Monday, 13 September 2021

87 Million Kuna Renovation of Podravka Office Building on Cards

September the 13th, 2021 - An 87 million kuna renovation for the Podravka office building is set to take place, with a company from the continental Croatian town of Krizevci being ''the chosen ones'' for the job.

As Novac/Vedran Marjanovic writes, Podravka's Supervisory Board approved the Management Board's decision to invest a massive 87.7 million kuna in the renovation of the company's office building, and to conclude a contract with the construction company Radnik (Worker) from Krizevci for the job, the much loved Koprivnica-based company announced yesterday.

The renovation of the Podravka office building includes IT and energy reconstruction, as well as its modernisation. The current Podravka office building was built back in 1979 and hasn't been renovated for practically 42 years.

With this, the reconstruction project, which has been being planned for many years now, has entered the implementation phase, and includes a seven-storey office building, a restaurant, a car park and the surrounding area, Podravka announced, adding that the works will begin on October the 1st this year and will be completed in July 2022.

During this time, according to the announcement of the Koprivnica company, employees whose workplace is in the Podravka office building will be relocated to other locations in the company.

Podravka pointed out that the renovation of the company's office building will be financed from its own sources, without any borrowing involved. They added that the renovation of the Podravka office building is being done in its existing dimensions and that the investment framework is appropriate for a challenging business year with careful cost management.

When it comes to the selection of Radnik d.d. from Krizevci as the contractor, Podravka revealed that three rounds of collecting bids from contractors were conducted and that the selection was based on the project of renovation of the office building prepared by the company Forma-Biro, also from Koprivnica.

The amount of the investment in the renovation of the Podravka office building refers to construction works, the mechanical installations, works on the facade and those on the electrical installations, according to the Koprivnica company, noting that the renovation project incorporates elements of material artistic value of the building.

The reconstruction of the office building, Podravka noted, will improve the company's energy efficiency, corporate and information security and ensure that the new requirements of the prescribed standards are met in the time after the coronavirus pandemic.

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Thursday, 8 July 2021

Smart Bee: Chinese Invest in Croatian Smart Beekeeping Scale Production

July the 8th, 2021 - The Croatian Smart Bee concept, designed by an engineer from Samobor, has attracted the attention of the Chinese who have decided to invest 50,000 euros in it.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Suzana Varosanec writes, the best innovation of the Agro Arca 2021 fair is the unique Croatian Smart Bee Scale - Smart Bee, by Matija Hrzic. This electrical engineer from Samobor is on the verge of the commercialisation of Smart Bee.

27-year-old Hrzic began with Smart Bee's initial development through several phases back in 2016, while the start of production is expected by the end of the year. According to Hrzic, this will mean the production of the first Croatian smart beekeeping scale with advanced technologies integrated, within the framework of cooperation with a Chinese partner, which would be finalised in Croatia. An investment of around 50,000 euros is planned for the start.

Here on the Croatian market, no one produces electronic boards or measuring cells for beekeeping, while China as a mega power in this specialised niche is a logical choice for cooperation, because the price competitiveness of innovative scales can be readily achieved. The goal is to first cover the needs of Croatia and the immediate region, but as the production and sales price is many times lower, and with the fact that before the pandemic there were close to half a million active beekeepers across Europe, he believes that there are great opportunities for growth on the European market.

The mentor on the Smart Bee project, interestingly, is teacher Ivan Vlainic from the Secondary Vocational School in Samobor, a lecturer and mentor of Mate Rimac in the past, who accompanied him to numerous competitions. The most important thing in everything, Vlanic points out, is that talents are recognised as early as possible, as much as possible through competitions for technical schools, and that people who harbour such talents are able enter the world of innovation as early as possible.

As for Hrzic, Smart Bee is his first innovation with which he went to competitions, and the idea arrived to his mind at home, under the influence of his father Hrzic who is a beekeeper and who noticed some shortcomings with the process. Hrzic explained that the main problem in using the equipment that is already out there on the market concerns the price and life of the batteries.

Using the ratiometric ratio used with Smart Bee, according to him, a benefit is achieved because three times lower battery voltage is required for the same measurement accuracy, which means that you don't have to use 3 batteries but instead only one. These are only the first savings, and by using advanced versions of microcontrollers, the energy efficiency of the system is achieved, which, he says, leads to a cheap product with great application in beekeeping. This is especially true of so-called mobile beekeeping which is based on hive transport.

