Monday, 4 March 2019

200 Million Kuna Worth of Investments Planned for Istria's Ports

Investment in Croatia continues despite problematic red tape, and thanks to EU funds (among others), Istria County is set to see a huge cash injection for their numerous ports.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 4th of March, 2019, Istria County is the founder of five port authorities: Pula Port Authority, Rovinj Port Authority, Rabac Port Authority, Poreč Port Authority and Umag-Novigrad Port Authority, which are expecting big investments this year, according to a report from Glas Istre.

In Pula, the completion of the new 130-metre-long coastline is expected, which will surely contribute to the further overall growth of maritime traffic in the busy Port of Pula. The construction of the new operational coast/shoreline is a project which has been being carried out in several phases, and the latter part of it is worth 3.5 million kuna. Another significant move is that at the end of this year, the design of the passenger terminal project in Pula should begin.

In addition to the ''doing up'' of Pula's coastline, Pula Port Authority is also expecting several other projects to begin, including the replacement of pontoon at Bunarina, the continuation of the promenade towards Veli Vrh, the redoing of the coastline in Fažana, as well as the harbour in Krnica, and works on the beloved Brijuni island which stand at about seven million kuna.

In 2019, Rovinj Port Administration plans to build the San Pelagio communal port, estimated at a value of 32 million kuna, in which Istria County, the City of Rovinj and Rovinj Port Authority will jointly participate.

Significant investments, announced by county prefect Flego, are also expected in the area of ​​the Port of Rabac. The plan is to reconstruct the Trget communal barges, the value of which is estimated at 13.3 million kuna.

Other projects in the works are the construction of a primary breakwater in the port of Rabac, estimated at 72 million kuna, for which a financing model is currently being sought, while the project of Brestov Port, worth 23.7 million kuna, is set to be financed through European Union funds.

Poreč Port Authority is also expecting a number of projects, and the most significant of them all is extension is the existing naval structure in Vrsar Port, which serves as a home for fishing vessels, amounting to 10.5 million kuna. With the extension of the existing area, fifteen brand bew anchorage sites will be provided, meeting the needs of Vrsar Port, as one of the most active fishing centres on the western coast of Istria.

In addition, progress is being made on works on the Barbaran breakwater, through with Poreč Port Authority continues to invest in the Poreč aquatorium. This is the most important investment this year in Poreč, worth 4.8 million kuna, which is financed from the aforementioned port authority's own funds, Istria County and the Ministry of Maritime Affairs, Transport and Infrastructure.

A welcome 5.1 million kuna was allocated by the EU Maritime and Fisheries Fund to the Umag-Novigrad Port Authority, for the demolition of the old pier and the construction of a new one in Savudrija harbour, seventeen new lighting posts, the introduction of video surveillance cameras, and the installation of an ''eco-island'' for waste separation for local fishermen.

In addition to all of the above, another major project is under preparation for the construction of the new Dajla-Belveder port, and all the necessary permits to get the green light are now underway.

The start of construction is planned for this year and will continue through 2020. The construction of the port will provide sixty communal berths, a landing place for fishing vessels and an appropriate operational shoreline for small boat excursions. The project value amounts to 24.3 million kuna, with the funds provided by the Ministry of Maritime Affairs, Transport and Infrastructure, Istria County, the City of Novigrad, and the Umag-Novigrad Port Authority.

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


Click here for the original article by Glas Istre

Sunday, 3 March 2019

Ukrainian Businessman Has Huge Plans for Croatia

Zagreb like Monte Carlo, and Croatia like Monaco. That doesn't sound so bad, does it? Meet Andrija Matiukha, a 46-year-old Ukrainian businessman who has not only ideas and visions, but the means and a company, and he is in love with Croatia.

As Novac/Petra Plivelic writes on the 3rd of March, the Ukrainian businessman says that he likes Croatia as a country and he likes people.

''First of all, it doesn't differ that much from Ukraine. We share a similar mentality, language, Slavic people who understand each other. It's therefore easier for me to adapt to Croatia than it is in Romania or in countries like Germany or England because they have a different mentality. Croatia is beautiful and it's impossible not to fall in love with it when you visit it,'' said Matiukhi, who lived in Kiev a year ago, but now lives with his family in Zagreb.

When he started a business in Croatia, he came several times a month for a couple of days to control the situation, but soon realised that such an approach didn't really work and if he wanted to develop the business he had planned, he had to move to Croatia. Matiukho is the owner of a group of companies called FavBet, whose primary interest is, as the name suggests, sports betting.

