Saturday, 12 September 2020

Americans Take Over Successful Zagreb Company Altus IT

As Lucija Spiljak/Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 11th of September, 2020, with the acquisition of its European subsidiary Interxion, the American company Digital Realty took over the Zagreb company Altus IT, the first Croatian data centre independent of a telecom operator. This acquisition will further increase the global user presence with access to the global PlatformDIGITAL, which helps users worldwide to connect their entire digital ecosystem through a single data centre service provider.

''We believe that this is an extremely significant step further that brings our customers a stronger global presence and opens up new opportunities for growth and development. We'll certainly use Interxion's access to a global network of more than 280 facilities at 47 metro locations in 22 countries across six continents and established relationships with 700 telecoms, to further develop the established telecommunications hub,'' said Goran Djoreski, the current director of Altus IT, which connects more than 45 telecoms, including Cogent, CenturyLink, NTT, Cloudflare, DT, A1 and others, making Altus IT the focal point of all communications between the region and Western Europe.

The company has established itself on the Croatian market as the leading independent provider of data centre services and one of the main communication hubs, and last year they earned 18.71 million kuna, with a growth compared to last year of 26.42 percent. They currently have about fifteen employees, and that number will follow future development plans, the company says. Djoreski will take over the position of Interxion's business director in Croatia. The price of the acquisition isn't yet known, and it is too early, they say from the company, to discuss concrete plans and investments on the Croatian market. However, the business model of Altus IT, Djoreski added, is similar to that of Interxion, so they don't expect major changes in the continuation of business and organisational structure, and the company will continue to operate in Croatia as an independent legal entity.

Last year, in an interview with Poslovni Dnevnik, Djoreski revealed that Altus IT concluded its fourth expansion by raising its capacity by an additional 200 square metres to a total of 830 square metres, marking the beginning of a phase of accelerated cloud-based growth and preparation for even greater investment. Since back in 2012, when Altus IT initially entered the cloud business, they have become a key cloud point in Croatia, from which they now generate a quarter of their revenue. Half of their customers are various IT and digital companies, and the other half are telecoms. Four years ago, Telia Carrier placed a direct connection to the Microsoft cloud platforms Azure and Office365 at Altus, which means that in the past three years, large companies and banks haven't needed to use Office365 over the Internet, but can optically connect to Altus IT and as such connect directly to Microsoft services. Thus, users store all their data in Croatia, and if necessary, transfer it to the Microsoft cloud and back. At Altus, both Amazon and Google have direct links to their clouds.

With this acquisition, it seems that it will try to strengthen globally, and the fact that Interxion: A Digital Realty Company, as a European independent provider of cloud data centres and collocation solutions, is a leader in the EMEA region, also supports this. It is a subsidiary of Digital Realty, which operates in 22 countries with 280 day centres on six continents. Last year, with 1,550 employees, they earned 3.2 billion US dollars, while profit was 579 million US dollars.

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Sunday, 28 June 2020

Zagreb Company Delt Papir Wants to Cover Croatian Demand for Masks

Since Croatia made it mandatory to wear masks when using public transport, masks of all kinds have once again become a much sought-after commodity. One Zagreb company, Delt Papir, wants to be the one to cover all of Croatia's mask related needs.

As Darko Bicak/Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 26th of June, 2020, assessing the situation on the market in the midst of the coronavirus crisis, the management board of Delt Papir invested 1.5 million kuna in a new plant for the production of certified three-layer surgical masks.

The coronavirus pandemic seems to have entered its second phase, and after a short period of stagnation, Croatia is again approaching higher and higher numbers of people testing positive for the new coronavirus. Over recent days, some epidemiological measures in Croatia have been tightened, and one of the key obligations is, as stated, to wear protective masks on public transport.

Therefore, questions about whether there will be a repetition of the scenario of mask shortages and a jump in their price yet again have come to the forefront.

However, it should be noted that in this "wave", the domestic industry has become a little bit more prepared because more and more Croatian companies have included the production of protective masks in their respective ranges. One of them is Zagreb's Delt Papir, which, as they themselves point out, is the first Croatian company which boasts completely local production of paper products for hygienic use.

As mentioned above, Delt Papir has already invested 1.5 million kuna in a new plant for the production of certified three-layer surgical masks. The investment was completed over recent days, and was realised in just two months.

As the director Alen Krajacic, who performs this function with Kruno Kisak, explains, the decision to produce surgical masks came from the need to protect their own employees, because there were simply not enough masks on the market to buy. Now their plan is to provide sufficient masks for domestic use.

