Interview: Mario Knego, owner, director of Euromarine Nautical sector and the government must be partners
Eco-Cortec biodegradable plastics Product of the future: biodegradable plastics degrade in the same way as grass clippings and leaves
EU funding in counties The private sector does not know how to participate in infrastructural funding and must be galvanized
INTERVIEW PAGES 2-3
ECOLOGY PAGE 5
LOCAL BUDGETS PAGE 7 2008 2009 2010 2011
Croatian Business & Finance Weekly Established in 1953 Monday / 7th May / 2012 Year V / No 0198 www.privredni.hr
S U P P O R T E D
T H E
pvinternational pv international C R O A T I A N
C H A M B E R
E C O N O M Y
ESTIMATES FROM THE INSTITUTE OF ECONOMICS ZAGREB
CROATIA IN DOUBLE-DIP RECESSION According to estimates, GDP fell back into negative territory during the first quarter in 2012 after a short recovery in mid-2011 ross domestic product shrank by 0.4% in the fourth quarter of 2011 year-on-year, whilst in general during 2011 it was on a par with 2010. This is partly due to the export/import ratio, showing that trade in goods and services in 2011 improved by 10%, with a trade deficit exceeding the previously released data by â‚Ź0.86 billion.
A mild recovery with 1.2% GDP growth anticipated in 2013 2011 saw relatively weaker domestic demand primarily due to a significant drop in investment, with a slight positive impact of nett exports on overall growth. According to monthly indicators, 2012 will see a further decrease in activity (exports, industrial production, retail and construction). In addition, the unemployment rate has increased dramatically; thus, according to estimates, GDP fell into negative territory during the first quarter in 2012, with the Croatian economy entering a double-dip recession following a short recovery in
mid-2011. As a consequence, the Croatian economy is entering its fourth consecutive year of reduced economic activity. Investment slump The Institute of Economics, Zagreb estimates in the latest issue of the Croatian Economic Outlook
Quarterly the possibility of a 1% decrease in overall activity, with a mild recovery of 1.2% in GDP growth expected in 2013. The increase in unemployment, reduced disposable income together with negative consumer sentiment and higher prices due to an increased VAT rate could also adversely af-
fect real general public consumption. A considerable decrease in government spending is also projected. Investment is likely to shrink further in 2012. The 2% decrease in investment expected three months ago notwithstanding, current forecasts indicate a slightly milder contraction (1.1%) due to announced investment into the public sector. However, we will not see any recovery in 2012, due to the longer time period needed for preparation and implementation of announced projects. Investment is expected to strengthen considerably in 2013 and record growth of 3.5%. The exporting sector has been facing severe problems, whilst privatisation and restructuring in shipbuilding will certainly have a negative impact on exports. A decrease in both exports and imports is therefore expected, albeit with a reduced current account deficit of 0.6% of GDP compared with 1% in 2011. Inflation is anticipated to rise slightly due to amendments to the tax system, increased fuel prices as well as institutional-led price increases for electricity, gas, water and public transport, and is thus likely to remain at around 2.5% throughout 2012. (V.A.)