"We have a desire and intent to engage in a lot of projects here,'' says the Ukrainian businessman, otherwise the owner of the Diamond Palace Casino in Zagreb and the Magic Night Club, which also includes the Casino Crystal Palace restaurant in Rijeka.

''We currently have about fifty bookmakers in Croatia, and this year's goal is to open another 50 more. But in this business, betting has moved online, so we're not focusing too much on investments in this area, but as soon as we get a good location, we'll definitely open a betting shop,'' he explained.

When it comes to casinos, both Zagreb locals and tourists are targeted because there is a special clientele, while in other cities they target local people since tourists are coming for family holidays rather than to gamble in casinos. Zagreb, however, is an exception, he says.

Online betting has survived in Croatia, but FavBet, says Matiukha, currently has no license for this type of business and is now in the process of adapting its product to the requirements of the local market.

''Everything has to be certified, so it's a bit more of a demanding process, but we're not going to give up. Next year, we'll certainly have an online betting and online casino license,'' he added. Until then, his plans aren't lacking.

''We're planning to open a hotel near the casino in Zagreb. It will be a boutique hotel with forty rooms. It's a building next to the Diamond Palace Casino. We're now in the process of buying space from the Croatian Chamber of Commerce and in a year and a half, the hotel should be open. We're already all thinking about designs and interiors,'' explained the goal-driven Ukrainian businessman who is currently involved in a business venture in Split.

"We bought a building in the centre of Split and we'll open another large casino of more than 1,000 square metres in June. This will be our third major casino in Croatia, with the one in Zagreb, Rijeka, and Split, and we will soon open a number of modern slot machines in Osijek, Zelina, Zadar and Makarska,'' announced Matiukhi, who has a couple more things up his sleeve. He also intends to invest in tourist projects down in Dalmatia.

''My job is related to gambling and I have a license for casinos, betting shops and slot machines, all of which we're developing in Croatia, as well as our online business. But all this is related to fun, which is part of our wider interest. We're planning to open a fun park like Disneyland, actually... like Gardaland. I can see great prospects for such a job in Croatia. We're not planning on many of those parks, maybe one in Istria, one in Dalmatia and one near Zagreb. And besides, that goes hand in hand with the hotel business because it's closely related to entertainment. It's our goal to develop everything that is related to fun, because gambling is fun. In Asia, that's part of the culture, let's say. Those who don't gamble are considered strange. It's just normal for people to gamble,'' Matiukha claims. Croats, however, are still far from making such habits the norm.

''You are Europeans and that's not really your style. I've even noticed differences in the habits of people from different parts of Croatia. Dalmatian people and people from the south general are more into gambling than people living in the northern parts of Croatia,'' says the Ukrainian businessman.

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


Click here for the original article by Petra Plivelic for Novac/Jutarnji

Saturday, 2 March 2019

Greenfield and Other Forms of Major Investment in Croatia Fall Short

Investment in Croatia has stagnated in certain important areas, despite interest from domestic investors having been drawn to other more promising areas, such as the hotel sector. Foreign investment in Croatia, despite having occurred in some quite large projects, is still dwindling.

As Marija Crnjak/Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 1st of March, 2019, the focus of investors last year was largely on shopping centres and of course the apparently eternal hotel sector, although figures didn't exceed those seen during the year before the crisis hit. The value of commercial real estate transactions last year was twice as high as it was during 2017, reaching about 810 million euros.

While, as stated, the main focus of investment in Croatia has been on shopping centres and the hotel sector recently, there has been considerably less movement in numerous other areas, the number of construction projects seeing investment in Croatia, for example, has not yet overtaken the position it held the year before the crisis. The market for industrial and logistics property is still easily the least developed of all, despite its enormous potential and demand, and the office space market is most lacking in large office space available, according to an annual review carried out by the Colliers International consultancy company.

"The growth in the number of transactions last year is a result of the positive sentiment of investors and attractive returns, given that Croatia has stabilised economically in relation to the markets in the environment, the investment risk has been reduced, as the rating agencies showed. However, there's still a lack of greenfield investments and major projects, as well as there is a large number of foreign investors missing from the picture,'' said Vedrana Likan, the director of the Colliers Croatian office.

Once again last year, domestic investors wanting to pursue investment in Croatia were the by far the most active on the market, accounting for 50 percent of all value transactions, while the most active foreign investors were property investment funds from South Africa, with a 40 percent stake in the volume of transactions in 2018. The top transactions were the entry of PND Strategy of Danko Čorić into Hotel Maestral, Immofinanz bought eight retail parks in Croatia, Slovenia and Serbia, while the Tower Property Fund purchased industrial property in Žitnjak.

