Wednesday, 21 December 2022

Transport Minister Oleg Butkovic Announces Big Rijeka Road Investment

December the 21st, 2022 - An important Rijeka road investment has recently been announced by Transport Minister Oleg Butkovic, who stated his belief that properly positioning this Northern Adriatic city as strategically important port is paramount.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the Minister of Maritime Affairs, Transport and Infrastructure, Oleg Butkovic, said this week that it is very important to position the City of Rijeka as a port with an exceptional geostrategic position and provide it with as much cargo as possible, saying that "Croatia had indeed managed to catch that particular train" and that large investments are now underway. One Rijeka road investment in particular stands out.

Minister Oleg Butkovic participated in a conference called "The Transformation of Rijeka/Transformacija Rijeke", organised by the Rijeka-based publication Novi list, which discussed infrastructure projects taking place in the wider Rijeka area, the position of Rijeka as an important transport hub and as one of the key European transit ports important for the development of trade, transport and economy.

In 2023, the D403, one of the most expensive roads in the history of the Republic of Croatia as an independent nation, will be completed and the conditions will be met for the terminal on the Zagreb coast, which is crucial for increasing cargo and all economic activities, to be operational at the beginning of 2024. This Rijeka road investment will be key in the further and firmer placing of Rijeka on the cargo map of Europe and the world.

The construction of the ACI marina in Porto Baros should begin next year, which will have an impressive 500 berths, and the opening of a new hospital is also expected, Butkovic emphasised.

He also said that there are other big projects ahead for the Rijeka area, for example; the railway, and that investments will be made in the railway in the coming years. He also noted, among other things, that the project of the lowland railway and the project of construction of the second track, as well as the modernisation and renovation of the Skrljevo - Rijeka - Jurdani railway.

For more, check out our dedicated news section.

Wednesday, 16 November 2022

Israeli Brown Hotels Group Takes Over Jadran Hotels, Rebranding to Follow

November the 16th, 2022 - The Israeli Brown Hotels group has taken over the Rijeka-based Jadran Hotels, becoming the new majority owner of the company which boasts numerous hotels and other facilities. Ambitious plans are now in the works.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the Israeli investor Brown Hotels Group is officially the new majority owner of Jadran Hotels from Rijeka, which includes seven hotels, two restaurants and a campsite in the wider Kvarner area, including Rijeka, Kostrena and Kraljevica.

The investors intend to carry out a comprehensive rebranding process at all seven locations where facilities owned by Jadran Hotels are currently located. This is otherwise their second investment in the Republic of Croatia, they are the owners of Trogir's Brown Beach House Hotel, and they bought Jadran Hotels from Ivan Franolic and Zoran Lustica.

"The potential of Rijeka as a city are absolutely enormous, we are convinced that it can become an important tourist centre in both the Croatian and global contexts and a destination that will attract tourists from all over the world. This is strongly supported by the significant investments made by foreign investors in the wider Rijeka area," stressed Leon Avigad, the founder and co-owner of the Israeli Brown Hotels Group, which also operates in Germany, Cyprus, Greece and of course outside of Europe in Israel.

In the coming period, the Israeli Brown Group will implement its model of lifestyle, cultural and nightlife attractions, along with bringing in internationally famous restaurant chefs, attractive rooftop bars, clubs, swimming pools, spa zones and other similar recreational activities.

The first focus of the new owners will be on three hotels: Continental, which will be renamed Brown Continental Rijeka, Jadran, which will become Brown Beach Jadran Rijeka, and Neboder, which will become Brown Lighthouse Rijeka.

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

Friday, 11 November 2022

New Turkish Owners of Petrokemija, a Troubled Croatian Fertilizer Company

November 11, 2022 - After two years of speculation, gossip and due diligence, on Thursday it was finally confirmed that the Turkish conglomerate Yildirim will buy a majority stake in Petrokemija

The only major Croatian petrochemical company produces mineral fertilizers, at such a rate that their production consumes a fifth of the total amount of gas consumed in Croatia. The Turkish company took over the Terra mineral fertilizers company from its previous owners, INA and PPD. That company owns 54 per cent of Petrokemija's shares. How much Ina and PPD earned from the sale to the Turks was not made public.

