Friday, 15 April 2022

4,270 Croatian Businesses Have so Far Received €17m in Natural Gas Subsidies

ZAGREB, 15 April (2022) - So far, 4270 Croatian businesses have received a total of HRK 128 million (€17m) in subsidies to cushion the impact of increased natural gas prices on their operations, Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development Tomislav Ćorić said on Friday.

"In the first two weeks of the implementation of the government measure to mitigate the consequences of increased energy prices, 4,270 businesses applied for a natural gas subsidy allocated by the Ministry and HRK 128 million has been granted. We invite other SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises) to apply," Ćorić wrote on Twitter.

On 1 April, the Ministry, in cooperation with the HAMAG-BICRO agency for SMEs, launched an aid scheme for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises with an annual natural gas consumption of up to 10 GWh, providing a subsidy of HRK 0.15 per kWh. This is de minimis aid aimed at reducing natural gas bills. Under the scheme, every month businesses pay the amount stated on their bills, while the Ministry pays the subsidised amount directly to the natural gas provider. The monthly subsidised amount is automatically deducted from the businesses' vouchers.

The total projected amount of this measure is HRK 600 million (€80m).

Business: For more, check out our business section.

Monday, 31 January 2022

ZSE Indices Go Up Amid Weak Turnover

ZAGREB, 31 January 2022 - The main Zagreb Stock Exchange (ZSE) indices went up slightly amid weak turnover, with the Crobex increasing by 0.33% to 2,132.61 points and the Crobex10 by 0.40% to 1,301.52 points.

Regular turnover was HRK 3.9 million, about HRK 700,000 less than on Friday.

No stock crossed the million kuna mark in trading.

Končar generated the highest turnover, of HRK 552,100, closing at HRK 900 per share, up 1.69%.

Thirty-six stocks traded today, with 11 gaining in price and 11 losing, while 14 were stable.

(€1 = HRK 7.528487)

For more, check out our business section.

Thursday, 9 September 2021

Varaždin County Businesses See Higher Net Profit, More Employees in 2020 Than in 2019

ZAGREB, 9 Sept 2021 - The businesses registered in Varaždin County recorded the consolidated net profit of HRK 1.3 billion in 2020, up 22.3% from 2019, and had also 1.6% more employees last year than in 2019, according to an analysis of the Financial Agency (FINA).

Last year, the total revenues of the 4,276 businesses that had their main offices registered in that northern Croatian county stood at HRK 27.5 billion, down by 0.3% on the year, and their total expenditures were cut by one percent to HRK 26 billion.

In terms of revenues, the food company Vindija topped the ranking, HRK 3 billion.

WE-KR, a company specialized in manufacturing metal structures, saw the highest profit.

The net profit for the period of all the enterprises in the county came to HRK 1.5 billion, rising by 26.5% from 2019, the loss for the period jumped by 49.1% to HRK 290.2 million. As a result, the consolidated financial outcome of the profit was HRK 1.3 billion, or 23.3% more than in 2019.

Gross fixed capital formation increased by 5.5% in 2020.

The exports of the businesses registered in Varaždin County declined by 4.5% to HRK 9.2 billion, and imports shrank 11.5% to HRK 5.1 billion.

The biggest exporter, based in Varaždin County, was Boxmark Leather, whose exports totaled HRK 934.6 million, and it had the highest number of employees, 2,234.

Last year, the number of people on the payroll of all those 4,276 businesses increased by 701 or 1.6% to 43,889 on the year.

Last year's average monthly wage in county businesses was 12% lower than Croatia's average

The average monthly net wage paid to workers in Varaždin County-based businesses totaled HRK 5,257, or 2.3% more than in 2019. However, the comparison of the average net monthly wage paid by enterprises in the whole of Croatia, (HRK 5,971), and by this county's enterprises in 2020 shows that workers in this northern county received the monthly salary lower by 12% than the country's average.

(€1 = HRK 7.476883)

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated business section.

Tuesday, 7 September 2021

How Will Croatian Schengen and Eurozone Entry Help Exporters?

September the 7th, 2021 - The country's many exporters are set to have life made that bit easier for them with Croatian Schengen entry on the horizon, further aided by the country finally entering the Eurozone.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Darko Bicak writes, Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development Tomislav Coric recently said that for small and open economies, such as that boasted Croatia, exports are a prerequisite for development and survival.

"The country's GDP has been growing for years now, and of late, exports have been one of the main factors when it comes to economic growth and economic recovery. Exports recorded very good results even during pandemic-dominated 2020. This year, we've been recording a large recovery in terms of exports with 60 billion kuna, which is 11 billion kuna more than in pre-crisis 2019,'' said Coric.