Their production capacity is 25,000 masks per shift, and the number of shifts will, he says, depend on market demands.

Aware of the fact that local production is currently the mainstay of the crisis-shaken economy and that their production activities create a significant share of market recovery, with this project, as well as all previous investments, Delt Papir wants to make a strong contribution to the Croatian economy.

When planning a new production facility, we primarily wanted to ensure a calmer preparation of the domestic market for a possible second wave of the coronavirus pandemic. Surgical masks are a very useful product without which at this moment we can practically not work in a team, use public transport, or make a purchase.

''Due to their special structure and filtering characteristics, surgical masks have proven effective in preventing the spread of droplets that occur during speech and breathing, and in everyday life, conversation is what forms the basis of work and life,'' explains Delt Papir's Alen Krajacic.

In addition to everyday life, we've witnessed a global crisis and a shortage of protective equipment which is necessary for the operation of medical institutions. Delt Papir says they want to make it easier for Croatian healthcare institutions to do their jobs without needing to wait a long time for shipments of masks coming in from abroad.

Although the situation with the procurement of protective equipment in Croatia has stabilised, the owners of Delt Papir emphasise the importance of domestic production, which in the coming period could be of great importance for the uninterrupted stability in the supply of protective equipment.

''Our hospitals and other healthcare institutions must, at all times, be able to supply their employees with protective equipment, especially protective surgical masks that are changed several times during shifts and are indispensable in working with patients.

Clearly, we hope and eagerly expect an adequate medical solution to end the battle with this virus, but time is relentless and we don't want to simply leave things to chance. Good production planning will certainly make a big difference if a new wave of coronavirus does occur,'' adds Kruno Kisak.

Delt Papir emphasises that the private sector is sure to face a battle with the ongoing and uncertain market turmoil, but companies engaged in the production of products which are of significant importance in line with the emerging economic needs should certainly continue to be supported because many jobs and people's health depend on them.

Delt Papir generated impressive revenues of 129 million kuna last year, which marked growth of 14 percent. They employ about 100 workers and process about 12,000 tonnes of paper a year. They ended last year with 50 percent of their earnings coming from exports, and in the first two months of this year, until the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, their exports rose to 65 percent. Masks are produced both for export and for the domestic market, so they have prepared box packaging in both Croatian and English.

"Export orders are constantly arriving, especially due to the fact that the masks are certified, and like paper clothing, we export them from the EU all the way to the Middle East. The production itself takes place through the parent company Delt Papir, and the distribution company Hygiene 4 You is in charge of distribution,'' explain Krajacic and Kisak.

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Thursday, 14 May 2020

Zagreb Company Creates First Croatian On Demand Video Platform

As Lucija Spiljak/Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 13th of May, 2020, video-on-demand platforms are the fastest growing way to use audiovisual content, and during the time of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, they recorded a significant increase in traffic. This gave one innovative Zagreb company a boost.

Here in Croatia, Netflix, HBOgo and Amazon are by far the most popular VOD (video on demand) platforms, but over time, some specialised ones have found their place among the competition, including the aforementioned giants.

One of them is Svevid, the first Croatian on demand platform that started operating in early May via the website, created by a Zagreb company. The Croatian platform will more than likely bring a smile to the faces of all fans of Croatian and regional cinema with film titles from the former Yugoslavia from the 1940s until the present day.

Svevid is SVOD (subscriptional video on demand), which means that the user accesses the complete offer of content according to the subscriber model, and not on the basis of individual transactions (TVOD) for each title. The service is provided according to the model of monthly, semi-annual and annual subscriptions, and by choosing larger packages, the user manages to rack up some rather significant savings.

Registration starts at a mere four euros per month, and by activating the subscription, the user is given a trial period of two weeks within which they can cancel the service should they so wish, and without any obligation. As explained from this Zagreb company's David Slaj, the Svevid platform is intended for everyone who appreciates and follows regional cinema and those who want to get better acquainted with it. It is currently available in Croatia, Slovenia, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Northern Macedonia and Montenegro.

"In our ever-growing catalog, we offer content that originated exclusively in the countries of the former Yugoslavia, from the beginnings of cinema in this area right up until today. We offer titles in the best available picture and sound quality, and we're working intensively on the implementation of multilingual support for all of our content.

The Svevid platform is specific in that our goal is to promote regional production and local creators. We paid a lot of attention to the accompanying content of the catalog, in collaboration with film critic Nenad Polimac, to provide users with the historical and spatial context of everything they watch,'' explained Slaj, adding that their goal was not to take advantage of the coronavirus crisis, but instead to merely speed up their product launches and further optimise their platform to provide customers with the highest quality service.

