13 Jul 2022, 09:02 AM

STA, 12 July 2022 - The Ministry of Economic Development and Technology has decided to allocate a total of EUR 69.14 million to 20 projects of development and restructuring of ski resorts into all-year mountain centres and construction of additional or renovation of the existing accommodation facilities.

The ministry will allocate EUR 63.42 million in subsidies for the restructuring of ski resorts as part of ten projects and EUR 5.71 million for additional accommodation capacities in the mountain centres as part of another ten projects.

Ksenija Flegar, the head of the Tourism Directorate at the ministry, told the press on Tuesday that the projects would result in more than 500 new beds for tourists and more than 200 beds in upgraded facilities with a higher rating.

Minister Matjaž Han noted that the ministry had managed to secure additional funds in collaboration with the Government Office for Development and European Cohesion Policy and the Infrastructure Ministry.

Funds will be provided for all projects that had been initially positively evaluated, Han said, adding that an additional EUR 20.3 million had been added to the originally planned amount of EUR 48.8 million.

One of the two ski resorts that have not been selected is Kanin, the highest ski resort in Slovenia, with Han noting that the project by the municipality of Bovec for a circular cabin cable car had failed to meet all the criteria.

The minister said that he had invited representatives of the ski resort operator and the municipality to a meeting to find possibilities to co-fund the project from other funds.

Development and European Cohesion Policy Minister Aleksander Jevšek said that many projects would perhaps not be finalised by the end of 2023 due to the rising costs of the works that had already been approved and are under way.

"We have addressed this issue to the European Commission and in the coming days we will talk about how to resolve this situation," he said.

12 Jul 2022, 11:05 AM

STA, 11 July 2022 - Slovenian gas consumers have been urged to use natural gas with care as a precautionary measure as the Energy Agency declared an early warning level on Monday to notify the public of potential disruption to supply in the future in case of reduced supplies of natural gas from Russia.

In a press release posted on its website, the agency says that gas supplies to Slovenia and supply to consumers are currently undisrupted.

The agency monitors gas supplies along the routes affecting the supply in Slovenia, including supplies via the Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline.

The agency warns of potential future disruption in the event of lower gas flows from Russia. It does not know at this point whether or to what extent disruption would occur.

Commenting on the measure, Infrastructure Minister Bojan Kumer said it was but "an early-warning or awareness-raising phase", while gas supplies to Slovenia continued undisrupted.

"The security of natural gas supply is at the same level as last year, the supply is based on pre-agreed contracts and we don't expect any problems in the short term," he said.

Kumer noted that this early-warning phase had already been launched by roughly ten EU countries, including all of Slovenia's neighbours. "The idea is to get prepared for the heating season, that those who can - from industrial to commercial consumers - get ready on time for certain alternatives."

Geoplin, the gas wholesaler, said the agency's measure was "prompted by situation in European gas markets in connection to supplies from Russia".

The company has been facing reduced gas supplies from Russia with further reductions since maintenance started on Nord Stream 1, but has been offsetting losses of that gas with alternative purchases and use of storage facilities.

Geoplin would not say how much supplies from Russia have been reduced, but the newspaper Finance reported in mid-June that Slovenia received up to a quarter less gas. Due to low consumption in summer the supply has not been affected but the storage facilities that Slovenia leases in Austria and Croatia are not being replenished as quickly.

The company said supplies in Slovenia continued undisrupted. "Geoplin provides natural gas to customers in accordance with the volumes specified in the contracts, and will continue to do so in the future."

The Energy Agency today notified industrial gas consumers that if a higher level of crisis is declared, supply may be interrupted or they may be required to switch to alternative energy sources.

They were thus urged to monitor regularly the developments on the natural gas market and to consider alternative options that would contribute to reducing their consumption in case of disruptions.

The agency will notify the public and stakeholders on potential changes in the security of natural gas supply without delay.

Such notification is foreseen in the national act on the natural gas contingency plan, which entered into force in the summer of 2020. Following the model of such protocols in other EU member states, it foresees a three-step approach.

The first phase involves checking volumes, informing customers of possible supply disruptions and calling on industrial consumers to use gas more rationally.

Phase 2 would see suppliers call on their contract customers who are in a position to do so to voluntarily break off their gas supplies. Large customers would be urged to reduce their consumption to the minimum. Industrial consumers and electricity producers who have such an option would be recommended to switch to an alternative energy source.

