Page 1

DECEMBER BUSINESS LEADERS’ MEETING POINT

ADIR EL AL Airport City CEO and Orchid group CEO

WANG YANMIN President of Huawei Device, CEE and Nordic

Long Distance Runner

Understanding Our Consumers’ Needs

PAGE 28

PAGE 38

PAGE 34

RADOVAN LALIN Lawyer

STOJAN RANGELOV Director, Putevi d.o.o. (Ltd.), Ivanjica

To Be Independent Is Most Important

License For Security PAGE 41


CORPORATE

ADIR EL AL, AIRPORT CITY CEO AND ORCHID GROUP CEO

Long Distance Runner “My company sees Serbia as a place where a lot of things could be done; Serbia and Belgrade are ‘virgin territory’ for us,” says Adir El Al, Chief Executive Officer of Airport City Belgrade

A

dir El Al is the CEO of Airport City Belgrade, which represents one of the biggest investments in Serbia, as a business park where more than 110 of the largest companies in the country reside and operate. And although it could be expected that, as the head of ACB and one of the key managers of AFI Europe in Serbia, he would locate his cabinet at the top of one of the most modern buildings inside this ‘city within the city’, CorD ‘found’ this student of Israel and London, who has amassed vast working experience from Africa to Europe, in a modest office located on the periphery of ACB, in a renovated hangar for World War I planes. “I feel comfortable here, completely aware of the historical significance of this building, a dome built according to the design of Milutin Milanković, and I find some symbolism in all of this,” says El Al at the start of our conversation. 28 |

158

| DECEMBER

■ The facts about Airport City are well known, but who came up with the ‘City within the City’ concept? - When we came here in 2003, we already had a similar business park in Israel, interestingly with the same name of Airport City. One of our shareholders came together with us to Serbia and we were trying to implement the same concept from Israel here in Serbia, considering that it had proven to be a very successful concept. Airport City is a business park, representing a combination of several office buildings gathered together in one complex, which is able to provide all necessities required by users, to

I have huge respect for our competitors, though I still think Airport City is unique, because we give additional value to our tenants cater for all their needs, and that was how we came up with the concept and slogan ‘City within the City’. That’s because we provide whatever you need as an office user on a daily basis, whatever you need to consume. ■ Who do you consider as your main competitor in Serbia, given that the business park concept is a rarity in the country? - There is no similar project. We are the only business park with such a

concept, but of course competition exists. There are other companies in Serbia, both local and foreign, that construct office buildings and complexes – though not business parks – and they are very present and competitive. I have never underestimated my competition, and I do believe the others are significant players in the office and residential market segment. ■ Airport City Belgrade isn’t finished yet. Can you envisage the final completion of the entire project? - We have so far utilised about 50 per cent of the park. We still have vacant land under development and I expect this whole area to be finished in the next five to six years. When it comes to its future, we are planning to build two towers with 20 and more floors, and I’m hoping these towers will blend into the existing silhouette of ACB, which is already a symbol of the municipality of New Belgrade. ■ Skyline is the other, latest challenge for you, with initial works having commenced at the site in Kneza Miloša Street a year and a half ago? - We took over the site in Kneza Miloša Street and managed to carry out a very thorough urban planning process. Three towers, one of which will have 35 floors, comprising two residential towers and one office


DECEMBER

|

158

| 29


tower, as well as a lot of accompanying commercial buildings, will compose this mixed-use complex. Everything will be connected not only with Kneza Miloša Street, but also with the Three Keys Park next to Gazela Bridge, which is being renovated by AFI. We have decided to make the renovation of this park our donation to Belgrade. ■ Given that Serbia is a relatively poor country, how can projects like this be profitable? - We segmented it into phases. Each phase was planned to be sufficient for our capacities, and the capacities of the market itself. And the proof is that in our other projects we managed to sell apartments almost completely in advance. I think that part of our success is based on the fact that we are very conservative, in terms of planning and the ways we spend money, which is why we have never been ‘stocked in the corner’. ■ You are a very successful businessman and one of the top managers at AFI. Did you choose Serbia as your next destination 13 years ago, or did that decision not depend on you? - When we decided to come to Serbia, we explored possibilities and the global market, attempting to find out where we can make better levels of gains in terms of generating profit, but also in terms of further development. We received warm hospitality from the Serbs and Serbian institutions. We were aware that our company could contribute a lot to the Serbian economy, while the most important fact is that more than 90 per cent of our investments stay in the country. I personally find Serbia very attractive for doing business. ■ As a real estate businessman, why do you consider Serbia a good place to do business? 30 |

158

| DECEMBER

- A lot of my friends in Israel posed the same question to me. In a country where there is a lot of demand for residential and office buildings, where you can build relatively quickly, in a year and a half we can build huge capacities of buildings, in a country where the legislation is complicated yet still – for those of us who have been in the country for many years – manageable. We understand the system and cooperate with it, and there is mutual understanding in terms of the importance of Airport City Belgrade as a mega project in every sense. It is important both for the economy and for the people.

