Business

10 May 2022, 13:08 PM

STA 10 May 2022 - Prices of petroleum products increased again on Tuesday after surging on 1 May when the government lifted a 45-day price cap. The prices of regular petrol rose from 6.0 to 6.5 cents per litre, while diesel went up a bit less. Robert Golob, the most likely new PM-elect, has announced his government will re-introduce price regulation.

A litre of regular petrol outside motorways and expressways now costs EUR 1.717 at Petrol and MOL Slovenija filling stations and EUR 1.714 at OMV Slovenija's, which is around 6 cents more than on Monday. The price of regular along motorways is around EUR 1.78 at all three largest providers.

A litre of diesel cost just over EUR 1.85 on Monday outside motorways and expressways, while it is now at EUR 1.862 at Petrol and MOL Slovenija's stations and EUR 1.856 at OMV Slovenija. Along the motorways, diesel costs just over EUR 1.92.

Fuel prices surged when the price regulation was lifted, with regular petrol rising by about 8% and diesel by more than 20% on 1 May.

The Janez Janša government introduced a cap on energy prices in mid-March to mitigate the rising prices of energy on global markets.

When deciding against extending the cap at the end April, it said the markets had stabilised over the past month and a half.

Prices are thus expected to be further rising, especially in case of an embargo on Russian oil.

However, Freedom Movement leader Golob said on Monday the new government would introduce energy price regulation, targetting not just fuel but also other energy sources.

Asked whether prices would be just regulated or also subsidised, he said it was necessary to see what the situation in the world and in neighbouring countries will be.

The Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GZS) meanwhile urged the government "to temporarily regulate prices on the wholesale market and compensates oil traders".

"This would limit the uncontrolled fuel price rises and as a consequence curb the general rise in the prices of services and products," the GZS said in Tuesday's release.

The chamber argues that higher fuel prices have a major impact on the commercial transport sector, rising prices of transport services, which causes a spiral of price hikes in other sectors and making most goods and services more expensive.

A GZS analysis has shown the price of fuel represents as much as 30% of the cost of the price of transport, "which means many transport providers are forced to consider rising the price of transport services to remain profitable".

09 May 2022, 13:50 PM

STA, 9 May 2022 - Slovenian Michelin starred chef Ana Roš will open a restaurant in a luxury coastal resort in Croatia's Savudrija next year, the Croatian newspaper Glas Istre reports. The Petram Resort & Residences, a project by Serbian businessman Miodrag Kostić, is one of the largest investments in the Croatian hospitality sector so far.

"If we sign the agreement, which is 95% certain, we will open the restaurant by June 2023," Roš, whose Hiša Franko in Kobarid boasts two Michelin stars, told the paper.

The Savudrija restaurant will offer a relaxed atmosphere with food based on Istrian ingredients. "It will be a different story, a different approach to gastronomy, a relaxed restaurant for holidaymakers. There will be no 23-course menus but two- or three-course meals. It will still be top-quality, serious food, but in a more relaxed version," she said.

The restaurant will be located by the 105-metre infinity pool of the resort, the second longest infinity pool in the world, offering views of Piran, Trieste and the Dolomites.

The resort will boast 55 luxury villas, 179 suites and 18 apartments.

Roš has been celebrated for years, having been named the World's Best Female Chef by the World's 50 Best Restaurants culinary portal in 2017 and a year later made the Best Chef Awards list of 300 top chefs in the world.

Her Hiša Franko was awarded two Michelin stars in 2020 and has kept them both in the new edition of the Michelin Guide Slovenia.

09 May 2022, 12:20 PM

STA, 9 May 2022 - The Financial Administration has set up a special portal to advertise and auction off properties seized from tax offenders. The first online action will take place on furs.edrazbe.si on 20 May.

The portal features a section listing foreclosed properties that are up for sale and a section where public online auctions are held live in real time.

"Prospective buyers will be able to access information at a single secure gateway. At the same time they will be able to apply for and take part in a public online auction from the same gateway. Bidding will be anonymous," FURS said in a press release on Monday.

