Thursday, 26 March 2020

EIB Group's Investments in Croatia Rise 12.1% to 569 Million Euro

ZAGREB, March 26, 2020 - The EIB Group invested €569 million in Croatia in 2019, which is 12.2% more than in 2018, the Vice-President of the European Investment Bank, Dario Scannapieco, said in an interview with Hina published on Wednesday.

The European Investment Bank is the lending arm of the European Union. The EIB Group, owned by the member states, has two parts: the European Investment Bank and the European Investment Fund. The EIF fund specialises in finance for small businesses and mid-caps.

Last year's investments of €569 million in Croatia are equivalent to 1.05% of the country's GDP, and Scannapieco said that this reflected the bank's clear intention to remain one of the biggest investors in Croatia and one of the safest sources of accessible long-term loans for sustainable development of the Croatian economy.

Last year, the European Investment Bank supported Croatia's economic and social development with €466 million, a, increase of 5% compared to 2018, while the EIF fund invested €103.3 million, a rise of 60%compared to 2018.

The EIB has been working with Croatia since 1977.

Scannapieco emphasised that from 1977 to the end of 2019, the EIB's total investments came to €6.67 billion.

As for major projects supported by this institution in 2019, Scannapieco pointed out the funding of the second stage of the construction of a new building that will house the university clinical centre in the northern Adriatic city of Rijeka. The bank earmarked €50 million for that project.

He also noted €177 million for the digitisation of the school system in Croatia. The digitised system is facilitating remote learning introduced during the outbreak of the COVID-19 infection in the country.

Scannapieco pointed out the Croatian Ministry of Regional Development and EU Funds as well as the Croatian Bank for Reconstruction and Development (HBOR) as crucial partners with which the EIB had excellent cooperation.

For instance, the cooperation between EIB and HBOR enabled the investment of nearly €300 million in Croatian companies last year.

In 2018, the EIF, in cooperation with the Croatian government, set up the Croatian Venture Capital Investment (CVCI), which helped the EIF to invest €32.6 million in Croatia's innovative companies through the Fil Rouge Capital II.

When it comes to the COVID-19 pandemic, Scannapieco said that the response to this crisis had to be comprehensive and serious.

The EIB will make its resources, know-how and competence available to Europe, he said, recalling that the EIB has already offered a rescue package of €40 billion to cope with the fallout from the pandemic.

More business news can be found in the dedicated section.

Friday, 3 January 2020

Chinese Investor Fails to Make Payment for Former Communist Political School

ZAGREB, January 3, 2020 - After the Zhongya Nekretnine company failed to pay, within an extended deadline, the remaining amount of money for the purchase of the building in the Croatian town of Kumrovec, which used to house a Communist political school and is now the Hotel Zagorje, the company stated on Thursday that it hadn't given up this acquisition.

The company said in a press release that partners of the investor, Mrs. Jiang Yu, had not managed to allocate the money within the set deadline, for technical reasons. They are seeking models to transfer the required amount to Croatia as soon as possible, reads the press release.

The company is also ready for a new round of talks with the Croatian government, and says that the delays are due to the fact that the Chinese government is tightening control of the transfer of capital out of China. In this context it mentions a trade war between China and the USA.

The press release, signed by director Mario Rendulić, also says that a statement issued by the Croatian State Assets Ministry on Thursday afternoon underlines that a final decision on the future of the Hotel Zagorje rests with the Croatian government.

In its statement, the ministry notes that the investor failed to pay the remaining amount by 31 December.

In mid-June the government decided to sell the Hotel Zagorje, which used to be a Communist political school during the time of the former Yugoslavia, to Zhongya Nekretnine as the sole bidder, for 14.09 million kuna (1.9 million euro).

The new owner was expected to pay the purchase price within 30 days upon the conclusion of the sales contract. After the company failed to do so within the initial deadline, the government allowed the bidder to pay the required amount until 31 December 2019.

In the event that the bidder missed the new deadline, the advance payment of 598,000 kuna would be retained by the government.