It was not easy sailing for the Petrokemija companies even before the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which started the global energy crisis. Just three months ago, the CEO of Petrokemija Davor Žmegač told Bloomberg TV that the problems started since the earthquake, the supply chain crisis and the increase in gas prices, and that it is not economically profitable for them to do business at all because their monthly gas bills reach one hundred million euros.

How the new Turkish owners will deal with all of these problems remains to be seen. Local farmers will wait to see if they're still able to count on the fertilizers produced domestically, without which there is no sowing or harvest. The good news is that Yildirim has a rich experience in everything the Kutina company might need at this point.

Although Petrokemija operates with an annual income of around 300 million euros and has 1,250 employees, it will be only a small part of Yildirim Holding, whose annual income is reported to be around two billion euros and employs more than 16,000 people. Yildirim has companies operating in various industries, where the most profitable ones are mining, ports, petrochemicals, logistics and energy. The company was founded in 1963 as a construction business by Garip Yildirim, but has been the fastest-growing Turkish industrial group since 2005. Its current owners are the sons of Garip Yildirim, Ali Riza and Robert, who entered international trade outside the borders of Turkey in 1993 by importing coal from Russia. 15 years ago, they made their first foreign acquisition by taking over the metals company Vargön Alloys in Sweden, and today they have companies in 53 countries on five continents. 

Their annual production capacity of all types of fertilizers exceeds two million tons, and Petrokemija produced one million tons of fertilizer in 2020. Given that Petrokemija's production capacity is respectable compared to that of the Turkish owner, serious investments in Kutina and the continuation of operations can be expected. We will soon see what the first steps of the Turkish owners will be and how the integration into the Yildirim group will proceed, but Petrokemija could be on the verge of a renaissance, especially if its plants are able to get some cheap gas, which is probably something new owners have already looked at, and which might be an ace up their sleeve.

Thursday, 10 November 2022

Americans Investing in Brand New Zabok Medical Centre

November the 10th, 2022 - Americans are investing a huge sum of money in a brand new Zabok medical centre, but just how much of a role with the Croatian Health Insurance Fund (HZZO) play in it all?

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marija Crnjak writes, although many details about the establishment of the new Zabok medical centre, which will be a centre for the treatment of malignant diseases, have yet to be defined, the University of Pittsburgh Medical Centre's (UPMC) investment of about 15 million euros in Hrvatsko Zagorje is the first investment of this magnitude by foreign investors in Croatian healthcare.

The announcement about the investment that will be realised in cooperation with the General Hospital Zabok and the St. Catherine Special Hospital (Sv. Katarina), owned by Dragan Primorac, comes at a time when the state seems to have decided to strengthen cooperation between public and private healthcare.

This is further evidenced by the public support that the founders of the future Zabok medical centre received when signing the cooperation agreement from the government representatives, and support for such projects will also be given by the new legal regulations that will direct patients to private institutions in the country instead of urging them to seek treatment abroad, regardless of whether they have contracts with HZZO or not.

However, we have yet to see how many services from the new Zabok medical centre will actually be made available to Croatia's residents who are HZZO insured individuals. Namely, as confirmed by them, HZZO wasn't officially contacted regarding the possibility of contracting services with the future Centre for Oncology.

For the American investors, however, this is certainly an investment in health tourism, considering that they will be able to gain the market of Croatia's entire wider region, as well as the whole of Europe. It is also the largest American healthcare institution that employs 92,000 employees and 5,000 doctors, with a massive annual budget of 23 billion dollars.

There are a total of 40 hospitals within the UPMC chain, and in addition to over the USA, they are currently present in Italy, Ireland, China and Kazakhstan. As they claim from St. Catherine, this large investment will provide Croatian patients with diagnostic and therapeutic services completely equivalent to those in the USA, in accordance with the existing prices set by HZZO.

