STA, 7 June 2022 - The Slovenian business diaspora now has a digital hub, sloglobal.net, at its disposal. The platform will serve as a one-stop shop for all the information needed for successful business and networking for Slovenians on a global scale, the Slovenian Global Business Network said on Tuesday.
"The search for business contacts and connections has already gone digital, but the time of searching for business news on one portal, finding business contacts on another and again looking for business cooperation opportunities on a third is over," the press release says.
"People in the business world don't even have time for that, so they can often miss out on a potential new business connection, contact, news or event," the network added.
The SLO Global platform, organised by the Slovenian Global Business Network with the support of the Office for Slovenians Abroad, the Foreign Ministry and the Slovenian Embassy in Brasilia, is focused exclusively on facilitating business ties between Slovenians who live and do business abroad and would like to connect with other Slovenian businesspeople and companies around the world or in Slovenia.
This new digital tool enables people to search and/or offer products, services and business opportunities around the world, and includes a directory of Slovenian economic institutions, representative offices, associations, chambers and business clubs around the world.
In addition, it provides up-to-date business news, information on business events in Slovenia and around the world, as well as successful business stories.
The platform is largely open to the public, but to access business opportunities or to search for and offer products or services, a (legal) person has to log in to the system or become a member. Membership will be free in the starting months. https://sloglobal.net/
STA, 31 May 2022 - The company Nova Obzorja, which publishes weekly Demokracija and web portal Škandal24.si, has a new majority owner. The two-third majority share has been transferred from Hungarian company R-Post-R to NovaTV24.si, the company running the Nova24TV news television channel.
According to data by AJPES, the agency for public legal records, the Hungarian company owned by businessman Peter Schatz, one of the key players in Hungarian PM Viktor Orban's media expansion in the Balkans, is no longer the owner of 65.85% of Nova Obzorja.
As of 25 May, the new majority owner is NovaTV24.si, while the remaining 30.14% is still owned by the Democratic Party (SDS) and 4% by SDS MP Dejan Kaloh.
But based on the share register and other sources, media reported in recent years that three of NovaTV24.si's largest owners were Hungarian companies associated with Orban and his Fidesz party, which has recently been strengthening its rule in Hungary and spreading its influence in the region.
Reportedly, three largest owners of NovaTV24.si are asset management company Hespereia, financial holding Okeanis and media publisher Ridikul, each owning a 29.3% share. The remaining 12.1% are owned by small shareholders, many of whom are prominent SDS members and people associated with the party.
Hespereia also owns 73% of media company Nova Hiša, the company running web portal Nova24TV. The remaining 27% is owned by small shareholders, many of whom are again prominent SDS members and people associated with the party.
Nova Hiša ownership has remained unchanged for now, and there has also been no reports of ownership changes at NovaTV24.si.
According to unofficial information by portal Necenzurirano, the ownership changes are part of preparations for the sale of the entire media empire associated with the SDS and withdrawal of the Hungarian capital.
The Hungarian financing of these media outlets has been the subject of parliamentary inquiries in recent years while media reported before the start of the term of the outgoing Janez Janša government that the issue was also being investigated by the National Bureau of Investigation.
STA, 31 May - Slovenia's annual inflation hit 8.1% in May, the highest rate since 2002, on the back of soaring fuel and food prices, the latest Statistics Office figures show. The monthly rate stood at 2%.
Liquid fuels were almost 43% more expensive than a year ago, contributing 1.9 percentage points to the headline rate. Food prices, having risen by more than 11%, added another 1.7 points.
Prices in other principal groups rose as well, most notably housing (+10.5%) and cars (+11.1%), respectively contributing 0.8 and 0.6 percentage points to the inflation rate.
The only major segments where prices went down were electricity, which was 15.8% cheaper, and telephone services, which were down 6.3%. Combined, they reduced headline inflation by almost a full percentage point.
At the monthly level inflation stood at 2%, largely due to prices of oil derivatives, clothing, footwear and food. Electricity, natural gas, heating and holidays were more expensive as well.
The harmonised index of consumer prices, an EU benchmark, rose by 8.7% at the annual level.
