Thursday, 20 December 2018

Register of Real Business Owners to Prevent Money Laundering

ZAGREB, December 20, 2018 - The register of real business owners in Croatia will be available to the public, as envisaged by draft amendments to legislation on the prevention of money laundering and terrorism financing, proposed by the government on Thursday and sent into parliamentary fast-track procedure.

The amendments are supposed to align the national legislation on this matter to European Union rules.

Presenting the changes, Finance Minister Zdravko Marić said that the Croatian legislation was now introducing new definitions and persons subject to this law.

Thus, the legislation provides for definitions of virtual currencies, virtual property and providers of custodial financial services.

The second important matter is the register of real owners, according to Marić. For the purpose of ensuring transparency regarding real ownership and controlling structures in companies, data about physical persons that are the real owners of legal entities will be made available to the public.

All that will be regulated by a rule book that is supposed to be adopted by the end of 2019, Marić said.

The register is to contain data about real owners of companies, associations, foundations, and institutions not founded by Croatia.

The law on the prevention of money laundering and terrorism financing was passed in 2017.

The register will be managed by the Financial Agency (FINA).

The amended legislation also specifies exceptions, when data on real owners will not be available to public, such as when publication of such data can pose a threat to the security of the owner in question, which means that they may be victims of fraud, extortion, and other criminal offences.

The term “real owners” means the natural person or persons in the ultimate link of owners who, directly or indirectly, own or exercise control of the legal entity in question.

More news on doing business in Croatia can be found in the Business section.

Tuesday, 18 December 2018

Plenković Wants Croatia-Africa Economic Relations to Improve

ZAGREB, December 18, 2018 - Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said on Tuesday Croatia must use the EU-Africa summit as an opportunity to improve Croatia-Africa economic relations. In the last month of its EU presidency, Austria is hosting the high ranking EU-Africa forum which brought together European and African political leaders.

Plenković said in Vienna this was a good opportunity to put together efforts of African governments and the European Union in order to strengthen and stabilise African countries, prevent crises and weaknesses of institutions and in this way prevent migration flows.

Croatia must use this opportunity to promote economic relations with Africa, Plenković said. "They are not too big trade-wise" and they are mostly active in places where Croatia has it embassies – Morocco, Algeria, Egypt, the South African Republic, Plenković said, expressing hope the summit would open new windows of opportunity for economic cooperation.

Also in Vienna are representatives of Croatian companies Končar, Altpro, B.I.D. Grupa, Velox, as well as representatives of the Croatian Chamber of Commerce, the government said in a press release.

The event in Vienna was organised by Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz and Rwandan President Paul Kagame, who chairs the African Union this year.

Also in Vienna are European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, European Parliament President Antonio Tajani, European Council President Donald Tusk and many European and African officials.

More news on the relations between Croatia and Africa can be found in our Business section.

Monday, 17 December 2018

Croatian Companies Above Average in Using Cloud Computing Services

ZAGREB, December 17, 2018 - A quarter of companies in the European Union use cloud computing services, and Croatia is above the EU average, with 31 percent of its businesses with more than 10 employees using these services, according to a survey on the use of information and communication technologies in enterprises in 2018, carried out by Eurostat, the EU's statistical office.

In 2018, 26% of EU enterprises with at least 10 persons employed purchased cloud computing services. Cloud computing usage grew rapidly over the last few years, as in 2014 it stood at 19% and in 2016 at 21%, Eurostat said.

Large enterprises use cloud computing much more (56% of enterprises employing 250 persons or more) than small ones (23% of enterprises employing 10 to 49 persons). Over the last four years (between 2014 and 2018), the highest increase in cloud computing usage was observed in large enterprises (+21 percentage points), compared with +12pp in medium sized enterprises and +6pp in small enterprises, the survey showed.

The survey revealed significant differences across countries in regards to cloud computing usage. Over half of enterprises in Finland (65%), Sweden (57%) and Denmark (56%) used cloud computing. At the opposite end of the scale, cloud computing services were used by 10% or fewer enterprises in Bulgaria (8%) and Romania (10%).

Croatia was above the EU average, with 31 enterprises with more than 10 employees using cloud computing services. It was closest to Estonia, where 34% of companies used these services.

In 2018, enterprises used cloud computing mostly for e-mail (69% of enterprises that used cloud computing), closely followed by the storage of files in electronic form in a cloud (68%).

