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InvestSlovenia http://dev.tend.si/investslovenia/ Bussiness news en.UTF-8 TYPO3 News Mon, 21 Jan 2019 20:05:06 +0100 Mon, 21 Jan 2019 20:05:06 +0100 TYPO3 EXT:news news-5440 Sat, 19 Jan 2019 00:00:00 +0100 Slovenian startup DaiBau wins EUR 700,000 investment https://www.investslovenia.org/news-media/business-news/slovenian-startup-daibau-wins-eur-700000-investment-5440/ Maribor, 19 January (STA) - DaiBau, a Maribor startup operating platforms linking clients with home construction and renovation services suppliers in Slovenia, Austria, Croatia and Serbia, has won a EUR 700,000 investment from South Central Ventures and Vito ONE to expand its presence in the region. DaiBau evolved from Eforma, a company incubated in 2014 by Martin Pelcl and Gregor Černelč at Tovarna Podjemov, a business incubator at the University of Maribor.

Today, a 20-member team runs construction marketplace portals in four countries from offices in Maribor, Zagreb, Graz and Novi Sad under the common brand DaiBau.

The portal is called MojMojster.net in Slovenia, emajstor.hr in Croatia, daibau.at in Croatia and daibau.rs in Serbia.

With a database of more than 30,000 service providers, the platform suggests construction companies, architects and other experts to various investors, including companies, individuals and institutions.

"We have put in four years of efforts to establish DaiBau as a sustainable business. This new investment will support us to expand our team and allow faster growth," said Martin Pelcl, one of the co-founders.

"Our goal is to become the top ranking gateway for construction providers in the region," he told a press conference at the Maribor incubator earlier this week.

Vedran Blagus, an investment manager with South Central Ventures, said that the DaiBau team had persuaded them with "the energy they radiate".

"The team has found a perfect business model that may be projected to other markets. The investment comes at a right time for expansion to the markets of Central and Eastern Europe and we are here to help the team on this journey," Blagus added.

Eforma, as the company was named before the investment, had also obtained two financial incentives from the Slovenian Enterprise Fund in its early phase.

"We are happy for each positive story, and in particular when we can help young companies to make a breakthrough, to develop, grow, go international and attract other investors," the fund's director Maja Tomanič Vidovič commented.

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news-5438 Fri, 18 Jan 2019 00:00:00 +0100 Biggest media takeover fails as CME opts against Pro Plus sale (adds) https://www.investslovenia.org/news-media/business-news/biggest-media-takeover-fails-as-cme-opts-against-pro-plus-sale-adds-5438/ Ljubljana, 18 January (STA) - Central European Media Enterprises (CME) has announced it has decided against selling Slovenia's leading television network group to United Group, aborting the biggest media takeover in the country. The Prague-based US-owned fund said it decided to retain full ownership of Pro Plus, which operates POP TV and Kanal A channels in Slovenia.

It said it had terminated the agreement signed with United Group in July 2017.

United Group, which already owns telecommunications provider Telemach in Slovenia, has confirmed for the STA it has ended takeover activities, but would not comment further.

In Friday's press release CME did not blame its decision on drawn-out decision making procedures at the Competition Protection Agency (AVK) on concentration between Pro Plus and Slovenia Broadband, the company through which United Group planned to execute the takeover.

The fund said that since announcing its intention to sell its Slovenian business 18 months ago in order to accelerate deleveraging, it had repaid about US$ 370m in loans, reducing its gross debt by about 30%.

It also said that its Slovenia operations had grown revenues significantly and reached the highest level of profitability in a decade, generating US$20.8m in operating income before depreciation and amortization last year.

Michael Del Nin, CME co-chief executive officer, commented that "even without the proceeds from the planned divestiture, our net leverage ratio should approach 3x by the end of first quarter, a delay of just one quarter compared to our expectations if the sale had been completed".

The release also quotes co-CEO Christoph Mainusch in saying that CME "always said this transaction was not a reflection of our outlook for the business.

