Business

18 May 2020, 11:08 AM

May 18, 2020 - From a small family business of one 35m2 store in 1990 to among the London Stock Exchange's 50 most innovative companies in Europe. Meet Tokic Croatia. 

Did you know that last year Peter Altmaier, the German Minister of Economy and Energy visited a Croatian automotive company to learn about innovative techniques in an industry where Germany is a global leader? And that the company was not Rimac?

There is a saying that Croatians can forgive you anything but success. It is one of the reasons why many Croatian success stories are under the radar, why so many people are negative about the business climate here and choose to emigrate. TCN recently decided to start focusing on telling some of those success stories to show that there are many Croatian companies which are doing incredible things on the European and world stage. And the more we tell those stories, the more emails and invitations we get to meet another Croatian success story.

And even though I always like to see the positives in things, I was beyond dubious when I accepted my latest invitation to visit a company which was so agile and innovative that German ministers were coming to pay homage.

A company selling car parts? Based in Sesvete, in eastern Zagreb? Really?

Tokic Croatia is a name I know well – it is impossible not to if you drive a car in Croatia. They are the biggest name in car parts, and I had never given Tokic Croatia a second thought until the invitation to visit their head office in Sesvete. I went more out of politeness – how could there be anything interesting about a company selling car parts?

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Oh, boy, how wrong could I be?

It didn't take me long to realise that I was in a very special environment, one which was light years away from the typical Croatian business mindset, and one which was not actually selling car parts as its primary focus, as the VERY charismatic and amiable CEO Ivan Gadze explained to me in a sentence:

“We are not selling car parts, we are building up people.”

So revolutionary is the approach of Tokic Croatia that when a Croatian portal did a feature on them back in 2016, it was under a headline which went something like – Is it Google or Facebook – no, Tokic. London or New York? No Sesvete.

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I am getting ahead of myself, so let's go back to the beginning. The year is 1990, and two brothers open a 35m2 retail outlet in Zagreb selling car parts. Things go well, and they expand. By 2000, there are 10 outlet stores in Zagreb, by 2014, over 100 in Croatia via a franchise model. In 2008, Tokic Croatia became a member and shareholder of ATR International AG in Germany. The company, although very successful, is still very traditional in an ever-changing world.

And then things changed.

The two founding brothers decided to step back and bring in professionals to work on the expansion and longterm sustainability of the company. Rarely for a family business, that decision meant an agreement that they abided by – to let the new management run things completely without family interference. Both brothers are part of the supervisory board, but the company is completely run by Gadze and his management team.

The decision was taken to build an innovative and agile company which invested heavily in human capital and kept itself at the forefront of new technology. A company which was open, innovative and inclusive, something very rare in Croatia, especially in a family company.

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A new logistics centre, a gigantic 24,000 m2, was located in Sesvete (by way of comparison, IKEA Zagreb is 38,000 m2), and a new logistics operation began in 2016.

This included the moving of an incredible 1.1 million cases to the new location in 11 days by 140 people, without the supply chain of deliveries from suppliers and to customers being remotely interrupted. It was an incredible achievement, as Gadze explains in the video above, and one which is permanently recorded on the warehouse wall.

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(The Hall of Fame of the incredible logistical move in 2016)

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Where to start with the innovations? Perhaps with one of the reasons that the German minister visited. Tokic Croatia prides itself on its agility and innovation, and perhaps the best example of that is the fact that it became the first to implement robot technology from Gideon Brothers. 

It was a perfect example of the Tokic agility. Gideon Brothers had a great concept but no implementing partner and they were talking to various companies. The two companies met on a Friday, signed a contract the following Monday and the first pilot started a month later.

It introduced the first concept shop for automotive spare parts in the region, something which did not even exist in Austria. Queueing machines are common in banks, but not in this industry, another introduction. In fact, quality control is in evidence wherever you walk in the Tokic offices – there are monitors in the sales department monitoring the length of time it takes to answer a call, and the percentage of missed calls. And the overwhelming desire from all I met was the desire to improve and do better.

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This is a company aiming for perfection, and I smiled internally when I asked about the delivery time from the concept store to the customer, as the sales assistant needed to go into that massive warehouse to find the part. While the delivery time is still very quick, it is not quick enough for the Tokic ethos, and I could tell that it troubled my guide, while knowing that a solution would not be far away.

