Wednesday, 3 July 2019

Cash Machine Country: Why is ATM Business so Profitable in Croatia?

As Novac/Dora Koretic writes on the 2nd of July, 2019, there's nobody in Croatia who hasn't been slightly irritated that Croatia has become known as ''ATM country" over recent days. Owing to that, many are calling for a boycott of the owners of the spaces these ugly cash machines are placed in. Dubrovnik being one of the loudest.

Residents' protests are being organised, liberal capitalists are being cursed, mayors and other people from city administrations are being called on, and the dreaded cash machines are wanted out of Croatia's many historical town and city centres.

Far from defending this proverbial plague that has seen many residents of Croatia's top tourist destinations rise up on their feet, but it is unbelievable that virtually nobody is asking the fundamental question: why is this all happening here in Croatia, and not over in Germany or Sweden? Just how and why has Croatia managed to gain the title of ''ATM country'' ahead of the far more developed countries of Western Europe?

The answer, like almost everything in life, is right in front of our noses. Jutarnji List published a story on the latest publicly available statistics from the Croatian National Bank (HNB), the one for 2017, and found numbers and data that are very ''plastic'' in explaining the general flood of ATMs into Croatia.

Simply put, Croatia is a country in which business entities continue to insist on "cash", the vast majority of them don't allow the banks and all of their modern devices, such as POS machines, to enter their premises where they sell their goods or services. Croatia just loves cash, and with that came a window of opportunity for the cash machine world.

According to the statistics of the Croatian National Bank, which were published in June last year, only 32,003 business entities were registered in Croatia in 2017 which provided a POS payment option, while 118,621 POS devices were available in the country, according to the central bank's data.

This figure seemed a bit too small for Novac, and they sent an additional query to the Croatian National Bank asking them to explain whether they included in this number of the 32,000 aforementioned business entities in hospitality, and they quickly sent back a verified answer, pointing out that the above figure applies to all businesses, regardless of what kind of business they're engaged in.

To make things worse, all companies, including very large ones such as Konzum, Lidl, Kaufland, Tommy, and others, are included in this surprisingly small number, which means that a good part of the total of 118,000 POS devices are on self-service appliances in stores.

Additionally, the figure is incredible when compared to the total number of active business entities operating in Croatia.

According to the Financial Agency's data, 158,060 active business entities were recorded in Croatia in 2018, which means, if we divide this number with the above-mentioned POS device statistics, that the POS payment option today is offered to customers by only every fifth business entity, which is a rather small figure indeed.

Given that consumers in Croatia actually have a narrower number of entities in which services can be paid for by card, it's no surprise that there is a shocking comparison between the cash rate in relation to credit card payment and various other types of card payments.

While most of Croatia is arguing about ATMs and where they're placed, Novac asked several leaders of restaurant and hospitality associations to explain just why Croatia seems to hate card payments, especially given the fact that everyone who travels outside the country knows that in most European cities and towns, cards are frequently used to pay in cafes and bars, and in some countries it's even considered to be a little weird to have customers attempting to pay for things with large banknotes.

Franz Letica, chairman of a hospitality association in Zagreb, responded, pointing out the fact that today, every high quality hospitality facility in Croatia is obliged to receive card payments as well as notes, and that he has doubts about the accuracy of the numbers and data collected from the Croatian National Bank. Others agree with him.

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

Monday, 1 July 2019

Mate Rimac: Car Industry is Changing, This is Croatia's Chance

Just what did Prime Minister Andrej Plenković take away from finally attending a meeting with Croatian entrepreneur Mate Rimac at Rimac Automobili in Sveta Nedjelja?

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Ana Blaskovic writes on the 30th of June, 2019, after Mate Rimac reached out with apparently little response from the HDZ leader, this is now the second time in one week that entrepreneur Mate Rimac, owner of Rimac Automobili, and Prime Minister Andrej Plenković have spent time together.

The pair held a meeting at the headquarters of Mate Rimac's company in Sveta Nedjelja, along with representatives of both Hyundai and Porsche, as well as five government ministers, and discussed the potential of attracting investment and stength to the car industry in Croatia.

"The car industry is changing and this is a chance for Croatia. We want to bring the best quality industry, not one based on cheap labour. We have the support of our investors. We want to work together on it and not end up saying that we've missed out on the car industry of the future. Let's create the conditions for foreign investors to make it interesting for them to come to Croatia,'' said Mate Rimac, when presenting the Croatian Government delegation his concrete guidelines for attracting investors to the car industry, a study which has taken him two years to complete.

When it was recently announced that Croatia's GDP grew by 3.9 percent in the first quarter, this news triggered the politicians' sense of self-praise and the disbelief of numerous experts, including those who doubted the fiture, and claimed it was a mistake.