"Quite the contrary, we are strong believers in the value of television assets and the future of the Slovenian operations, which have been confirmed by its spectacular growth over the last year. We look forward to continuing to work with the team at POP TV in our longstanding tradition of providing objective news and the best entertainment for Slovenia."

In July 2017, United Group group signed a EUR 230m agreement to buy media operations in Slovenia and Croatia.

In Croatia it has been given the regulatory approval to take over the most popular commercial TV channel Nova TV after it transferred ownership of digital TV provider Total TV to a third unaffiliated legal entity.

In Slovenia the planned takeover raised controversy due to its size and the impact it would have on several markets.

In November, the Slovenian competition watchdog pinpointed several potential issues in a statement of objections, noting that the takeover could lead to horizontal concentration on the TV advertising market, the market for TV sports rights, and the wholesale of children's TV programmes.

It also raised the prospect of permanent concerted action with other operators on the market and the possibility of licenses for the distribution of Pro Plus channels increasing. Competitive programmes in the bundles of United Group's Slovenian cable operator Telemach could be sidelined as well.

The AVK also said that the takeover could have other effects since "the combined company would acquire sensitive business information about their competitors, would give it a significant competitive edge".

Former AVK director Andrej Krašek commented that such statements were usually issued when the watchdog intended to reject a takeover.

Domestic media players and media experts have raised concerns that the takeover could lead to excessive concentration of power in the hands of a single, US-owned media group.

Pro Plus not only owns two of the most popular TV channels, POP TV and Kanal A, it also operates several cable-only channels, a pay-per-view service, and 24ur.com, one of the top news portals in the country.

In the meantime, United Group has changed hands as the Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR) investment fund sold it in September to British company BC Partners LLP.

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news-5439 Fri, 18 Jan 2019 00:00:00 +0100 Maribor airport investor pulling out of current deal with state https://www.investslovenia.org/news-media/business-news/maribor-airport-investor-pulling-out-of-current-deal-with-state-5439/ Maribor, 18 January (STA) - Aerodrom Maribor, the operator of the Maribor airport, has announced it is terminating the lease contract for the increasingly struggling state-owned airport. The decision comes amid delays in a planned expansion of the airport's runway, and with the hint that the investor may stay on should a more favourable agreement be secured. While the Infrastructure Ministry was notified of the decision on Tuesday, the news was announced on Friday by SHS Aviation, the Chinese-controlled company that bought Aerodrom Maribor at the end of 2016 and signed a 15-year concession contract with the state in early 2017.

The contract will cease to be valid after a six-month notice period, with SHS Aviation saying it would continue fulfilling all of its obligations until then.

The lessee of the Edvard Rusjan Maribor airport has been repeating in recent months that the existing contract was unsustainable economically and that their key motive for the investment had been to develop the airport so as to enable intercontinental flights.

When the existing contract was signed, interest existed on both sides for such a development and the lease conditions were agreed with the idea of starting the upgrade of the airport as soon as possible, SHS Aviation wrote.

The company, which said in 2017 it would secure investments worth EUR 660m, argued that the circumstances had changed significantly, with zoning and concession procedures dragging on excessively and remaining without a clear timeline.

SHS Aviation, whose efforts for a 800-metre extension of the airport's runway have come under attack from environmental groups, said it had put forward different proposals to change the conditions but none had been accepted.

The Infrastructure Ministry said in January that changes to the existing contract were only possible in case of a new call for applications, entailing a cancellation of the contract, which is what the lessee has now decided to do.

SHS Aviation stressed it was not withdrawing entirely from the investment and hopes to reach a mutually acceptable solution in the coming months that would secure a sustainable management model, which will only be possible with appropriate support from the relevant ministries.

The Infrastructure Ministry responded to the announcement with surprise, saying the ministry's current leadership had been actively involved in the search for long-term solutions.

While noting that the 2017 contract had been signed under very clear conditions of cooperation, the ministry said that "less then two years later they demanded state aid".

"For a while they were not even settling their financial liabilities and the frequent talk in the public about their financial difficulties was far removed from the announcements and commitments made when the contract was signed."

