Category: Business

Rimac Moving Full Steam Ahead After Securing €10 Million Investment

CroatiaCroatian high-performance electric vehicle manufacturer Rimac Automobili, who have been one of the success stories in Croatian business over the last few years, have announced that it has raised 10 million euros from three main investors at the end of its first round of investment…

The company from Sveta Nedelja, Croatia, started its journey five years ago and is now able to follow its long-term plan at an even faster pace thanks to major capital investment from Columbian tycoon Frank Kanayet Yepes, Forbes owner Tek Cheung Yam, and Chinese company China Dynamics.

“We are delighted that we have established a close collaboration with international investors who appreciate our value and potential. The funding will enable us to launch new products to the market and increase our production capacity,” said founder and majority shareholder of Rimac Automobili, Mate Rimac.

First to invest was Yepes back in February 2014 when he acquired 3% of the company shares. However, he decided to double his investment during the year due to the fact that other high-profile investors wanted to join. This resulted in the current 6% stake in the company. Yepes is known for his ability to seize good business opportunities. His wealth originates from the oil business but later he decided to focus on alternative energy sources. In addition, he is a FIA Formula E investor, the owner of several racing teams as well as the Ferrari and Maserati importer for Colombia. “The trigger to invest was Mate, his confidence and the technology he has developed with so little resources.“ Frank believes that Rimac Automobili will be a success story that started in a garage, but he remarks that the company still has a long way to go.

“His entrance to the company opened new business opportunities such as a collaboration with the FIA Formula E. I have to admit, he gave me the best birthday present ever. The first investment to the company was done by Frank on my birthday, February 12th 2014,” said Rimac.

The second investor to join was Tek Cheung Yam through his company Integrated Asset Management Asia Limited – IAMAL. IAMAL has recently purchased a majority stake of Forbes. IAMAL has acquired a 2% stake in Rimac Automobili.

The single largest investor is China Dynamics, a company active in the electric vehicle industry in China, that has acquired 10% of shares based on a valuation of 70 million Euros. With China Dynamics on board the series – A investment round is closed.

With the company’s valuation at 70 million Euros, Rimac Automobili is racing into a bright future. Mate Rimac will take no break.

“During this year we grew from 20 to 60 extraordinary members of our team and we plan to continue our expansion at the same pace. In the past years, we have been growing organically by executing demanding projects for high-profile companies in the automotive industry. We have developed and manufactured various vehicles for other companies, as well as delivered various solutions such as battery and infotainment systems. The raised capital is dedicated to the development and commercialization of our future sportscar models and an increase of our production capacity.”

Mate Rimac founded Rimac Automobili in 2009 as an extension of his garage hobby – building and racing electric cars. The company has developed a high performance electric supercar, presented at the Frankfurt Auto Show 2011, only two years after the founding of the company. In the same year, Mate Rimac broke five FIA and Guinness records with e-M3 development car. (Rimac Automobili).

Algeria’s World Cup Coach to Open Hotel in Dubrovnik

CroatiaDinamo Zagreb’s former Bosnian coach Vahid Halilhodžić, who guided Algeria to the round of 16 at the football World Cup in Brazil last summer, is set to open a hotel in Dubrovnik…

Halilhodžić, who was regarded as one of the best players to come out of the region in the 1970’s and 80’s, has reportedly purchased the ‘Lapad Castle’ commercial complex block in the popular Southern Dalmatian tourist city, and plans to turn it into a hotel, writes Dubrovački vjesnik.

According to the report, Halilhodžić who has also managed Paris St-Germain, Ivory Coast and Lille, spent around 3 million euros on the investment. Halilhodžić, who left his role at Algeria after the World Cup, already owns a villa in Dubrovnik.

Fizz Going Out of Beer Market in Croatia

Croatia13It was meant to be a year that the major breweries were expecting to cash in on. A football World Cup, forecast for record high summer temperatures, and an increase in tourist arrivals, but Croatia’s early exit in Brazil, an indifferent summer, and a diminishing purchasing power has seen the beer market shrink this year…

According to data from the Brewers Association, in the first 9 months of 2014 there has been a 5% decline in sales compared with the same period last year.

“The main generator for the decline was the unpleasant weather during what is the warmest part of the year,” the Association President Pero Ivanković told Tportal, adding that Croatia departing Brazil after the first round also had an effect on sales this year.

The statistics are more than concerning for the industry, after a number of years of decline, this year many expected the market to recover, but those factors Ivanković touched on, and the fact the average Croats purchasing power is gradually weakening, plunged the industry deeper in the minus.

Market leader Zagrebačka pivovara, who have a 45% share of the market in Croatia, said that the third quarter this year was one of their weakest, with a 10% drop in sales compared to the same period last year.

Karlovačka pivovara, who with a 25% share are the second biggest players on the market, blamed diminishing purchasing power for the limp year. Croats have always been among Europe’s biggest beer drinkers, consuming on average 82 litres of beer each per year. The sharp drop in sales over the last couple of years may soon cost them their spot.

Contactless Credit & Debit Cards Slow to Take Off in Croatia


CroatiaSince 2012 Croatia has been one of 36 European and 66 global nations which makes contactless credit and debit card payment possible, however Croatians are still very wary…

Over 36 million locations around the world accept the method of payment now, which allows customers, thanks to radio-frequency identification and an embedded chip, to just wave their card over a reader at the point of sale, but the concept is yet to gather momentum in Croatia since its launch. Cash is still king in Croatia with around 85% of transactions made in cash according to a research survey.