This year, a similar number of transactions are expected, just like last year, with a boost of the presence of investors from the Middle and Far East, China, the United Arab Emirates, and Korea. Most transactions are expected in tourism and office property, while retail will have weaker growth due to the fact that the market is already quite saturated. In the retail segment, the potential risk in Colliers is reflected in negative demographic trends and ever-growing internet commerce.

The need is for larger office spaces of 1,500 square metres, and such spaces are almost unavailable on the Croatian market, there is also a dire need for office class A. Despite the low office vacancy rate (4.5 percent) this area has remained at the level of 2017 (12-13 euros per square metre). Colliers has seen stronger developer activity due to the high demand and the lack of modern storage and logistics space(s)available, they have also warned of unfavourable conditions for the construction of such buildings due to high communal fees, which are still charged in Croatia per cubic metre rather than per square metre.

Make sure to stay up to date with all you need to know about investments in Croatia and much more by following our dedicated business page.


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


Wednesday, 27 February 2019

12 Million Kuna Investment for Rovinj Hospital in Next 15 Months

As Novac/Barbara Ban writes on the 26th of February, 2019, ''Dr. Martin Horvat'' Rovinj Hospital has proudly stated the fact that in 2019, it plans to invest heavily in the amount of 12 million kuna, and it ended 2018 in a surplus in regard to finance and the number of patients. They claimed that they had 500 patients more than one year earlier, that they provided 16,440 more medical services than they did last year, marking an increase of 26.5 percent.

Rovinj Hospital finished of the business year of 2018 with a financial gain of 623,000 kuna. This is the fifth year in a row that Rovinj Hospital has managed to conclude with some excellent financial results, with all of our employees being paid all of their salaries within the deadline, as well as regressions, Christmas bonuses, vouchers, jubilee awards, money for children for St. Nicholas, retirement benefits, sickness benefits, and assistance in accordance with our underlying collective agreement. I'm proud to show this positive change and an increase in the number of visits to our institution from year to year because better implementation means better addressing the needs of our citizens,'' says dr. sc. Marinko Rade, who was recently elected to the Working Group of the Ministry of Health for the drafting of the Ordinance on Health Tourism.

Investments of 12 million kuna are planned to be carried out over the next fifteen months, and alterations have already begun in the department where the patients from the AUVA insurance company stay during their time at Rovinj Hospital. The hospital's entire roof will be changed, the façade will be renewed, and works on the hospital's energy sources will be carried out, a new elevator will also be installed. The total value of these investments currently stands at five million kuna, with renovation of the main building also planned.

''Investments for a further seven million kuna will be issued shortly, including the renovation of the façade, the replacement of the entire roof, and works regarding the change of the energy [system] of the main building of the hospital, where there are clinics and departments in which our local patients are treated. We're investing the most in these departments. Reconstruction should start at the end of 2019,'' added Rade.

He added that so far, everything they invested has been covered by money from the hospital's significant profits, and now they are financially secure enough to safely borrow. In addition to all of the works Rovinj Hospital is set to undergo, a library will be opened soon in the department, and a new therapeutic park will be set up.

''So far, we've collected 6,000 books donated by citizens, which is a truly impressive and record-breaking number for a public action. At this time, we're separate the books by their categories and languages, and we're renewing the space where the library will be located at the department. Additionally, the placement of a therapeutic park is ongoing, which is being carried out within the Design/Build project in collaboration with the George Washington University from the USA. The project will be completed by April this year,'' noted Rade.

Rovinj Hospital isn't ''only'' planning to invest in buildings, but also in their much appreciated employees, in terms of their continued and additional education. This will amount to up to 250,000 kuna.

''This is the money that this institution allocates from its income, ie, from the income generated from the private market,'' Rade added that owing to several factors, Rovinj Hospital can't raise anyone's salary regardless of their position, and that's why the hospital's administration has been looking for more innovative ways to properly reward and thus hopefully retain such valued employees, and one way is to pay them in continued, additional education.

''Of course, doctors and healthcare staff are paid for their training and for congresses in order to become superior in their specialties, which means more access to patients. But we're also investing in the non-medical staff who work in our hospital, which I consider to be equally important links in the chain. This means that, let's say, chefs and cooks can receive paid education which then allows them to progress and provides them with technical education and training that can help them out more in their day-to-day work. That's why we've reserved a lot of money,'' concluded the director of Rovinj Hospital.

For more on investment in Croatia, healthcare, health tourism in Croatia and much, much more, give our business page a follow.