"We cannot accept responsibility for potential unrealistic promises made in the past, while we rejected the request for state aid because Aerodrom Maribor failed to meet the legal conditions for it," the ministry wrote.

It said it had expressed readiness multiple times to look for appropriate solutions, "but solutions need to found that will be suitable for as many stakeholders as possible, not only for one side".

The ministry said that "the procedure for selecting the best option for the development of the airport...is under way, as are activities related to the spatial plan for this area".

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news-5437 Thu, 17 Jan 2019 00:00:00 +0100 Enterprise Fund has EUR 629m available until 2023 https://www.investslovenia.org/news-media/business-news/enterprise-fund-has-eur-629m-available-until-2023-5437/ Ljubljana, 17 January (STA) - The government adopted on Thursday the strategic programme of the Slovenian Enterprise Fund for 2018-2023. A total of EUR 629m in financial incentives for around 6,200 projects by micro, small and medium-sized companies will be available. Around 35% of the available funds will come from the European cohesion policy funds for the 2014-2020 period, the Government Communication Office announced.

The fund will provide various financial instruments, from debt financing to grants, and considering that the funds from the previous multi-year EU budget will be re-used for this purpose, the share of the EU funds in the programme will actually exceed 50%.

The fund expects that the supported companies will keep the existing jobs and generate an average of 2.2 additional jobs.

The average increase in added value per employee in three years after investments is expected to reach 12%, and the companies are also expected to increase efficiency in several fields.

In 2007-2017, the fund provided financial incentives to more than 7,200 micro, small and medium-sized companies in the total amount of EUR 1.07bn.

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news-5435 Wed, 16 Jan 2019 00:00:00 +0100 Adria Tehnika signs long-term deal with Airbus https://www.investslovenia.org/news-media/business-news/adria-tehnika-signs-long-term-deal-with-airbus-5435/ Logatec, 16 January (STA) - Aircraft maintenance firm Adria Tehnika has signed an agreement on long-term cooperation with European manufacturer Airbus on the maintenance of its A320-class aircraft, a deal it sees as proof of the quality of service. "I'm convinced that together we will complete successful projects in the future, strengthening our cooperation and expanding it to other types of the Airbus's family of the most technologically advanced aircraft in the world," Adria Tehnika deputy CEO Barbara Perko Brvar said in a press release on Wednesday.

Adria Tehnika has been carrying out maintenance of A320 aircraft since 1989, performing the service for over 70 clients including airlines such as Lufthansa Group, EasyJet and Adria Airways. It also provides maintenance services for Bombardier aircraft.

Owner by Linetech Holding of Poland since late 2015, Adria Tehnika posted sales of EUR 23.5m for 2017, with net profit at EUR 1.1m.

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news-5436 Wed, 16 Jan 2019 00:00:00 +0100 Job growth continues apace https://www.investslovenia.org/news-media/business-news/job-growth-continues-apace-5436/ Ljubljana, 16 January (STA) - The Slovenian labour market remained robust in November, with the employment total at 887,953 up 0.3% over October and a year-on-year increase of 3.1%, show preliminary Statistics Office figures released on Wednesday. This means the economy added almost 27,000 jobs since November 2017. The number of employees and the number of the self-employed grew at the same pace in November, by 0.3%, respectively to 792,886 and 95,067.

At the annual level, the number of the self-employed increased slightly more, by 4.1%, than the number of employees, which rose by 3%.

Job gains were broad-based at the annual level, with 17 of the 20 industries tracked recording gains. Manufacturing was the biggest job creator, adding about 8,000 jobs.

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news-5434 Tue, 15 Jan 2019 00:00:00 +0100 November wages higher due to end-of-year bonuses https://www.investslovenia.org/news-media/business-news/november-wages-higher-due-to-end-of-year-bonuses-5434/ Ljubljana, 15 January (STA) - An average gross salary in Slovenia in November amounted to EUR 1,813, which was up by 8.1% in nominal terms and 8% in real terms over October. An average net salary rose to EUR 1,186, a rise of 9.2% and 9.1%, respectively. Just like in October, wages in November increased due to the end-of-year bonuses, such as the 13th pay or Christmas bonus, the Statistics Office said on Tuesday.

