Wednesday, 17 March 2021

British American Tobacco Stays in Croatia - Say Rovinj, Agriculture Union

ZAGREB, 17 March, 2021 - Representatives of the PPDIV agriculture union on Wednesday met with Rovinj Mayor Marko Paliaga, saying afterwards that the story of the future of the Rovinj Tobacco Factory (TDR) "ended well and British American Tobacco (BAT) stays in Croatia."

Paliaga thanked the unionists for fighting for TDR workers, the City of Rovinj said in a press release.

The Kanfanar-based TDR is owned by British American Tobacco.

The unionists thanked the mayor for the cooperation and support in negotiations with BAT on keeping the plant in Kanfanar, following announcements last year that it might be shut down.

The workers need not fear for their future any longer because TDR is staying in Kanfanar, the press release said.

PPDIV president Denis Paradiš said TDR's staying in Croatia was important for Rovinj, Istria County as well as for the Slavonia region and tobacco growers. "It's important for all of Croatia."

BAT took over TDR from Adris Group in September 2015 for €505 million. Under the contract, BAT was to keep production in Kanfanar for at least five years.

Last year media reported that BAT was considering to leave Croatia due to deteriorated business conditions. In December, Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said the government's negotiations with BAT were going well and that he would do everything for BAT to keep production in Istria.

For more about business in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Tuesday, 16 March 2021

Croatia Receives Second €510m Tranche From SURE

ZAGREB, 16 March, 2021 - The European Commission on Tuesday disbursed €9 billion to seven EU member states, including €510 million to Croatia, in the fifth instalment of financial support to preserve employment during the coronavirus pandemic under the SURE instrument.

This is the second instalment this year. Czechia has received €1 billion, Spain €2.87 billion, Italy €3.87 billion, Lithuania €302 million, Malta €123 million and Slovakia €330 million.

So far, 16 member states have received a total of €62.5 billion under the SURE instrument in loans which the Commission is taking out on financial markets at the best terms.

Croatia received the first instalment of €510 million on 17 November.

For more about business in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Tuesday, 16 March 2021

Croatian Chamber of Trades and Crafts (HOK): "National Recovery and Resilience Plan Should Include Trades"

ZAGREB, 16 March, 2021 - The Croatian Chamber of Trades and Crafts (HOK) on Tuesday said that the National Recovery and Resilience Plan should include trades and crafts.

HOK said that a survey of 1,722 HOK members indicates a huge interest in EU grants.

Most of them (85%) consider investing in tangible and non-tangible assets to be the most important, notably purchasing equipment and machinery, and upgrading and building new production capacities.

The estimated value of projects that would be submitted by the majority of trades ranges from HRK 150,000 to 750,000, HOK said, adding that trades are willing to invest their own funds too.

HOK in particular noted that more than 73% of trades do not plan to use financial instruments in the coming period.

HOK is investing significant effort in preparing programme documentation for the 2021-2027 EU financial period.

The aim is to raise awareness of the needs of trades and that adequate calls for applications for grants are ensured.

HOK said that the needs of trades should be recognised through the National Recovery and Resilience Plan due to the consequences of the COVID pandemic and the negative economic trends. Hence HOK has sent its recommendations to Prime Minister Andrej Plenković in an effort to find the best possible solution for trades.

For more about business in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Friday, 12 March 2021

Zadar: Contracts For Social Entrepreneurship Worth HRK 10 Million Presented

ZAGREB, 12 March, 2021 - Labour Minister Josip Aladrović and deputy director of the National Foundation for Civil Society Development Luka Bogdan presented eight contracts in Zadar on Friday worth nearly HRK 10 million for projects to strengthen the capacities of old and new social enterprises and entrepreneurs.

"Today, we signed contracts with entities that are just starting and that are developing their business in accordance with principles of social entrepreneurship," said Labour, Pension System, Family and Social Policy Minister Josip Aladrović, noting that the ministry has provided over HRK 112 million to encourage social entrepreneurship.

The pandemic and crisis have created an opportunity for doing some things better and fairer, he said.

I believe that we can find a way in our business to regain a positive social impact. There are four counties among the co-signers: Zadar, Šibenik-Knin, Split-Dalmatia and Lika-Senj counties. All forms of entrepreneurship in these areas are more important than ever before, mostly due to the impact the pandemic has had on the tourism sector and all related activities, Minister Aladrović said, adding that by signing the projects they want to strengthen the capacities of old and new social enterprises through additional employment and education.

Deputy director of the National Foundation for Civil Society Development Luka Bogdan  said that social entrepreneurship was one of the models connecting solidarity and entrepreneurship that could be seen every day, not just in a crisis.

