Thursday, 6 April 2023

Igor Bišćan Named New Dinamo Coach, Ivica Olić Expected to Take Over Croatia U21s

April 6, 2023 - Former Croatia U21s coach Igor Bišćan has been appointed the new Dinamo coach. Ante Čačić was sacked earlier this week after losing to Šibenik in the Croatian Cup semi-final. 

Bišćan thus returns to the club where he took his first football steps and ended his playing career as team captain, reports HNS. The 44-year-old is coming to Dinamo for the first time as a coach after wearing the jersey of this club from 1995 to 2000 and then from 2008 to 2012. 

Behind Bišćan is a very successful period with the Croatian U21 national team, which he led to two European championships. In the last Euros, he achieved the greatest success in the history of the young national team by reaching the quarter-finals.

"We thank Igor and his staff for their great contribution to the recent successes of the young national team. Today we talked openly and very fairly and parted amicably - we understand his ambition and desire to accept the challenge of leading Dinamo, and we wish him luck in continuing his coaching career," said HNS president Marijan Kustić.

"I spent a wonderful three and a half years with HNS leading the young national team, and I am proud of the results we achieved during that period. I thank all colleagues in the staff and the Federation for their excellent cooperation, and President Kustić for his understanding regarding this decision and general support during my mandate. I wish the future coach and the boys a lot of luck at the European Championship; I am convinced they can achieve an excellent result," said Bišćan.

Bišćan will immediately take over the Dinamo bench and lead them this Saturday in the league match against Lokomotiva.

The Croatian Football Federation will subsequently inform the public about the appointment of a U21s new coach. However, it is speculated that former Croatia national team player Ivica Olić should take over the young national team, reports Index. hr.

Olić started his coaching career in 2017 when he was invited to become the assistant coach of the Croatia national team. Zlatko Dalić has kept him on his coaching staff ever since. As Dalić's assistant, he won the World Cup silver in Russia and World Cup bronze in Qatar. Olić also led CSKA Moscow in nine games in the spring of 2021.

Olić should lead the Croatia U21s at the European Championship, which will be held in Romania and Georgia from June 21 to July 8. Croatia is in a group with Spain, Romania, and Ukraine.

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

Thursday, 6 April 2023

Croatian Company Span Enters Demanding Estonian Tech Market

April the 6th, 2023 - The Croatian company Span has successfully entered the market of one of the most demanding and digitally developed markets in all of Europe - Estonia.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Suzana Varosanec writes, with this new acquisition, the Croatian company Span is set to enter the market of Estonia, now known as one of the most digitally developed countries in all of Europe. In their notification to the Zagreb Stock Exchange, they state that they have signed an agreement with the seller, the Estonian trading company Fairway, to purchase 100% of the shares in the limited liability company GT Tarkvara, which is based in Tallinn, and which is a leading Estonian software asset licensing and management company with more than 25 years of experience under its belt.

The estimated value of the transaction stands at a massive 11,377,457 euros, where, as they stated, part of the purchase price that depends on the business results of the acquired company in 2023 and 2024 is subject to adjustment. The Croatian company Span's latest acquisition was made just one year after the takeover of the domestic software company Ekobit, so this current takeover only confirms the company's strategic focus on further growth and expansion into new markets, while the Baltic and Scandinavian countries are extremely digitally advanced and, as stated, show a growing need for additional expertise in the areas of Cloud and Cyber Security, a field in which Span is internationally recognised.

"With this acquisition, the Croatian company Span is going to enter the Estonian market, and Estonia is one of the most digitally developed countries in Europe. The expertise and market position of GT Tarkvara in combination with our advanced cloud and cyber security services are an excellent basis for further growth and business development on the markets of Northern Europe", stated the founder and president of the Span Management Board, Nikola Dujmovic.

GT Tarkvara is otherwise a reliable partner to the largest companies in the software industry, as stated, for example, such as Microsoft, Adobe, Veritas, Citrix, Symantec, VMWare and other big names. They have been recording impressive and continuous revenue growth over the years, they're focused on projects related to the digital transformation, as well as on cloud and cyber security. In addition to the private sector, they are also strongly positioned in the public and educational sectors.

