, which was then taken over by the Israeli company Teva.

After Croatia joined the EU back in July 2013, and especially over the last few years, more serious investments followed, such as IBM's investment in the Technical Support Centre in Zagreb, two years ago New York's One Equity Partners invested 200 million dollars in Infobip, and this summer, Goldman Sachs, together with the Japanese SoftBank, invested 500 million euros in the remarkable Rimac Group.

At the same time, in Savski Marof, the start of work on the new production facility of the American company Pfizer for the production of innovative biological drugs, in which it is investing 100 million euros, was marked. The USA is thus climbing the investment ladder, and from 1993 to the end of the second quarter of this year, more than 595 million euros had been invested in Croatia, and thanks to the latest investments successfully ticked off, it took 15th place on the list of investors in this country.

It's also interesting to note that Croatian investments over in the USA over the past three decades, in Croatian circumstances at least, aren't insignificant. They amount to more than 73 million euros, and among those Croatian companies that started production in the USA is, for example, Podravka. HS Produkt from Karlovac has also been among the main exporters for years, along with Pliva.

Trade has also been growing in recent years, especially in the last year on the back of US LNG imports. In terms of trade, Croatia is mainly focused on the market of the EU and neighbouring non-EU countries, but thanks to LNG terminal on Krk, the USA has moved up to the seventh place among the main trade partners.

In the first nine months of 2022, imports from the USA into Croatia amounted to more than 2.07 billion euros and at the annual level they increased by 703%, and goods from Croatia were exported for 349 million euros (marking a decrease of 17%).

According to AmCham's estimates, the Croatia-USA double taxation agreement will have a positive effect on the transfer of knowledge, due to the costs of withholding taxes on the provision of certain services and royalties, and the costs of labour taxation, which is particularly important for the IT sector and small and medium-sized enterprises.

Croatian companies that establish subsidiaries over in the USA are currently subject to federal and state income tax, and dividend payments are subject to a 30% tax. Since the corporate tax rate in Croatia stands at 12 or 18%, AmCham estimates that the cumulative US tax rate is very discouraging for Croatian companies.

A company in Croatia owned by a larger American company pays profit tax at the rate of 18%, and according to the parent company in the USA, it must make three payments per year, for interest and royalties, and then for dividends, it pays withholding tax at rates of 12 and 15 %, and only the net after-tax amount can be paid to the US parent company.

This Croatia-USA double taxation agreement will make it possible to get rid of these payments once and for all, and make it so that the full amount is paid to the parent company, which makes Croatia more attractive as an investment and business destination overall.

"This is a significant step for the business community both in the USA and Croatia, which for many years advocated the initiation of negotiations on the signing of such an agreement. This step is particularly important for AmCham and its members, given that it prepared the initial arguments for the conclusion of the agreement back in 2018 and brings together companies that are most involved in trade and investment flows between Croatia and the USA," said Andrea Doko Jelusic, the executive director of AmCham Croatia.

The conclusion of this historic (and long-awaited) agreement will bring a lower financial burden for companies, and here on the Croatian side, it will be especially interesting for the IT sector, as well as for the food and pharmaceutical industry, while on the American side, it will open space for cooperation with small and medium-sized companies that haven't been represented in Croatia until now.

The Croatian Chamber of Commerce (HGK) also welcomes the signing of the Agreement on the Avoidance of Double Taxation between Croatia and the USA, and points out that, although there's still some time to go before its full implementation, it is to be expected that it will have a positive impact on the overall economic relations between the two countries, mutual trade, and will especially facilitate mutual investments.

For more, make sure to check out our news section.

Wednesday, 7 December 2022

Another Banovina Earthquake Wakes Residents in Early Hours

December the 7th, 2022 - Ever since the devastating Banovina earthquake which struck right at the very end of December 2020, the ground in that part of the country has kept on moving. It doesn't seem likely to stop anytime soon given the fact that traumatised residents were woken at around 02:00 this morning by yet another earthquake.

Parts of Central Croatia, particularly the wider Sisak-Moslavina County area, still look as if time has stood still since that fateful natural disaster back at the very end of the pandemic-dominated year of 2020. The government talks big and there are many promises of funds being poured into the renovation of the Banovina (or Banija, if you like) area following that event, but the reality is that many families who lost their properties to nature are still living in containers. 

The last thing the residents of this very active part of the country, at least in terms of earthquakes, need, is yet another Banovina earthquake. Although incomparable to the ones which struck in December 2020, the one which woke people with the shaking of the ground and their homes during the early hours of this morning was enough to make memories come flooding back for most people.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the residents of Banovina were awoken by the shaking of the ground at around 02:00 in the morning whrn they felt the Banovina earthquake with an epicentre just eleven kilometres from Petrinja, strike. It was also felt right here in the wider Zagreb area but to a far lesser degree.