He added that we must be careful in this analysis of the growth of the value of Croatian exports, because part of it is related to global inflation.

Minister Coric also pointed out that the achieved results are due to about 20,000 Croatian exporters who are the largest employers in the country, who also generate the largest share of total income and investments. He stated that both EU and national funds are a major source of funding for innovation and competitiveness of the domestic economy in the wake of the Green Plan.

"I'm aware of the challenges that Croatian exporters have been facing for years, and the Government is making great efforts to overcome bureaucratic obstacles for Croatian businessmen, and especially exporters, for greater growth and exports. By joining the Eurozone in two years, we'll take an additional step forward in eliminating exchange rate risks faced by Croatian entrepreneurs when doing business on our most important market - the single market.

In addition to the above, Croatian Schengen entry will be a benefit for all of the country's exporters because it will simplify and speed up mobility,'' concluded Minister Coric.

For more on Croatian Schengen and Eurozone entry, make sure to follow our politics section.

Friday, 21 May 2021

Split and Zagreb Citizens Support Government Initiative to Ban Working on Sundays

May 21, 2021 – Interesting research suggests most Zagreb and Split citizens support the initiative to ban working on Sundays.

We have already reported on the Croatian government's initiative to ban retail stores from working most Sundays. It is an unusual idea in a time when businesses are getting more and more flexible with working hours. The initiative has been endorsed by the Catholic Church since the beginning. It promotes the idea of people being allowed to enjoy Sundays with their families or attend mass service if they are religious. How this type of decision would affect the tourism destinations is another issue altogether.

Results of the Poll

The opinion poll was done in the run-up to the last week’s elections. As reported by N1, which organised the research poll, 65,3% of Zagreb voters and 74% of Split voters support the initiative to ban working on Sundays. MASMI agency conducted the poll on a sample of 1300 people. There were eight reasons to choose from for those in support of the ban. The right to have a day off during the week ranked as the most popular reason in both cities. In Split, 43,2% of people in support of the ban chose this option. In Zagreb, that percentage was 45,5.

Seeing how this poll was tied to the election poll, it is interesting to note the differences in political affiliations and choices made. Most right-leaning voters see Sunday as a day for the family. Left-leaning voters see it more as a day of relaxation and rest for the workers. Protection of worker rights is an important reason for SDP’s (Social Democratic Party) voters. 31,8% of them support the ban for this reason in Split. 18,5% of all those who voted positively to the poll question in Split and 15,8% in Zagreb feel this decision would help protect the rights of the workers. In other words, they don’t feel these rights are being protected or respected at the moment. This might be the most interesting and worrying statistic in the entire research.

It is also interesting to note how religious reasons didn’t rank high, scoring only 3,9% in Zagreb and 1,4% in Split. Religious voters believed the church service can be attended in times outside of the person’s working hours.

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


Saturday, 15 May 2021

EC Confirms Receipt of Croatia's Recovery and Resilience Plan

ZAGREB, 15 May 2021 - The European Commission on Saturday confirmed having received national recovery and resilience plans from Croatia and Lithuania.

The plans determine reforms and public investment projects which each member-country plans to implement with the help of the Recovery and Resilience Facility.

The EC has so far received national plans from 17 member-states.

It now has two months to determine if the plans contribute to efficiently dealing with all or a significant portion of subgroups of challenges identified in relevant recommendations for individual member-countries in the context of the European Semester.

The EC will also determine if at least 37% of the outlays in the plans are intended for climate goals and at least 20% for digital transition.

After a national plan is given a passing grade, the EC sends it to the Council for adoption, for which the Council has four weeks.

The Recovery and Resilience Facility is the key part of the EU's plan for recovery from the crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic, called the Next Generation EU. It has at its disposal €672.5 billion for support for investments and reforms in the member-states. Of that amount, €312.5 billion are grants and €360 billion are loans.

Croatia has at its disposal €6.2 billion in grants and 3.6 billion in loans.

Under Croatia's National Recovery and Resilience Plan, for the time being the country plans to use grants, while a decision as to whether loans, too, will be taken has been left for later.

Croatia's plan consists of five components and one initiative - green and digital economy; public administration and judiciary; education, science and research; labour market and social protection; and health. The initiative refers to building reconstruction.

The plan also contains measures for improving the business environment, education, research and development and the energy efficiency of buildings as well as for zero-emissions transport and development of renewable energy sources.

For more, follow our business section.