The investment in human capital is everywhere to see. The Kaizen programme (the Japanese philosophy of continuous improvement), two trained staff in MBTI, the biggest global psychometric test or model for measuring the preferences of people. The T1 Walk internal education academy, with over 1 million euro invested. The Tokic Education Centre (TEC) is offered in association with the German Chamber of Crafts in Dortmund, a qualification which is therefore applicable in Germany and the wider EU.

People, people, people. Develop the human capital and the company will look after itself. And the results speak for themselves. In an era where Croatian companies complain that they cannot find quality staff, Tokic Croatia is finding that the opposite is true, and the best of the best are coming to them from the competition, and even returning from places like the UK.

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Walking around the very open and bright offices, it is not hard to see why. This is a company which started as a family business with two brothers, but which has grown into a much bigger family, bonded not by blood, but by company ethos, respect, diligence, transparency and a passion for improvement. Part of the reason might also be that the company is located in Sesvete, which not only has the highest population growth in Zagreb, but also apparently in the whole country.

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As we toured the office, we stopped to chat to some random employees about their experiences working at Tokic Croatia. Apart from the VERY relaxed office culture, it was their passion and ideas which left their mark, with one telling me about his sleepless night trying to fix a robotics programme.

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There are complaints procedures, as well as the chance to bring suggestions. Each department has a board on the wall where such things can be discussed and dealt with. I looked at several such boards on my walk around. Each had a box for Suggestions and one for Resolved. All the suggestions boxes were empty, dealt with and resolved as they came in.

Although Tokic Croatia is active in 14 countries, its core operations currently are in Croatia, Slovenia, Italy and Austria, and in those markets, it offers a quite extraordinary guarantee. Order your parts by 18:00 and it will be delivered the next day. Tokic is open to business east of Croatia (and has a partner in both Macedonia and Montenegro), but it sees itself very much as a European player of German quality serving the European market. They believe they have the product, the people and the know how, as well as that innovation and agility, to compete.

And so do others.

The London Stock Exchange chose Tokic Croatia as one of 13 European companies for its ELITE programme. Only this November, Tokic was listed in the illustrious LSE Future Shapers group of companies. And as one of 35 members of the 29 billion euro ATR International AG group, Tokic is one of the most visited companies by the other shareholders.

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Walking around the offices is an uplifting and relaxing experience, and as far removed from any stereotype of a car parts company as you can imagine. Open plan, glass, but bright coloured chairs in chill zones, table football to take the stress away, even a book exchange library (where I was amused to note that the smallest section was called 'Automotive'). And everywhere there were smiles, dedication, purpose.

The culture of inclusion extends to lifestyle and partying, and Gadze told us how hospitality is one of the things for which Tokic Croatia is known. The company hosts about 12 big parties each year, the biggest this year being at their Expo in October, where 4,000 people partied into the night. But it is not just partying, sport is a major part of teambuilding. The Tokic racing team has 15 drivers, there is a football cup with 24 teams (all employees), a strong presence in the Advent in Zagreb run, table tennis, cycling, the list goes on.

And corporate and social responsibility.

The Tokic approach to education includes giving back to the community. They have, for example, a loyalty programme for mechanics, where 1 kuna in every 100 kuna is donated to a vocational school in Velika Gorica. And while they have little interest in professional sports, Tokic Croatia actively sponsors kids and sports. This includes the Christmas Cup in Dubrava, where the top teams in Europe bring their under-13 teams to compete in Zagreb. Luka Doncic was one past competitor.

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And what of the future for the company? The aim is to become a relevant Central European company in terms of size and revenue, to build the brand and trust in that brand, to keep at the cutting edge of technology and innovation. Telematics is one key area of future interest, as too is predictive maintenance, something which Tokic is already involved in with predictive analytics but not yet monetising.

Two hours just flew by, and the world of Croatian car parts was transformed before my very eyes.

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So just because Croatian companies do not always talk about their success, it does not mean that success is not happening. Quite the contrary, in fact, and while a visit to Tokic may be about a simple purchase of car parts on one level, that huge investment in human capital means the sale is taking place in one of the top 50 most innovative companies in Europe.

17 May 2020, 10:34 AM

STA, 16 May 2020 - Revenue from VAT in March, when most shops closed as Slovenia went into lockdown on 16 March, dropped to EUR 187 million, down nearly 30% over February and 19% over March 2019, the latest data from the Financial Administration (FURS) showed.