"The sound was terrifying. When it started, the house shook for about ten seconds, and then there was more rocking. It hasn't been like this for a long time," one of the residents of Glina, an area heavily damaged by 2020's earthquake, wrote on the EMSC website.

For more, make sure to check out our news section.

Tuesday, 6 December 2022

Breaking News: MiG Crash Near Slatina, Both Pilots Found

December 6, 2022 - A MiG crash occured near Slatina, close to Daruvar in eastern Croatia. Both pilots have now been found and are both in a stable condition. It is not yet clear what caused the accident.

The criminal military police and the chief aviation military investigator will conduct an investigation into the crash of the two-seater MiG, it was said at the Ministry of Defense's press conference, where it was also pointed out that the pilots had reported certain problems in the operation of the engines.

Index reports minute-by-minute, with the most recent updates on top.

8 pm

Banožić: The fall of the MiG showed that the army is ready for challenging tasks

Defense Minister Mario Banožić said that fortunately both pilots were found alive and that the incident showed the readiness of the Croatian Army to successfully perform its tasks despite challenging moments and the state of the equipment.

5:43 pm
Aircraft located using modern technology

"At the moment, it is not possible to access the area where the plane fell. It is a dense forest and scrub, it is in an area between two hills, and the plane broke in half. Part of it burned, only the tail remained.

The head of the Virovitica-Podravina Police Department and the head of the police service for public order and peace, together with the firemen, were the first to reach the place where the plane crashed and began extinguishing it. One pilot was found by emergency police officers and a local resident who helped him. The second pilot made it to the house near the accident by himself.

The crash site is secured by the military police," ICV journalist Tomislav Maloča told N1.

He adds that the pilots were transferred by helicopter to a hospital in Zagreb.

The plane was located using modern technology to locate the last trajectory that the plane itself sent.

5:25 pm
President Milanović also responded

"At this moment, the most important thing is that both pilots of the Croatian Air Force are alive and that there are no victims or injuries at the place of the plane crash, as well as no damage to citizens' property. I wish the injured pilot a speedy recovery. I am in constant contact with the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Croatia, Admiral Robert Hranj, who informs me of the situation. I expect that the circumstances and the reason for the crash of the MiG-21 aircraft will be determined as soon as possible," said President Zoran Milanović, reports N1.

4:50 pm
Witness: The pilot came out of the forest disoriented. He said he didn't remember anything

A Croatian Air Force MiG-21 plane crashed 10 kilometres from Voćin on difficult-to-access terrain, a little before 2:00 p.m. today. After a large search in which all emergency services participated, both pilots were found alive.

4:38 pm

HGSS: The plane has also been found

"Both pilots and the plane they were looking for have been found in the vicinity of the municipality of Voćin," HGSS writes.

4:19 pm

Both pilots were found, announcement by the Ministry of Defense

Both pilots from the two-seater MIG 21 fighter plane of the Croatian Air Force were found alive. During its fall, the pilots successfully ejected and landed, the Ministry of Defense reported in the afternoon.

The pilots are in a stable condition, out of danger and will be transported to the hospital for a medical examination. They successfully ejected from the two-seater MIG-21 aircraft, which crashed during a planned training activity near Slatina, and landed. Two Croatian Air Force Mi-171 helicopters, members of the Military Police Regiment and an unmanned aerial vehicle were immediately sent to the scene of the accident for search and rescue purposes.

The operational forces of the civil protection system were also engaged: State Civil Protection Intervention Units, firefighters, Croatian Mountain Rescue Service, and police officers and hunters were sent to the field. The Ministry of Defense will inform the public about the details in a timely manner.

4:02 pm 
In the last 12 years, there have been six major accidents involving MORH aircraft

A MiG-21 of the Ministry of Defense crashed today near Voćin, which was s the seventh accident involving a Ministry of Defense aircraft in the last twelve years.

3:59 pm
Vidović: This is why we had to buy new planes

While the Chairman of the Committee, Franko Vidović, said that the case showed the justification of buying new aircraft.

3:56 pm
The second pilot was also found, he is alive

The second pilot was also found. He is injured, but alive, Index learned unofficially.

3: 53 pm
Search dogs also looking for the pilot

Mateja Fras Venus, commander of the Virovitica-Podravina County Fire Brigade, revealed to N1 what wass known thus far about the MiG crash. "We have information that the MiG fell in the area of the Virovitica-Podravine County, specifically the Voćin Municipality. Firefighters are on the ground, as well as rescue teams and K-9 teams with dogs. We are currently inspecting the area, combing and looking for the crew," she said. One part of the field is less accessible because it is a hilly area, she explained.

3:31 pm
HGSS announced that they are also searching for the missing pilot

"The Požega, Bjelovar and Orahovica stations are participating in the search for the aircraft in the Virovitica-Podravina County, while the Zagreb, Zlatar Bistrica, Varaždin, Čakovec, Novska, Slavonski Brod, Vinkovci and Osijek stations are arriving," HGSS announced.

