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Slovenia Business Week no. 12: Slovenia's Top CEOs Call for Greater Expansion

Slovenian companies will have to further expand to foreign markets, with former Yugoslav and former Soviet Union countries their prime targets, CEOs of four Slovenian blue-chip companies told a panel

Slovenian companies will have to further expand to foreign markets, with former Yugoslav and former Soviet Union countries their prime targets, CEOs of four Slovenian blue-chip companies told a panel on Tuesday, 14 March.

Chief execs of grocer Mercator, fuel trader Petrol, food company Droga Kolinska and port operator Luka Koper, speaking at the 13th Stock Market Focus, were unanimous in their call for greater internationalisation of Slovenian corporations.

CEO of the country's largest grocer Ziga Debeljak said that Mercator will increase its presence in the markets of the former Yugoslavia by allocating between EUR 130m and EUR 150m a year for investment.

The company will thus secure a 5% annual growth in euros, excluding possible acquisitions or strategic partnerships, Debeljak added.

Petrol's chief Exec Marko Kryzanowski also announced a drive south, adding that the company is interesting for foreign investors, especially because of its network of gas stations in Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina.

He added that Petrol will generate SIT 430bn (EUR 1.79bn) in revenues in 2006, adding if Petrol could charge an average EU margin, its net profit in 2006 would amount to SIT 20bn (EUR 83.47m), instead of SIT 7bn (EUR 29.21m).

CEOs of Droga Kolinska (Robert Ferko) and Luka Koper (Marjan Babic) also believe in expansion, in case of Ferko to the countries of the former Yugoslavia and the former Soviet Union, while Babic sees Luka Koper as one of the most successful Adriatic seaports also in the future.

The 13th Stock Market focus was put on by the Ljubljana Stock Exchange (LJSE) and the Finance business daily.

It was opened with a lecture from Bine Kordez, CEO of hardware retailer Merkur, who presented Merkur's business plans through 2010, announcing that the group's revenues would grow by 13% a year in the period.

He also believes that the company's 2010 target revenues of EUR 1.5bn and a net profit of SIT 6bn (EUR 25.04m) could only be achieved through expansion to the markets of the former Yugoslavia.

Meanwhile, the participants of a round table on hidden economic opportunities agreed that the Hong Kong presents the largest amount of investment options. The US market is also on the rise, while the options in the developing countries are somewhat overrated, they believed.

Source: Slovene Press Agency STA

Author: STA