Croatian Motorways Record Highest Turnover Ever

By 7 August 2016

In the first seven months of this year, there were almost two million more vehicles on the motorways than in the previous year.

The traffic and revenues on Croatian highways have increased by ten percent in the first seven months of the year. This trend represents an absolute record, at least for the period after the authorities started recording the numbers related to the motorway network in the country, reports Novi List on August 7, 2016.

Almost two million more vehicles used the roads under the management of the Croatian Motorways-HAC public companies (21 million vehicles) until the end of July, while the turnover increased by 9.83 percent and the total revenue was 864.3 million kuna (an increase of 8.6 percent). Compared to last year, HAC has earned from tolls nearly 70 million kuna more, and this financial indicator is becoming an increasingly important argument in the efforts to refinance the debt obligations incurred during the time of intensive motorway construction.

The long-term debt, estimates show, amounts to about four billion euros, but the biggest problem is meeting the commitments during 2016 and also in the upcoming years, because of some very unfavourable loans with short maturities. This year, loans in the amount of about 600 million euro will mature, and next year additional 900 million euros in loan obligations will have to be paid.

Although the increase in toll revenues in the recent years is considered to be a drop in a bucket compared to the overall size of the debt, it is quite certain that the extra income can no longer be ignored in the context of deciding on the future of the state-owned companies that manage motorways. The decision is whether to refinance their debt and keep them in the state-owned status or launch the process of monetization and privatization through the sale of a majority stake. This strategic decision will have to be made by the next Croatian government, which is to be formed after the parliamentary elections scheduled for 11 September.

In the meantime, statistics show that the three busiest HAC motorways are: Bregana – Zagreb – Lipovac, Zagreb – Split – Ploče, and Zagreb – Goričan. The largest growth in traffic was recorded on A5 in Slavonia (Beli Manastir – Osijek – Svilaj), with 12.3 percent more vehicles (over 425,000 vehicles in total).