Friday, 11 June 2021

WB, HBOR Ink €200 HEAL Scheme to Help Croatian Businesses to Have Access to Liquidity

ZAGREB, 11 June 2021 - The World Bank and the Croatian Bank for Reconstruction and Development (HBOR) on Friday signed a Loan Agreement for the HEAL Croatia Project (Helping Enterprises Access Liquidity) in the amount of EUR 200 million intended as support to businesses hit by the corona crisis and the 2020 quakes.

A press release issued by the WB and HBOR reads that "the COVID-19 crisis has caused a sharp decline in the economic activity of Croatian businesses and has had a profound effect on jobs and livelihoods."

"The pandemic disrupted firms’ production and reduced the demand for their goods and services, while the financial sector tightened lending to companies, due to rising credit risk. The crisis also exacerbated Croatia’s regional disparities and reduced credit access for young firms and for firms owned and managed by women."

The HEAL Croatia scheme "will provide liquidity and financial restructuring to firms that have been hit by the COVID-19 pandemic and by the two devastating earthquakes of 2020 and will support an inclusive and resilient recovery. "

The HEAL project will increase access to finance to firms focused on export, both small and medium enterprises (firms employing fewer than 250 people) and mid-caps firms (employing from 250 to 3000 people), as well as for firms from less developed regions of Croatia, and firms owned or managed by women. It will also increase access for young enterprises (operating less than five years).

HBOR management board president Tamara Perko was quoted as saying that the Croatian development bank is pleased " that the World Bank has recognized the significance of financing entrepreneur groups whose importance has also been recognized in HBOR's five-year strategy."

Elisabetta Capannelli, the World Bank Country Manager for Croatia, was quoted as saying that the World Bank looked forward "to a smooth and quick implementation of the HEAL Croatia project which will help preserve jobs and support household livelihoods through direct support to approximately 150 firms employing around 25,000 people."

Finance Minister Zdravko Marić, who signed with the World Bank a contract on loan guarantee, said that "the loan being signed today represents a continuation of the significant support provided by the World Bank to the Republic of Croatia since the beginning of the crisis in 2020, which is reflected in operations worth a total of EUR 760 million (including HEAL)."

"With this project, we are contributing to the further recovery of Croatia’s private sector, following the existing measures of the Government of the Republic of Croatia adopted in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, post-earthquake reconstruction and creating foundations for future sustainability and resilience."

The World Bank has been a partner to Croatia for over 27 years and during that period the bank has supported more than 50 projects, worth almost US$5 billion, and provided technical assistance to help strengthen institutions and support the design of policies and strategies.

For more on politics in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Wednesday, 9 June 2021

Zagreb Stock Exchange Indices Up For Second Day in a Row

ZAGREB, 9 June, 2021 - The main Zagreb Stock Exchange (ZSE) indices rose on Wednesday for the second day in a row amid modest trading.

The Crobex gained 0.43% to reach 1,958.03 points, its highest level in nearly a month, while the Crobex10 rose by 0.56% to 1,210.84 points, its highest level since the end of February 2020.

Turnover at the close of the trading session was HRK 4.5 million, about 600,000 higher than on Tuesday. None of the stocks passed the turnover mark of one million kuna.

A total of 35 stocks traded today, with 14 of them registering share price increases, 10 recording share price decreases and 11 remaining stable in price.

(€1 = HRK 7.493408)

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Wednesday, 9 June 2021

Podravka Group to Invest HRK 5 Bn Over Next Five Years

ZAGREB, 9 June, 2021 - Over the next five years, the Podravka Group plans to invest about HRK 5 billion in the modernisation and digitalisation of production and logistics, marketing and acquisitions, the group said on Wednesday after the Supervisory Board green-lighted its business strategy until 2025.

"The implementation of the adopted strategy includes investment of about HRK 1.7 billion in the modernisation and digitalisation of production and logistics processes, about HRK 1.4 billion in marketing to achieve organic growth, and about HRK 2 billion for acquisitions," Podravka said in a statement.

The group's Food division will focus on product and packaging development and innovation to increase the availability of products and adjust them to the needs and habits of different consumer groups.

The business strategy also sets the criteria for the consideration and selection of acquisitions. With possible acquisitions in the Food division, Podravka aims to strengthen its presence and position on markets to pursue further accelerated growth.

The Pharmaceuticals division (Belupo) will focus on strengthening growth on international markets, notably in central and eastern Europe, expanding its portfolio with products  in additional anatomical, therapeutic and chemical groups, and boosting growth on the domestic market by introducing new products.

(€1 = HRK 7.5)

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Tuesday, 8 June 2021

Zagreb Stock Exchange Indices Increase Amid Modest Turnover

ZAGREB, 8 June, 2021 - The main Zagreb Stock Exchange (ZSE) indices increased on Tuesday amid modest turnover, with the Crobex going up by 0.37% to 1,949.56 points and the Crobex10 by 0.31% 1,204.12 points.

