Business

24 Aug 2019, 19:09 PM

Tesla has announced on Twitter that buyers in Poland, Hungary, Romania and Slovenia. The rear-wheel drive “standard range plus” with a “partial premium interior” costs €39,000, while the dual motor all-wheel drive “performance” model with a “premium interior” is €52,900. You can play with ordering a model here, and the estimated delivery time is early 2020.

23 Aug 2019, 15:30 PM

STA, 23 August 2019 - The Koper port placed 80th on this year's list of 900 best connected container ports in the world, published by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (Unctad). The port has been listed the highest among all Adriatic Sea container ports since the first such ranking in 2006.

The first place went to the Shanghai port, while the port of Antwerp was the best in Europe, having been placed 6th in the world.

The Unctad ranks ports according to their liner shipping connectivity index, which takes into account the number and frequency rate of their connections with other ports as well as average and maximum vessel sizes.

The higher the index, the easier it is to access a high-capacity global maritime freight transport system and thus effectively participate in international trade.

"The greater the number of destinations and the higher the frequency of connections, the more options clients have in selecting the most optimal logistics solution," said Luka Koper, the operator of Slovenia's sole maritime port.

The Adriatic transport route has been making a name for itself in the past decade, with four north-Adriatic ports transshipping a total of 1.12 million container units in 2009. Last year, the figure rose to 2.47 million, said the operator.

The maritime transport world has acknowledged the advantages of southern European ports, including in servicing middle-European markets.

According to the Unctad's list, the port of Koper is on par with northern-Adriatic ports in terms of their connections, but the Slovenian port surpasses its neighbouring ports when it comes to the number of container units each vessel transships on average.

The Koper port has a 40% share of all container transport in north Adriatic Sea and is the biggest terminal in the region. Luka Koper expects to reach a record number of a million container units transshipped this year.

More details on Unctad’s list can be found here

23 Aug 2019, 12:34 PM

STA, 23 August 2019 - A higher court has upheld a ruling under which Abanka has to fully refund two clients whose subordinated debt was wiped out as part of the December 2013 national bank bailout, interest included.

The Celje District Court's ruling from June 2018 has thus become final, so it must be implemented even if Abanka appeals at the Supreme Court, several media outlets reported on Friday.

The clients who took Slovenia's No. 3 bank to court in 2017 are two well-known lawyers from Celje. In 2007, Igor and Marija Karlovšek bought junior securities to the tune of EUR 1.1 million, the Siol news portal reported.

The spouses claimed in the suit that Banka Celje, which merged with Abanka in 2015, had failed to properly inform them about the risks involved.

The courts argued Banka Celje should have told them they could lose the money even if the bank does not go bankrupt.

Ever since 2001, the option of erasing subordinated bondholders if the central bank orders measures to reorganise the bank has been part of Slovenian legislation, Siol said, citing the latest ruling.

The portal also quoted the ruling in saying that when buying the subordinated debt, the plaintiffs "justifiably assumed they had bought ordinary, not subordinated bonds".

Siol reported that the Karlovšeks, who declined to comment on the ruling for the portal, had already received the money back, unofficially around EUR 2 million.

Abanka was ordered to pay them the principal plus interest, yet not since the day of the erasure, but since the day of the purchase.

The Karlovšeks were one of the the biggest individual owners of erased subordinated debt and are among the eight plaintiffs who have turned to the European Court of Human Rights for justice, according to Siol.

Abanka declined to comment on the latest ruling for the newspaper Delo. But the Higher Court confirmed a proposal for review had been filed in the case, with a decision still pending.

Delo speculated the proposal may well have come from Abanka, which said it would protect its interests and which had appealed against the first-instance court ruling.

Last year, Delo reported the ruling handed down by the Celje District Court was the first in cases brought against Slovenian banks after the junior debt erasure.

In 2013 and 2014, Slovenia bailed out its major banks with billions of euro in taxpayer money, but also with a bail-in involving subordinated debt of private investors.

Following years of efforts by the erased holders of subordinated debt, the government drafted a bill designed to provide them with legal recourse after it was ordered to do so by the Constitutional Court.

