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

Friday, 1 February 2019

Ivica Todorić Discusses Mercator Purchase, Financial Situation, Agrokor

Ivica Todorić, the former Agrokor boss, thinks that the largest Croatian company, which once lay in his very hands, was destroyed by politics, and not a bad economic policy.

As VLM/Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 1st of February, 2019, Ivica Todorić, now living back in Croatia following his return from the British capital, in which he spent one year passing through London courts and attempting to fight his cause, decided to receive a television crew from Slovenia in his home and comment on the purchase of Mercator by the then enfeebled Agrokor, as well as his view on what exactly went wrong.

At first, he made sure to point out that nobody loves Mercator as he does, and he honestly believed that Mercator's takeover was going to equal success for the Slovenian company, considering it a move which gave it the foundation it needed for its future development.

Asked if Agrokor would have survived if he hadn't purchased Mercator, he replied that everyone is constantly talking about some sort of debt, but Agrokor never had big any debts.

''I mean, they were large [debts] but they weren't in amounts that were not able to be handled," noted the ex Agrokor boss.

As stated, Ivica Todorić thinks that the largest Croatian company has been destroyed politics, not a bad economic policy.

Questions about life after his flight to London and his eventual return to Croatia were met with open answers. ''It isn't easy for me, I'm dependent on the help of friends,'' he added that they helped them collect the bail money needed to leave Remetinec prison. He speaks of having living costs that aren't particularly easy to cope with, a situation one could never have expected Ivica Todorić, who once graced the glossy pages of Forbes, to ever find himself in.

Although he is currently living in a huge property of 55,000 square metres, he made sure to justify it by emphasising the fact that that particular estate is divided up into what belongs to four families.

''This is my only piece of property. My part is worth about six million euros. I'm not trying to say that this isn't much, but I was once the richest man in an area consisting of 200 million people,''

When asked about the background of court proceedings, he replied that Prime Minister Andrej Plenković and the Croatian Government were behind it. He also announced his planned entry into politics.

''We'll set up a new party. I believe we'll do well and that we'll win a parliamentary majority,'' he stated.

In just five days, Ivica Todorić collected a million euros for his release from Remetinec prison.

Make sure to stay up to date by following our dedicated politics and lifestyle pages.

 

Click here for the original article by VLM on Poslovni Dnevnik

Wednesday, 14 November 2018

Second Best in European Union: Croatia Produced 35% More Wine This Year

Croatia is the second best in the European Union when it comes to wine production for 2018. The country produced as much as 35 percent more wine, with only Slovenia producing more in the whole of the EU.

As Miroslav Kuskunovic/Agrobiz/Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 14th of November, 2018, European Commission (EC) experts have pointed out the fact that this year, faith in the wine sector has been restored after the climate crises that caused enormous concern in the past. Wine production will be be 22 percent more than it was back in 2017, and 5 percent more than the average over a five year period.

Croatia will have production of 777,000 hectoliters of wine this year, which is 35 percent more than last year, but also 23 percent less than the five-year average. The European Commission's estimate is the latest report that strongly suggests that this year, wine production in the EU as a whole will be exceptionally good in comparison to 2017, when it dropped in most countries.

The Commission forecasts that the European Union will have production of 175.6 million hectoliters, which is a significant 22.1 percent more than in 2017, and 5.1 percent more than the five-year average. Croatia is, in regard to those estimates, among the countries to have the most growth in this sector in comparison to 2017. Growth in production from Croatia has been surpassed only by neighbouring Slovenia, with an impressive 57 percent growth.

The analysis explains, as mentioned, that this year has returned faith in the wine sector after the recent production drop which was owing mainly to climatic changes, and production was at record low levels. Although this year there were still some significant climatic changes, especially in Northern Europe with some heavy droughts over summer which even saw the United Kingdom turn from green to brown, all of this had a positive impact on the production of grapes and the extremely good quality of the wine, the experts from the European Union explain.

They note that climate change, as well as disease as a ''complementary'' element in grape production due to frequent rains, frosts, droughts and the like, will have a great impact on the future as well. For this reason, the winemakers will have to apply new technologies and knowledge in grape and wine production, as was highlighted in the analysis.

The fact that Croatia will have an excellent level of wine production this year will be confirmed by some of the country's respected and leading winemakers.

"Compared with last year's grape harvest, the amount of grapes is larger, with a bit more yield. As for wine quality, we expect this year to be the highest,'' said Martina Krauthaker Grgić, from the Krauthaker winery. Sebastian Tomić from the Tomić winery says that in 2018, there was no attack of disease on the grapes.

"I dare say that this is a good year with regard to quality and quantity, that is, the quantity is better by 30 percent," noted Tomić.

"This year was really ideal, better than last year. There was no disease, the weather conditions were remarkable. The grape quality is excellent and we expect outstanding wines, balanced, mineral and full bodied,'' says winemaker Josip Franković.

"This year's vintage was excellent both in terms of quality and quantity, and the first wine from PZ Putniković can be expected on the market in March," says Ana Barać of PZ Putniković.

Want to keep up with more information on Croatian wine? Make sure to follow our lifestyle and Total Croatia Wine pages for much more.