Click here for the original article by Barbara Ban for Novac/Jutarnji

Sunday, 24 February 2019

''To Defend Croatian Justice System Today is Mission Impossible''

As Darko Bicak/Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 22nd of February, 2019, defending the Croatian justice system today is mission impossible. Mario Vukelić, the president of the High Commercial Court, who took part in the panel entitled "Legal security - the guarantor of investment'' which was held in the framework of the InvestCro conference in Zagreb.

"And at this conference, we've heard the word perception many times, so how we perceive something, and not necessarily how things actually stand. The perception of an inefficient justice systemis a fact from which conclusions are drawn.

The theory that Croatia has the most unresolved cases in the EU, as well as the highest amount of judges, of course in both cases per capita, it's also a fact that Croatia is the first in the EU on inflow of new cases to the courts, but if we look at the duration of the average dispute, then we come in 12th place out of 28 EU member states,'' said Vukelić. He added that many long-standing disputes at commercial courts in the Republic of Croatia are actually caused by the economic crisis.

"Big and successful companies are seldom judged because that is costly and carries on for a long time, they simply agree and reconcile, either directly or through a mediator. The problem with us is that we have no money, companies are often aware of the facts on which they're being judged, but they don't given the fact that they have the money, they buy time through long-lasting court disputes,'' said Vukelić.

Tatjana Josipović, a professor at the Faculty of Law in Zagreb, emphasised the fact that the Croatian justice system is highly segmented and that there is a very large number of mutually overlapping legal regulations.

"Before adopting a new law, simulations should be carried out to see how it would actually function in reality. A concrete example is the new Enforcement law, about which it's hard to say whether it will work, and how it will work in reality. In terms of investment, it's imperative to sort out the land register as without that, we won't have bigger investments, we're making progress as the 800-day deadline is now 25 days, but the problem is the unresolved property and legal relationships. We have successfully completed the legalisation project, but legalisation doesn't mean that these ojects could be entered into the land registry because we don't have clear ownership relationships. We have to face these problems and solve them, and not just sweep the problems under the carpet, and then go on upgrading because we'll end up meeting back up with these problems sooner or later,'' said Josipović.

Mićo Ljubenko, a lawyer in the law firm Ljubenko & Partners, doesn't agree that the slowness of the Croatian courts is the biggest problem facing the Croatian justice system.

"Are there really any examples that serious companies operating in Slovenia and Hungary aren't also operating in Croatia? No, we don't. Serious investors approach their problems correctly, and they get their problems sorted out. Whether or not the deadline for registering a company is five days, as it is in Serbia, or 21 days as it is in Croatia is completely irrelevant to any investor, it's another thing if the papers aren't done properly and the situation isn't clear,'' concluded Ljubenko.

Make sure to stay up to date on news on the Croatian justice system and much more by following our dedicated politics and business pages.


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

Sunday, 24 February 2019

Croatia's Bureaucracy and Slow Legal System Hampering Investment

What can Croatia do to up its currently extremely poor investment game? With non-EU countries like Macedonia and Serbia, which are typically considered to be less developed than Croatia, making things far easier for entrepreneurs than Croatia, and our neighbour to the north, Slovenia, pulling huge sums of cash for investment from Europe, just where is Croatia going wrong?

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Darko Bicak writes on the 22nd of February, 2019, Croatia has one of the most incentive boosting legal frameworks for investment in Europe, which is openly recognised by everyone in the EU, but there is a problem in implementing these investments, as there is in the projected image of Croatia as a tourist destination rather than an investment destination. This was stated at the opening of the recent conference " InvestCro - Is Croatia Ready for New Investments'' which was organised in Zagreb, it is held as a year-round multimedia project jointly organised by Poslovni Dnevnik, Večernji list and 24sata.

Darko Horvat, Minister of Economy, addressed the conference:

"Everyone sitting here today has the same desire: If we can't make Croatia more desirable for investments, we at least should become aware that we're not that bad either. We have to work on our own confidence, because if we don't believe in ourselves, how will those who come here to invest feel when they encounter problems. It's especially important that people from the field - mayors and entrepreneurs, who can share the problems they encounter on a daily basis - also participate in the conference.

When you analyse today's renowned global and Croatian TV stations, portals, newspapers... you'll see that Croatia is a country offering the sun and the sea. To sum up how much Croatia has invested into being recognised as a tourist destination, it's clear why we're not seen as an investment Mecca. We don't have any marketing that would allow investors to see and recognise our country as being desirable for investment.

Our only "marketing" is a negative one through investors who did come to Croatia and haven't managed to succeed, and are talking about that abroad. Those who succeeded and didn't encounter any serious problems, and that's the majority, are generally silent and just do their work because nobody else asks them anything,'' Horvat said.

