Ivica Todoric, the bullish owner of Agrokor, Croatia’s largest company, has, after many years of wooing, secured a majority stake in Mercator, Slovenia’s biggest retailer and largest employer.
Agrokor has announced that it has agreed with Mercator shareholders to take a 53.1 per cent stake in the company for €240m. The deal values Mercator at €120 per share, substantially below the €221 Agrokor reportedly offered last year. Continue reading »
By Gunter Deuber of Raiffeisen Bank International
The 28th member country of the EU will not raise the economic profile of the bloc. For in recent years, the Croatian economy has been one of the weakest in Europe.
But if Croatian policy makers are banking on EU accession creating a “halo-effect” of capital inflows, they will most likely be disappointed. The only way the country will benefit from membership will be through modernisation and structural reforms. Continue reading »
Slovenia’s former prime minister has been found guilty of taking bribes in a €278m arms deal in the biggest case of alleged corruption to surface in the troubled ex-Yugoslav republic.
Janez Jansa follows two other former premiers in the south east Europe to be convicted of financial wrongdoing, the ex-leaders of Croatia and Romania. Meanwhile in Serbia, the country’s richest businessman was arrested late last year for alleged embezzlement. A long-run campaign by the EU against corruption in its present and future new member states may finally be producing results. Continue reading »
By Luka Orešković of Provectus Capital
Croatia is struggling. Set to become the the second former Yugoslav Republic to join the European Union in just five weeks’ time (after Slovenia, which joined in 2004), Croatia has been in recession since 2009, despite being blessed with more than 4,300 km of often stunning coastline and a hinterland rich with fertile soil. Continue reading »
A $400m credit deal signed by Croatian energy company INA gives it the opportunity to push ahead with long-term growth plans while also providing a welcome vote of confidence in the country’s economy. Continue reading »
By Guy Norton of bne
Since declaring independence in 1991, Croatia has lost a staggering 80 per cent of its manufacturing base.
But if the long-cherished plans of a couple of Croatian companies come to fruition, the country could soon become known as the home of an innovative, high-tech automotive industry that builds on the proud legacy of one of its most famous sons, electrical engineering genius Nikola Tesla. Continue reading »
This might have been a triumphant year for Croatia. Less than a decade and half after its war of independence, the country will join the EU in July, symbolically returning to the mainstream European fold after decades of authoritarianism and conflict.
But 2013 could well be yet another year in recession for the troubled Croatian economy. A flash estimate published on Thursday suggested that GDP had shrunk 2.0 per cent in the full year 2012 – and prompting forecasts of a grim 2013. Continue reading »
A grim reminder on Friday of the economic havoc that the eurozone crisis is wreaking in the Balkans.
Croatia’s GDP shrank 1.9 per cent year-on-year in the third quarter, according to to the state statistics bureau, putting the country well on the way to a 2 per cent contraction for 2012, the fourth year of recession in a row. Hardly the best preparation for joining the EU next July. Continue reading »
MOL, the Hungarian oil group, is sticking to its guns. In a statement on Wednesday the company categorically rejected the findings of a Croatian court in which Croatia’s former prime minister Ivo Sanader was found guilty of corruption – including taking bribes from MOL. Continue reading »
Croatia’s efforts to attack corruption in advance of its imminent accession into the EU have claimed the scalp of former prime minister Ivo Sanader, who on Tuesday was found guilty of taking bribes and sentenced to 10 years in prison.
The judgement could help Zagreb persuade Brussels that it is serious about cleaning up public life. But it could create difficulties with two EU members, Austria and Hungary, as the companies which allegedly bribed Sanader were the Austrian-controlled Bank Hypo-Alpe-Adria and the Hungarian oil giant MOL. Continue reading »
Croatia’s Deputy Prime Minister Radimir Cacic was sentenced in Hungary on Wednesday to 22 months in prison for causing a fatal crash in 2010.
Cacic, who is Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic’s closest ally, later called a press conference and announced his resignation from the government, saying he was ready to accept his responsibilities [updated]. Croatians who hope to join the European next summer, will be hoping that the case doesn’t turn into a diplomatic issue between Zagreb and Budapest. Continue reading »
Croatia’s expected entry to the European Union in July 2013 will be a big step for the country, which emerged from a bloody war of independence two decades ago. But membership of the EU comes at a cost – including, it seems, rising energy prices. Continue reading »
“Croatia is clearly not yet ready for membership.” Not the message that Zagreb wanted to hear as it prepares for EU accession, particularly from a figure as senior as the speaker of the German parliament.
The statement by Bundestag speaker Norbert Lammert (pictured) , made in an interview with the German newspaper Welt am Sonntag, comes at an unfortunate time, as Croatia faces growing scepticism over its EU membership bid and a Slovenian threat to block the process altogether. But despite the flak, Croatia still looks set to join the EU on July 1 2013 as planned. Continue reading »
While the Croatian tourism sector is currently celebrating the best of times, for the broader economy the news isn’t getting any better.
The country attracted more visitors than ever before this summer, on target to bring in €7bn by the end of the year. But this was not enough to rescue GDP, which has now contracted for a third consecutive quarter. Continue reading »