26 Nov 2021, 14:20 PM

STA, 26 November - Financial Administration officers have discovered 11 tonnes of lose tobacco hidden inside 75 foil wrapped cardboard boxes in a lorry with Slovenian license plates in what is a record such bust.

The Financial Administration (FURS) hit upon the illegal cargo on Tuesday as its staff inspected a lorry operated by two foreign nationals who were without an employment contract.

FURS said the damage to the national budget should the cargo be sold on the black market would be at least EUR 1.8 million.

In a jocular post on its Twitter profile FURS said someone had a mishap with their Black Friday 'shopping'. They also said that there would be no auction as the confiscated goods would be destroyed.

On inspecting the lorry carrying the undeclared goods, FURS officers established as many as ten violations of various legal provisions.

26 Nov 2021, 12:04 PM

STA, 26 November - Cetis, a printing group specialising in secure documents, will produce new temporary and permanent residence permit cards and residence registration certificates for foreigners in Slovenia. The agreement, signed on Thursday by Interior Minister Aleš Hojs and Cetis director Roman Žnidarič, is worth almost EUR 16 million.

Cetis has been commissioned for the design, production, storage, personalisation and delivery of the new documents for the next ten years. The contract is worth EUR 15,704,900 (incl. VAT), with one million cards expected to be produced during this period.

The new second-generation residence permit cards and residence registration certificates are expected to start being issued in the beginning of 2022, said the Interior Ministry's press release.

They explained that residence permits for third-country nationals are already being issued as biometric documents in a uniform format in all EU member states, and new documents will be upgraded with additional security features to prevent forgery.

The new uniform format will also be used to issue documents for EU and Swiss citizens and for family members of EU citizens, Slovenians and Swiss citizens residing in Slovenia. However, the EU and Swiss citizens' cards will not include biometric data.

In early November, the Interior Ministry also signed a framework agreement with Cetis for the production of biometric identity cards for Slovenian citizens. The first ones are expected to be issued at the end of March 2022.

25 Nov 2021, 14:16 PM

STA, 25 November 2021 - The 100 wealthiest Slovenians are worth a combined EUR 7.1 billion, which is a record amount and almost a quarter or EUR 1.3 billion more than a year ago. There are no changes on the top, with the assets of Iza Sia Login and Samo Login being almost double of that of the second-placed couple of Sandi Češko and Livija Dolanc.

The largest increase in the assets of the 100 richest Slovenians after 2008 is a result of higher estimates at stock markets, which are the basis for the estimate of net worth, the business newspaper Finance said on Thursday.

In addition, the increase is also a consequence of good operation, deleveraging, larger financial cushions and, in some cases, successful takeovers, shows Manager, a special edition of the newspaper.

The entry point for the top 100 increased from last year's EUR 20.9 million to EUR 27.7 million, and more than a quarter of the people from last year's list is no longer in the top 100 company.

There are ten newcomers and 17 persons who are back on the list, Finance says, noting that sector-wise, the companies owned by the 100 wealthiest Slovenians are rather diverse, with the IT sector recording a rise in recent years.

The companies on the list largely have a good standing on the market and are more resilient to shocks than the average Slovenian company, which is why the aggravated economic conditions do not reflect on their bottom line.

Standing firmly on the top of the list are Iza Sia and Samo Login, the spouses who are privately separated but continue to work together, which is why they are treated as one entity on the list.

The value of their assets, estimated at EUR 689 million, is their share of the purchase money for the app developer Outfit7 and the dividends they received from the company while they were the majority owners.

The second-placed Sandi Češko and Livija Dolanc are worth an estimated EUR 355 million, with the bulk of their assets being the proceeds from their 55% stake in the omni-channel retailer Studio Moderna.

The Šešok family, the owners of the electronics group Iskra, made the biggest leap as their worth increased by EUR 150 million in the past year to EUR 270 million, to earn the third spot on the list.

The spouses Vesna and Dari Južna, the owners of the Perspektiva holding company, made it to the top 10 with a 73% growth of their estimated assets. This is mostly due to deleveraging and growth of the market value of the energy company Petrol.

Finance says that the most interesting newcomer is basketball player Luka Dončić, whose worth is estimated at EUR 29.4 million this year after the NBA star signed a five-year US$207 million contract with the Dallas Mavericks.