3:12 pm

The government confirmed minister Banožić is going to the site of the MiG crash.

The government confirmed that the Minister of Defense Mario Banožić and the Chief of the General Staff, Hranj, and the Director of HRZ Križanec, are going to the site of the MiG crash.

They state that Banožić is going to the crash site in agreement with Prime Minister Andrej Plenković, who is in Tirana.

3:02 pm
Sačić called on Banožić to resign

Parliamentary representative of the Croatian sovereignists and member of the Parliamentary Committee for Defense Željko Sačić commented on the fall of the MiG, stating that the Minister of Defense Mario Banožić should resign.

Sačić reminds that former minister Damir Krstičević resigned in a similar situation.

3 pm 
One pilot has been found, the search started for the other

As a well-informed source confirmed to Index, one pilot was found after he ejected and radioed in.

The other pilot is being sought.

2:56 pm
Selak for Index: I assume that some technical problem happened, I have information that both pilots ejected

Index contacted the famous military pilot Ivan Selak about the MiG crash near Slatina.

"It is certain that an investigation will now follow. I learned that both pilots had ejected. I guess there was some technical problem. But anything is possible, for example a bird flying into the engine. According to what I know, both pilots ejected," Selak told Index.

"As for the planes, it doesn't matter whether they are new or old. There are no old or new planes, but functioning or malfunctioning ones. There is no way that someone authorized a flight on a malfunctioning plane. Crashes of F-35 planes have even happened, the latest models," added Selak.

2:54 pm
Banožić and Hranj go to the crash site of the MiG

As Index learned, Minister of Defense Mario Banožić and Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Croatia Robert Hranj are going to the crash site of the MiG.

2:41 pm
The Ministry of Defense speaks.

"A Croatian Air Force MIG-21 plane crashed during a scheduled training activity on Tuesday, December 6, 2022, before 2:00 p.m. in the area near Slatina in the Virovitica-Podravina County.

All measures and actions were taken in order to find and save the crew, the Ministry of Defense reported. The MIG crashed in an uninhabited wooded area in the Virovitica-Podravina County," the Ministry of Defense announced.

2:40 pm
A MiG crashed near Voćin, an HV (Croatian Army) helicopter went towards the crash site

As Index learned, the MiG crashed somewhere near Voćin, between Daruvar and Slatina, in the Virovitica-Podravine County.

As we know, a helicopter of the Croatian Army went towards the crash site.

It is expected that the police and HGSS will soon join the search.

2:20 pm
A MiG crashed near Daruvar

So far, it is only known that a MiG crashed near Daruvar and that the search for one of the two pilots is ongoing.

The Ministry of Defense confirmed the information.

This article will be updated continuously.

For more, make sure to follow our dedicated News section.

Tuesday, 6 December 2022

Koncar Revitalising Greek Messochora Plant After 20 Years of Waiting

December the 6th, 2022 - The well known Croatian company Koncar is an internationally recognised leader, and it has been working intensively on the creation of new or the revitalisation of old energy plants for around 100 years now. The revitalisation of a plant in Greece is now in the works.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Darko Bicak writes, in very few segments of the global market does Croatia occupy such a large share as it does in the energy sector, especially in terms of transformers and hydropower plants.

The biggest name in this field is undoubtedly Koncar, which has been working on new or revitalising existing energy capacities for about 100 years, and the latest example of this is over in Greece. To speak more specifically, Koncar recently signed a contract with the Greek electricity company (Public Power Corporation - PPC) in the capital of Athens for the first phase of the revitalisation of the Messochora hydroelectric plant in Greece.

The first phase of the works

Several Koncar Group companies, led by Inzenjering/Engineering (KET), will participate in this Greek revitalisation project. As part of the first phase of the revitalisation of this plant, the testing and analysis of all of the equipment at the hydroelectric power plant will be carried out, and all of the preparatory work will be done for the first commissioning of this plant.

As explained by Gordan Kolak, the president of the Koncar Management Board, the HE Messochora project was initially contracted in the years following the end of the Homeland War, back during a period when the Koncar Group was working very intensively to return to its former markets, which included that of nearby Greece.

"We won't be exaggerating by saying that this particular project was particularly crucial for Inzenjering, but also for other companies from within the wider Koncar Group," said Kolak. It regards a plant with an installed capacity of 2x90 MW, the equipping of which (with all kinds of electromechanical equipment) was contracted by Koncar back in 1996 amid strong international competition on a "turnkey" basis.

The implementation of the project lasted from 1996 to 2002, with Koncar successfully fulfilling all of its contractual obligations, and the equipment was delivered and installed within the given deadlines. However, PPC faced certain administrative problems due to which it could not fill the reservoir with the water required for testing, and ultimately ensure the operation of this plant.

