05 Jan 2022, 11:33 AM

STA, 5 January 2021 - Slovenian companies have been sounding the alarm over high electricity prices for months, warning that production may become unviable for energy-intensive industries. One company, the fish processing firm Delamaris, has decided to suspend production for a week to weather the price spike.

Delamaris shifted collective leave from the last week of December to the first week of January, a move that Janez Rebec, the chairman of the parent company Pivka-Delamaris, says is a direct consequence of high electricity prices.

"Electricity has become drastically more expensive, going from EUR 70 per MWh to EUR 400 per MWh in December," he told the STA. "This took everyone by surprise." The price has since dropped and Rebec said it was now two and a half times what it had been.

Rebec told Delo newspaper that most food processing companies were in a similar position and would be forced to raise prices just to survive. He expects the company will shift higher prices onto consumers as of March.

The news comes amidst warnings by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry that the high electricity prices are untenable. It said in late December that forward prices for 2022 had exceeded 2021 levels by up to a factor of six.

The organisation has called on the government to take action, but Economy Minister Zdravko Počivalšek recently said that there was little scope for action save for a ban on the export of electricity, a comment that earned him sharp criticism from energy experts.

Commentators have pointed out that the government has several tools at its disposal, in particular reductions on the VAT rate and excise duties.

24 Dec 2021, 11:17 AM

STA, 23 December 2021 - The prices of residential property increased by 2.8% in the third quarter of the year on a quarterly basis, and by 12.9% year-on-year, which is the highest price increase on an annual basis so far, the Statistics Office announced on Thursday.

After dropping in the second quarter of 2021, the prices of new residential property rose again, by 3.3%. The prices of new apartments were up by 4.3% and the prices of houses increased by 0.6% after a significant drop in the second quarter.

In the third quarter of the year, the prices of second-hand apartments and houses combined increased by an average of 2.7% on a quarterly basis. The increase was slightly higher for second-hand apartments than for second-hand houses.

At an annual level, the prices of residential property were up on average by 12.9%, which is the most since the first quarter of 2008, when the prices rose by 11.8%.

The highest growth in prices was recorded for new apartments (17.9%), followed by the prices of second-hand apartments, second-hand houses and new houses.

The total value of residential property sold in Slovenia in the third quarter of the year was EUR 378 million, which is 18% less than in the second quarter and almost equal to the total value of transactions in the same quarter in 2020.

After a notable increase in the second quarter, the number of transactions with residential property was down to 3,359, but this was still above the long-term average of 2,900 transactions.

More on this data

22 Dec 2021, 21:40 PM

STA, 22 December 2021 - In the wake of Omicron concerns the government has decided to impose a density limit in shops by allowing entry to one customer per every ten square metres of available floor space. The rule will be effective from Thursday.

Under the decision, made on Wednesday, shops are also required to put up a sign at their entrance informing customers of the maximum density limit, said the Government Communication Office (UKOM).

The ten square metre rule is in line with recommendations given by the Health Ministry's Covid advisory group to step up preventive measures in light of the expected rapid spread of the Omicron variant and Slovenia's low vaccination rate, UKOM added.

16 Dec 2021, 15:08 PM

STA, 16 December 2021 - The number of persons in paid employment stood at an all-time high of 911,820 at the end of October, having increased by 2.4% on the year before and 0.6% on September, the Statistics Office said.

The number of those working for legal and natural persons, and the number of the self-employed rose by a similar share year-on-year, by 2.4% and 2.2%, respectively.

The monthly rise was driven by strong hiring in the manufacturing sector, where payrolls swelled by 0.8% to 207,900 persons. Overall, 15 of the twenty monitored industries recorded employment gains.

This is the fourth consecutive month the number of persons in employment hit an all-time high.

More on this data

13 Dec 2021, 15:34 PM

STA, 13 December 2021 - The government ban on outdoor food and drink stalls has dampened down the festive mood at Christmas markets across Slovenia as inspectors clamped down on the vendors trying to get around the restrictions. Dismayed at what they see as unfair and unlawful rules, hospitality providers are now mounting class action to claim damages. 

The government initially detailed rules for Christmas markets on 26 November when those had already opened in some cities, setting out that they should be fenced off to make sure only Covid pass-carrying visitors are allowed inside the railings.

However, only a week later, prompted by its Covid-19 advisors, the government banned the serving of food and drinks at open-air stalls to prevent socialising around the cup of mulled wine that is very popular in the country this time of year.

