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.

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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.

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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, 10 March 2021

Nadan Vidošević: "Komerički is Lying That I Asked Him to Launder Money"

ZAGREB, 10 March, 2021 - Former Croatian Chamber of Commerce (HGK) head Nadan Vidošević told the court on Wednesday that he did not participate in fictitious business deals, dismissing as lies claims by Davor Komerički, who turned state's evidence, that Vidošević had asked him to launder money for him.

"The indictment is a cobweb and I know why Komerički gave a false testimony... so that he is freed from criminal charges and to have his company's accounts unblocked. There were no fictitious deals and Komerički is the only witness the prosecution has," Vidošević said at the Zagreb County Court while presenting his defence in a case dubbed Remorker.

Vidošević repeated several times during the presentation of his defence that he and his associates had not caused any damage to the HGK or the Kraš confectionery company, and that they had not siphoned money from them. "There is not one piece of material evidence against me, nor any message or text message that I might have exchanged," he said.

He also said that he had been barraged by some media outlets even before the trial started and that two-thirds of the indictment were based on his property whose value some of the media had exaggerated and which, he said, he had obtained legally.

Vidošević added that during a search of his home, documents referring to his artworks and the construction of his house in Gorski Kotar disappeared, of which he accused the police anti-corruption office PNUSKOK, saying it had made his defence more difficult. He also said that the expert estimate of the value of his property was "grotesque."

Defence presented four years since trial started

Vidošević's defence comes four years after the trial started in the Remorker case in which the former HGK head was accused of siphoning money from the HGK which he had led for years.

Vidošević's long-standing associate Zdenka Peternel was also accused in the case as was Josipa Mladinov, Jasna Mikić and Jadranka Ivčić, who have all pleaded not guilty.

Four other co-defendants pleaded guilty prior to the trial and were convicted after plea-bargaining with the prosecution. They are the key figures in the scandal - Igor Premilovac, who was the first to own up to issuing fictitious invoices via his Czech-based company Remorker and returning laundered money to Croatia for a commission; Davor Komerički, a marketing expert who accused Vidošević of being involved in a chain that was siphoning money from the HGK; real estate agent Vesna Rodić who advised Vidošević, and Jasna Mrakovčić Grubić, who admitted that she had siphoned money from the HGK with Vidošević by faking artwork purchases.

The USKOK anti-corruption office pressed charges against Vidošević and the eight other defendants in July 2015. USKOK proposed that assets equivalent to the HRK 33.4 million that was allegedly siphoned be confiscated from Vidošević.

However, a new expert analysis has shown that Vidošević acquired 26 properties and 444 works of art, worth HRK 22.3 million, legally and that property worth only HRK 9.2 million remains suspicious.

In mid-December 2020, USKOK withdrew its motion to expand the confiscation of Vidošević's assets after it was determined that the discrepancy between his income and expenditure was smaller than the value of the assets he was charged with having illegally gained.

Saturday, 6 March 2021

3 in 4 Croats Aged 20 to 64 to be in Work Under 2030 Employment Target

ZAGREB, 6 March, 2021 - Croatia's 2030 employment target is to have 75% of adults in work, and currently only two thirds  (66%) of the adult population are employed, the Večernji List daily reported on Saturday.

The current Portuguese presidency of the Council of the European Union is organising a summit meeting on social affairs in May, and the EU is supposed to endorse new goals in this sector which should be accomplished until the end of this decade.

One of the goals is that at least 78 of 100 people aged 20 to 64 should be in employment by the end of this decade.

Three of four Croats aged between 20-64 to be employed

It is up to each member state to define its targets, and Zagreb plans to have three fifths people in the 20-64 age cohort in employment until 2030. For this target to be met, the country should create new 200,000 jobs in the coming years.

Currently, only Greece and Italy fare worse than Croatia in this regard, where only three fifths of adults (60%) are employed.

Sweden tops the EU ranking with 82 out of 100 adults being employed, and Germany follows with 80%.

Friday, 5 March 2021

Zagreb Stock Exchange Indices Drop Amid Slightly Higher Turnover

ZAGREB, 5 March, 2021 - The main Zagreb Stock Exchange (ZSE) indices fell on Friday amid a slightly higher turnover than the previous day, with the Crobex dropping by 0.85% to 1,829 and the Crobex10 by 0.52% to 1,139.

Week-on-week, the Crobex slid by 0.2%, while the Crobex10 increased by 0.63%.

All sectoral indices finished the day in the red, with the tourism index showing the biggest decline, of 1.35%.

Today's regular turnover was HRK 5.7 million, or HRK 1.7 million more than on Thursday.

The stock of the HT telecommunications company was the only one to cross the one million kuna mark, and it generated a turnover of slightly more than HRK 2 million. Its price went up by 1.1% to HRK 183 per share.

The company today said that a meeting of the Supervisory Board would be held on Tuesday, 9 March, when annual financial reports and the proposal for the use of profit for 2020 would be determined, and on Wednesday the revised financial reports the proposal for the use of profit would be published.

The stock of the Valamar Riviera tourism company turned over HRK 773,000, its price dropping by 2.62% to HRK 29.7 per share.

Thirty-eight stocks traded today, with 10 of them registering share price increases, 22 recording price decreases and sixremaining stable in price.

(€1 = 7.576668)

Friday, 5 March 2021

3,439 New Cars Sold in Croatia in February, Down 4.2% Y-O-Y

ZAGREB, 5 March, 2021 - A total of 3,439 new passenger cars were sold in Croatia in February 2021, 4.2% fewer than in the same month in 2020, according to the data released by the Promocija Plus market research agency on Friday.

In January 2021, 2,915 new cars were sold, a decrease of 19.7% compared with January 2020. The January drop affected cumulative data for the first two months of 2021, when a total of 6,345 vehicles were sold, or 12.95% fewer than in January-February 2020.

In the first two months of this year the best-selling car make was Volkswagen, with 1,187 units sold and a market share of 18.68%. The only other carmaker with a market share exceeding 10% was Škoda, with 823 cars sold in the January-February period and a market share of 12.95%.

Fiat was third with 482 cars sold, followed by Dacia and Hyundai, with 328 units sold each, and Renault with 327 vehicles sold.

In February alone, the most sought-after car model was the Škoda Octavia, with 227 units sold, ahead of the Fiat Panda (215), the VW T-Roc (150), the Dacia Duster (138) and the Hyundai Tucson (126).

In January and February, 3,271 petrol cars were sold, accounting for 51.5% of total sales, while diesel vehicles accounted for 31.3% with 1,986 units sold. Also sold were 830 hybrid cars (13.1%), 193 vehicles powered by natural gas (3%) and 74 electric cars (1.2%).

Thursday, 4 March 2021

Zagreb Stock Exchange Main Indices Stable

ZAGREB, 4 March, 2021 - The Zagreb Stock Exchange Crobex index increased 0.07% to 1,845 points on Thursday, while the Crobex10 decreased 0.07% to 1,145 points, with a regular turnover of just under HRK 4 million.

No stock crossed the million kuna mark. The most traded stock was the Podravka food company, turning over HRK 786,000. It closed at HRK 518 per share, up 0.39%.

Forty-one stocks traded today, 16 ending with share price increases, 17 with share price decreases and eight ending stable.

(€1 = HRK 7.573946)

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