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Slovenia Business Week no. 52: Slovenian Companies Are Top Investors in Serbia-Montenegro

Slovenia remains in first place in the number of companies purchased in Serbia-Montenegro, while it is in third place behind the US and Russia when it comes to the value of these investments, the Belgrade daily Politika has written

Slovenia remains in first place in the number of companies purchased in Serbia-Montenegro, while it is in third place behind the US and Russia when it comes to the value of these investments, the Belgrade daily Politika has written.

Since 2002, Slovenians purchased 18 companies in Serbia-Montenegro, and two more together with Serbian companies, the daily wrote in September. In second place is Cyprus with ten companies, and in third place the US with seven companies purchased in Serbia.

According to Politika, the total value of all investments of Slovenian companies in Serbia-Montenegro since 2002, including greenfield investments, stands at EUR 300m.

When Economics Minister Andrej Vizjak visited Belgrade in September, his hosts stressed the importance of Slovenian companies in the privatisation process in Serbia, which has been successful so far. Slovenia has been accepted on the Serbian market as a reliable and experienced partner, respecting contractual obligations.

It is difficult to say how much the Slovenian investments in Serbia will be worth in 2005, however, Vizjak said in Belgrade that they amounted to EUR 205m at the end of 2003 or 11% of all Slovenia's investments abroad. At the end of 2004, the figure increased to EUR 277m, which is 12.6% of all Slovenian investments abroad, Vizjak also said.

Serbian Minister for International Economic Relations Milan Parivodic, meanwhile stressed that Slovenian companies invested EUR 500m from the beginning of privatisation until 2004. He added that investments worth EUR 150m are to be expected this year.

There are 350 to 400 companies with Slovenian capital in Serbia, Vizjak said. They include direct investments, investments within the framework of Serbian privatisation, purchases of bankrupt companies, provision of capital injections and real estate.

Slovenia's largest grocer Mercator, which opened its first facility in Serbia three years ago, opened two more stores in Cacak and Belgrade in the beginning of December, worth a total of EUR 26m.

Meanwhile, hardware trader Merkur opened in October its first store in Belgrade, an investment worth EUR 10m.

Slovenia's biggest bank, Nova ljubljanska banka (NLB), purchased in July a 98.43% stake in Novi Sad-based Continental banka, becoming its majority owner.

In 2003, NLB bought a 90% stake in Podgorica-based Montenegrobanka in 2003. It moreover acquired in April a 80% capital share in Euromarket banka, also based in Podgorica. Both investments were worth EUR 21m.

Source: Slovene Press Agency STA

Author: STA