Therefore, in agreement with PPC, the equipment was finally taken over and preserved so that the project could continue when the conditions for it were properly created. Few expected that this would happen only after a twenty whole years, after Koncar, following several months of negotiations with PPC, finally signed the contract by which it returned to this Greek hydroelectric plant.

"Taking into account the attitude of our Greek partner who wants to put this plant into operation with as much originally produced equipment as possible, it's evident that this is an extremely large technological and engineering challenge, because in the meantime, several technological changes have taken place on the market for many types of installed equipment, which is typical for the passage of this amount of time. Therefore, members of Koncar's teams from the original phase of the plant's construction will participate in the work on the ''new'' Messochora. These kinds of challenges are at the very core of Koncar's expertise, performance according to special customer requirements and the adaptation of equipment and systems of different generations,'' said the Zagreb-based company.

To date, Koncar has secured references in as many as 130 markets around the world and delivered more than 400,000 transformers of various types, voltage levels and powers, fully or partially built and revitalised tens of thousands of transformer plants up to 400 kV, as well as 400 hydroelectric power plants, and produced revitalised about 700 generators.

The production of hydrogen generators in their facilities began back in 1947, and the first one was put into operation the following year at the HPP Mariborski otok, which operated successfully for more than forty years.

By 1957, 100 generators had been delivered, and in that very year, the first export job in Pakistan was achieved by Koncar for HE Chichoki Mallian. Their biggest turnkey project took place in 1988, when they delivered equipment for the 295 MW Bechme HPP in Iraq.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated business section.

Tuesday, 6 December 2022

Dubrovnik Marks Anniversary of its Defence, Honours its Defenders

December the 6th, 2022 - The 6th of December 1991 is a date which has burned itself into the eternal memory of the City of Dubrovnik and has become as much a part of its long history as Saint Blaise or Marin Drzic.

What do you think of when you think about the 90's? Maybe you think of the then mobile phone giant Nokia and the phones that could break concrete if dropped, or Haddaway's eternal question about what love is. For many it was a happy time, a time of good music, technological advancement and anticipation of the turn of a brand new century. For others, it was a time of fear, death, oppression and destruction, and for those of us who come from Europe, it was shocking to see such a thing occurring on our doorstep - once again.

The Serbs and their hangers on, the Montenegrins, pressed on with their imperialistic style regime through unfathomable attempts at mass murder, butchering innocent civilians in Srebrenica, in Vukovar, in Skabrnja. Children killed, women raped, men slaughtered and buried in pits, given no more dignity than diseased livestock. Europe had not seen such bloodshed and brutality since Adolf Hitler and his army of black-shirts had reigned. For most people from outside of the former Yugoslavia, the reasons for Serbian aggression were shrouded in mystery, for many, they still are.

It's known to most that both Croatia and neighbouring Slovenia declared their independence from Yugoslavia (SFRJ) in 1991 following numerous attempts at gaining political distance and finally through a referendum. The formerly Socialist Republic of Croatia became the Republic of Croatia, an independent state of its very own after what seemed to many like an eternity under a cruel and unyielding Yugoslav thumb. That was about as much as those lucky enough not to be involved knew about the situation which led to the above.

On the 6th December 1991, Dubrovnik was viciously attacked by the JNA (Yugoslav Peoples Army), it was the culmination of a siege which sought to raze the globally adored UNESCO World Heritage Site to the ground. A similar and unfortunately successful action was seen much more recently in Palmyra at the hands of ISIS. The horrific bombardment of Dubrovnik resulted in international condemnation of the JNA and rightly became a public relations disaster for Serbia and Montenegro, contributing to and furthering their diplomatic and economic isolation and winning them powerful enemies across Europe and the rest of the world. It was a shot in the foot from which the still-estranged Serbia has hardly ever recovered in the eyes of the international community, and rightly so.

To go into it a little more deeply, the JNA was composed primarily of Serbian nationals, and it was no accident that they targeted a location which had been totally demilitarised back in the 1970's to try to prevent it from ever becoming a war casualty. The JNA's barbaric attack on the beloved UNESCO city of Dubrovnik was met with international condemnation and political outcry, resulting in the aforementioned isolation of Serbia. Threats to Serbia from numerous powerful European politicians echoed around the globe, the British prime minister Margaret Thatcher famously stood defiantly by Croatia, claiming publicly that had it been up to her, she would have bombed Belgrade immediately.

The attack lasted seven long months, the heaviest attack took place on this day, the 6th of December (now celebrated as the Day of the Defenders in Dubrovnik), killing 19 people and wounding another 60. Artillery attacks on Dubrovnik damaged 56% of its buildings, and the Old City was the innocent victim of 650 shells. Neighbouring Montenegro grew ever hostile, led by President Momir Bulatovic and Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic who rose to power following the popular anti-bureaucratic revolution, the nation was allied to the fanatical Slobodan Milosevic in Serbia. It was declared that Dubrovnik would not remain in Croatia, with both of these nations who have since failed miserably in comparison to Croatia falsely claiming that it had never been a part of Croatia at all. The war ended with Croatian victory, earned with blood, with the siege lifted in May 1992. The Croatian Army liberated Dubrovnik and its surroundings, but the danger of sudden attacks from the internationally villified JNA remained a threat for a further three years.

