Monday, 8 July 2019

Croatia Finally Ready for New Investment Cycle, Investors Interested

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marija Crnjak writes on the 7th of July, 2019, the director of Cushman & Wakefield CBS International for Croatia, a global real estate market player who entered Croatia's market back in May, explains why the domestic property market has been more lively over the last few years and to what extent developers have taken advantage of that positive trend.

He also revealed his recommendations that Croatia can follow to make sure everything improves, how it can use this new investment potential to the maximum extent possible, and discussed the situation in Croatia's region.

Cushman & Wakefield has expanded its exclusive cooperation with CBS International with its entrance onto the Croatian market back in early May, promising new projects and investors that have continued to show a growing interest in investment in Zagreb, along the Adriatic, and even in other parts of the country.

Cushman & Wakefield already covers the regional markets of Serbia, Macedonia and Montenegro, with a total of 51,000 employees in more than seventy countries, it is among the largest companies specialising in commercial real estate services and enjoys a massive 8.2 billion dollars in revenue. Poslovni Dnevnik sat down and talked with Predrag Tutić, the director of Cushman & Wakefield CBS International for Croatia, and talked about the new investment cycle that is expected in Croatia, the investment projects with the greatest potential, property prices and the legal regulation in the property valuation segment.

Why are you just entering the Croatian market now?

The company's global strategy is to be present on the markets where the customers are present. So far, it's been organised so that markets are covered by regional centres from the surrounding countries. Thus, Budapest was responsible for this part of Europe, and the Prague office supervised operations throughout Southeastern Europe. It has been shown that we've not been able to provide enough strong local support to our customers because there is a need for local knowledge as the market is sensitive and investors are very precise in seeking information.

The markets are similar, but we can already see the difference between the Zagreb market and that of Belgrade or Budapest, not to mention the Czech Republic or Slovakia, which are markets that are much more active.

Our clients are banks and investment funds that require consulting or property assessment services, then companies which go on and open new offices and domestic or foreign developers who're developing projects on the housing market or the commercial real estate market.

Is your entry onto this market an indicator of stronger dynamics on the Croatian real estate market?

Of course, the market has come to life in the last three years and is dynamic. Zagreb recorded a slight increase in transactions in all segments on the property market and this trend will continue, so the city will remain attractive for investments, as will Croatia's coastline which is always attractive for tourism investments.

The main reasons for the revival of the real estate market in Zagreb can certainly be seen in the recovery of the economy with a low level of unemployment and a rise in salaries and personal consumption. In addition, banks are very liquid and lending is convenient.

All this has resulted in higher demand for all products on the property market, we know that most shopping malls have changed owners, and there were great investments that took place in tourism as well. The housing market has already been very dynamic for three to four years now, there are a growing number of transactions, new projects are well thought-up and respond to the needs of the market, so investors didn't encounter any problems with their sales.

What can you expect in the future, what do you count on?

In the forthcoming period, we expect a new investment cycle that will bring in modern projects with new content, but to do so, we have to work on the development of infrastructure and urbanism, in the City of Zagreb and in other cities in Croatia. City zones need to be defined in a better way and locations for new types of projects that will provide a different type of experience with their concept and content, either in offices or in the residential segment, need to be prepared. Market changes happen very quickly, business models are changing and investors have to follow that. In the surrounding countries, such projects have existed for years and Croatia is now prepared for them.

In Zagreb there's a low rate of free office space, and so the prices are stagnating.

The vacancy rate is now below five percent, which clearly shows that the market is ready for new projects. We expect the lease prices to remain stable, but future projects that will be defined by the new standards will also have some higher prices. So far, the generators of the growth of the property market have been IT companies which grow quickly, they have been among the first to have implemented new standards in using their business premises to motivate and retain their employees in a stimulating working atmosphere.

Have you noticed the greater interest of foreign investors in Croatia?

There's definitely great interest from foreign investors, as well as from domestic investors and developers who have been analysing Croatia's market for some time and considering all the possibilities for investing in Croatia.

