Saturday, 16 March 2019

Investment in Croatia - Doing Your Laundry Pays Off

If one goes in search of a definitive answer to the question of what type of business concept with great market potential and small initial investments is currently worth investing in in the Republic of Croatia, few people would be able to give you the real answer, and the real answer is as bland as laundry. No, really.

As Jasmina Trstenjak/Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 15th of March, 2019, the current estimates are that the number of overnight stays realised by foreign tourists, especially in private accommodation, will increase in Croatia this sumemr season, and such commercial facilities will have virtually no real outlet to deal with proper cleaning, washing, drying and the general supply of products for accommodation units like hotels do, which is an increasing problem with each passing season.

Along with the strengthening of the position of Croatia as an attractive tourist destination far from Europe's shores all the way over on distant markets such as China and Korea, it's expected that this guest profile will visit more than one destination within the country. As the trend of short overnight stays of course goes hand in hand with doing a lot of laundry, this is a big challenge for renters along the coast and beyond.

In Croatia, numerous hospitality and accommodation facilities rely heavily on laundry services to enable them to operate smoothly throughout the season. Although such facilities, which until rather recently only appeared in American films, are becoming more and more of a common sight here in Croatia. Regardless of the fact that they're making more ''regular appearences'', there still aren't enough of them currently in operation.

Mario Martinek, the owner of the Bijeli svijet (White world) company that has been doing business successfully on both the domestic and European markets for many years now, says that a significant number of Croatian workers are working abroad now, and lack of service staff is one of the main obstacles to overcome:

"Because of this, there's often a lack of people to do the basic activities such as the frequent washing and drying of bedding,'' says Bijeli svijet's owner. In the last four years in Croatia, Martinek's company has worked to open more than 80 such facilities, through which more than 200 people were employed.

"In addition to hotels and campsites, there are many families looking for an independent source of income, and we're particularly proud of that,'' he added, noting that no special technical skills or previous entrepreneurial experience are needed to run a laundry service.

They offer their clients free education, assistance with self-employment, and a step by step guide through the entire whole process: from collecting grants to starting work and opening and working in their own facilities. On the other hand, hotels, camps, restaurants and other larger facilities, by incorporating professional equipment, manage to realise significant savings on energy, such as on electricity and water. Savings on electricity consumption are 25 percent, and on water, a significant 44 percent per year.

According to the Bijeli svijet's data, in 90 percent of cases, laundry facilities are profitable business-wise all year long, and the process from idea to realisation takes a mere two months on average.

Make sure to stay up to date with investment and doing business in Croatia by following our dedicated business page.

 

Click here for the original article by Jasmina Trstenjak for Poslovni Dnevnik

Thursday, 14 March 2019

Property Investors Interested in Croatia's Most Remote Islands

Property and real estate investors have their eyes on some of Croatia's most far flung islands, and projects up their sleeves which could boost the economy, creating jobs and bringing in revenue.

As Morski writes on the 14th of March, 2019, six Croatian companies, members of the Croatian Chamber of Commerce's (HGK) real estate business association, are exhibiting at MIPIM, the largest property investment fair which is being held from the 12th to the 15th of March in Cannes, France.

Alma House from Pula, Broker Group, 21. Real estate & tourism century and Cio Real Estate from Split, Renova Real Estate and Spiller Farmer from Zagreb presented their projects to more than 5,400 investors and 26,000 visitors from across 100 countries worldwide, the Croatian Chamber of Commerce reported.

''For four years in a row, the Croatian Chamber of Commerce has been enabling real estate agents to present investment projects from Croatia at this, the largest real estate fair. There's huge interest for tourism projects as well as for infrastructure and logistics projects,'' said HGK's Vlatko Mrvoš.

Srđan Javorčić from Cio Real Estate said that numerous contacts made at the fair will revive investment even more in the domestic real estate sector. "What would further boost investment activity is the introduction of so-called" "Golden visas" which is already a known concept in EU countries, that would make things easier for investors to operate in Croatia,'' Javorčić emphasised.

"There's a clear interest in the development of high tourism on our remote islands, which hasn't been a practice until now," said Meri Vulić from Broker Group.