In phase 3, which applies to emergency situations, suppliers break off the contracts that can be broken off and order industrial consumers and electricity producers to switch to an alternative energy source. At the same time, gas supplies are rationed.

Last year's total consumption of natural gas in Slovenia increased by 6% to 10,163 GWh in what was the highest total consumption since 2010, Energy Agency data shows.

The total consumption increased with all gas consumers. Households and non-households together used up more than 10% more gas. While households' consumption - which accounts for about a third of total consumption - was up by almost 12%, non-household users consumed over 9% more gas than in 2020.

11 Jul 2022, 12:25 PM

STA, 11 July 2022 - VonPharma, a maker of food supplements, plans to open a manufacturing plant in Velenje. The company's CEO Tadej Von Horvath and Velenje Mayor Peter Dermol signed on Monday a purchase agreement for 14,580 square metres of land in a commercial zone, a project that the company says could create over 1,000 new jobs.

The first phase of the project will see a new administration building and a new manufacturing complex built by 2023. The EUR 15-20 million investment is expected to create 150-300 jobs, according to Von Horvath.

By 2024 the company hopes to open a new logistics centre and build a facility to produce skin care product, a project valued at EUR 15 to 30 million that could create between 500 and 700 new jobs.

The company has already submitted a request for a state subsidy for the logistics centre.

They chose to place the new complex in Velenje due to its strategic position and focus on entrepreneurship, Von Horvath added.

VonPharma focuses on natural food supplements. Last year, they generated EUR 1.2 million in revenue, with a net profit of EUR 43,000.

Velenje Mayor Peter Dermol said that the commercial zone offered plenty of opportunities for job creation, and that he is glad that VonPharma and the municipality have managed to reach an agreement.

06 Jul 2022, 10:41 AM

STA, 6 July 2022 - After an ownership change at a company publishing the right-wing weekly Demokracija, the news portal Necenzurirano reports that three Hungarian owners have sold their stake in, the company running TV channel NovaTV24, to the channel’s director who is also a long-term member of the Democrats (SDS).

Hungarian businessman Peter Schatz sold a majority stake in Nova Obzorja, the company issuing Demokracija, to in late May, and he has now also withdrawn from

According to Necenzurirano, Schatz and fellow Hungarian businessmen Agnes Adamik and Adam Gabor Nemeth sold just over 45% of the shares in to Boris Tomašič, director of NovaTV24 and a long-term member of the SDS, now an opposition party. He is also the host of the controversial show Who Lies to You.

The Ministry of Culture has confirmed for Necenzurirano that it has given its clearance for the change of ownership of just over 45% of shares.

The portal says that it is not clear how much Tomašič paid for the shares, which in 2017 were worth nearly a million euros.

Rumours about Hungarians withdrawing as owners from surfaced just after the 24 April general election in Slovenia, in which the SDS-led coalition government was voted out.

Necenzurirano writes that the deal between Tomašič and the three businessmen, who it says are close to Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, was agreed in mid-May.

The portal notes that the Hungarians offloaded their stakes in at a time when the new ruling coalition has filed for a parliamentary inquiry into the financing of party media, mainly from Hungary. Just days ago, parliament endorsed the decision to open the inquiry, appointing former TV Slovenija journalist Mojca Šetinc Pašek, now an MP for the Freedom Movement, as inquiry head.

05 Jul 2022, 09:49 AM

STA, 5 July 2022 - A survey by the Chamber of Commerce of Slovenia (GZS) sees more than a quarter of the surveyed companies assessing that the raising prices of energy, raw materials and services are threatening their existence. The GZS has demanded immediate action from the state.

The survey conducted in June among more than 60 companies, 80% of which are industrial companies, sees their biggest challenges in the need to increase prices of products, and in lower operating profit and competitiveness and a drop in market share.

The companies surveyed have on average purchased 62% of their electricity needs for this year and slightly more than half (52%) of their natural gas needs. This share drops to around 19% for 2023, and to 8% (electricity) and 12 (natural gas) for 2024.

On average, the companies reported a 166% increase in energy costs in the first five months of the year compared to the same period last year.

The share of energy costs in sales revenue increased on average by 4.7 percentage points during this period, with the companies estimating that the increase in energy costs at the end of the year compared to 2021 will be even higher.