Enterprises less frequently purchased computing power to run the enterprise's own software (23%), or used CRM software applications over the cloud for managing information about customers (29%).

In the EU, 12% of enterprises with at least 10 persons employed reported analysing big data. Such analyses are predominantly done by large (33%) and medium sized (19%) enterprises, and carried out by internal staff (8%) or by external service providers (5%).

Among member states, the largest shares of enterprises analysing big data were observed in Malta (24%), the Netherlands (22%), Belgium and Ireland (both 20%). The smallest shares were noted in Cyprus (5%), Hungary and Austria (both 6%), Bulgaria and Italy (both 7%).

The survey showed that 10% of enterprises in Croatia analysed big data.

Enterprises that analysed big data used a variety of data sources. Almost half of all enterprises analysed geolocation data from the use of portable devices e.g. portable devices using mobile telephone networks, wireless connections or GPS (49%), followed by data generated from social media e.g. social networks (45%).

Less than one third of enterprises analysed own big data from smart devices or sensors (29%) or data from other sources (26%).

Only 4% of EU enterprises with at least 10 persons employed used 3D printing in 2018. In large enterprises, the share of 3D printer usage stood at 13% compared with 3% in small enterprises.

The largest shares of enterprises using 3D printing in 2018 were observed in Finland (7%), Denmark, Malta, the United Kingdom and Belgium (all 6%). The smallest shares were reported by enterprises in Cyprus and Latvia (both 1%), followed by Estonia, Bulgaria, Greece, Hungary, Romania and Poland (all 2%).

In Croatia, 3% of enterprises used 3D printing this year.

More than half of enterprises that used 3D printing used this technology for prototypes or models for internal use (57%). Less than one third used 3D printing for prototypes or models for sale (32%) or for goods to be used in the enterprise's production process (27%). Only 17% used 3D printing for goods other than prototypes or models to be sold, Eurostat said.

More news on Croatia’s economy can be found in our Business section.

Tuesday, 11 December 2018

Croatian Employers Expect to Employ More Workers in 2019

ZAGREB, December 11, 2018 - Employers in Croatia expect to employ more workers in 2019, according to the findings of a survey conducted by the Manpower group, a leading global staffing firm.

The latest ManpowerGroup Employment Outlook Survey was conducted among 620 employers who were asked what changes they expected in terms of their staffing levels in the next three months in comparison to Q4 2018.

The number of new jobs is expected to rise in seven out of eight industrial sectors analysed by the survey.

In the previous ManpowerGroup Employment Outlook Survey, forecasts improved for six industrial sectors.

The most optimistic jobs forecasts were given by employers in the construction sector, who expect a 1 percentage point increase in net employment in their companies. The only sector with the negative jobs projection for Q1 2019 is the tourism and hospitality industry.

Broken down by geographic regions, payrolls are expected to increase in all four regions of the country, the most optimistic projections given by employers in eastern Croatia where the Net Employment Outlook stands at +26%, an eight-percentage point rise in comparison to the last quarter of this year.

The Net Employment Outlook for Q1 2019 is +3% in southern Croatia, rising by 13 percentage points as against the 2019 Q4 Net Employment Outlook for that region.

Confidence levels among employers worldwide are rising, and a majority of employers globally expect a rise on their payrolls from January to the end of March next year.

The most optimistic plans for hiring more workers in 2019 were recorded in Japan, Taiwan, the USA, Slovenia, Greece and Hong Kong, and the least optimistic in Argentina, Switzerland, Italy, Panama and Spain.

More news about Croatian economy and the plans of employers to hire more workers in 2019 and beyond can be found in our Business section.

Monday, 10 December 2018

Croatian Companies Set to Increase Research and Development Investments

ZAGREB, December 10, 2018 - Croatian companies plan to increase their research and development investments and allocations in the coming years, according to a survey conducted by Deloitte, a leading international agency specialised in audit, tax, legal, financial advisory, risk advisory, and consulting services.

The survey about Central Europe corporations' plans for R&D in the coming period shows that over two thirds of companies in the said region (67%) intend to increase expenditure on R&D in next three to five years.

As many as 80% of the Croatian companies covered by the survey have expressed that intention.

A majority of the companies in Central Europe covered by the survey have already increased their R&D investments in comparison to 2016.

The survey was conducted among 300 respondents in nine countries: Croatia, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia.