He added that the huge problem Croatia has is that during the accession period for EU membership, negotiations were carried out and the EU's laws were taken on without question, and they weren't "localised'' through the implementing of acts, which is why the bureaucracy and the judiciary system are so slow and dysfunctional today.

"Now that we're a full member [of the EU], we have to work harder to purge the regulatory framework that hampers us and prevents us from developing. With all the problems we have, Croatia has been growing steadily by 2-3 percent, but the problem is that those around us are growing 2-3 times faster than we are. Therefore, we must implement processes that will accelerate investment and the ease of doing business. When it comes to opening a company, we have seven steps and the whole process for the company to start doing business lasts longer than 30-40 days, although the registration itself lasts just fifteen minutes. We must take for example Estonia or Macedonia, which are at the top of the competitiveness ladder, and not be 150 places behind,'' noted Minister Horvat.

He also pointed out that the issue of the speed of issuing building permits is the biggest problem in big cities, primarily in Zagreb.

"Things are happening and they just need to be promoted. If the Slovenes have managed to attract 14 billion euros in investment from Western Europe, and we've only had 3.8 billion, then it's clear to see that we have some serious problems," said Minister Darko Horvat.

Zdenko Adrović, Director of the Croatian Association of Banks (HUB), highlighted the importance of public debate on the challenges of investing in Croatia.

"The aim of this project is to open up a series of investment issues in Croatia, and this year marks the 20th anniversary of HUB, and this year we want to stimulate the discussion about investments and the role of the banking sector in it. The IMF concluded that there is a need to alleviate bureaucratic obstacles and that would be very welcome, as would providing stronger legal certainty involving a fast and efficient justice system. Without a proper justice system there's little hope in expecting any sort of investment wave, we're not even among the top thirty [countries for investment]. A very well-known British business paper recently concluded that the sun and the sea  aren't enough,'' Adrović warned.

He also added that the establishment of a company in Croatia lasts several times longer than it does in our immediate neighborhood, including in countries like Serbia and Macedonia, both of which are outside of the EU, and which we usually consider to be considerably less developed than Croatia. Vladimir Nišević, editor-in-chief of Poslovni Dnevnik, stressed the importance of the media in promoting important social values, and Croatia's investment climate is certainly one of them.

"Without healthy investment and economic development there will be no other social advances such as curricular reform and the like, although the current Uljanik problem is one of the burning issues of the Croatian economy and society, it's much more important to look at how our country and our society will look in twenty years,'' Nišević rightly concluded.

Make sure to stay up to date with news on Croatia's investment and business climate and everything you need to know by following our dedicated business and politics pages.


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

Saturday, 23 February 2019

Investment in Croatia - More Legal Security Attracts Foreign Cash

Investment in Croatia is at an all time low. With the phrase ''ABC'' having become the term for ''Anything But Croatia'' in investor circles, the country needs to do some serious work in order to redeem itself. In order for Croatia to become much more attractive to foreign strategic investors, more concrete and clear steps need to be taken, and high on the agenda lie the proper preparation of public finances and more legal security.

As Ana Blaskovic/Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 21st of February, 2019, despite dramatic headlines, the economy is growing and Croatia's level of public debt is falling. It is commonly forgotten that Croatia is growing at a pace below three percent - the slowest of all. Neighbouring Slovenia experienced 4.9 percent GDP growth, Hungary experienced growth of 4.1 percent, and Bulgaria saw 3.8 percent growth. There's no such great wisdom to be spoken of in Croatia's case here, the economy will grow as much as it has, or is given, the power to do so, and its momentum is the only thing that can make Croatia look much more friendly to investors, a move it desperately needs to make.

Even if there was a real willingness and the capacity for proper reforms existed, which are both evidently lacking, the key question is what moves should be made first to garner the fastest results in terms of investment in Croatia.

In that regard, there are no real dilemmas in the mind of respected economist Velimir Šonje, and what needs to be ensured are business climate reforms which include the Doing Business Report of the World Bank's recommendations for Croatia.

"By moving to around number 30 on the Doing Business Report, we've entered the club of countries like Poland, we're visible on the Eastern European map (which isn't the case today) and we have a marketing tool to attract investors," said Šonje, adding that these concrete measures would have a direct impact on Croatia's ability to properly facilitate business and investment, such as issuing building permits or reducing the number of steps required when paying taxes.

At the very top of the Croatian Government's priorities lies the transparent privatisation of state-owned companies through their listing on the stock market within the wider revitalisation plan of the capital market in order to better stimulate foreign investment in Croatia.

