Friday, 15 March 2019

Vienna Highlights That Croatia's Awareness of Digitalisation is Lacking

As Bernard Ivezic/Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 14th of March, 2019, the Austrian capital of Vienna boasts as many as 5,830 IT companies currently in operation, which is more than are in operation on the entire territory of Croatia.

The Croatian Chamber of Commerce (HGK) took with them as many as 32 Croatian companies, mostly from the IT sector, to Vienna's fifth international B2B Software Days.

Among them, the conference was participated in by King ICT, Megatrend business solutions, Mediatoolkit and Ekobit. Tajana Kesić Šapić, the director of the Croatian Chamber of Commerce's industry sector, said that the visit was organised in cooperation with the Austrian Chamber of Commerce, Advantage Austria, and the European Entrepreneurship Network who are interested in the Croatian IT sector.

"Over the last five years, IT companies' revenue in Croatia grew by 7.4 percent, and exports rose almost twice as fast, to 11.3 percent per year," stated Kesić Šapić.

Although the startup scene in the Croatian capital of Zagreb has been ''coming to life'' over the last few years, the same sector in Austria's capital city has been growing stronger at double Zagreb's rate. In Vienna alone, there are more IT companies than are in operation in the whole of the Republic of Croatia, an impressive 5,830 of them.

Vienna is investing more than the equivalent of a quarter of a billion kuna per year into the city's startup scene, and just like in Zagreb, the city readily provides all the necessary support for the free establishment of startups, up to half a million euros worth.

Goran Mrvoš, director of Infosite, one of the Croatian IT companies at the fair, said that in Vienna he realised that the overall awareness of digitalisation in Croatia was low, and that it created a market advantage for foreign competition.

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


Click here for the original article by Bernard Ivezic for Poslovni Dnevnik

Friday, 15 March 2019

Studenac to Officially Take Over Istrian Supermarkets (IS)

A takeover for Istrian Supermarkets (IS) by the popular retail giant Studenac is in the works as potential new investments and the strengthening of the company loom.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 14th of March, 2019, Studenac, one of the leading retail chains in the Republic of Croatia, has officially submitted a request for the takeover of the Poreč-based retail company Istrian Supermarkets (IS) to the Croatian Competition Agency (AZTN). Upon receiving approval from AZTN and properly meeting all the terms and conditions agreed between the involved parties, Studenac will acquire 100 percent of Istrian Supermarket's shares based on the recently signed contract between the two companies.

This transaction will certainly pave the way and provide fertile ground for yet more investments and the transfer of knowledge and experience for both Istrian Supermarkets and Studenac, and will significantly increase the volume of business, further enabling the market leader to build its already strong retail portfolio along the Adriatic coast.

Michal Senczuk, the head of Studenac's management body, stated:

"Studenac is continuing to improve its offers to domestic customers through the takeover of a company that is [already] well positioned and highly valued by its customers in Istria. Istrian Supermarkets (IS) is a successful organisation with excellent resources and we believe that this synergistic effect will lead us all to new opportunities which will contribute to the satisfaction of our customers as well as our employees.''

Vedran Banovac, Istrian Supermarkets' main director added:

"We're extremely happy to have a chance to be a significant part of the consolidation process of the Croatian retail market, and for Istrian Supermarkets, this transaction represents a strategic opportunity to increase our market share in the dynamic growth within the region. We're looking forward to the integration of our team with Studenac and the joint work we'll undertake, through which we'll continue to strengthen our business.''

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

Wednesday, 13 March 2019

Tomislav Horvatinčić Found Guilty! 4 Years 10 Months in Jail Awaits

As tportal writes on the 13th of March, 2019, Tomislav Horvatinčić has been found guilty of causing a maritime accident that killed an Italian couple, Francesco and Mariella Salpietro, back in August 2011. He was sentenced to four years and ten months in prison for the act, and he is also forbidden to own a driving license for five years, if the verdict becomes final he will also have to dip into his infamously deep pockets and pay 190,000 kuna in court costs.