So far, there have been some attempts made by investors but now is definitely the right moment to catch that wave. It's necessary to define projects and investment zones where they can realise their ideas. We support them in every step, from the project definition itself, its features, the preparation of the market project, the analysis of the site itself with the investor, participation and monitoring of different stages of project development, and finally at the point of placing the investment onto the market.

How do markets differ in Zagreb and Belgrade?

Zagreb's investment cycle and market development began in all segments ten years before Belgrade's did, which is particularly noticeable in the segment of commercial real estate. In 2009, Zagreb had one million square metres of office space, and Belgrade will only reach that number by the end of 2020. In the retail space segment, Zagreb has 650 square metres of space per 1,000 inhabitants, and Belgrade on the other hand has 230 square metres. However, Belgrade is a bigger city and there is a greater need for new commercial spaces, which is one of the reasons for the current expansion of the market.

How big is the market in Budapest, and the Czech and Slovak markets are saturated, what's happening there?

These are bigger and more developed markets, but more importantly - the quality of the offer they have differs significantly when compared to that which Croatia offers and have long been on the map of institutional funds. On the other hand, it's difficult to talk about the same trend for all segments of the market as they go through different phases, because they're heavily dependent on supply and demand. For this reason, in such countries, investing in better quality commercial or residential projects that will respond to specific market niches as well as investing in alternative investments such as investment in student homes or homes for the elderly, are increasingly present.

Will house prices rise further?

Over the last three years, prices in Zagreb have risen, which is the result of new projects that have been better defined and as such introduced new prices. When we talk about housing construction, we have to make a difference between demanded and realised prices. I'd say that the realised housing prices in the coming period will not grow drastically, because we're still a market with limited capacities. We've had a very similar number of transactions in the last three years, so we don't expect any bigger deviations here.

Do you see a place for the development of long-term rental projects?

Certainly, this is a model that happens abroad, and it will certainly be one of the segments that will start to develop here, whether it's generally intended for housing or for student accommodation.

The long-term rental market is slowly stabilising. It is well known that a large number of owners have changed things up with their property to suit short-term rentals on the tourist market, but I think we've reached a certain maximum on this issue and the trend is that the owners of apartments will slowly return to long-term rental market. Tourism management requires serious engagement, property preparation, and constant investment to make the market competitive and generate revenue. I expect the market to stabilise over the next two years, and I also expect new investors for long-term leases.

Make sure to follow our dedicated business page for more information on investment in Croatia, the real estate market in Croatia, doing business in Croatia and much more.

Wednesday, 19 June 2019

Valamar Invests 280 Million Kuna in First Large 5 Star Camp

Despite the rather unpromising weather that marked May and the very beginning of June, at the beginning of the month, Valamar's new camp received more than 1,500 guests, most of whom were Germans and Austrians.

As Borivoje Dokler/Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 19th of June, 2019, at the beginning of the month in Funtana, a Croatian village seven kilometres away from Poreč, the Istra Premium Camping Resort opened its doors to the public.

This is the first large Valamar five-star camp, which stretches across 37 hectares of land and can accommodate as many as 2,781 guests at any one time. Over the past two years, 280 million kuna has been invested into the project, making this, along with the five-star Valamar Collection Marea Suites, the most significant project for Valamar this year. Booking is going excellently and on the day ''camp opening day'', scheduled for the 27th of June, the camp will operating at full capacity.

Most of the guests appear to come from Germany and Austria, although it's still somewhat difficult to grasp the exact structure of guests to this Valamar facility. This camp, with its wide choice of luxury accommodation, can satisfy even the most demanding guests, from those looking for a nice plot facing the Adriatic sea, a modern camping home, to those wanting a luxury camping villa with its own private pool.

As far as prices are concerned, Valamar offers plots ranging from as little as 15 to as much as 119 euros, and when it comes to luxury accommodation, prices range from 58 to 567 euros. For example, for a glamping tent with a fully equipped kitchen, bathroom and two bedrooms during the peak tourist season, it's necessary to allocate around 250 euros per day, while renting out the most expensive Camping Villas which can accommodate up to six people, you're looking at a price tag of above 500 euros.