That alone is the precise picture and opportunity of the Croatian economy which is continually growing faster than its potential ever can. Slow and expensive administration, high taxes, too large a share of the state in the economy, a generally fixed set of labour prices; all of this is extremely off-putting to Croatian entrepreneurs, and makes the country very uninteresting to foreign investors (with the exception of those wanting to flash their cash in the otherwise successful field of Croatian tourism) and as such, limits any prospects for a better future in terms of foreign investment in Croatia's other economic branches. Not counting tax breaks, the Croatian Government had to rather dramatically put out fires in two large and significant companies - Agrokor and Uljanik.

That's a meeting with the likes of Mate Rimac and his company's investors from Hyundai and Kia, as well as an extensive presentation on the possibilities of attracting foreign investment to the car industry in Croatia was an excellent and likely eye-opening opportunity for the head of the Croatian Government and his delegates.

Mate Rimac has succeeded beyond anyone's wildest dreams thanks to the killer combination of sheer talent, stubbornness, and enthusiasm, but large car makers will pay much more attention to their investment decisions through comparative advantages, which implies exclusive figures, and not sentiment, emotions or feelings.

"Croatia needs interest in the car industry like the level of interest that exists for the football team, you'll get our support in technology and our experience, but that isn't going to be enough," said Porsche's Lutz Meschke, vice chairman of the executive committee.

Initiatives always come from the private sector, which best knows any real economy, but then the state gets involved. With concrete moves and reforms, Croatia could attract investment and entrepreneurship development. A sample example is the Czech Republic, where industry makes up a third of the economy, with the car industry accounting for about six percent of gross added value. The Czech Republic is now at an impressive 90 percent of the EU's development average, and Croatia is currently at 63 percent.

It's unrealistic to expect that Croatia will repeat the successes of the Czech Republic or Slovakia and employ tens of thousands of people like it once did in shipyards, but the tectonic changes in that industry are a chance we must not miss on. It opens the door to creating high value-added jobs for the highly educated, for innovators and creatives, as well as opening the door for productivity growth. And finally, that we import intelligene.

''I think we'll continue to cooperate, work synergistically, and see which concrete moves the Croatian Government will make," the prime minister promised.

Make sure to follow our dedicated business and Made in Croatia pages for much more.

Sunday, 30 June 2019

Agrokor's Downfall: Independent Expert's Report on Todorić is Damning

The life and times of the now somewhat infamous Ivica Todorić and family aren't as public as they once were. The Agrokor affair has died down, and the company itself is now Fortenova. An era has ended and a new chapter has begun, but that doesn't mean that the secrecy surrounding the Todorić dynasty is any less interesting.

As Novac/Zeljko Petrusic writes on the 30th of June, 2019, just what was discovered in the independent findings in the Agrokor case? The evidence of Todorić's enormous misuse of funds is damning.

''I'm Ismet Kamal, a member of the Institute of Certified Accountants of England and Wales... The County State Attorney's Office in Zagreb, the plaintiff, ordered me to report as an independent expert in the report on the prosecution of Ivica Todoric and others in Case No. K-DO-161/17. This case concerns Agrokor d.d.'s activities and other affiliated companies and individuals over a longer period, which ended when an extraordinary administration [procedure] was launched in Agrokor on April the 7th, 2017.

In reviewing the material and preparing this report, I was helped by the team from KPMG, who I supervised and led, and who reported to me about the work, which I'd reviewed. Members of my team are native Croatian speakers and speak fluent English, and some even German. The views expressed in this report are mine,'' stated expert Ismet Kamal from the Polish affiliate of the renowned audit firm KPMG at the beginning of the report of his expert accounting and financial findings in the Agrokor case.

The finding, or report, as he calls it, was concluded on the 19th of June, 2019 and consists of 390 pages. In another document, consisting of 126 pages, there are also other additions which make up the integral part of his findings. Otherwise, Ismet Kamal once worked with both KPMG Croatia and KPMG Bosnia and Herzegovina.

In his findings, this expert largely confirms PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) auditor's findings in the audit findings for the financial year 2016, made at the order of Agrokor's extraordinary administration team. In this way KPMG' Poland's findings support all of the key charges of which Ivica Todorić and others have been accused, which involves a figure of more than one billion kuna.

To recall, at the end of 2017, the Zagreb prosecution initiated an investigation against Ivica Todorić, his sons Ante and Ivan, Hrvoje Balent, and their former associates at the very top of Agrokor's management.

They are charged with the criminal acts of abuse of trust in economic business and the counterfeiting of official documents, as well as violations of the obligation to conduct in keeping the books.