"The Croatian company Span and GT Tarkvara are both leading Microsoft partners who will combine their many years of knowledge and experience with this acquisition. I'm happy that our existing clients will now have access to advanced cloud and cyber security services based on Span's many years of experience working with large, global companies,'' said Taivo Remmelgas, the owner and member of the Management Board of GT Tarkvara.

This acquisition also confirms the Croatian company Span's strategic focus on the growth of its services with high added value with a focus on the areas of cloud and cyber security. According to the unaudited GFI for the year 2022, Span has recorded growth in all key business indicators. The Span Group's revenues in 2022 amounted to 829.7 million kuna in total, which represents an increase of 8 percent compared to 2021.

EBITDA before one-off items also increased by 48 percent and amounted to 72 million kuna at the end of 2022. EBITDA after non-recurring items increased in the observed period by 65 percent and amounted to 70.1 million kuna. The Span Group's net profit at the end of 2022 stood at 50.7 million kuna, which represents an increase of 113 percent compared to 2021. The share of revenues that the Group achieved in foreign markets in 2022 amounted to 68 percent. The most significant growth was recorded by the markets of Croatia and the USA, and the highest growth in income within the Span Group was achieved by services with high added value.

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

Thursday, 6 April 2023

Poliklinika Aviva Opening New Space in 4 Million Euro Investment

April the 6th, 2023 - Poliklinika Aviva, one of the country's best known and leading private healthcare facilities, is set to open another brand new and larger space this month, in which four million euros was invested.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Darko Bicak writes, following an investment cycle totalling over seven million euros over the last year and a half, one of the most famous Croatian private healthcare institutions, Poliklinika Aviva, will soon open its doors at a new location in Zagreb. After 44 years of operation in Nemetova Street, the polyclinic will open its doors in mid-April in a larger and more modern space spanning 2,600 square metres in Svetice near the stadium in Maksimir, Zagreb. The investment in the purchase of the new building and equipment, which was premiered to the Croatian public a few days ago, totals around four million euros.

Poliklinika Aviva is also a member of Arsano Medical Group, the largest group of private healthcare institutions in the wider region. As Dr. Nevenka Kovac, the director of Aviva, points out, by moving to a new location, this facility, which annually provides services to over 60,000 patients, will become the largest, most modern, and most technically equipped private polyclinic in one location in Zagreb and indeed in all of the Republic of Croatia.

In addition to the existing services and as many as 30 different activities, Poliklinika Aviva is also introducing new activities at their new location, which will further strengthen the clinic's market position as a pioneer of preventive medicine and systematic examinations.

"With new technology and services, as well as synergy with other sister institutions within the Arsano Medical Group and the Adria Dental Group, we're going to make an additional step forward on the market. Our new magnetic resonance device is certainly the best in all of Croatia, we're introducing a day hospital, which is a step forward for private polyclinics, we're introducing new departments such as anesthesiology, pediatrics and dental medicine, and in order to make a step forward in preventive medicine, we'll be the first on the market to introduce a dental examination as standard part of a systematic health review,'' said Dr. Kovac.

At Poliklinika Aviva's brand new location, patients will be greeted by three new state-of-the-art radiological devices: MR with 1.5 Tesla power, a new CT device and a new X-ray, and the laboratory will be additionally equipped and will be more accessible to everyone at the new location. As part of their modern day hospital, Poliklinika Aviva will provide patients with more complex treatment and several hours of therapy.

Given that Aviva is a member of the wider Arsano Medical Group, in which four other specialist healthcare institutions currently operate in Croatia - the Dr. Nemec Special Hospital for Orthopedics and General Surgery, the Arithera Special Hospital, Polyclinic Dijagnostika 2000 and Polyclinic Uro centar, as well as the Slovenian Diagnostic Health institution Digital Image Diagnostics DSD from Ptuj, patients can receive a complete service and more serious specialist procedures.