Otherwise, the Zagreb entrepreneur and serial traffic ''accident'' participant Tomislav Horvatinčić did not appear at the Šibenik court.

The verdict was handed over to Tomislav Horvatinčić by the trial chamber presided over by Judge Ivan Jurišić after two previous judgments - the first which convicted him, and the second which actually acquitted him for his claim of ''syncope'', which saw a backlash of astronomic proportions unleashed upon Judge Maja Šupe. Tomislav Horvatinčić still has the right to appeal this verdict within fifteen days, whether or not he sees it as worth it at this point however, is another matter.

Judge Jurišić explained in the explanation of the verdict that Tomislav Horvatinčić did not properly observe his surroundings when he was driving the boat, thus failing to see the sailboat operated by the Salpietro couple who lost their lives owing to the incident. The judge described the vessel's erratic movements and then went on to read the details of the terrible injuries suffered by the Salpietro couple which resulted in their deaths, Večernji list reports.

The judge stated that, among other things, it has been disputed that the disgraced Zagreb entrepreneur mentioned his so-called ''syncope'' to a doctor a couple of days after the tragic incident. The vessel's movements after the incident also suggest that Tomislav Horvatinčić was conscious and functioning normally after the incident, meaning that he was fully aware and in control of his actions.

The Zagreb tycoon didn't even notice the boat which was being operated by the Salpietro couple. ''That's Horvatinčić's failure alone,'' the judge said in his explanation, adding that Tomislav Horvatinčić ran into the boat at full speed and was aware that he could very easily harm or endanger others.

The mitigating circumstances when it comes to the level of punishment for the act are the older age and the health situation of Tomislav Horvatinčić, but it doesn't stand in his favour that he has several such ''accidents'' under his belt.

Horvatinčić's lawyer, Veljko Miljević, appeared today in court, but as stated, Horvatinčić was nowhere to be seen. Asked by journalists whether Horvatinčić would come in person to hear the verdict, he simply said: ''Look in there and you'll see.''

''It's not obligatory for him to come. You could have noticed that he's not been in the best state of health recently, and in court he said that he had delayed some surgery twice for the trial so that this procedure could take place as quickly and as efficiently as possible,'' said Miljević in a clear attempt to paint a more favourable picture of his client, announcing that an appeal would be lodged when he receives a written version of the verdict.

Speaking exclusively to Total Croatia News, Federico Salpietro, the son of the Italian couple who lost their lives at the hands of Tomislav Horvatinčić's ''syncope at sea'', said: 

''For about 8 years, we've been forced to live with frequent flashbacks of the saddest event that has happened in our lives due to this extremely long trial. For about 8 years, we have been outraged by an unbelievable defense strategy which since the beginning we perceived as a strong offensive strategy and as psychological violence. For about 8 years, we have had to deal with different verdicts, a lot of court hearings, several technical and medical experts' reports, uncountable interviews with international newspapers, official investigations requested by the Croatian, Italian and European parliaments, multiple meetings and phonecalls with politicians, embassies and consulates and an indefinite number of talks with our lawyers. For about 8 years, we have been at the forefront of the power of lies against the priceless importance of dignity and humanity. For about 8 years we have been feeling alone in the middle of the Adriatic sea, where our mum and dad died that Tuesday morning.

After tomorrow's verdict, we hope to finally find a safe dock. We hope this will lead us into a brighter future with much more humanity. We seek for the truth to come out. We hope Croatia can become a safer place.

Thanks to all the people who showed their professionality in working to this case and to the others who spent kind words for us and had a positive attitude throughout these [seemingly] endless years.''

The Salpietro family emphasised that they also want to thank the journalists who have helped them through this impossibly difficult time, and that they wish to come back to Croatia, a country they once adored, soon.