The team that came together within this Zagreb company and embark on this project mostly come from creative backgrounds and the audiovisual sector. The core team consists of five people, divided into creative and executive segments - David Slaj, founder and CEO Filip Lozic, CAO Danijel Popovic, CFO Inga Lozic and creative manager Luna Zimic Mijovic. They collaborate with a dozen other external associates in the marketing, design and systems support sectors. All of them, according to Slaj, have worked on numerous independent productions for the last five or more years, which has additionally encouraged them to think about the placement and visibility of these works.

According to market research conducted internally, the average user in Croatia actively uses at least two VOD platforms, and there is a significant decline in the viewership of conventional television channels. Furthermore, as Slaj explained, users are increasingly turning to the possibilities that VOD platforms provide them, which is to control when, how much and what sort of content they consume.

"Another significant advantage provided by the VOD platform is that the content is not intermittent and saturated with promotional messages and advertising blocks, which users point out as one of the most important features when choosing a service," noted Slaj.

The name and theme of the whole platform comes from Slavic mythology. Svevid or Svantevid is the oldest Slavic deity, deeply rooted in a common cultural heritage.

"Our market segment counts about 40,000 households in each country in which we operate, which puts numerous challenges in our path, as well as numerous opportunities in the years to come," concluded Slaj.

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Sunday, 15 September 2019

Croatian Company Develops Food Production Traceability App

Vee Mee, a Croatian company based in Zagreb, is contributing to the traceability of food production with a mobile application (app).

As Lucija Spiljak/Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 15th of September, 2019, ''Letting our kids know what they're eating'' was the guiding principle behind the development of VeeMee, a Croatian digital platform in the agricultural and commercial sector that, in just a few clicks on a smartphone, gives consumers complete transparency about the origin of the products they're buying.

A large number of Croatia's residents usually fill their fridges with fresh fruit and vegetables from local markets, with greater confidence that they will find local produce here. But occasionally there are some imported products,, which we cannot know about unless we peek under the table to check what is written on the boxes where the groceries came from. However, one Croatian company has made sure that with the use of the swipe of a finger alone, people are able to check the origin of the products they buy.

The founder of the idea is the Croatian company VeeMee, whose co-founder and CEO, Marko Kozjak, explains that the platform is a specialised search engine for the agro-economic sector, which links complete chains of stores, contributes to the transparency of sales in food stores, and enhances consumer loyalty and security.

The platform contains the so-called PID profile (producer/profile identity) or "producer identity" profile that serves to standardise relevant information about the grower and the crops they grow. By scanning the QR code on the product, Kozjak explains, the consumer quickly obtains complete information about the farmer and the food they're buying and consuming. All data on the platform is standardised and transparent to all users.

"PID is the identity of the manufacturer clearly defined by the standard we set, that is, the relevance of the data to everyone in the store chain. The primary data was collected from the manufacturers who then verified it through our mobile app, or by using the VeeMee search engine,'' Kozjak explains. He has been working on the idea since back in 2010, and the methodology and processes developed were merged in 2017 with the founding of VeeMee.

"With our standardised traceability, more than 1,500 tonnes of food from three EU countries have been marketed. Over 250 tonnes of food has been rescued and over 1,100 tonnes of smart logistics have been completed. The data says that a transparent system specialised in the food sector is needed in the European Union and in the world.

The platform brings the producer closer to the end customer, gives them the opportunity to get to know them, provides the manufacturer with their own brand, the individual's brand and their distinctiveness, opens up options to a digital world that is faster, more personal, more transparent and more accessible, and provides an overview of food surpluses/deficits in the region and guidelines for further development,'' noted Kozjak.

Therefore, PID, ie a neutral designation of origin, is used by farmers in the three EU countries, and by the end of the year they hope to increase beneficiaries in EU countries, as well as more Croatian users. The reactions they have received have been excellent, especially since the company is in its beginnings of development and recognition.

"The revenue side is sustainable and organic, the company has been recapitalised this year, and with the development and the upgrade of the platform, we're working to increase revenue and recruitment.

We currently have more than 1,100 different profiles that almost cover a complete range of fresh farm produce. In addition to the fresh assortment, manufacturers also have processed products such as oil, milk, honey, prosciutto and more,'' says the Croatian company's director.

With regard to import and export goods on store shelves across Croatia, Kozjak says that the data shows that we're not sustainable and that in some segments we have a surplus/production deficit.