''Quality projects presented at this fair which could result in significant financial investments and job creation are in the interest of us all,'' said Hrvoje Paver of HGK.

Since this is the 30th MIPIM, Ban Ki-moon, former UN Secretary General, held its inauguration ceremony by highlighting the importance of preserving the environment in which we live: "There's no Plan B for the life of mankind and the environment, because there's no Planet B. We have to respect the environment we live in," Ban Ki-moon stated.

Make sure to follow our dedicated lifestyle and business pages for much more on investment in Croatia.

Tuesday, 12 March 2019

As Investments Fall, is Croatia's Hotel Business Stagnating?

As Marija Crnjak/Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 12th of March, 2019, Croatia's hotel sector stagnated last year in terms of the number of new rooms and in the sense of the level of entry of foreign hotel brands. A lot of this, but of course not all of it, is because Croatia has deemed it more profitable to build and invest more in private accommodation, an often ''grey'' area of Croatia's tourism industry with much lower taxes and a very poor level of general regulation. The level of major investments in new hotel rooms has fallen significantly, the number of which grew by a mere one percent in one year.

Due to all the above mentioned conditions, the market is still dominated by local investors, quite a few new names have appeared on the scene in the last year, which are still to be properly positioned as hotel brands, according to the annual global report on hotel chains in 22 European countries, "European Chains & Hotels Report 2019" by the Horwath Consulting House HTL. In the Republic of Croatia, more than a quarter of these hotels, more specifically 186 of them, operate under 43 brands in total, of which 22 are local and 21 are international brands.

"High seasonality and an unfavourable environment for investors, especially with [granting the necessary] permits, are the main reason we're in 159th place on the Doing Business list, they're the biggest barriers for foreign investors, who find it difficult to decide on taking risks in developing projects in Croatia, although a few positive examples have occurred on the market which do lead to more optimism,'' stated Siniša Topalović from Horwath's Zagreb-based office.

Horwath's analysis, which is based on the numbers from Real Capital Analytic, only takes into account investments of more than 5 million dollars, reveals that investment in hotels in Croatia is down by as much as 90 percent, from 59 million euro to a mere 7 million euro.

''The growth of hotel brands in 2018 in Croatia (4 percent) should be observed through the proper placement of several local hotel names, and only time will reveal whether or not these names will be branded on the market,'' Topalović explained.

Additionally, although Croatia can be statistically put in a very good position in terms of the number of brands operating here, the market situation shows that the level of activity is lagging behind some countries which are considered to be weaker than Croatia. A good example of that is Serbia and its increasingly popular capital city of Belgrade, which has received 40 new hotels since 2014, with growth in the hotel sector in Belgrade mainly based on foreign investments and globally respected brands such as Crowne Plaza, Radisson Blu and Luxury Collection.

Although the RevPar (revenue per hotel room) rose by an average of 16 percent in Croatia in 2018, this year a slow down is expected, caused primarily by other Mediterranean countries which are recovering from their respective problems to return to the market (this includes longtime tourism kings like Turkey and Tunisia).

The main potential seems to lie outside of the height of the summer season. Along with Serbia, where further growth is expected in the hotel segment, Albania has some great potential for foreign investors, Albania currently has the smallest share of branded hotels per total number of rooms (2 percent), and Montenegro, Croatia's neighbour to the south, also offers investors fairly favourable investment conditions and is very active in encouraging a more luxurious tourist product for the country.

Greece, known for its numerous financial issues, has entered the world's top fifteen tourist destinations despite the country's somewhat infamous ups and downs, with 150 new luxury hotels ''born'' in Greece in 2018, becoming a destination in which more than one in five hotels is in the category of 4 or 5 stars. Last year, the largest amount of investments in hotels went from the United States across the Atlantic to Spain (2.1 billion euro), following came transactions from Israel to the United Kingdom totaling over one billion euro, French investors also invested 951 million euro into the United Kingdom.

Despite all of the potentially (and likely) damning economic risks from Brexit, one of the European continent's most powerful countries, the United Kingdom, had a total of nearly 4 billion euro in investment in its massive hotel business. In 22 countries from the Horwath analysis, there were a total of 146,600 hotels on the market last year with more than six million rooms, with an average of 61 rooms per hotel. The least-branded hotels had Albania, only 12, while France has 3885 hotels in the hotel chain.

