Monday, 11 October 2021

Zagreb Holding to Be Subjected to Debt Enforcement Over Millions of Kuna in Debt (Jutarnji List)

ZAGREB, 11 Oct 2021 - The Zagreb Holding utility conglomerate could soon be subjected to debt enforcement over the debt of several dozens of millions of kuna, Jutarnji List daily reported on Monday.

According to the daily, the potential debt enforcement was initiated by the Reoma waste management company, which on Friday sent enforcement documents to the Čistoća public sanitation company. The reason, they said, is that Holding hasn't paid them HRK 14 million for the removal of bulky waste.

Also, the Ce-Za-R company, connected with C.I.O.S. owner Petar Pripuz, is today also initiating debt enforcement collection against Holding, they confirmed, over a debt of HRK 11 million, while the construction company Ingra, or Lanište, is demanding about HRK 30 million from Holding, which Holding owes it for the lease of the Arena sports hall.

Ingra also warns Holding that the termination of the contract with their company Lanište would result in the City and Holding having to pay €120 million and a takeover of the Arena hall. All these sums come on top of an already difficult financial situation for the City and Zagreb Holding, which has now become a debtor (although it conducts about 500,000 debt enforcement proceedings per year over unpaid bills).

Holding ended last year, Jutarnji recalls, with a loss of HRK 250 million, which former Management Board chair Ana Deban Stojić said was due to the pandemic, and last week, about several dozens of millions kuna of unplanned expenses was incurred due to the rupture and reconstruction of water supply pipes in Selska Street.

At the beginning of Mayor Tomislav Tomašević's term in office, the City borrowed HRK 400 million from banks, and the budget is also burdened by loans of HRK 750 million from the state (due in May 2022), as well as by an additional loan of HRK 150 million from the state for repairing the damage from the earthquake.

As for Holding's current debts, those are mostly outstanding liabilities in the new management's term. The Reoma Group is therefore claiming HRK 14 million for the period from April to August for the removal of bulky waste (invoices are issued with a 60-day delay) plus default interest of HRK 100,000.

This is a HRK 90 million deal from 2019, which Holding closed during the term of Milan Bandić with the Reoma Group and the Ce-Za-R company. The contract expired in August this year due to the capacity being filled up, and Tomašević then cancelled the new tender for bulky waste removal and announced the procurement of two crushers so that the City could do the job on its own and save HRK 33 million, Jutarnji List reported.

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Saturday, 9 October 2021

Bridge: Zagreb Administration Dealing With Personnel, Instead of People’s Problems

ZAGREB, 9 Oct, 2021 - The Bridge opposition party's MPs and Zagreb City Assembly deputies on Saturday voiced concern over the situation in the Zagreb Holding utility conglomerate, saying that instead of dealing with citizens' problems, the city administration was dealing with personnel.

Speaking at a press conference, MP Zvonimir Troskot said the management and supervisory boards in city companies "are changing faster than trams drive" and that the city administration should start dealing with road construction, public transport, and waste.

He said the ZET public transport company was HRK 500 million in debt.

MP Marija Selak Raspudić said Bridge could not see why everyone appointed to a key position in the city was leaving the mayor and that she expected answers.

She also wondered why everyone working for the city was not allowed to speak in public without the administration's consent.

The party's City Assembly deputy Trpimir Goluža said the situation at the Srebrnjak children's hospital was an example of non-transparent management and of complying with political decisions "made within the close circle around Mayor (Tomislav) Tomašević."

He said the work of the hospital's governing council was secret and that it made decisions under Tomašević's influence, not based on expertise.

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Friday, 1 October 2021

Zagreb Holding Reduces Losses in First Half of 2021 Owing to Cistoca Subsidiary

October the 1st, 2021 - Zagreb Holding is often splashed across the news for all the wrong reasons, but it managed to do well during the first half of 2021, reducing its losses quite significantly when compared to the same period back in pandemic-dominated 2020.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Tomislav Pili writes, Zagreb Holding reduced its losses in the first half of the year according to the consolidated report for the group, and the biggest ''weight'' in terms of finances for the business came from its Cistoca subsidiary.

The announcement on the Zagreb Stock Exchange states that the group recorded 1.96 billion kuna in operating income in the first six months of this year, which is 7.4 percent more on an annual basis, and total revenues amounted to an impressive 2.02 billion kuna.