The camp has a large number of entertainment facilities for children, of which Aquamar is particularly well known, it's a family water park with five pools and water attractions covering a total water surface of 1,030 square metres.

What is particularly refreshing about Valamar's new project is the large indoor entertainment zone with various playrooms, children's clubs and a large theater. The games are equipped with the Super Mario program and are adapted for children under three years of age, and then from three to seven and then seven to twelve years old.

In the centre of the camp is the central Piazza square (trg), which hosts the ''Musi&Fun'' program each and every night, and is surrounded by a number of small specialised shops and bars. Although they offer mostly high-quality products, the prices here don't really differ all that much from those you'd see in regular stores.

Up to now, Valamar has invested an enormous 5.8 billion kuna in Croatian tourism. Within the three-year growth and development strategy, a total of 2.5 billion kuna has been invested into its tourism portfolio, and more than 3 billion kuna has been invested in the expansion of the company's operations and acquisitions.

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

Thursday, 13 June 2019

Bušljeta and Klemm Invest 5 Million Euros in Nomad Bar, Zrće

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 13th of June, 2019, the owners of the internationally famous beach clubs Blue Marlin and Nikki Beach want to open their first Croatian franchise in Novalja, at no less than Zrće beach.

In just one week, Croatia's famous Zrće beach is set to get a large new gastronomic-music club for adults over the age of 25.

This refers to club Nomad which will be jointly opened by the owner of the nearby club Papaya, Ivan Bušljeta, and Josip Klemm, at the site of the former Aquarius.

As has already been reported, the duo purchased Aquarius in spring this year, and back in March, they founded the company Projekt (Project) Nomad, building a new club.

As Bušljeta revealed, this new investment is worth about five million euros, and the club combines a combination of top-quality gastronomic services, deep-house, house, techno, tech house and other disco music with a relaxed club atmosphere.

When it comes to the actual design of the club, the duo were inspired by the style of those on the populat Greek island of Mykonos, and those responsible for the design and the realisation of it are Leskovar and Mi2 studio, and the club, according to Bušljeta, is undergoing its final stages, and because of that, no photographs of the progress are currently available.

Zrće beach's brand new club will operate as a beach bar, a restaurant and a nightclub with a two-hour cabaret show that will be held every night during the tourist season. Nomad will officially open at the Island Gathering Festival, which will be held in late June in cooperation with BSH events and Tanzen Kollektiv.

Nomad's owners have revealed that this is just be the beginning of the transformation of the famous (or infamous, as the case may be) Zrće beach.

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

Wednesday, 12 June 2019

Rimac's First Investor Invests Further Million Kuna in Croatia!

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Bernard Ivezic writes on the 12th of June, 2019, the very first investor in Croatia's highly respected Rimac Automobili, Colombian Frank Kanayet Yepes, has made yet another investment in a Croatian startup. He has put a million kuna into the innovative Zagreb company Hubbig.

Much like Rimac Automobili, this startup investment significantly deviates from what you'd typically see in Croatia, or what you could likely refer to as the Croatian average. Kanayet Yepes has registered his co-ownership in the Court Registry, where the name of his company from Bogota, Colombia, now sits. This means that his investments, therefore, weren't run through any headquarters based abroad, but Hubbig received its directly, right here in Croatia. In in this investment round, this Colombian investor was accompanied by a Croatian investor, Ivan Glavaš, who was also entered as a co-owner of Croatia's Hubbig in the Court Registry.

Glavaš is known to Croatia's continually growing startup community as the founder of blockchain startup Forebit, which Thompson Reuters and Bloomberg are doing in the world of the ''fiat money'' index, with analytics and other sophisticated financial services which are carried out for banks, stock exchanges, and other institutions. In addition to the above mentioned individuals, Monclac Mikac, former operations director at Rimac Automobili, who today is the director of the development of the Spanish company QEV Technologies, joined Hubbig's co-ownership. Mikac has now become Hubbig's adviser.