Today's regular turnover was about HRK 3.9 million, about HRK 2.7 million lower than on Monday.

An additional HRK 2.8 million was generated by block transactions with shares of the HT telecommunications company.

The stock of the HT company was also the only one to cross the one million kuna turnover mark in regular trading. It generated a turnover of HRK 1.1 million, and the price of its share went up by 1.09% to HRK 185.

A total of 38 stock traded today, with half of them, 19, registering price increases, 11 stagnating in price and eight recording price decreases.

(€1 = HRK 7.497334)

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

Tuesday, 8 June 2021

EU Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO): 7% of Croatians Misled Into Buying Counterfeits

ZAGREB, 8 June, 2021 - Nine percent of Europeans and seven percent of Croatians have been misled into buying counterfeit products, according to a survey released by the EU Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) on Tuesday.

The study, entitled "European Citizens and Intellectual Property", shows that consumers find it difficult to distinguish between genuine and fake products.

Nearly one in ten Europeans claimed that they were misled into buying counterfeits, but there were considerable differences between EU member states. 19% of Bulgarians, 16% of Romanians and 15% of Hungarians said they were deceived, compared to 2% of Swedes and 3% of Danes.

Croatia was below the EU average, with 7% of its citizens saying they were misled into buying counterfeit products.

According to Eurostat, over 70% of Europeans shopped online in 2020, and uncertainty regarding counterfeit products has become a growing concern for consumer protection, the study showed.

Counterfeit products represent 6.8 % of EU imports worth €121 billion and impact every sector, from cosmetics and toys, wine and beverages, electronics and clothing to pesticides and pharmaceutical products. They pose serious risks to the health and safety of citizens as they usually do not comply with quality and safety standards.

The study says that the worldwide trade in counterfeit pharmaceutical products has been estimated at €4 billion. Digital piracy also represents a highly lucrative market for infringers. Just in the area of internet protocol television (IPTV), €1 billion of unlawful revenue is generated every year by the
supply and consumption of copyright-infringing digital content in the EU, harming creators and
legitimate businesses.

Counterfeiting affects not only consumers, but it also causes considerable damage to the EU
economy, notably small and medium enterprises (SMEs). One in four SMEs and 21.7% of SMEs in Croatia said they suffered damage on account of intellectual property rights infringement, according to the study.

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

Sunday, 6 June 2021

Golden Basket 2020: Konzum Retailer of the Year, Cromaris Producer of the Year

ZAGREB, 6 June, 2021 - The Golden Basket for the best retailer in 2020 was awarded to the Konzum retail chain, Cromaris was the best producer, and Zagreb's Plac.hr was the best small retailer, the Ja Trgovac website said earlier this week.

The award ceremony for the Golden Basket, an annual award for best achievements in the retail sector and consumer goods industry, was organised by the Ja Trgovac website and magazine.

The DM Drogerie Markt won the Golden Basket for socially responsible company of the year, Datalab was technology supplier of the year, and product of the year was Argeta's Gacka trout spread, designed by experts at Atlantic Droga Kolinska.

The editor-in-chief of the Ja Trgovac magazine and website, Goran Pavlović, said that 2020 had been difficult for everyone, and the retail and consumer goods sectors had been the rare bright examples in that challenging time as they had ensured continuous supply of goods to end-users and created preconditions for a normal life, the press release said.

In those conditions it was clear that these were strategic sectors that were a prerequisite for the functioning of other industries and of the society as a whole even in the most difficult circumstances, Pavlović said.

The Golden Basket, he said, provides a platform for presenting the best examples of doing business and highlights their importance in the Croatian economy and society.

The winners were selected by a jury consisting of members from market research agencies, the Deloitte and Oikon companies, the Institute of Economics Zagreb, the Zagreb Faculty of Economics and Business, sectoral associations (HGK, HUP, HOK), the Croatian Consumer Protection Association, the Commercial Trade Union of Croatia and the Ja Trgovac magazine.

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Sunday, 6 June 2021

Local Government Given Weak Grade by Entrepreneurs

ZAGREB, 6 June, 2021 - Entrepreneurs expect local authorities to cut costs, downsize the number of employees in the administration, reduce administrative burden and utility fees, a survey by the Croatian Employers' Association (HUP) has shown.

In May, HUP carried out a survey among its members with the aim of examining what entrepreneurs expect from representatives of local and regional government in the coming period. Nearly 200 companies from all over Croatia, which employ more than 14,000 people, have responded to the survey, HUP said on Tuesday.

In the survey, local goverment received a weak grade  (D), which indicates less than satisfactory performance.