The biggest impetus for the growth of Zagreb Holding's income came from the business of gas supply and distribution by expanding to new distribution areas. Namely, Gradska plinara, which is part of Zagreb Holding, has been supplying eleven new distribution areas in as many as nine different Croatian counties since back in April.

It thus gained 45,000 new customers. This resulted in an increase in the Group's revenue by HRK 24.7 million, or 16 percent on an annual basis.

However, in addition to revenues, expenses also grew, by three percent to 2.08 billion kuna, so the group ended the first half of the year with a loss of 60.8 million kuna, and while that seems steep, it's an improvement when compared to the same period last year, when losses amounted to almost 140 million kuna.

“The overall results of the Zagreb Holding Group's operations continue to be greatly influenced by the operations of the Cistoca subsidiary. In this business segment, a loss of 85.7 million kuna was recorded,'' the aforementioned report states.

For more information on Croatian companies and their performances, make sure to check out our dedicated business section.

Wednesday, 29 September 2021

Zagreb Holding Group Reduces Losses to HRK 60.8m in H1

ZAGREB, 29 Sept, 2021 - The Zagreb Holding Group had a loss of HRK 60.8 million in the first six months of 2021, which is significantly less in comparison to the H1 2020, when the loss amounted to HRK 139.6 million, the group's financial statement released on the Zagreb Stock Exchange on Wednesday indicate.

The Zagreb Holding Group comprises the Zagreb Holding d.o.o., which is completely owned by the City of Zagreb and its 14 branches and 8 companies and institutions.

The Group's total revenue in the first six months of 2021 amounted to HRK 2.02 billion, which is 7% more year on year, whereas expenditure amounted to HRK 20.8 billion or 3% more.

Revenue from business operations amounted to HRK 1.96 billion, or 7.4% more y-o-y, as a result of economic recovery.

The most significant growth in the Group's revenue was generated in the energy sector and the supply and distribution of gas, primarily through expanding new distribution areas and an increase of 11% in the delivery of gas supplies.

At the same time, material costs and the cost of services increased by HRK 28.2 million or 3%.

The Group's results are still largely impacted by losses in the Čistoća - city waste collection service which registered a loss of HRK 85.7 million in H1.

At the end of June, the Group had 7,765 employees. Personnel costs in H1 amounted to HRK 611 million or HRK 12 million more than last year.

The Group's investments reached HRK 146.5 million, with an additional HRK 26.2 million invested in the construction of public premises.

 There were 7,765 employees on the group+s payroll at the end of June.

(€1 = HRK 7.489688)

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Tuesday, 24 August 2021

Zagreb Mayor Tomislav Tomašević Presents Three New Zagreb Holding Management Board Members

ZAGREB, 24 Aug, 2021 - Zagreb Mayor Tomislav Tomašević on Tuesday presented three new members of the Zagreb Holding multi-utility conglomerate's management board, saying they have ten years of experience in managing positions in Croatian and foreign companies and will take office in September.

"After receiving 73 applications, we shortlisted and interviewed 15 candidates. We chose those three and they will take office in September," Tomašević told the press.

The three new members are Ivan Novaković, Boris Sesar and Matija Subašić Maras.

In June, Nikola Vuković was appointed Zagreb Holding Management Board chair and Ante Samodol a member. The latest additions complete the appointment of the Zagreb Holding Management Board.

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Wednesday, 16 June 2021

Tomislav Tomašević: Decision on Zagreb Holding Appointments According to Law

ZAGREB, 16 June, 2021 - Zagreb Mayor Tomislav Tomašević said on Wednesday that the decision on new management and supervisory boards in the Zagreb Holding utility company was legally valid and in accordance with the law on local and regional government and the Companies' Act.

The Conflict of Interest Commission has launched a case against Tomašević, the commission's president Nataša Novaković said on Tuesday, who underscored that the case was opened due to a possible breach of Article 15 of the Conflict of Interest Act, after staff were appointed in Zagreb Holding contrary to normal practice. 

Tomašević noted that the decision has already been registered in the Commercial Court register.