The poll was carried out in Croatia among some 40 respondents, in cooperation with the Croatian Employers' Association and the Croatian Exporters association.

Asked about the biggest obstacle in the current system of state aid for research and development investments, 31% of those polled cite the identification of activities that can satisfy the requirements for being granted aid or tax relief.

As many as 76% believe that there are not enough available incentives for this purpose.

Also, 71% of those polled say they would prefer grants to tax breaks when it comes to their research and development investments.

Only 38% of Croatian companies are informed about non-repayable grants for R&D and are using them.

For more on doing business in Croatia, follow our Business section.

Monday, 10 December 2018

Gordana Kovačević Named Most Powerful Businesswoman in Croatia

ZAGREB, Dec 10, 2018 - Ericsson Nikola Tesla Management Board chair Gordana Kovačević was named the most powerful businesswoman in Croatia at the 8th international conference "Women in Business", held in Zagreb last Thursday.

The country's 300 most powerful business women were named at the conference, and the top ten include Energia Naturalis Management Board member Sabina Škrtić, Zagrebački Holding Management Board chair Ana Stojić Deban, European Association of Public Banks Board member Tamara Perko, and Lada Tedeschi Fiorio, deputy chair of the Atlantic Group Supervisory Board.

Euroherc Management Board chair Ivana Bratanić is placed sixth, followed by Philip Morris general director Anita Letica, Croatian Employers Association president Gordana Deranja, the director of Siemens for Croatia and Slovenia, Medeja Lončar, and Coca-Cola HBC Adria director Ruža Tomić Fontana.

Finnish Deputy Ambassador Virpi Turunen, whose country was a partner to the conference, said that Finland was one of the world's least corrupt countries and noted that there was a clear connection between prominent representation of women in managerial positions and a low level of corruption.

Work on gender equality contributes to dealing with the problem of corruption and its effects on the democratic system, Turunen said.

For more on the business issues in Croatia, follow our Business section.

Thursday, 6 December 2018

"Croatia Should Join Global Value Chains More Actively"

ZAGREB, December 6, 2018 - Croatia must join more actively in global value chains as soon as possible because it has high quality companies whose access to foreign markets should be facilitated, it was said on Thursday at the conference "The role of global value chains - an opportunity for export and investment?", organised by the Croatian Chamber of Commerce (HGK).

The head of the HGK department for attracting investments, Svjetlana Momčilović, presented the results of a survey on the expectations of 400 Croatian companies from the next six-month period.

"The overall result as regards business expectations for this year and the next six months is optimism, notably among exporters. Exporters also expect an increase in investments, in the number of employees and in revenues, while the percentage of businesses that expect a deterioration of the business environment is much lower," said Momčilović.

The survey shows that 40% of those polled expect higher revenues in the next six months, and almost a half of them will have new investments in that period. Also, 17% of companies that do not export their products will increase the number of workers, as will 31% of export-oriented companies. Both exporters and non-exporters fear labour shortages in the next six months, with 39% of exporters and 29% of non-exporters citing that as a problem.

Momčilović said that the main obstacles to doing business are frequent legislative changes, notably changes of tax-related laws, inefficient public administration, excessive taxes, etc.

"Integration with global value chains is inevitable. Croatia must hurry up in that process, we have high quality innovative companies that just need help in accessing new foreign markets," Momčilović said, noting that companies specialising in nutritionism, IT, bio-medicine, energy and food production should be given incentives.

For more on the Croatian economy and its role in the global business, click here.

Thursday, 6 December 2018

Business Optimism in Croatia Stagnates Ahead of 2019

ZAGREB, Dec 5 (Hina) - A total of 51% of 432 directors, senior executives or company owners, who were polled by the Promocija Plus agency about the economic prospects for 2019 and the business optimism in Croatia, think that the situation will be unchanged compared to this year, while one in three (34%) expect some improvements next year.

Presenting the findings of the survey called "Barometer of Optimism", conducted among members of the Croatian Employers' Association (HUP), the pollster's director Agan Begić said that the fact that only 34% of those polled expected a little better situation reflected the trend of decline in business optimism in Croatia, which could give rise to concern to some extent.

Considering the assessments of the state of affairs in 2018, every second respondent described the economic state of affairs this year as moderately good. Furthermore, five percent (5%) see the situation as excellent, and five percent (5%) describe the situation in the outgoing year as extremely bad. Also, 20% described the situation as very good and the same percentage saw the situation as bad.