Make sure to stay up to date by following our dedicated news page.

Saturday, 9 March 2019

Could Next Month Mark the End of Croatian Tourism's Grey Market?

Croatian tourism continues to boom throughout the warm summer months, with visitors from across the globe descending not only on some of the country's most popular coastal destinations like Dubrovnik and Split, but further afield to hidden gems located in the rolling hills of the continental parts of the country, including but not limited to Zagreb, but gradually stretching all the way over to overlooked Eastern Croatia.

The more money a sector generates, the more loopholes can be found. The more complicated an industry becomes, the more clauses can be discovered by those who perhaps don't intend to use the system, but rather attempt to cheat it. 

From not registering guests staying in your privately owned accommodation facilities, to not registering said facilities with the appropriate authorities and the tax office, all the way to playing taxi and raking in thousands, there have always been those wanting to get as much as possible out of Croatian tourism and the hustle and bustle of the summer season, without having to jump through any of the burdensome hoops licensed entities have to. Could a new law on its way next month put a stop to that ''tradition''? Maybe.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 8th of March, 2019, the purpose of the upcoming legal changes, as was argued in the competent ministry, is not aimed at punishing people but rather at attempting to raise the overall quality of the tourist services provided. Unregistered activity, or work in so-called grey zone - is considered to be Croatian tourism's very personal plague. However, the new law, which comes into force on April the 1st, should change that.

All contained in one unified service, as it once used to be, there are seventeen types of inspections which have been operating within eight different ministries so far. Come April, any inspector will be able to record so called ''rad na crno'' (working on the black/unregistered) and issue an oral ban on the spot right there and then.

The Croatian Government considers that the consolidation of such types of inspections, or perhaps more correctly the re-establishing of an independent state inspectorate, will be much more efficient and functional. When it comes to Croatian tourism, it will enable a clearer and more concrete fight against the apparent ''plague'' of the black and grey economy.

''Now, aside from tourist inspectors, all inspectors have the right not only to deal with unregistered facilities but also those who are suspected of being unregistered,'' explained Tonči Glavina, State Secretary at the Ministry of Tourism, for HTV.

As stated, the government has claimed that the new law is not aimed purely at seeking out people to make examples of and punish, but rather to create a better environment in Croatian tourism for all. They claim that many people involved in this business need to be educated. They are not well acquainted with the laws, regulations, procedures, and therefore it is education that is missing, and not just control.

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

Tuesday, 5 March 2019

Shopping in Slovenia or Croatia - Which Country Pays Off?

Croatia's infamous VAT is throwing prices around much more than one might expect at first when shopping in Lidl or Spar. Just how does your weekly shop in Croatia compare to a weekly shop in neighbouring Slovenia?

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 5th of March, 2019, when taking a walk through six Slovenian and Croatian shops, it didn't take long to realise that retailers are struggling with their own branded goods, which are already sold at relatively low prices, and they could actually save well on them.

The popular Italian retail chain Eurospin, known for its discount prices, hasn't yet opened its doors in Croatia, but it can be revealed that the retail companty is indeed looking for locations for its stores across the country. It also has its own website in Croatian language on which the following has been published: "Still a little more patience ... We're coming."

A group of 24sata journalists from Croatia visited their store in Laško in neighbouring Slovenia to check if their prices really are lower than their competitors, and what prices were in comparison to the Croatian market.

They selected a basket of fourteen different products and compared then - Eurospin was cheaper than the first competitor in Slovenia by just a few lipa.

They also compared the prices in Slovenian stores with those in Croatia - some shopping baskets are very much the same, and the difference between the cheapest Slovenian product and the most expensive Croatian one is 22 kuna. However, it should be borne in mind that Slovenians have two tax rates applied when it comes to retail - 22 and 9.5 percent, and they also have a lower VAT rate (surprise, surprise) than is applied in Croatia, of 25 and 13 percent.

Eurospin appears very similar to the already popular Lidl.