Top three priorities for entrepreneurship recovery

HUP members also highlighted the top three priorities that the municipal/city government must deal with immediately to encourage the recovery of entrepreneurship, and scaling down the costs and the number of employees in public administration was ranked as number one priority, as said by 47% of the respondents.

The second priority is the abolition of administrative and utility fees (44%) and the third priority is the abolition or reduction of surtaxes and other fess (41%).

HUP representative also expect and encourage greater involvement and participation of entrepreneurs in the work of local government.

We propose that economic councils be formed in the offices of mayors and county prefects, which would consist of up to fifteen entrepreneurs from the private sector, education representatives and representatives of other factors important for the local economic development. The council would discuss local economic issues, business conditions, permits and education, and in this way give added value to the economy and the wider community, said HUP's Kristian Krpan.

Local government gets weak grade D

The average grade HUP's entrepreneurs assigned to city/municipal government for encouraging entrepreneurship and an entrepreneurial climate is a weak grade D, or an average of 2.3 on a 1-5 scale, HUP said.

The cities of Bjelovar, Virovitica, Sveta Nedelja and the municipality of Lokve were exceptions and received high average grades.

When it comes to counties, the two initiatives rated as most significant for launching a stronger investment cycle and creating new jobs were awarding non-repayable grants and adopting new county development plans to tap EU funds.

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Wednesday, 2 June 2021

Zagreb Stock Exchange Indices Continue Positive Streak

ZAGREB, 2 June, 2021 - The Zagreb Stock Exchange (ZSE) main indices rose on Wednesday for the fourth consecutive day, and turnover was slightly higher than in previous days, with HT and Turisthotel each generating more than HRK 2 million in turnover.

The Crobex increased by 0.36% to 1,951.71 points, and the Crobex10 by 0.43% to 1,207.71 points.

Regular trading amounted to HRK 8.6 million, 4.8 million more than on Tuesday.

The most traded stock was the HT telecom company, with a turnover of HRK 2.97 million. It closed the day unchanged, at HRK 185.50 per share.

The Turisthotel tourism company turned over HRK 2.5 million and was among the more liquid stocks, with a price increase of 3.23% to HRK 3,200.

A total of 33 stocks were traded today, with 13 registering a price increase, 11 registering a price decrease and 9 remaining stable.

(€1 = HRK 7.504018)

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Wednesday, 2 June 2021

Entrepreneurs To Have One Chance For Debt Forgiveness, Reports Večernji List

ZAGREB, 2 June, 2021 - Every entrepreneur should have one opportunity to have their debt forgiven during their entrepreneurial life and to be able to do business without hindrance, Večernji List daily said on Wednesday.

This is provided for by the Directive on preventive restructuring frameworks and second chance from 2019, which EU member states have to introduce into their legislation by mid-2021, that is in a month.

The Croatian Ministry of Justice has also announced that it will initiate amendments to the Bankruptcy Act and the Consumer Bankruptcy Act to adapt them to the Directive, but a bill of amendments has not been presented yet so it remains unclear whether Croatia will additionally regulate discharge of business debts.

In Croatia, there are currently about 16,000 entrepreneurs with blocked accounts, and about 8,000 of them are companies, while the second half are craftsmen and other entrepreneurs who keep business books. The total debt of all entrepreneurs amounts to about HRK 6 billion.

The situation is much more difficult for nearly 240,000 citizens with blocked accounts, whose debt principal totals about HRK 17 billion.

So far, the state has twice written off debts of citizens with blocked accounts as part of special campaigns, but that has not significantly affected the overall situation.

Debt write-offs for entrepreneurs were the most common in pre-bankruptcy settlements established by former finance minister Slavko Linić during Zoran Milanović's term as prime minister. Later, the law changed and debt write-offs are now less frequent.

The EU Directive does not address citizens' debts directly, but it proposes that states apply the principle for debt forgiveness for entrepreneurs to over-indebted citizens.

Under the Directive, everyone should have the opportunity to have their debt written off in a procedure that should last no longer than three years, Večernji List said.

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

 

Tuesday, 1 June 2021

Zagreb Stock Exchange Indices Up For Third Day in Row

ZAGREB, 1 June, 2021 - The Zagreb Stock Exchange (ZSE) main indices on Tuesday continued their positive streak for the third consecutive trading day, with the Crobex going up 0.6% and the Crobex10 by 0.5%, while trading was modest.

The Crobex went up by 0.61% to 1,944.66 points and the Crobex10 by 0.48% to 1,202.22 points.

Regular trading was modest and amounted to HRK 3.8 million.

Not one stock crossed the million kuna turnover mark, and the closest to it was the Atlantska Plovidba shipping company, with HRK 941,600. Its price rose by 6.23% to HRK 375 per share.

A total of 39 stocks were traded today, with 20 registering a price increase, 9 registering a price decrease and 10 remaining stable.

(€1 = HRK 7.515997)

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