"The system we're developing should provide answers. In order to properly convey information on the surplus or deficit of imported goods, all domestic production parameters are required, primarily focused on four basic questions: Who? What? Where? How much?'' Kozjak explained.

"We're digitising complete smart logistics processes to address unnecessary costs, CO2 emissions and food waste. In addition, we're developing AI-enabled digital declarations, which will reduce food waste over the long term and ensure faster and more transparent traceability. If we're planning to use blockchain in the future, we don't want it to be an agricultural statistic that someone manually enters, as has been done so far,'' concluded the Croatian company's director.

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Tuesday, 10 September 2019

Zagreb Company Third Fastest Growing High-Tech Company in Central Europe

Swiss Twint, a mobile payment application (app) developed by a Zagreb-based software company, has made a strong impression in the EU.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Bernard Ivezic writes on the 10th of September, 2019, Zagreb's Q Software, according to Deloitte, is the third fastest growing high-tech company in Central Europe and among the twenty fastest growing in the whole of Europe, and they're now expecting new jobs thanks to a new type of roaming.

Following the introduction of mobile roaming in telecommunications imposed by the European Commission (EC), Swiss banks have now initiated the next major business alignment in the EU - voluntary mobile roaming.

Twint, a Swiss competitor to Apple Pay and Google Pay, which is beating them in the country thanks to major Swiss banks, such as UBS and Credit Suisse, and has more than one million users, gathered its competitors in the EU and founded the European Mobile Payment Systems Association (EMPA).

The aim of Twint, which is being developed by Zagreb's Q Software company right here in Croatia, is for mobile payment systems to support one another and offer a predictable level of service, as with mobile services in the EU. Filip Ljubić, co-founder and CEO of Q Software, says they have had a strategic partnership with Twint for several years now.

The Zagreb company, from here in Croatia, is in fact leading the entire development of the Twint application, and until recently it was its largest client. "Any expansion or success of them, as a rule, means new jobs for Q, but what exactly this initiative will bring to us, we'll have to wait to see more of because this is only an emerging initiative," says Ljubić.

Twint has brought together companies from Germany, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Finland, including Sweden's Swish, at EMPSA. It is one of Europe's most successful mobile payment platforms, launched seven years ago by six major banks in Sweden in cooperation with the national clearing system Bankigrot and the Central Bank of Sweden.

Today, it has more than six million users and is also known for its QR payment method, the same QR code that should become standard in fiscal accounts here in Croatia over the next two to three years. The German Bluecode, which also joined EMPSA in Germany and Austria, has already contracted cooperation with about a hundred banks, and now the first partner from Southern Europe to join the initiative, who sees this as an opportunity because of tourists - this is Portugal's SIBS.

In total, EMPSA represents 25 million mobile payment users, who already use the services of 350 banks and can pay at more than one million points of sale. Q Software in Zagreb points out, however, that despite its size, Twint is no longer their largest client.

They have a lot of work in the fintech industry and are in intense talks about working with Swiss UBS. A new big opportunity opened up for them in the United Kingdom because of their pension reforms there.

"Our biggest fintech client is 'Smart', which is currently perhaps one of the fastest growing fintech companies in the City of London and whose president is the former mayor of London. We have a team of about ten different experts who are part of Smart," concluded Filip Ljubić.

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Wednesday, 26 June 2019

Owner of Croatian Dukat Taking Over Italian Nuova Castelli

A major foreign acquisition involving one very well known Croatian company - Zagreb's Dukat.

As Vedran Marjanovic/Novac writes on the 25th of June, 2019, the French company Lactalis, the owner of the Croatian company Dukat and the world's largest milk and dairy producer, have completed the take over of the Italian cheese producer Nuova Castelli in a purchase of which all the details are not yet known to the public.

After Lactalis and its recent owner of eighty percent of the shares of Italy's Nuova Castelli, the British fund Charterhouse Capital Partners have announced the signing of a share purchase agreement which involves Croatia's Dukat, it is now expected that the Italian regulatory authorities will issue all of the necessary approvals for the acquisition to be fully realised.

''We're stepping up our leadership in the distribution of cheeses on international markets where we're already a leading player in more than 140 countries,'' a statement read, very briefly detailing the conclusion of the contract of the aforementioned British fund, which, in spite of refusing to reveal the total amount of this likely hefty transaction, stated that when negotiating with Lactalis, advisers were hired from Rotschild, the French bank Credit Agricole, and the Simmons&Simmons lawyer from London, United Kingdom.