Hubbig was founded at the end of 2017. In May last year, it started with commercial work and today it has 10 members. Along with interesting investors and the location of the investment, it's also interesting that since the beginning of operations, it's remained profitable. FINA's records state that in 2018, Hubbig enjoyed a turnover of 724,658 kuna, with a net profit of 101,415 kuna. This platform is unique in that, unlike freight forwarders, it immediately prints out final prices, even for the most complex of trips, such as shipping vessels and trucks from China to Europe, or indeed vice versa.

Thar type of job has so far been done manually, so a final price was something that usually needed to be waited for. In addition, there is often no possibility for the shipment to be tracked, and this innovative startup from Croatia also offers this option.

Dragana Lipovac, the founder and director of Hubbig, says it aims to grow into a global logistics marketplace that connects carriers to customers without intermediaries and other ''middle men''.

"Our plan is to expand into the region of Central Europe, because we're currently focusing on Croatia and Zagreb and opening up opportunities for transportation in Latin America and China," stated Lipovac. She added that the contribution of Frank Kanayet, which was then joined by that of Monika Mikac, will be enormously helpful.

She also stated that, due to his investment in Rimac Automobili, Frank comes to Croatia at least twice a year and she finally had the opportunity to meet him last September.

She says that they were able to negotiate in principle, then things became more concrere, they dealt with and resolved all of the other procedures, until the investment became apparent in black and white in the Court Register.

"Frank has invested in 28 startups in the last year alone, he has a great team around him, and we've been doing everything without any problems,'' added Lipovac. Ivan Glavaš, another investor in Hubbig, says that the core of this platform to raise price transparency in freight forwarding.

"My entire career on the stock market revolves around prices, so my work with Hubbig is even more interesting,'' said Glavaš. He is convinced that his return on this investment is safe.

However, he emphasised the fact that he has no intention of pulling out of the investment, claiming that his investment was to help grow the company. How well Hubbig's growth plans are going is perhaps best illustrated by the fact that the company has already exceeded last year's revenue.

"I believe that the revenue in 2019 will be double in comparison to that of last year, and the plans are for the number of clients, despite it still being small base, to triple," said Lipovac.

Prior to this million-kuna investment, this unusual company from Croatia received a total of 365,000 kuna of seed capital on two occasions. At the beginning of the year, it took a convertible loan of 200,000 kuna, and at the end of 2017, it won at Zagreb Connect, winning 165,000 kuna.

Follow our dedicated business page for much more.

Tuesday, 11 June 2019

Ivanec: What can Best Microcity for Investment Teach Rest of Croatia?

From 2014 to 2018, Ivanec has withdrawn more than 20 million kuna from European Union Funds, and the project "Aglomeracija Ivanec" is about to go ahead, with an enormous price tag of 130 million kuna attached to it.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/PD i VL native tim writes on the 10th of June, 2019, in the Ivanec-east (Ivanec-istok) business zone, there are currently two major exporters about to open their new production halls and logistics facilities, and a large German-Croatian company completed its fourth hall there, and has since been actively engaged in export production. In addition, new investors are entering both zones in the town. These are just some of the economic activities currently taking place in this otherwise totally unassuming part of Croatia.

"With the city company Poslovna zona d.o.o., investors have been sold nearly all of the commercial land owned by the zones. That has encouraged us to meet the new demands of potential foreign investors, among which some are exceptionally respectable in terms of their business plans. Ivanec has one of the lowest unemployment rates in Croatia - just two percent! The economy is growing, and the Ivanec area is burdened by the all-Croatian problem: a lack of workforce,'' recalled Ivanec's mayor, Milorad Batinić.

The fact that something has been ''going on'' for quite some time in this part of Croatia, and that that ''something'' is indeed worthwhile, was confirmed by the interest of no less than the highly respected Financial Times, which recognised Ivanec as an absolutely excellent place to invest. That isn't usually a sentence you hear about anywhere in Croatia. This is, according to Ivanec's city administration, thanks to a whole host of carefully elaborated and targeted policies that have been being created and developed for a good ten years now, and all of Ivanec's strengths have been directed towards just one, main strategic goal - to create a favourable business climate.