The purpose of the projects is to employ members of vulnerable groups -- women, Croatian war veterans and victims of the Homeland War, people with disabilities and others, and this will include creating new jobs and improving the knowledge and skills of employees through specialised forms of training and employment.

Before presenting the contracts cofinanced by the European Social Fund, Minister Aladrović and his associates had a working meeting with representatives of the City of Zadar on increasing capacities of retirement homes.

According to state secretary Marija Pletikosa, it is estimated that about 5% of the population aged over 65 needs accommodation in a retirement home, and Zadar has not yet reached the capacity to accommodate 3%, so it is necessary to build new retirement homes.

Aladrović said that he supported the idea because increasing the number of accommodation units for the elderly population across Croatia was one the priorities of his ministry.

For more about business in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Friday, 12 March 2021

Croatia's February Industrial Consumer Prices Down 0.8% Year-Over-Year

ZAGREB, 12 March, 2021 - Croatia's industrial producer prices fell by 0.8% in February 2021 compared with the same month in 2020, while increasing by 1.4% from January 2021, according to the data from the National Bureau of Statistics (DZS).

The annual downward trend has been present since March 2020 when industrial producer prices dropped by 2.7% compared with March 2019. The 0.8% decrease in February 2021 is the lowest in the last 11 months, while the highest annual decline was recorded in May 2020, of 6.6%.

In February 2021, compared with January 2021, industrial producer prices rose by 1.3% on foreign markets, while compared with February 2020 they declined by 2.1%. On the domestic market, they increased by 1.4% compared with January 2021 and by 0.2% compared with February 2020.

Month on month, prices of energy grew the most, by 5.1%, followed by intermediate goods (+0.7%), capital goods (+0.2%), non-durable consumer goods (+0.1%) and durable consumer goods (+0.1%).

Year on year, industrial producer prices rose by 1.2% for capital goods, by 1.1% for intermediate goods and by 0.4% for durable consumer goods, while decreasing by 4.9% for energy and by 0.3% for non-durable consumer goods.

For more about business in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Thursday, 11 March 2021

Zagreb Stock Exchange Indices End in Green

ZAGREB, 11 March, 2021 - After a slight drop on Wednesday, the Zagreb Stock Exchange (ZSE) Crobex index rebounded on Thursday, increasing by 0.12% to 1,864.90 points, while the Crobex10 continued its upward movement for the fourth day in a row, closing up 0.25% at 1,166.04 points.

Turnover at the close of the trading session reached HRK 7.3 million, about 2 million less than on Wednesday.

The highest turnover, of HRK 2.25 million, was generated by the stock of the HT telecommunications company. It closed at HRK 192 per share, up 2.13%, its highest price since June 2013 when it closed at slightly over HRK 200 per share.

The only other stock to pass the turnover mark of one million kuna was plastic car parts manufacturer AD Plastik, turning over HRK 1.2 million. It ended the day at HRK 185.50 per share, up 0.27%.

A total of 44 stocks traded today, with 18 of them recording share price increases, eight registering price decreases and 18 stagnating in price.

(€1 = HRK 7.582776)

For more about business in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Wednesday, 4 November 2020

Best Economic Examples in Croatia in 2020 Are Being Selected

November 4, 2020 – The best economic examples in Croatia will be awarded in early December, which will be decided by an expert jury, but also by the general public.

As Večernji list/Stela Lechpammer reports, one of the main reasons why Večernji list and Poslovni Dnevnik launched the selection of Businessman of the Year and Economic Event of the Year four years ago is to divert attention from negativity and trivia to positive and successful stories from the economy.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, this is even more important now, and this autumn the manifestation continues. The expert jury and readers will select new, and perhaps some already known companies, names, and events that marked the Croatian economy this year.

Despite the often negative and uninspiring political and social environment, Večernji list and Poslovni Dnevnik have recognized Croatian businessmen as promoters of excellence, innovation, and successful business ventures. By highlighting positive examples such as business excellence, export success, the opening of new plants, and thus jobs, they want to open a new perspective on life in Croatia.

"Economic successes are an incentive for many small and medium-sized enterprises and a message to young people not to leave Croatia, which has been a particularly painful topic for several years now," said the organizers.

The winners will be decided by the general public and an expert jury composed of leading Croatian journalists and editors who cover the economy, as well as the professionals and scientists. The winners will be awarded in early December in four categories.