Friday, 7 May 2021

Prime Minister Announces Possible Ban on Working Sundays in Retail Sector Revisiting a Hot Button Topic

May 7, 2021 – PM Plenkovic has stated the ruling coalition is planning to propose changes to the Trade Law that would limit retail companies from working Sundays.

Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic announced yesterday the ruling coalition is working on changes to the Trade Law. Among other things, the law regulates allowed working hours. Plenkovic stated they are considering limiting work on Sundays for the retail sector. Apparently, the idea is to allow the retail sector to work a maximum of 16 Sundays a year. This is taking into account the tourism season months. Retail stores would close for the other Sundays of the year.

Working on Sundays is a long-time hot button issue for Croatian politics and business. The idea behind the regulation is simple. If you ban stores from being open, retail companies will give their workers time off to enjoy Sundays with their families. The Catholic Church is a big proponent of this regulation. In fact, reports the initiative for the change in the law might have been a part of the promise made to the Croatian Bishops' Conference (HBK) by the ruling coalition. Church has been vocal in asking for public support in this initiative for the past several years. The same article by reveals the justification for the law proposal stems from supposed research by the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development. After several inquiries into the matter, the ministry finally admitted they don't have any such research documented.

Does the Croatian Economy Need more Restrictions?

It seems like a far-fetched concept in today's world, banning companies from working. While some might argue retail sector sometimes overworks and underpays its employees, it seems like the solution to that problem should be better controlled over the worker's rights and fair business practices. Many Croatians are in favour of the proposed change in the law. This is a fact that no one should dismiss. Still, regulation disabling companies from working for a part of the year seems like a relic of times long past. The mere fact the PM has stated they would allow 16 working Sundays to accommodate for the tourism season is worrying. It screams of a concept of tourism Croatia is supposedly trying to get away from. 16 weeks of tourism per year sounds like a counterproductive move in a country struggling to shed the image of a seasonal destination.

We will know soon enough is this new concept of Trade Law will be proposed and accepted. For now, it remains as a controversial concept for an economy yet to feel the full effects of the lockdown-related drop in business figures.

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

Friday, 4 September 2020

Tesla Arrives in Croatia and Advertises Jobs

Friday, 4 September 2020 - After promising to open branches of his company here last September, Elon Musk is now looking to employ team members in Zagreb as Tesla arrives in Croatia

Elon Musk and his Tesla company are advertising the first two job opportunities to work at their forthcoming set-up in Zagreb. Tesla arrives in Croatia at a time of uncertainty for many businesses and investors, but the forward-thinking clean energy firm seem always to be thinking two steps ahead. The positions currently advertised are 'Tesla Advisor' and 'Sales & Delivery Manager.'

Screenshot (4).png
Screenshot from Tesla website

Musk revealed his plans to begin operations in the country in September 2019, when responding on Twitter to a question about Slovenia. The company co-founder and CEO replied that he was looking forward to establishing the company, which takes its name from Croatia-born inventor Nikola Tesla, in the 'countries' (sic) of his birth.
Screenshot (3).png

This is literally the second time in a month that TCN has been able to announce Tesla arrives in Croatia. Following a 30-year absence, a famous statue of Nikola Tesla – currently seen in both Belgrade and America – is finally being brought back to Gospic, his home town.

Tesla's best-selling Model 3. The company currently has the largest global share of the electric car market, roughly 17% © Vauxford

Tesla, Inc. is an American electric vehicle and clean energy company based in Palo Alto, California. They are most famous for their electric cars and have several models on the market. Croatian motorways were last year equipped with electric refilling stations across its entire network, in order to facilitate pan-Croatian travel in the increasingly popular vehicles.

The company also manufacture batteries, solar products, other green energy solutions and services associated to them. As Tesla arrives in Croatia, a country with a proven track record in green energy, such as hydroelectricity and wind farms, it's coming to a suitable home. Tesla is the world's best-selling manufacturer of plug-in and battery electric cars.

For the latest travel info, bookmark our main travel info article, which is updated daily

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Saturday, 16 November 2019

Croatian Carwiz Opens First Car Rental Office in Florida, USA

November 16, 2019 - Croatian rent-a-car company Carwiz has opened its first rental office in the United States.

HRTurizam writes that Croatian car rental company Carwiz has positioned itself as a leader in this segment in a short time - and in just a year, made a major leap forward, unthinkable to many at the time, and attacked and expanded into the global market through a franchise model.

Thus, Carwiz became a Croatian export product and part of the tourism sector. In less than a year, through its franchise model, Carwiz is already present in 15 international markets, and it is with this new franchise partnership that they continue its global expansion in the most demanding market yet - the United States.