Mobile apiaries are becoming more prevalent in general, as the season from April to September, depending on the temperature, includes different types of bee food sources which is why hives are transported to locations with plenty of food available, from acacia and chestnut forests to lavender and oilseed rape fields.

Why is beekeeping necessary?

The first thing Hrzic mentions in answer to this query are climate changes that result in unstable weather conditions, so there is an explicit need for scales because they allow the beekeeper to know the moment when to feed the bees, not to have the honey from them consumed, or move them to another location.

According to him, bees can eat about 40 kilograms of honey a day per hundred hives in this sensitive period, so the answer is an innovative scale: a beekeeper from his home, via a mobile or web application, even via SMS by mobile phone, gets an insight in the condition of the apiary. That is done not only in terms of nectar and pollen intake, but also in terms of the temperature in the hive, the monitoring of which can prevent bee swarming or death, in addition to monitoring the health of the queen.

The plan for Smart Bee as time goes on is to place a temperature sensor in each hive, which sends data to the central unit in the scale using Bluetooth technology. Smart Bee, concluded Hrzic, also enables the detection of hives overturning, as well as problems caused by wild animals such as hungry bears.

For more, follow Made in Croatia.

Tuesday, 1 June 2021

Croatian Motorways Ready for Tourism Season with Even More Amenities

June 1, 2021 – Investments in the yearly maintenance of Croatian motorways are sizeable, but justified when compared to the revenue generated, particularly during the summer season.

Croatian motorways are a crucial part of Croatia’s tourism infrastructure. They are also a very important factor in connecting various regions of the country. The topography of Croatia often makes local roads inefficient. Year after year majority of guests coming to Croatia with cars have very positive comments on the motorway system. However, the entire thing doesn’t come cheap.

With the constant need for maintenance and updating, Hrvatske Autoceste (Croatian Motorways Ltd - HAC) is hard at work every year to prepare the infrastructure for the summer season. The surge of cars on Croatian roads will once again happen in a year, starting in June. Index.hr reports Croatian Motorways Ltd invested 404.9 million kn (around 54 million EUR) into this year’s maintenance and upgrading of the motorway system. Much of this money has been invested in rest stops along the motorways. This is one part of the investment travellers to Croatia will immediately feel. Upgrades made in rest stops are mostly in interiors, bathrooms, and operational technology. HAC also notes the emergency services are going to be reinforced.

New and Updated Services

Along with the standard 24/7 road assistance patrolling the motorways, additional contractors will provide more complex roadside and system maintenance services. Teams of emergency medical services and over thirty vehicles with automatic defibrillators will be on hand as well. Much like the majority of other businesses, HAC expects higher revenues in 2021 than the previous year. In 2020 the numbers were very low due to COVID19 pandemic restrictions. Because of this, HAC started this year with around a hundred employees less than 2020. Estimated revenue from motorway tolls in Croatia this year is 2,18 billion kn (around 290 million EUR).

For more on travel in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Tuesday, 27 April 2021

Croatian Startup Investments Reach Over Billion Kuna in 3 Months

April the 27th, 2021 - When it comes to Croatian startup investments, things have been going excellently in the first three months of 2021 despite the ongoing coronavirus crisis and all of the economic woes it brings with it.

As Bernard Ivezic/Novac writes, In the first quarter of 2021, Croatian startup investments reached more than one billion kuna in total, as was stated in the analysis of Novac.hr.

Although the figure stands at more than 170 million US dollars, it isn't a total amount because the value of some major transactions hasn't yet been made public. Some examples of figures that aren't yet known include the numbers behind Ispsos' purchase of the most successful Croatian marketing startup, DotMetrics, Infobip's acquisition of Shift, as well as the value of M + Group's investment in the domestic startup Bulb. The latter is speculated to be at the level of seven million euros.

Frane Sesnic, the director of ZICER, says that it was only a matter of time before the achievements of the Croatian startup scene would come to light.

''All of those results come after long and persistent investments, knowledge, time and money, and these aren't merely overnight successes. This is just the beginning of a new stage of Croatian entrepreneurship based on knowledge, which is proving to be successful and globally competitive,'' he stated.