"With reference to launching the procedure before the Conflict of Interest Commission for an alleged breach of procedure, we assessed that the situation in Zagreb Holding warranted immediate action and so we decided to adopt decisions according to valid laws and the usual practice. We need to underline an additional circumstance, that until the representative body is constituted, it cannot propose new members to management and supervisory boards," Tomašević said in a press release.

The mayor's office recalled the Conflict of Interest Commission's opinion in 2013 in which it notes that "in cases where collision between the provisions of Article 15, Par. 2 of the Conflict of Interest Act and the provisions of Article 48 of the Local and Regional Self-Government Act occur, the provisions of the law that enter into force later are applied - lex posterior derogat legi priori - hence the provisions of Article 48 of the Local and Regional Self-Government Act."

Based on that article, mayors and county prefects appoint and relieve representatives of local government in local companies in which the local government holds a stake or ownership shares.

After the signing of a coalition agreement between Tomašević's We Can! party and the Social Democratic Party (SDP), SDP leader Peđa Grbin said that the Conflict of Interest Commission had reacted to an article in the law that until yesterday it had called to be erased, considering that the 2012 law on local government regulated the issue of appointing members to management and supervisory boards in companies owned by local government in a different way.

"With due respect to the Commission and to the excellent work it does in numerous spheres, this isn't its duty but that of the legislator," said Grbin, who called on the government to send amendments to the laws to parliament as soon as possible.

"I expect the government to forward amendments to the law on local government or to the law on the conflict of interest as soon as possible so that this issue is absolutely clear and unambiguous and to define how management and supervisory boards in companies in local government are to be appointed," added Grbin.

He urged that the amendment be brought urgently as this same situation could occur in other cities around the country and that a broad consensus should be reached on this matter.

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Wednesday, 16 June 2021

GONG: "Tomislav Tomašević Betrayed Pre-Election Promises"

 ZAGREB, 16 June, 2021 - The GONG NGO said on Wednesday that the newly-elected Zagreb Mayor Tomislav Tomašević had betrayed his pre-election promises by appointing members of the Management Board of the Zagreb Holding utility conglomerate without competitions for the posts.

Appointments made without a competition are not the path citizens chose in the elections, wanting a change in the way Zagreb is run, although it is indisputable that the City and Zagreb Holding (ZGH) have huge debts and that it is necessary to act as soon as possible, GONG said in a press release.

The NGO thinks that Tomašević should have kept the promises and standards announced in the election programme if he really wants to change the model of governing Zagreb and after 20 years of Milan Bandić's rule stop the practice of non-transparent employment.

The new model of governing Zagreb, announced by the Možemo! platform, explicitly stated that members of the management board of Zagreb Holding (and other city companies) would be selected in a public procedure, with the obligatory publication of their programme. This has not been done so far, and public calls will only serve to select additional members of the ZGH management and supervisory boards, GONG said.

For years, GONG has been advocating obligatory public calls for the selection of management staff in public and city companies, with adherence to the principle of competence.

We think that there is a high risk of corruption in public companies which have large budgets and a large number of employees, GONG said.

Explaining on Tuesday why he resorted to the direct appointment in ZGH although in the run-up to the elections he and his party (We Can!) promised the appointment of executives and management members of the city-owned companies only through public calls, Tomašević said that the situation inherited from the previous local government forced them to react quickly and the direct appointment was the most responsible solution.

Commenting on ZGH's loss of HRK 305 million, Tomašević said that the current city administration had two options: to keep the incumbent management that obviously failed to put the situation under control or to dismiss them and leave ZGH without management several months for the duration of the selection procedure.

The mayor elaborated that the minimum number of members of the management and supervisory boards of ZGH were directly appointed and promised the advertisement of public calls for the remaining three members in the management board and the remaining members of the supervisory board.

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Tuesday, 15 June 2021

Zagreb Mayor Tomislav Tomašević: We Didn't Break Our Promise on Advertised Vacancies For City Execs

ZAGREB, 15 June, 2021 - The appointment of new members of the management and supervisory boards of the Zagreb Holding without a public call for the selection of applicants did not constitute a breach of the pre-election promise, the new Mayor of Zagreb, Tomislav Tomašević, said on Tuesday.