In its monthly report on the economic situation in Slovenia, the central bank said the effect of the Russian military aggression in Ukraine and the related sanctions on the Slovenian economy has been limited. "The shock is mainly reflected in high energy and raw material price hikes, which additionally power inflation through rising import prices," Banka Slovenije said.
STA, 31 May 2020 - The upper Vipava Valley had been looking at an exceptional harvest of cherries this year, but the plans of local fruit growers were thwarted by the strong bora wind, which virtually swept away the ripened cherries, also tearing down branches and young cherry trees.
Fruit growers in the area in western Slovenia had it the worst on Saturday and Sunday, but they nevertheless expect that the unripened cherries will recover from the bora attack and fully develop.
"The damage is immense. As for the ripe cherries, the bora swept them across the ground and destroyed them," Bogdan Slokar, a fruit grower from Lokavec near Ajdovščina, has told the STA.
"We hope that the cherries that are still ripening will recover," said Slokar, who assessed that the bora has destroyed about 80% of the ripe cherries in the area.
Marta Koruza of the counselling service of the local agricultural and forestry chamber said that the "bora did what we had feared the most - extensive damage to cherries that were fully ripening".
She noted that the cherries were dented and as such were not appropriate for sale, which was a great loss for the growers.
The strong wind has also done some damage to cherries in exposed areas in the hilly Goriška Brda area north-west of Nova Gorica. Local growers hope that the late varieties will be able to ripen normally.
The disaster comes right before the Cherry Festival is to be held in the upper Vipava Valley and Goriška Brda over the upcoming weekend.
STA, 30 May 2022 - A 45-year-old Koper man wanted in Slovenia since 2015 for swindling the NLB bank out of more than half a million euro has been arrested in Rijeka, Croatia, and is now awaiting extradition to Slovenia, a Croatian news portal has reported.
The Croatian police confirmed the man's arrest last week, explaining the person had been wanted on an international arrest warrant since 2015 on suspicion of committing corporate crime.
The news portal telegram.hr, which first reported about the arrest, identified the man as Aleš Semolič of Koper.
Semolič is suspected of fraud whereby he cheated NLB bank out of EUR 569,741 in collusion with four other suspects.
One of the most wanted Slovenians on the run, he was reportedly last spotted in the areas of Ljubljana and Croatia's Rovinj in 2015.
STA, 28 May 2022 - As economies recover post-Covid, taxes on wages went up last year in two-thirds of countries of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), including Slovenia.
In Slovenia, the tax rate on a monthly wage of an individual without children reached 43.6%, while the EU average is 34.6%. Slovenia thus ranked sixth among 38 countries, up two spots from the year before. The list is topped by Belgium with a 52.6% share, while Columbia had zero rate.
The share of taxes and contributions in monthly wages of citizens without children went up in 24 of 38 countries, decreased in 12 countries and was flat in two. In Slovenia, it went up by 0.5 percentage points.
Families with two children and only one employed person in 27 countries saw the tax rate increase. In ten countries, the tax rate deceased and was level in one. In Slovenia, it was at 29.5%, while the OECD average was 24.6%.
STA, 20 May 2022 - The energy group Petrol reported on Friday that its sales revenue in the first quarter of the year more than doubled year-on-year to EUR 1.94 billion, while net profit was up by 17% to EUR 32.4 million. The rise is largely attributed to the incorporation of the Croatian fuel retailer Crodux into the group.
In the first quarter of the year, the group's adjusted gross profit amounted to EUR 162.2 million, an increase of 18% year-on-year, Petrol said in a press release as it issued the quarterly report.
Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) amounted to EUR 65.6 million, or 21% more year-on-year, mostly due to the incorporation of Crodux and good results in electricity trading.
In the EBITDA structure, 37% was represented by fuels and fuel products, 13% by merchandise and services, 47% by energy and solutions and 3% by other revenue.
In the first three months of the year, the group sold 906,400 tonnes of fuels and fuel products, a year-on-year increase of 41%.
As a result of the incorporation of Crodux, the share of sales in Slovenia in the structure of fuels and fuel product sales decreased, whereas the share of sales in the South-east Europe markets increased.
