Wednesday, 23 February 2022

Support for Large Croatian Companies Amid Energy Crisis Being Sought

February the 23rd, 2022 - The Croatian Chamber of Commerce (HGK) is seeking aid for large Croatian companies as well as for micro, small and medium enterprises as the energy crisis continues.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marija Brnic writes, the state of emergency for the Croatian Government will likely leave even less room for negotiations on the possible "inclusion" of large Croatian companies in the package of assistance measures which entrepreneurs are seeking through the Croatian Chamber of Commerce (HGK) even after its presentation last week.

There is a little more than a month left until the start of the implementation of the recently revealed government inflation measures worth almost five billion kuna in total, during which the criteria and methods of obtaining aid should be determined, intended - when it comes to entrepreneurs - primarily for micro, small and medium enterprises. Large Croatian companies appear to have been somewhat left out in the cold.

The Croatian Chamber of Commerce believes that the aforementioned package of inflation measures should be expanded and should include large Croatian companies that have a high share when it comes to their number of employees, as well as their exports and revenues. Otherwise, they say, those companies with a large number of employees and industrial plants with high energy consumption will hardly be able to overcome the impact of the price increases that have and will continue to hit them.

The measures as they stand today envisage subsidies for smaller companies in the amount of 15 lipa per kWh for those with a consumption of up to 10 GWh, and it is planned that 600 million kuna will be made available for vouchers from this measure by the end of March next year.

The Croatian Chamber of Commerce has called on its members to take measures to reduce energy costs for all end users and help companies and industries overcome problems caused by rising prices, and many of them have introduced measures for all consumer groups, thus including large and energy-intensive companies.

Examples of quality measures include Belgium, which has banned unilateral changes to contracts whereby energy distributors and suppliers can increase prices on their own in fixed-price contracts, and in nearby Italy, which abolished network charges in the first quarter of 2022. Italy also reached for a 20 percent tax cut on its large consumers for energy purchased and consumed in the first quarter.

"Following these measures, the members of the Croatian Chamber of Commerce proposed the abolition or reduction of tariff items where possible, or to at least keep them at the same level until the market stabilises," said the Croatian Chamber of Commerce, noting that it is crucial for industrial consumers to have stability in their contracts within the gas year, ie contracted fixed prices.

One of the solutions that can help this category is to reduce the amount of income tax liability by up to 50 percent of the value of investments in renewable sources, retroactively According to their proposal, the compensation for the reduction of the tax liability could be used for a period of four financial years.

For more, check out our business section.

Monday, 10 January 2022

Croatian Exports Jump, As Do Prices of Products Sold Abroad

January the 10th, 2022 - Some real pandemic growth can be seen when looking at the data for Croatian exports and their numbers for last year. Not only did Croatian exports jump, but the prices of various products sold abroad by Croatian enterprises also did.

As Novac/Jutarnji/Marina Klepo writes, last year, Croatian exports increased by more than a quarter: in the first eleven months of 2021, according to the CBS, they grew by 26.6 percent (25.4 percent in 2021's first ten months).

However, Croatian exports haven't increased significantly only compared to pandemic-dominated 2020, the Croatian Chamber of Commerce (HGK) pointed out, but their value in those first ten months of last year was 19.6 percent higher than back in the same period in pre-pandemic 2019. In addition, they added, Eurostat's data on the trade done by all EU member states shows that Croatia, both last year and a year earlier, was among the most successful EU countries.

"In the first ten months of last year, only Estonia and Greece had more dynamic export growth," they pointed out from the Croatian Chamber of Commerce. When we talk about the reasons for such good export results, we can mostly refer to the low base in the last, pandemic-dominated year.

Export structures

According to the Croatian National Bank (CNB), the high growth rates of merchandise exports and imports are only a small part of the positive effect of the base period. To a much greater extent, "they reflect the recovery of bith domestic and foreign demand, the partial re-establishment of supply chains, a stronger recovery of the manufacturing industry in relation to the service sector and a marked increase in global prices of energy and other raw materials," reads the latest publication. More detailed data on the structure of Croatian exports also reveal the reasons for their strong growth. When compared to the previous year, HGK analysts explained, the largest increases can be seen in the value of exports of energy - electricity, crude oil and petroleum products - which last year saw a significant increase in terms of prices on the vast global market.