"It's no accident that investments are at a relatively low level since the capital market has died in Croatia. Without its revival through several major privatisations and listing and strengthening programs to attract medium-sized businesses in some of the simpler stock quotes, there will be no better investments, as capital market development has positive spill-over effects and attracts the interest of foreign investors,'' stated the esteemed economist.

Following the liberalisation of the internal market, the strengthening of the protection of equal market competition (so that there are no already protected existing players), the transparency of public procurement and the abolition of parafiscal charges and other obstacles to strengthening competition, especially in the service sectors where there are significant area of potential such as the health, education and IT industries,''

When it comes to better attracting investment in Croatia, the proper and decent handling of public finances also ranks very high on the list of consultant Andrej Grubišić from Grubišić and partners, with a very specific goal.

"It's necessary to reduce government spending, ie, a 30 billion kuna budget over a five-year period, and thus leave more money to a private initiative that will drive the development of small and medium-sized enterprises for their own economic interests (independently and without the help of the state),'' said Grubišić. This would become more attractive for investment by foreign strategic investors through takeovers and/or recapitalisations through which intensified internationalisation would continue.

The hope is that the state will cease their classic style of favouring particular sectors or industries, such as IT or renewable energy sources, as this approach almost always promotes unwanted crony capitalism. Moreover, treating everyone in the same way is a clear signal to a foreign investor that he does not have to fear that his industry will be considered less desirable tomorrow and lose his privileged status to someone else who is deemed closer to the wishes of the political elites and those who are better lobbied.

In this context, there is a real need for adequate judicial protection. In the Croatian Chamber of Commerce (HGK), the emphasis is placed on attracting investors to production and opening up an investment space that would be geared towards the design of high value added products, investments in research, and in development and exports.

"We need to create a business climate that will stimulate domestic entrepreneurs, thus creating the conditions for the stronger engagement of foreign entrepreneurs and investments in Croatia," stated HGK's Luka Burilović.

He added that entrepreneurs have the most objections in the area of ​​legal certainty, justice, taxation and public administration.

"Here we can take the appropriate concrete measures that could immediately show results. Investors are becoming more demanding, they're looking for solutions, not just locations. One of the options for a change of approach is to put the focus on Croatia's "portfolio", and not on the entire territory,'' Burilović stated.

When asked how Croatia will look in the eyes of an investor, the answer remains very the same according to Burilović: "We're relatively unknown to investors, we don't have a brand built, and we're mostly recognised as a tourist destination,''

Make sure to stay up to date with our dedicated business and politics pages for much more on investment in Croatia.


Click here for the original article by Ana Blaskovic for Poslovni Dnevnik

Thursday, 21 February 2019

Investment in Croatia: 80 Million Kuna Allocated to Ports

More investment in Croatia and some very welcome news for fishing ports up and down the Croatian coast in several counties as valuable contracts worth a massive eighty million kuna are signed by Oleg Butković, the Minister of Maritime Affairs, Transport and Infrastructure.

As Morski writes on the 20th of February, 2019, on Wednesday the 20th of February, Croatia's Ministry of Maritime Affairs, Transport and Infrastructure signed binding agreements and contracts for the allocation of state budget funds for the construction, repair, and reconstruction of various facilities in ports which are open to public traffic, marking a praiseworthy investment in Croatia.

The ports, which are located in seven different coastal Croatian counties are considered to be of importance at both the county and local level, and their upcoming modernisation, reconstruction and construction will take place as part of the construction of fishing infrastructure this year.

The contracts will be signed by the Minister of Maritime Affairs, Transport and Infrastructure, Oleg Butković, and the directors of the port administrations Rabac, Crikvenica, Rab, Bakar-Kraljevica-Kostrena, Novi Vinodolski, Novalja, Senj, Zadar, Korčula and Vela Luka, as well as the port authorities of Šibenik-Knin County, Split-Dalmatia County, and Dalmatia's southernmost county - Dubrovnik-Neretva County.

Through the signing of these contracts and agreements, a huge total of eighty million kuna will be allocated to 25 infrastructure projects in as many as seven Adriatic counties in a massive investment in Croatia and its long and impressive coastline, not only in popular Dalmatia, which relies heavily on ports and their infrastructure.

With the allocation of these state budget funds, the Ministry of Maritime Affairs Transport and Infrastructure is continuing to go forward with its previously started investments in the field of the development and modernisation of port infrastructure on Croatian islands, as well as in coastal [mainland] areas, the competent ministry said in a statement on the matter.

Make sure to stay up to date with everything you need to know about investment in Croatia by following our dedicated lifestyle and business pages. If you've clicked on this article for sailing info, give our Total Croatia Sailing and travel pages a follow.

