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The two valleys of champions
Selška and Poljanska dolina, two remote and picturesque valleys in the mountain region of northwestern Slovenia offer idyllic landscapes – and are home to several globally leading companies.

Sport shoe manufacturer Alpina from the small town of Žiri is the global leader in cross country and biathlon ski boots with an over 30 percent share of the global market. One of every two cars on the planet was made with polymer components produced by Polycom from neighboring Poljane, one of Slovenia’s most award-winning SMEs. Domel from Železniki in Selška dolina is the global tech leader in vacuum cleaner motors. With close to 1,300 employees and 150 million euros of sales, Domel is also the largest company in the two valleys.

Železniki, with its 6,700 inhabitants, is also the hometown of Niko, the largest producer of lever arch mechanisms for office files in Europe with over one-fifth of the global market share. The company, which has 250 employees and around 30 million euros of revenues, is also the world’s largest manufacturer of metal rods for hanging files. Ten years ago, Niko was acquired by Austrian Ring International Holding and is one of the examples of successful foreign investment in the region. The second example is Poclain Hydraulics. The French company is a global leader in hydrostatic transmissions. In 2012 the company took over Žiri’s valve manufacturer Kladivar. The French invested heavily in its Slovenian subsidiary. They set up a strong valve competence center with its own prototype test laboratory. Sales went up from 20 million in 2011 to 41 million in pre-pandemic 2019. The new and modern Nordic ski center in Žiri bears the name Poclain, as the French company is its main sponsor. The savvy investors who managed to discover the Poljanska and Selška valleys surely don’t regret their choice.

Žiri / Photo: Občina Žiri, Tanja Mlinar
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