Monday, 4 April 2022

Croatian Shipbuilders Wanted At Sibenik's Iskra Shipyard

April the 4th, 2022 - Croatian shipbuilders are wanted once again as six boats intended for the Ministry of Health are set to be constructed in one famous Sibenik shipyard.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Suzana Varosanec writes, with the start of work on a multi-important newbuild, marked by a recently held ceremony at Iskra brodogradiliste 1 in Sibenik, accelerated production will obviously follow. The first in a series of six fast ambulances for the Croatian Ministry of Health will be delivered from these Sibenik halls this September.

All of the above is possible thanks to the circumstances in the field of strategic management specific to both the owner and the aforementioned shipyard's administration, because all the necessary materials for the construction were procured, and the equipment was ordered on time.

All six boats will be able to be constructed on time without any problems, although there are unforeseen factors on the market that affect the dynamics of many projects due to a significant increase in material prices or shortages.

The need for Croatian shipbuilders is finally growing once again

Aluminum for the boats is already in stock, and the material won't be an obstacle to the execution of the works within the agreed deadline of autumn 2023, which is important because the project is being co-financed with EU money. All of the Ministry of Health's boats will be built in Sibenik, and when it comes to the community of bidders, part of the work is being performed by Pula's Tehnomont.

The dynamics of the first delivery in the implementation of the project ''The establishment of an emergency maritime medical service'' is important for a country with more than a thousand islands, both for the island populations and for many tourists, according to prominent Slovenian entrepreneur Dusan Sesek, under whose ownership the Slovenian company Iskra first took over this Sibenik company and the Zagreb electric cable manufacturer Elka.

Here in the Republic of Croatia, the Slovenian group today employs a total of about 400 people, but the need for more and more Croatian shipbuilders in the course of these works is only growing.

"All of the moorings are full, there are orders for 2022 and part of 2023, so the biggest problem in the Sibenik shipyard is an insufficient number of Croatian shipbuilders," said Sesok, explaining that in addition to 170 workers in the shipyard and another 50 subcontractors, there is a real need for around another 30-50 people, with Croatian shipbuilders and welders currently the most lacking.

Turnover grew by 30 percent

This particular shipyard has had both a tradition and a high level of significance in Sibenik since 1905, today with workshops spanning 45,000 m² and indoor halls covering 2000 m² intended for ships up to 70 metres in length, as well as an operating space for servicing vessels spanning 10,000 m². In 2022, the plan is to earn about 25 million euros in revenue, and a modernisation of about 10 million euros is underway.

After moving to the new administrative building, the company is now completing the extension and renovation of the former, where there will be accommodation for about 100 foreign workers, half of which is planned for seasons in tourism. In the first two months of 2022, Iskra's turnover increased by 30 percent and, according to Sesok, the plan for the total revenues of the group this year to stand at a massive 300 million euros.

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

Tuesday, 1 March 2022

Largest Iskra Investment Halted by Russian Invasion of Ukraine

March the 1st, 2022 - One huge Iskra investment, made by the well known Sibenik-based company, has had to be halted in the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine which occurred just several days ago.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Suzana Varosanec writes, the current outbreak of war in Ukraine following an unjustified Russian invasion has currently halted activities on a project that is vital to Iskra Brodogradiliste 1's largest strategic investment in Sibenik.

Uncertainty loomed over the construction of a floating dock for the overhaul of a 5,000-tonne, 120-metre-long ship, contracted back in November last year with Ukraine's well known Pallada shipyard in Kherson. However, the solidarity of the local people of Sibenik is being shown in action. According to the claims of the director of that Sibenik shipyard, Rok Vuletic, the work in the Ukrainian shipyard, which specialises in the construction of docks, has been suspended due to the state of emergency, and people have been invited to stay at home.

"We're monitoring the development of the unfolding situation, and for now the only thing we're thinking about is that we hope that as few people as possible are suffering. We stand in solidarity with Ukrainian partners; namely, we in Croatia also have the experience of war, so we have full understanding for the situation in which they've found themselves,'' Vuletic pointed out, adding that they hope for an end to the ongoing war operations and stabilisation in the coming days.

Vuletic was in the inspection of the works on the dock about ten days ago, when, he says, everything was going smoothly and according to the dynamics and deadlines. The Iskra investment plan also envisages the modernisation of the company's facilities and infrastructure, the purchase of new equipment for shipbuilding, an increasing of capacities and the raising of energy efficiency.

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

Sunday, 23 May 2021

Slovenian Iskra Company Acquires Croatia's Elka

ZAGREB, 23 May, 2021 - The Slovenian Iskra company is taking over the Croatian Elka company, and the transaction will be carried out upon fulfillment of conditions, including approval of regulators for the protection of market competition in the two countries, the two companies said on Sunday.

According to a joint press release, Iskra director and majority owner Dušan Šešok and Elka -Cotra group owner Miljenko Hacek on Saturday signed an agreement on the acquisition of the 100% stake in Elka, the largest producer of electric cables in this part of Europe.

In the press release, Šešok said that Iskra was doing extremely well, despite the coronavirus pandemic.

"Last year, we ended with a record €130 million in consolidated revenues, and this year we expect further growth of over 20%," Šešok said, noting that this is the result of European customers turning to European manufacturers when it comes to components, as well as system solutions for energy, telecommunications, railways, and automation in industry.

"Iskra continuously invests in research and development of new products to implement new technologies and innovative solutions, which we will certainly apply, as the new owners, in the further development of the Elka company which we are taking over," Šešok said, adding that both companies are a symbol of reliability and quality.