Among the products whose export value increased the most were electrical equipment, followed by metals and finished metal products, whose prices on the global market also rose sharply. Available import price data for the Eurozone shows that crude oil imports rose by about 60 percent year-on-year in the first ten months of 2021, total refining industries rose by about six percent, petroleum products increased by about 40 percent, metals by about 30 percent and electricity by more than an impressive 150 percent.

"Therefore, even in the absence of more detailed data, it's more than noticeable that global prices last year had a significant impact on the growth of the value of Croatian exports," explained the Croatian Chamber of Commerce. Although strong growth is largely based on price increases, the Croatian Chamber of Commerce pointed out that there are a number of activities in which such price increases haven't been recorded, but which also record high export growth rates. These are, for example, the food, chemical and wood processing industries. In addition to that, a number of activities recorded significantly better export results than they did back in 2019, for example, agriculture, forestry and fisheries.

"This is at the same time a consequence of a strong recovery in global demand, but also a greater orientation of companies towards exports," the Croatian Chamber of Commerce said. The only activity that still recorded a significantly lower value of exports than in the same period in 2019 remained the production of motor vehicles and trailers.

Key markets

When it comes to the preferences of Croatian exporters, the figures suggest that last year they maintained their orientation towards the European Union's single market (EU) and what are traditionally the most important export markets. The share of Croatian exports to the EU market increased in the first ten months of 2021 from 68 percent in 2019 to 68.8 percent last year. The highest growth was achieved in the five most represented markets: Slovenia, Hungary, Italy, Bosnia and Herzegovina (non EU/EEA) and Germany.

For more, check out our dedicated business section.

Tuesday, 7 December 2021

Croatian IT Industry Growing Also in Pandemic, Seeking Strategic Status

ZAGREB, 7 Dec, 2021 - Croatia's IT industry has shown resilience also in the current pandemic, and in 2020 it saw revenues in the amount of HRK 28 billion and grew, though less than in 2019, going up by 3.3%. It is also looking for the status of a strategic branch considering its importance for all sectors, an analysis shows.

The analysis of the IT sector, made by the Croatian Chamber of Commerce (HGK), was presented on Tuesday.

"The IT industry in Croatia employs 35,000 people or 6% more than in 2019, with the average wage having risen to around HRK 9,000, which is 60% above the average net wage in the business sector. In 2020 IT covered 5,700 companies, up 4% from 2019, which were important for digital transformation and social development. The industry could achieve more if the state improved the institutional framework and declared it a strategic branch," HGK Vice-President for Industries and Sustainable Development Tomislav Radoš said.

In that regard, expectations from a review of the Smart Specialisation Strategy are great in the sense that it could help enhance the status of the IT industry and make it even more active in digitalisation. Three more months are left to complete the review after which we can use it in negotiations with the European Commission about money from EU funds and other matters, Radoš said.

He noted that slightly more than HRK 9 billion or 32.5% of the 2020 revenue in the IT industry were exports, an increase of one billion kuna or 13% from 2019.

The State Secretary at the Economy and Sustainable Development Ministry, Mile Horvat, said that in 2022, in addition to the review of the Smart Specialisation Strategy, also expected was the adoption of a national plan for digital transformation and artificial intelligence. IT is also an important part of the National Development Strategy for the period until 2030, he added.

Share of IT in GDP 2.5%; new jobs constantly created

The HGK analysis shows that the share of the IT industry in GDP in 2020 grew to 2.5% despite the pandemic, as well as that it keeps creating new jobs, having opened 11,000 jobs in the past five years (including 2020), with 2020 alone seeing an increase in the number of new jobs of around 2,000 compared to 2019.

Most or 55% of employees in the IT industry work in IT companies that provide services, while 28.4% work in prepackaged software manufacturers and more than 6% each work with equipment and software retailers and with outsourcing providers.

Zagreb has a dominant role in the IT industry, accounting for almost 78% or HRK 21.7 billion of the revenue in the IT sector in 2020. It is followed by Istria County, with a share of 5% in the total revenue, and Zagreb County, with a share of 3%.

For more on business, follow TCN's dedicated page.

For more about Croatia, CLICK HERE.

Saturday, 4 December 2021

Hoteliers Expect Advent Festivities To Contribute to Better Business Results

ZAGREB, 4 Dec, 2021 - Hotels in Zagreb as well as hotels open in December elsewhere in Croatia expect the Advent season and the Christmas and New Year festivities to contribute to hotel occupancy figures, however, the pandemic is likely to cut guest turnovers by 40% compared to 2019.