Privredni vjesnik Year V No 0198
Damir Schiller, Sales Director, Tvornice turbina Karlovac
around 15% ( The shipbuilding crisis increase in boat rentals
is affecting everyone vornice turbina Karlovac is in family ownership and currently employs 115 workers. We specialise in the planning, production, servicing and fitting energy machinery equipment. Our products include pumps, steam turbines, heat exchangers and various devices for ships. Until recently, shipbuilding was our main market, of which around 80% related to production, 60%of which was intended for the local shipbuilding industry and the remainder for export. The remaining 20% related to the industrial sector, specifically servicing and overhaul, and in part on new products. For the past two years, since Croatian shipyards have been in crisis, and there have been no new projects and ships, this ratio has been severely disrupted. We returned to the industrial sector. Unfortunately, this only regards its servicing and overhaul aspects that make up a 50% share of company business. As far as shipyards are concerned, we co-operate with large and medium-sized shipyards. Even though our products are intended for ships of all sizes, from small fishing boats to ocean-going tankers, they are not intended for small-sized shipbuilding, sailing boats and yachts in particular. Our company delivers a full range of products, from their conception to completion; we personally execute 90% of all technological operations, exclusively using our personal expertise and technology, hiring subcontractors for the remaining 10%. In addition to the crisis, I would say the most serious problem in sector is competition, mainly from Asia and from China in particular. Even though they might be European companies and brands, most of them have pro-
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INTERVIEW: MARIO KNEGO, OWNER, DIRECTOR O
NAUTICAL SECTOR MUST BE PARTNE The company offers the range of Jeanneau sailing boats Su series and the luxurious Prestige yacht Jozo Vrdoljak
duction in Asia, which we, being a small-sized Croatian company, can hardly compete with on a global level. These companies have series production that reduces prices. On the other hand, our advantage is the size of our company since we are small and flexible, and as such can take on and execute projects requiring short delivery deadlines, with considerable knowledge and engineering skills. It is important to highlight that the development of new products has been an important part of our company business since inception. For two years we have been investing in the development of a new steam turbine for heating biomass cogeneration plants, designed to produce 1MW of electricity and 4 MW of heat energy. This product is indented for biomass power plants, and the market for our products is global. Last year, we achieved around 55% of direct exports, excluding shipbuilding intended for foreign markets, which is indirect exports. One third of our products are exported to EU countries, one third to the countries of ex-Yugoslavia, excluding Slovenia, and one third is exported to all other continents.
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ario Knego is one of the most experienced entrepreneurs in nautical tourism in Croatia. Since 1986, when he established the first charter fleet in ex-Yugoslavia, Knego has been renting boats. In addition to renting boats, his company is also the exclusive representative of one of the best-known global shipyards, Jeanneau. Their latest proposals include the Jeanneau range of sailing boats Sun, Sun Odyssey and Sun Fast as well as the Cap Camarat, Leader, Runabout and Merry Fisher motor boats series and the luxurious Prestige yacht. The Euromarine Head Office is in Zagreb, but the company has branches in Pula, Biograd, Sukošan, Split and Dubrovnik. Privredni vjesnik spoke with Mario Knego regarding nautical tourism, particularly the problems boat rental companies face.
How many employees do you have? We currently have 38 permanently employed workers. However, due to the nature of the business, many other companies are linked to our business activities. Our fleet consists of 75 sail boats for charter. We also have motor boats under our management. In addition to charter services, we also offer servicing and sell new as well as used boats. What were the business results for Euromarine in 2011? Our volume of work reduced due to the crisis. However, I remain optimistic since I know the Adriatic is very attractive to
sailors. Concerning our rental and chartering activities, I am able to say figure increased by some 15%. Last year bookings ranged between 18 and 22 weeks. After the fall induced by the crisis, boat sales improved, but still remains 35% below the results achieved in 2008. We sell our sailing boats mainly to companies that wish to rent them. On the other hand, motor boats, worth around €40,000, are mainly sold to private individuals. In addition to tourism, how else can Croatia benefit from being a sailing destination? Foreigners have realised boats should be bought near ports, close to a seller who also offers servicing. If they buy a boat from a dealer who will service it, they will keep the boat in Croatia.
www.privredni.hr Business & Finance Weekly
( 35% decrease ( 75 sail boats in boat sales compared with 2008
owned by the Euromarine charter fleet eet
R AND THE GOVERNMENT RS
n, Sun Odyssey and Sun Fast series as well as motor boats range Cap Camarat, Leader, Runabout and Merry Fisher Air transport subsidies
What kind of a season do you anticipate? We are anticipating an excellent season in the charter segment. It would be even better if more could be done in terms of subsidising air transport, especially from Scandinavia. Our share of tourists is around 50% in Zadar and Pula, but exceeds 80% in Split and even 95% in Dubrovnik. It is important to highlight that tourists arriving by plane do not bring very much with them and have to buy their requirements here. the state. The only way to achieve this is by being competitive on the global market. What needs to be done if we wish foreigners whose boats are tied up in Croatia to opt to fly the Croatian flag? As entrepreneurs, we cannot do much but lobby. The state is the one with the ability to â€˜motivate boatsâ€™, tied up in Croatia over three years, to decide in favour of Licencing of companies that rent vessels is a no longer mentioned topic. Why is that? It is difficult to find a fair solution. You cannot ban someone from venturing into charter activities or limit the number of boats available for rental. I agree this activity should be regulated since some speculators wanted to get rich overnight by reducing prices, jeopardising stable and serious companies. However, there are fewer of them now since they realised this activity is not a pot of gold, but a demanding business that requires know-how and everything else, just as in any other business. It is true, we were damaged by companies founded only for one summer, and it was difficult for us to increase the price back to a standard level, which ranged between 1.8% and 2.2% of the boats value per week.