Almost EUR 705 million in VAT was meanwhile collected in January and February, up 4.8% from the same period last year.

The majority of shops, except groceries, pharmacies and petrol stations, closed in the middle of the March after the coronavirus epidemic was declared.

Eurostat statistics realased earlier this month showed the entire EU retail sector was severely affected by lockdown in March at monthly and annual levels.

Slovenia's posted an annual drop in sales of 15.1%, the second steepest fall in the entire EU, behind France (-16%), which compares to the average EU drop of 8.2%.

At the monthly level, Slovenia's drop in retail sales hit 13.5%.

Shops have been gradually reopening since mid-March, with all allowed to reopen on Monday, 18 May.

Nevertheless, analysts do not expect consumption to pick up anytime soon.

Slovenia's domestic consumption increased by 2.7% in 2019, but the government's macroeconomic forecaster, IMAD, expects it to drop by 3.1% this year and a further 0.4% in 2021.

15 May 2020, 13:08 PM

STA, 14 May 2020 - NLB generated EUR 18.3 million in net profit at group level in the first quarter, a 68% year-on-year decrease that Slovenia's largest bank said was the result of credit impairments and provisions formed due to the coronavirus epidemic.

Net interest income decreased by 3% to EUR 77.4 million, "mainly due to higher interest expenses resulting from new Tier 2 instruments issued by the bank, which was partly compensated for by increased loan volumes", says NLB's business report published on Thursday.

Net fee and commission income increased 6% to EUR 42.4 million, in particular in the retail segment in banking members on the markets of SE Europe. In the second half of March, net fee and commission income dropped due to the outbreak of Covid-19, especially in card operations, the bank said.

In the first quarter the NLB Group set aside impairments and provisions totalling EUR 28.3 million, which compares to EUR 0.6 million in the same period last year. Additional credit impairments and provisions in the amount of EUR 24.5 million were recognized in the first quarter due to the outbreak of Covid-19.

Gross loans to customers amounted to EUR 8.13 billion, which is 2% more than at the end of last year. Deposits from customers increased moderately, the bank said.

Gross loan to households remained level while gross loans to companies increased by 5% compared to the end of 2019. Lending restrictions introduced by Banka Slovenije in November 2019 and the coronavirus outbreak reduced new loans to households while demand increased for working capital at companies, NLB said.

The bank said it holds a very strong liquidity position, at the group and individual subsidiary bank level. The total capital ratio for the group stood at 18.5%, which "represents a solid basis to cover all regulatory requirements... also in the aggravated circumstances during COVID-19 pandemic".

Credit portfolio quality did not deteriorate, with the share of non-performing loans remaining unchanged at 2.7%. The group "expects credit portfolio quality to worsen in 2020 through a downgrade of some clients, including the increase of non-performing loans as a result of the economic slowdown".

While the supervisory board also got acquainted with the results today, chairman Blaž Brodnjak assessed the crisis could also mean an opportunity.

"On the one hand, us being the largest banking and financial group headquartered in this region - the group which calls this region its home - means that people listen to us. And on the other hand, it might just give us an additional push towards making full use of our potential," said Brodnjak.

14 May 2020, 08:22 AM

STA, 13 May 2020 - Slovenia will see a major easing of quarantine restrictions on Monday. Tourism will reopen starting with smaller operations. All shops will be allowed to open, while bars and restaurants will be able to serve patrons indoors again, the government decided on Wednesday.

The entire tourism sector, hit particularly hard by the Covid-19 epidemic, will in effect be allowed to gradually reopen on Monday except for major providers.

Under the new government decree, the only facilities that must remain closed are accommodation facilities with over 30 rooms, accommodation for spa guests, wellness and fitness centres, pools and water parks.

The entire tourism industry has been shut down for two months in a bid to contain the epidemic and the decision made today is the first easing of restrictions in this sector.

All provider will have to abide by public health rules mandating a safe distance between guests and other safety precautions.

The decision to allow all stores to reopen will come as a relief in particular for large retailers, as smaller shops with up to 400 m2 of shopping area reopened last week.

Bars and restaurants were allowed to reopen last week as well, but they could only serve patrons outside. And while most operations will now be allowed to fully reopen, the ban remains in place for night clubs.