They believe such a solution reduces the risk of collusion between potential buyers compared to a traditional public auction, thus making auctions more effective.

The part of the portal where property is advertised for sale is public and can be accessed without registration or identification.

Access to the part where auctions are held is restricted to pre-registered users, who have to register with their electronic identities.

The site is available in several languages – just look for the flag in the top right corner

08 May 2022, 15:18 PM

STA, 7 May 2022 - GEN-I is joining the natural gas suppliers that have already increased prices over the last heating season, announcing a 1 July price hike for "old" clients after raising the price for households and small businesses that switched to GEN-I after 25 February already in winter.

The new price will be EUR 0.060 per kilowatt-hour VAT included, up from EUR 0.032, according to a price list posted on GEN-I's website on Friday. The price without the 22% VAT rate will be EUR 0,049.

This price has already been charged to clients that switched to GEN-I after 25 February, while the existing clients had been guaranteed the old price until the summer.

The clients who signed the contract with GEN-I before 25 February currently pay EUR 0.026 per kWh (VAT excluded), or EUR 0.032 with the tax.

The price will thus be by some 85% higher. But since it accounts for only around 40% of the final bill, bills for clients will be in fact by only around a third higher.

GEN-I said it was regularly monitoring the situation in Europe and the world that impacts the prices of energy products.

While the prices reached historic highs in the second half of 2021, the situation was expected to stabilise after the winter months. However, the war in Ukraine has exacerbated the situation, and therefore "we need to adapt and align our prices to the changes in the purchasing markets", the company said.

Some other suppliers increased natural gas prices for households and small businesses before, with the latest increases coming as of May.

Petrol initially announced new price hikes for April, but postponed them to May, when the heating season practically ends, to soften the blow to its clients.

Its new price is EUR 0.051 per kWh VAT included, up from EUR 0.037.

The government has recently extended for another three months - until the end of July - the regulation reducing excise duties on energy products, including electricity, motor fuels, heating oil and natural gas.

It has, however, decided against extending the cap on regular petrol and diesel, which pushed the retail prices to new highs on 1 May.

06 May 2022, 07:51 AM

STA, 5 May 2022 - As a blanket ban on hydraulic fracturing in Slovenia entered into force on Thursday, the UK investor Ascent Resources, which is still in dispute with the state over the granting of permit to extract gas by means of fracking in Petišovci (NE), said it remained committed to defending its EUR 50 million investment.

"Ascent Resources and its subsidiary Ascent Slovenia have formally notified the Slovenian government of further breaches under the UK-Slovenia bilateral investment treaty and the Energy Charter Treaty," the company said in a press release published on its website.

It added that the government had been notified that the amendments to the mining act that "specifically prohibit holders of mining rights from carrying out the exploration or exploitation of hydrocarbons with the use of any hydraulic stimulation" had caused further considerable harm to its investment in Slovenia.

Ascent Resources said that it remained committed to defending its investment of over EUR 50 million in Slovenia and that it would "vigorously pursue its damages claim through in international arbitration".

It added that it sincerely hoped that an amicable solution to the dispute could be found and following the failure of earlier negotiations with the government, it welcomes any constructive proposals that compensate it for its losses.

Ascent Resources announced it would initiate arbitration proceedings against Slovenia over the dispute in March 2021 after the state had failed to set forward a damages proposal. The company has estimated damage to be in excess of EUR 100 million.

The announcement came after the Slovenian Environment Agency issued a decision that an environmental impact assessment is needed before a permit can be issued for extraction of gas in Petišovci by re-stimulating two currently producing wells as planned by Ascent Resources and its Slovenian partner Geoenergo.

05 May 2022, 13:24 PM

STA, 4 May 2022 - The Slovenian central bank will adjust its macroprudential policy as risks to financial stability stemming from the property market are increasing. It will however give banks more discretion over who they lend money to, while requiring that they increase their capital buffer.              

From July, banks will be able to lend money to customers who are not considered creditworthy under current rules, that is customers who are left with only 76% of the gross minimum wage plus the amount for dependent family members after paying their monthly instalment.

