Tuesday, 25 May 2021

Employers Propose Continuation of Government COVID Subsidies

ZAGREB, 25 May, 2021 - The Croatian Employers' Association (HUP) has proposed measures for maintaining liquidity and launching private investments which include retaining jobkeeping measures and covering a portion of fixed costs, ensuring favourable loans and prolonging loan maturity.

In expectation of COVID measures and lockdown of businesses being lifted, HUP addressed Finance Minister Zdravko Marić and underscored that maintaining liquidity is not only relevant during the lockdown period but should be extended for a longer period, and that recovery can only be possible if investments are boosted.

HUP proposes that jobkeeping measures be extended even after busines restrictions are lifted until such time that  all enterprises generate at least 90% of their pre-pandemic revenue in 2019. HUP believes that abolishing support measures for the economy should be gradual, depending on the epidemiological situation, but also on the circumstances in each individual sector so that Croatia is not faced with a wave of bankruptcies and layoffs.

HUP also calls for a portion of fixed costs to continue to be covered, taking account of the percentage revenue has decreased, and for facilitating access to loans for liquidity and working capital, including guarantee schemes for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises.

HUP advocates possibly transforming a portion of loans into grants and for the moratorium on loan maturities to be extended for existing loans, along with state guarantees, at least until the end of this year and longer if need be, based on transparent criteria.

HUP proposes additional support loans for exporters and enterprises investing in the 4.0 industry, and support for investments by large companies through increased support for EU co-funded projects.

It also recommends the possibility of deleveraging debts between companies to prevent a chain reaction, and for non-recoverable loans to be identified faster, as well as speeding up bankruptcy procedures, and introducing additional tax cuts.

"We believe that government subsidies to cover the disrupted economic activities due to the COVID crisis should continue until such time that enterprises can do business normally and save jobs without that support," HUP said.

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

Friday, 21 May 2021

E-Matematika: New Online Instruction Developing Business That Helps Pupils

May 21, 2021 - With math seeing more and more appreciation, it's still, quite rightfully, a challenging discipline that not everyone can comprehend. Quality lessons, additional instructions, and motivated lecturers and teachers are the obvious recipe to both help those who struggle with math and those who are good at it to achieve their best possible potential.

However, the coronavirus pandemic is still present and is still causing difficulties in the Croatian education system, forcing pupils and professors to switch from online to live lectures or a mix of the two, putting additional pressure on sharing knowledge on any imaginable subject. With math being a discipline that requires lots of practice and explanations, it's perhaps the subject which has suffered the most.

Still, as Srednja.hr reports, a great potential solution to this issue appeared back in October 2020 when Robert Pavlik started E-Matematika, a website, for online math instructions.

''The site is focused on all students that need help with math, whether it's about fixing a bad grade or preparing for an exam“, writes Srednja.hr.

E-Matematika currently offers 45 minutes of lessons, offering solved mathematical tasks with the procedure detailed, as well as a video explanation.

These instructions are paid for simply through the ''order instructions''check-out process, and it's all quite automated. However, phone and videocalls for arranging instructions are an option for the safety of kids so that parents can see with whom they'll be communicating. Reliable platforms for communication such as Zoom, Google Meet, and MS Teams are also used, and two conditions need to be satisfied for the instructions to work: easy platform access for the student and an uninterrupted video connection. Each instruction ends with the service sending a questionnaire to the students to see how happy they are with the whole experience, as well as a receipt. The questionnaire builds the personal rating of the instructor.

There are four levels of instructions: lower elementary classes, higher elementary classes, high schools, and faculties, which offer more effective services as some instructors prefer to work with teens, and others are specialised working with younger kids. The site so far boasts 100 instructors, and in addition to maths, Croatian pupils can also find instructions from the subjects of physics and chemistry. Srednja.hr adds that students from field-related faculties recognised the work of E-Matematika and want to participate.

