Books on Slovenia
% of GDP
Update No: 089 - (30/09/04)
The maverick post-communist nation
Slovenia is the odd one out in the former communist world. Its per capita income
is now touching $20,000, putting it among the less badly off countries in the
world. Its economy is not growing very fast; GDP rose by only 2.3 % in 2003 and
is growing by 3.1% in 2004. But this reflects the maturity of the economy, more
akin to an old-time EU country than a former communist one.
A famous saying among the Slovenes is that they welcome tourists, but distrust
foreigners. Tourists come; but then they go. Foreigners can stick around causing
a lot of trouble, particularly if they are Italian or Balkan gangsters. This is
the reason why the Slovenes have maintained a tight set of restrictions hitherto
on foreigners owning land or other prime assets.
But this is all changing with EU membership, with its requirements of openness.
FDI is likely to grow well beyond its modest level of $3.2bn. The Slovenes are a
highly educated people. Some 10% of the population in the capital are university
students. They speak several languages as a matter of course.
Before long international companies will be flocking to Slovenia. That will be
the moment to come in.
Slovenia irked by Croatia arrests
Unfortunately, the Slovenes are in the middle of a spat with their neighbours.
Slovenia has threatened to oppose Croatian membership of the European Union
after a number of its citizens were held in a disputed border area.
The group, including an opposition party leader, were detained by Croatian
border police, near Secovlje, after refusing to show identity cards.
After an emergency meeting, Slovenia's Prime Minister Anton Rop said it showed
Croatia was not fit to join the EU.
Slovenia joined the EU in May 2004 and Croatia is hoping to join in 2007.
The activists detained in the incident say they were visiting a party member who
lives on the narrow strip of disputed land.
Mr Rop told Radio Slovenia: "In our opinion, such incidents, which are
intolerable in the international sphere, mean that Slovenia can no longer - for
the time being - support Croatia's accession to the EU."
One may hope that this is just a bargaining chip in what seems obviously to have
been calculated provocation about disputed territory..
Primorje takeover bid a success
Construction company Primorje was successful in its takeover bid for rival
Gradis that was valid between July 14th and August 11th, acquiring 7.69% of the
shares in Gradis and raising its stake to 68.97%, it was reported recently. The
Ajdovscina-based construction company offered 1,600 tolars (6.6) per share,
which was accepted by 61 shareholders of Gradis. With no threshold specified by
Primorje, the Securities Market Agency announced the bid successful, Gradis
announced on August 19th, cited by STA. Primorje acquired the 61% stake in the
Ljubljana-based Gradis in a takeover bid published earlier in July. The
management of Gradis does not oppose the takeover, as it believes that it is in
line with the company's development goals and will also improve the
competitiveness of this loss-making company.
FOOD & DRINK
Etol boosts production
Flavourings and essential oil producer Etol, which is celebrating its 80th
anniversary this year, is to launch the construction of a new production
facility in autumn in order to expand its flavourings line which are the
company's flagship products, the company announced recently. The investment is
estimated at 17m, STA reported on August 13th. The company is currently
building a new storehouse for chemicals in a project worth 130m tolars
(542,000), while 28m tolars (117,000) are to be invested in equipment, the
company said, adding that the facility would meet all European Union standards.
Etol plans to raise its revenues by 75% to 50m and double its profit until
2008. The company generates 28% of revenues on the Slovenian market, 32% on the
markets of former Yugoslavia and 36% on the markets of Eastern Europe. Around
38% of revenues are generated from the sales of products that have been on the
market for less than 5 years.
MINERALS & METALS
Slovenian steelworks boost revenues by 18%
Half-year net profit amounted to 231m tolars (0.96m), in spite of this year's
29% increase in prices of raw materials and energy, Chairman of the group's
board, Tibor Simonka, told STA, New Europe reported recently.
Contrary to the group's successful performance overall, Acroni saw its sales
revenues down 6% due to some problems, specifically machinery malfunction and a
fire that halted production for several days, according to Simonka. The group
was on the other hand satisfied with the performance of metal, which reduced the
losses of 200m tolars (0.83m) in the first four months of the year to 51m
tolars (0.21m) in May and June. Forecasts are also optimistic for the second
half of the year, Simonka said.
Simobil aims for 33% share of mobile telephony market
Simobil, the second largest Slovenian mobile services provider, held a 23.6%
share of the market at the end of 2003. Its majority owner is Austria's Mobilkom,
while the company also signed a partnership contract with telecoms giant
Vodafone, New Europe reported recently.
"My role is to get Simobil the status that belongs to the second mobile
telephony provider on the Slovenian market," business paper Finance quoted
the new CEO of Simobil, Zoran Thaler, in an interview on August 20th.
The company will aim to control a third of the market as soon as possible,
Thaler said. The condition for this is that regulatory authorities ensure fair
play in the sector. The current market division of 80 to 20 needs
transformation, Thaler said.
Slovenia is the only case in the European Union where the market is divided in
the 80 to 20 ratio, as nowhere else the regulators allow such imbalance, Thaler
highlighted. The agency should probably ask itself what makes the Slovenian
market so special that it cannot do what all other regulators in the EU have
managed to do, he added. In many markets the initial ratio was hundred against
zero and this changed everywhere so that the leading provider does not control
more than about 50% of the market, Thaler said. Confident that Simobil demands
nothing unusual, Thaler said the company would use all legal means to achieve
Telekom moves forward with new technologies
Telekom Slovenia, the national telco, is focusing on investments, with the
primary tasks being the overhaul of information support, the construction of the
core IP network and the upgrade of the broadband network, STA quoted Telekom
officials as saying on August 19th.
Telekom has earmarked 14.5bn tolars (60.5m) for investments this year, 70% of
which will be spent on the primary tasks, whose main aim is to provide better
services for subscribers, Dusan Mitic, a member of Telekom's management board,
told at a news conference on August 19th.
The telco has been building additional broadband capacity as it copes to meet up
with strong demand.
It acquired 17,000 new users but it now has 60,000 users for its ADSL service
from April 1st until the middle of August, Mitic explained. Satisfied with these
results, the company does not intend to change its strategy in this field. Mitic
and Telekom's public relations officer Darinka Pavlic Kamien were silent on
being questioned about why some ADSL subscribers have had to wait for days for
support. Telekom, said Mitic, is in the midst of testing new broadband
technologies, with the most important being the new generation of ADSL
technology, ADSL 2+ and VDSL.
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