The cruel and unjustified siege and naval blockade by the JNA and the Yugoslav Navy resulted in the direct deaths of between 82 and 88 civilians and 194 Croatian military personnel. By the end of the bloody year of 1992, when the entire region was recaptured by the HV, 417 Croatian Army (HV) troops were dead. Approximately 19,000 refugees were displaced. 11,425 buildings suffered varying degrees of damage, numerous homes, businesses, and public buildings were torched and property was looted by the JNA and their Montenegrin counterparts. In 2000, Montenegrin President Milo Djukanovic apologised for his country's part in this utterly devastating attack, prompting anger from his political rivals and feelings of betrayal from the still very much isolated and globally condemned, small nation of Serbia.

Today, Dubrovnik is known across the world as an enviably successful tourism giant which has to do very little but lie on its laurels. A far cry now from a war zone without running water and electricity, outside of the summer months, the Pearl of the Adriatic sits relatively silenty in its peace, with only mere calls of seagulls and anchors of ships cutting through that hard-earned silence. It has won many titles since that awful day, and gained many nicknames, from the fictional Kings Landing and Naboo, to the non-fictional Pearl of the Adriatic. A lifetime has passed since those dark says, and the costly mask the city so perfectly wears would never reveal its wounds, its pain or its suffering to the untrained and naive eye.

Following the war, damage was repaired adhering to UNESCO guidelines between 1995 and 1999. The ICTY (International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia) issued indictments for the JNA Generals and officers involved in the disgraceful siege of Dubrovnik, with the architect of the attack, General Pavle Strugar sentenced for his role. Strugar passed away in 2018, and while one shouldn't speak ill of the dead, it doesn't seem appropriate to hope his rest is a peaceful one.

For more on Croatian history, keep up with our dedicated lifestyle section.

Tuesday, 6 December 2022

Croatian Lighting Design for Vatican Nativity Scene, Controlled from Pula

December 6, 2022 - Few have the opportunity to come up with a solution for lighting the Vatican nativity scene with 18 life-size statues that adorn St. Peter's Square. This year, that honour went to the Pula company specialising in lighting design, Skira.

As HRT / Poslovni report, illuminating the scene of the birth of Jesus in the main Vatican square with the help of seventy invisible lighting fixtures is a real technological feat.

"I suggested making a circle in the floor of the stage, cutting it all into an ellipse, painting it matte black, and hiding all the spotlights underneath," explained Dean Skira, lighting designer.

It was also necessary to coordinate the light with the music to tell the story of the birth of Jesus. "We created the scenography so that the children appear first, then everything else, sculptures of people who are in the story around the birth of Jesus," explained Skira.

Preparations for this demanding project took months because each reflector has its own effect. "There is a timeline of how the effects take place, and various effects are superimposed that rotate in real-time," said Božidar Pustijanac, the designer.

It is unbelievable that the lighting of the Vatican nativity scene can be controlled from Pula, all using just a mobile phone. "Each statue can be viewed separately, each reflector is separate, now everything is turned off because it's daytime, I can light each separately, I can do whatever I want," said Godvin Poropat, the designer.

The lighting was ceremoniously switched on the day before yesterday, and the Pope himself received the representatives of the Pula company. "I must say that it is an experience that goes beyond the professional segment of my life. It is a very significant spiritual moment that happened when I met the Pope and when he shook my hand. I am very proud that we Croats had the opportunity to participate in such an important event", emphasised Skira.

This is an excellent recognition for the Pula company, which already has forty international awards for projects worldwide.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated Business section.

Tuesday, 6 December 2022

Croatian Inventor Mate Rimac Nominated for Businessman of the Year

December the 6th, 2022 - The remarkable Croatian inventor Mate Rimac has rather unsurprisingly been nominated as businessman of the year by both Poslovni Dnevnik (Business Diary) and Vecernji list.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/VL/Tanja Ivancic writes, the expert jury nominated Croatian inventor Mate Rimac for businessman of the year this year, and even more is expected in the future from the young leader of the Rimac Group, who managed to create yet another Croatian unicorn through persistent work and dogged determination against everything thrown at him.

For now, Rimac can certainly boast of having produced an incredible hypercar – recently declared the fastest electric car in the entire world, which also holds the record for the fastest acceleration of any car. Namely, the Nevera reached an impressive speed of 412 km/h, which makes it the fastest electric production car on the face of Earth, while the record for acceleration was 8.582 seconds per quarter mile, which was set back in 2021.