These figures were presented by the chairwoman of the hoteliers' cluster within the Croatian Chamber of Commerce (HGK), Josipa Jutt Ferlan, in her interview which Hina published on Saturday.

Jutt Ferlan says that the epidemiological developments make it difficult to forecast the results of this year's Advent season.

She projects that in December 2022 hotels could reach the volume of their business in December 2019.

Jutt Ferlan, who is also Cluster General Manager at Hilton hotels in Zagreb, tells Hina that inquiries about the Advent in Zagreb events and bookings of accommodations hint at good results notably during weekends this December.

Commenting on COVID certificates, she underscores that many business activities and many event organisers rely on the COVID certificate and on vaccination as a way out of the pandemic and return to the normal life.

In many European countries the COVID certificate mandate has already been introduced also for hotels, restaurants and cafes, she says adding that there are more and more foreign visitors who  ask why hotels or spa facilities in Croatia have not yet imposed the mandatory certificates.

If all other countries, our competition, introduce this requirement, then our "safe stay" designation will become meaningless, if we do not impose certificates, too, she explains.

Jutt Furlan added that the government's job-retention grants had made it possible for hotels to keep doing business and keep their workers during the lockdown.

She says that that during the last summer season, Zagreb hotels fared well, explaining that a good summer season along the coast also means a good summer season for Zagreb.

For more on lifestyle, follow TCN's dedicated page.

For more about Croatia, CLICK HERE.

Thursday, 11 November 2021

2020 Golden Kuna Awards go to HS Produkt, Gamepires, GT Trade, PBZ...

November the 11th, 2021 - The Croatian Chamber of Commerce (HGK) has awarded its 2020 Golden Kuna awards (Zlatna kuna) to numerous Croatian companies which have experienced success and aided the domestic economy during the unprecedented and extremely challenging coronavirus-dominated year of 2020.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Suzana Varosanec writes, the Croatian Chamber of Commerce's 2020 Golden Kuna awards were awarded recently for the 25th time, at a ceremony which could only be attended by those possessing covid certificates at Zagreb's Westin hotel. The winners are in eight categories - for small, medium and large companies, the most successful bank and insurance company, for innovation, for responsible and sustainable business and for what's known as ''life's work''.

Dok-Ing is rather unsurprisingly the winner of the 2020 Golden Kuna for innovation, PBZ (Privredna banka Zagreb) has been proclaimed the best Croatian bank of last year, and Croatia osiguranje (insurance) has been declared the best insurance company of 2020.

When it comes to being awarded for responsible and sustainable business, Jadran - Galenic Laboratory took home the 2020 Golden Kuna award. Zagreb's Gamepires won the same in the small business category, G.T. Trade from Split won in terms of the best medium-sized company, while HS Produkt from Karlovac won as the best large company. Special awards and recognitions were also presented along with the 2020 Golden Kuna awards.

The Croatian Employment Service (CES) has won an award for its efficiency in implementing government economic measures to preserve jobs due to the pandemic which were readily introduced last year. Dragutin Kamenski, the owner of the construction company Kamgrad, received the 2020 Golden Kuna for his life's work. The Croatian Chamber of Commerrce also presents the Golden Kuna awards for business success and contribution to the domestic economy.

The list of nominations is based on the calculation of established indicators, and the business image of domestic companies, the impact on the development of the activity to which they belong and the contribution to the development of the Croatian economy as a whole are adequately evaluated.

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

Saturday, 9 October 2021

Croatian Companies Seeking New Export Opportunities at Anuga Food Fair

ZAGREB, 9 Oct, 2021 - Eight Croatian companies are showcasing their products at the Anuga food fair which is taking place in the German city of Cologne from 9 to 13 October, the Croatian Chamber of Commerce (HGK) announced on Saturday, describing the fair as the central gathering point for food companies from throughout the world.

Croatia is represented by food and drink producers Kraš, Dupin, Pekar, Hermes International, Uje, Arabesca, Varžak Med and Prodan Tartufi.

Dragan Kovačević, the HGK vice-president for agriculture and tourism, said that this was the first fair of global significance to be taking place in person since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.

"We are glad about our members' interest in fairs despite the uncertainty surrounding the pandemic, as well as the fact that the exhibition space is sold out. The HGK covers half of the costs for its members and we believe that our help will make it easier for them to find opportunities to enter new export markets," Kovačević said.

This year's show has attracted nearly 5,000 exhibitors from more than 100 countries. The previous fair, held in 2019, drew 165,000 professional visitors from 200 countries, which confirms its leading position in Europe, the HGK said.