The focal point of the investigation concerns the lacunae of Agrokor's financial statements from 2006 to 2015 and the unfounded dividend payment to Ivica Todorić and his Dutch company Adria Group Holding BV. The expertise in this section is quite clear - Agrokor, in fact, had been operating at a loss throughout that entire period, so there was no place for dividend payments to owner Ivica Todorić. This is totals a massive 710 million kuna.

If Agrokor correctly applied international accounting standards in its financial statements, the annual financial statements would not be positive, but "cumulative accumulated losses on the day of the 31st of December, 2015, amounting to 3.4 billion kuna."

''Although Ivica Todorić was the ultimate owner of Agrokor, the irregularities I discovered in Agrokor's transactions with him, as well as in other circumstances, negatively affect the interests of other interest groups primarily made by creditors (and financial creditors and suppliers), as well as minority shareholders and other interest groups, such as employees. Some of my findings are that certain transactions have resulted in Ivica Todorić's benefit, to the detriment of the company, and in that regard I note that Agrokor as a joint stock company and its directors were subject to corporate legislation which, inter alia, requires directors to act in the best interest of the company.

The use of an inadequate accounting policy, which did not comply with International Financial Reporting Standards, resulted in misstatement in the financial statements. In this way, the liquidity and profitability of Agrokor were presented in a better light than they really were in and hence served as a shield to conceal the actual size of financial problems.'' stated the expert.

One of the most interesting parts of his expertise relates to Agrokor's subsidiary company in Switzerland, Agrokor AG, or, better to say, about the relationship between Ivica Todorić and his family with that particular company. The prosecution accuses Todorić of using Agrokor AG's funds for years for his private purposes, and having withdrawn at least 64 million kuna.

Agrokor AG was a company for centralised procurement for the entire Agrokor Group, in order to achieve better contractual terms when purchasing various commodities, as well as the possibility of using the more favourable credit lines offered by Swiss banks.

The flow of funds through that particular account was therefore large. Ivica Todorić, as well as members of his family, had been using this often, and partially using the means as if they were their personal cash, and in more way than one.

From 2009 to 2016, Ivica Todorić also received 9.2 million Swiss francs in cash from Agrokor AG AG, this is equal to about 55.6 million kuna.

As much as 8.8 million francs or 50 million kuna was spent on credit cards belonging to Ivica Todorić's family members, which was paid off by Agrokor AG, during the period from 2007 to 2016.

There were also 2.8 million francs, or about 19 million kuna of other private costs racked up by the Todorić family, an amount which was settled by Agrokor AG as a claim against the Croatian Agrokor.

Make sure to follow our dedicated politics and business pages for much more.

Saturday, 29 June 2019

Croatian Technology Companies Aren't as Young as They Appear

As Bernard Ivezic/Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 27th of June, 2019, given the fact that we're currently living in the fast-paced era of start-ups, the growth of technology companies in Croatia may seem surprising. However, these companies aren't as young as they might first appear, and the most famous Croatian "start-up" is actually a company which is completing its first decade of operations.

Mate Rimac's company Rimac Automobili was founded in 2009, and today it boasts more than 500 employees. That same year, the secretive Satoshi Nakamoto conceived what we now know today as Bitcoin, Trump's forerunner, Barack Obama, became the president of the United States of America, and astronomers discovered GJ 1214 b, the first exoplanet on which there is water, and thus the first place in the universe which isn't the earth, but has virtually identical conditions for the development of life as we know it.

Rimac's company, therefore, had time and opportunities to grow to the size it now is today, but there are many Croatian technology companies that are older, and some are bigger than Rimac Automobili, which is undoubtedly the most famous.

The biggest Croatian computer game maker, Nanobit, was founded back in 2008, the year when the financial crisis hit Croatia hard, and this year, it celebrates eleven years of successful and profitable business. Furthermore, the largest Croatian software company, which is also the company with the most end-users, over seven billion of them to be more precise - is Infobip. This Croatian company has become popular in the view of the wider public over the last two to three years, but that didn't all happen overnight as it sometimes might seem when reading about it.

Infobip was actually initially founded back in late 2006, the same year that Italy won the World Cup in Germany, and when Nintendo launched the Wii console onto the market. Infobip is celebrating its thirteenth year of business this year.

Silvio Kutić, the co-founder and director of Infobip, says that today, that Croatian company has 63 offices across the world and employs more than 1,700 workers, but that his vision is even more ambitious than before.

"We're focused on continuing to grow as a Centre for Excellence in Engineering, and in the next two years, we'll employ more than 2,000 engineers globally, and in particular, we're particularly focused on the project that we're calling the Vodnjan Tech City over the next couple of years," stated Kutić.