The state-owned Hotel Zagorje, which is in a dilapidated condition, covers 27,000 square metres.

More business news can be found in the dedicated section.

Monday, 23 December 2019

Italy's Saipem Interested in Investing in Geothermal Energy in Croatia

ZAGREB, December 23, 2019 - The Italian company Saipem has expressed interest in investing in geothermal energy in Croatia, the Croatian Hydrocarbon Agency said on Monday, announcing that it would soon invite bids for three more locations.

At a recent meeting at the Croatian Hydrocarbon Agency, representatives of the Italian energy and engineering company Saipem, which until 2016 was a daughter company of the ENI energy giant, expressed interest in making investments in renewable energy in Croatia, notably in geothermal energy.

The Agency's representatives acquainted them with Croatia's new regulatory framework that recognises for the first time the great potential of geothermal energy.

Agency Management Board chair Marijan Krpan pointed to the example of the first geothermal power plant in Velika Ciglena, a pilot-project that has brought to Croatia the experience based on which new and similar projects can be planned in the future.

"We have been recognised as a country that has great geothermal potential and the steps that have been made to activate it have been yielding the first results in the past 12 months," Krpan said.

Saipem has been developing its first geothermal energy exploitation project in South America, and Croatia has been recognised as the next step, Saipem official Paolo Carrera said.

Global production of energy from renewable sources will grow around 2.3% annually in the period until 2040 and Saipem will play an important role in that process, he said.

He said that currently a global search was underway for renewable sources other than sun and wind, which could be used for competitive energy production, noting that geothermal plants were an excellent example as the technology in question meant clean energy production.

Considering your geological potential, I believe that it will have an important role in Croatia's energy transition, hopefully with Saipem as a partner, said Carrera.

The Agency continues to work on promoting and defining new models for geothermal energy management.

Its officials say that bids will be invited for three locations - Merhatovec (Međimurje County), Pčelić (Virovitica-Podravina County) and Ernestinovo (Osijek-Baranja County), where temperatures exceeding 140 degrees Celsius have been registered, which is suitable for energy production.

Domestic and foreign investors are expected to be particularly interested in the Pčelić project, with the location having a temperature of more than 207 degrees Celsius at a depth of more than 5,000 metres, the Agency says.

It recalls that since 2018, when the Agency was put in charge of geothermal potential, five tenders have been published for the allocation of areas for the exploration and exploitation of geothermal water for the purpose of energy production.

More energy news can be found in the Business section.

Friday, 13 September 2019

Croatia Invests over 1 Billion Euro in Bosnia and Herzegovina to Date

ZAGREB, September 13, 2019 - Croatia has invested slightly over €1 billion in Bosnia and Herzegovina to date, which makes it the second largest investor in the country, Bosnia and Herzegovina's Foreign Investment Promotion Agency (FIPA) said in a statement on Friday, citing central bank statistics.

FIPA presented the data to the newly-appointed Ambassador to Croatia, Aleksandar Vranješ, with a view to further promoting cooperation between the two countries.

The data covers the period between May 1994 and the end of 2018, during which time Croatia invested 2.293 billion convertible marks or about 1.172 million euros.

Croatian investments account for 16 percent of total foreign investments in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Forty-six percent of Croatian investments were made in financial and insurance activities, 19.6 percent in the processing industry and 15.4 percent in trade.

The largest Croatian investors are the HT telecommunications company, the Agrokor food and retail conglomerate (now Fortenova), the Atlantic food and retail group, the Belupo pharmaceutical company, the Kraš confectionery company and the Dukat dairy company.

FIPA said that in cooperation with the Bosnia and Herzegovina Embassy in Croatia, further efforts would be made in promoting the Bosnian economy.

More news about relations between Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina can be found in the Politics section.