Sunday, 3 February 2019

Zagreb and Poreč to Get Large New Shopping Outlets in 2019

Good news for retail therapy lovers and job seekers alike as both Zagreb and the Istrian city of Poreč are due to get new big shopping centres and a wave of new employment opportunities that go with it.

As Korana Sutlic/Barbara Ban/Novac writes on the 2nd of February, 2019, the current plan for Poreč's up and coming brand new outlet is to have it completed entirely by this summer, it will be located at the entrance to the popular Istrian city. It will be the first such shopping centre in the second largest city in Istria to accommodate shops such as BIPA, C & A, CCC, Deichmann, Galileo, Hervis, Müller, New Yorker, Tedi and Svijet Media.

The investor and owner of the project is the company AM PS Delta Nekretnine d.o.o., which has already built a shopping center in Pula - Pula City Mall. Otherwise, the company AM PS Delta Real Estate Ltd., a member of the Croatian subsidiary of MID Bau Real Estate Ltd., is one of the leading developers on the domestic market, and along with the Pula project, they so far have realised the Garden Mall project in Zagreb, TC Koprivnica, STC Osijek, STC Sisak , STC Valpovo, and STC Umag.

''Works began several months ago, and the completion is scheduled for June this year. Poreč will get its well-deserved shopping and entertainment centre, conceptually conceived as a retail park, and every store will have its own entrance. The retail area of ​​the centre will be around 8,379 square metres in size, which will also make it the largest shopping center in Poreč, and in just a few days the final version of its layout will be known,'' they say from Poreč's city administration upon welcoming this large investment.

Along with the new shopping centre, new jobs will of course come as part of the greater package, which is naturally a more than welcome move for the local economy.

Projects in Zagreb

In addition, this June will see a brand new retail park open at the western part of the Arena Center in Zagreb, on a surface of 8,000 square metres, the content of which will mainly be shops which need large spaces. In the Zagreb district of Špansko, a brand new Z centre will be constructed, which will result in an impressive 60,000 square metre shopping centre, along with stand-alone facilities - McDonald's and Lidl.

The new Zagreb retail centre will boast a square, a multiplex cinema, as well as numerous shops, cafes and restaurants. The completion of Zagreb's Z centre's construction is planned for the end of this year. The completion of the reconstruction of Branimir Centre is also expected this spring.

Make sure to stay up to date by following our dedicated lifestyle and business pages for much more. If it's just Zagreb you're interest in, give Total Zagreb a follow.


Click here for the original article by Korana Sutlic and Barbara Ban for

Friday, 25 January 2019

Croatian Entrepreneur Reveals Jokes Being Told About Croatia Abroad

''They're already telling jokes about Croatia abroad,'' says Croatian entrepreneur Stjepan Bedić, who took to Facebook to detail his experience with some Libyan investors.

As writes on the 23rd of January, 2019, pilot, entrepreneur and aeronautical engineer Stjepan Bedić, who is otherwise the director of BEST Aero and the leader of the Team Stellar project, one of sixteen teams competing for the Google Lunar X Prize, wrote on Facebook just how Croatia is treating potential investors willing to bring millions into the country, and uncovered out what exactly this damage does to the trust of would-be investors. He says that foreign investors are already busy telling jokes about Croatia and its insane, ridiculous ways.

The ambitious Croatian entrepreneur and his associates are stuck in, as he says, "an administrative machine and a situation that not even Monty Python would be able to think up."

Here's his post translated into English:

"So, we had some investors come over from Libya last year. There was a 3.5 million dollar investment agreed upon. They got their visas, they came to Croatia, they paid 180,000 dollars for all the initial administration, they enrolled as co-owners of the firm at the commercial court. Their visas expired, they left with the intention of returning, and paying the remaining 3.3 million dollars to start up the airline.

Croatia denied them their visas. Pay attention now, Croatia denied their visas after they'd already been in Croatia a month ago, paid over a million kuna and so on. They submitted a request again, and once again Croatia refused their visas, I, as the director of the firm and the signatory of the letter of guarantee, have no right to know why [they were refused their visas], even though I did learn off the record that they weren't criminals, but that they'd got caught up somewhere in the administration machine.

I wrote to the president!

I wrote to the president, and from her office they were looking for a report from MVEP. The report was full of citations from regulations on issuing visas, how to complain about solutions, and stuff like that.

Here's my answer to them, CC'd also to the president's office:

To whom it may concern,

Thanks for the the detailed e-mail with quoted regulations and a detailed description on issuing visas.

I agree with everything written.

The investors simply no longer want to invest in Croatia. 