The new Zabok medical centre will be located on the premises of the Zabok General Hospital, which the hospital has been renting out to the St. Catherine Special Hospital since back in 2008. It spans 2,200 square metres. In addition, two linear accelerators will be built for radiation purposes, the location has already been defined, and permits need to be obtained for this. The plan is to complete the brand new medical centre in a period of about one year.

"This is primarily about a huge step forward in the transfer of the latest knowledge and technologies from the USA, the kind of which we can only dream of. When we talk to Croatian oncologists, they believe that in a few years, with the support of UPMC, Croatia could be at the very top of the EU in terms of oncology services," Jadranka Primorac, a member of the administrative council of the St. Catherine Special Hospital stated.

She added that this type of therapy and treatment, as well as state-of-the-art diagnostics in cooperation with UPMC, must be available to every Croatian resident. "It is the beginning and the end of everything. If you look at EC strategies, one of the key steps forward is to make this kind of therapy available to everyone, regardless of their ability to pay. Among other things, this is why we have HZZO,'' she explained.

Zabok is apparently now preparing negotiations with the state insurer, HZZO, which so far has not quite fulfilled all the efforts of private institutions to offer their services to the Institute's policyholders in greater numbers. One of the key obstacles was often the too low price of the services covered by HZZO, and since these are new services that didn't even exist within the Croatian healthcare system, those prices have yet to be established.

Negotiations with HZZO will certainly be one of the most important steps for future partners. Director of the Zabok General Hospital, Tihomir Vancina, pointed out that there are still a number of operational and technical matters to be resolved, from space to personnel engagement.

"We agreed in principle that we want to build the Zabok medical centre, and now we need to see how to implement it all," stated Vancina, who believes that everything can be done in the space of one year, especially considering that the investment has been under consideration for four years since the UPMC team was in Zabok for the first time. "This will be a huge step in improving the quality of the treatment on offer.

In the Zabok General Hospital, we have departments where our oncology patients can have part of the procedure, but for the rest they have to go to Zagreb, which will not be necessary in the future. The cancer survival rate in the USA is significantly higher than it is here in Croatia, precisely because of the available therapy that we're now bringing to the country. For the state, this is an ideal model, because it doesn't have to invest in space, equipment and personnel, it only has to pay for the services," concluded Vancina.

For more, make sure to keep up with our dedicated news section.

 

Monday, 7 November 2022

Could Investor Mohamed Ali Rashed Alabbar Take Over Brac Airport?

November the 7th, 2022 - With news of Arab investors more or less dominating the local press of late (see the Fortenova saga), could another investor from that part of the world end up taking over Brac Airport?

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marija Brnic writes, before going into any details, it's important to say that the state intends to withdraw from the ownership structure of Brac Airport, located (as the name should suggest) on a certain Central Dalmatian island across from the City of Split. The first step in starting the procedure for the sale of the shares the government has within that company is contracting work with consultants to assess the company's value, and then those shares that will be offered through a public tender.

DO Advising and Agram Brokers were hired as appraisers, and judging by past practice, it can be expected that CERP will announce a tender for the sale sales in early 2023. Although, as a rule, such procedures are only initiated when investors express interest and submit letters of intent, unofficially from CERP it has been circulating that the Brac Airport government shares sale is proceeding as part of the plan to reduce the state portfolio, and allegedly without the need for prior inquiries from investors.

However, as has been heard from several interlocutors, the majority owner of the company - Sunce hotels, which holds 50.2% of the shares, is interested in the complete takeover of Brac Airport. CERP, on the other hand, has 33.8% of the shares available for sale, and according to data from the ownership structure of Brac Airport, the state has a total of 38.5%, while smaller shares are held by Svpetrvs hotels, HT, the municipality of Puscica, Sardina and some other small shareholders.

Sunce hotels was taken over a year and a half ago by an Arab investor from the United Arab Emirates - Mohamed Ali Rashed Alabbar and his company Eagle Hills Real Estate. Several people in the know claim that until now he has been focused exclusively on the hotel business, but he is allegedly interested in the complete takeover of Brac Airport as well, which is extremely important for Brac's tourism.