Make sure to stay up to date with our dedicated business page for more on investment and doing business in Croatia.

 

Click here for the original article by Marija Crnjak for Poslovni Dnevnik

Tuesday, 12 March 2019

Vinkovci's Spačva to Invest Fifty Million Kuna in 2019

Through a project worth 45 million kuna and with welcome co-financing from the European Union, an innovative new product involving Slavonian oak doors is currently being developed in Vinkovci.

As Suzana Varosanec/Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 11th of March, 2019, Vinkovci's Spačva wood industry, with its 865 employees, is going from strength to strength

Last year, the industry achieved fifteen percent higher revenues than it did back in 2017, and the same positive trend is set to continue throughout 2019. With a net profit of seven million kuna in 2017, Spačva's profit in 2018 was higher than fifteen million kuna.

A new phase of development, based on innovation and further competitiveness, has now been launched, and our struggle for raw material is going to lead us to the abandonment of the unlawful distribution of raw materials which is breaking the market and the transition to a market model,'' Spačva's Josip Faletar said, adding that the majority of the wood and the processing of it would be done in Slavonia, and in that case, the Vinkovci-based Spačva would employ 200 new workers in a boost to Slavonia's dwindling economy.

The company has been deprived of its old, burdensome commitments, and since last year it has been primarily focused on development projects, two of which are currently under way, and they're also preparing other new projects, which are of an innovative character and have been carefully developed in close cooperation with the scientific community.

The largest project in progress is worth 45 million kuna and is being co-financed by the EU, the project in question is the development of a new product made from sturdy Slavonian oak, which, with its charm, looks and high quality would likely easily conquer the demanding European market. This project has been in the works for four years now and is going according to plan, said Faletar, and along with experts from Spačva, a dozen scientists from the Zagreb and Osijek forestry faculties are also working hard on it.

Moreover, by the end of this year, Vinkovci's Spačva will announce the completion of a project worth more than 30 millio kuna which has been financed entirely from its own sources and loans. Namely, the company plans to achieve better raw material utilisation, at higher speeds and with greater flexibility in the process of tailoring customer requirements to the EU's single market.

Revenues from this Vinkovci company's sales in 2018 amounted to close to 230 million kuna, out of which on foreign markets in thirty countries, sales amounted to 73.08 percent, in the amount of 167.6 million kuna. The most important export countries are Italy, Serbia, France, Germany, and Romania. In the period from 2013 to 2018, Vinkovci's Spačva invested more than 100 million kuna into its machinery, equipment and infrastructure, and in 2019 it plans to invest a further 50 million kuna.

Make sure to follow our dedicated business page for much more on doing business in Croatia and the overall investment climate in various sectors within the country.

 

Click here for the original article by Suzana Varosanec on Poslovni Dnevnik

Sunday, 10 March 2019

''Croats Love Complaining, We Need To Change Our Mentality''

''Croats should be more concerned with the economy, and with the future too, rather than with topics that have failed to be solved over the past twenty years,'' stated Mladen Fogec.

As Ana Blaskovic/Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 10th of March, 2019, you could enter the Olympics and break your own personal record in running, but if you're slower than the others, you'll still come last, this is the creative way in which Mladen Fogec, president of the Association of Foreign Investors in Croatia, described the country's huge problems with its current investment climate.

After a highly successful career in business, Fogec still believes that the biggest problem in Croatia is the mentality of the Croats: the tendency to moan and the reluctance to actually work to change anything.

Mladen Fogec talked about just how it has happened that even today, it still doesn't ''sit'' well with many Croats for investors to make a profit, and just why Uljanik is a notorious example of market economy rejection. Fogec spoke in an interview before the InvestCro investment conference, which is set to be held on March the 18th in Zagreb.

For years, you've been working on the white book of business climate recommendations, but you recently announced that you'll just stick a 2018 sticker on it?

It was a statement through which I wanted to reinforce an impression, but it didn't change the fact that there still weren't enough significant changes in the business environment to need to write a new book. Whoever needs it can get the 2017 issue, we'll just put a 2018 sticker on it.

The government is bragging about tax reductions, less barriers and faster procedures. Do you actually see that out in the field?