When comparing the cheapest Slovenian and cheapest Croatian basket, the difference is 10.82 kuna. There were, as stated, forteen different products in the basket. When looking around on February the 25th of this year, the group of Croatian journalists visited the popular Slovenian shops including Eurospin, Lidl, Spar, and Mercator, the majority owner of which is Croatia's formerly ailing Agrokor.

They tried to find the cheapest products (flour, oil, butter...). When comparing detergents and softeners, they looked for products that were cheaper per litre, regardless of the size of the packaging, ie, whether the product volume is one, two, four litres...

Their cart showed that Eurospin was actually slightly more expensive than Croatia's beloved Lidl, at least on that day - by 2.30 kuna, Spar was cheaper by 3.60 kuna, and Mercator was cheaper by a not so insignificant 21.53 kuna.

Eurospin and Lidl have been shown to have relatively similar prices, and according to their trade concept, each reminds one of the other. Spar, which had the biggest store in Laško, had similar and sometimes identical prices as those in Eurospin. Only Mercator was considerably more expensive than the others, but their overall offer, just like at Spar, was much richer than that of Lidl and Eurospin.

The Italian discount store, just like Lidl, often only offers its own brands on it shelves, or products made by only one manufacturer - for example, only one type of oil, one type of sugar, one type of flour, etc.

The 24sata journalists compared the products purchased over in Slovenia to those in Lidl and Spar in Zagreb the following day, once again searching for the cheapest of all.

The most expensive shopping basket in Zagreb was from Lidl and it was 13.67 kuna more expensive than Eurospin in Slovenia. Let's remember, it should be taken into account that VAT in Croatia is higher certainly has a big influence over Croatian prices. The cheapest basket was from Spar in Zagreb, but when compared to Eurospin in Slovenia, it was still more expensive - by 8.52 kuna.

Make sure to stay up to date by following our dedicated business page.


Click here for the original article by Ivancica Ladisic and Katarina Dimitrijevic Hrnjkas for 24sata

Saturday, 23 February 2019

Nike Factory Store Confirms Departure from Republic of Croatia

Amid the to all-too-frequent flow of unwelcome and typically uninspiring economic news from across the country, the Nike Factory Store has now closed its stores, offering no public explanation or concrete reason for the unfortunate move, as yet.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 23rd of February, 2019, Croatia's Nike Factory Store officially closed its doors over the last few days. received the official news of the hugely popular sport brand decision to close  its wholesale and retail trade in Croatia from Nike itself. The popular Nike Factory Store, which has been operating out of Roses Designer Outlet in the Croatian capital of Zagreb for ten years now, has been closed down.

While what appears to be a rather sudden move can easily spark questions and speculation as to what has been being going on behind closed doors from many, Nike has not yet publicly stated the reason(s) behind their departure from the Repubic of Croatia, but the giant brand made sure to emphasise the fact that their company's business operations on the Croatian market will continue to be pursued online, through websites and via mobile applications, as well as via existing distributors and retail partners.

Make sure to stay up to date with our dedicated business and news pages for more information on not only Nike Factory Outlet's closure, but on news from up and down the country, and for the latest information on doing business in Croatia and the country's current investment and business climate.

If it's just what's going on in the capital that interests you, give Total Zagreb a follow.

Monday, 4 February 2019

Dubrovnik Police Handed 43.8 Kilograms of Marijuana

A suspicious discovery as Dubrovnik police discover sodden packets of marijuana washed up in and around the city.

During the winter along the southern Dalmatian coast, numerous rather odd objects and suspicious packages end up being washed up. From waste dragged up by the strong currents from the south ending up caught in Dubrovnik's harbour, to packets of marijuana lying around on the beach, Dubrovnik plays host to some unusual debris at this time of year.

Marijuana has been discovered by people just going about their business on several occasions along the southern Dalmatian coast, where it appears to have been dropped typically by passing vessels travelling between Albania and Montenegro and Italy.