However, significant investments are needed, and projects have been being discussed and prepared for years. Admittedly, other investors related to the tourism sector on that island, which were involved in the relatively recently opened (and controversial) Grand Hotel View, could also be interested, and more greenfield investments are underway.

New airport director Petra Bonacic-Sargo also announced the investment in the annual financial report for last year, but when asked about the plans, she didn't go into details.

"Even before the coronavirus pandemic, we applied for two infrastructure projects in order to extend the track and reconstruct the passenger buildings with the help of EU funds. We haven't given up on them, we're still working on them and we hope for a positive outcome,'' said the director of Brac Airport.

At the time when the projects were being prepared, the head of the company from Brac was Tonci Peovic, and the plan was to extend the runway from 1,760 to 2,400 metres and widen it from 30 to 45 in order to enable the landing of larger planes. Investments were also prepared for upgrading the terminal building, and the airport was then going to be made to be able to receive three large aircraft at the same time.

A total investment of around 21 million euros was foreseen, however, in the meantime, certain changes have taken place and now, according Peovic, there is no reason for such a large investment and expansions for Brac Airport. Originally, the project was prepared based on cooperation with the Austrian TUI and a fleet whose planes had 175 seats, but that cooperation no longer exists, and Croatia Airlines has been renewing its fleet and replacing the existing planes with the Airbus 220, and the tendency, he adds, is to switch from turbo-propellers on jets and airplanes that carry fewer passengers.

According to his assessment, and he left the company before the summer, it is enough to extend the runway to 2100 to 2200 metres and keep the width as it is now. Considering the characteristics of the terrain, this will greatly reduce the cost of the investment, estimated to stand at a whopping 6-8 million euros, and there remains the possibility that part of the money for reconstruction and modernisation will also be provided through EU funds.

For more, make sure to keep up with our dedicated news section.

Saturday, 15 October 2022

Croatian Restaurant Chain Koykan Hopes to Conquer Germany, Austria

October the 15th, 2022 - The Croatian restaurant chain Koykan, known for its so-called ''fast-casual'' style, is set to spread to the German and Austrian markets following a new investment round.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, on Wednesday this week, the Croatian restaurant chain Koykan presented its expansion plans for the wider European Union (EU) market to investors, which includes the opening of as many as fifty franchise restaurants in Germany and Austria by the tear 2025. The Croatian chain Koykan is otherwise quite the unique restaurant concept that offers a wide range range of street food dishes and international cuisine in one place, from Asian and Mexican to Mediterranean and American, all based on high-quality and fresh local ingredients.

In order for the company's ambitious plan to expand its business to the European Union market to come true, the founders of Koykan plan to attract an investment worth one million euros with the help of the digital investment platform Funderbeam, and would-be investors have confirmed their interest in investing in this rapidly growing Croatian street food franchise.

"Funderbeam is a global digital platform that enables startups and developing businesses to raise capital under more favourable conditions than venture capital and other forms of investment at that stage of business development. At the same time, Funderbeam also enables individuals to become part of the business success of innovative and growing businesses as small investors with an investment of as little as 250 euros. This is a significant change in the world of investments, since until now such investments were reserved only for large institutional investors,'' explained Ognjan Despot, the director of Funderbeam for Central and Eastern Europe. He also pointed out that Croatian companies have already raised more than six million euros through various Funderbeam investments, while total investments through Funderbeam amount to more than 50 million euros.

"We didn't just decide to take this step overnight. Over the past decade, we've learned a lot, often from our own mistakes, we've worked persistently, we've developed, and only now are we truly ready for expansion into the European Union markets. With the help of Funderbeam, our goal is to raise one million euros in Series A and with that spring our step, to open up fifty franchise restaurants throughout Germany and Austria over the next three years," explained Boro Milivojevic, one of the co-founders of the Croatian restaurant chain Koykan.

Every company on Funderbeam must have a leading investor who contributes to the campaign's credibility with their investment, and the leading investor in Koykan, Mato Marcinkovic & Partners, emphasised that here in the Republic of Croatia, it is necessary to activate the investment climate in promising companies that plan to expand to a much larger market in Europe.