Having a presence in the US market is a dream for all companies, especially from a small market like Croatia. The US market is extremely competitive and demanding, and few in Croatia have succeeded in doing so, not counting IT companies. However, this feat was accomplished by Carwiz.

Carwiz has thus opened its first car rental office in the United States.

By signing a contract with the company from the world's largest car rental market operating in Orlando International Airport, Southeastern Florida, Carwiz International has opened its first US car rental office.

"We started the negotiations in February this year and finalized them during the WTM fair in London. American versus other markets is the most challenging because of market rules that are very different from European, African, and Asian. We think the branch office at Orlando International Airport, which is also the largest rental car market in the world, is a good way to introduce ourselves to US customers,” explained Frane Herceg, Franchise Manager of Carwiz rent a car.

Thus, after the European, African, and Asian markets, Carwiz also enters the US market and continues its global expansion.

Carwiz dreams of becoming one of the strongest players in the rental car industry; however, expectations for expansion on the global map for this year are not yet met. According to Carwiz, at the recently concluded WTM fair in London, interest in the Cariwz franchise exists from as many as twenty new countries.

"They expressed interest comes from European, American, and exotic and distant countries to us thanks to the service we offer our partners - from daily contact regardless of the time difference and mentoring. The company is projected to grow by the end of the year in twenty countries. We have achieved a lot of partnerships thanks to our visual identity, which also proved to be very attractive at the fair and the success we have achieved in just two years of business, during which we have established ourselves as one of the strongest players in the rent-a-car industry,” Carwiz's director, Kresimir Dobrilovic, emphasizes, adding that quality management of the franchises and the support they provide to partners have proven to be the main precondition for the company's growth.

Interest from Qatar, India, Mauritius, the Dominican Republic, Florida, and Azerbaijan indicate that a global brand can enhance local business, give it importance and improve sales, adds Dobrilovic, and concludes that their global brand presence suggests that price is not the only and the most critical factor in the market.

This Croatian company is slowly and surely one of the strongest players in the international rental car industry.

To read more about business in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page

Wednesday, 15 May 2019

Mate Rimac Discusses Kia, Hyundai, Company Revenue and More

Celebrated Croatian entrepreneur Mate Rimac discusses Rimac Automobili's new partnership with Hyundai and Kia Motors, how he plans to give a certain percentage of the company to its employees, revenue, the future, and more.

As Jutarnji list/Gordana Grgas writes on the 14th of May, 2019, after it was announced that the Hyundai and Kia Motors had decided to invest a massive 600 million kuna in capital into Rimac Automobili, Mate Rimac announced in an interview for Jutarnji list that he would give seven percent of the company to his employees, from the cleaners to the directors.

We're bringing you the English translation of that interview here.

Why has Rimac Automobili entered into a partnership with Hyundai?

"We've been in contact with them for a couple of years and have been cooperating with them for a few years. They sent a strong delegation to us and, as soon as they saw the company, as soon as they saw what we were doing, they decided to invest immediately. In October last year they gave us an offer and we entered into negotiations. To have a partnership with such a company is very important for us. When looking at comparisons, they have a revenue of 250 billion euros, which is four times more than the Croatian GDP, and we're also working directly with the administration. Euisun Chung, who was there upon signing the contract, is the executive vice president, the grandson of Hyundai's founder, who's now taking over the firm from his father.

We're quick, small and innovative, we see and create the future and that's very interesting to them, this is hugely important for us because, on the one hand, we've got the Volkswagen Group and Porsche, and then we've got Hyundai and Kia on the other, and we've been so busy with work with these companies that we don't know where we're going!

The best thing is that they're not just buyers of our products but also shareholders, therefore it's in their interest that the company succeeds. They will help us build faster in areas where we may have some weaknesses, for example in industrialisation, in the transition from small-scale to large serial production.

Today, we're dealing with very complex systems for large car manufacturers, power systems, batteries, electronics, etc., we've achieved all that very quickly, but we need strategic partnerships. It's very difficult, especially moving from small to large series. We need money to help the company achieve its goals. We invest a lot, we're constantly expanding our plants, we employ more than 500 people, more than 300 engineers... We're not like the others, we're not wired money from the state but we get our money on the international market, and there's nowhere better to find money than with a company that really understands what you're doing, which is a partner and also a buyer,'' stated Mate Rimac.

What's the ownership structure of Rimac Automobili like now? You said you wouldn't remain the majority owner...

"Now I have .. (looks at his phone) Just a second, I have all of that in a document..."