We do see it, but nothing is quick enough and it isn't to a great enough extent. If we look at Croatia alone, then yes, they're good moves. However, you could go to the Olympics and run faster than you've ever done before, but if your competition is progressing faster, then it's irrelevant that you've topped your personal record - you're still among the last. It's not a question of whether or not reforms work, the question is whether or not they're efficient. You have to look at the other side of the medal - the situation as it's seen by the entrepreneurs. We should be taking into account when changes are being made more. I believe that in life and politics, there is an important compromise in which sides need to come together, otherwise there will be no progress.

You said the problem is the mentality. Jako Andabak, let's say, says that it isn't uncommon in Dalmatia to have problems with permits for hotels because some local responsible for the permits is wanting to make sure that situation doesn't negatively affect his apartments...

I said the same thing a year ago on a radio show and that wasn't exactly welcomed with sympathies. I'm glad it was repeated by Mr. Andabak because he is Dalmatian and he's doing business there. Looking back at my 30-year career, I think it is a general problem in the state of mind of Croats. We're heavily burdened with the former system, with socialism, to be more specific. It's difficult to accept the market economy, it carries a lot of good but some bad stuff. We'd prefer to take everything that's good from the market economy and at the same time keep everything that's good from socialism as well. Unfortunately, such a utopia doesn't exist. The legacy of the old system is still very present, especially in the part of the state-owned economy, and that isn't small.

A good example is Uljanik, which is largely owned by its workers. They're actually striking against themselves, de facto. There are subsidies which exist in all countries, but if you take up to 30 billion kuna in the shipbuilding industry, each employer has given 23,000 kuna from his pocket, the question is whether [it's wise] to continue subsidising something that creates losses for years? Croatia should be more concerned with the economy, as well as with the future, rather than with topics that have failed to be solved over the past twenty years. I think we should invest in modern technology and industries related to digitisation and information technology, and not shipbuilding which has a very low level of added value.

What would trigger an investment wave?

I think it would help us to begin to change, especially our mentality. Croats like to complain a lot, to latch onto problems that are largely pushed by the media. Good news is just bad news, there's no optimism. One foreign ambassador who recently came to Croatia told me that people came to him with various issues and just complained, complained, and complained some more. It's impossible for everything to be so bad. Surveys from Doing Business or rating agency reports are based largely on perception, similar to the corruption index. The same applies to others, but in more developed countries, society fights for it to be a rule rather than an exception. It's the easiest thing in the world to be loud when being critical, we should turn to optimism in order for foreign investors to see that, too.

Have you noticed a change of attitude towards investors?

Unfortunately, I've got to say no. Indeed, and I have to repeat the words of one of our members saying that it isn't a question of whether foreign investors want to come and invest in Croatia, but whether Croatia actually wants foreign investors. It's still a big problem for us to accept a foreigner who comes here with capital, wants to buy land, build a production plant, and hire a workforce because inevitably we come to those [types of conclusions such as] "he will profit and make money on us." We haven't felt that it's normal and expected that someone who invests earns a profit, naturally, in a transparent manner and in accordance with the laws.

Should politics be focused on the growth of companies, and not on EU funds which only fund 20 percent of investments?

This is the core of the problem: to deter entrepreneurs from all hidden, parafiscal impositions. Their number has been reduced over the past ten years but they're so concentrated so instead of four, you have one, but the load is almost the same. This would have made a significant contribution to the growth of the economy. When things start going that way, someone always says that it's beneficial to large foreign capital. It doesn't matter whether the capital is domestic or foreign; If a company operates in Croatia and pays all of its taxes then it's a Croatian company and whoever actually owns it is of nobody's interest.

The owners of Volvo are Chinese and still we all think that Volvo is a Swedish car, not a Chinese one. That was also the case with the change in personal income tax when the criticism was about [the change] going hand in hand with those with higher wages, and not those who earn less. This is turning that thesis around. Those with low wages have so far not been included in the payment of income tax, nor will they be in the future. Those who have higher incomes and pay relatively more taxes will now pay less, but this isn't giving anything to them, they'll just have to pay less. Then we return to the beginning of the story of the traces of socialism because the wages must be viewed as gross, and tax is an individual category.