However, banks will be able to opt for this exemption for only up to 10% of their transactions, Primož Dolenc, an adviser at Banka Slovenije, told the press on Wednesday.

Loan contracts for residential housing fully secured by a state guarantee will be exempt from the restrictions on retail lending.

This exemption also applies to loans taken under the law on the housing guarantee scheme for the young, which enters into force tomorrow.

Also from July, the recommended loan-to-value ratio for a second or any subsequent piece of property will be reduced from 80% to 70%.

Nevertheless, the current recommendation that the ratio should not exceed 80% will continue to apply to those who borrow to buy their first home.

To increase the resilience of banks to rising risks related to retail lending and developments in the housing market, banks will have to convert part of their capital they already hold voluntarily into mandatory capital from next year.

Banka Slovenije has given them some time to adjust to this, while it estimates that no bank will need a capital injection to meet the new standard.

The central bank has noted a steep rise in prices of property, which it estimates to be already overpriced, as well as a steep rise in housing loans.

Housing loans to households have increased to 9.1% since the end of 2021, and to 10.2% since February.

While the central bank has adopted these measures to limit the risks the property market could pose to the banking system, it believes the state has to step in to address the situation on the property market comprehensively.

With the softer rules to approve loans, Banka Slovenije also took into account some of the initiatives from banks, which were rather critical of some restrictions introduced in late 2019.

05 May 2022, 10:41 AM

STA, 5 May 2022 - The Financial Administration will disburse one-off aid today to businesses and farmers who have experienced a more than 40% increase in fuel, heating, electricity and other energy costs this year.

The payments, EUR 51.56 million in total to 5,996 beneficiaries, were made on the basis of a bill passed in February as part of an energy relief package meant to mitigate the impact of high energy prices for households and business entities, including agriculture.

The bill stipulates that legal entities or individuals with a business registered in Slovenia by 1 December 2021 whose energy costs will increase by more than 40% in 2022 compared to 2021 are eligible for government aid.

The amount of the aid was capped at 60% of the damage suffered as a consequence of rising energy prices, while restrictions were also imposed on businesses according to their turnover and energy costs as a percentage of operating expenditure.

Beneficiaries had to submit all the necessary information by 15 April. The bill provided for EUR 70 million in aid for up to 40,500 beneficiaries.

The full relief package also included a EUR 106.5 million energy voucher scheme for households. Some 710,000 beneficiaries were eligible for EUR 150 energy vouchers, including recipients of income support and welfare, large families, pensioners with under EUR 1,000 in pensions, the disabled, and some other vulnerable groups.

04 May 2022, 10:46 AM

STA, 4 May 2022 - Slovenians have so far redeemed 76% of tourist vouchers issued in 2020 and 70% of the 2021 vouchers that can be used in a variety of fields. Both types of vouchers are valid until the end of June, with EUR 86 million yet to be spent in tourist facilities and EUR 56 million in tourism, culture, and sport.

Since tourist vouchers were introduced on 19 June 2020 as a form of government aid to the tourism sector due to the pandemic, over 1.6 million beneficiaries or almost 80% have used their vouchers partly or in full by 2 May, data by the Financial Administration show.

Adults received EUR 200 and children EUR 50 to spend at tourist facilities around the country.

In total, EUR 272.64 million or 76% of the amount available has been redeemed.

The 2021 vouchers have so far been used to pay for accommodation as well as cultural and sports services by 1.5 million or 75% of beneficiaries.

Since they were introduced on 16 July 2021, 1.9 million vouchers worth EUR 130.91 million have been partially or fully cashed in.

Adults received EUR 100 and children EUR 50.

About 47% of the vouchers were used to pay for restaurant bills, 34% for tourist accommodation, 12% for cultural events, and the purchase of books and school textbooks, and 7% for sports.

04 May 2022, 10:44 AM

STA, 3 May 2022 - Robert Golob, the presumptive prime minister-designate, has criticised the outgoing government's decision not to extend fuel price administration. Golob, who feels smart regulation would be in order in what he feels is presently a malfunctioning market, suspects a cartel agreement might be behind the very similar price increases in Slovenia.