The Nevera electric car is otherwise Rimac's premium product that has since entered into small-scale production. Back in June this year, the company revealed the release of the first Nevera on the roads, which was fitted with 000 plates and wasn't for sale, and then, they said, deliveries to clients from around the world began.

They also emphasised from the Rimac Group that the production of the Nevera required five years of development and testing, equal to an incomprehensible 1.6 million hours of deep research.

Along with the production of the stunning Nevera at the Jankomir plant in Zagreb, what marked this year for Croatian inventor Mate Rimac was the investment round that he closed back in March and the start of the construction of the Rimac campus in Sveta Nedelja. In June, Mate Rimac reported that the Rimac Group had successfully collected 3.78 billion kuna or 500 million euros in investment round D, which brought the market value of the Rimac Group company to over 2 billion euros in total.

The key new investors were SoftBank Vision Fund 2 and Goldman Sachs Asset Management, with participation from existing shareholders of the Rimac Group, including Porsche and Investindustrial. All of the investors now have a share in the Rimac Group, while Mate Rimac himself, the company's founder and executive director of the company, still owns the largest share of all.

"It's a total of more funds than we've ever previously raised, so it's really a huge thing for us,'' Rimac emphasised at the time, noting that they had five times more interested investors than they planned in terms of the raising of the money in this round, and as for the IPO, that is, public share offerings, they are thinking about it in a longer-term framework when the company becomes more predictable, so somewhere in the range of three to five years, according to Rimac.

This new investment is being used to continue the company's growth, increase production capacity and allow for additional employment. The capital raised will primarily be used for the further development of Rimac Technology in the field of large series production for global car manufacturers.

It should be known that Rimac Group is, namely, a holding company and consists of two companies; Bugatti Rimac, in which the Rimac Group has a majority share of 55 percent, while the other 45 percent is owned by Porsche, and Rimac Technology, which is 100 percent owned by the Rimac Group.

The company Rimac Technology is known as a technological partner of numerous global automotive manufacturers who choose it for the development and production of their high-performance battery systems, electric powertrains, electronic systems and user interface components. Mate Rimac then pointed out that the company has ambitious growth plans for the next two years, in addition to the issue of employees and the opening of new offices. They're present in four locations in Zagreb, and they also have offices in Split and Osijek, as well as elsewhere in Europe - in Germany, France and England.

The construction of the upcoming Rimac Campus in Sveta Nedelja is currently delayed, but considering the situation on the market, the deadlines set for it previously remain acceptable, and the plant should be ready in the next few months, with the administrative building and other facilities likely to be ready over the next year or so.

''It's a big investment and will be the largest industrial building in all of Croatia, spanning 100,000 square metres, and I believe that everything is progressing according to plan, and we're already planning the construction of Campus 2,'' Rimac reported back in June.

The Rimac Group employs a total of more than 1,500 people, with 500 of them working at Bugatti Rimac, 150 of them in France, while 1,000 people are employed at Rimac Technology. That's what the official figures from June of this year read. In the first half of this year, they employed 300 people, and by the end of the year they planned to employ another 700. As Mate Rimac wrote in a recent post on social media, they currently have a total of 2,000 employees.

Croatian inventor Mate Rimac otherwise started his business literally from his garage and back in 2009 he founded Rimac Automobili, continuing at this pace, doubling the number of employees, attracting strong investments, and breaking records and production despite the difficulties he faced. It's safe to say that the future should not be a problem for the talented and innovative Croatian inventor Mate Rimac.

For more, follow our business section.

Tuesday, 6 December 2022

Euro in Croatia: ATMs Shutting Down, Here is How to Get Cash

December 6, 2022 - Due to the introduction of the euro in Croatia, only 40 percent of ATMs will soon be available. About 50 were shut down on Monday, and some have already received euros.

"You must go around every ATM, update it, and then prepare it to accept euro notes. There are over 40,000 ATM cassettes in 4,000 ATMs, and we have to adjust each one individually for the new dimensions of euro banknotes, which, of course, are different dimensions from kuna banknotes", explained Tihomir Mavriček, executive director of the CNB's cash sector, for RTL / reported by Poslovni.

During December, more than 2,700 ATMs will not work - during the transition period, only those that can withdraw both old and new currency will work. "The remaining 30 percent of ATMs, or 1,300 of them, will be adapted by January 15, 2023, from when all ATMs, about 4,000 of them, will be ready and only pay out euros," adds Mavriček.

A huge job awaits security services as well.

"Yes, during any attempt to steal money from an ATM, the money will be discoloured. It will take on a greenish-blue color, depending on which manufacturer it is, and the money will be unusable," Lidija Stolica, president of the Croatian Guild of Security Guards, told RTL.

The mass shutdown will begin in about ten days. "A small number will be shut down by December 15, and from December 15, the Croatian Association of Banks (HUB) will publish an interactive map of all ATMs in Croatia that are active in real-time so that all citizens know at all times which ATM is working and where they can withdraw cash", says Ivan Hrvoje Maljković from the Croatian Association of Banks for RTL.