For the Iskra Group, the acquisition of Elka is the second significant investment in Croatia since 2019, when it acquired the Repair Shipyard Šibenik, the press release reads.

Elka owner Miljenko Hacek said that in the past two years Elka had undergone thorough financial and operational restructuring and functional reorganisation and implemented new management, which were basic preconditions for achieving very good business results and attracting potential investors interested in strategic partnership.

The acquisition is a mutually beneficial cooperation between Croatia and Slovenia, and it is a precondition for the progress of both companies and the economic development of both countries, Hacek said.

Elka was founded in Zagreb in 1927, and it produces power lines and different types of cables, including telecommunication and fiber optic cables, halogen-free and flame retardant marine cables, cables for the petrochemical industry and others.

The Iskra Group this years marks its 75th anniversary, and it has become the largest Slovenian company dealing with process automation, electrical distribution system, water purifiers, power line communication, rail and road transport automation and software solutions in the field of energy and logistics. The Iskra Group is owned by the Šešok family, it employs more than 1,300 workers, and its share capital is slightly over €28 million, the press release said.

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Saturday, 15 May 2021

Slovenian Iskra Has Eyes on One of Largest Croatian Exporters

May the 15th, 2021 - Slovenia's Iskra wants to take over a very well known Zagreb-based company and one of the largest Croatian exporters as the business climate begins gaining some sense of semi-normality back again.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Suzana Varosanec writes, the business climate is gradually recovering, we have learned to live with the coronavirus and the vaccine is here, and for Iskra as well as for many other Slovenian companies, a new wave of development can start. That naturally means greater investments in automation, robotics and new innovative technologies.

This was stated by Iskra's Dusan Sesok, whose family-owned company has come back into focus again here in Croatia as well. The last time it was on Croatia's business radar was on the occasion of them taking over the shipyard in Sibenik from the former owner there - today they're successfully developing a business called Iskra shipyard. Now, the media is following the Slovenian publication related to the takeover of Zagreb's Elka, otherwise the largest regional cable company and one of the largest Croatian exporters.

Following Iskra's information regarding the process around this company, one of the biggest Croatian exporters, which they informed the Slovenian regulator about, it has been found out that the transaction hasn't been completed. The process is still ongoing, according to the director of Iskra.

A recently held meeting was attended by representatives of the ownership ''staff'' of both companies; Matija Sesok, one of the juniors who runs Iskra's operations, as well as a member of the Croatian Elka company, Miljenko Hacek. Apparently, this was an all-day meeting.

Hacek said that with more than half a billion kuna in revenue, Elka is a recovered company, it is stable. It has operated positively for the last two years and even achieved growth last year despite the coronavirus pandemic. They have promising plans for this year, and growth is expected to continue.

Matija Sesok, referring to the same topic, said that Elka's business last year and this year was such that it had become very interesting for Iskra.

Iskra's director, economist Dusan Sesok, who was the Minister of Economy and Finance in two Slovenian Governments, pointed out that his domain included taking over other companies, as well as environmental projects.

He confirmed that Iskra wants to enter a new field of activity - in the field of energy and telecommunications cable production, but didn't want to comment on the alleged potential takeover of one of the largest Croatian exporters - Elka.

''We're still in a sensitive phase,'' he said, and according to him, the first statements on this topic can be expected in about ten days at the earliest. Otherwise, the Slovenian Iskra had a record 130 million euros last year.

Good political relations

This, he says, will be a long-term trend, as after production was transferred to Asia, it is now returning home to Europe as everyone tends to buy in short supply chains from European producers. Iskra employs a total of 1,300 workers, of which 170 are in the Dalmatian city of Sibenik, where they also have about 100 subcontractors.

"Political relations between Croatia and Slovenia are good again after a number of years of tension, which is a good basis for greater connections between our companies," concluded Iskra's Sesok.

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Friday, 7 February 2020

Croatian Shipping Company and Slovenian Iskra Join Forces

As Novac/Jozo Vrdoljak/ writes on the 7th of February, 2020, the Croatian shipping company Zadar Tankerska plovidba and the Slovenian company Iskra have jointly taken over the Dubrovnik shipping company GV Line and together they're set to enter the market of regular coastal transport. They believe that this is a challenging but still financially viable business model for both companies involved.

The contract on transferring business interests from the previous owner Lenko Garbin was signed on the 4th of February, 2020, in Zadar. The G&V line company owns the Nonna Anna catamaran that maintains the state line of Lastovo-Korcula-Mljet-Sipan-Dubrovnik and vice versa. The new owners plan to expand that here in Croatia, which they believe is necessary given the fact that the international eye is no longer solely focused on just Southern Dalmatia and that there is steady growth of tourist traffic in the Republic of Croatia as a whole.

It is well known that the fleet that maintains regular and tourist shipping lines is outdated, and Tankerska plovidba and Iskra will first and foremost take care of the quality of their service and respect the highest environmental standards when procuring their new ships.

Tankerska plovidba is the largest Croatian shipping company with a tradition of more than 60 years. It has 12 cargo ships in its fleet, and operates another 6 from the Tankerska Next Generation shipping company, in which Tankerska plovidba owns 51 percent of the shares.

The Slovenian Iskra Group is a leading regional provider of intelligent industrial solutions and state-of-the-art electrical products, with a long tradition (founded in 1946).

It is the largest Slovenian company dealing with process automation, communication and security systems for the distribution of electricity, transmission and network systems, communications through high voltage lines, the automation of railway and road transport, and software solutions in the field of energy and logistics.

A year ago, their company established in Croatia, Iskra Shipyard, took over a shipyard in Sibenik, which was bankrupt. In that short period, they have increased their workload by 20 percent and are creating new jobs.

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