With the roasted chestnuts exempted from the ban, the new government regulation led to a rather comical exchange between the chief Covid adviser and the Ljubljana mayor over what makes chestnuts less of a Covid risk.

The Ljubljana authorities then appeared to have found a loophole in arguing that the ban only concerned fair-like activity rather than open-air market stalls and reopened food and drink markets by the Ljubljana central market last Wednesday.

In some other cities, vendors moved their stalls closer to their hospitality establishments, which can serve their seated guests outdoors, and in Koper and Maribor only seated guests got served from stalls.

However, inspectors moved fast and first sealed stalls in Ljubljana on Thursday and then closed down those in Koper's Tito Square as well. The stalls in Maribor were ordered to close today after they were first allowed to operate.

Insisting that the open-air market activity has not been banned, the utility operating Ljubljana markets and the affected hospitality providers will seek justice in court in cooperation with Nataša Pirc Musar, a prominent lawyer.

Similarly upset are the vendors in Koper, who have acquired a legal opinion saying that the closure was unlawful and illegitimate and are thus preparing to bring a joint damages suit, their representative Andrej Krmac has announced.

A further issue is that while Christmas markets are no longer appealing to visitors, beer and restaurant gardens or even the stalls attached to them, such as those along the river Ljubljanica in the capital, are teeming with festive crowds.

In Celje, Kranj and Bled, hospitality stalls operating as part Christmas markets have been closed down as the government ban kicked in. However, hospitality and tourism officials are complaining about the impact on business.

08 Dec 2021, 09:40 AM

STA, 7 December 2021 - The foundry LTH Castings officially launched a new production line for aluminium components for powertrains of all-electric BMW cars on Tuesday in its Ljubljana facility. The company said on the occasion that the new line brought new jobs, and labelled it as a new step towards transition to e-mobility and digitalisation. 

Since 2019, LTH Castings has invested more than EUR 50 million in the expansion of production facilities for components of e-powertrains in the Ljubljana plant alone, the company said.

The new production line will produce and process various lightweight aluminium parts for powertrains of the fifth generation BMW eDrive technology.

The production technology follows the demands of BMW Group for reducing carbon dioxide emissions and resource consumption in the entire car production chain, LTH Castings said.

No rare earth elements are used in the production process, which is fully digitalised and follows the product from the beginning to the end of its lifecycle.

Today's ceremony was attended by Frank Wimmer of the BMW Group and Gertrud Rantzen, the head of the management board of the Slovenian-German Chamber of Commerce.

LTH Castings director Andrej Megušar said on the occasion that the company was a long-term partner of the BMW Group, adding that "we systematically follow market requirements and progress in e-mobility".

The new production line brings "additional long-term and sustainable jobs". It currently employs around 50 people, while up to 150 employees are expected to work in the production of components for e-powertrains by 2023.

LTH Castings notes that the expansion of the plant in Ljubljana is an example of a successful transformation of the former production complex of the company Litostroj towards e-mobility and digitalisation.

The building that is more than 70 years old has been fully renovated and expanded, adding 20,000 m2 of production space to more than 50,000 m2 of the existing production space at the Ljubljana facility.

The LTH Castings group, which is based in the Slovenian town of Škofja Loka and also has a facility in nearby Trata, employs almost 2,000 people in Slovenia, and an additional 1,200 people in its subsidiaries in Croatia and North Macedonia.

06 Dec 2021, 12:16 PM

STA, 5 December  - Fraport Slovenija's new managing director Babett Stapel, who took over at the helm of the company operating Ljubljana's international airport in October, is optimistic about the airline industry and airport's future. She sees the industry's recovery, providing connectivity, and increasing staff numbers as key challenges post-pandemic. 

The pandemic has hit the Ljubljana Jože Pučnik Airport quite hard. It had 339,000 passengers in the first ten months, up from 282,000 in the same period 2020. The figure is expected to rise to 407,000 by the end of the year, which is 40% more than in 2020 but still 75% below 2019.

Growth has been partly fuelled by Slovenia's EU presidency, with Stapel telling the STA in an interview it was a nice surprise that despite the pandemic, a number of events were held in-person. The presidency has thus brought some 20,000 passengers.

The airport plans some 900,000 passengers in 2022, which is still 44% fewer than the 1.6 million it set itself as the basis, so Stapel expects full recovery only in 2025.

Although the new reality makes forecasts very hard to make, she remains optimistic for 2022, wishing the EU would unify measures and rules as soon as possible to make travel easier, which would benefit the entire air travel industry.