"The selection of businessmen and the economic event of the year is of great importance, and at the same time, it is very important that the selection is carried out according to objective criteria and that the recognition goes into the right hands. We need to look at the placement and quality of products, indebtedness," says a well-known Croatian entrepreneur and one of the richest Croats, Branko Roglić.

Based on objective criteria, the expert jury will select the businessman of the year, and the criteria are business excellence, above-average business results, a successful investment project, job creation, and export success. On the other hand, readers will make decisions based on the reputation that each company and entrepreneur have in public.

"The popularization of entrepreneurship in Croatia is very important and that is why this is an important event. Most entrepreneurs in Croatia are very hard-working people who run the economy and take care of their employees, but often the public has a wrong image, both because of the past and because there are always exceptions in every business that ruins the reputation. I would like, when someone in Croatia mentions an entrepreneur, to think of a team from Infinum, Nanobit, Infobip," said the two-time winner of this competition Mate Rimac.

Among the winners in recent years were Ante Vlahović from the Adris group, Željko Kukurin from the tourist company Valamar, and Marin Pucar, the leader of Podravka.

To read more about business in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Thursday, 23 January 2020

Vodnjan's Infobip Plans to Employ 1000 New Workers on Global Level

When it comes to Croatian companies, there tends to be an enormous amounts of excellent ideas and promising businesses but the state tends to put up too much red tape for them to succeed. Croatia doesn't provide a business friendly atmosphere, nor does it handle investments well, and as for entrepreneurs, they often feel that their only hope is to leave. Infobip from Vodnjan, however, isn't one of them.

We've written extensively about Infobip and how this company has beaten the odds and managed to grow to proportions I imagine not even its founder, Silvio Kutic, could have imagined. This Croatian company has only gone from strength to strength and it seems that that trend isn't about to alter anytime soon.

As Novac writes on the 22nd of January, 2020, the Vodnjan-based IT giant, Infobip, is planning to hire about a thousand new employees, expanding further globally after reaching the impressive figure of 3,000 employees, and ending last year with 2,100 employees.

In addition, by the end of this year, the company expects the completion of the city campuses in Sveta Klara in Zagreb, which should accommodate as many as 650 Infobip employees.

According to a report from Lider.hr, Infobip also announced its plans for placement on the world famous New York Stock Exchange, further development of technological solutions and products in the direction of ''conversational messages'' and ''conversational commerce'', and they just launched their own ''chatbot'' platform, which took six months to develop in total.

Infobip's production will soon be offered to customers who will be able to create ''chatbots'' on our platforms. We aim to get feedback so they can leverage the products, which is in line with our customer-centric strategy. In 2020 we will continue to focus on artificial intelligence and its implementation in our decisions,'' said Tomislav Smiljanić, senior product manager at Infobip.

Make sure to follow our dedicated business and Made in Croatia pages for much more on Croatian companies, products and services.

Thursday, 2 January 2020

Many Croatian Companies Lag Behind for Fear of Abandoning Old Ways

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Darko Bicak writes on the 2nd of January, 2020, the names of companies who under the name of their brand boast city names such as London-New York-Tokyo, are generally large global companies that, due to the nature of their business, must be based in various parts of the world. Although there aren't many Croatian companies of that size and power, every once in a while there are Croatian companies that deploy their headquarter posts and spread their wings abroad.

There are numerous companies of the kind across European and world capitals, and one is Startaparat, with Zagreb-Vienna-Dubai under its name. The Startaparat company is comprised of three women Sanja, Tanja and Helena. Behind them, as they point out, lies a strong, longstanding friendship which has grown through working together at the Bruketa&Žinić OM agency.

Tanja Škorić was a creative director in Zagreb and later a partner at Bruketa&Žinić Vienna. Helena Rosandić Šepić was the director of B&Z in Baku for a number of years, and after that she went to Vienna, too. Sanja Petek Mujačić spent thirteen years in that agency, most of which as a director and board member. Startaparat was initially founded in Vienna back in 2017 by Tanja and Helena, and Sanja joined them in early 2019 as a partner and director of the Zagreb office.

Startaparat's main focus is to create innovative communications solutions that build digital age brands and organisations. Whether it is startups or already established Croatian companies or indeed foreign ones, they help them to adopt a culture of innovation, creativity and change, to reach their absolute full potential.

In fact, they work with Croatian companies and foreign ones that want to grow faster, developing from their original ideas to creating a winning marketing concept. Their business model itself changes the established processes of the communication industry - building a network of teams and experienced professionals/consultants with whom they collaborate on projects - from HR professionals, people operating within the complex digital world, communicators, designers, developers, business consultants, and so forth. Having a presence and experience across different markets gives them priceless insight into a variety of trends, knowledge and practices - giving their solutions some serious strength and weight.

