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SLOVENIA


 

Key Economic Data 
 
  2002 2001 2000 Ranking(2002)
GDP
Millions of US $ 21,108 18,800 18,100 67
         
GNI per capita
 US $ 9,810 9,760 10,060 53
Ranking is given out of 208 nations - (data from the World Bank)

Books on Slovenia

REPUBLICAN REFERENCE

Area (sq.km) 
20,273

Population 
1,935,677

Capital 
Ljubljana 

Currency 
Tolar 

President 
Janez Drnovsek

Private sector 
% of GDP 
40% 

  

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.. 

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CONSTRUCTION

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.

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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.

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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. 

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TELECOMMUNICATIONS

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 this goal.

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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