He says that Vodnjan is a town of about 3,700 inhabitants, and that they want to raise the population of the city by a futher ten percent in the next five years. They want to do this by bringing engineers from all over the world to work and live in the Croatian town of Vodnjan, create new values, ​​and create even more new innovative technology solutions. All this is taking place in Istria, which otherwise relies heavily on tourism, in the headquarters of the company, where it all began more than ten years ago.

"I'd like to emphasise the fact that Infobip operates in the world of high technology, where extremely fast changes are always taking place. Any IT company, even if it isn't in the center of innovation... if it doesn't create new values, it may fail tomorrow, regardless of any of its long-term plans. I want Infobip to be a long-term successful company and to remain independent. What we're building today, we're build for the distsnt future too, and to create for many more decades ahead,'' noted Kutić.

Thankfully, he's not alone in holding such ambitious views. The largest mobile application manufacturer in the Republic of Croatia, Infinum, was founded back in 2005. That same year, YouTube was launched, the first super jumbo jet Airbus A380 was launched, and the first ever case of a man having been successfully cured of the dreadful HIV was proven.

For the Croatian company Infinum, which builds most of its work globally, it means that next year it will celebrate a decade and a half of hard yet successful work. Tomislav Car, the co-founder and director of Infinum, said that in the first six years of existence, the company was made up only of its two founders. At that time, they had just completed their studies at FER.

"After that, we brought in new partners, we strengthened our team, we started to grow, and as such we've grown to 210 employees in the last eight years," said Car, adding that their overall goal is to make sure Infinum remains an independent company for many years. "We love doing what we do and it's going well for us, but most importantly, we think we're creating a good story and a positive impact on the society around us," said Car.

He says that Infinum will surely change, reorganise and become something different in the coming period, as it has had to until this point, but that's just part of the challenge of creating and developing such a company.

King ICT, one of the largest system integrators in Croatia, which celebrated twenty years of business last year, know just what such transformations typically look like. It's similar to the Croatian company with the highest award for innovation at the international level, Zagreb's Citus, which is also celebrating two decades of business this year. However, there are a number of Croatian technology companies that are even older.

The software company with the largest number of employees in Croatia, IN2 group, was established back in 1992. For a long time, the largest Croatian software exporter was Span, which was founded in 1993. Zagreb's Altpro, one 22 of the world's most significant companies which deal with rail transport technologies, is celebrating a quarter of a century of doing business this year, while the M SAN Group, the largest IT company in all of Croatia, will celebrate that same birthday next year.

That's not all, in Croatia, there are even older domestic technology giants. Combis, the largest system integrator in Croatia today, is part of the Croatian Telecom (Hrvatski Telekom)  group, and the next big celebration for that company is 30 years of doing business, as it was founded back in 1990. In that same year, the company Rasco, the only Croatian company that manufactures cars on a serial basis and had developed its own electric vehicle, was founded.

Back in the now distant 1990, the very first McDonald's in Russia was opened, the largest digital rights organisation, Electronic Frontier Foundation, was launched, and a match between Dinamo Zagreb and Crvena Zvezda took place at Zagreb's Maksimir Stadium. What happened at that match became infamous, and signaled just what was set to errupt in the following years in Croatia and the rest of the region. Ivan Franičević, the co-owner and director of Rasco says that he's proud that his company is now close to celebrating its 30th birthday. He emphasised the fact that from the outset, the founders of Rasco had a vision to create "a strong technological company that produces advanced, globally competitive products within our region".

"This creates opportunities for the development, growth and the advancement of a new generation employees, and such a vision doesn't come with an expiration date, because it's based on creating opportunities for highly educated professionals who come from this area and who want to continue to live here live," said Franičević.

"We don't want to remain alone in that, but we certainly want to be around for a long time," Franičević emphasised. The launching of Croatian start-ups continues to rise, and this trend will likely accelerate, but it is evident that today there are many Croatian technology companies that have successfully outpaced their start-up roots, and are now thinking of some new challenges.

Tomislav Car from Infinum says that today, the biggest challenges are because of the rapid growth, employment and the maintenance of high quality. "When we were smaller. we had more employment problems, now it's much easier for us, but we still have our main focus on maintaining quality as we grow," said Car.

Silvio Kutić from Infobip says that it's still somewhat unbelievable to him that he managed to create such a global story from here in Croatia, and that today his company's biggest challenge is at the global level.

"Infobip currently has one major competitor, a Silicon Valley company, worth 20 billion dollars, it's surrounded by talent from around the world and is today's strongest IT company. Although Infobip is number one in the world by the number of transactions and the number of people who using our platform, we're second in terms of revenue, for now,'' Kutić said, adding that Infobip's employees, their expertise, and their devotion to their work have made it possible for this Croatian company get to where it is today.