"These policies were profiled as a strategy, and the Financial Times recognised them back in 2014/2015, placing Ivanec among the ten ''microcities'' in Europe with the best strategies for attracting and encouraging direct foreign investment.

Two years later, they declared us the winner in this category and recommended Ivanec as the most desirable European investment destination in the category of microcities, those who think that all this can be achieved overnight are very much mistaken. It all required external work from everyone involved in these processes, it included extremely demanding training according to international certification criteria, and working outside of working hours,'' the mayor added.

The development of a systematised and highly standardised favourable business environment in Ivanec has been formalised over the past few years through the international BFC (Business Friendly Certification) project, which is carried out by the German Government, US AID and other foreign partners in the so-called transitional countries of SE Europe.

Ivanec is the only Croatian city which, beginning back in 2012, has continued to confirm its positive business orientation and its business friendly system within both its city administration and its city-based organisations successfully. It does so every three years with the appropriate recertification.

In day-to-day business, this is accomplished in a way that sees Ivanec as a partner in business, through a whole range of services, grants and capital projects that directly and indirectly encourage the development of MSPs. Encouraged by the negative trend of young people leaving Croatia over the past few years, in the past two years, Ivanec has been systematically engaged in its local entrepreneurial community.

''Thanks to access to EU funds, a project has been implemented in which ''beginner entrepreneurs'' can access business mentoring services, specialist training, can be promoted at business fairs and on Most importantly, this year we're offering them the opportunity to enter the entrepreneurial incubator without having to pay rent, it's 100 percent free of charge and there are 100 percent free administrative and consultancy services.

The unemployment rate last year [in Ivanec] was four percent, this year it's even lower, at two percent. In the case of Ivanec, this means that, on average, the number of unemployed people registered in the system is below 200 people,'' Batinić said.

With the aim of developing the city and infrastructure in the period from 2014 to 2018, more than 20 million kuna has been withdrawn by Ivanec for about 70 different projects.

In addition to enjoying an incredibly low unemployment rate, being declared as the best microcity for investment in all of Europe by the Financial Times, and having a lot to teach the rest of the country, Ivanec has also been experiencing a baby boom, in stark contrast to the rest of Croatia, the demographic picture of which continues to darken.

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

Saturday, 8 June 2019

Port 9: HTP Korčula Invests Two Million Kuna into Korčula Beach

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marija Crnjak writes on the 7th of June, 2019, the hotel company HTP Korčula recently opened the new Korčula beach called Port 9, marking the biggest investment of this company in which a massive two million kuna was invested in just the very first phase.

Korčul'as Port 9 is also the first beach in Korčula to have been granted a county concession for as long as ten years. It is a public beach boasting over 1,600 square metres of promenade, ambient lighting, proper facilities for disabled people, a horticultural and a VIP zone for the guests of Korčula's new Port 9 Resort to enjoy, as well as other visitors to Korčula, and of course the area and the island's local population.

This investment followed the proper arrangement and adjustment of the Port 9 Resort's accommodation capacities back in 2017, the company then stated the fact that they enjoyed 6.1 percent higher revenue in the first five months of that year compared to the same period the year before, with the highest number of visitors coming from two European countries, the United Kingdom (24.3 percent), followed by the French (11.5 percent), and then by visitors from further away, more specifically from the United States (9.7 percent).

"Korčula is an avio-destination and therefore we welcome the increasing number of flights to Dubrovnik Airport. Each direct flight means a lot to us, which is shown in the rise of overseas guests staying in our facilities. We note 22 percent more guests from the United States compared to the same period last year, and the percentage of group travellers from Taiwan also increased. Taking into account the bad weather that wasn't tourism's and hospitality workers' favour, we're extremely satisfied with the results achieved,'' said Ivana Hatvalić Poljak of the HTP Korčula administration.