What are the problems facing charter companies and what is the quality of co-operation with ministries? The nautical sector is an important aspect of Croatian economy and tourism. This is evident according to the resident tax that charter companies regularly pay â€“ they are the most regular payers in the tourism sector. My opinion is that not enough resources are invested in the development of nautical tourism. We managed to come to an agreement according to which next year our activity will not be taxed based on the present VAT rate. It will actually be at 10%, the same as for hotel accommodation. The most important aspect is for us to realise that both private and public sector have to be on the same side, that is, all of us must generate as much income as possible both for our companies and
We agreed with the Ministry of Tourism on 10% VAT rate from next year the Croatian flag. The only way to encourage them is through VAT at preferential rate. Malta is the best example since it adopted a temporary measure. Otherwise, owners will go where the rate is more favourable and we will not benefit. If they do decide to pay VAT in their own country, 30% of them will not return. In that case, our marinas, servicing companies, boat suppliers will all lose, together with the state. What is the present quality of repair services in Croatia? It is pretty good. ACI invested in the purchase of new travel
lifts. We have excellent access to spare parts. When we join the EU, the flow of goods and supply of spare parts will speed up even more since they will not have to pass through the customs. Despite some statements, according to which servicing is better in Montenegro, I guarantee that our servicing companies, without any disrespect to their offer, are a long way ahead of them in terms of quality. We have companies such as NCP, whose servicing function specialises in megayachts according to the European standard. Do we have enough experienced skippers? How is Croatia performing in terms of providing services to foreigners? We have excellent skippers and provide solid training for new ones. It might be a good idea to introduce stricter criteria for licencing boat operators since the sea requires experience and knowledge. Our advantage is that our marina has a solid infrastructure and ideally positioned islands with beautiful lagoons. I can also say our visitors rarely complain about the price of the hospitality services. They are mainly annoyed by the overly aggressive anchoring fees charged by concessionaires on individual islands and in lagoons.
Privredni vjesnik Year V No 0198
( some 5,000 tonnes ( 98% annual production output
products sold to EU markets
ECO-CORTEC BIODEGRADABLE PLASTICS
Product of the future: corn-based plastic bags
According to recent research, 63% of consumers would opt for products with eco-friendly biodegradable packaging indicating the fundamental importance of biodegradable plastics in the future we co-operate closely with our colleagues in the parent company Research and Development Department in the USA. One of the crucial roles of the laboratory is quality control. The Cortec Corporation, as well as EcoCortec, have been co-operating with Croatian Universities in research, and education and training of students and teaching staff”, pointed out Ivana Radić Boršić.
Andrea Šalinović he EcoCortec facility for biodegradable plastics production is located in the Beli Manastir business zone. In 2007, it started a test production and was amongst the first in Europe to use innovative technology in the production of multi-layered plastic foils and foils for anti-corrosion protection in compliance with a licence from the Cortec Corporation USA, the parent company. Their annual output stands at 5,000 tonnes of finished products, multi-layered biodegradable plastic foils, as well as PE foils. Biodegradable plastics are used for a wide variety of purposes, such as domestic use, industry, agriculture and general consumption packaging. In addition, they are used in biodegradable bags sold in stores, as well as in the production of foil for agricultural use. EcoCortec biodegradable plastics are unique globally in using VpCI anti-corrosion technology, as well as anti-static protection for electronic product packaging.