What do you say about Minister Horvat's plan to compile a list of the most desirable investors who will visit and have the benefits of investing in the Republic of Croatia presented to them?

There are countless potential investors, but I think this is a good move purely because of the reason that it's proactive. The government shouldn't sit around and wait for someone to come and knock at the door, but go to the investors and say: we're offering you this, that is, come to Croatia. I think that's a good idea.

Why is Croatia so far behind other countries, what is it that they're doing better?

It's because as a society, we're not changing, the capacity for change is not at a sufficient level. I'm not just thinking about the economy [when I say this], that's just a consequence. Recently, in the German-Croatian Chamber of Commerce, we had conversations with companies that had apostrophed (especially those who have production in Croatia) that they don't have enough qualified skilled labour, and that they need longer than a year to teach the students who have completed their secondary vocational education. We're returning to the beginning, back to education and the lack of a dual education system. These students should spend at least half of their education in practice so that they can start work immediately when they come to the real sector. We still have the problem of not changing anything in our curriculum. Now we're talking about history instead of turning to STEM areas, computing and digitisation, the things that are pulling society forward. If we had any chance for... let's say, the auto industry with a large factory to come to us, I'm not sure we'd have 5,000 skilled workers for it. We must start to change in all segments, from education onwards, which once again calls for much greater investment, research and development.

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

 

Click here for the original article/interview in its entirety by Ana Blaskovic for Poslovni Dnevnik

Sunday, 10 March 2019

Dubrovnik: Tihomir Brajković to Build Six Luxury Villas in Lapad

One of the richest people in the Balkans is putting his money where his mouth is in Dubrovnik's picturesque Lapad area, known for its beach, Cave Bar More, and numerous hotels. Tihomir Brajković is kicking off his investment in Dubrovnik with the construction of six luxury villas in this location in the Pearl of the Adriatic.

As Novac/Anton Hauswitschka writes on the 9th of March, 2019, Tihomir Brajković, a well known businessman from Kiseljak, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and one of the richest people in the Balkans, is busy going to work constructing six brand new luxury villas in Babin kuk (Lapad) just above Hotel More. The removal of trees and other rubble has already begun, and excavation work could be next, according to a report from dubrovački.hr.

Brajković, or more specifically his very appropriately named Dubrovnik-based company ''Six Luxury Villas d.o.o.'', is the owner of some very attractive land located along Ulica Kardinala Stepinca (Cardinal Stepinac street) right next to some residential buildings.

Unconfirmed news from Dubrovnik's city administration claims that Brajković has indeed started with the preparation of a land parcel according to the current general urban plan in the construction zone, and it is soon expected that the investor will request the necessary building permits to continue. This procedure, as they say, may take up to a year, but as long as the current spatial plans are properly in place, there is no reason that all of the necessary documentation won't be able to be obtained.

The very few who have seen the conceptual design say that they are buildings that will give their future owners the ultimate sense of total luxury and that their architectural bases remind them of the buildings across on the other side of town in the Eastern location of Sveti Jakov. Novac tried to find out directly from the Kiseljak entrepreneur what will exactly happen when he starts building in Dubrovnik, but contact with him from Dubrovnik failed.

Brajkovic founded the company ''Six Luxury Villas'', based on Vukovarska Ulica (Vukovar street), in the former DTS building, back in 2015. More specifically, the company's founder is his Swiss company PET engineering AG, which is led, at least according to the Swiss register, by Josip Šubašić, while Brajković himself is the director of the Dubrovnik-based company.

It's worth recalling the fact that Tihomir Brajković is the owner of Tibra Pacific and Meso-Impex, and has made his fortune in the construction sector, more precisely in terms of housing construction. In Sarajevo, in the Stup area in August last year, Brajković started building a business-residential complex which consisted of three buildings, while at the same time the media in neighbouring Bosnia and Herzegovina incessantly ran negative stories on his Meso-Impex company, which allegedly owes the state more than 9 million convertible marks.

Brajković also become better known to the Croatian public when he planned to build a residential building in Makarska back in 2015 with its own state-owned observatory and astro park incorporated into it.