As if all of the above wasn't enough, they aren't stopping there. In addition to institutions within the Arsano Medical Group, Poliklinika Aviva cooperates with all members of the Adria Dental Group, which consists of seven dental clinics and five dental laboratories in the area of Zagreb, Solin, Rijeka and Porec.

Igor Cicak, the CEO and main partner of Provectus Capital Partners and Chairman of the Supervisory Board of the Arsano Medical Group, pointed out that the total investment in the consolidation of the Arsano Medical Group reached 45 million euros, which is the largest investment ever made in private healthcare in Croatia.

"With the Arsano Medical Group, we've created the largest private healthcare group in the Republic of Croatia with more than 400 employees, and over 100,000 patients pass through our healthcare facilities annually. But our ambitions don't end there. We're also continuously in discussions with other specialist polyclinics and will continue to grow through new investments in Croatia and the wider region," concluded Cicak.

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

Thursday, 6 April 2023

Croatian Fire Brigade and Croatian Forests Sign Agreement on Cooperation

April 6, 2023 - Split: representatives of the Croatian Fire Brigade and representatives of Croatian Forests (Hrvatske šume) signed an agreement on cooperation in preventing forest fires, and valuable equipment was handed over to the firefighters.

As Index writes, the agreement was signed by Chief Fire Commander Slavko Tucaković and President of the Hrvatske šume Management Board Nediljko Dujić on the premises of the Split Intervention Fire Brigade.

The purpose of the agreement

The goal of the agreement is better cooperation between organizations, especially in the prevention of occurrence, rapid detection, and extinguishing of forest fires, as well as prevention and better rehabilitation of possible ecological accidents in forests.

Hrvatske šume donated chainsaws to the Croatian firefighting community in order to improve the equipment of the firefighting forces and increase readiness when extinguishing fires in open spaces. The chainsaws are intended for fire departments from all over Croatia and were handed over to county fire chiefs.

The agreement should also regulate relations in the joint implementation of fire protection publicity activities through the organization of collaborative educational workshops and the installation of fire prevention posters in areas owned by Hrvatske šume.

"Investments will go towards expanding video surveillance with 20 new camera locations all along the coast of the Adriatic"

Dujić pointed out that as much as 16.3 million euros have been planned for this year's firefighting activities and that the investments will go into expanding the area of video surveillance with 20 new locations for cameras along the coast of the Adriatic.

The plan is to cover all coastal counties with cameras. It is also planned to build 400 kilometers of new fire roads and maintain a network of almost 10,000 km of existing ones.

Commander Tucaković concluded that the preparations for this year's firefighting season have been going well.

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

Thursday, 6 April 2023

Ministry of Economy: Prices in Croatia Have Remained Stable

April 6, 2023 - A total of 755 prices remained unchanged compared to December 31, 2022. Prices in Croatia have been recorded as stable after March 31, the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development claimed on Tuesday, referring to data from their website Kretanje cijena.

"After the last entry of data with prices from March 31, it is still visible on the website that prices in the largest retail chains in the Republic of Croatia are stable," the ministry said in a statement, as reported by Poslovni.

At the same time, it is stated that of the total number of prices for products monitored on the website, 253 were reduced compared to December 31 last year, of which 157 were reduced due to promotions.

"Noticeable price reduction is visible in Persil laundry detergent in Konzum and KTC and Lay's chips in Konzum. Among local producers, laundry and dishwashing detergents Faks and Likvi and Podravka jams and pasta have become cheaper," says the press release.

The latest update on the site on March 31 also shows 71 price increases compared to December 31, 2022. The price increases are said to be mainly for seasonal fruits and vegetables, Nivea shower gels, Barilla pasta, and Elseve shampoos.

On February 17, the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development put into operation the application solution Kretanje Cijena with the primary goal of providing citizens with an overview of price movements in retail chains in one place and a comparison with prices as of December 31, 2022, for targeted product categories that are part of the standard consumer basket.

The partners of the "white list" project since its inception have been the shopping chains Konzum, KTC, and Tommy. For those retail chains, the consumer basket values for the observed products as of December 31, 2022, are shown on the website.

As of March 24, the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development completed the website with new prices of the other seven major retail chains for the 365 items tracked on the site.