There is no reason to panic unless you have no money on your card because even in smaller areas, you will be able to get cash. "Special focus was on smaller areas, where there are fewer ATMs - at the HUB level, the banks have agreed on the way to adjust the network so that citizens have sufficient ATMs available in every place in Croatia at any time," adds Maljković.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated Lifestyle section.

Tuesday, 6 December 2022

Likos: Success of Croatian Electric and Hand Tools Manufacturer

December 6, 2022 - Likos is one of the most important Croatian players in the market of electric and hand tools and garden machines and tools, with more than 2,000 products of their brand in the range of more than 1,000 trading partners market.

As Poslovni writes, the Praktik brand has become an almost indispensable part of the product range, distributed in the most important construction centers and specialised stores throughout Croatia.

Likos is a family company created in the early 1990s when Ivica and Dragica Kovačević decided to replace relatively safe managerial positions with a private business, admitting that they had no strategy for what would happen to their company in 10 or 30 years.

Persistent work

"We knew we had to do something when we saw that almost all large systems had started to fall apart, so we registered a company for various activities and started with one fax machine, a desk, and an electric typewriter," recalls Ivica Kovačević.

One of the critical years in the development was 2001, when their son Nino joined the company operationally and when they moved towards more complex products and market models.

With existing and new partners from Germany, Belgium, and Italy, they started distributing electric and hand tools such as drills, grinders, screwdrivers, wrenches, etc. They did all this from a rented business and storage space. "By persistently working on the market, we expanded the sales network and achieved steady and sustainable sales growth. We built a business facility of 2500 square meters on the previously purchased plot and moved into it in 2003. We used about 1,500 square metres for storage and rented the rest as office space. The most important strategic decision in our business was building and developing our own brand. It was clear the position of distributors of foreign products would come into question in the common European market, which Croatia was preparing to enter. We have decided that, like our previous suppliers, we will go to China and organise production with the producers there designed by our employees from the selection of assortment, product design, packaging and product quality control", says Kovačević.

The project proved successful, and they have built a serious Praktik brand that includes four product groups: Electric tools, Garden machines and tools, Hand tools and accessories for electric tools, and the Water Program (pumps, water pumps, etc.)

In the last few years, they have been rapidly developing the battery-powered tool program under the Flexpower brand. Their product range is present in almost all retail stores and retail chains in Croatia that sell technical goods.

Success at the fair

Likos has a revenue of around HRK 50 million and 24 employees. Exports account for about 10 percent of the total turnover in the regional market, mainly to Slovenia, Serbia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Due to the limited possibility of growth in the small Croatian market, they decided to take a more decisive step into export.

On this track, at the end of September of this year, the company presented at one of the world's largest specialised trade fairs for electrical devices and tools, "International Hardware Fair 2022" in Cologne, Germany.

They point out that, according to the first impressions, it was successful and that more than 150 contacts for potential cooperation were made, several of which have already been realised (Montenegro, Hungary), while contacts and discussions with several new clients from Slovakia, Bulgaria, Romania, Kosovo, Greece, Lithuania, Germany, Tunisia, Jordan, and other countries are in the process.

"In our business policy, our goal in the next three to four years is to increase exports to approximately 25 percent of the total turnover, that is, to at least two million euros.

Given that we now work partly in our own warehouse space and partly in rented space at another location, and with the aim of increasing the efficiency and expediency of deliveries, we have purchased 15,000 square meters of construction land in the industrial zone of Donja Bistra. We plan to build a new logistics center with part of an automated warehouse system based on vertical storage.

We are in the design phase of the aforementioned warehouse and plan to complete the investment in 2024," concludes this entrepreneur from Zagreb.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated Business section.

Monday, 5 December 2022

Croatia Books 2022 World Cup Quarter-final Spot after Beating Japan on Penalties!

December 5, 2022 - Livakovic saves three Japan penalties for Croatia's 2022 World Cup quarter-final spot in Qatar!

The Croatia national team met Japan in the World Cup round of 16 match at Al Janoub Stadium in Qatar on Monday, December 5. Japan and Croatia have met twice before at the World Cup, but this is their first knockout encounter.

Japan has surprised many at this World Cup, topping Group E. They defeated Germany (2-1) and Spain (2-1) and lost to Costa Rica (0-1), which was enough for first place. 

Croatia opened the World Cup with a scoreless draw against Morocco, then convincingly beat Canada 4-1, and ended the group stage with a draw against Belgium (0-0). Croatia reached the round of 16 as the second-placed team in Group F with five points. Morocco won the group and will face Spain.

