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Prime Minister Janez Janša: Investment in a new paper machine has a strategic added value for Paloma

Today, Prime Minister Janez Janša attended the ceremony held at Paloma to mark the completion of the investment in a new paper machine, the largest investment in the Slovenian paper industry in the past 40 years.

The total value of the investment amounts to 41 million euro, making Paloma the competence centre of the SHP Group for high-quality hygienic paper products and the leading manufacturer in South-East Europe and beyond.

This investment also provides long-term perspective for the paper industry tradition in Sladki Vrh.

Prior to the ceremony, Prime Minister Janez Janša, the Minister of the Environment and Spatial Planning, Andrej Vizjak, and the Minister of Economic Development and Technology, Zdravko Počivalšek, met with the President of the Management Board of ECO-INVESTMENT, Milan Fil'o, and the Director-General of the SHP Group and President of the Management Board of Paloma, d.d., Richard Žigmund.

The Slovenian Prime Minister also addressed the guests of the ceremony on the occasion of the investment’s completion.

He opened by saying that, over the past few weeks, hardly a day has gone by when a Slovenian company has not opened new production capacities or laid a foundation for new investments, both small or large. "We are gathered here today to celebrate one of the largest investments in Slovenia and I would like to thank Mr Fil'o for investing in one of the most beautiful parts of our country," said the Prime Minister, adding that the first time he visited Sladki Vrh, he thought of it as one of Slovenia's gems, not only due to its natural beauty, but, as he was glad to observe, also to the creation of well-paid jobs, which provide the only real basis for social policy and prosperity.

"The past year has been difficult due to the epidemic. At the very beginning of facing this crisis, in many countries of the Western world, this epidemic has shown that some things are not self-evident. During the first weeks, the economically strongest countries were running out of hygiene products, and I mean their whole range of products such as those produced by Paloma. That was when we realised that some products are not to be taken for granted, but rather considered as a symbol of civilisation. In Slovenia, this has been a fact for the past 140 years, ever since Paloma’s founding, and will be all the more important in the future," said the Prime Minister. According to him, it is important to have a certain portion of production at home or within the EU, so as to not run out of products in the event of a sudden crisis. "The epidemic has significantly changed our view of investment, global trends and functioning of the global market. It is no longer important to manufacture products at the cheapest possible price anywhere in the world, but to make products accessible even when supply chains are interrupted," he said.

Prime Minister Janša stressed that the Slovenian Government plans to significantly improve the business environment for investment and entrepreneurship in general. "The National Assembly has received the first package of anti-bureaucratic measures that will significantly shorten procedures and eliminate all the red tape involved in actually positioning a project geographically, meeting all environmental and other requirements and doing it in real time, rather than it taking years and years and everyone with an interest throwing a spanner in the works so that something doesn't happen," said the Prime Minister. "There is also a comprehensive proposal in the National Assembly for tax changes, which aims to give people higher salaries, without increasing costs for businesses, with lower taxes and lower burdens, especially for those with more skills and with skills that are more competitive, so that the investments and jobs which we are creating will actually keep those more skilled in Slovenia, preventing them from leaving because of a few euros less in taxes or a higher salary right across the border," said the Prime Minister, adding that that was a double loss for the country, which is why the Government decided to address that issue. "If there is a sufficient majority in the National Assembly, salaries of all employees in the Slovenian private sector will be higher by the end of this year or at the beginning of the next. Salaries, which are now much lower compared to European standards, will be significantly higher, which will also allow Paloma to be more competitive," the Prime Minister said.

"This year, Slovenia marks its 30th anniversary of statehood and its birthday as a nation. The greatest gift to all of us on this birthday and holiday is that we are taking steps to increase the welfare of Slovenians," the Prime Minister stressed, adding that the only real basis for increasing welfare is economic growth. "We are investing more in the areas with real needs to be innovative, to protect the environment and to provide good-paying jobs," the Prime Minister said.

At the end of his address, the Prime Minister wished all Paloma and the holding company’s employees the highest possible salaries and as many innovative ideas as possible, which are a realistic basis for increasing added value, and wished the management many more satisfied customers, business success and bold investments in the future.

The ceremony ended by cutting the ribbon and starting the new paper machine. The assembled guests were given a tour of the production plant and the new paper machine, which was put into operation with today's ceremony.