Top 10 wealthiest Slovenians according to Manager magazine

1  Samo and Iza Sia Login     EUR 689m (+0%)
   ex-owners of app developer Outfit7

2  Sandi Češko, Livija Dolanc EUR 355m (+3%)
   ex-owners of omni-channel retailer Studio Moderna

3  Šešok family               EUR 120m (+38%)
   owners of electronics group Iskra

4  Marko Pistotnik            EUR 210m (+ 0%)
   ex-owner of app developer Outfit7

5  Lah family                 EUR 209m (+27%)
   financial investors

6  Dari and Vesna Južna       EUR 202m (+73%)
   owners of holding company Perspektiva

7  Joc Pečečnik               EUR 199m   (-)
   owner of gaming company Elektronček

8  Damian Merlak              EUR 183m (+24%)
   ex-owner of cryptocurrency exchange Bitstamp

9  Igor Akrapovič             EUR 174m (+25%)
   owner of exhaust maker Akrapovič

10 Tone Strnad                EUR 142m (+21%)
   owner of pharmaceutical company Medis
24 Nov 2021, 14:32 PM

STA, 24 November 2021 - During the past two weeks of heightened inspection, the Market Inspectorate has temporarily shut down nine shops and gas stations due to failures to check the Covid pass, bringing the total of such cases so far to 15.

In 19 cases, the inspectorate found failures to observe mask-wearing and implement the recovered-vaccinated-tested (PCT) rule among staff, said Slovenia's chief market inspector Martina Gašperlin, adding that such cases were a minority.

In the past two weeks, inspections were carried out at 1,200 venues, including some 260 over both weekends, with most of them being shops.

Minor irregularities were found in 265 cases, resulting in 183 warnings requiring the operators to remedy the situation. "It is important for us to give a warning and if things are remedied, that is fine by us," Gašperlin told Wednesday's Covid briefing.

In some cases, the infractions were not remedied despite a warning, so the inspectorate issued 20 fines, totalling just over EUR 83,200.

"The most frequent cases were that the taxable persons did not check the PCT condition, including twelve such cases at gas stations, three in clothing shops and five in other types of shops," she said.

In nine cases, the inspectors deemed that the irregularities posed such a risk to public health and people's lives that they imposed a temporary closure of the facility until the situation is remedied.

A total of 15 such decisions have been issued in the course of the enhanced supervision so far, mainly in cases where customers' Covid passes were not being checked, Gašperlin said, adding that in recent weeks adherence to the rules had improved.

18 Nov 2021, 11:44 AM

STA, 18 November 2021 - Drug maker Krka reported a group net profit of EUR 240.1 million for the first nine months of 2021, a year-on-year increase of 14% and the highest nine-month profit in the company's history, on the back of revenue that increased by 1% to EUR 1.18 billion.

Profit before income tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) was down by 8% to EUR 352.7 million, whereas pre-tax profit (EBIT) increased by 12% to EUR 271.3 million, shows the company's interim report released on Thursday.

Sales rose across all markets except Western Europe, where they declined by 13% due to fewer product launches and decreased use of medicines decreased due the COVID-19 pandemic.

In its key markets, in Central and Eastern Europe, sales rose by 4% and 5%, respectively. Sales in its largest single market, Russia, were flat in euro terms but rose by 14% in roubles.

Broken down by product category, sales of prescription drugs remained flat across the group, whereas sales of over-the-counter drugs rose by 8% and animal health products grew by 16%.

The group allocated EUR 45.3 million to investments in the first nine months of 2021, slightly less than in the same period last year, whereas overall R&D spending rose by 1% to EUR 113 million.

Chief executive Jože Colarič said the January-September figures were in accordance with expectations.

"We recorded the highest sales and net profit in the first nine months since incorporation. We maintained profitability at a high level and obtained marketing authorisations for 11 new products," he was quoted as saying.

The company's priorities remain to ensure sales growth, achieve higher-than-average sales growth in terms of market dynamics, and place among the leading branded generic pharmaceutical companies on individual markets and in selected therapeutic classes, he said.

05 Nov 2021, 10:48 AM

STA, 5 November 2021 - Mimovrste, Slovenia's largest online retailer, has been acquired by Polish shopping platform Allegro. The latter bought Mall Group, which owns Mimovrste and WE/DO, from PPF, EC Investments and Rockaway Capital on Thursday. The deal is worth EUR 881 million, with an adjustment of EUR 44 million for debt and other items.

Mimovrste said in a press release that the planned merger of Allegro, Mall Group and WE|DO would strengthen its status of a leading online market place and a platform for buyers and retailers in Central and Eastern Europe.

In Poland, Slovenia and other countries of Central and Eastern Europe, the merged group of 135,000 retailers will operate under the principle "publish once - sell everywhere", which means it will have access to a EUR 250 billion retail market with 70 million people.

Mimovrste is confident that the deal will also improve the shopping experience for its 18-million member base in the region.

The Mimovrste team currently consists of 7,200 staff members sharing a "joint culture", which focusses on consumers and innovation, and the merger opens new career options for the team in an international working environment, the company said.

