German-owned caravan manufacturer Carthago, global shipping company Boxline UCL, sporting goods manufacturer Elan and retailer Spar Slovenija received the FDI Slovenia Awards 2023 when the public agency SPIRT Business Development Slovenia and the Ministry of the Economy, Tourism and Sport presented awards to the best foreign investors on 21 November 2023.
Carthago received the award in the category of large companies, Boxline in the category of small and medium-sized enterprises, Elan as a green, creative, and smart company and Spar as a company that has made a significant impact on the Slovenian economy.
Foreign direct investment increased for the sixth year in a row last year, up 8% on the previous year to EUR 20.2 billion, proving that Slovenia "continues to offer a very encouraging, stable and, above all, secure business environment in the international context," said Minister of the Economy, Tourism and Sport Matjaž Han at the ceremony. The largest investors last year were Austria, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Croatia and Germany.
The acting head of SPIRT Business Development Slovenia, Rok Capl, said that the aim was not only to attract foreign investors, but also to forge strong, long-term partnerships.
Founded in 2008, Carthago is a leading manufacturer of high-quality caravans in Slovenia and a subsidiary of the German company Carthago Reisemobilbau GmbH. At its production facility in Odranci, the company employs almost 900 people and generates an annual turnover of 228 million euros and a profit of 10.2 million euros.
In April, the company opened a high-tech factory in Ormož worth more than 50 million euros. "It is an excellent production company that keeps an eye on its employees and its social responsibility. The company attaches great importance to teamwork, group events for employees and solidarity actions, which also represent an important link to the local environment," said the jury of the FDI Award Slovenia.
The multi-award-winning company is also sustainable and highly innovative and makes an important contribution to economic growth and employment in the region.
Sandra Županec and Stefan Weiss, the managing directors of Carthago, described the award as "great recognition in the crowd of successful companies". "This award gives us an additional 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 and liner shipping carrier serving a variety of destinations. In 2008, the company opened an office in the port city of Koper, which has become an important entry and exit point for freight traffic between Asia and Central and Southern Europe.
"In the last four years, the company has achieved remarkable results in Slovenia, quadrupling its turnover and generating 82 million euros in revenue, 2 million euros in profit and more than 100,000 euros in added value per employee with just 46 employees".
Begunje-based Elan, which employs more than 900 people, was described as a company that cares about the environment, the community and people. Turnover increased by 40% to 130 million euros in 2022, making it the most successful year in Elan's history.
"Innovation is their guiding principle, they strive for constant improvement and want to offer their users an unparalleled experience at all levels." The company is powered by 100% renewable electricity and strives to continuously improve its environmental footprint. It has received numerous international awards.
Jeffery Tirman, CEO of Elan, explained that eight years ago the company set out to become a global leader again, and in 2022 "we achieved historic results that represent an important milestone in our almost 80-year history".
The company attributes its success to its balanced approach, which includes a clear development strategy, a particular focus on financial performance and a commitment to the environmental aspects of its business. "We believe that our clear focus on healthy, balanced growth has created a solid base from which we have now grown profitably and successfully, with 2023 on a par with 2022."
Spar Slovenija, a subsidiary of Spar Austria owned by Aspiag Management AG, has 110 stores, 8 restaurants, its own bakery and a modern distribution centre in Slovenia. With 5,000 employees, the company is one of the largest employers in the country. Net sales increased from 751 million euros in 2019 to 964 million euros in 2022, while profits rose from 9.6 million euros to 16.9 million euros in the same period.
"The company also plays an important role in supporting the Slovenian community by sponsoring numerous charities and events, supporting local farmers and suppliers and helping to boost the Slovenian economy. The company's shelves are 70% stocked with food from Slovenian production«.
David Kovačič, CEO of Spar Slovenija, said that the FDI Award Slovenia is 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 the further development and growth of SPAR in Slovenia," he said.
The FDI Slovenia Awards were presented for the 18th time. In addition to the SPIRIT Director and the Minister of of the Economy, Tourism and Sport, Foreign Minister Tanja Fajon and economist Mojmir Mrak also spoke at the event.
Mrak discussed the new global corporate governance, in which geopolitics and the redistribution of investments to domestic and neighbouring, politically compatible countries play a major role.
In his opinion, Slovenia could be one of the winners of this constellation but is currently not taking advantage of this opportunity. Politicians are focusing too much on how to "divide up the cake" instead of making it bigger, he said, calling for a more business-friendly policy.
Minister Fajon agreed that geopolitics was becoming increasingly important, noting that alliances facilitated political cooperation and opened up new opportunities in the markets by supporting businesses.
Economics Minister Han assessed that Slovenia is attractive for investments, but that it could further improve the business environment.