Since the launch of the website until April 3, it has recorded more than 730,000 views, according to the ministry.

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

Thursday, 6 April 2023

Sisak Bidding to Become International Search Dogs Training Centre

April 6, 2023 - The Sisak branch of the Croatian Mountain Rescue Service (HGSS) has announced that it will apply for the project to build an international training center for search dogs, hoping that the city will become a center where teams from Central and Southeast Europe will come for training.

As Index writes, Sisak HGSS members will apply to the international partnership for financing the project from European funds, said the head of the Novska station and head of the Sisak branch, Branislav Grubić.

The local branch office is also preparing documentation for the reconstruction and extension of its headquarters in the city of Sisak, damaged in the earthquake, which the City of Sisak is helping with 19,000 euros.

Benefits for local businesses as well as tourism

"The knowledge and experience that our people gained in disasters here, in Albania and Turkey, are very valuable and a good basis for a project like this," Grubić believes.

It is expected that with the construction of the training center in Sisak, teams from the wider region and a large part of Central and Southeastern Europe will come to Sisak, which will be useful for local businesses, as well as tourism.

Mayor: We have to make sure that all our emergency services are well equipped

On Wednesday, the project was supported by the mayor Kristina Ikić Baniček with the deputy and head of the city staff of Civil Protection, Marko Krička.

"We have to make sure that all our emergency services are well equipped because when an accident happens, it's too late to think about what they need or lack," said the mayor, recalling the natural disasters they've dealt with in recent years, from floods and earthquakes to storm.

"I am glad that the HGSS branch in Sisak is among the best in Croatia, primarily because of the phenomenal people who are part of their team," said Ikić Baniček.

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

Wednesday, 5 April 2023

Šibenik Shocks Dinamo for Spot in SuperSport Croatian Cup Final!

April 5, 2023 - Šibenik has knocked out Dinamo in the SuperSport Croatian Cup semi-final, beating them 2:1 at Šubićevac Stadium! 

It is the second final in history for Šibenik. Šibenik lost to Hajduk in its first final in 2010. With this loss, Dinamo continues its downward spiral, achieving only one victory in its last six appearances.

Dinamo visited Šubićevac weakened by the absence of Bruno Petković and Luka Ivanušec. Behind the Croatian champion were a series of bad results and only one victory in the last five meetings. Even so, Dinamo entered the match brilliantly and took the lead with a goal by Josip Drmić in the 40th second. 

Dinamo could have increased their lead in the 13th minute. Dominik Livaković sent a long ball to Menalo, who came out alone in front of Đaković, but the home goalkeeper saved his shot, deflecting the ball into the corner.

Šibenik had their first and only chance in the first half in the 20th minute. Dario Čanađija found Ivan Dolček in the penalty area, but he couldn't get a decent shot off. 

In the 37th minute, Dinamo shook the home team's net for the second time, and Drmić was the scorer again. However, this time VAR was not on his side. The striker was offside at the beginning of the play, and the goal was disallowed.

Dinamo had a new chance in the 57th minute. Mišić sent a great ball to Baturina, who rushed down the right wing and put it in front of the goal, but Kvržić prevented the shot.

Šibenik came back with a free kick a few minutes later, but there was no real danger in front of Livković's goal. In the 66th minute, Šibenik threw all their cards into the attack. Iker Pozzo, Dejan Radonjić, Duje Čop, and Amer Hiroš entered the game. Just six minutes later, Šibenik equalized with a goal by Spanish midfielder Pozzo.

It was a quick counter from the hosts, the Spaniard first pushed the ball to Radonjić. With a bit of luck, the ball returned to Pozzo, who scored from close range into an empty goal.

After conceding the goal, Dinamo increased their rhythm. In the 80th minute, Marko Bulat had a great shot from a free kick. Four minutes later, Dinamo hit the net again, but VAR once again ruled it offside, and Menalo's joy was short-lived.

When it seemed that the match would go into extra time, Šibenik shocked the Croatian champion. Kvržić made a perfect cross from the right, and Čop made an even better header for the incredible Šibenik victory! 