I have to underline that AFI Europe strives to plan in advance, to maintain itself in one place, for good reason, as long as necessary, and I do believe in such a ‘philosophy’, because I am a ‘long distance runner’ ■ Do you see your career as an obstacle or an advantage for your children, considering that they are growing up in a foreign country that also doesn’t happen to be the best place on Earth? - This is not an easy question to answer. I have been talking with my wife a lot about this issue. Let’s say that

my three sons are very deeply involved in the Serbian community. They speak Serbian excellently, while on the other hand they attend an international school and have met a lot of other kids there who are in the same situation of growing up in a foreign country. I know that my sons enjoy both worlds that they have at their disposal here. When we are at home we are an Israeli family, but outside our home we all feel like Serbians, with a lot of Serbian friends who ‘adopted’ us. Living with so many differences, my wife and I believe strongly that our children are becoming better people. My family is part of this community, and even I can understand a bit of Serbian, while my wife and I are very fond of your culture and, of course, your kafanas. ■ Is Serbia just a phase in your career and your life, or something else? - Serbia is not the first foreign country where I’ve worked, but in terms of the foreign counties that have featured in my professional career, I have spent the longest period in Serbia. And I consider that to be a positive fact in my life. I really like Serbia and wouldn’t have stayed so long if I didn’t like the country. However, to answer your question, it would be irresponsible to choose a side in this matter and say whether this is a permanent posting or just a phase. One can never predict everything the future will bring. ■ There is the saying in Israel that “Haifa works, Jerusalem prays and Tel Aviv plays”. What about Belgrade; does it work, pray or play? - Belgrade does it all together. Although it reminds me of Tel Aviv the most, and a lot of my acquaintances perceive it as a place for fun. From my point of view, it is not like that; I see Belgrade as a place that channels work, pray and play. ■


DECEMBER

|

158

| 31


LOCAL NEWS

INTEGRATION “We are not a kind of Trojan horse for Russia in the EU. Russia is our important trading partner and our friend, but this, in any way, does not basically limit our strategic EU integration”— ANA BRNABIĆ, Serbian Prime Minister

SIEMENS

ENERGY

Takeover Of Milanović Inženjering Siemens plans to take over Serbian company Milanović inženjering – the Kragujevac-based manufacturer of body parts for rail vehicles. The price MILANOVIĆ INŽENJERING’S for the takeover of this company, PRODUCTION FACILITY which specialises in the production of aluminium components for the railway industry, remains a business secret. The acquisition process is expected to be completed at the beginning of 2018. “With this acquisition, we have achieved an optimal position for future projects on the competitive global rail market. After fourteen years of successful operations at Siemens’ Large Drive factory in Subotica, we are proud that we will have another factory in Serbia,” said Siemens Srbija CEO Udo Eichlinger. “I am convinced that, thanks to business cooperation with Siemens and the modern production capacities at its disposal, our factory will become an important centre for the production of components for rail vehicles in the period ahead,” said Milanović inženjering owner Bratislav Milanović. The company was established in 2001. In 2016 it recorded a turnover of €15.3 million and it currently employs around 430 workers.

China's CMEC To Build 3rd Unit At Kostolac B Serbia’s government has said China Machinery Engineering Corporation (CMEC) will be in charge of the construction of a 3rd unit in Kostolac B coal-fired power plant. The 350 MW third unit of Kostolac B will produce 2.5 billion kWh of electricity annually, increasing the total output capacity of EPS by 5%, the government said in a statement on Monday. Total investment in Serbia’s energy sector currently stands at about €3 billion, energy minister Aleksandar Antic said during the official ceremony for the launch of the construction project, according to a government press release. A total of €522 million will be invested in the construction of the new unit as part of the second phase of a project for the overhaul of Kostolac B at a total cost of $715.6 million, the government said. The second phase of the project is expected to be completed by 2020 and 85% of the financing was provided through a loan with a seven-year grace period extended by Export-Import Bank of China (EXIM Bank). The loan will be repaid in 20 years. Serbia has already completed the first phase of the overhaul project, having invested $300 million in the upgrade of units 1 and 2 at Kostolac B, part of coal mining and energy complex TE-KO Kostolac, Antic said earlier this month. TE-KO Kostolac operates two power plants, the 310 MW Kostolac A, and the 700 MW Source: SeeNews Kostolac B.

UNICREDIT BANK

12 THINGS

Seven Best “Ideas For A Better Tomorrow” Rewarded With 35K

The UniCredit Foundation, UniCredit Bank, the Ana and Vlade Divac Foundation and SMart Collective presented the winners of the third edition of the competition “Ideas for a Better Tomorrow”, which aims to contribute to the development of social entrepreneurship and the finding of ideas for products and services that can improve Serbia’s image in the region and around the world. TheCommissionunanimouslydecidedon20thNovember to allocate funds amounting to €35,000 to the following finalists: Initiative for Social Empowerment, the “Atina” Citizens’ Association for the Fight Against Human Trafficking and all forms of violence against women, the “Vunena” Citizens’ Association, the “Naša kuća” Association for the

YOU SHOULD NEVER DO AT THE OFFICE PARTY

Support of People with Developmental Disabilities, the “ZaJedno” Association for the Support of Persons with Psychophysical Disorders, the “New Perspective” Social Agricultural Cooperative and the “Liceulice” Citizens’ Association. Following official allocation of the funding, UniCredit Bank employees voted and selected two organisations to receive additional grants totaling €2,500 each, which they granted to “Naša kuća” and “Atina”.

TURKISH AIRLINES

Record Operating Net Profit Of All 3rd Quarters According to Turkish Airlines 2017 Q3 financial results, the successful 3rd quarter marked a 23 per cent increase in total revenue compared to the same period of 2016, reaching US$3.6 billion. Turkish Airlines, with 81.5%, reached the highest September load factor for the past five years. The number of passengers carried increased by 17 per cent compared to Q3 2016, with the airline serving 21.3 million passengers. “The net profit recorded in Q3 2017 clearly demonstrates our capacity to generate cash,” said Turkish Airlines Chairman of the Board and Executive Committee İlker Aycı. “As the Turkish Airlines family, with our common goal of becoming one of the world’s leading five-star airlines, we will continue this growth trend without ever compromising on our service quality. As Turkey’s largest exporter, our march will continue to position Istanbul as a major hub for international transport,” he added.