The site welcomes anyone interested to apply to become the next instructor, as long as they satisfy the following conditions: two years of instructing experience as a minimum, excellent communication skills, reliability, flexibility in organising instructions, along with patience and the ability to focus on a student.

It's also worth mentioning that the first concept of online instructions in Croatia (again, for math, but also for statistics) appeared in 2011, when a mathematics professor at the Faculty of Science (PMF), University of Zagreb, Toni Milun, started posting videos explaining the curriculum online and for free. And you guessed it; it was a huge hit.

Despite Milun offering additional mathematics lessons for free, E-Matematika having more than 500 registered users and 2000 orders, it seems it can justify the paid offer with its value and use.

However, it will be interesting to see will this trend continue when the pandemic is over and the face-to-face instructions return as normal. Currently, the Croatian media landscape is seeing more and more pupils and parents stepping out and saying that nothing can replace face-to-face classes.

Learn more about Croatian inventions & discoveries: from Tesla to Rimac on our TC page.

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

Wednesday, 19 May 2021

Zagreb Stock Exchange Indices' Winning Streak Broken

ZAGREB, 19 May, 2021 - Amid a moderate trading on the Zagreb Stock Exchange on Wednesday the main indices fell slightly, ending their rising streak over the past few days, with the Podravka food manufacturer's stock drawing the most attention after it proposed a dividend of HRK 9 per share.

The Crobex fell slightly by 0.15% to 1,949 points, breaking its four-day climb. At the same time the Crobex10 weakened by 0.31% to 1,203 points, after rising for three days in a row.

Among the sector indices, the construction index fell by 2.13% while the transport sector strengthened by 0.97%.

Regular turnover amounted to HRK 9.25 million or 2.25 million more than the day before.

The highest turnover of HRK 3.3 million was generated by the Podravka company. The price of its shares weakened by 0.33% to HRK 600.

Podravka's management announced that the general assembly is scheduled for 29 June when shareholders are expected to decide on a HRK 9 dividend, just like last year.

The Valamar Riviera hotel group generated a turnover of HRK 2.33 million. Its shares closed at a price of HRK 29.7, up 0.67%.

A total of  42 stocks traded today, with 16 of them registering share price increases, 17 recording share price decreases and nine remaining stable in price.

(€1 = HRK 7.511281)

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

Tuesday, 18 May 2021

Finance Ministry Issues Treasury Bills on Favourable Terms

ZAGREB, 18 May, 2021 - The Croatian Ministry of Finance sold HRK 880 million and €11 million worth of treasury bills at an auction on Tuesday.

Ahead of the maturity of treasury bills worth HRK 300 million and €12 million, the Ministry offered HRK 300 million and €10 million in treasury bills for subscription. Financial institutions submitted offers worth nearly HRK 880 million and €11 million, and the Ministry accepted all of them.

The treasury bills worth HRK 880 million were issued with a maturity of one year and at an interest rate of 0.02%, the same as at the previous auction of kuna-denominated treasury bills held on 20 April.

The treasury bills worth €11 million were issued with a maturity of one year and at a negative interest rate of 0.05%, the same as at the previous auction of euro-denominated treasury bills held on 3 May. 

After today's auction, with the maturity of HRK 300 million worth of treasury bills, the balance of kuna-denominated treasury bills increased by HRK 580 million to HRK 14.7 billion. On the other hand, the balance of euro-denominated treasury bills decreased by €1 million to €158 million.

The next auction is scheduled for 23 June.

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

Tuesday, 18 May 2021

Zagreb Stock Exchange: Crobex Continues Upward Movement For Fourth Day in Row

ZAGREB, 18 May, 2021 - The main Zagreb Stock Exchange (ZSE) indices continued their upward movement on Tuesday. 

The Crobex jumped by 0.49% to 1,952 points, continuing its rise for the fourth day in a row, while the Crobex10 gained 0.42% to end the day at 1,207 points, rising for three straight trading days.