Thus, the average grade on the scale from one to five is 3.01, which reflects the trend of mild rise from year to year, Begić said, adding that this trend is in correlation with economic growth.

Broken down by sectors, the lowest grade, 2.8%, was given by the construction sector, and the producing sector gave the highest grade, 3.09.

Broken down by regions, the current economic situation got the lowest grades in Dalmatia, 2.75% and Slavonia 2.89, while employers in central and northern Croatia as in the Rijeka area gave the highest grade, 3.

In the same vein, two in five employers (41%) assessed that the situation was moderately better in comparison to 2017, and one in three (33%) said it was about the same.

The findings of the poll show that 60% do not expect any major changes in conditions for doing business next year.

HUP Director-General Davor Majetić said the Croatian economy was functioning in an environment in which it was very close to its maximum. Croatia's growth potential is now 2.5% to 3%, he explained.

He said that employers usually cite high taxes, inefficient public administration, poor judiciary, non-fiscal tariffs and labour legislation as well as corruption and labour shortages as main barriers to doing business.

Majetić called on the government to launch reforms that would remove the above-mentioned obstacles as soon as possible.

For more on doing business in Croatia, click here.

Friday, 30 November 2018

German-Croatian Chamber of Industry and Trade Marks 15th Anniversary

ZAGREB, November 30, 2018 - The German-Croatian Chamber of Industry and Trade celebrated its 15th anniversary on Thursday evening.

The event also addressed the president of the Chamber, Ralf Blomberg, and German Ambassador to Croatia Robert Klinke and Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković.

Blomber said that the inauguration of the Chamber in 2003 had opened a new chapter in the two countries' economic cooperation.

The chamber has 416 members and it has made a significant contribution to the positive development of the German-Croatian economic relations, he stressed.

Klinke said the economic component was an important part of the two countries' overall relations, adding that Croatia and Germany had a long-standing economic cooperation.

Prime Minister Andrej Plenković underlined the importance of the Chamber for the establishment of quality economic cooperation between the two countries.

Plenković stressed that Germany was Croatia's number one foreign trade partners, adding that Croatian exporters were very interested in being present on the German market.

He also stressed that the issue of trust and partnership was exceptionally important.

For more on relations between Croatia and Germany, click here.

Monday, 26 November 2018

Croatian Jewellery Brand Opens a Shop in Miami

The Croatian jewellery brand Grubić Design from Zagreb has more than 30 years of tradition in creating unique jewellery, thanks to the efforts of Mladen Grubić and his son Petar. They have recently expanded their operations outside Croatia. In addition to selling jewellery through an official website, there have six stores, in Zagreb, Split, Šibenik, Cres, Pag and Novalja, and they recently opened a store in Miami, reports on November 26, 2018.

“This is not an experiment, because the shops are the main point of contact we have with customers and tourists who visit us from all over the world. Americans are our best customers, so it is not a risk for us to present our work in Miami,” Grubić said, adding that tourists from all over the world like to buy their jewellery. “After buying, they return to their homes, write us, send photos, and come back again. We believe in what we create,” he said.

They started in 1987 when Mladen created his first pieces of jewellery. He still keeps the first necklace he made more than 30 years ago. Twenty years later, he was joined by his son Petar and their family business has become a true brand in the Croatian fashion industry. Mladen said that every business could be analyzed in several different ways, and in the late 1980s their main focus was on enthusiasm and curiosity.

“The clay was the first material, and it was used to create a number of elements which later became jewellery. We gave away our first pieces of jewellery because we wanted to test the market. I am happy I have experienced many different stages in my business development. You sometimes need to fall and get up; you need perseverance and faith in what you are creating. Today, when we have seven shops, numerous partners and associates, I know it was worth it,” Grubić said.

For them, every day is a new challenge that carries a great deal of responsibility. Over the years, they have created many collections of designer jewellery and have a recognizable style. “Our collections include metals, metal alloys, chains, leather, glass, Venetian crystal and semiprecious stones,” Mladen explained. Much of their business is tourism related. When one tourist season ends, they immediately start preparing for the next one.

In addition to jewellery making, they also apply their various projects related to art crafts for EU grants, which they use to decorate their shops’ interior, improve production and for promotional and marketing activities. They will strive to maintain their special approach because they do not want the business expansion to endanger their creativity.

For more on the Croatian design, click here.

Translated from (reported by Lucija Špiljak).

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