For more on business, follow TCN's dedicated page.

For more about Croatia, CLICK HERE.

 

Saturday, 25 September 2021

Philanthropy Week to Start on 1 October

ZAGREB, 25 Sept, 2021 - On the European Day of Philanthropy and Foundations, 1 October, Croatia will launch Philanthropy Week, an event dedicated to motivating citizens to get involved and contribute to the development of philanthropy.

"A sense of community has been demonstrated across Croatia. Join in and give yourselves an opportunity to become better people," the organisers of the event, ZaDobro.BIT! platform, said, announcing a number of events to be taking place until 10 October.

Philanthropy Week has been joined by cities across Croatia.

In Zagreb, a lecture will be held by the Zajednički Put and Solidarna foundations on horizontal cooperation and civic solidarity as levers of the City of Zagreb's social policy, aimed at strengthening dialogue with the city authorities in preventing poverty and protecting human rights and social security.

In the northern Adriatic city of Pula, a number of events will be organised, including a campaign promoting corporate philanthropy and connecting the business and civil sectors.

The Croatian Chamber of Commerce will hold a lecture on corporate philanthropy.

In the eastern city of Osijek, an exhibition on famous Osijek philanthropists will be staged and a guided tour of buildings whose construction was financed by philanthropists will be organised.

In Kutina, young people will join in creating philanthropist campaigns.

The Ana Rukavina Foundation will organise in Omiš a drive to collect blood samples for HLA typing in an effort to expand the national register of blood stem cell donors. Registration will be possible in Omiš on 2 October.

Numerous events will also be held online. A promotional film about philanthropy, a virtual exhibition and information on the pilot-project "DoGood People" for primary and secondary school students are available at https://www.zadobrobit.hr.

One of the events is the "Gradimo i radimo" (We build and work) online campaign for the earthquake-struck region of Banija, aimed at collecting financial and other donations to make life for the people of that region as normal as possible during the autumn and winter.

For more on lifestyle, follow TCN's dedicated page.

For more about Croatia, CLICK HERE.

Friday, 17 September 2021

Klima-Forum Conference: All Things Cooling and Air-Conditioning to be Discussed in Umag

September 17, 2021 - Set to be held in Umag on October 7-8, the Klima-Forum Conference is the event to go to for discussions on the contemporary issues of cooling systems and air conditioning in Croatia. Registrations for participation are now underway.

''Nineteen days and eighteen hours'' is displayed on the countdown on the Energetika-marketing.hr website at the time of writing this article. For the professional air-conditioning community, the countdown is more than exciting, as it points how much time remains until the 8th edition of the Klima-Forum, the event about all things related to Cooling, Ventilation, and Air-conditioning.

''The westernmost part of Istria, the first days of autumn, beautiful nature, a pleasant climate... could there ever be a better environment for a discussion and an exchange of experiences, opinions and ideas, for the presentation of new products, solutions and implemented projects in refrigeration, ventilation and air-conditioning technology?'' wonders Energetika-marketing.hr while inviting interested parties to the forum that will take place in Umag on October 7-8 at the Sol Garden Istra hotel.

Even though the application section on the website is made for registration and accommodation, the website nevertheless warns that interested people should send an inquiry to register for both participation and accommodation via email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

At the moment, admissions are being taken both for those who just want to come and learn more as well as for authors who also want to present their work in the field of cooling systems. 

''The authors of presentations that will be presented at the conference are exempt from paying the registration fee on the day they present their presentation. If a presentation has more than one author, the one who will present at the conference is the one exempt from paying the registration fee,'' says the website. 

The program that includes round-tables, discussions, and lectures has been divided into six thematic sections. 

On Thursday, October 7, the themes will be Globally and Locally (on laws and practices in Croatia, Europe, and the rest of the world), Ventilation and Air-conditioning (on the pandemic, health protection, cleaning solutions, and more), and Regulation and Control (on smart grids, buildings, and similar topics).

The next day, October 8, the forum will deal with the themes of Projects and Solutions (designing, testing and implementing cooling systems, etc.), Renovation and Modernisation (nearly zero-energy buildings, energy renovation), and finally, Efficiency and Development (the energy consumption of cooling and ventilation systems and more).

With concerns about energy efficiency continuing to take a front seat for the climate change topic, this conference is another environmentally friendly step forward for Croatia. As TCN previously wrote, positive examples include the Hrvoje Požar Energy Institute (EIHP), being the first nearly-zero energy building in Croatia, and the REPLACE Project, to name just a couple of examples.