32 |

158

| DECEMBER

This is the season for office holiday parties, which can be fun and festive if everyone is on their best behaviour — or disastrous when too many people decide to let loose. If you want to keep your job and reputation intact, here are some simple etiquette rules to follow: 1. Don't skip it. 2. Don't dress inappropriately. 3. Don't fail to prepare your guest or significant other. 4. Don't get drunk. 5. Don't look bored. 6. Don't be anti-social. 7. Don't gossip or bad mouth your colleagues. 8. Don't go in without a plan. 9. Don't flirt. 10. Don't post photos or comments that could get you in trouble. 11. Don't make a fool of yourself. 12. Don't forget to acknowledge the person/people who planned the party.


IMF

AHK

“I would like Serbia to continue its cooperation with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) until it enters the zone of investment grade credit rating, which would secure another investment orbit for the country” — DUŠAN VUJOVIĆ, Serbian Finance Minister

Perception Of The German Economy In Serbia According to research conducted by the German-SerbianChamberofCommerce(AHK)on the topic “perceptions of the German economy and investments by citizens of Serbia”, as many as a third of Serbian citizens see Germany as the most desirable investor, citing the reasons as the level of Germany’s business, economic and industrial development. The survey was carried

MARTIN KNAPP (left), H.E. AXEL DITTMANN and Dr RONALD SEELINGER

out on a representative sample of 1,200 citizens from all across Serbia. The results gained are not surprising, given that in real terms Germany is Serbia’s most important trade partner, with almost 400 companies having invested funds of more than €1.8 billion and employed over 35,000 workers. “German companies are happy to do business in Serbia and are engaged in long-term engagements as reliable partners and responsible employers,” said German Ambassador H.E. Axel Dittmann. As the main reason, in as many as 60 per cent of cases respondents cited the country’s economic power, and not its politics, religion, tradition or some characteristics of the people themselves. “Serbian citizens once again showed in this survey that they appreciate real values and that they care about a strong economy, efficient operations, quality products, on the one hand, and a fair attitude towards their work on the other,” said Dr Ronald Seelinger, AHK president and Hemofarm CEO.

USAID

Making Serbia A Better Place To Do Busisess The United States Agency for International Development (USAID), a U.S. government agency, and the Serbian Government, celebrated the achievements of the USAID Business Enabling Project (BEP) – a seven-year, $19.5 million initiative that has helped make Serbia a better place do business. U.S. Ambassador H.E. KYLE SCOTT “Since the very beginning, USAID supported the construction permitting reform – from the adoption of the Law on planning and construction to joint work with local governments on introducing e-permits. During the past three years, Serbia progressed from the 186th position on World Bank’s ranking, to one among ten best countries in the world in the category of issuing construction permits,” said Deputy Prime Minister Zorana Mihajlović. “The World Bank Doing Business Report, the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report and the Financial Times’s FDI Benchmark rankings all indicate that Serbia is in a better position today,” said U.S. Ambassador H.E.Kyle Scott. “This is supported by improving employment numbers, positive GDP growth, and increasing foreign investments. A better business-enabling environment, which U.S. assistance helped the Government create, has contributed to these positive developments.” MK GROUP

EBRD

MK Is Looking In Purchasing Victoria Group?

Funds To Boost SME And Mortgage Lending

MK Group have sent a bid for the purchase of the VictoriaGroupcompany, which is looking of getting a new owner readytobuyoutdebts of €275 million from banks. Radio 021 reported. According to the Radio 021, sources close to the purchaser claim that the positions of the two parties in the negotiations have been brought closertogetherandthatitcanbeexpectedforthearrangementtoberealizedbytheendoftheyear.MKGroupwould thereby gain possession of Sojaprotein, the Sid-based edibleoilplantMladost,theSuboticaVeterinaryInstitute... “At this moment, we are unable to comment on the further plans and negotiations with potential partners,” Victoria Group told eKapija. Furthermore, they also say that all the business activities in Victoria Group are being carried out without obstacle. On the other side, MK Group says that they are planning new investments in the agrarian field and that they are analyzing several potential investments in the fields of agrarian business, banking and tourism, both in Serbia and the countries of the region.

In a move to bolster Serbia’s financial sector, the EBRD is providing €60 million in new financing to Serbia’s Banca Intesa and its leasing subsidiary. A €30 million credit line to Banca Intesa will be used for mortgage lending and a further €5 million will be on-lent to businesswomen as part of the EBRD’s Western Balkans Women in Business programme. Supported by international donors, it aims to increase access to finance and business advice for female entrepreneurs. In addition, the EBRD is extending €25 million to Intesa Leasing to provide long-term funding to Serbian SMEs seeking to lease commercial vehicles, equipment and property. “These new funds – offering products geared to meet the needs of different borrowers – will further bolster the banking sector by deepening intermediation which will benefit the economy and people living in Serbia,” said Daniel Berg, EBRD Director, Head of Serbia Draginja Ðjurić, President of the Banca Intesa Executive Board, said: “Successful cooperation with the EBRD has enabled us for a number of years to bolster our own credit potential and provide our clients, both households and businesses, with access to favourable long-term sources of funding, “ said Draginja Ðjurić, DRAGINJA ĐURIĆ, President of the Banca Intesa Executive Board, and President of the Banca DANIEL BERG, EBRD Director, Head Intesa Executive Board. of Serbia

