The Slovenia Times

Creating a Giant



Slovenia is constantly criticised for being an expensive country for IT companies and that administration processes take too long - why have you decided to invest in Slovenia?
Primarily because the business expansion in the region is a natural process and, as you know, ComTrade operates in all former Yugoslav republics. Hermes SoftLab is the largest software company in the region and the acquisition itself contributed in creating a regional software giant who is capable to serve markets that are much larger than our region, especially the U.S.A. and the European Union.
Hermes SoftLab is a company that has been working in the software development and services for more than two decades and it has the most experience in this type of business. Investing in Hermes SoftLab, ComTrade acquired knowhow that it needed in certain segments.
Despite the fact that Slovenia is an expensive country, Hermes' people and knowledge are of paramount importance to our group.

Has the investment paid off and have the initial expectations been met?
The acquisition was happening at the worst possible time since it was during the beginning of the world economic crisis. Despite that, I am convinced that this investment will pay off and, taking into account the potential and expertise of people at Hermes SoftLab, it was the right business decision.
What is your opinion on your experience during the purchase process itself?
If you are asking me whether there was any resistance to the purchase, I can tell you that there was no resistance. We had a positive experience that I already repeated several times to both Slovenian and Serbian media.

Was there anything negative about your experience?
The only negative is that the acquisition process was happening during the world economic crisis that is still present today and there are also indications the crisis will become even worse than in the last three years and with which the world economy will struggle until 2020.

Many foreign investors praise Slovenian workforce, stating they are diligent, educated and loyal. Do you also have such opinion on Slovenian labour force?
I share the opinion of other foreign investors. Over 1,000 engineers are employed by ComTrade and my experience is highly positive regarding their commitment, training and loyalty.
How do you comment the efforts of the Slovenian government to combat the crisis?
All local governments have their own recipes how to ease the crisis. I am convinced the Slovenian government is considering all possibilities to solve the difficult economic situation. My advice to the government would be to focus more on local companies and to have a greater appreciation and value more its own skills and economic capacity.

What are your plans for Hermes SoftLab in 2012 and beyond?
Primarily we want to strengthen gaming, storage and embedded sector as much as possible and to use the difficult economic situation to develop of our own IP solutions.

Founded in 1991 in Serbia, ComTrade Group now operates in South-Eastern and Western Europe, USA, and has operations in Middle East. It is one of the biggest companies in South East Europe, employing over 1,600 people, of which over 1,000 are software engineers.


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