Natural degrading “Packaging is considered biodegradable if the material is degraded into basic elements, such as water and carbon dioxide during the composting process, without having an adverse impact on
soil, flora and fauna”, explained Ivana Radić Boršić, Director of EcoCortec. “The packaging degrading period needs to be on a par with the degrading period of the usual materials used in composting, such as grass clippings or leaves. Biodegradable plastic material is essential for sustainable development, as environmental contamination by plastics is extremely widespread and costly, landfill sites are overflowing and often non-existent, as for example in National Parks, nature parks and tourism resorts where just composting sites can be used. In addition, most countries are currently introducing a tariff system on the disposal of packaging materials, whilst the price of polyethylene used in production of conventional plastic foils is simultaneously increasing”, stated the Director. Their plant is one of the most up-to-date in this part
of Europe, with a comprehensive technological process. It consists of a laboratory and a research and development centre for the control and monitoring of raw material input as well as final products.
Biodegradable plastics degrade in the same way as grass clippings and leaves “Our mission is the development and sale of biodegradable packaging produced using technology with properties in advance of conventional materials. Consumers prefer products according to their performance, as well as their ecological properties. We currently employ 22 staff with different skills. Research and development is given particular emphasis and
Normal plastic prices increasing According to recent research, 63% of consumers would opt for a product with eco-friendly biodegradable packaging, which certainly indicates the fundamental importance of biodegradable plastics in the future. Biodegradable plastic prices are slightly higher than polyethylene prices. Nevertheless, when considering the fact that traditional plastics are based on an unsustainable source (such as oil, whose prices are constantly rising), whilst simultaneously there are new sustainable raw material sources for biodegradable plastics, a decreasing price trend is certain. The unique technology used by EcoCortec for the production of 100% biodegradable films and foils is based on the use of corn – a resource that renews itself annually and is fully decomposable. Such a resource will certainly see a bright future.
www.privredni.hr Business & Finance Weekly
( around 75% of a county budgeet is reserved for healthcare, education and building permits
EU funding in counties
Čačija: the money is there; we don’t know how to use it The private sector does not know how to participate in infrastructural funding and must be galvanized Drago Živković roatia has yielded the worst possible results in the history of the European Union in utilising resources from pre-accession funds, since it only withdrew a fifth of the offered €668 million between 2007 and the end of 2011. Almost all those included in the process failed, including local and regional administrations. However, they say they have a ‘good excuse’: due to the lack of resources, they do not have sufficient for their share of the expenditure of EU projects, which is commonly between 20% and 30% of the total value of a project. “The county budget is dry since the available financial resources are only slightly higher than the budget of Zagreb”, points out the County Prefect of Primorje and Gorski Kotar, Vidoje Vujić. Furthermore, some 75% of a county budget is reserved for healthcare, education and granting building permits assigned to them by the state. Thus why only funding from the first two programmes (Sapard and CARDS) have been
used to relatively good effect, but only because the process was led by EU experts, claims Vujić. Where Croatia had taken over, the take-up rate plummeted. Those projects which somehow managed to be pushed through are ‘soft’ projects, for example, financing work of associations, education, the underprivileged and some programmes for small and medium-sized enterprises. The only thing left after these projects were seminars, workshops, CD’s or brochures, at least in the case of the County of Primorje and Gorski kotar, admits Vujić. This is all good experience since we can use it as a lesson,
but infrastructural projects are far more demanding and expensive. Galvanise the private sector The EU waste management project in the County of Primorje and Gorski kotar has lasted for eight years; the project for an indoor skating rink in Gorski kotar has lasted four years as well as the fish market project, says Vujić. Organisational and expert preconditions must be set in order to optimise the use of EU funds. However, the private sector, that does not participate in infrastructural funds, must also be activated. In the past, each ministry worked
for itself. They did not co-operate, and this type of practice was assumed by counties, cities and municipalities. We are lacking knowledge and information, and decentralisation would be of great help since the centralised organisation in Croatia did not show any results, according to Vujić. The money is there, we just do not know how to use it, complains the County Prefect of Bjelovar and Bilogorje, Miroslav Čačija. That county applied for EU funded projects for renovating schools, worth €17.3 million, but are not even able to gather 20% of the participation fee. The County Prefect of Vukovar and Srijem, Božo Galić, is faced with the same problem. He sees a solution through loans at extremely low interest rates or as aid from the state budget, a subject discussed with the Ministry for Regional Development and EU funds. Galić also expects fiscal harmonisation in compliance with the Regional Development Act to finally start. Otherwise, all underdeveloped counties such as his, will lag even further behind the more developed ones.