It appears that the mysterious marijuana packages have returned, as Dubrovnik police end up receiving yet more discoveries from the shoreline.

As Morski writes on the 4th of February, 2019, last weekend, Dubrovnik police found two sea soaked packages of marijuana with a total weight of 43.8 kg in two different locations, more specifically the seafront in Dubrovnik itself and considerably further away on the island of Šipan, which is part of the picturesque Elaphite islands that lie just north of Dubrovnik.

The discovered packets of marijuana are now being stored at the official premises of the Dubrovnik Police Administration, after which their destruction will follow.

The Dubrovnik-Neretva Police Administration, with the help of international police cooperation, is currently conducting a proper criminal investigation into the discovered packages in order to attempt to determine the origin of the packages, according to a statement made by the Dubrovnik Police Administration.

Discoveries such as this one give the term sea weed an an entirely new meaning.

Make sure to stay up to date with everything you need to know going on up and down the country by following our dedicated news page. If it's just Dubrovnik and southern Dalmatia you're interested in, give Total Dubrovnik a follow to keep up with what's going on in the Pearl of the Adriatic.

Friday, 1 February 2019

Ivica Todorić Discusses Mercator Purchase, Financial Situation, Agrokor

Ivica Todorić, the former Agrokor boss, thinks that the largest Croatian company, which once lay in his very hands, was destroyed by politics, and not a bad economic policy.

As VLM/Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 1st of February, 2019, Ivica Todorić, now living back in Croatia following his return from the British capital, in which he spent one year passing through London courts and attempting to fight his cause, decided to receive a television crew from Slovenia in his home and comment on the purchase of Mercator by the then enfeebled Agrokor, as well as his view on what exactly went wrong.

At first, he made sure to point out that nobody loves Mercator as he does, and he honestly believed that Mercator's takeover was going to equal success for the Slovenian company, considering it a move which gave it the foundation it needed for its future development.

Asked if Agrokor would have survived if he hadn't purchased Mercator, he replied that everyone is constantly talking about some sort of debt, but Agrokor never had big any debts.

''I mean, they were large [debts] but they weren't in amounts that were not able to be handled," noted the ex Agrokor boss.

As stated, Ivica Todorić thinks that the largest Croatian company has been destroyed politics, not a bad economic policy.

Questions about life after his flight to London and his eventual return to Croatia were met with open answers. ''It isn't easy for me, I'm dependent on the help of friends,'' he added that they helped them collect the bail money needed to leave Remetinec prison. He speaks of having living costs that aren't particularly easy to cope with, a situation one could never have expected Ivica Todorić, who once graced the glossy pages of Forbes, to ever find himself in.

Although he is currently living in a huge property of 55,000 square metres, he made sure to justify it by emphasising the fact that that particular estate is divided up into what belongs to four families.

''This is my only piece of property. My part is worth about six million euros. I'm not trying to say that this isn't much, but I was once the richest man in an area consisting of 200 million people,''

When asked about the background of court proceedings, he replied that Prime Minister Andrej Plenković and the Croatian Government were behind it. He also announced his planned entry into politics.

''We'll set up a new party. I believe we'll do well and that we'll win a parliamentary majority,'' he stated.

In just five days, Ivica Todorić collected a million euros for his release from Remetinec prison.

Make sure to stay up to date by following our dedicated politics and lifestyle pages.


Click here for the original article by VLM on Poslovni Dnevnik

Friday, 1 February 2019

Oleg Butković Reveals Fate of Croatia Airlines - Privatisation

Croatia's flag carrier hasn't had a particularly easy time of it of late. With the desperate search having been on for some time to finally locate a potential strategic partner, Croatia Airlines has been down on its luck and the enfeebled air company, despite having had a good tourist season last summer, is still struggling.