Nuova Castelli is otherwise the largest Italian manufacturer and trader for cheeses, including Parmigiano Reggiano cheeses, Mozzarella di Bufala Campana, Gorgonzola and Taleggios, with a more than enviable annual income of 460 million euros. The company operates in thirteen manufacturing locations across Italy and also boasts three plants outside of that country.

When Britain's Charterhouse took over five years ago, the previous owners of that Italian company was paid a massive 350 million euros.

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Tuesday, 21 May 2019

Zagreb Software Company Launches Application for Global Hotel Chains

As Lucija Spiljak/Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 21st of May, 2019, the Zagreb software company Ingemark and the RoomOrders startup, launched by Croats despite having been registered in America, created the first application (app) for ordering food from hotels to hotel rooms and started to conquer the many challenges of the huge global market. They began with the development of this application at the end of 2017, and back then, as a pilot project, they first tested it out at the Hilton Hotel in Boston.

According to them, they will launch RoomOrders at the Hilton Sydney hotel, and then in Belgrade's Hilton in Serbia by the end of the month. The application's software, in which 2 million euro has so far been invested was started by the Zagreb-based company Ingemark, which has been in existence since as far back as 1990, and as of 2006, it has specialised in software development by order.

Funds for the application's development have also been withdrawn from EU funds. In the list of references are big clients such as Agrokor, Adris, HT... One of the most significant cooperations was, as they say, one in the Middle East where clients developed a platform that distributed multimedia content, and soon their latest project, ZorroTines, a regional music platform, will see the light of day right here on the Croatian market. Right now, it seems that this Zagreb company's RoomOrders app is going to go very far indeed.

As Eugene Brčić Jones, the marketing and sales manager at RoomOrders revealed, last week at the International Hotel Technology Forum in Zagreb, the company negotiated with numerous hotel industry leaders about integrating their products.

"We've intrigued the leading world chains and deepened the existing relationships, about which we're certain will bring us to the position of ''disrupter'' of the in-room dining segment within the hotel industry," Brčić Jones said, adding that he believes that in several years, it will be present in a number of world hotels which boast 4 and 5 stars.

"With the help of the RoomOrders application, guests in hotels can order food to their rooms in a few clicks and not in the ''old fashioned'' way. In addition to it having a faster mode, hotels can embark on this project without any large investments," explained Ingemark's director Jurica Mikulić, adding that the application has managed to receive some excellent initial customer reviews and financial results for the hotel. Hilton in Boston has increased its average order value by as much as thirty percent.

''We offer a simple solution that not only increases revenue, but promotes hotels through user-generated content and facilitates analytics. The greatest benefit is that this solution can be implemented without disturbances to the processes involved, and it provides almost instantaneous results,'' Brčić Jones added.

The author of the application, Haris Dizdarević, explained that the creation of RoomOrders was triggered by the current rather obsolete ways of ordering and the obvious need for faster selection and the changing of the menu that guests want in the room.

"We realised we should digitise the offer and thus expand it. The simple idea has become a complex but a successful project," said Dizdarević, explaining that the positive signal was the fact that hotel guests continue to use the application after the first time of using it, and for several days in a row. Although they acknowledge that the Croatian market is not really a priority, they're still negotiating with several Croatian hotels in Dubrovnik and with Maistra, Blue Lagoon (Plava Laguna) and Liburna, and that soon, the application will be launched in Sheraton, part of the huge global Marriott hotel chain.

Otherwise, RoomOrders was introduced DoubleTree by Hilton in Zagreb a few months ago, but then it was a modified version of the app.

"With the new application or system, the guest can, as soon as he is given the room after booking, in advance, even when travelling, immediately choose a range of dishes and orders so that it's ready and waiting in the room upon their arrival. The guest doesn't need to order it from the hotel room, they can do it in advance and choose from a simple and flexible application where all the photos, descriptions and the prices of the food and drinks in the hotel's offer are,'' they explain from hotel Sheraton where this new type of offer and service will be on offer by the end of May, which will, as they say, bring about improvements.

"The application also enables sharing of guest experience on the platform, real-time appraisal of food and services so that the hotel can almost react at the same time to all guests' comments and adapt to the current wishes and preferences of the guest," they added from Sheraton.

"We're sure that at some point there will be some competitors in this segment on the market, but we believe that we're strong and already ahead of them all. We're focusing on the development of this product which we want to make perfect. Along with marketing, the analytic component is the most important, to be more concrete, the analysis of the reactions, comments and the number of orders, so, the entire internal process. We hope to conclude this year with good results and continue to expand successfully,'' Brčić Jones concluded.

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Click here for the original article by Lucija Spiljak for Poslovni Dnevnik

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