The government has also decided to get rid of the requirements that common areas in apartment buildings must be disinfected twice per day, a measure that has proved highly unpopular. Disinfecting is no longer required as of tomorrow.

https://english.sta.si/2763316/govt-confirms-re-opening-of-kindergartens-schools-on-monday

13 May 2020, 12:00 PM

STA, 12 May 2020 - The Chamber of Small Business (Obrtno-podjetniška zbornica Slovenije - OZS) has drafted a set of proposals it wants included in the third coronavirus package of measures the government will start working on more intensively next week.

The OZS would like more liquidity aid for small companies and sole proprietors, and a lower VAT for services in tourism and some other lines of small business.

It would also like a solution to rent payment when a private business rents a place from a private owner after the government has recently helped those renting from the state.

The OZS would moreover like the government to ease layoff conditions, and introduce measures to kick-start the construction sector.

The third package of measures is to focus on tourism as the most severely affected industry. But the OZS believes some other industries should also be helped, such as coach transport, hospitality, tourist guides, event management, spas and wellness centres, as they have also been severely affected.

OZS president Branko Meh believes small and medium-sized companies are the backbone of the Slovenian economy, which is why it is so important to help them in time with the right measures.

"It is now time to include in the third anti-coronavirus package what we missed in the first two packages," he was quoted in Tuesday's press release.

12 May 2020, 20:33 PM

STA, 12 May 2020 - The opposition Left has drawn up a legislative motion in a bid to keep stores closed on Sundays even after the end of the coronavirus epidemic. Considering support expressed from both sides of the political isle and part of the public, the party hopes the bill can be passed by summer.

The Left drafted amendments to the trade act in response to a call by the Trade Union of Shop Assistants in its Labour Day message to keep stores closed on Sundays and public holidays beyond the epidemic.

Appearing at today's press conference of the Left, the union's secretary general Ladi Rožič said that hundreds of union members wanted Sundays to be a day off for retail workers as well.

He said it was sad that after almost 17 years since a referendum in which 58% of those who turned out backed a ban on Sunday store opening hours, the voters' will has still not been put into practice.

Several initiatives, legislative motions and changes to collective bargaining agreements followed to appease the workers, however, most recently the trade act was amended in 2008 to the effect that store opening hours are not restricted at all, aside from the general prescription that statutory worker rights and collective agreements be respected.

Echoing Rožič's arguments, Luka Mesec, the leader of the Left, said thousands of retail workers worked Sundays, losing out on quality of life because they could not spend their time with their families.

He urged all parties to endorse the bill, welcoming broad support signalled by PM Janez Janša on Twitter, Labour Minister Janez Cigler Kralj, and most recently by the Marjan Šarec List (LMŠ), the largest opposition faction, which warned though that the ban should not serve as an excuse for layoffs.

Mesec also noted support from Christian religious communities and many trade unions and other organisations, arguing that the coronavirus epidemic showed that work and shopping habits were but a social agreement that could be changed and that having stores closed on Sundays did not dent the quality of life in any way.

Under the party's proposal retailers would no longer be allowed to set working time on Sundays and work-free days. An exception would be stores of up to 200 square metres located at service stations, airports, railway and bus stations or hospitals.

The Chamber of Commerce has warned that a ban on Sunday shopping would result in a loss of jobs, but Rožič said the retailers were severely understaffed, having to rely on agency, student and immigrant work forces, so he was not concerned the measure would lead to regular staff being made redundant.

Still, the chamber questioned the timing of the legislative proposal, which it said came "at extremely difficult times" when "all forces, skills and activities should be directed at forming measures to exit the crisis as a priority".

The chamber insists that changes to the opening hours will affect the size of the workforce in a sector that employs more than 110,000 people, almost 60,000 of them in retail alone.

08 May 2020, 14:10 PM

STA, 8 May 2020 - The Financial Administration has paid a second monthly basic allowance to self-employed, farmers and religious workers who lost their income as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, transferring at total of EUR 27.5 million to more than 37,500 claimants on Friday.

The basic income was paid to those who submitted a statement by 30 April that the epidemic prevented them from doing business or severely affected its scope. The allowance amounts to EUR 350 for March and EUR 700 for April.

The list of 37,516 beneficiaries was published on the website of the Financial Administration.