Davor Bruketa, a partner in the famous Croatian branding agency Bruketa&Zinic&Grey, joined Koykan as one of the investors. "After hearing about Koykan's story a few months ago, I decided to invest and financially support the project. The expansion of the first Croatian fast-casual restaurant chain is also interesting to my agency, so we decided together that Bruketa&Zinic&Grey will help with the design, digital advertising and brand activation for their franchise expansion," says Davor Bruketa.

The Croatian restaurant chain Koykan wants to include all of its fans in this project, therefore both Koykan employees and major suppliers have become investors, and the desire is for customers who like the famous Koykan classics such as their burgers, gyros, wraps and other offers to join in as well. The fundraising campaign on Funderbeam is set to continue for another month, and the currently expressed interest in investing has already exceeded the initial expectations of the founders.

For more on Croatian companies and investments, make sure to check out our dedicated business section.

Friday, 23 September 2022

Zagreb Brewery Invests 18 Million Kuna in Zapresic Logistics Centre

September the 23rd, 2022 - The Zagreb Brewery (Zagrebacka pivovara) recently presented its brand new Zapresic logistics centre, into which they've invested close to 18 million kuna.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the Zagreb Brewery presented its impressive recent investment in a new logistics centre, which will also double up as a distribution and commercial centre in Zapresic near the City of Zagreb.

The investment that was presented in the form of the new Zapresic logistics centre is a continuation of this well known company's wider investment cycle in the expansion of its overall production and storage capacities.

"Our new investment cycle marked this very important year for us, in which we celebrate 130 years of existence," said the President of the Management Board of the Zagreb Brewery, Miroslav Holjevac.

This year's investment cycle, he said, is important because it increases competitiveness on the market and the quality of customer service. He also noted that back in June this year, an investment of an even higher 64 million kuna was presented in the form of a technologically advanced line for filling and packing cans in their production facility in Zagreb.

The investment in this new Zapresic logisitcs centre has worked to successfully expand the company's logistics areas and covered storage areas as well as a truck terminal, which will ensure a safer and easier flow of traffic.

Additional storage areas necessary due to the increased production capacity and new product range have also been secured. 5,400 square metres of storage halls and an additional 9,000 square metres of external logistics areas were constructed, including a brand new truck terminal.

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

Saturday, 10 September 2022

Koprivnica's Nexe Group Completes 4.3 Million Kuna Investment

September the 10th, 2022 - The Koprivnica-based Nexe Group (Grupa) has completed its impressive 4.3 million kuna investment.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Jadranka Dozan writes, on Wednesday, Koprivnica's Nexe Group marked the completion of the investment of one of its components, the Koprivnica company IGMA, in a new concrete plant.

This component is involved in the exploitation and processing of gravel and sand and the production of concrete and concrete elements, and the investment in the concrete plant in Drnje worth a massive 4.3 million kuna also equals the modernisation of concrete production and adaptation to new technologies.

As the company pointed out, the construction project included a concrete production area with a mixer, an in-line aggregate tank with a total capacity of 120 m3, and three cement silos with a capacity of 80 m3 each. The accompanying buildings next to the concrete plant, the additive storage and control container, and the waste concrete separator have also been completed.

On the occasion of the presentation of the work of the new concrete plant, it has been stated that the goal of this investment is the additional rationalisation of resource management, the additional improvement of product quality and the level of environmental protection, as well as the meeting of increasing market demands. IGMA also explained that it is a logical sequence of the company's growth and development, which resulted in a 10 percent increase in revenue and a 27 percent increase in net profit back in 2021.

Karlo Sisl, the director of IGMA, said that he believes that with this project, the company will continue its market success and secure a future for both its workers and production. This Koprivnica company has been operating as part of the wider Nexe Group since back in 2006, and since then, investments worth more than 86 million kuna have been made in the modernisation of technology, new products and quality.

"At IGMA, we apply the following business policies: investing in production, business processes, employees, as well as building relationships with the local community. Current projects confirm that the Nexe Group intends to further develop its operations across Koprivnica, among which, the EU-funded project to increase energy efficiency and the use of renewable energy sources stands out. Support for this project was approved from the Competitiveness and Cohesion Operational Programme of the European Fund for Regional Development and the EU Mechanism for Recovery and Resilience tender, in the amount of 14.5 million kuna.