In addition to Vienna in Austria and Zagreb in Croatia, this year, they have a ''set up'' of offices in Dubai, and plans to expand to even more countries. Sanja is a kind of primus inter pares, and today she attributes her competencies to her general education and extensive experience. Sanja, who is otherwise an art historian, has spent her entire marketing career focusing on how technology is changing the world.

"It used to be more from the perspective of marketing and communications, and in the past two years it has been growing from the perspective of management and work in organisations. My favourite topic is storytelling in business, and how much power and strength of the stories in the business environment I reveal to the teams of the largest Croatian companies through interactive workshops. In addition, I'm dedicated to the hot topic - employer branding, but my vision is that that's not only an HR topic, but that it also combines communications and marketing,'' explained Sanja Petek Mujačić.

She added that for several years now, Croatian companies and foreign companies have been intensively introducing technology into all aspects of their business. "The goal is to improve processes, accelerate product development and marketing, improve customer experience - all to meet the increasingly dynamic and rapid market and customer demands.

''Old'' organisations and well-known brands are constantly under the influence of fast moving startups and disruptive innovations. Technology is one solution to how to be prepared for market competition, but the focus shifts to a key company resource - people. Thus, the priority becomes the intensive adaptation of the way in which we work and collaborate, which motivates and inspires us, that is, how companies are organised and how they communicate and create,'' noted the Startaparat director.

She explained that many Croatian companies are still guided by old, outdated principles of management, which, as she says, are in line with the needs of our grandparents' time and not in line with modern business at all.

"In most cases, Croatian companies are not yet ready for radical change - creating a shallower organisation, abandoning the command and control model, less internal bureaucracy//. A system without a strong hierarchy, risk-averse. But... they're slowly moving in that direction.

This transition is not simple and easy, but I believe that the benefits of the changes will be great and will have multiple implications for employee engagement and motivation, and definitely for the creation of innovative and relevant solutions, products and services,'' said Petek Mujačić.

Make sure to follow our dedicated business page for much more on Croatian companies, products and services.

Sunday, 18 August 2019

Opening a Business to Gain Residence in Croatia, Yes or No?

August the 18th, 2019 - We've explored citizenship through naturalisation, marriagedescent, and special interest. We've delved into the world of Croatian work permits, and we've gone through the list of ways to obtain legal residence for both EU and non EU citizens, but I left one thing out - gaining residence through opening a business in Croatia. That needs an article of its own. Pour yourself a large, strong drink.

I'll preface this by saying that opening a business to gain residence should ideally be a last resort, meaning that you've exhausted all other possibilities. This post is aimed almost exclusively at third country nationals (people who are neither citizens of Croatia or citizens of the European Economic Area), as citizens of the EEA/EU have a right to residence in Croatia based solely on their citizenship of an EU member state.

Croatian bureaucracy is infamous at this point. The phrase uhljebistan is not used without reason, and many people, from your ordinary mere mortals to rich foreign investors with huge capital, have been well and truly put off by the endless reams of red tape the Croatian Government likes to put up. Driving not only those who'd like to invest their hard earned cash away, but potential jobs, too.

With that being said, things are beginning to alter, albeit at a snail's pace, and with the age of digitalisation finally dawning on Croatia, there might be hope on the horizon. Until then, let's assume you've exhausted all your remaining options as a third country national and opening a business in Croatia is your last shot at obtaining that residence permit, or maybe you really do want to open a business here. Let's begin.

In order to gain residence in Croatia on the basis of having opened a business, you'll need to first open that business. You can open a j.d.o.o, a d.o.o., or what's known as an obrt. Once that's all done and dusted (and that's a topic I'll cover in another article), you can begin your application for a residence permit on that basis. The necessary forms will be provided to you when you go in person to MUP to make the application and hand in the appropriate documents.

But, hang on, it isn't all that straightforward. There are currently two situations in which you can legitimately apply for a residence permit as a third country national after having opened a Croatian business (it cannot be what is known as an ''association'' (udruga), which tend to be non-profit and the people involved are commonly volunteers. It has to be an actual business, intended to operate as a business).

The two situations in which you can legally obtain residence in Croatia through opening a business I mentioned above are as follows:

1.) You are a third country national and you own the business.

2.) You own the business, but you want to hire a third country national who does not have a residence permit (but obviously needs one), and the job you're hiring them for is not covered by the quota. You can find out more about quotas from us here and from MUP, the authority which will be granting (or indeed denying) your permit here.

