The Slovenia Times

FDI Summit: government pro privatisation and FDI


Prime minister Miro Cerar, finance minister Dusan Mramor and foreign minister Karl Erjavec made an appearance at the summit which was held at the faculty of economics in Ljubljana. It wasn't just with their presence but also with their statements that they showed the new government's support for privatisation and FDI. It's a welcome attitude because during the summit investors complained about the lack of a clear strategy for foreign investments.

Cerar said that Slovenia still offers a lot of opportunities. "Privatisation is necessary", he stressed. The prime minister wants Slovenia to focus on the BRIC (Brasil, Russia, India and China) countries and other emerging markets.

Foreign minister Mramor showed that he has 28 points to improve the Slovene business environment. The points come from a paper he made last year with students while still working at the faculty of economics. One of the points is to improve the procedures of land permits. Mramor envisages stimulation packages for local governments.

According to the new finance minister, whose first focus it is to make Slovenia a 'macro-economic success story', the attitude in Slovenia towards FDI has changed from negative to positive. And he said that many good measures are already put in place in the country.

Karl Erjavec announced that he wants to expand the network of honorary consuls for the sake of business. The foreign minister thinks that Slovenia's diplomatic missions can play an important role in FDI. "Our diplomatic missions are the first contact points with foreign investors."

Foreign investors at the conference complained about a lack of a clear strategy for foreign investments in Slovenia, bureaucracy and high labour costs. They also expressed concern about the many young educated people in the country who want to leave, while Slovenia's high educated population is an important plus for foreign investors.

None of the investors regretted investing in Slovenia though and they still see the country as a good destination for FDI.

During the conference we kept a live blog. See below for the highlights of the FDI Summit Slovenia 2014.

Welcome to the live report of the FDI Summit Slovenia from the Faculty of Economics in Ljubljana. The offical part of the summit has finished. Here you can read the highlights. (latest on top)

Foreign minister Karl Erjavec stressed the importance of economic diplomacy. ,,Our diplomatic missions are the first contact points with foreign investors.They can bring FDI closer. They play an important role in promoting Slovenia as a place for investments.'' 

Erjavec also told that he wants to strenghten the network of honorary consuls to increase FDI.

The talk with minister Mramor is finished. Next, after a break, is minister Erjavec.

Mramor on public sector: Layoffs are on the table if reduction of wages is not possible.

Mramor on land permits: Stimulation package for local governments for stimulation business. There is not enough incentive. 

Mramor: No need to reduce employment. ,,In the past we reduced employment to reduce deficit. That was not good.  The consumer sector is very sensitive for fear of unemployment. There is no need to reduce employment in the public sector. The work costs are too high and they should be reduced. We have good opportunities in the consumer sector.''

Mramor: Perception of need of FDI has changed in Slovenia. Acceptance of privatisation and FDI here is positive.

Mramor: Last year here at the faculty we made points of Slovenia that should be better. We came to 28 points. First point is that Slovenia becomes macro economically a successtory. We had a pension reform, bad bank, first list of privatisation. You can not say that in previous period nothing was done.

Peter Kraljic wants to know what is the strategy of the privatisation? ,,Nobody knows why the current 15 companies were chosen.''  

Kraljic: My compliments for your courage. You took over in the most difficult time this country has known.

Mramor: The economy grows and unemployment is going doing. In this environment i'm pretty positive about the final stage of budget negotiations.

Government budget meetings are now on hold because of the appearance of Mramor and Erjavec on the summit. Mramor: That's how important the summit is.

Minister Dusan Mramor has arrived and he will be interviewed by our editor in chief Tilen Majnardi and director emeritus Peter Kraljic of McKinsey & Co.


Primas: Slovenia has to sell its good stories. 

Primas: Slovenia should not be afraid if something is moving out of the country. If something is moving out you have the possibility that something is moving in.

Radovan Bolko, Kolektor Group (not a FDI): Foreign ownership not always so nice. Good, it brings new capital but on the other side, we loose good working force and good processes with it. 

