The Slovenia Times

Economy Overview



FinMin: Slovenia will stay comparably favourable for capital

Maribor, 2 March - Finance Minister Andrej Bertoncelj has told the newspaper Večer that despite the planned increase in schedular taxation, Slovenia will stay a "comparably favourable country", with capital still being less taxed than on average in the OECD countries.

Commenting on the negative reaction from business associations to the announced changes to taxation of corporate income and capital, the minister said that the whole picture needed to be taken into account. "We should for, for example, listen to the OECD, which has told us that capital in Slovenia is undertaxed," he said, adding that "we therefore needed the measures".

Bertoncelj said that the most appropriate thing to do was to keep a favourable system of final taxation, adding that "we only increased the tax rate by five percentage points". According to the minister, the government was thinking about business while adopting the measures, including when it comes to the lowest mandatory rate of income tax. He added that the possibility to raise the corporate income tax rate to 22% would depend on the possible cooling down of the economy.

The minister noted that the state had decided to relieve the tax burden on labour by changing the income tax brackets, raising tax breaks, lowering tax rates, expanding tax brackets and lowering taxation of holiday allowances and performance bonuses. The government expects from companies to keep gross wages at the current level, so that employees get higher net wages, and to pay out as high holiday allowances as possible, he added.


Finance Minister Andrej Bertoncelj


Minister says govt had to intervene in sale of Istrabenz hotels

Ljubljana, 22 February - Economy Minister Zdravo Počivalšek defended in an interview for Mladina the government's decision to task the bad bank with suspending the sale of six Istrabenz hotels. He suggested the bad bank had engaged in a "covert agreement" to sell too quickly and too cheaply to a "wrong owner". The minister also argued against the privatisation of Abanka.

The minister's interview comes after the government tasked the Bank Assets Management Company (BAMC) with seizing shares of Istrabenz Turizem which the tourism company used as collateral for loans. The move was made just as the deadline for binding bids for Istrabenz Turizem, which owns six hotels in Portorož on the Slovenian coast and which has overdue liabilities to the bad bank, was about to expire.

Počivalšek said that there was a "covert agreement" in the sale of the company, to which the government had to respond. He added that the BAMC had not followed the tourism strategy by wanting to sell "too quickly and too cheaply to a wrong owner". "What they were doing was a sabotage," the minister said, with the "wrong owner" possibly being a reference to Serbian businessman Miodrag Kostić, who has been mentioned as a prospective bidder for the six hotels.

Asked whether the replacement of the management of the bad bank would be followed by the replacement of Lidija Glavina, the chairman of Slovenian Sovereign Holding (SSH), he said he was satisfied with the "staff situation in the BAMC and SSH developing in the positive direction". The minister assessed that after the privatisation of the NLB bank, the third-largest bank Abanka should remain state-owned, "because we too are able to manage banks at least as well as some fund". He thinks that the commitment to sell the bank in exchange for the approval of the 2013 state-sponsored bailout should be re-negotiated with the European Commission.


The resort town of Portorož.


Perutnina gets new board as MHP takeover completed

Ljubljana, 21 February - Poultry producer Perutnina Ptuj got new supervisory and management boards on Thursday as the new owner, the Ukrainian poultry giant MHP, completed its acquisition of a 91% stake in the company from Russian-Slovenian steel group SIJ.

As soon as MHP took possession of Perutnina Ptuj stock, five of the nine members of the supervisory board were replaced with four MHP managers and Ljubljana lawyer Uroš Ilić, who was named chief supervisor. The supervisory board appointed a new management, which will be a mix of senior Perutnina and MHP staff. Enver Šišić, the new CEO, has worked at Perutnina since 1998 save for a brief stint as manager of Lactalis subsidiary Dukat in Croatia. Similarly, David Visenjak has been with the company since 2002. The third board member, Yevgeny A. Dranov, hails from the MHP Group, where he has worked as senior financial reporting manager.

The appointments wrap up what MHP said was its first such acquisition in Europe. The final transaction price will be revealed once all assets are priced at fair value. The company has repeatedly said it will invest in Perutnina and today reiterated its pledge to create new jobs, expand production and develop the Perutnina brand. "We're glad to have closed the transaction and to start realising our ambitious plans," MHP Holding director Yuriy Kosiuk was quoted. He said the partnership made MHP the fastest growing poultry producer in Europe and was an important stepping stone on the way to making MHP a major player on the international poultry market.


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