The transaction, which still needs to be approved by regulators, is to be concluded in the second half of 2020.

Allegro is the most popular Polish online e-commerce platform and the biggest retailer of non-food products in Poland. It has been listed among the ten best e-commerce platforms in the world and it ranks among the 100 most visited sites in the world.

03 Nov 2021, 15:08 PM

STA, 3 November 2021 - The Slovenian pavilion at the Expo show in Dubai attracted more than 120,000 visitors in the first month since the opening, which SPIRIT Slovenija, the agency in charge of the country's Expo showcase, sees as a very successful start of the project.

In a press release, SPIRIT said that impressions were overly positive with the visitors rating Slovenia's leafy pavilion with an average score of 8.2.

SPIRIT director Tomaž Kostanjevec said the first month had shown that Slovenia's decision to appear at the world's fair in Dubai was a right one and that "both the visitors to the pavilion and Slovenian companies are very satisfied with the presentation".

The focus in the Slovenian pavilion in October was on circular economy and space technologies with the first two major business delegations hosted by the pavilion linked to those areas.

Slovenia also ranked prominently during the EU's Honour Day at Expo and two events in the Women's Pavilion, one promoting equal opportunities in the space economy and one focusing on career advancement.

On 1 November, the Slovenian pavilion hosted an event on smart villages.

This month the pavilion will showcase Ljubljana, following a presentation of Maribor.

It will welcome another two business delegations, one linked to smart villages and one to smart factories and materials. Both will host an international business forum.

Jure Leskovec, a Slovenian scientist from Stanford University, will give a lecture at the Slovenian pavilion in late November.

Lean more at the expo website

27 Oct 2021, 09:16 AM

STA, 26 October - EKWB, a Komenda-based company developing and producing components for water cooling systems for custom-made high-performance computers, is this year's winner of the Golden Gazelle Award for the best fast-growing company presented by the publisher Dnevnik.

The 2021 Golden Gazelle statue was handed to EKWB director Edvard König by President Borut Pahor at a ceremony in the National Gallery in Ljubljana on Tuesday.

The award jury said that the "development of EKWB from a hobby-driven start-up into a high-quality international company is from textbooks."

It has been launched into the orbit of the best by the mixture of knowledge entrepreneurship and shared values of two exceptional individuals, engineer Edvard König and economist Matjaž Krč," it added.

The fastest-growing company of the Central Slovenia region is a global leader in its segment, numbering more than 200 employees. It generates 99% of its revenue internationally, as it sells its products to a total of 139 countries.

Last year, EKWB generated EUR 38.5 million in revenue and EUR 82,364 in added value per employee, which is almost double the national average.

"I'm very proud that the award jury recognised us as one of the drivers of development of our country. What led us here? It was simply our passion to innovation, something better, to testing boundaries and, of course, hard work," König said.

President Pahor thanked Dnevnik for launching twenty years ago the project that was "entrepreneurial initiative from the aspect of Dnevnik and an incentive for further work for the award winners."

He added that the entire community also benefited from the awards, thanking the award winners "for making sure that we are able to establish on the 30th anniversary of our independence that we have a healthy economy."

Learn more about EKWB

27 Oct 2021, 08:44 AM

STA, 27 October 2021 - Slovenian households made record savings last year, but their debt has not changed significantly compared to 2019, the Statistics Office said ahead of World Savings Day on 31 October. Meanwhile, household savings have strengthened in all European countries.

The household savings rate in Slovenia - defined as the share of gross savings in gross disposable income - was at a record high of 22.6% last year. The long-term average from 2008 to 2020 stood at 13.4%.

According to the latest available Eurostat data, households in Slovenia thus ranked third among the EU member states observed in terms of their savings rate last year. The highest rate was recorded in the Netherlands (24%) and the lowest in Slovakia (10.9%).

Household consumption was down everywhere in the EU except Slovakia last year, and the most pronounced decline was recorded in Spain (-12%). Statisticians mainly attributed this to the difficulty of spending during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The stronger decline in consumption and the continued growth in gross disposable income were therefore reflected in increased household savings, which was increased in all European countries monitored in 2020.

Household savings increased most markedly in Luxembourg (+9.5 percentage points) and Slovenia (+8.9), and least markedly in Hungary (-0.3) and Slovakia (-0.8).

The value of household net financial assets in Slovenia - defined as the difference between assets and liabilities - was at an all-time high of EUR 48.2 billion (102.8% of GDP) at the end of 2020. Compared to 2019, it increased by EUR 5.2 billion (+12%).

Household financial assets (cash, deposits, shares and other) stood at EUR 63 billion (134.3% of GDP) at the end of last year, up EUR 5.2 billion (9%) on the previous year thanks to strong household savings.