The largest startup investment in the first quarter was of course Porsche's 70m-euro investment in Rimac Automobili. The market value of Mate Rimac's company has since jumped to a massive 978.5 million US dollars and it is certain that by the end of the year it will achieve its so-called unicorn valuation, ie a market value of more than a billion US dollars.

The second largest of the Croatian startup investments in the first quarter of 2021 was the 250 million kuna exit of one of the largest mobile application manufacturers in Croatia, Zagreb's Five. It was taken over by the British company Endava and is the second largest startup exit in Croatia so far, just behind Nanobit.

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

In third place is Photomath’s 23 million US dollar investment round. A VC fund from no less than the Silicon Valley, Menlo Ventures, has invested in the startup, which was started by Damir Sabol and which boasted that its artificial intelligence is used by a million people a day. The Croatian-British startup Cognism is the fourth largest investment in the quarter, it received 12.5 million dollars from Swisscom Ventures, the VC fund of the largest telecom of the same name in Switzerland.

It's worth mentioning that Cognism, which has developed a cloud system that allows companies to use Internet technologies to improve sales and marketing, is one of the fastest growing companies in the investment portfolio of South Central Ventures.

Vedran Blagus, an investment manager at South Central Ventures, says that given the fact that startups have been building their story globally for more than a decade now, it isn't unusual to see their apparent “overnight success” now.

''If we go back only a year or two, activities on the Croatian startup or technology scene were sporadic, at least in terms of their size and the amount of investments and acquisitions which took place, now they've placed Croatia on the map for large foreign investors and partnerships in terms of acquisitions and investments,'' said Blagus.

Green technologies

It is also worth mentioning that M12, Microsoft's VC fund, invested 12.5 million dollars in Memgraph, a Croatian startup with whose technology another Facebook can be created.

Of the Croatian startup investments that exceed eye-watering amounts, there is also the investment of 10 million kuna received by the Osijek startup Orqa from the Hungarian fund Day One Capital, as well as smaller investments in various startups. The startup ecosystem in Croatia has become richer for the BIRD Incubator, the first to specialise in artificial intelligence startups. SPOCK, the incubator of the largest technological faculty in Croatia, Zagreb's FER, was reactivated, and ZICER, the largest startup hub in our country, showed the results of as many as eight local green startups.

In addition, the American analytical company ABI Research named Gideon Brothers the fifth most successful manufacturer of autonomous robots for the transfer of cargo in the world, and the largest VC fund in Croatia, Fil Rouge Capital, was named the second most active such fund in Central and Eastern Europe.

For more on Croatian startup investments and domestic companies, make sure to follow Made in Croatia.

Thursday, 7 January 2021

Petrinja Earthquake Slams Brakes on Sisak-Moslavina County Investments

January the 7th, 2021 - The recent Petrinja earthquake rounded off an absolutely horrendous 2020 for Croatia which was dominated by a global pandemic. Investments in Sisak-Moslavina County, some of them very pressing, have now had keys placed in their locks.

As Vedran Marjanovic/Novac writes, the catastrophic Petrinja earthquake stopped investments in their very tracks in the affected areas of Sisak-Moslavina County. This includes those co-financed from European Union funds carrying a total value, according to local leaders, of close to one billion kuna.

One of the largest ongoing EU projects in the Banovina region is, for example, the improvement of the water and communal infrastructure of the Petrinja agglomeration which is co-financed by the European Union from the Cohesion Fund, worth 431 million kuna, and as the Minister of Economy and Environment Tomislav Coric stated that the Petrinja water supply system was damaged in the earthquake in about a hundred places, the question is whether Petrinja can request additional EU assistance to repair the damage to the agglomeration and complete the project?

Brussels isn't the right address

''The European Union, ie the European institutions based in Brussels, aren't a direct address to which the beneficiaries of EU funds in earthquake-affected areas can now turn in an attempt to gain financial assistance for the repairing of damage, nor are they the right doors to knock on to request assistance to complete such projects if they are not completed yet. The Croatian state, ie the bodies in the management and control systems of the European Structural and Investment Funds are the places to go. Such are the corresponding rules and procedures,'' said Ariana Vela, the director of the consulting company Avelant and the president of the Board of the EU Projects School. She noted that the rights and obligations of beneficiaries of EU funds in the event of force majeure, such as earthquakes, are regulated by grant agreements, although, in her view, not to a sufficient extent.