Cargo transport at Ljubljana airport has meanwhile increased by 12% this year compared to 2019 and by 21% compared to 2020. Since growth is expected to continue at one-dight rates until 2030, Fraport Slovenija is planning new investments in cargo infrastructure.

Stapel says that apart from the EUR 23 million invested in the new passenger terminal, which opened on 1 July, the company has invested another EUR 39.5 million in the infrastructure, equipment and IT since it started managing the airport in 2015.

She says it was strict cost cutting and strong ties with business partners to have enabled Fraport Slovenija to relatively successfully weather the coronacrisis.

Also thanks to EUR 5 million in state aid in compensation for the airport's closure for passenger transport in 2020, the company expects a positive EBITDA, while the bottom line will still be negative this year.

Further recovery of passenger air transport and ensuing connectivity is what she sees as the company's a key challenge for the future. She says close cooperation between the airport, air carriers, tourist industry and the state is of utmost importance.

In this respect, she expects the state subsidy scheme for airlines to ensure Slovenia's connectivity to be extended to this winter season and the next summer season.

As passenger numbers are expected to further grow, Fraport is also planning new hirings after having to lay off some staff last year. Around a fifth of those laid off will be hired, Stapel says, while new staff will also be sought, which she expects to be quite hard given the current situation in the labour market.

06 Dec 2021, 08:18 AM

STA, 5 December 2021 - Slovenia's integration in international trade measured by the indicator of trade integration of goods was among the highest in the EU, placing the country third. Measured by the indicator of trade integration of services, Slovenia was roughly in the middle of EU member states, the Slovenian Statistics Office said this week.

Slovenia placed among the top eight in exports and nine in imports in terms of the share of exports and imports of goods and services in the GDP last year.

The countries with higher shares were Luxembourg, Malta, Ireland, Slovakia, Belgium, Hungary and the Netherlands.

The country's share of exports of goods and services amounted to 77.9% of GDP and the share of imports of goods and services to 68.7% of GDP.


Thus, as a result of the pandemic, the country's international trade and GDP were down as the values of exports and imports were 7.2% and 8.8% lower than in 2019.

As regards the share of direct investment, Slovenia continued to be at the bottom of EU member states.

FDI at the end of last year reached EUR 16.6 billion, up 2.4% compared to the end of 2019, amounting to 35.3% of the GDP value, which is 1.9% more than in 2019.

Slovenia's direct investment abroad reached EUR 7 billion, up 1.7%, amounting to 14.8% of the GDP value, which is 0.7% more than in 2019.

OECD data shows that as regards the share of inward FDI stock in GDP and the share of outward FDI stock in GDP, Slovenia continued to position itself among the last six EU member states, the statistics office added.

More on these statistics

02 Dec 2021, 13:01 PM

HTEC Group, the global consulting, software engineering, and digital product development company, which has recently started hiring top engineering talent in Slovenia, announced today the acquisition of Momentum Design Lab, an award-winning Silicon Valley design studio that provides product-lead growth for its clients.

The acquisition of Momentum will further strengthen HTEC Group’s product design capabilities and enable its current and future employees to tap into their innovative side and work on a whole spectrum of exciting cutting-edge innovations with leading global brands, startups and Fortune 500 enterprises.

Leaning on Momentum’s two decades long experience—HTEC Group will offer its clients digital product design and engineering, from early conceptualization to sophisticated delivery. This presents a unique opportunity for the local teams to show their creativity and to sharpen their skills building some of the most relevant business solutions of today. Momentum’s team has expressed the desire not only to explore the existing talent from this region but to work together with HTEC Group on developing people and equipping them with the necessary skills and design-thinking approach.

Established in 2002, Momentum positions itself among the pioneers of UX, CX and product design, working with the clients that range from startups to titans of industry. Over 52% of their startup or technology customers have been acquired creating over $30B of value.

“I am delighted to welcome Momentum into our fast growing team. For a long time, we were looking for the right company in the product design space. In Momentum we found a culture that matches our own—the passion for exceeding customer expectations and delivering excellence. Momentum brings the full suite of business domain knowledge, design prowess, and human-centric approach to creating products that have the power to transform businesses. We, at HTEC, offer world-class engineering. By merging top tech talent from SEE with the Silicon Valley product innovation and design-thinking mindset, we are well positioned to offer complete digital product development and digitization services to the best companies in the world. We will continue to look for companies that share our culture, as part of our broader growth strategy and our plan to reach a unicorn value soon.”—said Aleksandar Cabrilo, the CEO of HTEC Group.