He says they have managed to create and nurture a special culture in a company "where everyone has a chance to make mistakes, try new things, learn from them, and progress."

"At Infobip, employees have the opportunity to work on global projects with the world's largest companies and thus work to shape today's communication," said Kutić.

He added that today, it's a challenge to attract talent, given the fact that this Croatian company is obviously not located in the center of the Silicon Valley in the USA. "Our CPAA (Communication Platform as a Service) industry is very large, it's extremely specific, the products are complex, it's changing rapidly and throughout the years it has been challenging to hire people with the expertise we need," Kutić said, noting the fact that they have designed programs such as the Infobip Academy in Vodnjan and the Learning & Development department, which now has about ten people in it.

Ivan Franičević from Rasco says that the biggest challenge for them is to make sure they don't accidentally ''eat themselves'' during their quick growth as a company.

"With accelerated growth, there's always a danger that the organisation and its mode of operation can't be followed, that the company, along with all of its growth, becomes ineffective in terms of its internal organisation and processes, thus destroying its competitive advantage, which is also the basis of its growth," said Franičević.

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

Saturday, 29 June 2019

Imperial Riviera d.d. Among Top 10 Biggest Tourist Companies in Croatia

A newly established tourist company in Croatia, which is a result of a merge, is only gaining and gaining in terms of its success.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 28th of June, 2019, with the entry into force of the ruling of the Commercial Court in Rijeka on June the 28th, 2019, the hotel companies Imperial and Makarska will now operate under a new name, Imperial Riviera d.d., thus completing the process of the merging of Hoteli Makarska and the Rab-based Imperium.

Both companies have successfully privatised Valamar and the AZ pension funds over the past few years. Imperial Riviera d.d. will be a joint venture company for investment and the development of tourist property within Croatia's region, and it is expected that Croatia's hugely successful Valamar will remain in charge of managing the company's tourism business. The common goal of this merge is to create value added for shareholders through the overall effective management of strategic tourism activities, as well as continuous investment in the development of the company's already impressive tourist portfolio.

Imperial Riviera currently boasts six hotels in its portfolio, as well as three tourist resorts, and two camps located in leading Croatian destinations on the island of Rab, as well as down in Dalmatia, more specifically in Makarska, which has 3,618 accommodation units and a capacity for as many as 9,000 guests at any one time, thus entering into the exclusive group of the ten largest tourist companies operating in Croatia.

Imperial Riviera d.d. will employ around 900 workers during the summer tourist season, of which 40 percent will be permanently employed, with the retention of all the acquired rights of employees in Makarska and in Rab, and the retention of all of the existing collective agreements. The business will continue to be organised with the destination in mind, thus keeping jobs in both Makarska and on Rab, and providing better conditions for further employee development in the long run.

"The intensive investment cycle launched in the previous period in Makarska and on Rab after privatisation, worth 250 million kuna, will continue in the unified enterprise on a larger scale and with much larger investment potential, which will enable increased capital investments in the future," stated Vlado Mesi, the CEO of Imperial Riviera d.d.

Make sure to follow our dedicated business page for more information on doing business in Croatia, investing in Croatia, working in Croatia, and much more.

Friday, 28 June 2019

Big Plans for Croatian Meat Industry and Dalmatian Prosciutto

Big plans are in the works for the Croatian meat industry, more precisely the Pivac company who are going forward with enormous investments near Vrgorac, all in the name of Dalmatia's beloved prosciutto (pršut).

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Sergej Novosel Vuckovic/Marta Duic writes on the 27th of June, 2019, more than seventy percent of the production of certified Dalmatian prosciutto with a protected designation of origin in the EU, comes from the Vrgorac region, and the largest prosciutto production complex in the whole of Southeastern Europe is located in the village of Zavojane.

The owner is the Croatian meat industry's well known Pivac, which is soon set to complete works at a brand new plant located in the nearby economic zone of Ravča.

"Here, traditional forms of production are used just as our grandparents did, only in larger quantities. In addition to prosciutto, we also do pancetta, salami and sirloin. At this location and at this altitude, we're facing towards the wind, and when it comes to Dalmatian prosciutto, the changes of the bura and jugo winds are important,'' explained Darko Markotić, the director of the Pivac meat processing industry during a visit to prosciutto complex in Zavojane. From the 4500 pieces produced back in 2004, this Croatian company has arrived to the production of as many as 150,000 pieces today, and about ten percent of their production is produced from that sole complex in Zavojane.

"The main export markets are Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Serbia, Bulgaria and Hungary," Markotić stated.