Thursday, 5 September 2019

German-Based IoT Company Investing in Business, Jobs in Croatia

ZAGREB, September 5, 2019 - The Aconno company from Germany that specialises in IoT technology and products intends to invest more than €250,000 in Croatia over the next few months and open offices in Zagreb and Osijek that will employ about a dozen people, it was said at a presentation of the company in Zagreb on Wednesday.

The company is seated in Dusseldorf and these will be its first offices abroad. Its core business is IoT technology which is related to connecting apparatuses to cloud via the internet and is becoming more and more prevalent in life-style and business operations.

Aconno quickly developed from a start-up to doing business around the world. In the second year of its operations, in 2016, it generated a revenue of 400,000 euro, in 2018 that increased to 800,000 euro and this year the company expects a revenue of €1 million euro, Aconno's CEO Miroslav Šimudvarac said.

Šimudvarac is a Croat, originally from Vukovar. This contributed to the decision that the company's first expansion outside of Germany be in Croatia, he and Thomas Hollwedel, with whom he launched the company, said, as did the fact that they have come across some very talented and capable young IT experts, programmers and developers in Croatia and very quickly agreed on doing business together.

We intend to employ an additional 70 people in the future with attractive wages because we see talented people here with a lot of know-how and skills that we need, Hollwedel said.

He underlined Croatia's advantages of being close to European markets as well as having a developed ICT sector and kind people. He added, however, that in the process of launching the company in Croatia they were faced with numerous administrative and bureaucratic obstacles.

Šimudvarac said that since being launched the company has invested about 1.2 million euro in developing its business and that IoT (Internet of Things-Internet) isn't just about software but also products and hardware, sensors, chips and so on.

More news about investments in Croatia can be found in the Business section.

Tuesday, 13 August 2019

Croatia Second Biggest Investor in Bosnia and Herzegovina

ZAGREB, August 13, 2019 - Investors from Croatia were the second leading foreign investors in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2018 and they are ranked second also in overall foreign investments in the neighbouring country, show data published by the Central Bank of Bosnia and Herzegovina on Monday.

Investments in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2018 amounted to 400 million euro, or 2.3% of GDP.

The amount of foreign investments in 2018 was similar to that in 2017.

Most foreign investments, totalling 71 million euro, came from Russia, while investments from Croatia amounted to 54 million euro.

They were followed by investments from the Netherlands, Austria and Germany, which ranged between 40 and 46 million euros.

Most of the investments, in the amount of 74 million euro, were made in the banking sector, while investments in the production of coke and oil products amounted to 69 million euro, followed by investments in retail trade and production of base metals.

At the end of 2018, total foreign investments in Bosnia and Herzegovina amounted to 7.3 billion euro, with Austria having invested the most, in the amount of 1.3 billion euro, followed by Croatia, with investments amounting to 1.17 billion euro and Serbia, which has invested slightly more than one billion euros.

Investors from Bosnia and Herzegovina invest the most in Croatia, with investments to date totalling 117 million euro, and in Germany, with investments amounting to around 83 million euro.

More news about relations between Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina can be found in the Politics section.

Thursday, 6 June 2019

Three Seas Initiative Gets Investment Fund

ZAGREB, June 6, 2019 - The Three Seas Initiative has been given at a summit in Ljubljana a new dimension - an investment fund for building the transport, energy and digital infrastructure, member states' officials said on Wednesday.

The two-day summit of the initiative that was launched in 2015 by Croatia's President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović and her Polish counterpart Andrzej Duda is being held in Slovenia on Wednesday and Thursday. The forum comprises 12 European Union member states in Central and Eastern Europe between the Adriatic, Baltic and Black Seas.

Three summits have been held, in Dubrovnik in 2016, in Warsaw in 2017 and in Bucharest in 2018. This year's summit, supported for the second time by a business forum, attracted 600 business representatives from 43 countries around the globe.

A novelty at this year's summit is that a report on the progress in key projects will be presented at the end of the forum, President Grabar-Kitarović said, assessing that the initiative has developed "unbelievably" since 2015 when it came across a lot of scepticism.