''Therefore, it would be best for the competent authorities, in cooperation with the beneficiaries, to first determine the damage caused to EU projects that are in progress and, if they have sufficient funds in their budgets, to finance the repair of the damage and bring those projects to their pre-earthquake condition, and the compensation of these funds in terms of sources of funding can be requested from the EU Solidarity Fund, in compliance with certain rules and meeting certain preconditions,'' she pointed out.

In the case of the Petrinja agglomeration, the project holder is the city utility company Privreda d.o.o. which, back in 2016, signed a contract with the Ministry of Agriculture and Croatian Waters, and was provided co-financing from the European Union worth 245 million kuna. The state participates in the project with 100 million kuna, Croatian Waters with 44 million kuna, and the rest is dealt with by the city utility company.

The Petrinja agglomeration project, which was supposed to renovate the water supply network in order to, among other things, reduce water losses in it and build a wastewater collection and treatment system, was set to be completed this year. According to available information, even if the Petrinja earthquake had not occurred, the big question is whether the Petrinja agglomeration project would be completed by the end of next year anyway.

Extra money

In any case, having in mind the propositions that Ariana Vela drew our attention to, the state and Croatian Waters will probably have to engage significant additional money in order to complete the Petrinja agglomeration project.

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Sunday, 3 January 2021

Should EU Cash go to Croatian Private Sector for Investment Purposes?

Thanks to a good pre-crisis initial capitalisation, Croatia's banks have enough potential to continue to provide all the services they have provided so far, but should future EU cash injections go to the Croatian private sector for investments?

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 3rd of January, 2021, although the second wave of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic is now at its peak, announcements of an effective vaccine and the expected natural calming down of the spread of infection with the arrival of spring 2021 gives us hope that all of those promises of domestic economic recovery will come true. At the same time, what's more important than that growth itself is what the quality of the recovery will be, how long it will last for, and for those at HUB, the most important thing is to analyse what the role of banks could be in that saga.

Owing to a good pre-crisis initial capitalisation, banks have enough potential to continue to provide all the services they have provided so far. This potential can be applied equally to liquidity and available capital. Good projects, as well as the needs of people who will regularly repay their obligations will be financed at the lowest interest rates in Croatia's history. How can we ensure that the start of Croatia's economic recovery in 2021 and the availability of funds at a very low cost of capital turn into lasting recovery at high growth rates? The answer depends on how the country uses European Union (EU) funds.

It is of the utmost importance to use those funds so that as much as possible falls into the hands of the Croatian private sector, more precisely the corporate sector, in order to increase investment. Banks are ready to support such projects, because investments accompanied by favourable financial structuring strengthen the sense of trust in clients and this improves their creditworthiness in general in the long run.

An important part of European Union funds is that which is used for various financial instruments. This is of great importance when it comes to the very structure financial instruments so that they don't crowd out the market but instead complement and improve it, in two ways. First of all, the improvement of the framework for resolving insolvency and the development of capital markets, especially venture capital funds, is imposed as a necessity to increase the economic dynamics on the way out of this terrible and unprecedented crisis. It is good that these measures are mentioned in the National Development Strategy 2030 and are in the recommendations of the EU Council to Croatia, so the implementation of these measures can now be readily expected.

Second of all, when it comes to debt instruments, the trend of sectoral and earmarked fragmentation of credit guarantee schemes needs to be reversed. The guarantee schemes of HBOR and HAMAG-BICRO, which are financed from EU funds, should be simplified, reduced in their numbers and made more flexible and transparent according to the needs of the market. This will encourage risk-taking that wouldn't have been taken without government intervention, which directly increases investment and economic growth.

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Wednesday, 28 October 2020

Here are Future Croatian Megaprojects - 45 Billion Kuna in Investments

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 27th of October, 2020, the Republic of Croatia is working hard to modernise its transport sector, and in order to find out what is being built and what is planned to be built in the new mandate of this Government, HAK sought answers from the Ministry of Maritime Affairs, Transport and Infrastructure. Let's have a look at the massive Croatian megaprojects that are still to come.