In the Ravča zone, in October, a new plant will be opened. In this zone near Vrgorac, there will be a total of nine companies involved in various activities, from the production of car parts and electrics, to laundry.

"The space covers 10,500 square metres and has 300,000 capacity units for prosciutto, where we'll implement all of the modern technology, but we will continue to produce it traditionally," said Markotić.

Investments for the meat industry aren't stopping, because by the end of 2020, they plan to complete a plant for cutting fresh meat and more, as well as new distribution centre covering southern Croatia, and an accompanying administrative building. When this new major investment cycle is over, the new Pivac complex in the aofrementioned economic zone near Vrgorac will cover more than 30,000 square metres, and the value of the total investment will reach a massive thirty million euros.

"It's a private investment, and there's no facility like the one we're getting anywhere else in the world,'' noted the director of this successful Croatian company.

Alongside the aforementioned 300,000 pieces of prosciutto, 2,500 tons of other cured meat products will be stacked and only half a million of them will be processed,'' explains Markotić.

Interestingly, the Croatian company Pivac produces more pancetta than prosciutto on an annual basis, about 2,000 tons of it a year, and in addition to large trade chains, their products are sold in 285 stores. Markotić also pointed out the fact that the key ingredients in Dalmatian prosciutto are salt and smoke, and in natural weather conditions, the prosciutto is dried out for 30-40 days.

The entire process lasts for a minimum of twelve months, and the goods are then usually placed on the market after twelve to twenty months. The prosciutto complex in the village of Zavojane has now expanded, it now employs 25 people with an impressive annual production of 150,000 pieces of prosciutto.

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

Thursday, 27 June 2019

1000 More Companies Opened in 2018 Than 2017 in Croatia

As Novac/Gradonacelnik.hr writes on the 26th of June, 2019, after recently analysing the positive trends of the Croatian company scene on the basis of the data of the Ministry of Economy and other competent bodies, and finding that the largest number of Croatia's company owners are based in island towns and the largest growth has been recorded by the City of Dubrovnik, let's look at the situation with entrepreneurs.

The number of newly established companies in Croatia, likely to the surprise of many, is continually growing, in 2018, as many as 14,267 of them were founded, which is almost one thousand more than were found back in 2017.

The situation and trends have been analysed by city, that is - this time - the commercial court settlements in which the companies were founded. The data received from the Croatian Ministry of Justice shows that the largest number of companies last year, after Zagreb, were registered in Split - 1,680, then Rijeka - 1,348 and Pazin - 1,155, followed by Osijek - 1,123, Varaždin - 9,73, Zadar 7,30 and Bjelovar - 3,81.

In Zadar and Bjelovar alone, the largest growth in the number of newly established companies in the past year was recorded, 14.4 percent and 12.7 percent. Third comes the number of newly established companies in Split - 10.8 percent, followed by Zagreb, Osijek, Varaždin, Pazin, and then by Rijeka.

The Mayor of Zadar, Branko Dukić, pointed out that the fact that is now the third year in a row in which all economic indicators in the area of ​​the City of Zadar have been continually and significantly increasing, and today, Zadar is said to be a city of dynamic and agile entrepreneurship.

''The number of newly established companies, as well as newly employed people, as well as revenues, especially those from overseas sales, have all been growing. All of this suggests that most of Zadar's businesses, with their products and services, and primarily long-term business planning, have managed to respond to the challenges of the economic crisis and today, their development is based on solid ground.

They also demonstrate the ability to adjust and showcase their readiness to compete on the European market, which is confirmed by the high growth in exports of goods and services. It's great that growth is recorded by different branches of the economy - not just tourism and trade, but also manufacturing, transportation, and storage and construction,'' Dukić stated.

He noted that this year, they completed an investment worth more than six million kuna, secured by European Union funds, to redesign the existing entrepreneurial incubator and equip it with brand new facilities and equipment.

''We've invested in a coworking space, computer labs and conference halls, 3D labs, photovoltaic plants, various pieces of IK equipment and software, as well as a lounge bar for users, a meeting space... A new specialised incubator for high value added services is being prepared, and services and support for start-ups and small and medium-sized entrepreneurs who are developing innovative products are being provided, as well as access to knowledge-based and innovation-based entrepreneurship. For that, we've secured somewhat over 22 million kuna through the ITU mechanism,'' said a proud Dukić.

The City of Zadar, with EU funds, in partnership with Croatia's Chamber of Commerce (HGK), also redid ''COIN Zadar'', in a move worth a massive 5.1 million kuna. This is the very first Zadar-based coworking scene, and it has significantly eased up the launch of its own work, particularly in the independent activities of various ICT related professions.