CROATIAN BANK FOR RECONSTRUCTION AND DEVELOPMENT (HBOR)
PUBLIC SAVES MORE IN CRISIS
HBOR lending rises
Financial asset growth
This year, HBOR increased their lending share by 55%. A total of €90 million was approved within a period of three months compared with €57.9 million approved in the same period of 2011. During the first three months of 2012, a total of €0.2 billion in loans were approved. This year HBOR reduced interest rates by 1% in ten lend-
Financial assets of Croatian general public increased by 2.9% during 2011, reaching €38.7 billion, according to a statement published by analysts of Zagrebačka banka. The crisis appears to have motivated the public to reduce their investment into shares by 21.8%, and open investment funds by 15.7%. Pension fund assets increased by
ing sectors. In 2011, a total of 1,543 loans were approved totalling €0.88 billion.
13%, a large amount was placed on bank deposits that increased by 4.6% as well as housing savings, increasing by 5.6%. The amount of cash circulated by the public also increased, by 9% in relation to 2010.
Privredni vjesnik Year V No 0198
Originality and quality or lohn jobs Lukabu, innovative Osijek entrepreneurs, aiming to augment the fashion textile industry with originality and own-brand quality adl, the Osijek-based family textile company, founded in 1997, has recently been involved exclusively on lohn production in cooperation with a foreign partner. However, a younger Radl family member decided to launch her own fashion brand – Lukabu. The brand is the result of co-operation between Marina Ljubojević, a fashion designer and Dora Radl Ćućić, an economist and owner of the textile company. Strategic co-operation covering fashion consultancy and industrial production will probably make a difference, irrespective of severe competition both locally and on foreign markets. They have opted for prêt a porter or “ready to wear”. Their
Lukabu an exclusively domestic fashion brand competitive advantage lies in the quality of individual garments, and of their being adaptable in producing to all sizes, based on limited edition designs. A positive approach and innovation are fundamental during a recession that is considered as a challenge by many successful entrepreneurs, and an opportunity to be audacious, to create added value for their companies and for the sector in which they operate. “Regrettably, the majority of the
textile industry in Croatia is based on lohn jobs for foreign partners, whilst we have created added value in the opportunity to develop comprehensive textile production. In compliance with guidelines in the Development Strategy of Textile and Clothing Industry in Croatia, we have been focusing on the production of our own brand”, pointed out Dora Radl Ćućić. Similar problems globally She added that the textile industry is facing severe problems both in Croatia and abroad, due to current trends to which everyone is attempting to adjust. Improvement in production quality is fundamental, as well as the development of new products and restructuring of the textile sector from mass production to production of modern clothing at a high technological level. Lukabu is an exclusively domestic product, since the complete production process, ranging from initial ideas, purchasing of materials, to production and sales, solely involves Croatian colleagues and partners. Products will be sold via the internet in order develop their availability, whilst the company is also subsequently planning to open a showroom in Osijek. Although Lukabu is currently focusing on women’s clothes, there are plans to provide quality original and casual clothing for men and children in the future. (S.S.)
A removal company also involved in representation and with taxi licences is also developing renewable source energy he European Commission, Goethe Institute, UN, Microsoft and ten embassies are some of the clients of Zagreb-Dean, an international removal and representation company, holding taxi licences in Zagreb, is planning to start renewable energy production this year. Nenad Leskovar, the Director, began his development by working for a U.N. humanitarian organisation during which time he experienced the requirement for “door-to-door” removal and delivery services, covering total packing, import/export compliance, transportation and waste disposal. Similar companies operated abroad but not in Croatia. There were international removal company agents contracting work in Croatia that brought their employees from neighbouring countries, such as Austria and Hungary, to pack and load property to be removed”, he explained.