Lineups

Croatia: Livaković - Juranović, Lovren, Gvardiol, Barišić - Modrić, Brozović, Kovačić - Kramarić, Petković, Perišić

Japan: Gonda - Tomiyasu, Yoshida, Taniguchi - J.Ito, Endo, Morita, Nagatomo - Doan, Maeda, Kamada

Match report

It was a shaky start for Croatia, with a close encounter already in the 3rd minute. A precise cross into the penalty area found Shogo Taniguchi, and luckily finished with a Croatia goal kick. 

Croatia kept the ball in their possession, working their way up the pitch with short passes. 

Croatia's best chance was in the 8th minute - Perisic was one-on-one with the Japan keeper and tried bending his shot to hit the far post. Gonda got his hands on the ball, which went back into play. Kramaric was unable to get a shot off in the penalty area. 

Croatia was otherwise quite shaky, with two dangerous free kicks given to Japan by the 18th minute. They were also allowing Japan to get crosses into the box. 

Petkovic had an open chance in the 25th minute. Instead of finding Kramaric alone in the penalty area, he shot at the keeper. Perisic got a great ball into the box for Kramaric, who was double-teamed by the Japan defense. 

Croatia was finally pressing Japan's defense but was unable to finish. However, in the next 10 minutes, they struggled to get out of their third. 

We were lucky at this point that Japan couldn't finish, either. That is, until the 44th minute. Another dangerous Japan free-kick found made its way into the box. Petkovic left his player unmarked. He played Lovren's mark Maeda who scored for 1-0 Japan. 

Croatia had a final chance from a corner to end the half, which was 1-0. The first half ended with 59% possession for Croatia. 

The second half started without substitutions for either side. 

Daichi Kamada shot from the edge of the penalty area and over the crossbar in the 46th minute. 

Kovacic shot on goal off a Juranvic throw-in in the 48th minute. At this point, Croatia struggled to win tackles and headers. 

Croatia called for a penalty on Petkovic in the 51st, but the ref refused to consult VAR. 

Japan was awarded another corner kick in the 53rd minute. 

But then it finally happened for Croatia. A brilliant ball from Lovren found Perisic in the penalty area who perfectly headed far post into the goal for 1-1! 

Japan threatened in the next attack, forcing Livakovic to save the shot with his fingertips and out for a Japan corner. Croatia's defense struggled again in the 60th, allowing Japan to get a shot off. 

Dalic made his first sub in the 61st minute. Budimir went in for Petkovic. 

And then Modric had a stellar shot in the 62nd minute, forcing the Japan keeper to make one of the best diving saves of the tournament. 

Japan made their first subs in the 65th minute for fresh legs. Kaoru Mitoma went in for Yuto Nagatomo.

Croatia had another great chance in the 66th minute. Kramaric crossed to Budimir whose header just missed the goal.

Dalic subbed off Kramamric for Pasalic in the 67th minute. 

Japan made another sub. Hiroki Sakai (Japan) came on for Daichi Kamada.

Perisic had an incredible chance in the 77th minute. Budimir brilliantly played Perisic on the left wing, whose rocket just missed the goal. The ball went out for a corner. 

Japan had yet another free kick in the 80th minute, which Juranovic cleared. 

Croatia seemed to be waiting for a hole to open in Japan's defense. Perisic played into the box to Pasalic whose header missed the goal in the 86th minute. 

Kovacic was shown a yellow card in the 90th minute. 

The match ended 1-1 in regulation time and went to extra time, where two 15-minute halves are played. Neither team made substitutions. 

Japan had a corner in the 91st minute. And another in the 95th minute. 

Dalic made two subs in the 98th minute - Modric came out for Majer and Vlasic for Kovacic. Pasalic stayed on the right wing and Vlasic in the middle. 

Japan had their best chance of the first half in the 105th minute. A brilliant save by Livakovic saved Croatia, then the defense struggled to clear the ball. Japan was given a corner kick. The first half ended without goals. 

Dalic subbed on Livaja and Orsic for Budimir and Perisic to start the second half. The future of the Croatia national team was on the pitch for the second half. 

Japan was in Croatia's half for the first five minutes. Livaja's shot deflected off for a corner in the 111th minute. Croatia continued to attack. 

Livakovic saved another dangerous Japan attack in the 115th minute. 

Croatia had a deep throw-in in the 119th minute. The red added one minute of stoppage time. Majer almost shot on target in the final minute. The match went to penalties.

Japan was up first. 

Livakovic saved Minamino's penalty!!!

Vlasic scored Croatia's first penalty!!!

Livakovic saved Japan's second penalty too, taken by Mitoma!!!

Brozovic scored next for Croatia!!! Croatia was up by two. 

Japan scored their next penalty by Asano. 

Livaja went up next for Croatia and hit the post... 

But Livakovic saved the day again and saved Japan's next penalty!!!

Pasalic needed to score the next one for Croatia to book their spot in the quarterfinal...

And he did! 

Croatia will play the winner of Brazil and South Korea in the 2022 World Cup quarter-final on Friday! 

To follow the latest sports news in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page.

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