SSCC

Innovation Key to Swiss-Serbian Business Cooperation

H.E. PHILIPPE GUEX and YANA MIKHAILOVA

The Swiss-Serbian Chamber of Commerce (SSCC) organised a conference entitled “Innovation: the driving force of Swiss-Serbian economic relations” at the Science and Technology Park in Belgrade. Distinguished speakers at the gathering included H.E. Philippe Guex, Swiss Ambassador to Serbia and Montenegro, Nenad Popović, Minister without Portfolio in the Government of Serbia, as well as Dr Olivier Küttel, Head of European Public Relations at the Federal Polytechnic School in Lausanne. “Swiss companies, especially those from the IT sector, show increasing interest in the Serbian market, so members of the Swiss-Serbian Chamber of Commerce expect the Government of Serbia to continue creating the framework conditions for the development of the national innovation ecosystem,” concluded SSCC President Yana Mikhailova, while Ambassador Guex stressed that innovation is key to the development of Swiss-Serbian relations. DECEMBER

|

158

| 33


CORPORATE WANG YANMIN, PRESIDENT OF HUAWEI DEVICE, CEE AND NORDIC

Understanding Our Consumers’ Needs The region of Central and Eastern Europe is developing very rapidly and our key focus is on having a major contribution to this development. We understand how important Serbia is for our development and want to nourish this connection

O

ur main focus in Serbia, like all markets, is to continue along the path that we have embarked upon and continue growing in all aspects, says Wang Yanmin, president of Huawei Device, CEE and Nordic, who recently visited Serbia and spoke with CorD about Huawei’s ambitions on the global market and in the region. “We are today happy in the knowledge that our devices are recognised as good, high quality and premium for those seeking high-end devices and are affordable for different audiences,” says our interlocutor. ■ According to the data available, Huawei’s brand awareness in the countries of Northeast Europe averaged more than 60 per cent in 2015, while in Serbia and neighbouring countries it reached more than 90 per cent. How has the situation progressed in the meantime? - For Huawei, our unwavering dream is to provide the best devices that will understand our consumers – their needs, habits, expectations – and, most of all, will be the best devices for them. In order to achieve this, our focus is always on research and development; in 2016 we invested around 30 million USD in our R&D…every day. We will continue 34 |

158

| DECEMBER

in our efforts to understand the market, in order to offer our best and produce products that will convince consumers to select our products. This has proven to be the right approach, and a highly efficient one, that has brought growth for Huawei in both the countries of Northeast Europe and Serbia and its neighbouring countries, raising the mentioned percentages to levels that we always believed were possible. We

We are observing this fast-changing world and adapting our products to consumer needs. For us, the future is now, and it arrived with the new Mate 10 Pro and the world’s first built-in AI processor are today happy in the knowledge that our devices are recognised as good, high quality and premium for those seeking high-end devices and are affordable for different audiences. ■ What are the most important factors that have driven recognition of Huawei handsets to such a high percentage? - Besides research and development, we listen to the shifting needs of our consumers and constantly improve our devices, as well as ourselves. Each

of our devices is made of many different components that come together in the perfect symphony of a technological masterpiece. To make each of those components the best possible, we partner with the industry’s leading manufacturers and create devices together. Our latest flagship product: Huawei Mate 10 Pro, our intelligent machine, as we like to call it, is the newest testament to that. It is the first phone with AI installed and it provides many novelties that we believe our consumers will like – AI-aided scene and object recognition for professional-looking pictures by everyone, performance enhancement, battery life of up to two days and many more. We also always strive to give our consumers the possibility to choose – whether it is colour, shape, performance, price or design, our devices come with a variety of choices for everyone’s individual needs and desires. And that is what truly makes a difference. ■ Are there different patterns in the use of smartphones in the two markets you cover? - CEE and the Nordic Region consist of 26 countries. Each country has a different culture, language and consumer habits, and we respect this diversity. We work hard to adjust our activities on each market, with experts in every country responsible for identifying


each market’s needs, and this approach allows us to develop ourselves together with each of those markets. ■ What do you see as other specificities of the CEE market, and how does Huawei respond to observed trends? - The main goal for us, as mentioned before, is to provide the best products that will understand the needs and expectations of our consumers on each market. We believe that every activity of ours should be a response to consumer habits; that the product should understand its owner and know how to work with him to deliver the best possible performance. This is a trend we constantly follow on markets, not only in our region but worldwide. ■ HUAWEI eco-CONNECT | CEE & Nordic is an integrated conference for the Eastern and Nordic European ICT ecosystem, which took place in Vienna and Czechia in 2016 and 2017. How do you select countries for these events and do you consider Serbia as a potential venue for one of these conferences? - Most of the biggest tech events are held in Western Europe or the U.S. At Huawei we believe that focusing on Central and Eastern Europe can be a one-time opportunity for us to meet great experts from this part of the world. As mentioned previously, this region is developing very rapidly, and our key focus is on providing a great contribution to this development. ■ What is the importance of such events for Huawei’s market position? - We are now among the leaders in the CBG part and most of our consumers know us for the innovative and consumer-driven devices that we provide to the market. At the same time, we need to remember that the history of Huawei started in 1987 and the main focus back then was on Enterprise and Carrier solutions. We believe that com-

bining our heritage and an innovative approach can enable us to be a market leader. The Enterprise and Carrier network is still very important for us and our goal is also to be visible in this part of the tech market.

and their needs. We are observing this fast-changing world and adjusting our products to consumer needs. For us, the future is now, and it arrived with the new Mate 10 Pro and the world’s first built-in AI processor.