Turnover at the close of the trading session was HRK 7 million, about 1.9 million lower than on Monday, and three stocks passed the turnover mark of one million kuna.

The highest turnover, of HRK 1.4 million, was generated by the stock of the Podravka food company, which closed at HRK 602 per share, up 0.33%.

It was followed by the preferred stock of the Adris tourism and insurance group, turning over HRK 1.38 million. Its price rose by 0.24% to HRK 423.

The stock of the HT telecommunications company turned over HRK 1.3 million, ending the day at HRK 185 per share, up 0.82%.

A total of 39 stocks traded today, with 20 of them registering share price increases, 12 recording share price decreases and 7 remaining stable in price.

(€1 = HRK 7.517964)

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

Friday, 14 May 2021

Zagreb Stock Exchange End Week in Different Directions

ZAGREB, 14 May, 2021 - The Zagreb Stock Exchange (ZSE) Crobex index went up 0.12% to 1,940.04 points on Friday, while the Crobex10 dipped 0.11% to 1,193.82 points.

Regular turnover was HRK 6.86 million, with only two stocks crossing the million kuna mark - the Atlantska Plovidba shipping company, which turned over HRK 1.5 million, closing at HRK 336 per share (+0.30%), and the Podravka food company, which turned over HRK 1.26 million, stable at HRK 590 per share.

Forty-nine stocks traded today - 28 increasing in price, 11 decreasing, while ten were stable.

(€1 = HRK 7.520412)

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

Thursday, 13 May 2021

Main Zagreb Stock Exchange Indices Drop By About 0.5%

ZAGREB, 13 May, 2021 - The main Zagreb Stock Exchange (ZSE) indices dropped by about 0.5% on Thursday, with the Crobex falling for the third day in a row, by 0.47% to 1,937.73 points, and the Crobex10 slipping by 0.51% to 1,195.17 points, down from Wednesday.

Regular turnover amounted to HRK 8.7 million or almost two million less than on Wednesday.

The most traded stock with a turnover of HRK 3.1 million was the Atlantska Plovidba shipping company. The price of its shares continued to fall for the third day in a row, by 3.18% to HRK 335.

The HT telecommunications company generated a turnover of HRK 1.46 million with the price of its shares dropping by 0.54% to HRK 184.50.

The Podravka food manufacturer closed at HRK 590 per share, down 1.01% from Wednesday, generating a turnover of HRK 1.22 million.

The Valamar Riviera hotel group also crossed the million kuna mark turning over HRK 1.02 million. Its shares plunged by 1.97% to HRK 29.90.

A total of 36 stocks traded today, with 19 of them registering share price decreases, 12 recording share price increases and 5 remaining stable in price.

(€1 = HRK 7.531968)

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

Wednesday, 12 May 2021

Zagreb Stock Exchange Indices Close Mixed

ZAGREB, 12 May, 2021 - The main Zagreb Stock Exchange (ZSE) indices ended mixed on Wednesday, with the Crobex falling by 0.21% to 1,946.80 points and the Crobex10 gaining 0.10% to close at 1,201.28 points.

Turnover at the close of the training session was HRK 10.7 million, about 2 million higher than on Tuesday, and only two stocks passed the turnover mark of one million kuna.

The stock of the Atlantska Plovidba shipping company turned over HRK 2.5 million, ending the day at HRK 346 per share, down by 6.49%. The Valamar Riviera hotel company saw its share price rise by 2.35% to HRK 30.59, turning over HRK 2.3 million.

A total of 49 stocks traded today, with 19 of them registering share price decreases, 17 recording share price increases and 13 remaining stable in price.

(€1 = HRK 7.532086) 

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

Wednesday, 12 May 2021

Friends of Croatia: Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs - The Croatian Side of Diplomatic Relations

May 13, 2021 - The fourth article in the series "Friends of Croatia: Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs" takes a look at the Croatian diplomatic relations from the perspective of the appointed ministry for diplomatic questions and foreign relations.

