For the fourth consecutive year, eKapija and the Slovenian Business Club have joined forces to traditionally present the members and friends of the Club with the milestones of Serbia-Slovenia cooperation in the previous period. This December, we also had a very good reason – celebration of the 100th meeting of the Slovenian Business Club and its 10th anniversary of operations in Serbia. On that occasion we recounted various interesting stories, ideas and projects that have marked business relations between the two countries over the past five years.
During the previous period, people have mainly talked about Slovenian investments in Serbia, investments and positioning of Serbian business players in Slovenia, mutual cooperation between the two countries, opportunities for joint appearance on third markets and the examples of such cooperation, but the list before you ranks neither the largest nor the most important projects. The presentation dubbed "5 x 5 news and stories about Slovenia-Serbia business relations that have marked the previous 5 years" is based on a well-known criterion - popularity among eKapija users.
Now let`s see the highlights of business relations between Slovenia and Serbia in the past five years.
In the opinion of our users, the most interesting stories in 2008 were the ones about:
- a business meeting between businessmen from Sumadija and Pomoravlje and business people from Slovenia
- bids for the Bar-Boljare road construction submitted by Slovenian companies
- the expansion of Tus retail network in Serbia
- Istrabenz, which announced the sale of its stake in Droga Kolinska or Petrol
However, the project that attracted the most attention that year is the bridge across the Sava River, near Ada Ciganlija, designed by architects from Slovenia. This bridge connected Cukarica and New Belgrade last year.
Vladimir Kravchuk, president of the Slovenian Business Club, made a good forecast in 2009 that Slovenia would increasingly relocate production to Serbia. On the other hand, Delta announced the postponement of a shopping mall construction in Slovenia. At the time when the production of Gorki List bitter liqueur started in Slovenia, the Serbian Business Club was founded in Ljubljana. The Serbian government agreed to return 12 companies to Slovenia, while Istrabenz officially declared bankruptcy.
Our readers showed the most interest in the following investment stories:
- Centroproizvod interested in buying Droga Kolinska
- Grah Automotive starts building a factory in Svilajnac
- possible takeover of Delta Maxi by Mercator
- construction of about EUR 150 million worth of gas power plant in Slovenia by EFT
However, the focus of attention that year was on Merkur, which opened a new shopping center in Belgrade, worth EUR 25 million.
In 2010, there were speculations that Slovenia would hire 200 doctors mainly from ex-SFRY, creators of the bridge across the Sava River claimed that it would be a worldwide attraction, Slovenia`s Metal Cinkara helped and became a partner of the Basketball Association of Serbia, Belgrade got its seventh sister city - Ljubljana, the number of Serbian tourists visiting Bled grew 60 percent upon the abolishment of visa requirements, whereas Terme Olimia gave up the Palic project.
For our users, the most interesting was the following:
- that Nova Kreditna Banka Maribor (NKBM) became the owner of 55.1 percent of shares in Kragujevac-based Credy Banka for EUR 10 million
- that Croatia`s Atlantic Grupa bought Droga Kolinska for EUR 382 million
- that Gorenje plans to buy Porcelan`s deserted facilities and open a factory in Zajecar
- that a protocol was signed to establish Kargo 10, the joint venture of Serbian, Croatian and Slovenian railway companies
The most interesting story in 2010 was the one about the opening of the largest zinc plant in the Balkans in Indjija, in which Slovenia`s Metal Cinkara planned to invest EUR 21 million.
In 2011, Jaffa products in the Slovenian market were said to be harmful to health, Agrokor was mentioned as a possible new owner of Mercator, while a special focus was on Zoran Jankovic, the winner of elections in Slovenia, as well as on Lasta`s new bus service between Belgrade and Slovenia.
However, this year was marked by the following investment stories:
- construction of the Zezelj Bridge in Novi Sad, given that a EUR 45.3 million agreement was signed
- Miodrag Kostic`s statement that MK Group is interested in buying hotels in Croatia and Slovenia`s Fructal and Zitoljubljana
- NKBM`s intention to merge Credy Banka with Privredna Banka
- cooperation between Gornji Milanovac-based water heater manufacturer Metalac and Merkur
As it was expected, the title of "Winner" that year went to the news about Nectar`s official takeover of Slovenia`s Fructal.
In 2012, the number of Serbian tourists in Slovenia has continued to grow, people have talked about investment plans of Nuba Invest and Rasto Tomazic, Primorje's bankruptcy and Porr's takeover of construction works on access roads to the Ada bridge, as well as about Slovenia simplifying procedures for laying off workers at the time of the crisis.
In the opinion of our users, this year has been marked by the following:
- acquisition of Slovenia's paint manufacturer Helios by Austria's RIH
- acquisition of Beogas Invest by Slovenia's Petrol
- information that Slovenia has invested the total of EUR 1.6 billion in Serbia over the past ten years
- announcement of the South Stream construction - a project on which Serbia and Slovenia work together
This year's top story about their joint construction projects in eastern Europe, that is, the news that forty companies from these two countries have formed the International Construction Consortium Feniks, has confirmed that Slovenia and Serbia are becoming equal investment partners.