Do you not know what your share is now? Does that not matter to you?

''Well, that's not important to me. People don't really understand that. I'm killing myself with this job and I'd be the happiest man in the world if there was someone who could run the company better than me, so I could just do what I like doing, the technical part of things. Now I'm the executive and technical director, and now I hold 47.7 percent, the Chinese camel group holds 14 percent, Hyundai has 11 percent, Porsche has 10 percent, Kia has 2.7 percent, and the remaining shares belong to the investors from 2012 and 2013.''

Are the employees among the co-owners?

"No, but we're working on that now, all of the employees will get a share, up until now, the ESOP was not worth it for them because of the tax. They'll probably get seven percent, from the cleaners to the directors, but not everyone will get the same share.''

How much is Rimac Automobili worth now?

"More than 500 million euros."

Why did not you not get to capital through an IPO, on the stock market?

''A lot of technology companies are now doing IPOs and they're actually losing money, they still have no stable and profitable business. Let's say Lyft, Uber or Snapchat... I don't want that. I want to make an IPO when the company's numbers are at that level. The company's potential is huge, and we have now used a piece of it and it's a shame to go out out onto the stock market with this company's situation. In 3-4-5 years, it will be at a completely different level. Besides, we have good access to capital outside of the stock market, we've got that luxury.''

How much was Rimac Automobili's income last year?

''I wouldn't go into income, there are no final reports yet. That's not our focus either, but a long-term trend. Here's an example - the car that we're developing for Hyundai now goes into serial production in 2023 only. Those are the cycles of our projects and to us, as well as to our shareholders, it's really neither here nor there what the financial outcome will be for this year or for next year, we're building a long-term story.''

Are you making a profit or are you still in the minus?

''We were still in the minus last year because we invested a lot. It's important to note that this minus comes from shareholder money, and everyone agrees that it's the company's plan.''

What will you specifically use this 600 million kuna for?

''For many things. This is part of our C investment round, and we'll still have investors in this round for another 70 million euros, but we don't know who that will be for now, but they will probably be financial investors. One of the things we will invest in is building our campus, our development and research centre and our factory, and another company expansion, employing a lot of people and equipping the company. For the transition to serial production, it's necessary to equip our production plants, test our products, develop them right up to the end, certify them... It's a big thing.''

Where will the new campus be? And what will be there?

''We're planning a campus for 2000 people because we want to have a longer-term solution. The headquarters of the company will also be there, as well as the development and research centre, production, testing, there'll be a hotel for guests and employees coming from elsewhere, kindergartens for employees' kids, restaurants, food production, hairdressers, sports facilities... I want it all to be integrated there.''

Where will this be located and when will you embark on construction?

''Near Zagreb. The location hasn't yet been agreed, we're look at a few of them, we're negotiating. Construction should start early next year.''

I guess the campus will be a little special in the aesthetic sense.

''Nine international and several Croatian architectural studies are currently working on suggestions for conceptual solutions for the campus. Among them was Lord Foster (British architect Norman Foster), we had a meeting the other day. He worked on Apple's campus and many other world-famous buildings. Everyone is so excited about this project and offering some great suggestions. They tell me that there's no such thing anywhere else, the combination I want - the campus being open to the public, the care for the employees and the connection with nature.''

The serial production of your C-Two has been announced for next year. Where are you going to do this?

''We got a hall in Veliko Trgovišće (Krapina-Zagorje County). The C-Two prototypes are still being done in Sveta Nedelja, and when we finish them, we'll move the manufacturing of the prototypes to Veliko Trgovišće. We already produce the batteries and the power systems there because we're out of space here. We're now there in five buildings and we were looking for something a bit closer to Sveta Nedelja, but there was just nothing there. Since there is no industry in Croatia, there's not much out there to rent. So now we're in Veliko Trgovišće, and we have centres in Split and in Osijek.''

Why did you open them there, so scattered apart?

''We grew so quickly over the last year. We now have fifteen engineers in Split, and about ten in Osijek, ane they're now our competence centres - in Split, we do our own automotive software development tool operation, and we deal with our high voltage chargers in Osijek.''

The prime minister has never been in your facility?

''No, never. To make it clearer, I don't ask for anything from the government. All I do is to urge the government to do the right thing to bring the car industry to Croatia. I have proved that it's possible.''

Make sure to follow our dedicated business and Made in Croatia pages for more information on Mate Rimac, Rimac Automobili, entrepreneurship, manufacturing, production and business in Croatia and much, much more.


Click here for the original interview/article by Gordana Grgas for Jutarnji list

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