Aleksandar Cabrilo & David Thomson

Momentum’s founder, David Thomson, commented, “We've been meshing technology, empathy and imagination in our pursuit of product value and have been looking for the right partner to help scale our capabilities for several years. As a company who is inventing the possible for our customers, it was important to find a partner that matched our design expertise and customer base with world class technology talent. HTEC’s deep technical knowledge exceeded our expectations and we're excited to join forces to build disruptive products, drive innovation and transform the way business is done from the inside out.

HTEC Group is hiring various technical and design profiles to work remotely from their homes in Slovenia and to develop their skills as well as their leadership potential by growing together with the company.


About HTEC Group

HTEC Group is a technology consulting and development company that provides deep tech engineering, R&D, digital product development and innovation services to the world's top high-tech companies, disruptive startups, corporations and Fortune 500 enterprises. With headquarters in San Francisco and local offices in the US, the UK, the Netherlands, Sweden and Slovenia, as well as 12 tech development centres across SE Europe, HTEC is well-positioned to deliver sophisticated digital solutions across verticals such as Robotics, Manufacturing, Retail, Healthcare, FinTech, Mobility, Green Energy, Transportation, Media and Deep Technology, to name a few.

About Momentum

Momentum is a Silicon Valley design studio headquartered in San Mateo, with offices in New York, London and Sydney. The company offers design thinking-based and technology driven services in digital product innovation, customer experience management, and digital transformation for which it was rated the #1 UX Agency globally on for 5 years in a row. Its customers range from startups to the Fortune 100 companies.

01 Dec 2021, 15:28 PM

STA, 1 December 2021 - The Slovenian conventions and events industry has urged the government to provide emergency aid to the tune of EUR 50 million. Half the companies in the business are at risk of collapse next year, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GZS) said.

Large segments of the industry have been shut down for more than a year. "We did a bit of work in the summer, but then we were shut down again by decree on 5 November," said Dejan Žura of DB Team, a company specialising in light and sound production.

Concerts and other events without seating are currently banned, whereas strict restrictions are in place for events that may still be organised. "The situation is only getting worse," he said.

The sector recorded a 61% decline in revenue in 2021 compared to the year before, and similar results are expected this year. "We urgently need aid. If the government does not heed our calls, at least half of our companies will fold next year," he said.

Events organisers have high fixed costs. They are also grappling with the departure of staff with specialised know-how. Žura projects the total headcount in the industry will have dropped by 30% this year compared to pre-coronavirus levels.

There were three major fairs this year - the trade fair in Celje, agricultural fair in Gornja Radgona and the Nature-Health fair in Ljubljana - but exhibitor and visitor numbers were lower by roughly 60% and 40%, respectively, said Robert Otorepec, the director of Celje Trade Fair organiser Celjski Sejem.

Concert organisers estimate over 1,250 music events were cancelled last year, making for a revenue shortfall of around EUR 110 million. The situation will be even worse this year, according to concert organiser Mitja Prezelj.

The sector estimates they need EUR 50 million in aid in the form of subsidised furlough and short-time work, a universal basic income for the self-employed, and a provision valid through May next year under which they would get 100% compensation for events that are cancelled.

GZS director Aleš Cantarutti expects the government to "give it a serious thought" and amend the latest anti-corona stimulus bill, which is already in parliamentary procedure, with these measures. "I understand that funds are limited... But something must happen."

29 Nov 2021, 12:11 PM

STA, 29 November 2021 - The newspaper Večer writes about the "vicious circle" of soaring prices of residential properties in Slovenia in Monday's commentary, finding that for many home ownership is becoming out of reach.

The piece, headlined Vicious Circle [Rast cen nepremičnin: V začaranem krogu], notes that 94% of residential real estate in Slovenia is in private ownership, and now the question is how to buy a home given the soaring prices.

"After the latest hikes in real estate prices with up to over 8,000 euro (!) per square metre in Ljubljana, it is clear an ever smaller circle of people can afford a property [...]

"We have entered a vicious real estate circle that many do not see a way out of," writes the paper, noting that only this year prices in some locations have risen by 40% compared to 2015 and used flats cost almost as much as new ones.

The paper notes that young people buying their first home or families that would like to move on getting a child are pressed hardest. "If they do not have savings or have won a lottery, buying a roof over your head is all but mission impossible today."

It is no easier renting a flat considering the lack of rental housing. "For non-understandable reasons the state is holding back construction of rental housing that could in the future at least partly mitigate the raging of property market prices."

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