Although Forbes recently listed him on its enviable list of the wealthiest entrepreneurs in the region, Tihomir Brajković himself is a man who seems to consciously avoid the media and other forms of publicity. An individual picture of him is impossible to find, he isn't inclined to making media statements, nor is he inclined to accepting other types of interviews. In recent years however, he has quietly invested heavily in numerous projects and investments and even managed to negotiate the construction of a hydro power plant on the river Bosna with authorities in Zavidovići.

Make sure to follow our dedicated business page for more on doing business in Croatia, investing in Croatia, and the overall business and investment climate within the country.

 

Click here for the original article by Anton Hauswitschka for Novac/Jutarnji

Friday, 8 March 2019

Growth of Optimism Among Foreign Companies in Croatia?

Doing business in Croatia in 2018 was rated as better by 72 percent of companies who partook in AmCham's research on the development of Croatia's business climate, a jump in comparison to just one year earlier, in which that figure stood at 65 percent. It appears that the image of doing business in Croatia is gradually improving in the eyes of the foreign business community and their companies.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Darko Bicak writes on the 7th of March, 2019, the international business community is visibly more optimistic about the development of the business climate in the Republic of Croatia, yet the main challenge continues to be the difficulty in finding skilled labour and the functioning of the legal state, as was reflected in the results of an analysis of the American Chamber of Commerce in Croatia - AmCham. The aforementioned results were presented to the public on the 6th of March.

This is a relatively reliable sample because AmCham brings together 230 mostly very successful companies employing nearly 80,000 workers in Croatia alone. While this analysis is similar to that which was conduced by Croatian professional associations or foreign chambers and consultants, the specificity of AmCham's research is that American companies are mostly more global and more inclined to export markets than the Croatian average, and in that same scope, AmCham compares Croatia with countries in its ''region'' which covers a much wider geographic area than what is commonly referred to as "the region" in Croatian terms.

As explained by Andrea Doko Jelušić, the executive director of AmCham, every American, international, and ultimately Croatian company has its own definition of what the ''region'' actually refers to, and in AmCham's case it most often includes, along with the Adria region, central and eastern European countries such as Poland, Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania, and Bulgaria.

However, 130 members of the management of American, international and Croatian companies who partook in the AmCham research have reported a 72 percent increase in performance in 2018, compared to the previous year, during which it stood at a significantly lower 65 percent. At the same time, as many as 60 percent of them have increased their number of employees, which is more than encouraging.

As far as the business environment in Croatia over the last five years stands, respondents have assessed the main constraining factor in business to be lack of an adequate workforce, an unstable regulatory framework, and tax. The worst deterioration in the last five years is linked to the availability and the quality of the workforce, as well as the ''relaxed'' implementation of legal rules and procedures.

"The lack of an adequate workforce has appeared as a significant problem for the Croatian economy last year, and this year's survey rates it as the biggest obstacle to business in Croatia. At the same time, this is the area in which the worst deterioration has been seen," stated Andrea Doko Jelušić. On the other hand, the biggest improvements are visible in terms of financing, the demand for goods and services, and trading opportunities.

As many as 76 percent of the research's respondents see the impact of state administration on the business environment as either negative or to no particular effect, which, compared with last year, represents a 10 percent decrease. Most of AmCham's members, of which there are 68, also operate in other Central and Eastern European countries (SIEs), of which 65 percent operate in more than five countries in the region.

Only eight percent believe that the business conditions in Croatia are better than those in other SIE countries, while 45 percent believe that conditions in Croatia are worse than they are in other countries.

The biggest disadvantages of Croatia in relation to other countries relate to the small market and in the same threshold, the slow administration and the absence of a long-term government strategy. The main advantages Croatia boasts according to the respondents are the general advantages of the country's membership of the European Union, the tourism potential of the country, and its handy geostrategic position.

In the upcoming three year period, 81 percent of AmChama members are planning to expand their operations in Croatia, and 75 percent of them are planning on opening up new jobs.

Out of the total number of surveyed, as many as a quarter of them are planning to employ more than twenty new employees. On the other hand, seven percent of these companies expect to reduce the number of existing employees over the next three years.