''As far as the transport sector is concerned, a number of infrastructure projects worth more than 20 billion kuna are currently being implemented. The investment cycle is expected to continue in the next period, so that during the operational period 2021-2027, the plan is to invest an additional 45 billion kuna in the construction and renovation of transport infrastructure throughout the Republic of Croatia,'' explained Ivana Skaric, ministry spokeswoman.

Railway modernisation

She noted that the greatest emphasis will be on the modernisation of Croatia's aged railway infrastructure, with special emphasis placed on the completion of the Lowland Railway and the entire route of Corridor X. It is estimated that investment in this transport sector will exceed the hefty price tag of 22 billion kuna.

Thus, over the next three years, the Croatian megaprojects expected to be completed are as follows: the modernisation and electrification of the Zapresic - Zabok railway, the reconstruction and construction of the Dugo Selo - Krizevci railway, the reconstruction (and subsequent construction) of the second track on the Krizevci - Koprivnica - state border section, the upgrading and electrification of the Vinkovci - Vukovar railway, and the reconstruction and construction of the second track of the Hrvatski Leskovac - Karlovac section (the total value of these Croatian megaprojects stands at eight billion kuna).

''In addition to the above, the signing and implementation of the project of the reconstruction and upgrade of 95 railway-road crossings is expected soon. The start of the works on this is planned for the end of 2020, and the planned amount for the aforementioned project stands at more than 150 million kuna,'' the competent ministry revealed.

Additionally, the implementation of projects along Corridor X is planned, this namely regards the upgrade and reconstruction of the Dugo Selo - Novska railway section which carries an estimated value of more than four billion kuna. This foresees the reconstruction of 72 kilometres of railway and the reconstruction of four railway stations, as well as the reconstruction of the Okucani - Vinkovci railway section which also has an estimated worth of more than four billion. With that, there are plans to renovate 131 kilometres of railway, as well as reconstruct 12 railway stations and 13 accompanying stops.

The lowland railway

In addition, the completion of the lowland railway is planned for the coming period, which includes the following: the construction of the second track, the modernisation and reconstruction of the Skrljevo - Rijeka - Jurdani railway section. This project is estimated at two billion kuna and includes the modernisation of almost 30 kilometres of railway line. Furthermore, the modernisation of the Ostarije - Skrljevo railway section is also envisaged. The project is estimated at 7.5 billion kuna, and includes the reconstruction of 114 kilometres of railway.

The modernisation of the railway M202 Zagreb GK - Rijeka, section Karlovac - Ostarije is also planned. That particular project is estimated to stand at three billion kuna. Additionally, a project for the preparation of study documentation for the so-called Lika railway is in the works.

''The railway connections of the airports and ferry ports of Zadar and Split are being prepared, with the railway connection of the City of Zadar with the port of Gazenica and Zadar Airport, as well as the Bibinje - Sukosan bypass, and the project of connecting the Split subway railway station in the Ferry Port Split (East Coast), with Split Airport and the construction of an intermodal junction of the new main station Split (Kopilica),'' they claim from the appropriate ministry.

Peljesac Bridge

In the term of office, the completion of the largest and most important project in the Republic of Croatia is expected - the construction of the long awaited Peljesac Bridge. ''The deadline for the completion of the bridge is the beginning of 2022, while the completion of the entire project (with all of its access roads) is expected by 2023,'' the ministry noted.

15 billion kuna for road infrastructure

Investments in road infrastructure will continue in the next period, and Croatian megaprojects worth more than 15 billion kuna are already being prepared, such as the completion of Corridor Vc (the Beli Manastir - Hungarian border section), which stretches from Budapest all the way down to Ploce in a total length of 702 kilometres. The construction of the motorway on the Vc corridor in Croatia will be completed by the end of 2023.

In the next period, the ministry noted, investments will be directed to a number of projects in the City of Split, such as the Split Bypass, which is in Omis, carrying with it a total value of more than two billion kuna, and the Kozjak tunnel with a total value of almost one billion kuna.

The Ucka tunnel

Investments continue on the construction of the Istrian Y regarding the Ucka tunnel. The ministry states that this is an investment worth almost 1.5 billion kuna, which, in addition to the continued construction within the Ucka tunnel, refers to new viaducts, underpasses, overpasses and rest areas.

''In addition to the above, important road sections will be built in the term of office, such as the Skurinje junction to the Port of Rijeka, the Srijem Transversal, the construction of the Podravina Y, the road in the direction of the Dubrovnik - Montenegrin border, the Novi Vinodolski bypass will be built as part of the construction project, and motorways on the Krizisce - Zuta Lokva section,'' stated Skaric.