In addition, within the beach setting, a map and an Instagram location were also set up, marking the first such project in the Republic of Croatia, and the map boasts seven locations within the resort for Instagram photos taken by guests upon their arrival.

Follow our dedicated travel page for much more. If it's just Korčula you're interested in, give Total KorčulaKorčula a follow.

Wednesday, 29 May 2019

Enormous Investment: Boeing and Airbus Parts to be Produced Near Zagreb

More than excellent news for the Croatian job market and the domestic economy as a whole as as many as 600 jobs are set to be opened in Zagreb County thanks to a huge investment.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 29th of May, 2019, parts for the aviation giants Boeing and Airbus will be produced in the Republic of Croatia. The parts will be incorporated into the world's most famous aircraft and their engines, including names like Airbus, Boeing, Bombardier, and Rolls-Royce. The news was announced on Wednesday by Večernji list, citing that the Austrian aeronautical company FACC is beginning to construct a production plant for the interior parts of planes in the business zone of Jakovlje in Zagreb County, close to the Croatian capital of Zagreb.

The investment is worth a massive 33 million euros and will open up 600 jobs. The land has already been purchased, the necessary permissions and the permit have been granted and the construction has begun. The plant should be completed by the end of 2020 and production at the plant will commence in 2021.

This great news has also been confirmed by the head of the aforementioned Austrian company Robert Machtlinger, who stated that FACC wants to grow and be quicker than the market and intends to work on strengthening the expertise of its employees. "Zagreb is offering us this because it has a highly qualified workforce," he added.

The company chose between different locations in Central and Eastern Europe and ultimately decided on Zagreb. The sale contract has already been signed, and the Austrian company has become the owner of the land in the Jakovlje business area, totalling 130 thousand square metres.

Vecernji list also revealed that a meeting will take place on Wednesday in Banski Dvori where the President of FACC AGI's management board and the president of AVIC Cabin Systems Co. Limited from China, a company which owns 55.5 percent of the Austrian company, will talk to Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković, Economy Minister Darko Horvat and State Secretary Zdenk Lucić about the project implementation and everything that goes into the planning and licensing phase.

The plan is that construction work on the plant will be completed by December 2020, and production will begin no later than April 2021, according to Dnevnik.

As a daughter company of the Chinese state-owned company Aviation Industry Corporation of China, one of the ten largest Chinese companies, FACC, based in Austria, is part of the global market and cooperates with world leaders in the aviation industry such as Airbus, Boeing, Bombardier, Rolls-Royce. FACC is otherwise a company with more than 3,400 employees from 38 countries which work in thirteen locations worldwide, Vecernji list writes.

They added that un the financial year 2018/2019, they earned 781.6 million euros in revenue, an increase of 4.5 percent compared to the previous financial year, and also the best result in the company's thirty-year history.

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

Tuesday, 28 May 2019

Huge European Investment Coming to Bjelovar-Bilogora County

A huge European investment for Bjelovar-Bilogora County has been achieved, and usage permits are expected in just a few weeks time.

All too often we're bombarded with depressing tales of failed investments, lost money, shattered dreams and the infamous red tape of the Croatian state which seems to want nothing more than to stop potential investors with cash in their pockets from putting their money where their mouth is in Croatia for the benefit of everyone.

When confronted with such headlines and stories on a daily basis, it can often be difficult to believe, let alone imagine, that not everything is always quite so bleak here in Croatia. While many would-be investors try and fail at the first (or first several) needless hurdles put in place by Croatia's blank-faced uhljebs (rough translation: pointless state employees/oxygen thieves), there are many who do persevere, and succeed. But, we'd all much rather be depressed and have something to complain about over a four hour coffee while we ourselves could be working, right? Right.

The fact of the matter is, Croatia is slowly but surely improving when it comes to investment, and while the country has an awfully long way to go before it could ever be considered even remotely investor friendly or truly safe, progress is being made at a snail's pace - the Croatian way.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 28th of May, 2019, one of the largest European investments is set to come to no less than Bjelovar-Bilogora County in continental Croatia, in the form of a Technology Park in Garešnica. The park was planned and then built in the Kapelica Entrepreneurial Zone, and the value of the investment is an enormous 21.5 million kuna. Most of the money, as much as 92 percent of the total amount, was invested by the European Regional Development Fund, according to a report from Tocka na i.