A MasterCard survey revealed that whilst 59% were interested in the new technology as a method of payment, they had fears that the system was not safe and prefered traditional methods.

“This method of payment is even safer, because the card never leaves the user, it just gets swiped over the reader. For purchases up to 100 kuna (13 euros), no PIN number is required,” Sanja Žigić from MasterCard Croatia told Business daily.

Last year in Europe the number of contactless credit card transactions tripled, whilst the number of places to accept the mode of payment doubled in the last 12 months. Four banks in Croatia currently offer the cards;: Erste, OTP, Raiffeisen and Podravska banka.

Average Apartment Price Down 9% This Year

Zagreb-17The average realised price for an apartment in Croatia has fallen 8.89% from the last year, according to the President of the Real Estate Association at the Croatian Chamber of Commerce Dubravko Ranilović…

Ranilović, speaking at the 22nd Real Estate Forum, said in Croatia’s largest market, the capital Zagreb, the average realised price for an apartment had dropped 9.4% from 2013, and now sits at 1,377 euros per square metre. Meanwhile the average price for an apartment on the Croatia’s Adriatic coast had risen slightly from last year – up 0.95% to 1,588 euros per square metre.

Ranilović stressed that Croatia’s grey economy, and the inability to control undocumented real estate agencies within the legislative framework was a problem for the real estate market in the country. Because of that it was hard to gauge exactly what the market has been doing, but he did indicate that there were visible signs that the market would grow slightly in 2015.

Online Poker Set to Be Legalised in Croatia

CroatiaCroatia has just been given approval from the European Commission regarding new proposed gambling laws, which will open the door for online poker to be legalised in the country…

Once the law is passed through parliament it means that online poker operators will legally be able to offer their services in Croatia. According to reports in the media, online operators offering games to Croatian players will have to apply for a gaming licence from the Ministry of Finance, front up with a start-up fee of 390,000 euros, and commit to an annual fee of the same amount.

It is also reported that operators will be hit with certain taxes, including a 5% monthly levy on gross revenue. Players winnings are also subjected to tax in Croatia which the operators will have to manage. The tax tiers for winnings are: winnings from 750-10,000 kuna – 10%, up to 30,000 kuna – 15%, up to 500,000 kuna – 20% and any winnings more than 500,000 kuna – 30%.

Leading Croatian Food Company Acquires Serbia’s Foodland

One of the leading food companies in the region, Croatia’s Atlantic Grupa, has acquired Serbian food producer Foodland, it was reported by Reuters on Wednesday…

Atlantic Grupa, whose business operations sees them have market presence in over 30 countries around the world, will take over the Belgrade-based company which has over 170 employees and is present in more than 20 international markets.

Atlantic Grupa CEO Emil Tedeschi

Atlantic Grupa CEO Emil Tedeschi

Atlantic Grupa’s primary activities are the production and distribution of food products, including sports nutrition products and dietary supplements, as well as hygiene products. The company’s key brands include Cedevita, Cockta, and Argeta. The company did not reveal the cost of the acquisition, but did say that Foodland’s annual revenue would reach close to 8 million euros.

Split Airport Fast Becoming One of the Region’s Busiest

Split_AirportSplit Airport on Croatia’s Dalmatian coast is fast becoming one of the busiest in the region after it announced this year’s results on Tuesday…

From 1 January until 31 October the airport handled 11% more passengers than it did in the same period last year. Management expect that by the end of the year 1.75 million passengers would have arrived or departed from the airport. This year’s results continue the positive growth trend which the airport has enjoyed over the last four years.

The double-digit growth is expected to continue, with over 50 airline companies announcing services between Split and 80 different destinations. The growth, mostly driven by low-cost carriers, which now account for nearly half of the airport’s business, has resulted in a 60 million euro renovation project which will see the passenger terminal upgraded. Split Airport is the second busiest airport in Croatia behind Zagreb, after it overtook Dubrovnik airport last year.

Average Hourly Wage in Croatia – €4.25

Croatia192The average hourly wage in Croatia in August was 32.66 kuna (4.25 euros), up 7.2% from the previous month and 4% up from the same month last year, according to data from the Central Bureau of Statistics..

The Aviation industry recorded the highest average hourly rate – 57.98 kuna (7.50 euros), whilst those working in advertising and marketing were next where the average was 54.58 (7.10 euros). IT programmers and consultants were next (50.33 kuna) (7 euros), whilst the lowest hourly average were those workers in the textile industry (16.78 kuna) (2.20 euros).

Europeans Visa Card Spend Increases in Croatia

Croatia19Europeans travelling to Croatia during the summer are spending more on their Visa cards, according to a report from Visa Croatia…

From June till the end of August, Europeans spent 652 million euros using their Visa cards in Croatia, 12% more than they spend in the same period last summer. The biggest spenders using Visa cards this summer in Croatia were the Germans, racking up more than 103 million euros on their cards, which was 24% more than they spent last year. The Brits were in second place, spending 64.5 million euros, which was 16.6% more than last summer. Norwegians, Italians and French were the next biggest Visa card spenders.

Accommodation (128 million euros), entertainment (58 million euros) and petrol (50 million euros) recorded the biggest share of the purchases.