After almost 80 amendments were filed to improve it, the bill got stuck at second reading in parliament last June.

22 Aug 2019, 15:02 PM

STA, 22 August 2019 - The EU Cohesion Fund is to contribute EUR 101 million for the renovation of the 16-kilometre rail section between Maribor and Šentilj on the border without Austria, the European Commission confirmed on Thursday. The entire upgrade is valued at EUR 254 million.

The Commission wrote it had taken into account the projected increase in traffic on the Baltic-Adriatic corridor that the section is a part of. The upgrade, which will also have positive economic effects, will increase the daily capacity of the section from 67 to 84 trains.

The renovation will also increase safety and Transport Commissioner Violeta Bulc expressed the "hope this will convince people to leave their car home an opt for a greener transport option".

Contractors for some of segments of the project have already been picked and some of the works are already nearing completion, while the deadlines for the renovation of two rail stations on the route and for the construction of noise barriers are set in 2020 and the end of 2021 respectively.

The Maribor-Šentilj rail link runs across the hilly terrain of Slovenske Gorice and through two tunnels. It was already built in 1846 as part of the Southern Railway between Vienna and Trieste.

The link however only has one set of rails and plans exist for a second one. The Slovenian Infrastructure Agency has told the STA the decision on this will be taken depending on the transport needs and will also have to taken in Austria, where one segment also only allows for a single train. The agency expects another set of rails will be needed by 2039 at the latest.

22 Aug 2019, 12:32 PM

STA, 22 August 2019 - Pipistrel, the Ajdovščina-based aircraft maker, has posted a new success as the first woman ever crossed the Atlantic and Pacific solo on its ultralight aircraft. This was after one of its planes crash landed in Norway.

Aarohi Pandit, a 23-year-old from Mumbai, made history on Wednesday as she landed safely in Russia's Far East region of Chukotka, having flown from Alaska's Unalakleet city across the Pacific Ocean's Bering Sea.

RELATED: Pipistrel Plane Makes Slovene Stop in 1st All-Female Flight Around the World

Aarohi, who is on a global flight in Pipistrel's single-engine Sinus 912 aircraft, had earlier already become the first woman in the world to cross the Atlantic Ocean and Greenland solo in a light sports plane.

Initially, the young pilot flew with her friend across India's Punjab, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Pakistan, Iran, Turkey, Serbia, Slovenia, Germany, France and Britain.

However, since the tiny cockpit had to be equipped with a life-raft, oxygen system and other safety gadgets for the trans-oceanic flights, Aarohi undertook the remaining expedition solo.

Apart from good news, the Slovenian aircraft maker also had bad news after its two-seater all-electric plane was forced to crash land into a lake in Norway last week. No one was injured in the incident.

According to a report by Forbes, the plane, owned by Norway's airport operator Avinor, was being used to showcase the opportunities of electric power in aviation. It was piloted by Avinor CEO Dag Falk-Petersen with State Secretary Aase Marthe J. Horrigmo on board.

The plane took off from Arendal airport, some 285 kilometres south-west of Oslo. Whilst in the air, there was a signal that something was wrong with the engine power, whereupon the engine power weakened and disappeared completely, said the pilot, who landed the aircraft onto a pond.

Forbes commented that the incident would come as a setback to Norway's electric aircraft plans. However, the setback may not be as big because Norway's authorities have ordered two more same-model aircraft from Pipistrel despite the incident.

The Slovenian company confirmed it was made aware of the incident involving its Experimental class Alpha Electro in Norway on 14 August, saying it had activated its team of experts and offered assistance to the investigation authorities to investigate and determine the causes which led to the accident.

"Initial reports indicate loss of power which resulted in a forced landing. There were no human injuries and that safety mechanisms built into the design of the airplane and its systems acted nominally. There was no high voltage shock to the crew when the aircraft and crew were in water," reads the company's release.

This was the third incident involving the model, according to Aviation Safety Network; Pipistrel has so far supplied more than 60 Alpha Electros. In January an aircraft in Switzerland had to make an emergency landing because of loss of engine power and in October last year a crash claimed a human life in the Netherlands in unknown circumstances.