Related: How to Claim "Corona Aid" as an SP in Slovenia - Fast, Easy & Online

In late April, the administration transferred EUR 11.2 million to just over 32,000 claimants. They were eligible if they suffered a loss of income of at least 25% in March compared to February, or a 50% drop in April or May compared to February.

The eligibility was expanded under amendments to the coronavirus stimulus package that entered into force last Saturday to those whose revenue this year has dropped more than 10% compared with 2019. If they did not do business throughout 2019 or 2020, monthly income will be taken into account.

The eligible self-employed, farmers and religious workers are also exempt paying from social contributions.

Also exempt from social charges under the first stimulus package are companies affected by the epidemic.

From the time the epidemic was declared on 13 March and by the end of March, employers paid over EUR 90 million less in contributions, a cost covered by the state.

Such aid is available to companies that have put their workers on furlough because of a lack of work, as well as those that have remained in business despite the epidemic.

The state is paying salaries and social contributions for workers on furlough or those prevented from coming to work by a force majeure.

The companies whose staff continue to work are eligible for an exemption to social charges, if they pay a monthly crisis bonus of EUR 200 to each employee whose last monthly pay did not exceed more than threefold the monthly minimum wage.

08 May 2020, 12:00 PM

STA, 7 May 2020 - Details are emerging of a package of state aid the Slovenian tourism sector will get to survive what is expected to be a deep slump. Aside from an extension of existing measures that all companies are eligible for, tourism companies will get an extra loan facility and a short-time work scheme.

 A short-term work scheme, best known by its German name Kurzarbeit (Wikipedia), will be put in place as part of the third stimulus package, Economy Minister Zdravko Počivalšek told the press on Thursday.

Existing schemes such as state financing of temporary layoffs, which expire at the end of May, will be extended for tourism companies by between four and eight months to facilitate a gradual reopening of the sector.

A lending facility providing liquidity loans of EUR 5,000-40,000 for small and medium-sized companies will be put in place and grants of EUR 16 million total will be available to cover the running costs of restaurants and accommodation services.

"The state will help tourism because it is an industry hit by coronavirus in the most drastic way," said Počivalšek, adding that the industry needed "measures that will facilitate not just survival but also restructuring and the development of new products."

"We want to preserve jobs in tourism, retain high-quality staff and help smaller providers survive," he said. The situation is expected to improve next year, but Počivalšek stressed that some estimate tourism may need up to five years to recover.

While outdoor areas of bars reopened this week and restaurants have been serving take-away food for several weeks now, the bulk of the hospitality sector remains shut down as hotels, spas, campsites and tour operators await the government's decision to reopen.

A document circulated on social media in recent days suggested accommodation providers with up to 30 beds could reopen on 12 May along with restaurants, bars and campsites, followed by tour operators, larger hotels, wellness centres and pools on 1 June.

Počivalšek said these dates were merely indicative. "They still need to be examined. Some are more likely, others less so."

Another major unknown are instructions for precautionary measures that providers will have to follow. Počivalšek said they were being finalised and would be presented shortly.

All our stories on coronavirus and Slovenia are here

06 May 2020, 13:34 PM

Contents:

Almost 11,000 jobs lost in Slovenia in April

Slovenia's annual retail sales down 15% in March

Brussels projects 7% GDP drop for Slovenia this year, 6.7% recovery in 2021

Almost 11,000 jobs lost in Slovenia in April

STA, 6 May 2020 - The coronavirus crisis is taking a heavy toll on Slovenia's job market with data from the Employment Service showing that 10,793 people were added to the unemployment register in April alone, pushing the total up by 19.9% year-on-year to 88,648.

Since Slovenia declared coronavirus epidemic in mid-March, the number of people registered as unemployed rose by 13,622.

In April alone, the unemployed total rose by 13.9% over March, as 14,419 people were put out of work, 84% more than the month before and over 190% more than in the same month a year ago.

Apart from 6,209 who saw their fixed-term job contracts expire (more than double the month before), 5,616 were made redundant in April, a surge of 130% compared with March and almost 750% more year-on-year. Most of those were employed in the hospitality sector, followed by manufacturing and retail.

A further 481 of those who were added to the unemployment register were first-time job seekers (up 12% from March) and 164 lost jobs as their companies went bankrupt (up 61%).