 

Click here for the original article by Miroslav Kuskunovic/Agrobiz on Poslovni Dnevnik

Saturday, 10 November 2018

Economic Boost: Cash for Regional Producer with Plants in Croatia

Is an economic boost on the horizon for one leading regional producer with two manufacturing plants based here in Croatia? An extremely large cash injection might suggest exactly that.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 10th of November, 2018, Addiko European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and Addiko Bank have approved the DIV Group, which is otherwise the leading regional hardware and metal solutions manufacturer, a financial package of a massive total value of 30 million euro.

The funds are intended for the further investment in the long-term development of the DIV Group, with the end goal to be an increase of overall energy efficiency, the strengthening of sustainable working capital, and the restructuring of the leading group's balance sheet.

DIV Group is the leading regional manufacturer of numerous items in the wider region, and it boasts two production plants in Croatia, a well as plants in neighbouring Serbia and in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Through continuous investments in modernisation, development, new technology and staff, DIV Group has become one of the strongest producers in the entire metal industry and as a well repected and well established supplier of equipment, in the eyes of both the railway program and the automotive industry, exporting about 90 percent of its production.

Addiko Bank Croatia is well known for providing an economic boost or two, part of an international financial banking group that actively supports the growth of local businesses in Croatia, Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, and Montenegro. As of 2017, Addiko Bank has been the sixth largest bank in the Republic of Croatia in terms of total assets.

The EBRD loan has been approved under the Direct Finance Framework, which is intended to finance the growth and development of local businesses. The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development is a leading investor in the region and has otherwise invested a huge 3.7 billion euro in Croatia, in more than 200 different projects so far.

Want to keep up with more information on the Croatian economy, doing business in Croatia and investment news? Make sure to follow our business page.

Tuesday, 6 November 2018

Oliver Dragojević to be Honored in Slovenia with Concert Tour Featuring Croatian Musical Greats

After the town of Vela Luka announced a museum in honor of Oliver Dragojević, the legendary singer will be honored in neighboring Slovenia in yet another phenomenal way.

Wednesday, 31 October 2018

Happy Ending: Croatian and Slovenian Surfers Found Safe

What could have very easily been a potentially devastating story of two Croatian and Slovenian surfers who decided to take to the extremely rough and dangerous waves on the Adriatic sea a few days ago have miraculously been found safe and well. While one of the surfers, a Croatian citizen, managed to somehow reach the shore in Croatia, his Slovenian counterpart went missing, only to have managed, rather incredulously, to have survived the high seas and end up on the shore not too far from Trieste, Italy.

As we reported yesterday, the waves recorded in certain parts of the Adriatic, more specifically around Palagruža, Croatia's most remote lighthouse island, were the highest they have been since back in 2004, reaching over seven metres in height, and when the news broke that a search for the missing surfer had begun, nobody could have imagined a happy ending. Incredibly, a happy ending came.

As Index writes on the 31st of October, 2018, the alarming story of the two missing people, Croatian and Slovenian surfers, broke yesterday. As stated, things looked far from promising that afternoon, when the two surfers disappeared in the stormy sea near Umag in Istria. Almost immediately,  the search began, which was largely limited due to dangerous weather conditions wreaking havoc on both the Croatian and the Italian sides of the Adriatic sea.

Despite the fact that the situation looked dire, that very same day, after several hours of searching, the Croatian surfer was found. He managed to battle the waves, and swim to the shore, saving himself.

The search for the Slovenian surfer, 47-year-old Goran Jablanov, had to be cut short due to darkness and terrible weather conditions out at sea. The search continued yesterday morning, but ended with no results, leaving everyone naturally expecting the worst. In the afternoon, however, some truly incredible news arrived from Italy. The Slovenian surfer, after more than 24 hours stuck in the stormy sea, managed to get to the shore not far from Trieste.

During these incomprehensible 24 hours spent in a stormy sea, he managed to cover about forty kilometres, according to a report from the Italian portal Il Piccolo, which brings about some new details about the rescue of this amazingly lucky Slovenian surfer.

As the Slovenian media also writes, the surfer came out of the sea himself, arriving on the beach of Costa dei Barbari, which is located about twenty kilometres from Trieste. He simply went into a nearby cafe and called for help there. He was quickly hospitalised, but was given the okay and released that same night.

''Lucky'' doesn't quite do this situation justice!

Monday, 3 September 2018

Does Croatia's ACI Have its Eye on Slovenia's Marina Portorož?

The value of the transaction is estimated at approximately 21 million euro, which allegedly includes 7.5 million euro of debt.

Friday, 24 August 2018

Slovenes Begin Lobbying in Proceedings Against Croatia

Croatia's immediate neighbours to the north are determined to get their way.

Monday, 13 August 2018

Crossing Borders for Medicine, Slovenia Cheaper Option?

It isn't just petrol and clothing drawing people over the borders...

Saturday, 21 July 2018

Missing Link: Croatia's Tourist Offer Enriched With New Luxury Service

Is this the news that 4 and 5 star hotels, as well as destinations trying to position themselves through luxury tourism, have been waiting for?

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