Users in energy-intensive industries (production of paper, glass, steel, aluminium, chemical companies) noticed an increase in energy costs in sales revenue already last year, by an average of 1.7 percentage points.

The rise in 2022 is even more obvious, as it amounts to 7.2 percentage points, the GZS noted on Monday as it presented the survey.

At the same time, the surveyed companies reported on average a 47% increase in costs of raw materials from January to May this year compared to the same period last year.

The price of natural gas increased the most (by 560%), followed by acetic acid (+320%), anthracite (+277%), steel (+73%), aluminium (+63%), cellulose (+52%).

The GZS has established on the basis of the survey that on average, the prices of strategic raw materials increased even more than all raw material costs combined, by about 10 percentage points.

In addition, most of the surveyed companies report longer delivery times, higher prices than expected and planned, and delivery delays.

"These are strong arguments for the government to act immediately," GZS director general Aleš Cantarutti commented on the survey, while welcoming the measures taken so far to stem the growth of prices of motor fuels and the announced aid for farmers.

"At the same time, we expect that the government will also present a set of measures to alleviate the rise in energy prices for households and businesses by the end of the week," he was further quoted in the chamber's press release.

30 Jun 2022, 17:17 PM

STA, 30 June 2022 - The SDTS, the retail workers' union, said on Thursday that disgruntlement is growing in the sector in the face of stagnating wages despite ever growing profits. "There have been open demands for a strike," it said.

Addressing the press in Ljubljana, SDTS secretary general Ladi Rožič said the union had tested the sentiments with a petition. "We started with retailer Engrotuš and will continue with all major retail companies."

Tina Podbevšek of the Cedra centre for social research added that 640 signatures had been collected in two weeks and that membership of the Tuš Slovenija trade union associated with Engrotuš had grown by 50%.

Several demands have been addressed to employers, foremost among them a raising of the basic wage that the union insists must not be lower than the statutory minimum wage.

Also demanded are full travel costs, a holiday allowance of at least EUR 1,500 without the inclusion of coupons, an end to understaffing practices, and consistent adherence to collective bargaining agreements.

Rožič stressed that in 2021, 90,347 people worked in the sector that more than doubled its net profit from the preceding year to EUR 1.3 billion.

"Salas revenue grew by 25.1% at the annual level or by 5.1% when excluding motor fuels. Turnover grow, profits grew, while wages remain the same," he said.

He added the workforce was becoming smaller each year even though new shops were opening all the time.

Andraž Mali, also from Cedra, said that the focus on profit was built on pressure on suppliers and workers.

"The diving forces here are in particular the retail chains Lidl and Hofer, which are based on low prices and very high labour intensity that is a result of systemic understaffing. Other, more traditional chains in Slovenia, are increasingly following this trend," he explained.

The currently valid collective bargaining agreement envisages a basic pay of EUR 640,71 gross for sales assistants, which Rožič labelled as absurd even if employers are made to pay extra to met the legally prescribed EUR 1,074 minimum.

30 Jun 2022, 14:19 PM

STA, 30 June 2022 - Slovenia's annual inflation rate accelerated to 10.4% in June, up 2.3 percentage points from May, driven by rising prices of petroleum products, food and electricity, the Statistics Office said on Thursday. The monthly rate stood at 2.7%, an increase of 0.7 percentage points on the back of higher prices of electricity, vacation packages and food.

The annual inflation in June is the highest since 10.7% were recorded in July 1996. The last time annual inflation exceeded 10% was in September 1997, when it stood at 10.1%, while 10.3% were recorded in August 1996.

Higher prices of electricity, natural gas and other fuels contributed the most to the June rise on the annual level - 2.1 percentage points - with gas rising by 49.4%, heating by 43.6% and electricity by 29.4%.

This was followed by higher prices of petroleum products and food, which pushed inflation up by 1.9 percentage points. Prices of liquid fuels rose by 54.6%, and prices of fuels and lubricants for cars grew by 34.5%.

In the food segment, where prices went up by 12.8% year-on-year, bread and cereal products (16.2%) and meat (12.9%) recorded the biggest price hikes.

Meanwhile, the annual rate of inflation was moderated by 0.2 percentage points by cheaper services in the communications segment, where prices fell by 5.3%.

Measured with the harmonised index of consumer prices, an EU benchmark, Slovenia's annual inflation in June ran at 10.8%, which compares to 8.7% in May and 1.7% in June 2021, and the monthly rate stood at 2.3%.