Haimo Primas, Lafarge Cement: It is difficult to stay in a difficult environment. Lafarge is busy trying to obtain an environmental permit for nine years already. We have good people but i've heard lots of young people who will leave the country at first chance.

We started the afternoon part of the summit in which later finance minister Mramor will appear. The Slovenian media here present hope to hear something of Mramor about the rumours that surfaced yesterday about Slovenia getting a warning from Brussels.

We have another break now.

Postl: Slovenia needs a  strategy about what to sell and how to sell it and then it has to stick with it.

Medja: There is liquidity. We have a lot of it and we are looking for projects.

Janko Medja, NLB: The real improvement was the recapitalisation of the banks. NLB has increased market shares in all fields. Our first responsibilty as banking sector is the stability of the sector. Our second role is to help the growth of the economy but not to start it. That is up to the companies.

Torborn Mansson, executive director BAMC (the 'bad bank'): We have a very clear direction. Our first objective is financial. Up unitl today we have acquired 4.5 billion. Our financial objective is that we make this non performing assets, performing assets. We are starting to see the new legislative framework. We are fully operational. We have a team of 75 people and work on 100 restructuring cases.

Holger Postl, TAM Durabus: A good step was done with the creation of the BAMC (Bank Assets Managent Company), the bad bank. I  see healthier banks. The doctors have cured. Now we must not forget the patients. In the economy not much has changed yet. It will take more than liquidity in the banking sector. It will take a new attitude.  

Moderator Igor Masten, professor Faculty of Economics: When we talk about revitalising we talk about recovery. The banking crisis had a high toll. 

We are having a break now after which we continue with a discussion about the role of the banksector in revitalising Slovenia's economy.

Advise of Joerg Zeddies for foreign investors: Don't get lost in media and political battles.

Damir Kustrak of the Croatian group Agrokor which bought Slovenian Mercator: This is a big opportunity for local companies. But they have to be competitive. We would like to see that the government works on the competitiveness of the companies.

Joerg Zeddies, SiMobil: There is a lot invested in education. We should create jobs so that the young talents don't leave the country. The other thing is that we also have to attract talents. 

Gerarld Martens of the now troubled Helios: We were the first privatisation. The markets are very tough. Business in Ukrain and Russia is down. We have 50 per cent less in sales. 

State secretary Metod Dragonja, responsible for privatisation: We have a clear roadmap in front of us. End of November we will have a clear strategy.

We will continue with a discussion about the first privatisation package in 2013/2014. Cerar will stay to hear the discussion.


Prime minister Cerar said that Slovenia is a great opportunity. ,,It is necessary to continue with privatisation.'' Cerar also said that Slovenia needs to focus on the BRIC countries and other rising markets. Key infrastructure should not be privatised.

Prime minister Miro Cerar just arrived and will hold his welcoming adress to the FDI Summit Slovenia 2014 now. 

The first discussion session just ended. We will resume at 10 when prime minister Miro Cerar will hold a welcoming adress.

Three tips for the Slovenian government of the three panelists: labour costs reduction, flawless administration, decide what you want to be famous for.


Siemens Slovenia: There is another threath. We loose a lot of multi nationals now in Slovenia.

According to Vojmir Urlep of Lek are subsidies sometimes counterproductive. ,,If you use them to keep a company alive it is a waste of money.''

Vojmir Urlep: Country should send clear message about FDI.

What could such a message be? La Rose: your government just has to pick up the phone.

La Rose: Slovenia is an incredibly innovative country.

Vojmir Urlep, President Management Board Lek: I beleive that 11 years of being owned by a foreign investor have proved to be succesful. Our partner enabled us to enter markets where we otherwise would have never been. 

David La Rose, IBM: We are investing in 30.000 people in Central and Eastern Europe. 

Aleksander Zalaznik Danfoss: Slovenia is a country where it's very easy to find out who has a specific talent. You can always find the necessary people here to run a business.

Dean Tekavcic of the Faculty of economics in her opening word: I hope that the message of the Summit will be that Slovenia is an open country.

The FDI Summit Slovenia 2014 will soon start with the AmCham Business Breakfast. 


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