In cooperation with Zadar University and with thanks to the funds of the cross-border cooperation project, they invested about 320,000 kuna in the design and equipping of the Space Code Hub. It is intended for students, IT entrepreneurs, and other similar target groups.

Recently, the construction of a 24.4 million euro Creative Industries Centre primarily focused on the audiovisual industry and the IT industry has also begun. Dukić added that Zadar is systematically investing in its young people through various scholarships for pupils and students.

''Investing in science, knowledge and professional skills is the only guarantee of successful entrepreneurship, economic growth, and professional development,'' concluded Dukić.

The second largest recorded growth in the number of registered companies in Croatia is in the continental town of Bjelovar, which isn't really all that surprising given their tax free model and the number of privileges Dario Hrebak and his city administration introduced to boost the local economy.

In just two years, Deputy Mayor Igor Brajdić said, Bjelovar's pro-entrepreneur initiatives spurred 240 entrepreneurs and company owners who invested a massive eight million kuna into Bjelovar's business development, while the town subsidised investment with three million kuna.

''The positive trend of growth of newly established companies is a reflection of mutual dialogue and understanding between businessmen and the representatives of the local authorities, as well as the positive investment climate created in Bjelovar.

The synergy between the city administration and businessmen is also reflected in the fact that Bjelovar is one of the most quickest cities to issue building permits. We also encourage innovation, so we organised the Best Startup Award for the second consecutive year, and the winner of the competition deserves 100,000 kuna and its business starts or expands in Bjelovar,'' he added.

''The city administration operates proactively and is at the service of the economy and citizens of Bjelovar, which has resulted in an increase in the number of entrepreneurs and company owners, and ultimately the number of employees,'' emphasised Brajdić.

Make sure to follow our dedicated business page for much more on doing business in Croatia, working in Croatia, finding employment in Croatia and investing in Croatia.

Thursday, 27 June 2019

New Shopping ''Mecca'' to Employ 100 People in Poreč, Istria

Something brand new for the Istrian town of Poreč, which will not only boost the local economy with the increased spending of the local population as well as the spending from tourists, but will also bring employment opportunities to Poreč's locals which don't revolve entirely around tourism.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 26th of June, 2019, today, the opening of a brand new, large shopping centre is set to take place in Poreč, Istria - Galerija (Gallery) Poreč will readily take on as many as 100 new employees, in yet another piece of good news for Istria's economy.

The investor and owner of Galerija Poreč doesn't come from abroad, nor does his money, which might come as quite the surprise for many who naturally look at large investments in Croatia with raised eyebrows. The investor is in fact a Croatian company called AM PS Delta Nekretnine d.o.o., which operates within the wider Austrian MID Group.

There are already many projects within their portfolio, among which the most famous are the Garden Mall in Zagreb, TC Koprivnica, STC Osijek, STC Sisak, STC Valpovo, Pula City Mall and STC Umag, according to a report from Jutarnji list.

This, the latest shopping centre, extends over 8,300 square feet of retail space, and when it comes to names, the stores inside will include well known and large brands such as C&A, Deichmann, Galileo, Hervis, New Yorker, Müller, CCC, TO Sebastijan, Pepco, Ted and Bipa.

''Galerija Poreč enriches the commercial offer of a large tourist city such as Poreč, as well as the entire surrounding area. With about a hundred new employees, it's a great benefit for the whole of Istria,'' stated the owners are the owners of this centre, the initial construction of which first began back at the beginning of the year.

Make sure to follow our dedicated lifestyle and business pages for much more.

Thursday, 27 June 2019

Born in Zadar, Raised in Germany - Businessman Bringing Company to Croatia

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Darko Bicak writes on the 25th of June, 2019, although he's a German in his head, he's a Croat in his heart, as Ivan Barjašić says for and about himself, and he's grown particularly fond of the Croatian market, for which he has great plans as he brings his business over to Croatia.

Barjašić has been in the consultancy business for years now, and during his time working with two major German consultancy companies, he also met with the world of Croatian business, including Croatian companies like AD Plastik and Viro from Virovitica.

"It was precisely the decision of a German company in which I worked to withdraw from the Croatian market and cease cooperation with local clients was a turning point, which led to the establishment of Frontem Consulting last year, which has offices in Munich and Manchester, and soon I hope in Zagreb,'' explained Barjašić.

At one year old, this German businessman who was born in the Dalmatian city of Zadar moved with his family to Dusseldorf, Germany, and his private and business career has always been linked to two very similar and powerful European countries, who share the same work ethic and ideals - Germany and the United Kingdom.

In his youth, Barjašić dreamed about having a career as a professional athlete, and he even made several moves up the ladder in that world, but he soon realised that he wasn't made from the same material top football player are, and he devoted his time instead to studying economics and business in several universities across Germany and the UK, where he recently did his doctorate.