"Another exceptional thing is the investment fund that was launched last year when a non-binding letter of intent was signed between banks in our countries. Today it becomes a real fund which currently includes Poland and Romania, but negotiations are being conducted with European investment and development banks as well as the World Bank, so it is expected that they will also participate, and then other countries too," she said after the panel discussion "The EU between the Baltic, Adriatic and Black Seas."

Slovenia's President Borut Pahor also participated in the panel discussion as did Estonia's President Kersti Kaljulaid, Bulgaria's President Rumen Radev, Hungary's Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto, Poland's President Duda, US Secretary of Energy Rick Perry, and Czech President Milos Zeman, who attended the summit for the first time.

Grabar-Kitarović said that transport infrastructure, digitisation and the LNG terminal on Krk are Croatia's main interests within the initiative, adding that the LNG terminal is not only important as far as energy is concerned but also strategically.

"It is important that the entire area of Central Europe is not be dependent on one energy source and to diversify and connect the entire area." Digitisation, she said, is the "solution to a lot of problems in Croatia, including emigration."

"Broadband internet and its introduction would enable better education as well as the possibility of living in Croatia while working elsewhere." That is particularly important for remote and small places such as islands, rural and mountain areas, she added.

Duda recalled that travelling from Tallin, Estonia to Constanta, Romania takes three days, yet it only takes one day to travel from Barcelona, Spain to Gothenburg, Sweden, which shows the great difference in connectivity between the west and east compared to the north and south.

Radev underlined that a good indicator that the initiative was heading in the right direction was the great interest that Brussels has shown, while Estonia's president warned that future projects should not only be competitive but clean as well because the planet needs to be saved. Estonia is known as a digital leader so she said that Tallinn is prepared to head the digital connectivity of the region.

President Zeman spoke about connecting the Elbe, Oder and Danube rivers as complementary to the initiative. He underscored that that was not important only because of water transport but for water supply too. Grabar-Kitarović later welcomed his proposal particularly in reference to the river port in the eastern Croatian town of Vukovar.

Szijjarto once again reiterated that Central Europe would be the driver of the EU's growth. We have shown that less duplicity, double standards and political correctness bring better results, he said.

Perry supported strengthening the energy union and said that today the USA, as the leading global producer of oil and natural gas, is introducing a balance in the energy world and that that can be beneficial to friends and allies.

We will never use energy as a means of political coercion, he said referring to Russia.

Participants at the summit said that next year Ukraine could join the initiative.

German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier joined the summit in the afternoon for the first time. Outgoing European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker is expected to support the initiative on Friday.

More news about the Three Seas Initiative can be found in the Politics section.

Tuesday, 14 May 2019

Hyundai and Kia Investing 600 Million Kuna in Rimac Automobili

Hyundai Motor Company and Kia Motors Corporation, part of Hyundai Motor Group, have invested 600 million (80 million euro) in Rimac Automobili. Hyundai Motor has invested 474 million kuna (64 million euros) and Kia Motors 126 million kuna (16 million euro). The first joint project will be cooperation on the development of two high-performance electric vehicles, reports on May 14, 2019.

This is excellent news for Rimac Automobili, but also Croatia, as the company from Sveta Nedjelja should help the South Korean automobile giant in the transition to the so-called clean mobility. Hyundai Motors wants to speed up its transition to clean mobility and position itself as a global leader in launching the industry change. One of the key measures to achieve this is the electrification that the Hyundai Motor Group hopes will help produce 44 electrified models planned by 2025.

Rimac has established themselves as a leader in high-performance electric vehicle technology and as an electric sports car manufacturer. The company delivers EV technology supporting many industry partners, including Hyundai Motor Group, to accelerate their way towards an electric future, Rimac Automobili announced in a press statement.