It takes two to build a friendship. While this series focuses on conversations with ambassadors, diplomats, and representatives of international organizations in Croatia, what is the official take on diplomatic relations and diplomacy from the Croatian side?

The Ministry of Foreign and European affairs (currently run by minister Gordan Grlić Radman) is the branch of the Croatian government that is the first and foremost point of contact and communication with the international community. If you are a country that wants to have diplomatic relations with Croatia, this is the ministry to reach.

„If diplomatic relations have been established between two countries, the sending country expresses the intention of opening a diplomatic mission (Embassy) to the receiving country, in this case, the Republic of Croatia, with a verbal note and seeks the consent of the competent institutions of the Republic of Croatia“, explained the Ministry the process of establishing Embassies.

„The competent authorities of the Republic of Croatia carry out the procedure of issuing the consent for the opening of a diplomatic mission and, upon its completion, inform the sending country about the outcome by verbal note. If the decision on giving consent for the opening of the Embassy in the Republic of Croatia has been granted, the sending country can start searching for a location to accommodate the Embassy and start the procedure of appointing an Ambassador," the Ministry added.

Ministarstvo_vanjskih_i_europskih_poslova_2.jpgForeign Minister Gordan Grlić Visiting Spain © Ministarstvo vanjskih i europskih poslova

With this procedure in place, concluding with 2021, Croatia has 56 resident Embassies, 67 non-resident Embassies, 4 Consulates General, 3 Representative Offices of the bodies of the European Union, 8 Representative Offices of international organizations, and 103 Consulates General/Consulates/Vice-consulates (which what is interesting, as the Ministry pointed out, are handled by honorary consuls who are mostly Croatian citizens).

„Resident Embassies can be based only in the capital city, and they are headed by an ambassador. Non-resident Embassies are located outside the state, with a seat in some other country, usually, an EU member state, while Consulates Generals can be located in other larger cities besides the capital and are headed by general consuls and responsible for their work to the Embassy of the said country“, explained the Ministry.

Croatia may be a young county with 30 years of sovereignty, but the tradition of its diplomacy is traced deep in history. Most notably, in the Dubrovnik Republic, a role model to Croatian diplomats even today.

„Croatian diplomats take pride and inspiration in the tradition of diplomacy of the Dubrovnik Republic. As a small country, surrounded by powerful empires and influential Mediterranean city-states, with no military force, the Dubrovnik Republic was able to preserve its foreign policy sovereignty mainly thanks to the diplomatic skills and the awareness of its geopolitical position. These very qualities are constantly a source of inspiration for those who defend the interests of the Republic of Croatia on the modern world's stage“, explained the Ministry.

As is evident by following the work of the Ministry of European and Foreign Affairs, Croatia takes its diplomacy very seriously, and of course, with some countries, this is more evident than in others. One of the most recent examples was with Egypt. At the end of March, as TCN reported, Croatia showed solidarity with Egypt donating 100 books, and additionally, Croatian companies expressed interest in doing business on the Egyptian market

167448346_4516426265040018_5838100975654270980_n_egypt.jpg

Foreign Minister Gordan Grlić in Egypt © Ministarstvo vanjskih i europskih poslova

„Minister Grlić Radman’s visit to Egypt was very successful, with his Egyptian counterpart Minister Shoukry opening a business forum which was attended by more than 120 Egyptian and Croatian business people“, said the Ministry, adding that representing the interests of Croatian companies and Croatian economy, in general, is an important task for Croatian diplomacy“.