The multi-utility conglomerate Zagreb Holding's assembly on Monday relieved the supervisory and management boards of their duties, appointing Suzana Brenko Supervisory Board chair and Ratko Bajakić and Damir Topić its members. The provisional Zagreb Holding (ZGH) Management Board was appointed as well, with two new members, Nikola Vuković as Management Board chair and Ante Samodol as a member.

Tomašević said that the situation inherited from the previous local government forced them to react quickly and the direct appointment was the most responsible solution.

Commenting on ZGH's loss of HRK 305 million, Tomašević said that the current city administration had two options: to keep the incumbent management that obviously failed to put the situation under control or to dismiss them and leave the Holding without management several months for the duration of the public tender. 

Tomašević said that this was why he resorted to the direct appointment although in the run-up to the elections he and his party (We Can) promised the appointment of executives and management members of the city-owned companies only through public calls.

At a meeting held with Mayor Tomašević last Friday, the former ZGH management reported on the conglomerate's financial situation and losses incurred in 2020. An audited and consolidated report for 2020 shows that ZGH has for the first time in the last seven years incurred a loss of HRK 305 million, the mayor's office said on Monday.

Today, the mayor elaborated that the minimum number of members of the management and supervisory boards of ZGH were directly appointed and promised the advertisement of public calls for the remaining three members in the management board and the remaining members of the supervisory board.

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Monday, 10 May 2021

Former Zagreb Holding Employee Must Return Half a Million Kuna

May the 10th, 2021 - One former Zagreb Holding employee has found themselves in quite a bizarre situation in which they must pay back a massive half a million kuna due to their own alleged greed.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, a former employee of Zagreb Holding from Varazdin County must pay the huge sum of 558,000 kuna to Vodoopskrba i odvodnja (Water and sewerage supply) from Zagreb and reimburse 48,250 kuna in court costs. This is the financial painful result of a somewhat unusual situation, as reported by Vecernji list.

The individual in question was employed by Zagreb Holding (Zagrebacki holding) until back in March 2013, when he was then fired. He initiated a labour dispute against Zagreb Holding and the company was ordered by the competent court in Zagreb to return him to his old work position.

In November of that same year, Vodoopskrba i odvodnja was entered into the court register as an independent company and the entire business of the former branch was transferred to that, as were all employment contracts of that time. The former Zagreb Holding employee subsequently initiated proceedings against the company for the payment of arrears of wages from the day of their extraordinary dismissal until the final court ruling establishing that that same dismissal was in fact illegal.

Zagreb Holding paid him money on several occasions throughout 2019, and after these payments, the former employee addressed the legal services of Vodoopskrba i odvodnja with a request to pay him the amounts listed according to the final judgment of the court, even though he knew that the requested amounts had already been paid previously.

He threatened an employee working for Zagreb Holding's legal department that he would initiate enforcement proceedings against Zagreb Holding if the funds weren't paid to him "as soon as possible".

As such, back io in November 2019, 558,000 kuna was paid into his account. Only then, in correspondence with Zagreb Holding, did they realise that he had already been paid the requested amount and now must return it. A criminal complaint was also filed against the former employee who obviously hadn't ever heard of quitting while ahead.

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Monday, 2 November 2020

ZET, ZG Holding, Zagreb Trade Fair Centre Post H1 Losses

ZAGREB, November 2, 2020 - Deputies in the Zagreb City Assembly on Monday adopted reports on the business results of the Zagreb Holding multi-utility conglomerate, the Zagreb Trade Fair Centre and the ZET city transportation company, showing that all three companies operated at a loss in the first half of the year.

Opposition deputies, who participated in the assembly's session that was held online, either voted against or abstained from voting on the companies' semi-annual reports. None of the deputies wanted to participate in a debate on the reports.

In the period from January to June, Zagreb Holding earned HRK 854 million in revenue while its expenditure totalled around HRK 970 million, which resulted in a pre-tax loss of some HRK 116 million.

ZET's revenue amounted to HRK 569 million while its expenditure totalled around HRK 581 million, resulting in a loss of HRK 12 million.

The Zagreb Trade Fair Centre's revenue totalled HRK 23 million and expenditures around HRK 29 million, which is a loss of six million, seven times more than in the same period of 2019 when the loss amounted to HRK 857,406.

The Assembly also adopted business reports of the Zagreb Innovation Centre and the Zagreb Waste Management Centre, which show that the two companies did not incur any losses.

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