Hyundai Motor, Kia Motors and Rimac will work closely together to develop an electric version of Hyundai Motor’s N brand sports car and a high-performance fuel cell electric vehicle. “Rimac is an innovative company with extraordinary capabilities in high-performance electric vehicles,” said Euisun Chung, vice president of Hyundai Motor Group. “Their start-up roots and rich experience in cooperation with car manufacturers combined with technological strength make them an ideal partner for us. We look forward to working with them on our path to clean mobility. “

Founder and CEO of Rimac Automobili Mate Rimac said: “We are very impressed with the vision of the Hyundai Motor Group and with quick and decisive initiatives, and we believe that this technology partnership will create maximum value for both companies and customers. Rimac is still young and relatively small, but we are a fast-paced company. We believe that this cooperation will strengthen Rimac’s position as a supplier of technology for industrial partners. “

According to the company's website, Rimac Automobili was founded in 2009 by Mate Rimac. Today, Rimac develops and manufactures critical electrification systems for many global automotive companies, and at the same time, raises the bar for performance EVs with their electric hypercars. The company employs more than 500 people with plans for strong future growth. Rimac is planning new high-volume production lines for battery packs, powertrain systems and the C_Two hypercar production starting in 2020.

More Rimac Automobili news can be found in the Business section.

Translated from

Tuesday, 7 May 2019

5.5 Billion Kuna Innovative Projects Ready for Investment

ZAGREB, May 7, 2019 - The value of innovative ideas and projects ready for investment in Croatia is greater than 5.5 billion kuna, Minister of Economy, Entrepreneurship and Crafts Darko Horvat said on Monday at a meeting of the National Innovation Council (NIV).

The amount of 2.23 billion kuna will be secured from structural funds through tenders and part of the funds will be secured from the state budget, he said.

He added that intensive talks are underway with institutions in neighbouring countries as well as in Israel, America and China that have the financial capacity but do not have quality projects so that they can finance good innovative ideas and develop them in Croatia and in that way invest in Croatia and create jobs.

Horvat said it was important that the real entrepreneurial sector made up about 70% of theme innovation councils.

He added that the objective is that Croatia increases investments in research and development from the current 0.87% to 1.4% of GDP by 2020.

Science and Education Minister Blaženka Divjak underscored that it was necessary to take a step toward innovative industries. "Without taking a big step toward innovation, research, synergy of science and the economy, we don't have a chance," she said.

The science community and people who work with innovations are exceptionally motivated and there is a lot of interest by scientists in the diaspora to participate in developing a different and modern Croatia, president of the innovation council for health and quality of life Dragan Primorac said.

The NIV was established in July 2018 as an umbrella body for the national innovation system to coordinate the implementation of the smart specialisation strategy for the period 2016 to 2020, with the aim of efficiently using the potential for research, development and innovation to improve Croatia's competitiveness.

Until today the NIV was chaired by the Ministry of Economy. As of today, it is in the remit of the Ministry of Science and Education.

More news about investment in Croatia can be found in the Business section.

Friday, 19 April 2019

Investment Funds Assets up 57% in Five Years

ZAGREB, April 19, 2019 - In the past five years the number of UCITS investment funds opened in Croatia increased by 23% and their assets increased by 57%, the Croatian Chamber of Commerce (HGK) said during the "Top of the Funds" award presentation ceremony on Thursday.

The awards are granted by HGK's associations of companies managing investment funds.

UCITS stands for Undertakings for the Collective Investment in Transferable Securities.

Investment funds and companies are an important link in the economic chain and managing citizens' and business' funds contributes to the development of the capital market and the economy overall, HGK vice president in charge of trade and financing, Josip Zaher said.

He noted that the award is given to the best UCITS fund, and that there were 96 such funds with total assets at the end of February amounting to 19 billion kuna.

Over the past five years the number of UCITS funds increased by 23% and their assets increased by 57%, Zaher said noting that almost 224,000 citizens invested in these funds which is an increase of 21% in that period. On average they invest HRK 50,600.

By marking Investment Fund Day, we wish to bring the concept of long-term saving on the capital market through investment funds, closer to the public, said the head of HGK's associations of investment funds, Hrvoje Krstulović.

More investment news can be found in the Business section.

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