■ What is the major goal of your visit? - As mentioned earlier, we are proud of the growth that we achieved in the last two years. Our main focus is to continue on the path that we have embarked

■ The Serbian Government has made its e-government agenda of one of its priorities, while it also considers m-government as an option. How do you see mobile phone use in terms of m- government and mbanking? - The fast-growing popularity of all e-services shows that this is among the current trends. We know that those services are still developing in our region, but at the same time Western Europeans or Chinese people use various mobile services all the time. Personally, I am a big fan of “mobilesomething”, as it allows us to have whole world in the palm of our hand. I consider this as being one of the major advantages of technological revolution.

In 2016 we invested around 30 million USD in our R&D … every day. We will continue in our efforts to understand the market, in order to offer our best and produce products that will convince consumers to select our products upon and continue growing in all aspects. We believe that every market in the region is an important piece of the puzzle and Serbia fits seamlessly into this description. We understand how important Serbia is for our development and I want to nourish this connection. ■ Which trends does Huawei see on the smartphone market in 2018, generally and in this region? - Huawei, as a tech company, needs to be constantly connected to consumers

■ How do these changes in the use of mobile phones – from simple calls and messaging to much more complicated trends – influence the physical shape and software of new generations of phones? - During our recent “Who is Huawei?” event in Finland, we spoke with external and internal experts and journalists from across the region about what they would like to see from the smartphone of the future. Journalists shared with us what they believe their readers would want from these phones and I saw many extremely interesting ideas that could be implemented in the future; interestingly, while many ideas were very unique, there was one that was predominant – having a foldable screen. Something that could fit in your pocket and expand to the size of a tablet. I, for one, am excited at what the future will bring and can’t wait to see it.■ DECEMBER

|

158

| 35


REGIONAL NEWS

RECOGNITION “As far as I’m concerned, Kosovo should have already been recognised. Now our colleagues will be angry, and our attempts to make it happen have only created problems inside B-H, without helping Kosovo” — BAKIR IZETBEGOVIĆ, Bosnia-Herzegovina Presidency member

CROATIA

HUNGARY

Nestlé Expands Pet Food Plant In Bük

Property Prices On The Rise Property prices in Dubrovnik are still the most expensive in Croatia according to latest figures. The average price per squaremeterofanapartmentorhouseinDubrovnikis€3,757. Whilst the capital Zagreb is at €1,736 and Split at €2,430. Property prices in Croatia in general have risen. In October house prices throughout Croatia rose by 5 percent compared to October 2016 with the most sought after properties in Split and Zagreb. After Dubrovnik the most expensive properties are in Opatija were prices average out at €2,955. There is a huge difference between the prices on the Adriatic coast compare to continental part of Croatia. The average price in Slavonia is still well under €1,000 per sq/m, only Zagreb and Varaždin have average prices over €1,000. One of the cheapest cities in Croatia for real estate is Sisak were prices in October averaged only €707 per sq/m.

MONTENEGRO

Cowi To Advise On Highways Projects Consulting engineer Cowi has been appointed bridge and tunnel advisor for the Smokovac-Uvac-Matesevo section of Montenegro’s Bar-Boljare highway project. Cowi will advise contractor China Road and Bridge Corporation on the 41km mountainous route which will be 60% bridges and tunnels, including 16 twin tunnel sections, mainly through flysch bedrock. It will offer advanced geological forecasting of rock mass conditions and interpretation of instrumentation and monitoring and the design of the primary tunnel lining support. The Bar-Boljare highway, which is expected to open in May 2019, will run north to south from the main sea port to the Serbian border and play a “key role” in Montenegro’s tourism industry and economic development, Cowi said. Advice will be provided by engineers from Cowi’s Bridges International division based in Copenhagen and geotechnical centre of excellence in Glasgow. The construction contracts for the southern and northern sections of the Bar-Boljare highway have not yet been awarded.

Swiss-owned Nestlé Hungária inaugurated a HUF 20 billion (€64.2 million) expansion at its pet food plant in Bük, western Hungary. About 90% of the plant’s output will be exported.

The 5,000 square-metre plant demonstrates Nestlé’s commitment to Hungary, said Minister for National Economy Mihály Varga, speaking at the opening ceremony. Thiswillbethelargestfoodprocessingindustry investment in Nestlé’s history in Hungary, with the aim of further increasing its exports and turning the plant into its most significant pet food production centre in Europe. BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA

Koteks Opened New Plant In Zavidovici

ROMANIA

Romgaz Ups Net Profit By 66% Romanian state-owned gas producer Romgaz recorded a net profit of RON 1.18 billion (€253.8 million) in the first nine months of this year, up 66% over the same period last year. The company’s gas production increased by 23.6% to 3.75 billion cubic metres, according to a report submitted by the company to the Bucharest Stock Exchange (BVB). Its turnover thus reached €697 million between January and September, up 35% year-on-year. Gas consumption rose by 12% in Romania in the first nine months of this year, after a decrease of 4.6% in 2015 and moderate growth of 1.9% last year. Romgaz managed to increase its deliveries by 34.6% between January and September compared to the same period last year, thanks to rising national gas consumption. The company’s share in Romania’s gas delivery market reached 48.1% in the first nine months of this year, compared to a 40% share in the first nine months of 2016.