It's simply because of one other thing, and because of that, as a country, we're known as a place where no investment should ever be made. The other day I had the chance to talk to the Katra royal family, who also told me they didn't want to ever invest in Croatia again. I talked to one other investor about Libya, when it was in a warlike state, split with two governments, and that was of more interest for investing in than Croatia. Can you believe that?

Abroad, people are already telling jokes about Croatia. Do you know what ABC means in colloquial investor talk? "Anything But Croatia."

I absolutely agree that all of the regulations, both ours and those of the EU, have to be respected. The question is how we do it. And we do it in a disastrous way.

Can it be more efficient?

When talking about all of the quoted regulations that you've enclosed and used as some sort of excuse for such awful results, the reality is that these people were in Croatia in mid-2018, they invested over one million kuna, were entered into the commercial court as co-owners of a company. How was their visa issued? What changed over those months? After investing a part of the money, they were refused a visa twice, and now we've missed out on a 3 million dollar investment. That's your reality. Would it have been possible for all these regulations to have been implemented in a more efficient way?

I'd say that it could be possible. And here are some examples of why:

1. A hotel reservation has expired. After repeated inquiries to find out which date to reserve the hotel, we don't get any information.

If a company, of which I'm the director, and they're the majority owners, books a hotel and, after all, I sign a guarantee letter, are we really violating the privacy of these citizens if you tell me which date to reserve the hotel? The first reservation was lost because the visa wasn't completed. The reservation costs 3,500 euros and I can't just keep booking every day and then cancelling reservations. Is that really so difficult to understand? What's the problem in just writing a sentence, or, in answering the phone: "Reserve new flight tickets and a hotel for 15.12.2018"?

2. Is it normal for your representative in Cairo to say that for a visa with multiple entries allowed, advance planning for a flight ticket and a hotel is needed? How on earth can people know when each time they're going to come and go for the first six months will be?

3. Is it normal for your Cairo representative to say that they can't add additional documents to the case?

4. Is it normal for your representative in Cairo to just not bother to deliver a resolution after a number of requests from the person who submitted the request, who has received no reason as to why the visa was denied?

What exactly is the issue here? The solution? You've wonderfully described the appeal process all the way to the Pope in Rome, but what does any of that mean when they have not officially received anything at all?

I understand all about Libya and that it's a country with an increased risk, but they continue to do business and they have a lot of money.

For your information, thanks to this, the talks with the Brodotrogir shipyard fell apart, and they were looking to us to sort out meetings with INA because they offered cheap crude oil, as well as Podravka about food exports to Libya. I didn't agree to carry out these two last meetings given the fact that it was obvious they weren't going to come to Croatia. I already took them to see the plot for a hotel with 300 rooms in Zagreb.

Now pay attention to this situation that not even Monty Python could think up. They entered the firm as co-owners, the firm has 180,000 dollars, or a million kuna. Another 3.3 million dollars should have come, but it will not come. They can't even get out of the company's ownership because, in order to do so, they need to go to the same notary with whom they were with a month before, when they had a visa, AGAIN.

And now I'm opening a new company in order to seek other investors, and only God knows what I'm going to do with BEST Aero d.o.o. where a million kuna is lying there for no reason, where the investors and co-owners can't even come to Croatia, where they can't undertake any recapitalisation or do anything at all but show up as debt.

On the other hand, if they were granted the same visas they had until mid-September 2018 AGAIN, they'd now have a company with fifty employees and two 189-seat passenger planes.

Now, you see whether or not something can be done and whether this email is correct or not.

Only you doing everything "by the book" dig deeper and deeper, while others use the situation and are progressing. Your ambassador told me that one of our firms got a contract to deal with all the plumbing in Libya after the conflict, and that the Libyans had to come to Zagreb, and they were denied a visa, which the Spaniards were very happy to give them, and now the Spaniards are renovating Libya's waterworks, and our firm failed.

And the Spaniards are in the EU, they're even in Schengen. So, with what magic did they manage to solve this visa problem for people who were proven to be bringing a multi-million dollar job with them? I've been told that government ministers end up waiting for a visa for Croatia for ten months, and that people coming to meetings with the prime minister are doing so on a tourist visa!

It's clear to me that there are all sorts of underhand things going on, but there must be a simpler and faster process for investors who have proven themselves and who have already invested part of their money in Croatia. These people are the co-owners of firms, they have property in Croatia that they can't even get to.

[This has been written] with the desire that your wages start depending on the performance of you and your colleagues,

capt. Stjepan Bedić, Engineer Aeronaut.
BEST Aero d.o.o. "

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