Petrol said that in line with the law instructing the government to reimburse losses as a result of fuel price caps, the company had submitted a claim to the government amounting to EUR 51.3 million for the period from 15 March and 30 April.
The Economy Ministry responded to this, noting that the law gave the government this option not obligation. In line with it, the government "can determine an appropriate reimbursement", it said.
The government will decide on this reimbursement based on the standards and criteria yet to be adopted, the ministry explained.
Fuel retailers have been sending its estimates of the damage at their own initiative but "these estimates do not count as official claims, as legal requirements for them have not been met yet", the ministry said.
The Petrol group generated EUR 101.5 million in sales of merchandise and services, which is a drop of 21% year-on-year, with the main reason being the national motorway company DARS switching to an electronic tolling system.
The group also sold 5.7 TWh of natural gas, 2.9 TWh of electricity and 83.7 thousand MWh of heating energy in the first quarter of the year. Investments at the group level amounted to EUR 8.2 million in the first three months of the year.
At the end of March, the group had 6,162 employees, 593 service stations and 323 electric vehicle charging stations, including 318 service stations in Slovenia, 202 in Croatia, 42 in Bosnia-Herzegovina, 16 in Serbia and 15 in Montenegro.
"The group has performed successfully in the challenging business situation caused by the energy crisis and the situation in Ukraine," the report says, adding that the management had properly responded to recent developments.
It notes that the group does not have subsidiaries or representation offices in Ukraine, Russia and Belarus, and that the share of revenue generated in these markets is negligible, as is the purchase of energy, except for natural gas.
Russia as a source of supply of diesel and extra light heating oil represented 7% of the purchase portfolio in this segment in 2021 and this year, while Petrol does not import petrol from Russia.
The main risk this year is the negative effects of the energy crisis on inflation and, consequently, on growth of the costs of living and management of operating costs.
Last year, Petrol generated EUR 4.96 billion in sales revenue and posted a net profit of EUR 124.5 million at the group level. It plans to generate EUR 5.9 billion in sales revenue and EUR 158.3 million in net profit this year.
STA, 18 May 2022 - The Slovenian property market saw a record year in 2021 in terms of increase in prices and the number of transactions involving land for residential buildings, with the commercial property market also being revived. The Surveying and Mapping Authority (Geodetska uprava) has reported more than 37,000 transactions worth a total of EUR 2.9 billion.
The number of transactions in apartments and houses increased by about 20% last year compared to 2020 and was higher than the figure for the pre-epidemic year 2019.
The increase mainly owes to the record sales of houses, caused by the growing demand for houses outside urban centres, shows the report by the Surveying and Mapping Authority on the Slovenian property market for 2021.
Last year, the market for land for residential construction "virtually exploded", the report says, noting that compared to 2020, the number of transactions in land for houses and multi-apartment buildings was up by approximately 45%.
In the tourist centres in the Slovenian Alps, the number was up by more than 80%, in the southern suburbs of Ljubljana by about two-thirds, in Ljubljana and Celje by about 60% and in Maribor by about 45%.
According to the report, the record number of land transactions is expected to be followed by an accelerated expansion of housing construction, which has in the last three years been notable in the capital, but also in other parts of the country.
Prices of apartments in multi-apartment buildings increased by 15% last year, while prices of houses were up by 13%. Land for construction of residential buildings was meanwhile 12% more expensive than in 2020.
The growth in prices of residential property is the result of excess demand, with the supply of new buildings gradually catching up, the reports says.
The high demand for residential property for own use, and especially as an investment, is still being largely driven by low interest rates and accessibility of loans, and, more recently, by the growing fears of increased inflation.
Putting additional pressure on the property prices is the high growth of construction costs due to the global rise in energy prices and building materials due to the Covid-19 pandemic and, as of recently, the war in Ukraine.
The report notes that, considering the prices and the volume of new construction in Ljubljana, a peak of the property cycle is near, as the market supply will exceed demand that could be backed by solvency and sales will be slowing down.
A general decline in demand for residential property could also be triggered by a rise in interest rates that is expected in the near future, while a turnaround in the price trend is not expected until supply exceeds demand.