The leader of the Freedom Movement told the press after coalition talks on Tuesday that by no longer capping the fuels prices, the government was in a way taking revenge for not being given another term by the voters. "This comes to show that all the pre-election carrots had strings attached to them."

While finding that smart regulation would now be the right decision to take, he pointed to the incredibly similar price increases among fuel retailers as price administration was lifted on 1 May.

He said his party's lawyers were taking a closer look at what he suspects could have been price fixing. "If this continues, the Freedom Movement will call on the competition watchdog to take action."

Responding to Golob's statements, Slovenia's largest fuel retailer Petrol said that it independently determined its pricing policy and was not coordinating it with other providers.

In the response for the STA, Petrol pointed to the findings of the Competition Protection Agency in its December report on a survey of the retail fuel market.

"It has established that the purchase price has the greatest impact on the retail price ... that prices after deregulation were not the same in all providers," the company said.

Petrol added that the regulator had also found that the system for announcing and changing prices in Slovenia through the goriva.si app enables providers to quickly adjust their prices.

Fuel prices in Slovenia surged on Sunday, with regular petrol going up by about 8% and diesel by more than 20%.

Data reported by petrol stations showed regular petrol cost between EUR 1,617 and EUR 1,619 per litre depending on provider, up to EUR 1,628 along motorways. Until Saturday, it was capped at EUR 1,503.

Diesel is priced at between EUR 1,817 and EUR 1,824 at major providers Petrol and OMV, and even higher at some smaller petrol stations, EUR 1,876, while it cost EUR 1,514 on Saturday.

Prices were capped in mid-March in a bid to mitigate the surging prices of energy on global markets. Last Friday, the government said the measure would not be extended since the markets had stabilised.

The reduced excise duties, which are part of measures to mitigate the impact of the energy price hike on the population and businesses, meanwhile remain in place until 31 July.

01 May 2022, 14:35 PM

STA, 1 May 2022 - Fuel prices in Slovenia surged on Sunday after the government decided to end price administration. Regular petrol is about 8% more expensive than yesterday, with diesel up by more than 20%.

Data reported by petrol stations show regular petrol costs between EUR 1,617 and EUR 1,619 per litre depending on provider, up to EUR 1,628 along motorways. Until yesterday it was capped at EUR 1,503.

Diesel is priced at between EUR 1,817 and EUR 1,824 at major providers Petrol and OMV, and even higher at some smaller petrol stations, EUR 1,876. Yesterday it cost 1,514.

Prices were capped in mid-March in a bid to mitigate the surging prices of energy on global markets. On Friday, the government said the measure would not be extended since the markets had stabilised.

The announcement late on Friday that price administration will not be extended resulted in long queues at petrol stations around the country yesterday as people rushed to fill up, many showing up with additional canisters to stock up.

Many service stations ran out of diesel during the day.

30 Apr 2022, 08:39 AM

30 April Last Day of Cap on Petrol, Diesel Prices

STA, 29 April 2022 - The government has decided not the extend the cap on the price of regular petrol and diesel introduced in March, saying on Friday that the petroleum products market had stabilised. This means the price, both retail and wholesale, will be freely formed on the market again as of 1 May.

The government responded on 14 March to the rising prices of petroleum products by setting maximum retail prices at service stations at EUR 1.503 for a litre of regular petrol and at 1.541 for diesel.

On 31 March, it also capped the wholesale price. Wholesalers have been allowed to charge EUR 1.483 per litre of petrol and EUR 1.521 per litre of diesel, a price the government said provided a margin that would make it possible for small retailers to secure fuel supplies.

The Economy Ministry said today that the goal of protecting consumers had been achieved and that the market had stabilised in the meantime, with Slovenia currently experiencing no disruptions or instability in the supply of motor fuels.

Although the market will be determining the prices again, the ministry expects prices to remain within the EU and eurozone average.

On the other hand, the government did extend by three months on Thursday reduced excise duties on energy products, including electricity, heating oil and natural gas, in addition to motor fuels.

The reduced excise duties, which are part of measures to mitigate the impact of the energy price hike on the population and businesses, will thus remain in force until 31 July.

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