Investment in ports: three billion kuna

In the maritime sector, more specifically in the construction of port infrastructure along the Croatian Adriatic, the plan is to invest an additional three billion kuna.

''Investing in port infrastructure and increasing the capacity of the Port of Rijeka, along with the construction of the lowland railway, is a particularly significant strategic investment in the context of the continuation of traffic and the economic development of the Republic of Croatia. In that sense, the concessionaire at the new terminal on the Rijeka coastline expected, and thus the continuation of investments in the infrastructure of the terminal itself, as well as the implementation of all EU projects implemented in the Port of Rijeka, which are all worth more than three billion kuna.

Investments in other ports of special international economic interest in the amount of more than two billion kuna are also planned. Among them, the most significant will be projects in the area of ​​the ferry port Gruž, ie the project Batahovina II, investments in the expansion (including relocation) of the port infrastructure of the port of Split to the location Stinice, upgrade of the pier Vrulje within the maritime passenger terminal in the port of Sibenik.

- Projects for rehabilitation and reconstruction of port infrastructure of county and local importance from Istria to Dubrovnik with money from EU funds will continue in this mandate. An investment of around HRK 250 million is planned in such projects - the ministry states.

Rebuilding the fleet of ships

Further investment in the Department of Navigation Safety is also expected. In addition to the already planned laws and bylaws and the modernisation of the search and rescue system at sea, the renewal of the fleet of ships (10) is planned and it is estimated that investment in this sector will amount to more than 300 million kuna in total.

In the field of inland navigation, a number of EU projects are planned, such as the construction of a bulk cargo transshipment terminal in Osijek, the project of developing a waterway marking system in the Republic of Croatia, arranging a waterway on the Danube near Sotin, the construction of an international winter resort in Opatovac on the Danube, the new vertical shore in the port of Vukovar, and the study and project documentation for the dangerous goods terminal in the port of Slavonski Brod.

More than a billion kuna for the aviation sector

''After the opening of new passenger terminals in Zagreb, Split and Dubrovnik, investment in the modernisation and expansion of airports across the Republic of Croatia continues. In the next period, a total investment in the aviation sector is expected to stand at more than one billion kuna, with the most prominent investment of all being the renovation and expansion of the runway and car park of Zadar Airport, the modernisation of Osijek Airport and Rijeka Airport (Krk) and the planned modernisation and expansion of the airport in Mali Losinj,'' stated the ministry, adding that the process of finding a strategic partner for Croatia Airlines will continue, as will the stabilisation of the company's operations, also taking into account the situation within that company caused by the coronavirus crisis.

Broadband internet in every corner of Croatia

A special emphasis in the next period, the ministry added, will be placed on broadband internet, ie its availability in all parts of Croatia.

''The project of building a national aggregation of broadband infrastructure of the next generation and connecting target users within public administration bodies with modern electronic communications infrastructure, also of the next generation, is estimated at 780 million kuna,'' Ivana Skaric revealed.

New buses, trams, automatic traffic control

When it comes to public transport, after the successful implementation of projects for the procurement of new buses for as many as nine Croatian cities, a new round of investments is planned in the procurement of yet more new buses, trams, the construction of tram infrastructure and automatic traffic management systems.

Contactless toll collection

''Contactless toll collection on motorways will be introduced, which will apply to the entire system across Croatia, which includes HAC, ARZ and all concessionaires, ie Bina Istra and AZM. The plan is to introduce a new system by the summer season during 2022,'' the ministry said.

Extremely important investments for economic and social growth

Spokeswoman Ivana Skaric added that all the aforementioned Croatian megaprojects were listed as the most important and that some smaller projects were not included, especially in the road and port sector.

''Most of these projects will be co-financed through EU funds, specifically, the new Operational Programme for the period 2021-2027, CEF Connecting Europe Facility and through the presented European Recovery Plan, ie the Mechanism for Recovery and Resilience. At the moment, the ministry has proposed a number of projects and funding programmes to enable the launch and continuation of all infrastructure projects, especially those that will impact the green and digital transition, making the economy more resilient and prepared for future challenges.