The introduction of the euro into Croatia is seen as welcome by as many as 91 percent of AmCham's entrepreneurs who say it would have either a positive or neutral impact on their business. In last year's survey, 49 percent of respondents emphasised the possibility of using EU funds as the third major positive impact of Croatia's EU membership. However, just 11 percent of the companies involved stated that they were beneficiaries of EU funds that at the time of the conduction of this research.

Among the respondents, the greatest interest appears to lie in obtaining money from EU funds for projects in the field of Information Communication Technology (ICT), 36 percent, and for production projects, or 17 percent, along with related production facilities.

"The optimism of the business community in Croatia continues to be visible from the results of the survey this year," commented Berislav Horvat, Chairman of AmCham's Council of Managers.

Make sure to stay up to date with the business and investment climate in Croatia by following our dedicated business page.

 

Click here for the original article by Darko Bicak for Poslovni Dnevnik

Thursday, 7 March 2019

Split's Jozo Parčina to Invest 40 Million Euro and Employ 150 People?

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 7th of March, 2019, well known Split entrepreneur Jozo Parčina, perhaps best known to the wider public as the owner of the beautiful Luxe Hotel in Split, could soon become the owner of the "Kaštela Riviera".

Not even three full years after the launching of bankruptcy proceedings over the defunct Kaštela company, they acquired the conditions for the sale of their property, which is largely under a mortgage, among which the most prized is the hotel "Palace".

The interest in buying was confirmed to Slobodna Dalmacija by Parčina himself, who in the meantime redeemed the receivables of the Austrian HETA agency, a successor to Hypo Bank.

''I have redeemed the HETA receivables because I want to buy a complex in Kaštela, invest 40 million euros in its renovation and upgrading, put the hotel in order and employ 150 people,'' said Parčina when discussing the plans, adding that it would be a four or five-star hotel, and would boast up to 350 rooms.

The renovation refers to the only remaining building, the old "Palace" building with 230 rooms, protected as a cultural monument, and another new building. Since the surface areas of the complex in Kaštel Stari, located on the shore, is about 38,000 square metres in size, a building larger than the existing one will be permitted.

''I'm already in the hotel business. With "Luxe", which has been in operation for ten years, another hotel in Split is being prepared, where works are going to be finished soon, so I'd like to expand this activity by buying a complex in Kaštela,'' added Parčina, who in the meantime has invested in some real estate which he now rents out.

In earlier years, Jozo Parčina was known to the general public as the owner of a company which dealt with various gambling machines located across Dalmatia and Istria, this business was eventually shut down by tax collectors and by the Croatian Government in 2016.

If he succeeds in purchasing the "Kaštela Riviera" property, Parčina estimated that from the moment of everything being ready for work, it would take up to three years for the investment to be realised. Assets will be sold in bankruptcy proceedings through the Financial Agency (FINA) so it's clear that the real estate will go to whoever is willing to pay the most.

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

Wednesday, 6 March 2019

German with Croatian Roots Invests in Krapinske Toplice's Bellevue

One of the most famous symbols of Krapinske Toplice has been stood neglected and entirely abandoned for years, but could a young German who is partly of Croatian origin who moved to the area a couple of years ago be the solution this old continental gem needs?

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 5th of March, 2019, David Krauss (35) moved to Croatia, more specifically to beautiful Krapinske Toplice in the continental part of the country, just over two years ago. He decided to invest in the renewal of the long abandoned Bellevue and restore its former glory. The technical review has been announced for March the 7th, after which, Zagorje will get a new face in its blossoming tourism story, according to a report from Zagorje portal.

A relatively short (at least by Croatian standards) fifteen months of construction work and two years of preparation of the project saw one of the most famous symbols of Krapinske Toplice, Restaurant Bellevue, get some new life breathed into it and a brand new beginning. A young German of the Croatian Roots, 35 year old David Kraus has been coming to Krapinske Toplice for years to the property once owned by his parents.

"My mother is Croatian and my father is a German, and we always said that we were so sorry that such a beautiful building is collapsing, so I decided to start investing," Krauss told the Zagorje portal, adding that they wanted to give the building a modern twist but remain loyal to the facility's old outlines.

The old facility, due to the very poor condition it has been in for a long time, unfortunately had to be completely demolished, even though that certainly wasn't the original plan. Namely, during construction, the walls they thought they would endure the process began to fail, so the decision to demolish everything for safety reasons was reached. Despite this, some of the old material and clay were preserved to fit into the new facility.