21 Aug 2019, 12:34 PM

STA, 21 August 2019 - Telecommunications operators have announced they will provide around 47,500 more households in rural areas with access to broadband in the coming three years. This leaves around 50,000 more households in so-called white areas, where funding of infrastructure will have to be provided by the state.

Ten operators - Elta, KTV Dravograd, KTV Ravne, RUNE-SI, Sanmix, Dostop Komunikacije, Studio Proteus, Telekom Slovenije, Telemach, and Milan Trnovec - responded to a Public Administration Ministry query about plans for broadband infrastructure investment sent out last autumn.

Allowing the state to determine where it will need to fund broadband infrastructure on its own due to a lack of market interest, the operators committed to financing the construction of access points for 46,000 households within three years.

Another operator, whose name will be disclosed after the contract is signed, responded to a second call that closed this August, announcing it would build 1,500 access points.

The state meanwhile plans to fund the infrastructure in some of the areas for which commercial operators have not expressed interest. The call for bids is expected to be published this autumn.

The ministry wrote that these households are located in sparsely populated and unfavourably positioned areas where building infrastructure is very demanding, which makes them problematic in terms of business model sustainability.

The state has around EUR 38 million in EU funds available for broadband infrastructure projects. The ministry expects that the call to be published in the autumn will allow it to cover roughly half of the 50,000 households located in white areas.

21 Aug 2019, 12:00 PM

STA, 20 August 2019 - The group around insurer Zavarovalnica Triglav reported on Tuesday a EUR 34.7 million net profit for the first half of 2019, a 16% year-on-year increase. Consolidated gross premiums were up 10% to EUR 630 million and net premium income by 6% to EUR 491.8 million.

Triglav said premium growth was recorded on most of the group's markets and at levels mostly above the growth of the whole market.

In Slovenia, where Triglav Group collects 76% of consolidated premiums, average premium growth stood at 8% (market growth was 7%), while it was 10% in the markets outside of Slovenia.

Premium growth was recorded in all three insurance segments; the non-life insurance segment grew by 10%, the health insurance segment by 21% and the life and pension insurance segment by less than 1%.

Gross claims paid by the group amounted to EUR 335 million, 2% more year-on-year, while major disaster events are estimated at EUR 4.9 million. The combined ratio of the group was at 93.2%, which Triglav said was a favourable value attributable mostly to the improved claims ratio.

The Triglav group posted a pre-tax profit of EUR 41.7 million in the first half of the year, or 17% more than in the same period last year. The company attributes this to the higher growth of net premiums earned compared to the growth of net claims incurred in non-life insurance and to the higher realised return on financial investments.

The group's investment portfolio is worth EUR 3.2 billion. Triglav says "investments are managed relatively conservatively and with the aim of maintaining a high overall credit rating".

Returns on financial investments, excluding unit-linked life insurance contract investments, totalled EUR 51.4 million in the first six months of 2019. Compared to 2018, returns on financial investments were higher mostly as a result of higher net gains on the sale of financial assets and higher net income from changes in the fair value, the company said.

On the other hand, net interest income continued to decrease due to the low interest rate environment. Due to a further reduction in interest rates, additional insurance technical provisions for life insurance were made in the amount of EUR 8.6 million as a result of the liability adequacy test.

On 30 June, the group, including its subsidiaries Triglav Skladi and ALTA Skladi (acquired in 2019), held a 34.3% and thereby leading share in the Slovenian mutual fund market.

As at the reporting date, the group managed net assets worth EUR 947.8 million in mutual funds or 12% more than at the 2018 year-end. Discretionary mandate assets equalled to EUR 73.7 million, a 47% increase (index 147).

Commenting on the results, chairman Andrej Slapar said the group, employing over 5,000 in the region, "maintains a strong position and pursues its growth and development strategy".

"We are pleased with the results achieved. Taking into account the business conditions anticipated until the end of the year, we confirm our annual profit guidance," the report quotes Slapar.