Slightly over 23% of all workers in the country received an end-of-year bonus with their November wage, up 1.9 percentage points from November 2017.

Also higher than in November 2017 was the average end-of-year bonus, which amounted to EUR 667 gross, up 1%.

An average November wage was also higher than a year earlier; gross wage increased by 3.2% in nominal terms and by 1.2% in real terms.

An average net wage in November was, meanwhile, higher by 3% nominally and 1% in real terms.

On the annual comparison, the average net wage was higher in both the private and public sectors, by 12.6% and 3.1%, respectively.

Compared with October, the average November wage was up in all sectors, with the financial and insurance sector posting the heftiest growth of almost 23% to EUR 1,820.

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news-5431 Mon, 14 Jan 2019 00:00:00 +0100 Terme Olimia looking back at successful year https://www.investslovenia.org/news-media/business-news/terme-olimia-looking-back-at-successful-year-5431/ Podčetrtek, 14 January (STA) - The spa group comprising Terme Olimia in Podčetrtek in eastern Slovenia and Terme Tuhelj on the Croatian side of the border generated EUR 30m in revenue last year, doubling net profit to EUR 3m. Speaking to the STA, Terme Olimia director Florjan Vasle said that last year was demanding investment-wise; the company inaugurated an EUR 11m family spa complex Termalija in June.

While the group's net profit doubled from EUR 1.5m posted in 2017, revenue was up marginally from EUR 27.9m in 2017.

The higher figures were also reflected in performance bonuses paid out to employees this month to the tune of EUR 1,000 on average, depending on how long they have worked in the company.

The group employs about 500 people. Since the required staff is increasingly hard to find, the company decided to secure employees 10 to 20 new apartments this year, with details yet to be determined.

The spa attracted close to 107,000 visitors last year, 14% more than the year before. They spent a total of 362,000 nights or 11% more than in 2017.

Domestic visitors represented 66%. Among foreign guests, most were from Italy, Austria, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia.

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news-5432 Mon, 14 Jan 2019 00:00:00 +0100 Ljubljana airport welcomes record number of passengers https://www.investslovenia.org/news-media/business-news/ljubljana-airport-welcomes-record-number-of-passengers-5432/ Brnik, 14 January (STA) - The Ljubljana Jože Pučnik Airport recorded 1,812,411 passengers last year, which is 7.7% more than in 2017 and a new record. Planes transported 0.4% more cargo or 12,378 tonnes, the airport manager Fraport Slovenija said on Monday. Passenger numbers exceeded the 2017 figure already in November last year.

At the end of 2018, Fraport Slovenija forecast even better results and 1.82 million passengers but this was not realised because the struggling carrier Adria Airways transported fewer passengers than planned.

Fraport Slovenija business manager Zmago Skobir told the STA last December that the airport would likely follow the upward trends expected throughout the industry this year. However, the strong growth will taper off and become more stable.

When acquiring the state-owned Aerodrom Ljubljana in 2015, the German airport operator Fraport promised to invest in infrastructure, development and jobs.

Currently it is getting ready to build a new terminal. The construction is expected to start in the spring and be completed by the end of 2020, about six months before Slovenia assumes the EU presidency in the second half of 2021.

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news-5433 Mon, 14 Jan 2019 00:00:00 +0100 Petrol prices up a little https://www.investslovenia.org/news-media/business-news/petrol-prices-up-a-little-5433/ Ljubljana, 14 January (STA) - After a substantial drop on 1 January, administered fuel prices will rise again slightly on Tuesday. Regular petrol will be 1.1 cents dearer at EUR 1.194, whereas the price of diesel will go up 1.4 cents to EUR 1.208, the Economy Ministry said on Monday. The government regulates prices of petrol and diesel sold outside motorways, while prices of premium and prices of all fuels sold at motorway service stations are set independently by retailers.

The administrated fuel prices are adjusted every two weeks factoring in the price of oil on Mediterranean markets, the euro-dollar exchange rate and biofuel prices.

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