Slaven Belupo and Hajduk meet in the second semi-final on April 12 in Koprivnica, and the final is on May 24 at Rujevica in Rijeka.

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

Wednesday, 5 April 2023

25 Reasons You Should NEVER Visit CONTINENTAL Croatia

April 5, 2023 - The majority of Croatian tourism is centred on its coast - here are 25 reasons you should never visit continental Croatia.

Back in 2015, i wrote an article called 25 Reasons You Should NEVER Visit Croatia. It got one million hits in 24 hours and was by far the most popular article I have ever written.

I recently did a video version for my new channel, Paul Bradbury Croatia Expert.

While feedback was overwhelmingly positive, several people pointed out - correctly - that the 25 reasons were more or less Dalmatian things, rather than Croatian.

I thought about it, and they had a point, so in 2017, I wrote an article to counterbalance that - 25 Reasons NEVER to Visit Continental Croatia.  

And now - six years later - the video version, brought to you by the Fat Vlogger. 

Going live at 19:53 tonight.

That was six years ago, before I learned SO many more things about continental Croatia, of Welsh telephone boxes in Vinkovci, random English pubs in fields in the middle of nowhere, and cute llamas in Baranja. So many things that we will be having another video later in the series called 25 MORE Reasons NEVER to Visit Continental Croatia. 


You can subscribe to the Paul Bradbury Croatia Expert YouTube channel here.

What is it like to live in Croatia? An expat for 20 years, you can follow my series, 20 Ways Croatia Changed Me in 20 Years, starting at the beginning - Business and Dalmatia.

Follow Paul Bradbury on LinkedIn.

Croatia, a Survival Kit for Foreigners is now available on Amazon in paperback and on Kindle.



Wednesday, 5 April 2023

Looking for a Unique Outdoor Adventure? Try Deer and Bike in Baranja

April 6, 2023 - In less than two weeks, the longest-running Baranja cycling event will take place starting in Draž - the 7th in a row Deer and Bike. For the first time, the route is entering Hungary.

As SiB writes, on Saturday, April 15, 2023, the 7th Deer and Bike will be held in Draž. This bike ride provides an experience of everything Baranja offers, from the Danube forests and ridges, its surduci, and Bansko hill viewpoints to tasting traditional treats of the šokadija. The Deer & Bike ride is intended for tourist purposes, with a healthy dose of education. The pace is leisurely, and the goal is not to rush through nature but to enjoy it. Most of the cycling event is held on side and field roads, and the organizer points out that because of the Baranja hill, there will be several steeper climbs.

In addition to riding along the Danube and the chirping of birds, climbing and descending through surduci, the unique feature of this year's cycling event is the celebration of Croatia's entry into Schengen by visiting Hungary! The plan is to enter Hungary through the Danube forests, then reach the Danube and learn about the Baranja wastelands. The routes are 55 or 30 kilometers for those a bit less in shape, with the fact that the first half of the route is completely flat and forested, while the second part is hilly and much more strenuous.

We recommend riding an MTB bike and wearing a helmet! The cycling race starts at 11 a.m. in Draž, at the Stipe Đurina square. The registration fee for the bike ride is 20 euros and covers the cost of lunch, a T-shirt, and a tourist guide. The organizers of the cycling event are the association Karašicka Republika and the trade Terra Incognita with the support of the Draž Municipality Tourist Board. There are still very few places left, so we suggest all interested apply as soon as possible!

You can find more information about the event and registration on the Landranje Baranjom Facebook page and the FB event.

By the way, rumors have started circulating in the Danube forests that this year's first Landranje in Baranja event will be held on Saturday, May 6, 2023 — more information on the Landranje Baranjom FB page.

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

Wednesday, 5 April 2023

Ivica Todoric May Now Have Upper Hand in Arbitration Dispute in USA

April the 5th, 2023 - Could former Agrokor boss Ivica Todoric now have the upper hand in an arbitration dispute across the pond in Washington? The man who was once plastered across the glossy pages of Forbes as Croatia's richest has announced that he's going to step back into politics.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Suzana Varosanec writes, Goran Jandrokovic, the Croatian Parliament speaker, asked if a journalist was ''seriously asking him that'' when asked for his comments on Ivica Todoric's latest plans to become politically active in time for the next elections.