21 Aug 2019, 09:33 AM

Statistical Office of the Republic of Slovenia, SURS, has released figures showing that construction firms performed €2,571 million of construction work in 2018, an increase of 29% on in 2017.

Of this, €1,351 million of construction work was done on buildings (up 35% on 2017) and €1,220 million on civil engineering projects (up 23%).

Most of this construction work was performed on non-residential buildings (€906 million, or 38% more than in 2017).

You can find more about this data at SURS, while all our stories on property in Slovenia are here, while all our statistics are here

20 Aug 2019, 09:24 AM

STA, 16 August 2019 - The number of compulsory car insurance policies has been showing an upward trend in the past few years due to the improved economic situation and the growth of the number of registered vehicles, with revenue from premiums being on the rise for the past three years.

Meanwhile, an analysis by the Slovenian Insurance Association indicates that in general, the value of premiums has seen a downward trend in the past decade.

Slovenian insurers dealing in compulsory car insurance sold 1,914.134 such policies last year, a 4.6% increase compared to the previous year and a record number so far, according to the Insurance Association.

Eight Slovenian insurers were selling third-party liability insurance policies in 2018. They sold a total of EUR 244.2 million premiums, up 6.6% on 2017, shows the association's data.

Stronger competition in the insurance market has resulted in lower premiums. Despite the upward trend of sold policies, the premiums have been getting cheaper in the past decade - by 2.8% per year on average.

However, the past three years saw a rise in the prices, as well as an increase in paying out damage compensation - in 2018, an increase in compensation payouts was more substantial than an increase in charged premiums.

Payouts in 2018 amounted to EUR 159 million, up 10.4% on 2017.

At the beginning of the 1990s car insurance policies accounted for the majority of Slovenia's insurance market, but since then they have been giving way to life and health insurance.

Last year car insurance policies were thus accounting for only 10% of the association members' service portfolio, representing third place among non-life insurance policies.

Motorisation has been on the rise in most EU countries since 2008, amounting to record 466 cars per 1,000 EU citizens on average in 2017.

Slovenia is placed 12th among EU countries according to its motorisation rate and above the EU average, recording record 553 cars per 1,000 Slovenians in 2018.

An average Slovenian spent more than EUR 230 in 2017 for car insurance expenses, which is above the EU average of some EUR 228 - a record figure so far.

Since Slovenia's independence the number of registered vehicles has more than doubled due to the increasing purchasing power. Almost 75% of registered motor vehicles are cars, a trend which has resulted in a decline of public transport.

19 Aug 2019, 13:00 PM

STA, 16 August 2019 - Home appliances maker Gorenje, which terminated the contracts of 60 workers as part of reorganisation last month, has told the STA it was looking for about 100 new workers in production to meet increased demand.

Gorenje representative Denis Oštir said that the new workers would start already in September, would get fixed-term contracts and were needed in all of the company's production facilities in Velenje, mostly in the production of washing machines and driers.

Gorenje, which was taken over by China's Hisense last year, initially expected 270 workers would be made redundant at its parent company in Velenje, but ended up terminating a total of 60 contracts of employees working in back office jobs tied to production, such as storers and quality controllers.

Oštir told the STA that all had been offered employment in production, but only some of them accepted.

As part of reorganisational changes, which have been under way for some time, Gorenje has offered new contracts to a total of 1,393 back office employees, preserving existing wages and other rights.

Gorenje, which employs over 4,000 workers in Slovenia and abroad, recently announced that restructuring would not only be limited to the parent company and would also affect all subsidiaries and business units abroad.

The company has also announced it will build a new TV manufacturing plant that will employ 1,000 workers.

Keep up on business in Slovenia here

19 Aug 2019, 12:16 PM

A 70% stake in Slovevenia’s biggest eyewear chain, the 26-branch Optika Clarus, has been purchased by Fielmann AG, a German firm that integrates design, manufacturing and retail, and is responsible for around half the spectacles sold in its home market.

Optika Clarus was founded in 1989 by Tihomir Krstič, who will keep a 30% share of the business and remain involved in its management, and there are plans to open more stores in the near future.

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