Satisfactory market review In 1999, he decided to create his own company, Zagreb-Dean, to provide similar services using local staff. He was contacted by the Interdean Group, one of the leading European companies providing removal and relocation services, which at the time had 56 branch offices in almost all European countries, and was asked to represent them in
Croatia. “At the time there were many humanitarian and UN organisations in Croatia employing large numbers of foreign staff who were preparing to leave the country. As I used to work within a similar organisation, I had a deep insight into the situation on the market and knew many people in need of such services. Consequently, I
No new employment in the near future due to shrinking market provided training for some of my employees in Vienna, in order to provide a quality service to clients. Hence, some of my staff trained for several days at Interdean offices abroad in order to acquire new, and improve existing skills”, he added. The company now employs 7 staff. “I am not planning new employment as unfortunately the market is currently shrinking”, noted Leskovar. The company has had satisfactory dealings with state institutions. “I encounter similar problems as everyone else. My financial situation is satisfactory, which is mainly due to committed staff. Nevertheless, I believe lending is currently inappropriate due to high interest rates and mandatory loan guarantees”, concluded Leskovar. (B.O.)
www.privredni.hr Business & Finance Weekly
CROATIAN FOREIGN CURRENCY MARKET Currency
AUD CAD JPY CHF GBP USD EUR Source: HNB
Kuna exchange mid-rate
5,848718 5,774872 7,122762 6,244053 9,238799 5,711552 7,500981
WEEK MAY 5, 2012
€45.7 BILLION FOREIGN DEBT IN JANUARY
Gross foreign debt falling slightly
Karlovačka banka takeover of Nava banka Karlovačka banka delivered a letter of intent to the Zagreb Stock Exchange, announcing its takeover of Nava banka. The letter is a continued trend in the merging of small banks that has recently been started by Central banka. Karlovačka banka and Nava banka hold 0.35% of the Croatian market. After the merger and additional capitalisation, they will gain more power to be able to continue operating with small and medium-sized entrepreneurs and private individuals, as stated in the letter delivered to the Zagreb Stock Exchange.
Compared with January 2011, foreign debt reduced by €645.8 million or 1.4% owing to all sectors except the finance industry where debt stands at €14.3 billion ccording to the latest data provided by the Croatian National Bank (HNB), gross foreign debt continued its mild fall, totalling €45.7 billion at the end of the month, which is €31.5 million or 0.1% less in relation to the end of January 2011. Compared with the end of January 2011, foreign debt reduced by €645.8 million or 1.4%, owing to all sectors except for the finance industry where the debt stood at €14.3 billion, which is 4.8% less year-on-year. Other sectors continued reducing their foreign debt. The debt of the public sector totalled €14 billion at the end of January, which is 1.7% less year-over-year, while that of pri-
vate companies stood at €10.5 billion or 0.5% less in relation to January 2011.
External debt of private companies totalled €10.5 billion or 0.5% less in relation to January 2011 Due to the limited availability of foreign capital, companies continue to finance their foreign claims mainly on the local market, where weak local demand does not generate new debts. On the basis of direct investment, foreign debt reduced by 13.1% on a yearly level, totalling €6.7 billion.
This year, analysts at Raiffeisen Bank Austria anticipate a moderate increase in foreign debt and a slightly higher increase of debt in gross domestic product considering the anticipated economic fall. Issuing Eurobonds on the American market with a value of $1.5 billion, in April, will increase foreign debt. However, activities will slow, which is why RBA analysts do not anticipate any significant increase in the level of external debt of private companies. On the other hand, debt in the banking sector will increase moderately due to the anticipated extremely mild increase in lending activity. (V.A.)
€17.39 million profit for Erste bank In the first quarter, Erste&Steiermärkische Bank generated profits totalling €17.39 million. Total income from normal operations was €71 million, according to a statement from the bank. On 31st March 2012, bank assets stood at €7.68 billion, 1% more over the end of 2011. Despite an aggravated economic situation, the result is in line with the financial plan for this year, said Board President, Petar Radaković. Veneto banka increases lending
Last year, Veneto banka approved 17% more loans. Saving deposits increased by 12%, and the total number of clients grew by 5%, according to data provided by the bank. The number of credit card users increased by 42%. Veneto banka has been operating in Croatia for six years through a network of branches located in six counties.