Finally, all these investments will enable the further development of transport infrastructure across the Republic of Croatia, which is extremely important for economic and social growth, as well as for international connectivity. Developed transport infrastructure is an instrument of regional development that initiates the exchange of goods and better accessibility to all economic, health, tourist and other facilities,'' concluded IvanaSŠkaric, spokeswoman for the ministry.

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Friday, 28 August 2020

Buzin City Island - One of Biggest Investments to be Realised

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 27th of August, 2020, there has been talk circulating for a long time about the construction of a new southern entrance to Zagreb. To be more precise, talks have been going on for more than a decade now. Is the long-anticipated Buzin City Island about to come to fruition?

Various rumours and options have appeared in public, but the attractive piece of land in Buzinske krce, along the main road connecting the Croatian capital city of Zagreb with Velika Gorica and Franjo Tudjman International Airport, remained untouched. And then recently, large excavators arrived on the meadow. This is the announcement of the beginning of the realisation of one of the largest investments in Croatia - Buzin City Island. The business settlement on eighty thousand square metres of land, with 250,000 m2 of office space, will be realised in five phases, and the entire project is worth two billion kuna, as reported by Vecernji list.

When the works are completed, the southern entrance to the capital will become Buzin City Island and, as was revealed by project manager Marijo Tomic, it will have "all of the facilities needed by a working man during and outside his working hours". The investor of this project is the company City Island d.o.o. based in Rugvica, and the main designer is the Split company MIG arhitekti. The main contractor is KFK, a regional leader in the production of aluminum-glass facades. The same company is currently working on seven major projects in the United Kingdom and some in the United States. The Buzin City Island project will be built in five phases, explained Tomic.

''It isn't being built classically, several different buildings will be built, and in several phases. The deadline for the completion of the first phase is 24 months. The construction site is divided into two plots, zone A and zone B, and we will build about twenty business buildings,'' Tomic stated, adding that in the first phase, which is still only just beginning, the construction of envelopes of various business premises is planned. In the first phase, they will build a hotel with 200 rooms and a congress centre, as well as three business buildings in which multifunctional halls and a studio will be located.

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Saturday, 4 July 2020

HEP to Invest 20 Billion Kuna in Croatia Before Year 2024

As Novac/Vedran Marjanovic writes on the 2nd of July, 2020, coronavirus threw a spanner in the works for many, but the pandemic failed to hinder Hrvatska elektroprivreda (HEP) in its investment plans.

Moreover, this year will be a record year in the company's history with investments of 4.9 billion kuna, said HEP's Frane Barbaric at a recent presentation of eleven of HEP's new investments in solar power plants.

''We're one of the largest investors in the country and a driver of economic development. Last year alone, we exceeded our investments when compared to the previous year by more than 40 percent, and this year and next year we're making additional strides. After that, we'll continue with the same intensity of investment, from 2021 to 2024 we plan to invest 14.5 billion kuna, all in accordance with the strategic commitment of HEP as the carrier of low-carbon energy transition in Croatia,'' announced Barbaric.

Among the company's current green investments, he singled out the Senj hydropower system project, worth 3.4 billion kuna and with an expected connection capacity of 412 megawatts of electricity.

When it comes to the company's investments in solar power plants, Barbaric announced the imminent connection to the power plant system on Vis and in Marici near Zminj.

''Our plan is to have 1,500 new megawatts of electricity from renewable energy sources in the system by 2030, of which 350 megawatts will be from solar power plants. In the part related to new solar power plants alone, we'll turn Croatia into one large construction site,'' said the President of the Management Board of HEP, drawing attention to cooperation with Croatian companies in the construction and equipping of these new renewable energy plants.

In the case of investments in eleven solar power plants presented by HEP recently, these regard investments in cooperation with municipalities and cities that responded to last year's public call to find locations for the construction of solar power plants.

As it was heard at the presentation, the interested municipalities and cities submitted letters of intent on possible locations to HEP, and then the company analysed them and made a decision on how the investment will be carried out. The options were a partnership between HEP ​​and local self-government units, an independent investment by HEP, or an independent investment by a municipality or city itself.