Companies can ask for help by contacting the Ministry, specifically the Directorate General for Economic Affairs and Development Cooperation, or the Croatian embassy in the country of interest directly. No matter which way the request is made (regardless of whether the company has contacted the Ministry or the Croatian embassy in the country of interest directly) the company is kindly asked to fill out a request for support to the exporter, available on the economic diplomacy webpage. Within a couple of days, the company will receive a proposal for the realization of its request or an invitation to a meeting to discuss it jointly in more detail. All requests of exporters are recorded in a database that can be accessed by all employees of the Ministry in Zagreb and abroad in charge of economic affairs and through which the status of the case can be monitored“, explained the ministry the process of stepping on the market in more details.

Embassies in Croatia that are in frequent contact with the Ministry are there for their citizens when visiting the country, but also, the Ministry welcomes Croatians to contact the Embassies for questions regarding traveling to other countries. 

„Croatian nationals can obtain more information on entry requirements, COVID-19 restrictions, possibilities of obtaining residence permits or visas, and other types of information about a specific country. Also, Croatian students who are interested in studying or continuing their education abroad can get more information about the educational system and ways of applying for scholarships through foreign Embassies“, said the Ministry.

While the Ministry has no intention of stealing the jobs of the Embassies (such as providing consular assistance), they are at service if needed.

„Croatia is a popular tourist destination, so the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs recognizes the importance of communication with all foreign nationals who are interested to come and visit us. The Ministry provides information related to e.g. entry requirements, COVID-19 restrictions, the possibility of issuing the residence permits or visas, as well as all other types of information for foreigners who want to visit us as tourists or become residents“, concluded the Ministry.

The Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs is located in Zagreb, at Zrinjevac 7-8.

You can learn more about their work and all things travel-related at their official website and you can also follow them on Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, and Flickr. The phone numbers of various branches within the ministry can be found here.

To read more from the series "Friends of Croatia", follow TCN's dedicated page.

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

Wednesday, 12 May 2021

British American Tobacco (BAT) Announces HRK 200 Million Investment in Kanfanar Factory

ZAGREB, 12 May, 2021 - During a visit on Wednesday by Prime Minister Andrej Plenković to the British American Tobacco (BAT) factory in Kanfanar, BAT revealed an investment of HRK 200 million in the production of a new category of heated tobacco products (HTP), underlining the importance of the new logistics centre in Rijeka.

"By expanding production in Kanfanar and opening a hub in Rijeka, we are continuing with BAT's significant investments in Croatia. With the introduction of production lines for new product categories, Croatia is additionally strengthening its position on the global map of production sites in the tobacco industry. We are continuing to expand our selection for consumers in Croatia," BAT Adria director Zvonko Kolobara said in a statement to the press.

He added that the increased capacity in Kanfanar would help BAT meet growing demands for HTP in Europe and northern Africa.

Kolobara thanked the government and Prime Minister Plenković for their efforts in creating an investment climate that stimulates further investments.

Plenković expressed satisfaction that BAT is continuing with its investments in Kanfanar and ensuring jobs. BAT's announcement of the investment comes after its announcement that it could leave Croatia due to unfavourable business conditions.

Plenković underlined that the new investment was an example of a good business climate and that BAT did not exert any pressure on the government to meet its demands to continue doing business in Croatia.

"The new, HRK 200 million investment in new products means a new impetus, enthusiasm and a new generator of business and with that, a contribution to Croatia's economy. The company employs 1,600 people and another 800 cooperate closely with BAT and make a living that way. The investment plans have been coordinated with their headquarters in London and all the employees at the factory will be satisfied while the entire economy of Istria County will benefit from BAT's operations," said Plenković.

He noted that the government was open to large global investors.

"It is excellent that BAT has established a hub in Rijeka for products from China that are distributed throughout Europe. That is additional confirmation of Rijeka's attractiveness as an exceptionally important transport and commercial port in the country. As far as BAT's staying is concerned, the government took account of the Croatian economy and creating conditions for all foreign companies doing business in Croatia and investors to have the same treatment. It is obvious that BAT has decided that the Kanfanar factory is important and that it wants to invest and that Croatia is important to it. There was never any pressure," said Plenković.

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

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