Business

02 Aug 2020, 12:26 PM

STA, 2 August 2020 - Sunday shopping will again resemble the pre-corona times as all major retailers in Slovenia are to be open this Sunday. After Mercator, Tuš, Hofer and Eurospin decided to reopen last Sunday, today shoppers can also flock to Spar, Lidl, Leclerc and Jager.

Shopping centres operated by SES will also reopen today, including the Ljubljana Citypark, Aleja and Vič shopping centres, Celje Citycenter and Maribor Europark.

Sunday shopping returns after the government revoked a temporary ban on Sunday shopping last week, a measure that was put in place in the earliest stages of the coronavirus epidemic.

The Sunday shopping ban was reversed effective last Friday, with the decision coming just a week after legislation that would permanently close shops on Sunday stalled in parliament.

The government has withheld its support for the bill, which remains in parliamentary procedure, and suggested retailers and trade unions try and reach an agreement.

30 Jul 2020, 09:44 AM

STA, 30 July 2020 – The group around the drug maker Krka generated EUR 803.8 million in sales revenue in the first half of the year, a 6% increase compared to the same period in 2019, while gaining EUR 160.3 million in net profit, up 15% year-on-year, the company said in a press release on Thursday.

After the half-year report was discussed by the Krka supervisory board on Wednesday, the management issued a statement today saying that "the Krka Group performed well in the first half of the business year, and reached record results."

"Despite the coronavirus pandemic outbreak, Krka has kept the supply of medicinal products to markets across the world uninterrupted," said CEO Jože Colarič.

The release adds that the Novo Mesto-based group entered the second half of the year in a sound financial condition, and the plan for the entire 2020 is to generate operating income of EUR 1.52 billion, and to increase net profit to EUR 210 million.

"Development of the coronavirus situation, spreading of the disease, its aftermaths, and the related measures of the affected nations are highly uncertain. We are therefore closely monitoring the situation and adapting accordingly in countries where we operate."

29 Jul 2020, 11:54 AM

STA, 29 July 2020 - Alfi, a Slovenian equity fund, has acquired over 80% of the debt owed by Tuš, one of the largest grocers in Slovenia, which it will convert into equity, the newspaper Delo reports.

The paper, which has obtained confirmation on the acquisition of the last block of claims against Tuš from Alfi, says a framework restructuring agreement to deleverage the grocer is to be signed this week.

About 10% of the claims against the grocer are held by British fund Anacap, Alfi's rival in the acquisition of the debt, and the rest by small creditors.

Delo says the latest transaction will step up Tuš's financial repair as the terms will be set by Alfi. The paper has learnt that the delaveraging is to be swift.

The plan is for the financial creditors to be allowed to convert debt into equity, which would give Alfi an ownership stake of 75% in Tuš, with the Tuš founder, Mirko Tuš, preserving 15-20%.

Another step in Tuš's restructuring is to be selling and then taking out a lease on its properties.

Mirko Tuš last year handed the company's management over to his son Andraž.

At the end of 2019, preventive restructuring was launched for the group, whose main line of business is retail with entertainment, recreation, hospitality and real estate as side lines of.

In 2018 the group fell from third to fourth place among Slovenia's largest grocers.

Since first Tuš shop was opened 30 years ago, the company developed into a group with 100 stores with more than 3,100 employees,  but became heavily indebted during the last financial crisis.

28 Jul 2020, 10:20 AM

STA, 27 July 2020 - The Covid-19 pandemic has impacted Slovenian companies much more unequally than the latest recession in 2009. While 58% of companies have had negative effects, 17% of them had positive effects, according to a survey carried out by the Slovenian Marketing Association and the pollster Valicon.

In the autumn of 2009, 79% of the companies which participated in the recent survey had reported about negative effects of the global economic crisis in a poll carried out by the Marketing Association at the time.

Back then, positive effects were felt by 6% of the participating companies, the association said, adding that "compared to the 2009 crisis, when companies mostly did not detect positive effects of the economic crisis, a larger asymmetry is noticeable now."

Also implying that the pandemic has not affected all companies equally is the fact that only 41% of the polled companies think that they will be affected by the pandemic equally as other companies in their industry.

"In 2009, 63% of companies assessed that they will be affected to the same extent as other companies in the industry," the association said on Monday.

More than half (56%) of the recently polled companies plan to keep the marketing activity at the same level after the epidemic), 21% plan to scale back their marketing and 24% to boost it.

Almost three-quarters of the companies (71%) intend to keep the funds intended for marketing at the same level in 2021, the association said, noting that during the 2009 crisis, it was marketing budgets that had gotten the most restricted.

Among the planned marketing activities, more investment is expected in the opening of digital sales channels (62%), introducing new business models (50%), apps and web interfaces (47%) and advertising on social media (46%).

Marketing Association president Petra Čadež commented on the survey by saying that despite the negative effects of the pandemic, a positive shift in the strategic understanding of marketing in companies could be detected.

"It could be noticed that some companies have found new opportunities within the given situation and adjusted their strategies," she added.