Out of 3,626 who were removed from the unemployment register, 2,373 found a job or became self-employed. That is 61% fewer than in March and almost 60% fewer than in April 2019.

The most pronounced increase in unemployment was registered by the Kranj unit of the Employment Service, at more than 22% month-on-month and over 37% year-on-year.

Employers reported 4,336 vacancies in April, 41% fewer than in March and 60% fewer than the same month a year ago. Most job openings were for welders, builders and lorry drivers.

The last available data for the registered unemployment rate are for February, that is before the epidemic, standing at 7.9%, down 0.3 of percentage points from January and down half a point compared with February 2019.

Back to the contents

Slovenia's annual retail sales down 15% in March

STA, 6 May 2020 - The EU's retail sector was severely affected by Covid-19 lockdown measures in March at monthly and annual levels, Eurostat latest figures show. Slovenia's posted an annual drop of 15.1%, the second steepest fall in the entire EU, behind France (-16%). This compares to the EU's average drop of 8.2% and the eurozone's 9.2%.

Hungary's retail sector meanwhile posted the highest annual rise, that of 3.5%, followed by Romania at 3.1%.

At the monthly level, the eurozone's retail sector saw its sales drop by 11.2%, while the drop at the EU level was slightly less pronounced, at 10.4%.

The drop in Slovenia was above average, at 13.5%.

Sales of non-food items and fuels posted the steepest drops; non-food items were down 23.1% in the eurozone and 20.8% in the EU, and fuels 21.3% and 19.3%, respectively.

Back to the contents

Brussels projects 7% GDP drop for Slovenia this year, 6.7% recovery in 2021

STA, 6 May 2020 - In its first economic forecast following the imposition of measures in EU member states to contain the coronavirus pandemic, the European Commission has projected that Slovenia's gross domestic product (GDP) will drop by 7% this year compared to 2019, while a 6.7% recovery is expected in 2021.

This is a significant correction compared to the Commission's forecast in February, in which Slovenia was expected to record a 2.7% growth of GDP this and next year.

The spring forecast for 2020 and 2021 for Slovenia is nevertheless somewhat better than for the entire eurozone on average, which stands at -7.7% for this year and +6.3% for next year.

The European Commission notes that economic growth in Slovenia had already been slowing in the second half of 2019, when investment spending started to hit the brakes. "As a small open economy, Slovenia is particularly vulnerable to the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic."

The forecast adds that the country's economy is projected to shrink significantly in 2020, but the stimulus package announced by the authorities is expected to partly cushion loss of jobs and household incomes and pave the way to a strong rebound in 2021.

"Public finances are expected to go into significant deficit in 2020, due to the loss of revenues and the sizeable measures to support the economy, and to improve in 2021 together with the recovering economy."

The Commission notes that Slovenia entered the coronavirus crisis in a relatively strong position, but supply disruptions and containment measures are expected to produce strong negative effects, especially in the first half of 2020.

The export of services, particularly transport and tourism, is expected to be exceptionally weak this year, and new investment decisions in the private sector are likely to be largely postponed towards 2021.

Slovenia's economic activity is meanwhile expected to grow by about 6.7% in 2021, but this means that GDP would not fully recover its 2019 level by the end of next year.

The government measures are expected to dampen the impact on the labour market, but nevertheless, the unemployment rate is expected to increase from last year's 4.5% to 7%. The rate is expected to decrease again to around 5% in 2021.

Annual inflation is projected to fall to 0.5% this year due to low energy prices and weak demand, before rising to 1.2% in 2021.

This year, the general government balance is forecast to deteriorate to a deficit of around 7.2% of GDP due to the projected decline in economic activity and the Covid-19 measures.

In 2021, under the assumption of no-policy-change and that the anti-epidemic measures will only have a temporary effect in 2020, the general government deficit is expected to decrease to around 2% of GDP.

Slovenia's debt-to-GDP ratio is forecast to increase significantly to around 83.7% of GDP in 2020, and to start declining again in 2021.

Back to the contents

06 May 2020, 10:18 AM

STA, 5 May 2020 - Airline Adria Airways creditors have reported a total of EUR 151 million in claims to the bankruptcy estate of the company, which has been in receivership since last October. However, the official receiver has admitted only EUR 87.7 million in claims, while he valued Adria's bankruptcy estate earlier this year at EUR 6 million.