While privatisation isn't always a popular move for companies of such size, it may be the only way forward in some situations. It seems that the fate of Croatia Airlines is now not only heading in that very direction, but that it has already begun, with the process apparently ongoing.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 1st of February, 2019, after having visited Pelješac Bridge's construction site, on which work on the highly anticipated bridge is progressing faster than previously thought, Minister of Maritime Affairs, Transport and Infrastructure, Oleg Butković, spoke about the fate of Croatia Airlines. He announced that the only national airline company is now ready for privatisation.

Minister Oleg Butković told Dnevnik that when it comes to the road to Croatia Airlines' privatisation, ''the process is ongoing".

"At the next session of the Government, or at the one after that, a decision will be made on the commission [for the privatisation process], which will monitor the entire process of finding a strategic partner [for Croatia Airlines]"

"Croatia Airlines' management has begun the process of selecting a financial advisor, so all of the preparatory actions, more specifically concrete actions are ongoing, and after all these decisions are made then we'll see who is interested. There are interested people who have made themselves known, but I wouldn't say more about any specific names,'' added the minister.

Make sure to stay up to date with Croatia Airlines' ongoing situation and much more by following our dedicated news and business pages.

Monday, 28 January 2019

Croats Leaning More Towards Rural Life as Trends Indicate Change

More and more Croats are starting to see the benefits of going about their lives in more rural environments, especially young people, according to a report from Glas Slavonije.

"It's certain that today, rural life offers unparalleled benefits compared to those it did ten or more years ago, when people left in their droves for the cities. The advantages of a peaceful and stable life that smaller environments provide, and the quality of life in such place, have equalled the benefits of life in cities and have potentially even exceeded them, and for an organised life we ​​need only a safe car,'' they are unique in their assessment of young Croats, who today in small villages are often managing to become the owners of valuable properties and pieces of land with gardens that a decade ago simply couldn't have even been dreamed of.

There is now more and more support to local families from self-government units when it comes to purchasing houses, offering free textbooks and meals in schools, subsidising kindergartens, subsidising the cost of staying in dorms, bus tickets and offering scholarships to almost all students, constructing new schools, clinics and specialist clinics, and offering harmonious conditions for sport. It isn't all that surprising that many younger Croats are now dreaming of life in the countryside.

One of the areas that really proved to be one of the first to see the need to invest primarily in people, and only then in property, is the Magadenovac Municipality, writes Glas Slavonije. This small municipality could easily be a model for many for the abundance of measures it has introduced in order to support life in the local area.

With 3,000 kuna for the first-born, 5,000 kuna for the second-born and 8,000 kuna being offered for the third-born child, the amount for each subsequent child is determined by the mayor personally in order to help that particular family more in accordance with their material condition. A few years ago, almost alone, with very little help from the state, they financed the kindergarten construction, for which parents pay 354 kuna per child.

The kids who attended got free textbooks while others across the country were only just starting to consider such an initiative. High school students also received financial help from the municipality if they were staying in student dorms. Croats with young families are increasingly turning to a more rural way of life.

There are already plenty of people interested in buying cheap houses in the area, and with the new school, which will soon boast an additional hall, a renovated kindergarten, as well as better communal infrastructure and many other measures, Mayor Darko Dorkić hopes that the negative trends we have been witnessing so far will soon turn around and take a more positive direction.

Apart from the fact that smaller houses in Slavonia and Baranja are sold very cheaply, young people are increasingly attracted to the fact that village life is ready and waiting to offer a life lived in peace and in coexistence with nature, and a garden in which they can grow fruits and vegetables.

The idea of breeding pigs and poultry for their own needs doesn't put them off either, recognising that such a lifestyle is not only healthier, but much cheaper than purchasing such items in the city would be. In such small communities everyone knows everything, so there is never any problem for children to go alone to school and to playgrounds, not to mention the fact that overall living costs are so much lower.

Make sure to stay up to date by following our dedicated lifestyle page.

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