Company Koteks from Tesanj has opened a branch office in Zavidovici, in the former plant of “Stolicar” that operated within Krivaja.

BULGARIA

Emigrants – The Largest Investors According to a Eurostat study Bulgarians working abroad are contributing with more money in the country than foreign Investments. They have transfered a total of €869 million in Bulgaria in 2016, and according to this indicator, Bulgaria ranks 4th in the EU. The amount of €869 million is much more than foreign direct investment in Bulgaria. According to BNB data, foreign investment in 2016 was about €660 million. Poland’s emigrants, who have imported €2.822 billion in the country, are at the top of the list. Following are Portuguese with €2.809 billion and Romanian €2.236 billion. Last year, personal money transfers from the EU to third countries amounted to €30.3 billion. And €9.9 billion were transferred from third countries to the EU. The majority of these money transfers are from emigrants to their home countries.

36 |

158

| DECEMBER

This plant will be used for manufacturing of textile for the automotive industry and furniture industry, it occupies almost 2,500 square meters, and it is equipped with modern machines. In the first phase Koteks hired around 50 employees, and at least 50 new workplaces will be available by the end of the year. Their final plan is, according to Haris Sejdic from Koteks Tesanj, to fill the capacity of 250 workplaces. The whole production will be exported to European market.


14TH- 17TH DECEMBER, BELGRADE FAIR

Serbian Science Festival: Science & You - One on One

F

Are you more into space travel or diving deep under the ocean? Or do you prefer exploring your own body, with all its possibilities and faults? Ready, set, go! This year, science is on the move!

or the eleventh time, December in Belgrade will be in the brightest colours of science, thanks to the Science Festival – the region’s biggest event promoting science and education! From 14th to 17th December, in the four halls of the Belgrade Fair, visitors will be able to get up close and personal with some of the most exciting scientific experiments, adventures and challenges - one on one! Introducing scientific stages, experimenting not only with science, but also with scientists and the ways in which science can be brought closer to the public, the Serbian Science Festival has opened the doors of the most prominent city institutions and spaces, proving that science can be found beyond laboratories, in places like urban parks, restaurants, squares and streets. Guests from the U.S., France, Poland, Estonia, Bulgaria, Austria and Israel will come together with Serbian scientists and scholars to show you how science can be exciting, playful and revolutionary! Whatever your interests, you’ll find your own scoop of joy at this year’s Science Festival! ▪ DECEMBER

|

158

| 37


CORPORATE

RADOVAN LALIN, LAWYER

To Be Independent Is Most Important The legal profession is a domain that must be beyond all pressures and influences profession is constantly confronted by cases of misconduct. Why is that so? - It is important for the legal profession to preserve its independence. Only an independent, free and professional legal sector is a guarantee of the protection and realisation of basic human rights and freedoms of the citizens of a state. The legal sector will resolve all the problems that it has “internally” by itself.

R

epresenting successful domestic companies and individuals abroad, as well as foreign companies in Serbia, forms the backbone of the work of Novi Sad-based Lalin & Partners Law Office. This law firm deals exclusively with items with an international element, making it specific and recognisable in Serbia. International business structuring, International tax planning, Family office, Successful succession, Residence and Citizenship planning, IT and IP international protection and development – there are only a selection of the specialised services offered to clients by this firm. ■ Lawyers have been in the focus of the domestic public in recent years, primarily due to the internal problems confronting the profession, but also in the context of relations with institutions. In terms of the problem, it is not exclusive to this profession, but it is interesting that such a respectable and successful 38 |

158

| DECEMBER

■ As a specialist in the field of international business relations, how would you assess the environment for doing business in Serbia and which obstacles are confronted by foreign investors when they choose Serbia as an investment destination? - When it comes to the environment for doing business in our country, alongside all the problems that arise, I must

note that the atmosphere in our country doesn’t differ markedly from other countries in the region. Of course, there is always room for improvement, such as, for example, more diligent work of the state authorities at the local level. Likewise, a large number of regulations are not harmonised mutually or with EU regulations – such as, for example, when it comes to payments to domestic companies via the PayPal system. Serbia still needs to be actively engaged in the process of harmonising the entire body of its regulations with the EU acquis.

■ Your field of expertise is international law and foreign investment. To what extent have we managed to find the right way to attract investors and how is that done by other countries? - All countries give their all to attract as many foreign investments as posIn 1987 he specialised in sible, in accordance with their own international public law, then needs. We have room for serious progress in this field. Many Euroin 1990 studied international pean countries, for example, attract private law at The Hague individuals and families, Academy of International Law. wealthy particularly from Asia, Russia and He studied further in London China, who are already successful businesspeople in their own coun(UK), Limassol (Cyprus), tries and who have vast knowledge New York (U.S.) and and experience, but who have to Nassau (Bahamas). In 2002 expand their businesses and seek he received the title of ‘Expert new countries from which to operate and where they will live better. With in International Tax Law special types of investments, they Cross-border Transactions’ most often gain the status of “nonin Switzerland domicile residence”. After that they


receive exceptional tax breaks and soon gain permanent residence, and then citizenship. In this way, these countries achieve large capital inflows that are measured in the billions of euros and gained qualified and capable businesspeople. This way of attracting foreign investors is practised by a large number of EU countries and the U.S. We attract investments by giving foreign investors 10,000 euros for every new job created, and as far as I know that’s a unique practise in the world. On the other hand, such investment incentives result in the creation of a large number of jobs, which is certainly positive. In future we need to expand and modernise our range of investment incentives, which would certainly yield good results. An example of this are the incentives offered in the film industry, which is slowly growing in Serbia and already yielding positive results.