From mid-last year to April 2020, HEP signed contracts for the development of solar power plants with eleven Croatian municipalities and cities. Among other things, HEP signed contracts with the municipalities of Krsan in Istria and Lipovljani in Sisak-Moslavina County. In the first case, a solar power plant with an expected connection capacity of 40 megawatts will be constructed, and in the second, a facility with a capacity of 25 megawatts will eventually come to be. In total, the inclusion of all eleven Croatian solar power plants in the system will generate 120 megawatts of new power.

A new invitation from HEP to local self-government units to express their intention to jointly invest in solar power plants is now underway. At the recent presentation of eleven joint investments from HEP and local self-government units across Croatia, the Minister of Environmental Protection and Energy, Tomislav Coric, expressed his belief that HEP's new call for joint investments will result in an even better response from municipalities and cities across the country.

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Wednesday, 29 April 2020

Porec Waterfront: 26 Million Kuna Investment Continues Despite Pandemic

As Barbara Ban/Novac writes on the 28th of April, 2020, regardless of the ongoing coronavirus crisis, the popular Istrian city of Porec continued to refurbish part the Porec waterfront, continuing with an investment worth as much as 26 million kuna.

Although this is an enormous investment which covers as much as seven thousand square metres in total, which was unfortunately started at the worst possible time - before the outbreak of the coronavirus crisis that has hit the economy of Istria, including that of Porec, the city authorities decided to see the Porec waterfront project through to the end. The project marks the most significant public investment in the old city centre in the last ten years.

''The works were slowed down for a while because we couldn't get the materials we needed, but now everything is back on track and I believe we'll be done in June. And in regard to the horticulture side of things, everything should be completed by July the 1st, 2020.

The original plan for the opening of the Porec waterfront opening was set for June the 1st. We were also slowed down by archaeological works where an ancient vessel which is over two thousand years old was discovered, but also by the fact that our contractor was from Slovenia, so the fact that border crossings were implied slowed down the entire story. But, we've still been working constantly,'' said the Mayor of Porec, Loris Persuric.

Workers have been busy installing stone slabs, and concrete road is being gradually laid... Before that, completely new infrastructure was erected underground, and when the finishing touches were completed, interesting benches, candelabras, light installations with signposts for monuments and tourist attractions were set to follow. Booths/stands will be removed from this part of the waterfront and boaters will be provided with unified booths for the sale of their respective tourist excursions. There will be no parking spaces on this part of the Porec waterfront.

''We wanted our waterfront to become a kind of living room to bring the citizens and guests of Porec back to the waterfront,'' said the Mayor of Porec. There are currently no tourists who would otherwise be walking along this part of the city, so everything is running very smoothly.

''We've only been in this situation for two months and we expect the situation to normalise. It will not be as safe as it all was before, but I believe that we'll all adapt and tourism will start again. When tourism is fully operational in Croatia, I think Istria has an edge over everyone else because it's a destination that can easily be driven to. Tourists who arrive by air represent Istria's tourism figures by six to seven percent. We have a pool of one million guests within a five-hour drive. That was our advantage before, and I believe it will be now. I believe that we'll push through this year and that by July and August, the situation will improve a little. However, when it comes to the question of whether or not it will be as good as last year, we can't be certain. If time serves us and if nothing else happens on the global market, I believe that we'll get something out of this season,'' stated Porec's mayor optimistically.

However, this will be the strangest Croatian tourist season ever since there will not be a single event or manifestation being put on.

''We've cancelled all of the events - from Vinistra to Porec Open Air. Of course, we also expect that our budget will suffer, because there won't be as many employees as there used to be in Porec. Last year, five thousand workers came here from all over Istria. Although the city budget is estimated at 300 million kuna, it will be at a mere 40 to 50 percent of last year's amount of 270 million kuna. And that will also be the case for all other local governments. This means that we'll have to give up a lot, and we've already reduced the wage bill by 17 percent in April,'' said Persuric.

Over recent years, intensive investments have been made in new schools, kindergartens, roads, sewage, irrigation, beaches... Parts of those projects are funded by European Union funds, but not all of them, like the Porec waterfront itself.

''As we're one of the most developed cities in the Croatian framework according to the criteria of the European Union, we couldn't access EU funding for this project. So, we just decided to do it on our own. It will be arranged through 15 phases, and projects are being prepared for each phase. They're all in different stages of preparation. We'll see what will be the further dynamics of the Porec waterfront landscaping will be once this crisis passes, but we certainly won't give up on it,'' said Porec's mayor.

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