Bjelovar-Bilogora's new Technology Park stretches to nearly 1,800 square metres, boasts an impressive eighteen business premises, a conference and education hall, as well as a meeting room. The issuance of a usage permit is expected in early July, followed by the final conclusion of the contracts with entrepreneurs.

Josip Bilandžija, Mayor of Garešnica, is convinced that Bjelovar-Bilogora's brand new Technology Park will definitely reach completion. There will be places for eleven new and three already existing companies, and assistance in development projects will be readily provided by the Entrepreneurial Incubator from Osijek, as well as the Entrepreneurial Centre in Garešnica.

Make sure to follow our dedicated business page for more on investment in Croatia, doing business in Croatia, working in Croatia, and much more.

Friday, 17 May 2019

Successful Croatian Company ''Include'' Enjoys Yet More Investment

The highly successful Croatian company ''Include'' recently celebrated its fifth birthday, and today this remarkable company has had its worth valued by an independent auditing house, and that worth has been estimated at more than 110 million kuna.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 15th of May, 2019, Solin's Include, a Croatian company which produces smart benches headed by young entrepreneur Ivan Mrvoš, is continuing to go from strength to strength. Mrvoš recently confirmed the first direct investor in a new investment round. That investor is no less than Stjepan Talan, the director of the Varaždin-based company Solvis. Solvis currently employs 180 people, and back in 2017, this company recorded more than 600 million kuna in revenue. In addition, the company has been listed on the London Stock Exchange for the past two years among the 1000 companies that inspire Europe.

"For the last ten years, my company, Solvis, has been successfully doing business and selling its solar panels on global markets. I'm looking at the company Include with perspective, and, considering the fact that it works in the same industrial sector, I think this investment can contribute to the betterment of overall business, primarily synergy between Solvis and Include,'' stated Solvis' Stjepan Talan.

Cooperation between Include and Solvis started back in 2015, and otherwise, Include launched a new investment round twenty days ago, via the Funderbeam platform, and up until now, an impressive eleven million kuna has been raised by 450 investors from Croatia and across the world. In addition to the money raised by Include through the platform, negotiations with several private investors such as Stjepan Talan and the total investment amount (private investors and the Funderbeam platform) that sum could reach up to thirty million kuna.

Include exports eleven products to 43 global markets, and are present in 260 cities around the world. The company's worth was estimated at 110 million kuna this year by an independent auditing firm. Owing to its innovative, smart urban furnishings, the Croatian company has already won several much deserved awards and recognitions, such as Deloitte's Technology Fast 50 and Forbes' 30 under 30 award for its founder, Ivan Mrvoš.

"We're exceptionally pleased that this cooperation with Solvis has given us a new dimension,'' said Include's Ivan Mrvoš.

Make sure to follow our dedicated business and Made in Croatia pages for much more.

Thursday, 16 May 2019

Construction of Luxury Aman Resort in Cavtat Beginning This Year

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 15th of May, 2019, the saga with the former Cavtat ''Macedonia'' hotel could well have a happy end, Večernji list reports.

The story dates back to the year 2013 when a group of investors announced that the currently abandoned and devastated site will the luxury Aman resort built there. Things were of course rather complicated, which isn't remotely unusual, and in the meantime the ownership structure of the investor's company has changed, but the key player, Greek entrepreneur Petros Stathis, didn't think for even one moment to walk away from the planned and desired Cavtat investment.

Passionate about business and temperamental like any real Greek, he is the owner of several Aman hotels and resorts groups, including Aman Sveti Stefan in neighbouring Montenegro and over in Venice. Business wise, he's mostly focused on the Balkan region. He is active in both banking and real estate world and was even the director of the famous Athenian Football Club AEK.