The structure of Slovenian households' financial assets did not change significantly during the pandemic in comparison to previous years.

Deposits and cash continued to account for the largest share (49.3%), followed by shares and other equity (29.9%), insurance and pension schemes (13.1%), debt securities and other receivables (5.6%) and loans (2.2%).

This structure of financial assets reveals that households in Slovenia remain conservative and risk-averse in their choice of savings. The share of riskier investments remains relatively low, the Statistics Office explained.

Household financial liabilities, such as loans, amounted to EUR 14.8 billion (31.5% of GDP) at the end of last year. Their growth stagnated compared to the previous year, with long-term loans in particular increasing at a much lower rate than in the previous three years.

Household debt in Slovenia, measured as the ratio of financial liabilities from loans to disposable income, decreased by 1.4 percentage points to an average of 43%, the Statistics Office announced.

26 Oct 2021, 12:53 PM

STA, 26 October 2021 - Slovenia ranks 26th among 134 countries in the latest Global Talent Competitiveness Index (GTCI) for 2021, after ranking 31st among 132 countries last year in this extensive annual report compiled by French business school INSEAD, Swiss staffing company Adecco and tech giant Google.

The GTCI ranks countries in an overall ranking and according to ratings in six "pillars": Enable, Attract, Grow, Retain, Vocational and Technical Skills, and Global Knowledge Skills, with each pillar containing multiple sub-categories.

Slovenia's best result was in the Vocational and Technical Skills pillar, ranking 16th and jumping up from last year's 27th place. Meanwhile, the poorest result was achieved in attracting talent, ranking 54th and falling down from 49th last year.

However, Slovenia was ranked among the top 30 countries in the world in all the other pillars.

The place at the very top was retained by Switzerland, ranked among the top five in all categories. Second place was taken by Singapore, followed by the United States, Denmark and Sweden.

The top 20 rankings are primarily dominated by EU member states and English-speaking countries like Australia (11), the UK (12) and Canada (13), rounded off by Japan in 20th place.

Slovenia ranked 26th overall, tucked in between the Czech Republic (24), the United Arab Emirates (25), South Korea (27) and Portugal (28).


screenshot from the report

The GTCI ranking also includes a list of the most attractive cities for talent. San Francisco, Geneva and Boston rounded out the top three, while Ljubljana was ranked 61st out of 155 cities this year, up from 79th last year.

You can see the full report here

26 Oct 2021, 11:49 AM

STA, 26 October 2021 - The country's largest beer maker Pivovarna Laško Union will no longer make beer in Ljubljana. It has decided to move the production to Laško due to an outdated cooling system at the Ljubljana facility. It is not clear yet how this will affect staff. The packaging and logistics activities will continue at the Pivovarna Union facility in the capital.

The decision on the move was based on a security assessment of the 35-year-old cooling system at Pivovarna Union, which showed that the system was no longer appropriate for use and could pose a significant security risk in the future, Pivovarna Laško Union says on its website.

Thus, the part of production linked to the cooling system needs to be suspended. "As a result, the brewing and fermentation of Union beer will be transferred to our brewery in Laško, where we expect production to start no later than January 2022," the company said.

The change will not affect the product portfolio or the Union trade mark.

Packaging and logistics will still be conducted at the Ljubljana facilities. There will also be no changes to the production of non-alcoholic beverages and water, or the management, the Pivnica Union bar or the Union Experience museum.

"The transfer of part of the brewery's production to Laško will enable our further growth and development, as the existing location in the city centre of Ljubljana currently limits this," the beer maker added.

While it is not clear how the move of the part of production will affect employees, Pivovarna Laško Union asserted that the affected staff "will be treated with due respect".

According to the company's head of communication, Alenka Rozman, 145 people are currently employed at the supply chain of the Ljubljana brewery, 18 of whom in brewing and fermentation, which is being moved to Laško.

But she said it was too early to say how many will be affected by the move. "We will look into all the possibilities to limit those effects - such as transfer to other units, possibly even to Laško, or potential early retirements."

The head of the in-house trade union, Andreja Sojer, said the employees were disappointed at the decision to move part of the production and expected layoffs, but could not say yet how many.

"As you will have heard it's due to a security risk, which would require an investment. It's up to the owner to opt for investment or not. In this case they did not opt for one. The employees are extremely disappointed," said Sojer.

The company said earlier it wanted to preserve as many members of the staff as possible to "make sure consumers still get the iconic Union beer made by the same recipe that they have been used to all these years".

In Ljubljana, a centre for innovation and a small city brewery will be set up to serve as a centre for development, testing and tasting of new Union beers and an upgrade of the Union Experience.

Pivovarna Laško Union is part of the Heineken group. The Dutch company acquired the Slovenian brewery in 2016.

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