■ You are also known for having once fought as a lawyer to protect the EXIT FESTIVAL from excessive charges for the use of phonograms. According to your judgement, to what extent has the problem of protecting intellectual property rights been systematically resolved? - We fought not only to protect against excessively high charges for the use of phonograms, but also for fair payments for the use of copyrights according to SOKOJ (the Serbian Music Authors

developed countries when it comes to the music business. SOKOJ used to charge 10 per cent of all organiser’s revenues for the use of copyrighted works, while today 1.5% is paid for the same. And OFPS (the Organisation of Phonogram Producers of Serbia) now seeks a realistic percentage in relation to previously applicable tariffs. Generally speaking, when it comes to the protection of intellectual property rights I think Serbia has achieved a certain, relatively high level, but on the road to EU accession that level must be implemented consistently in practise. Intellectual property must, finally, be valued and its use must be paid for appropriately. ■ It is not as well known that you also compose music and have even released an album. Is music a hobby or an alternative profession? - I compose music for film and that’s my great love. I have so far released one solo album, which sold out and I don’t have any copies left, so because of that I should perhaps record a new one. I sell my music abroad more, and I collaborate with famous musicians who have performed with groups like Stelly Dan, the Doobie Brothers and Mungo Jerry.

■ Yours is the only law office in Serbia that is a member of MERITAS, the global association of independent legal and law offices. What is the effect of The recently current “Paradise membership in MERITAS? Papers”, after the “Panama - Meritas is the leading global alliPapers”, are in my opinion ance of independent law firms, which sensationalist journalism provides legal and business representation in 89 countries worldwide aimed at revealing “exotic” through joint work, with 7,614 lawyers information publicly, and that’s from 182 law firms. You can become ■ It is also known that you deal information that is almost a member exclusively by invitation, with humanitarian work, which is worthless in the legal sense. following extensive checks on the not the norm for a law office. quality of your work. There is no - I wouldn’t quite say that it is Of course, you don’t need to permanent membership in MERITAS – unusual for law firms to deal with absolve the culprits – those the process of membership recertifihumanitarian work. As far as I who are really proven to have cation is carried out every other year, know, many law offices help their evaded tax. But no one can be local communities in various ways. in order to continuously maintain and improve the level and quality of legal placed on the “pillar of shame” In particular, the LALIN & PARTNERS Law Office helps children and advocate services provided to if they comply with laws and and victims of domestic violence, clients. LALIN & PARTNERS has been other legal regulations in and provides free legal assistance a member of MERITAS for 21 years altheir operations ready. It is a great honour and a great to those most in need. My friend responsibility to be in such company, Mungo Jerry will get involved in and a significant number of contacts and such a humanitarian event in Novi Sad Organisation). We succeeded in changing the conditions in both cases and recommendations of clients don’t enable in January and will perform a free concert for them. And, of course, I will play they are now far more acceptable and you to reax and allow the quality of your in his support band. ■ aligned with the practises of the most own professional work to fall. DECEMBER

|

158

| 39


WORLD NEWS

PROMISE

“We are ready to create all the conditions for foreign businessmen to feel comfortable on the Russian market. We will continue to improve the regulatory framework and compliance practises. We will remove excessive administrative hurdles, invest our resources in infrastructure development and the raining of specialists,”— VLADIMIR PUTIN, President of Russia

ITALY

10 THINGS

Centuries Old Italian Silk Mill Still Weaving Founded in Florence in the eighteenth century (1786), Antico Setificio Fiorentino is located in the heart of the San Frediano historical quarter. Today as in the past, it weaves made-to-measure fabrics on antique looms following Florentine tradition From a distance, the looms of the Antico Setifico Fiorentino silk-weaving mill sound like a steam train -- one that has been traveling for centuries. The patterns produced here go back to the golden years of the Renaissance, with one of the machines still in use today having been built by Leonardo da Vinci himself. According to Niccolo Ricci, CEO of Stefano Ricci, the company that now owns the mill, all but one of the women who work here today are from Florence. Their efforts, skills and understanding of these machines are what keep the art of silk-weaving alive, and produce some of the most sought-after fabrics on the planet.

YOUR EMPLOYEES WANT THIS CHRISTMAS

U.S.

Uber's Plans For Flying Taxis Commuters of the future could get some relief from congested roads if Uber’s plans for flying taxis work out. The ride-hailing service unveiled last month an artist’s impression of the sleek, futuristic machine it hopes to start using for demonstration flights in 2020. The company aims to have its first paying passengers in various cities around the world by 2023, though the plan still faces major hurdles. The battery-powered aircraft looks like a cross between a small plane and a helicopter, with fixed wings and rotors. It was presented at an international technology conference in Lisbon, Portugal. The vehicle is intended to soar over traffic congestion, sharply reducing city travel times. Uber hopes it will eventually become a form of mass transport and cost commuters less than using their own car, though initially it will be more expensive than that, Uber’s Chief Product Officer Jeff Holden said. Uber is keen to move on from a troubled period in which its image has been damaged by investigations that found rampant sexual harassment of employees and multiple reports of drivers assaulting passengers.