Matjaž Robinšak of Valicon said that the time was most probably coming when marketing would have to adapt several times. "Constant search for new models and looking for new opportunities will be the key for success," he added.

The Marketing Monitor 2020 survey was carried out in June on a sample of 64 members of the Marketing Association.

27 Jul 2020, 09:31 AM

STA, 26 July 2020 - One of the Slovenian companies that has benefited from the coronavirus pandemic is Tik Kobarid, a manufacturer of disposable medical devices. Its sales revenue trumped projections by 9% in the first half of the year, which comes on top of continuous growth in recent years.

Tik generated EUR 6.5 million in sales revenue last year, 6% more than the year before and 28% more than five years ago, with exports accounting for 86% of the revenue, shows the company's report for 2019, filed with the AJPES agency for public legal records.

The positive drive continues. "At these 'odd times' we're proud to say our performance in the first half of the year trumped the expectations," the company's CEO Petra Borovinšek said, adding that she expected better-than expected results for the whole year.

Tik Kobarid was founded in 1951 as a manufacturer of sewing machine needles. A few years later, it started making hypodermic needles and by the late 1970s in had begun to expand production to several other disposable medical devices and tools.

The company went through a difficult patch after the breakup of the former Yugoslavia, its traditional market. In late 1997 it was acquired by the Cerkno-based company Certa, now Larix Invest, whose majority ownership has since passed to Postojnska Jama, the company owned by Marjan Batagelj which operates the Postojna Cave and several other tourism assets.

Tik has recently launched a new clean room to expand cleanroom production capacity to more than 40% of the output or a total of 1,500 square meters. Also this month, an additional catheter wetting unit has been launched to wrap up a two-year investment cycle in the urology line valued at EUR 2 million.

The company, which employs 159 people, phased out production of non-medical productions completely by March 2019 to focus solely on disposable medical devices. Its clients are mainly medical equipment distributors from Europe, as well as those from Turkey and the Balkans. Catheters represent 76% of the sales revenue.

26 Jul 2020, 10:23 AM

STA, 25 July 2020 - Kickstarter will be officially launched in Slovenia in September, as so far users which wanted to present themselves on the US-based global crowdfunding platform had to do it through a company registered abroad.

The platform established in 2009 provides entrepreneurs, artists and organisations the opportunity to present their products, which may be a prototype, and then collect contributions to finance the launch of production.

According to the Slovenia Crowdfunding Meetup community, the Slovenian partner of Kickstarter, more than EUR 4.32 billion has been collected through the platform, and around 185,000 projects have reached the target amount of funding.

Among the projects presented until the end of last year, there were 219 Slovenian projects, with their creators collecting a total of EUR 6.8 million.

In order to present their projects, they needed a company registered in the US or in a country to where Kickstarter later expanded.

In practice, the problem was usually solved by Slovenian authors using a foreign partner, explained Slovenia Crowdfunding Meetup, which has been hosting events and assisting authors who want to present themselves on the platform since 2017.

The main obstacle for the entry of Kickstarter to Slovenia was the Stripe payment system, which has been available in Slovenia since last September.

The most successful Slovenian campaign on the platform so far is the electric bicycle Flykly, which helped its creators collect around US$700,000.

23 Jul 2020, 16:49 PM

STA, 23 July 2020 - The Slovenian government revoked a temporary ban on Sunday shopping that had been put in place during the earliest stages of the epidemic in mid-March. It said shops were now free to set their opening hours as they see fit.

The decision, adopted at the government session on Thursday as part of amendments to a decree that limits the sale of goods and services to consumers, comes just a week after legislation that would permanently close shops on Sunday stalled in parliament.

The legislation had been tabled by the Left and appeared to be slated for passage, but last-minute amendments made it impossible to pass the bill outright so it had to be sent into third reading.

The government had initially indicated it might end Sunday shopping for good, but then appears to have changed course.

The Sunday shopping ban has been wholeheartedly endorsed by trade unions, but retailers warned it could lead to massive layoffs and permanent shop closures.

23 Jul 2020, 13:54 PM

STA, 23 July 2020 - Telekom Slovenije has started setting up the country's first commercial 5G networks using its existing base stations and within the existing 2600MHz frequency spectrum used in 4G. The company says that coverage will initially be provided in about 25% of the country but is expected to exceed 33% by the end of the year.

The national telecommunications operator said in a press conference on Thursday that the upgraded 4G/5G network will allow for data transfer speeds faster than provided by the LTE/4G network. However, the full potential of 5G will become available only after additional parts of the spectrum are awarded, it added.

So far, Telekom has upgraded 150 base stations, which covers about a fourth of the country. But as upgrades continues, the company expects coverage to exceed 33% by the end of this year. It will also soon start selling mobile phones with 4G/5G capabilities.

Listing the advantages of 5G networks, the company pointed to considerably higher download and upload speeds and connectivity of a large number of devices, allowing the development of smart industries and smart cities and communities, among other things.

Telekom plans to build the 5G networks in the form of campus networks, a concept allowing multiple virtual networks divided by purpose operating on the same physical infrastructure.