The Statistics Office noted the jump came after inflation had been kept at bay in the first half of the year as a result of a lowering of excise duties on petroleum products, energy and cigarettes.

27 Jun 2022, 11:48 AM

STA, 27 June 2022 - The sports equipment manufacturer Elan is making a comeback to the cycling market after 15 years, having announced the production of mountain bikes and trekking bicycles for men, women and children.

Announcing the news, the company said that the collection would be available to the broadest range of users, as these would be products that do not require professional knowledge, but only "a lot of good will and joy towards sport."

The new products will be available in the Hervis shops, in Elan's sports shop in Begunje na Gorenjskem and online.

The company will also develop test centres in the region, where selected products will be available for testing. "The line of products will be gradually expanded in the coming years," it said.

"Cycling enthusiasts will be able to spend the summer months outdoors even more actively now with Elan products," Elan Group vice-president Leon Korošec was quoted in the press release.

23 Jun 2022, 16:30 PM

STA, 23 June 2022 - The government has confirmed higher reimbursement of commuting costs as one of the ways to mitigate the impact of high energy prices on household expenditure.

For travel to and from work, workers will get 21 cents per kilometre, up from 18 at present. For official company trips, the rate rises from 37 to 43 cents per kilometre from the start of July, according to a decision adopted by the government on Thursday.

These rates are untaxed. Companies can cover higher commuting costs for workers, but any payments above these levels are taxed as income and rarely used.

The Finance Ministry has described the changes as an "urgent, complementary and temporary measure" taken due to surging fuel costs.

23 Jun 2022, 08:53 AM

STA, 22 June 2022 - The cereals sales commission will propose to the government to purchase all wheat Slovenian farmers will harvest this year, and then sell it on to millers during the year. Slovenian farmers will grow 100,000 tonnes of wheat suitable for food in 2022, the commission's head Franc Küčan said after its Wednesday session in Ljutomer.

There are also foreign buyers interested in Slovenian wheat, but Küčan said that "farmers would like to sell Slovenian wheat to Slovenian millers".

This is why they call on all Slovenian buyers to enter talks with cooperatives to discuss the conditions, quality parameters and contracts.

For farmers not to sell below cost, a tonne of the lowest quality wheat should be at least EUR 330 and a tonne of best wheat EUR 410, the commission agreed.

"If the buyers, that is millers, and the government do not follow our price proposals, and if foreign buyers appear who are willing to pay more, farmers will also follow the principles of the single European market and free movement of goods and we will sell to whoever is more favourable," Küčan said.

Data shows there will be less wheat in Europe than initially expected this year. The amount and quality will be average everywhere, including Slovenia, Küčan said. These forecasts are based on the first results of the barley harvest, which has a lower yield and not exceptionally high quality.

The commission consists of representatives of wheat growers, the Farmers' Trade Union, the Chamber of Agriculture and Forestry and the Slovenian Cooperatives Association.

It met to analyse the situation in the European countries that have been hit by drought, which has promoted these countries to rush with harvesting. Wheat harvest is in Slovenia expected to start around 5 July. Wheat markets around the globe have been additionally hit this year by the war in Ukraine and the rising energy prices.

22 Jun 2022, 10:04 AM

STA, 21 June 2022 - Investment in digital advertising is on the rise in Slovenia and will see a 15% growth in this year. On average, an advertiser will invest EUR 546,000 in this type of advertising, shows a survey by pollsters iPROM and Valicon on the attitude of Slovenian companies towards digital advertising in 2022.

The most funds, 31% of total investment or around EUR 170,000 per advertiser, is allocated for display advertising. Last year EUR 137,000 was invested in this type of ads.

About 20% of resources goes for advertising on social media and 15% for search engine marketing. E-mail marketing is not as popular (10%).

Display advertisement and social media marketing are used by nearly 70% of advertisers, while almost half will use search engine marketing and e-mail marketing.

The budget for ad buying per advertiser increased by 14% to EUR 425,000 this year.

The increased investment into digital marketing is present in all sectors, with the strongest growth recorded in tourism, and health and beauty. The average investment in the latter category will be just under EUR 1.3 million.

Almost half of the advertisers are increasing their advertising budget and only 12% are lowering it.

iPROM and Valicon conducted the survey between January and April among 194 Slovenian trend setters in the advertisement sector.

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