Let's quickly look at some very important differences between EU/EEA citizens and third country nationals before we continue.

EU/EEA citizens:

For EU nationals (and nationals of Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Liechtenstein), who have a right to reside in Croatia owing to EU law, please let it be understood very clearly that you do not need to open a business to stay in Croatia under any circumstance.

Unfortunately, some would-be advisers and even accountants have wrongly told unknowing EU nationals this. If you're a citizen of an EU/EEA country, your right to reside is based on your nationality, nothing else.

If you're an EU/EEA citizen and you want to open a business in Croatia, things are much easier for you as you can do so on the same basis and with equal treatment as a Croatian national. This means you do not need to follow many of the rules placed on third country nationals, and it's much less expensive for you to open and operate a business here.

Third country nationals, at whom this article is aimed:

SCENARIO 1: You own the business, and you yourself are a third country national:

If you'te a third country national and you've opened a business in order to gain residency, here is what you need to submit about your business:

1.) You must hire at least three Croatian citizens as full time employees.

2.) You must invest an eye-watering 200,000 kuna into your business if it is a j.d.o.o or a d.o.o., 300,000 kuna if it's an obrt (craft).

3.) You need to hire yourself, employ yourself, and pay yourself a salary which meets the current average Croatian wage, or is higher.

You may need to prove that your new business is not operating at a loss, but this may not be asked of you when you first apply. You'll also need to show proof of you having paid your taxes in Croatia, properly and correctly. This includes the necessary contributions, too (pension and health insurance). If you have had any debts to the Republic of Croatia at any point (tax debts), you'll need to prove you've paid them off.

In addition to that, you'll need to provide other documents for your residence permit, such as a valid passport and a copy of it, click here and scroll down to third country nationals for the list of documents you'll typically need to provide the police with.

SCENARIO 2: You own the business, and you want to hire and employ a third country national 

If you are a business owner and you want to hire a third country national who does not already have legal residence in Croatia, then here's where quotas come into the mix again. These can be a bit confusing, but the links I provided (where I mentioned quotas previously) will give you some guidance, as will the police. Make sure to ask them as they may not provide this of their own accord.

If the third country national you're hiring will be doing a job that is in the quota, then there's less of a fuss surrounding this process. If they're going to be doing a job that is outside of the quota, then you'll need to provide additional documents and prove additional things. Here is a list of those things:

1.) You'll need to hire or already employ three Croatian citizens on a full time basis and be able to provide proof of that

2.) You'll need to have invested a minimum of 100,000 kuna into your business, and be able to provide proof of that

3.) You'll need to be able to prove that your business doesn't operate at a loss

4.) You'll need to have hired yourself as an employee in your business and be paying yourself the equivalent of the average Croatian wage, or above it

5.) You'll need to submit proof you don't owe anything to the state (tax debts), have paid anything you have previously owed, and you're paying your taxes and contributions in Croatia

Helpful information:

In Croatia, there is an excellent organisation called HITRO.hr, who work to help in quicker and better communication between business/companies and the administrative bodies of the state. Thanks to digitalisation slowly but surely creeping up on Croatia, this allows for certain things to be done online. Please note that this only regards certain types of companies and businesses and their registration.

Their services are available in English as well as in Croatian, and they detail the procedure of opening different types of businesses, what the costs are, and what you should watch out for. Not to mention contact numbers. Pay them a visit here and select the English language option if you need to.

In addition to that, Fina (Financial Agency) can provide for faster, more efficient and much more secure access for company/business owners to certain services and information. These include ePayment, eTax, eVAT, and ePension.

The requirement of having employed three Croatian nationals as full time employees in your business may be deemed fulfilled even if you hire three Croatian nationals on a part time basis, but there are other requirements you must fulfil for this to be considered the same as full time employment. Ask when you apply what this means for you.

The law currently states that for each additional permit, you need to provide double the requirements listed above, or triple (and so on) for each additional permit you want to be issued as a business owner wanting to employ third country nationals who are gaining residence in this manner.

This is an extremely bureaucracy filled process which will not only cost you a lot of money, but a lot of time, patience and nerves along with it. Unless you are genuinely wanting to open and run a business here in Croatia, I would strongly recommend that you avoid this way of gaining residence as a third country national.

For EU citizens, things are far cheaper and far less complicated, but as I stated previously, if you're from the EEA, you absolutely do not need to open any sort of business to be granted residence in Croatia. Please be very wary of anyone who tells you otherwise. EU citizens can review their rights covering everything from their right to reside to opening a business here.

Make sure to follow our dedicated lifestyle page for much more.

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