Unlike many before him, the industrious Petros Stathis refused to give up on Croatia, and at the end of last year, in Croatia's southernmost town in the extreme south of Dalmatia, he intensified his efforts to finally get the project of Cavtat's Aman resort off the ground. Otherwise, Aman is a chain of luxury hotels in 34 locations in as many as 21 countries, and the first resort under that name was opened back in 1988 in Phuket.

Such resorts usually have only fifty rooms, and each guest is matched by four employees on average. In an interview with Vecernji list, Petros Stathis revealed that things really are finally getting going, being ''raised from the dead'' as it were, and that such a resort in Croatia, more precisely in Cavtat, is no longer just fiction.

Soon, you're coming to Croatia, does this mean that the Aman project in Cavtat is definitely going ahead?

I can say with pleasure, that the short answer to your question is yes!

I'm thrilled to be able to say that we've made progress and we expect the machines to return to their location at the end of this year. Otherwise, it was never the case whether or not the Aman Cavtat project would be realised or not, but as I mentioned before, we had a complicated beginning and we had to overcome many obstacles.

It's great, of course, to return to Croatia, but this project, believe me, is more than me. This is also about Croatia and our partners and people from this community. Our focus has always been on the future and the realisation of the resort in Cavtat so that the country could further profit through the Aman project, just how other countries have benefited from it. Whenever we start these types of projects, we want to complete it according to the plan, but it's rare that all factors are in our full control.

A project of such magnitude requires coordination and cooperation. We made a huge effort and we were lucky that we had positive support from many sides. Soon it will be six years ago since the construction of the luxury Aman resort at the location of the former Macedonia hotel in Cavtat was first announced, the first machines even arrived at the construction site, but soon after that it all stopped.

What made everything slow down over the last few years?

It's no secret that this project has a complex history. Since taking ownership of the site, we have been working hard and working with all involved parties to resume construction.

Why is Croatia interesting for you to invest in and is it easier to invest in Montenegro, for example?

As an international company, we always look globally.

Each country has a different approach to investment and development. I personally love your beautiful country and its people. I have strong family ties in Croatia and I've spent many happy moments here. Croatia is a wonderful country, rich in history, with beautiful nature and positive people with a positive business attitude that reaches international business boundaries. But the potential offered by Cavtat is the most attractive part of this story.

This is a great opportunity for us and will have a major role in current investments in Croatia. Our goal for Croatia is the same as for any other country in which we've built and invested, which is to create the best we can and leave a lasting, positive legacy of which the country can be proud. The goal of this project is to build the most beautiful resort in Croatia, in keeping with the environment and local infrastructure.

This opportunity is huge and we hope to act as a catalyst for further internal development in Croatia, now and also in the future. It's incredible when you think that more foreign tourists visit Croatia than, for example, Australia. And this is almost double the annual level. Tourism makes up more than 12 percent of Croatian GDP, and this money goes to local wages, through the construction of hotels and other related projects.

This country has a talented, entrepreneurial workforce. Half of the population speak English, but Italian and German are also spoken. And just look at the innovations you're responsible for! Everything, from chemical pencils to parachutes, bulbs, MP3 code, all created by Croats. It's time for Croatia to become more significant on the world stage, and we want to play a key role in that story.

What is the value of the investment in Cavtat and when will the new hotel be completed?

This is a huge 50 million euro project that will build the best of the best in Cavtat. This is our approach to building every resort. To provide the best. We wouldn't even launch the project if we couldn't achieve the best possible. This isn't just a hotel. This is an investment in the development and the future of Cavtat, through which we'll support local development, jobs and employment. We'll start with the works at the end of this year, and later on we'll inform you about our opening plan.

How will the Aman resort in Cavtat look and what will it offer to its guests?

Personally, I can hardly wait to see how it will look once when it's done. This is a new level of design and unification with the landscape, and local, natural materials will be used. If you look at any other Aman resort we've built, including the ones in Montenegro in Sveti Stefan, you'll get a very good idea of ​​what Aman Cavtat will be like.

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