The Slovenia Times

Carthago, Boxline, Elan and Spar win FDI awards

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SPIRIT Slovenija acting director Rok Capl,, Carthago CEOs Sandra Županec and Stefan Weiss, and Foreign Minister Tanja Fajon at the 2023 FDI Slovenia Awards ceremony. Photo: STA

German-owned caravan maker Carthago, global shipping company Boxline UCL, sports goods maker Elan and retailer Spar Slovenija won the 2023 FDI Slovenia Awards as the SPIRT Slovenija investment promotion agency and the Economy Ministry honoured best foreign investors on 21 November.

Carthago won the accolade in the category of large companies, Boxline among small and medium-sized companies, Elan as a green, creative and smart company, and Spar as a company that has made a significant impact on the Slovenian economy.

FDI increased for the sixth year in a row last year by 8% on the year before to €20.2 billion, which proves that Slovenia "remains a very encouraging, stable and above all safe business environment in the international context", Economy Minister Matjaž Han said at the ceremony. The biggest investors last year were Austria, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Croatia and Germany.

Acting head of SPIRIT Rok Capl said the goal was not only to attract foreign investors but to forge strong, long-term partnerships.

Innovative and socially responsible companies

Founded in 2008, Carthago is a leading high-end caravan maker in Slovenia and a subsidiary of the Germany company Carthago Reisemobilbau GmbH. With a production facility in Odranci, the company employs almost 900 people, generating €228 million in annual revenue and a profit of €10.2 million.

In April, it opened a high-tech factory in Ormož worth more than €50 million. "They are an excellent manufacturing company, with an eye for employees and social responsibility. They place great emphasis on teamwork, group events for employees and solidarity actions, which are also an important link with the local environment," the FDI Award Slovenia jury said.

The company, which has won numerous awards, is also sustainable and highly innovative, and makes an important contribution to the economy's growth and employment in the region.

Sandra Županec and Stefan Weiss, Carthago CEOs, said the award was a "great recognition in the crowd of successful companies". "This award gives us an extra boost and confirms that we are on the right track."

Boxline, originally a shipping agency founded in Milan in 1985, has developed into a groupage operator and scheduled carrier in the maritime-transport sector serving an array of destinations. In 2008 it opened an office in the port town of Koper, becoming an important entry and exit point for cargo travelling between Asia and central and SE Europe.

"Over the past four years, the company has achieved remarkable results in Slovenia, quadrupling its revenue and, with only 46 employees, generating €82 million in revenue, €2 million in profit and more than €100,000 in added value per employee."

SPIRIT Slovenija acting director Rok Capl, Elan CEO Jeffery Tirman and Economy Minister Matjaž at the 2023 FDI Slovenia Awards. Photo: STA

Begunje-based Elan, employing more than 900 people, was described as a company caring for the environment, community and people. Its revenue went up by 40% to €130 million in 2022, making it Elan's most successful year ever.

"Innovation being their guiding principle, they strive for continuous improvement, aiming to provide an unparalleled experience for their users at all levels." The company is 100% powered by renewable electricity and is committed to continuously improving its environmental footprint. It has received numerous international awards.

Elan CEO Jeffery Tirman said that eight years ago the company set out to become a global leader again and in 2022 "we achieved historic results, which are a major milestone in our almost 80-year history".

They attribute their success to their balanced approach, which includes a clear development strategy, special attention to financial performance and a commitment to the environmental aspects of their business, he said. "We believe that our clear focus on healthy balanced growth has provided a solid base from which we have now grown profitably and succeeded, with 2023 being on a par with 2022."

Spar Slovenija, a subsidiary of Spar Austria, owned by Aspiag Management AG, has more than 110 stores, 8 restaurants, its own bakery and a modern distribution centre in Slovenia. With 5,000 employees it is one of the biggest employers in the country. Its net sales revenue went up from €751 million in 2019 to €964 million in 2022, and profit rose from €9.6 million to €16.9 million in the same period.

"The company also plays an important role in supporting the Slovenian community, sponsoring numerous charities and events, supporting local farmers and suppliers, and helping boost the Slovenian economy. Its shelves are stocked with 70% of food from Slovenian producers."

SPIRIT Slovenija acting director Rok Capl, Spar Slovenija CEO David Kovačič and Economy Minister Matjaž at the 2023 FDI Slovenia Awards. Photo: STA

Spar Slovenija CEO David Kovačič said the FDI Award Slovenia was a "great recognition and a confirmation of our continuous commitment to quality, innovation and sustainability". "We see this award as a confirmation of our successful cooperation with the Slovenian community and as an incentive for further development and growth of SPAR in Slovenia," he said.

The FDI Slovenia Awards were given out for the 18th year. Apart from the SPIRIT director and the economy minister, the event was also addressed by Foreign Minister Tanja Fajon and economist Mojmir Mrak.

Mrak discussed the new global corporate governance in which geopolitics and redistribution of investments to domestic and neighbouring and politically compatible countries play a major role.

He believes Slovenia could be among the winners of this setup, but is not seizing the opportunity for the time being. Politics focuses too much on how to "divide the pie", rather than how to make this pie larger, he said, urging more business-friendly policies.

Minister Fajon agreed that geopolitics is increasingly important, noting that alliances made political cooperation easier and, by supporting businesses, opened up new opportunities on markets.

Economy Minister Han assessed that Slovenia is attractive for investments, but that it could further improve the business environment.


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