The company also said the setting up of the 5G networks is being conducted in complete compliance with the law, adding that Slovenia's environmental impact legislation was among the strictest in the world.

"The measuring of potential effects on the environment is conducted by independent expert institutions that have been licensed by the Environment Agency. The measurements of the upgraded base stations show that they are safe and far below limit values," Telekom said.

21 Jul 2020, 12:33 PM

STA, 21 July 2020 - Prime Minister Janez Janša has described decisions on the EU's own resources as one of the biggest achievements of the latest marathon summit of the bloc's leaders. In his view digital tax will likely make the biggest potential own resource of the EU.

Janša made the comments after the summit agreed a pandemic recovery package comprising the bloc's next seven-year budget to the tune of EUR 1.074 trillion and a EUR 750 billion recovery fund, of which EUR 390 billion will be in grants and the rest in loans.

Related: Janša Pleased With Results of EU Budget Talks

To allow the European Commission to borrow in the markets to finance the recovery, the headroom - the difference between the own resources ceiling of the long-term budget and the actual spending - has been temporarily increased by 0.6 percentage points.

This pandemic debt, and grants, will have to be repaid, with EU leaders committing to do so by the end of 2058. The increase in the own resources ceiling will now need to be ratified by the national parliaments.

To make the repayment of that debt easier, EU leaders also committed today to work toward reforming the system of own resources in the coming years by introducing new own resources such as a non-recycled plastic tax, to be introduced next year.

The European Commission will also propose a mechanism to tax carbon-intensive industrial imports from third countries, and a digital levy, plus an overhaul of the emissions trading system to expand it to the aviation and maritime industries.

"The subsidies will have to be repaid. One of the major shifts is those few words about own EU resources, because in seven years' time when we negotiate the next budget this will be the key," Janša said, singling out digital tax as likely the biggest potential own resource.

The coronavirus crisis has substantially increased the profits of digital giants, having accelerated a change in lifestyle, the profits that will at least double over the next five years, Janša said, adding that while profits are being generated everywhere, levies are not collected in the EU. "It's as if cars were being refuelled without any excise duty charged."

Janša also emphasized that no single member state could tackle the digital tax and only the EU was big and strong enough to negotiate a global deal for the benefit of all. "When it comes to big giants even the countries they come from have no serious oversight of the profits that are up to trebling in record time."

The Slovenian prime minister noted that he had talked with OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurria, pointing to the efforts for a deal on digital tax within the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

Janša said taking such decisions was not problematic for the Slovenian parliament. Tax on emissions and plastic would be a problem for the countries that have included the resources in their national tax policies.

Although out of the spotlights, the headway on own EU resources is in Janša's view key from the aspect of agreements on all future financial instruments of the EU.

19 Jul 2020, 17:32 PM

STA, 19 July 2020 - The financial position of Slovenian households keeps improving since assets growth continues to exceed debt. At the end of the first quarter in 2020, the surplus of assets over debt increased by EUR 2 billion year-on-year to EUR 41.9 billion, show central bank data.

At the end of the first quarter, Slovenia's households had assets of EUR 56.5 billion, up by EUR 2.5 billion year-on-year. Deposits increased by EUR 1.6 billion to EUR 22.9 billion, 90% of them were made at domestic banks and 72% of them were sight deposits.

In the same period, liabilities grew by EUR 427 million to EUR 14.6 billion. Loans, increasing by EUR 483 million, accounted for the bulk of the liabilities (EUR 12.9 billion) and were mostly arranged at banks (85%).

The finances of companies or non-financial corporations improved as well at the end of the first quarter. The deficit of assets over debt decreased by EUR 775 million year-on-year to EUR 38.9 billion.

Companies had assets of EUR 49 billion, a EUR 683 million increase year-on-year. Liabilities meanwhile stood at EUR 87.9 billion.

More statistics about Slovenia

15 Jul 2020, 13:30 PM

STA, 15 July 2020 - The average gross earnings in May amounted to EUR 1,892.31, down by 2.3% on April nominally and by 3.2% in real terms. The average net wage was EUR 1,244.44, a 1.7% and 2.6% decrease respectively on April, show data released by the Statistics Office on Wednesday.

Year-on-year, average gross earnings increased, in nominal terms by 9.5% and in real terms by 10.8%. The increase was largely the result of temporary stimulus measures related to the Covid-19 epidemic, which were also in place in April.

Compared to April, average gross earnings in May decreased in both sectors, in the private sector by 2.5% and in the public sector by 2.2%. In the institutional sector general government they decreased by 1.9%.

The highest average gross earnings for May were paid in electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply (EUR 2,589.33).

Compared to gross earnings for April, average gross earnings for May increased the most in public administration and defence, compulsory social security (by 7.0%) and decreased the most in accommodation and food service activities (by 8.0%).

If average gross earnings for May were calculated by the number of persons in paid employment on the basis of paid hours and not on the basis of the number of persons in paid employment, they would be higher than gross earnings for April in public administration and defence, compulsory social security by 4.8% and in accommodation and food service activities by 1.0%.

More detailed data can be found here

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