Despite his uncertainty about the legitimacy of the question put to him, Jandrokovic simply stated: "we live in a democracy, anyone who has political ambitions can run for office". Even parliament member Katarina Peovic, who is known for her controversial statements and stances, doesn't consider Ivica Todoric's political plans to be a topic of interest for her, as she considers him to be the "Monty Python of the political scene". The former owner of Agrokor, however, has been plotting and is going to announce a political party of his own.

The formation of a new political party wasn't the sole reason for the former gazda (boss) calling a press conference. As the main topic, he highlighted the way in which the Extraordinary Administration of Agrokor ''created the insolvency of the entire Agrokor Group and the financial and business situation of today's Agrokor (Fortenova) in relation to Agrokor d.d.''. Yes, he's still talking about it.

In short, Ivica Todoric believes that he was the victim of a conspiracy and a plan to take over Agrokor's assets, which won't come as any sort of new information to anyone who has followed the Agrokor fallout from back in 2017. He alleges that Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic and the Borg group are at the helm of said conspiracy, and, according to him, foreign services, Russian and American, also played a significant role in everything. Although for years before 2017 and the introduction of extraordinary management, Agrokor followed the epithet of a highly indebted company, he still claims that Agrokor was not in financial trouble, and he reiterated that the plan was to go to the London Stock Exchange.

"In order to achieve the goal of a hostile takeover of Agrokor and expropriation, the bankruptcy of the entire Agrokor Group, i.e. the key 40 companies, had to be ensured. Since no company within the Group was insolvent, it was impossible to implement bankruptcy proceedings. Therefore, a monstrous plan was constructed by which co-debtor guarantees of members of the Agrokor Group were booked into the expenses and liabilities of each of the companies, and that was done in full, in order to create a fictitious insolvency,'' these are some of the highlights of Todoric's claimed truth.

In this regard, he says that the co-debt guarantees issued by 16 members of the Group for Agrokor d.d. amounted to 14 billion kuna, which was "turned" into 224 billion kuna by the aforementioned accounting multiplication. He explained more, and stated that eventually, all of this debt was in his words ''artificially multiplied'' to the enormous sum of 320 billion kuna.

The problem, however, is that even without this accounting multiplication, the guarantee would have sunk the operating companies entirely. Another question is whether the guarantees were approved in a legal way even before the Extraordinary Administration took over. In fact, Ivica Todoric is saying today that the debt of the former Agrokor was actually a so-called "junk debt" that was being written off. In other words, it follows that the guarantees shouldn't actually have been accepted, but according to Todoric, the extraordinary administration didn't refuse any of that because it was the only way to declare insolvency for Agrokor. The former owner of the massive domestic concern also believes that Agrokor's debt stood at 35 billion kuna out of 50 billion kuna in turnover, adding that "today they have 30 billion kuna in turnover and 33.5 billion kuna in debt" and that "the company (being Fortenova) is withering".

Admittedly, in his interpretation, it turns out that the aforementioned debt of Fortenova was practically newly created, although that is not exactly the case.

Even from the time the settlement was agreed due to the controversies that followed the entire process, it was clear that this insolvency procedure would have quite a few legal tails to it. And the fact that Ivica Todoric, who used to be much more inclined to one-way communication, has lately been making public appearances is more related to legal processes than anything else.

First of all, he was certainly encouraged by the DORH debacle in connection with the expert report in the case of the so-called of the ''great (veliki) Agrokor'', i.e. by the decision of the Indictment Panel of the County Court in Zagreb, which deemed Ismet Kamal's financial expertise, on which the indictment for withdrawing 1.2 billion kuna was based, illegal evidence.

Will this prove to be an important trump card in the arbitration dispute that Todoric and his Dutch company initiated in Washington some two years ago? Perhaps. He seems to be counting on that, and claims that, in addition to the USA, he has the right to litigate in several European countries.

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

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