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

Saturday, 27 August 2022

Komiza to Get Brand New 5 Hotel in 52 Million Euro Investment

August the 27th, 2022 - Komiza on the beautiful Dalmatian island of Vis is set to get a brand new five star hotel complex as part of a large 52 million euro investment.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marija Crnjak writes, the entry of Marriott's lifestyle brand Autograph into Hotel Bisevo has now been officially signed off. As was announced by the company Modra spilja on the Zagreb Stock Exchange on Thursday, the members of the company's management, following the approval of the general assembly and the supervisory board, have now signed the License Agreement for the Autograph Collection hotel brand, under which the Hotel Bisevo in Komiza on the island of Vis will operate.

As was previously written about, this is part of a huge investment totalling 52 million euros in the construction of a new exclusive hotel in Komiza, in which the company Modra spilja is entering with the majority shareholder, PBZ Croatia osiguranje (insurance) pension funds.

In place of the bulky concrete building of the current two-star Hotel Bisevo, Komiza will be richer for a five-star hotel in the year 2025, which will fully fit into the natural environment provided by Vis, and view of the town, as well as a new promenade by the sea.

The 3LHD architectural studio, the Bruketa&Zinic&Grey agency and the Hotel&Destination Consulting consulting company were all engaged in the realisation of this project alongside the investor.

The Autograph Collection brand otherwise belongs to what is known as the "premium distinctive" group of Marriott hotels, which lies somewhere in the middle between luxury and select hotels, and in terms of content and style, these are unique hotels that emphasise the local culture and history of the locations in which they're constructed, as opposed to dominating the destination and overriding the history of the place.

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

Saturday, 2 July 2022

Valamar Padova: Two Million Euros Invested in Beautiful Rab Beach

July the 2nd, 2022 - A massive two million euros has been invested into a beautiful Rab beach which falls within the scope of one of many large hotel complexes - Valamar Padova.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the brand new sandy Rab beach at the Valamar Padova hotel and the The Beat Beach Club have now been officially opened! The value of Imperial Riviera's investment in this project in which the new Rab beach was revamped stands at more than two million euros.

With this investment, Imperial continues to invest in the development of the destination of the island of Rab as a whole and improve the quality of the tourist offer. The number of guests during the height of the summer tourist season had exceeded the beach capacities of the island of Rab, and especially the properly equipped beaches. Way back in 2012, Imperial Riviera initiated a project for the construction, expansion and improvement of the beaches in the Banjol area, which stretches from the Valamar Padova Hotel to the Padova Premium Camping Resort, according to a statement from the City of Rab's administration.

"Today, Imperial Riviera is the fifth largest tourist company in all of Croatia, and we're aware that in the great competition across the tourist market, we must ensure the continuity of investment in the quality of our facilities and content, including the beaches, which are an integral part of our overall offer. Imperial Riviera's strategic commitment within the Valamar Group is to respect the concept of sustainable development in all business segments, from protecting the natural environment to supporting local culture, lifestyle and relations with the local community. This includes taking care of the arrangement and maintenance of the beaches, which are equally enjoyed by the local population as they are by tourists, and which significantly improve the touristic competitiveness of the destination," said Vlado Mis of Imperial Riviera.

The construction and arrangement of the Rab beach in front of the Valamar Padova hotel enabled the employment of twelve new employees. The project included the filling of about 5,000 square metres of the coastal area, the construction of a breakwater, infrastructural and horticultural landscaping, a new promenade, beach facilities, a sanitary facility and equipping it with the most modern beach equipment, including canopies and sunbeds, as well as several attractions for children. With a capacity for about 700 swimmers, the new sandy Rab beach within the Valamar Padova hotel is currently the most modern and most beautifully decorated beach on the entire island.

The newly renovated beach is otherwise managed by Imperial Riviera as a concessionaire, and in addition to guests of the Valamar Padova hotel, the beach is also open to local residents and other tourists staying on the island of Rab.

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

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