The report notes that the number of transactions with commercial property increased by approximately 30% last year, but the number was nevertheless still some 10% lower than in the pre-Covid year 2019.
A PDF of the full report, in Slovene, can be found here
STA, 17 May 2022 - The Bank Assets Management Company (BAMC) announced it had sold its outright stake in footwear maker Alpina to K&H, a Czech company that is part of the Franco de Poisd'eau & CIE group, for an as yet undisclosed amount.
The buyer has been picked not just because it submitted the best financial offer but also because of a thorough development strategy, BAMC said on Tuesday.
The new owner has already presented its plans to the management and workers as it announced that it will focus on restructuring improvements in production and sales, and the development of the Alpina brand.
"Alpina is an established and sought-after brand, as evident from great demand by potential buyers. The new owner has recognised this potential and has bold development plans," BAMC chairman Franci Matoz was quoted as saying.
Franco group owner František Pivoda added that Alpina was purchased because it was a strong and high-quality brand that has a strong position, especially in the sports segment.
"We're convinced that the purchase has great potential for growth," he said, adding that the brand would remain unchanged but its identity would be upgraded.
"We are confident that under the new leadership, numerous opportunities will open for the Alpina group, opportunities that a brand as renowned as Alpina deserves," said Alpina supervisory board president Sebastian Cafuta.
Jure Krivina, the chair of Alpina's works council, said the first impressions were good and the covenants provided by the representatives of K&H show they understand Alpina's role as a traditional brand and local employer.
The purchase price has not been revealed but earlier media reports indicate K&H offered EUR 20 million, well above the EUR 17 million offered by Slovenian sports goods maker Elan.
Alpina generated EUR 44.7 million in revenue 2021 while posting a loss of EUR 0.9 million, considerably lower than the 4 million recorded in 2020.
The bad bank took a majority stake in Alpina in 2015, whereupon it converted nearly EUR 20 million in debt to equity and secured loans totalling EUR 24 million.
Alpina is best known for winter footwear and is a major global producer of shoes for cross-country running. It also owns the stylish Peko brand.
STA, 16 May 2022 - Slovenia met 53% of its energy needs with domestic energy sources last year, which makes an improvement of two percentage points compared with 2020, Statistics Office data shows. The country depended fully on imports for petroleum products.
Total amount of domestic energy sources last year was 3.3 million tonnes of oil equivalent (TOE), which is 9% less than in 2020.
The country's total primary energy supply was 6.4 million TOE, up by 0.2% from 2020.
Petroleum products represented 31% of the energy supplied, followed by nuclear energy (23%), renewable energy sources, including hydro energy (19%), coal (15%) and natural gas (12%).
STA, 16 May 2022 - Slovenia's economy expanded at an annual nominal rate of 9.8% in the first quarter of this year driven by household spending and capital expenditure. The seasonally adjusted rate was 9.6%. At the quarterly level GDP was up by 0.8%, a significant slowdown compared to the 5.3% recorded in the previous quarter, the Statistics Office said on Monday.
Domestic consumption increased by 16.6% year-on-year with household expenditure up by 20% as the main driver of growth. Gross fixed capital formation increased by 12.7%. Changes of inventories had a positive impact on GDP growth as well.
External trade, for years the main engine of growth, has exerted a negative impact on GDP since the start of the pandemic due to surging imports and the trend remained unchanged in the first quarter.
With imports up by 15.7% and exports increasing by only 7.7% year-on-year, the contribution of external trade balance to GDP growth was negative again, shaving 5.6 percentage points off GDP growth.
Total value added increased by 9.3% over the first quarter of 2021. Trade, transport, and accommodation and food service activities grew by 21.8% and contributed the most to the structure of total value added. Construction increased by 16.7%.
Services continued to grow strong in the first quarter, while manufacturing growth slowed for the third consecutive quarter but remained positive, at 3.9%. Net taxes contributed significantly to GDP growth as they grew by 13.2% over the same period last year.
The payrolls total rose by 3.3% to 1,073,000 persons. The bulk of the new jobs were created in accommodation and food service activities, manufacturing, and construction.