Official receiver Janez Pustatičnik accepted secured and unsecured claims by legal and physical entities to the tune of EUR 72.6 million, shows a list of examined claims he published on the website of the Agency for Legal Records (AJPES).

Claims by former employees for unpaid wages - Adria had more than 500 workers - amount to EUR 15.1 million. The majority are priority claims.

Former CEO Holger Kowarsch has EUR 67,600 in claims and Sven Kukemelk, who ran Adria's flight school, EUR 47,700.

The highest claim - EUR 6.6 million - is that of the German airline Lufthansa and its Austrian subsidiary Austrian Airlines (EUR 3.1 million), both unsecured.

The US's Aerocentury has EUR 4 million in unsecured claims (but EUR 37.5 million was disputed) and Rolls-Royce Corporation EUR 2.1 million.

A right to separate settlement due to a lien has been recognised to the company 8900973 Canada Ltd (EUR 3.6 million), Bank of America Merrill Lynch (EUR 1.3 million) as well as to Ireland's EIC Aircraft Leasing (EUR 195,000) and Sasof III Aviation Ireland (EUR 106,000).

The two Irish companies also have EUR 4.3 million and EUR 1.6 million in unsecured claims, respectively.

Fraport Slovenija, the operator of Ljubljana airport, has a right to separate settlement for EUR 4.2 million and another EUR 255,000 in unsecured claims. Intesa Sanpaolo bank has meanwhile EUR 4.5 million in conditional claims.

There are also several airports that have had their claims admitted, the highest being EUR 1.7 million claimed by Tirana's airport.

Darwin Airlines, a Swiss regional air carrier bought by Adria after the latter was taken over by the German fund 4K Invest, has a claim of EUR 455,000.

The claim of Eurocontrol, the European organisation for the safety of air navigation, is EUR 2.1 million.

FURS, Slovenia's revenue service, has EUR 162,000 in priority claims and EUR 139,000 in unsecured claims.

The country's health and pension insurance funds, ZZZS and ZPIZ, have EUR 58,000 and EUR 367,000 in priority claims, respectively.

In February, Pustatičnik said Adria's bankruptcy estate was worth EUR 6.2 million, of which EUR 3.1 million stemmed from the title to its office building at Ljubljana airport.

The state sold Slovenia's flag carrier Adria Airways to the German turnaround fund 4K Invest in 2016 for EUR 100,000 after recapitalising it with EUR 3.1 million.

The new owner was unable to give it a fresh impetus, so Adria was grounded at the end of September 2019 after almost 60 years since its establishment, and filed for receivership.

Last March, the official receiver selected an auditor to audit Adria in order to examine the possibility of claiming damages from its former leadership. The police are meanwhile investigating abuse of office and fraud.

All our stories on Adria Airways are here

05 May 2020, 20:05 PM

Last summer there seemed to be real movement on the planned IKEA store in Ljubljana’s BTC City, but seasoned observers knew it wasn’t worth delaying the purchase of a bookshelf, sofa or lamp, that they should continue to source alternative meatballs and buy their own pencils and tape measures.

The first reports of the Swedish furniture giant setting up shop on the sunny side of the alps came in 2014, although Ljubljana Mayor Zoran Janković later claimed that talks began in 2005. The story then dragged on for years, with the opening always about 18 months away, after just this last bureaucratic hurdle was jumped.

There was thus no great excitement in June 2019 when it was reported that IKEA had finally obtained the permits needed to start construction, since the same story noted an ongoing dispute about an access road and that the store would open, as usual, in about 18 months.

But the long wait for affordable Swedish design in a big box setting – some 15 years according to Mayor Janković – will soon be over. As the following videos show, the building, façade and roof are now completed. The work is now focused on interior installations and external elements, including the distinctive IKEA navigation tower, and is being carried out under full corona conditions.

Take a look inside with Cas Lachaert, Market Manager, IKEA Slovenia. Two drone videos are shown below that give a good idea of the scale of the project in BTC City

In summary, the place is 34,000m2, will offer 9,500 products and have 52 room settings, while the restaurant will serve both Swedish and Slovenian food – perhaps a klobasa? Plants will be on the roof along with solar panels that should provide most of the power the store needs, making Ljubljana’s IKEA one of the greenest in the world.

No word yet on the opening date, but sometime in the autumn seems certain, in just over 18 weeks.

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