Several scientific-technical are also keenly backing this upcoming event. These five patrons are the University of Rijeka, the Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering and Naval Architecture (University of Split), the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering and Naval Architecture (University of Zagreb), the Croatian Chamber of Engineers, and the Croatian Association for Cooling, Air-Conditioning and Heat Systems.

In addition, the lead patron is the Croatian Chamber of Commerce (HGK)

Learn more about Croatian inventions and discoveries from Tesla to Rimac on our dedicated TC page.

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

Tuesday, 13 July 2021

Burilović Says HGK Needs Further Reforms, Possibly up to 150 Layoffs

ZAGREB, 13 July, 2021 -.The president of the Croatian Chamber of Commerce (HGK), Luka Burilović, said on Tuesday  that further reform moves were necessary for that institution, and added that up to 150 people might be laid off.

Addressing the HGK general assembly in Zagreb, Burilović said that after 30 years, this institution would be overhauled due to the new legislation on the HGK.

Also on Tuesday, Economy Minister Tomislav Ćorić outlined to lawmakers a new bill on the chamber, explaining that the purpose of the new legislation was to encourage positive changes and not to undermine the reputation of the HGK.

Last week, the government sent to the parliament a draft bill on the HGK whereby the mandatory membership fee will be waived for more than 95% of entrepreneurs in Croatia.

The bill envisages three categories of members.

The first group includes members who can apply for the fee waiver if they meet at least two of the following three criteria: their total assets do not exceed HRK 7.5 million, their annual revenues do not exceed 15 million kuna, and/or the number of people on their payroll is below 50.

The second category comprises those who surpass at least two of the above mentioned criteria, however, they do not surpass the following three criteria: assets of 30 million kuna, their annual revenues do not go beyond HRK 60 million and the number of their employees is up to 250.

The third category includes those who surpass two of the requirements set forth for the second category.

Category 1 members, an estimated 126,000 businesses whose monthly fee has been 42 kuna so far, will be exempt from the mandatory membership, however, they will pay additional services and products of the Chamber, as specified in the HGK price list.

They will be offered the possibility to pay voluntary membership aimed at stimulating the modernisation of the workings of the chamber.

Members from Category 2 and 3 are supposed to pay the mandatory membership fee and the fee will be defined for each category on an annual basis.

Addressing the HGK assembly, Burilović said that when he came at the helm of this institution in 2015, the first wave of reforms started and at the time the HGK personnel was downsized from 670 to 380. He expects the further layoffs  and also recalled that fees had been slashed four times in the said period.

After the implementation of the new law, the chamber is likely to have 230 people on its payroll.

The HGK assembly today decided to exempt businesses from the quake-hit areas from the fee payment in the rest of this year.

Also businesses from the hailstorm-affected parts of Požega-Slavonia County are exempt from the payment of membership fees this year.

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

Thursday, 8 July 2021

Over 95% of Entrepreneurs to Receive HGK Fee Waiver Under New Law

ZAGREB, 8 July 2021 - The government on Thursday sent to the parliament a draft bill on the Croatian Chamber of Commerce (HGK) whereby the mandatory membership fee will be waived for more than 95% of entrepreneurs in Croatia, Economy Minister Tomislav Ćorić said.

The bill envisages three categories of members.

The first group includes members who can apply for the fee waiver if they meet at least two of the following three criteria: their total assets do not exceed HRK 7.5 million, their annual revenues do not exceed 15 million kuna, and/or the number of people on their payroll is below 50.

The second category comprises those who surpass at least two of the above-mentioned criteria, however, they do not surpass the following three criteria: assets of 30 million kuna, their annual revenues do not go beyond HRK 60 million and the number of their employees is up to 250.

The third category includes those who surpass two of the requirements set forth for the second category.

Category 1 members will be exempt from the mandatory membership, however, they will pay additional services and products of the Chamber, as specified in the HGK price list.

They will be offered the possibility to pay voluntary membership aimed at stimulating the modernization of the workings of the chamber.

Members from Category 2 and 3 are supposed to pay the mandatory membership fee and the fee will be defined for each category on an annual basis.

The current legislation regulating the HGK was adopted in 1991. Under that law, the lion's share of members, that is 96.7%, pay a monthly fee of 42 kuna and have access to most of the services and products provided by the chamber.

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

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