FRANCE

Alstom TGV Trains To Merge With Siemens The maker of France’s iconic TGV trains announced in November a “merger of equals” with German industrial leader Siemens in a giant and politically tricky deal to create a new European rail champion. The group headquarters will be in the Paris area and 50 per cent of the shares in the new entity owned by Siemens, an Alstom statement said. The Alstom-Siemens merger has been mooted for years and completes the transformation of the French group which sold off its energy business to American rival General Electric in 2015 for €9.5 billion The French state has shed its stake in the new entity, which has an order backlog of €61.2 billion and a combined revenue of €15.3 billion, according to information from the last annual financial statements of both groups. The board of directors of the new group will consist of 11 members. Six of them will be designated by Siemens, including the chairman. However, Henri Poupart-Lafarge will continue to lead the company as CEO and will be a board member.

40 |

158

| DECEMBER

Employees, who are working hard with their employers, have wishes they want to come true this Christmas. The following are 10 things that your employees want this Christmas.

1. CASH GIFT: Since cash is liquid and transferable, your employees can use it, not only for themselves, but also for their family… unlike a gift in kind. 2. THANK YOU: Employees want just a simple “thank you” as long as it is sincere and from the bottom of your heart. 3. APOLOGY: This Christmas, they are waiting for their boss to admit his or her mistakes, instead of passing the blame to them. 4. EMPOWERMENT: Employees want training to grow more personally and professionally. 5. PROMOTION: Promotion is a concrete form of recognition, recognizing an employee’s performance, achievements and potentials. 6. SALARY INCREASE: A promotion won’t be economically right if there is no favorable wage increase. Salary increase is also. 7. VACATION: Employees are eager to receive, not only cash gift, but also a gift of time or longer vacation leave that they can use to spend with their loved ones. 8. COMFORTABLE AND SECURE WORKPLACE: Who wants to work with a comfortable office chair or to work with a fast computer? Your employees of course. 9. RESPECT: Expect that your employees want respect from you, not only this Christmas, but all year round. 10. THE THING YOU THINK YOUR EMPLOYEES WANT:You can trust your instinct or you can personally observe and understand your workers. Here, you can add your own thing.


CORPORATE STOJAN RANGELOV, DIRECTOR, PUTEVI D.O.O. (LTD.), IVANJICA

License For Security Putevi d.o.o. (Ltd.) Ivanjica is a company that has been operating successfully and overcoming challenges for 55 years

L

there is a gap between the profession and investors. I think a good solution would be to form a council composed of top experts from this field, designers, the faculty for construction, contractors, engineers, and of course state representatives which would provide guidance on the needs, dynamics and methodology for carrying out works or projects. Nevertheless, the most important thing is that Serbia is building more rapidly.

ocated in the town of Ivanjica in southwest Serbia, it deals with the maintenance of state roads, the construction and reconstruction of roads and streets and the construction of smaller structures. It has a complete production process, from the production of stone and stone aggregates at its two quarries, to the production and installation of asphalt, concrete and concrete prefabricates. As of the past five years, it has been the exclusive partner of Deltabloc International, from Sollenau, Austria, for the territory of Serbia, and manufactures and installs under license concrete safety barriers and anti-noise road barriers. The company has been led for over 25 years by c.e. Stojan Rangelov.

Our combined systems, safety barriers and anti-noise barriers are unique in the world and bring significant savings

■ Mr Rangelov, as a professional who is at the head of a company focused on road construction, how would you explain the fact that Serbia has been unable to resolve the issues of its own infrastructure for decades? - Resolving this issue has for years been hounded by a series of objective and sometimes subjective circumstances. Primarily, the country in crisis, lacking its own financial resources, previously also sources of credit, objectively couldn’t solve many infrastructure issues. Really a lot is being done on that today, but in some places the impression remains that

- Our partner, Deltabloc International, part of the Austrian-based “MABA” and “Kirchdorfer” groups, operates on almost all continents and in more 55 countries worldwide. Almost all over the world, including in our country, European Traffic Safety Standards (SRPS EN 1317) are becoming the norm. In Europe, the standards are being upgraded every day, it is requested higher standards for the safety both the vehicles and the passengers. In Serbia we have the Rulebook with mandatory application, but obligation is determined by the will of the participants. What we, as “Putevi” Ivanjica,

■ You are the only company in the country licensed to produce security and noise barriers. In your opinion, is setting noise and safety barriers becoming a standard practise in Serbia?

can say is that we have contributed to education and, with the local production and installation of over five kilometres of security barriers, traffic safety. We are particularly proud of the part of the Zrenjanin Road where there hasn’t been a human casualty since the moment we installed the system, while the number of serious accidents has also fallen drastically. We have prepared solutions for the “Northern tangent” and for the highway through Belgrade and also have unique bridge systems that do not transfer energy impacts to the bridge structure and which provide the highest prescribed level of protection. ■ Are you satisfied with the status of domestic companies in your field, given that the jobs you deal with are on the up throughout the country? - We realise that our roadworks companies are in crisis; we are among only five or six that are liquid and have overcome difficult times, but I think that by associating, through joint ventures, we can successfully and professionally perform the jobs entrusted to us. It was precisely this shortage of work from public enterprise “Putevi Srbije” and the state that compelled us to turn to private investors, prefabrication and municipalities. I understand that the competent Ministry is taking steps to engage domestic companies, especially on the rehabilitation of state roads, where we are subcontractors, and think that they will be very satisfied with the choice they made. ■ DECEMBER

|

158

| 41

Business Dialogue CorD Magazine No. 158