Restaurant Bellevue's investment was realised entirely by the Krauss family alone, and although the young investor didn't want to talk too much about the exact amount he invested, he noted that it was a large figure. He is not sorry for the move, having replaced his life in Germany for that in the beautiful rolling hills of green Zagorje, where he has been living for more than two years. He is also trained and experienced in the hospitality industry and is more than happy to work a job in the profession in which he was educated here in Croatia, too.

"For the time being, we have thirteen employees, mostly made up of the local population, which I think is very important if you're in the hospitality industry because they know the area you're in well, the customs, gastronomy, the people... The capacity is about 150 to 200 places, and we have a large outdoor terrace of almost the same capacity,'' Krauss said, astonished that people had already begun asking about their offer for weddings.

He is particularly pleased about the great reactions to the restoration of Bellevue the local population, with whom he communicates daily, have had. The older people remember that they once went to school right here.

"It's really nice when people tell me that they were once taught here, and now in their older days they intend to come here for a coffee or a beer," he said, pointing out that the project was supported by the municipal government.

When it comes to Bellevue's gastronomic offer, Krauss says the facility will offer dishes made from old Zagorje recipes, but crafted in a somewhat more modern way. They're planning and organising evenings full of live music performances, and access to their facility is specially tailored for the disabled.

"The Toplički pedestrian ring is near us for the people who are on rehabilitation to walk on, so we're glad to be here for when they're walking to come and have a bit of cake and some rest. I think we'll really have something for everyone,'' Krauss, who has always been madly in love with Zagorje, stated.

His only regret is that tourism in Zagorje and Krapinske Toplice is still not yet sufficiently developed, but fortunately, foreign tourists are increasingly recognising it as an interesting and different type of destination.

"Austrians and Slovenes increasingly choose rural tourism as a form of holiday, not just the sea. I'm sure that in a couple of years, our Zagorje will be dominated by such tourism,'' Krauss said, feel optimistic, announcing that the technical review of Bellevue will be on March the 7th, after which the grand opening will take place.

Make sure to stay up to date by following our dedicated business, travel and lifestyle pages.

Tuesday, 5 March 2019

Pula's Arena Hospitality Group to Invest Almost 100 Million Euro by 2022

Pula's Arena Hospitality Group, which refers to itself as one of the most dynamic hospitality groups in Central and Eastern Europe, currently offers a portfolio of 26 owned, co-owned, leased and managed properties with more than 10,000 rooms and accommodation units here in Croatia, as well as in Germany and Hungary.

As Marija Crnjak/Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 5th of March, 2019, the total investments of the Arena Hospitality Group in 2018 and 2019 amount to 447 million kuna in hotels and camps in both the Republic of Croatia and over in Germany, plus the 190 million kuna that the group plans to invest in the reconstruction of the much loved Hotel Brioni (Brijuni). 

This was stated in the presentation of the Arena Hospitality Group's very impressive business results. The company claims it is also now ready for yet more new acquisitions across Central and Eastern Europe. As is already known, through public offers, the group collected a massive 788 million kuna back in 2017, and since then, they have invested on average three times more than before the public offer.

The Arena Hospitality Group is currently operating in the aforementioned three countries, under four brands, including Park Plaza and Art'otel, last year the company earned 758 million kuna in total revenue, an increase of 5.6 percent when compared to their record back in 2017, accompanied by healthy growth in all segments, hotels, tourist resorts and camp sites. In Croatia alone, they experienced handsome revenues of 503.8 million kuna.

After 2018's big investment in Glamping Arena One 99, worth 70 million kuna, this year, an investment of 128 million kuna is planned in Kažela camp, 60 million kuna is the planned amount to invest in Verudela Beach, a tourist resort, which should be completed by the year 2020, when the beginning of the works at Hotel Brioni (Brijuni) are planned. In the reconstruction of Art'otel Berlin Kudamm alone, the company will invest 53 million kuna.

Make sure to stay up to date on investments in Croatia, doing business in Croatia and everything in between by following our dedicated business page.

 

Click here for the original article by Marija Crnjak for Poslovni Dnevnik

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