His consultancy team, Barjašić points out, is different from the big players already on the market owing to the fact that he's totally involved in the entire project he's working on, from defining goals to eventual implementation.

"Large consulting companies have a brand, and corporations lease them for prestige or to create an illusion that the corporation is working at the highest possible standards - you have an example of that and one huge company in Croatia which hired exactly that type of corporation to ''run its business'' and well... what happened, happened,'' stated Barjašić, likely referencing the Agrokor crisis, the mess of which still isn't fully cleaned up.

''It's often the case that big players don't have enough time. They usually do an analysis and study what they should do as a company and then they usually just stop there. People, especially in smaller companies, often lack the time or the professional knowledge to implement such studies. There's space for smaller and specialised companies like ours who have the knowledge, experience, and will to take over such projects and do them properly, all the way to the end. In our business, there's often a clause that in case of failure of the implemented project, fifty percent of contracted fees will be cut,'' added Barjašić.

He and his team have had the most experience in the automotive and food industry so far, but they do work on other projects as well. Their specialisation is the digitisation of business processes and the introduction of industry 4.0, something which Croatia so desperately needs across all sectors, from industry to state institutions.

"It's difficult to observe Croatia and Germany in a general manner. Of course, the whole system in Germany works better, but you do have very good and successful companies in Croatia and those that are not so good in Germany. Generally, when digitisation is in question, I can say that the way processes are done in Croatia are a generation below the way they're done in Europe, and here I see a great opportunity, both for the work of companies like ours, and for the development of Croatia's industry as a whole,'' stated this innovative Croatian-German consultant.

 

Make sure to follow our dedicated lifestyle and business pages for much more on doing business in Croatia, working in Croatia and investing in Croatia.

Tuesday, 25 June 2019

Andrej Plenković to Finally Visit Rimac Automobili in Sveta Nedjelja

As Novac/Filip Pavic writes on the 24th of June, 2019, Mate Rimac, the founder of the Croatian supercar company Rimac Automobili and Prime Minister Andrej Plenković met in the afternoon a couple of days ago in Banski Dvori. During their 45-minute-long talk, which was also attended by Economy Minister Darko Horvat, Rimac agreed with the prime minister for him to finally pay a visit to his facility in Sveta Nedjelja near Zagreb.

Since Prime Minister Plenković has not yet visited Rimac's supercar factory, he has three-hour tour awaiting him on Friday, and there will also be a presentation on how to attract investment and improve the economic climate for investment in the Croatian car industry. Along with Prime Minister Plenković, Minister of Labour Marko Pavić, Minister of Economy Darko Horvat and Finance Minister Zdravko Marić confirmed their planned arrival to Sveta Nedjelja, and the arrival of Education Minister Blaženka Divjak is also possible.

This delegation of the Croatian Government will meet and list, first of all, to the experiences of investing in Croatia from Rimac's prestigious shareholders, made up of representatives of international automotive companies including Porsche, Hyundai and Kia, who have invested 100 million euros in Rimac Automobili over the past few years. Listening to their stories will hopefully be a wake up call for the group of politicians.

In addition, Rimac will share the likely damning results of an intensive two-year study, which analyses why Croatia lags so miserably behind other nearby European countries when it comes to the car industry, and why so many rounds of investment in that field over the past few years have totally, and intentionally, bypassed the Republic of Croatia.

The recent meeting between the two is the result of a multi-month agreement between Plenković and Rimac, which Jutarnji list recently covered, stating that Rimac was finding it all but impossible get an actual date for a meeting with the prime minister. A fact much of the public were unhappy with the HDZ leader for, especially given the positive publicity and investment Rimac has brought to Croatia.

''They know about my ideas. I've already mentioned them on a couple of occasions. I want to present them to the very heads of the government, but we've not been able to sort a date out yet. I gave them some dates over the next two months when I'm available and I'm waiting for their response as to when Plenković can come and see the presentation,'' said Rimac back then.

Despite the fact that Plenković hasn't visited Rimac Autmobili yet made little difference to Rimac's personal and professional drive, the innovative Croatian entrepreneur didn't hang around waiting for his arrival.

Back in May, he published nineteen measures to develop the car industry in Croatia at the Croatia E-mobility Forum. He let the Croatian Government know that we could have up to 50,000 new jobs in that industry alone, as well as the equivalent of nearly half a billion dollars more in the budget, enough for "one and a half Pelješac bridges, 23 university homes, or 53 schools'' had Croatia set its sights on that type of investment at the correct time, just as other countries in the vicinity, such as the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary already have.

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

Page 18 of 76

Search