8 ::: news
Privredni vjesnik Year V No 0198
First ten holders of the Green
Mark – Sign of Excellence
ACI nett profit €3.23million According to the audited report of company results for 2011, total income last year for Adriatic Croatia International Club (ACI) was €25.36 million, 6% up compared with 2010. Total expenditure in 2011 was €21.2 million, exceeding results from the previous year by 6%. In 2011, ACI showed €3.23 million nett profit, also 6% up over 2010. The increase in profit was achieved irrespective of the fact that prices of marina services provided by the company in 2011 remained unchanged compared with 2010.
Good news for camps Most Croatian camps saw camping arrivals in April, with those who did not open, starting soon. This year there will be over 230 medium-sized and 300 small camps able to accommodate more than 230,000 campers. According to the Croatian Camping Association, 2012 will be a promising year, as tourism is expected to see an increase ranging from several percentage points to a possible 10% to 15% compared with 2011. Uniline in Shanghai Following a long period of monitoring the development and market potential, at the beginning of the year the Pula-based tour operator Uniline began the process
of opening a representative office in Shanghai to create partner relationships with leading Chinese tour operators and tourism agencies. Uniline is planning to show the advantages and potential of Croatian tourism to the Chinese market through its new representative office.
Green economy awards
Most of the nominees and award holders have expanded their operation to EU countries he first ten holders of Green Mark – Sign of Excellence have been selected in 10 categories and received the first Croatian Greenovation awards for the development of green economy, organised by the Energy Association Zagreb and the Croatian Chamber of Economy/ European Entrepreneurial Network in Croatia supported by Banco Popolare Croatia. The Association for Green Economy Development focuses on the comprehensive improvement of performance of the Croatian economy through sustainable development, which includes the effective and sustainable use of resources, environmental protection and the prevention of biodiversity loss, development of new green services, products, technologies and production methodology, as well as other fundamental concepts of a costeffective, green and competitive economy. The programme considers the systematic enhancement of development of cost-effective, green and competitive economy in the business community, with the award system being used to identify and select the leading national programmes and projects. It was agreed that Croatian small and medium-sized companies have been active in developing them-
selves both individually and nationally, according to Tomislav Marjanović, President of the Energy Association Zagreb and Director of the Greenovation award. “Most of the nominees and award holders have expanded operations into EU countries. It is important to stress that the European Union constitutes onethird of the global green market. The green economy needs to be accorded serious consideration, keeping in mind its huge growth potential both for small and medium-sized companies”, noted Marjanović. Innovation and renewable resources The Croatian Chamber of Economy has been actively promoting green economy, eco innovation and renewable energy sources through the European Entrepreneurial Network programme. “We believe that all nominees and award holders have a great opportunity to obtain funding through the EU and we can provide assistance in this process”, pointed out Vesna Torbarina, Head of the European Entrepreneurial Network in Croatia. “A new Eco innovation tender, supported by the European Commission, will be made known soon and we will organise an open day on 14th May, following the an-
nouncement”, added Vesna Torbarina. The Biovega group is the best overall Croatian green economy programme for its Biovega Group - Biovega, Makronova, Planetopija and Bio-Zrno project. The best start-up was Tehnoplast profili for its industrial ‘passive house’ production. The best Ecofriendly transport service was awarded to EkoTaxi (reduced CO2 emissions using hybrid technology). The top product award winner was Knauf Insulation for its Knauf Insulation Ecose Technology. The best green marketing campaign was given to the Green Building Council in Croatia and its Green Building Professional project – a one-year training programme for building and premises maintenance with particular focus on energy efficiency. The best web programme category winner was EPIEC for its innovative concept of energy advisory services based on green principles. The top female manager within the Croatian green economy was Jadranka Boban Pejić, Director of Biovega. All Greenovation award holders are entitled to use the Green Mark - Sign of Excellence mark for their sustainable or green services, products or technologies.
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