The best foreign investors in 2023 are the companies Carthago, Boxline UCL, Elan and SPAR Slovenija
The FDI Award Slovenia 2023 was awarded to the following companies: Carthago, d. o. o. in the large company category, Boxline, d. o. o. in the small and medium-sized company category, Elan, d. o. o. in the green, creative and smart category and SPAR Slovenija, d. o. o. in the category for the significant impact on Slovenian economy.
Since 2006, SPIRIT Slovenia, together with the Ministry of the Economy, Tourism and Sport, has been giving awards to the most successful foreign companies expanding their business and the number of their employees in Slovenia. The purpose of these awards is to recognise, reward, and value the outstanding contributions of foreign investors in the Slovenian business environment. Foreign investors have an important impact on the economic growth of the country as a whole, playing a major role in job creation and value added, the transfer of new knowledge and technologies, the inflow of fresh capital that enables greater investment in research and development, and contributing to the growth of local communities and regions. The FDI Award Slovenia honours foreign owners, Slovenian employees, and their suppliers and customers, who are the basic building blocks of their success.
Matjaž Han, Minister of the Economy, Tourism and Sport: “In Slovenia, we are very aware of the importance of investors for our country, as their investments have a multiplier effect on our economic growth. Slovenia managed to further increase its foreign direct investment inflows to EUR 20.2 billion last year, up just under 8% compared to the previous year. It is particularly encouraging that investment inflows have increased for the 6th year in a row. This shows that Slovenia remains a very encouraging, stable and above all safe business environment in the international context. The countries that invested the most in Slovenia in 2022 are EU countries – Austria, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Croatia and Germany. Slovenia has a clear vision for attracting foreign direct investments. In the future, we want to take a breakthrough step to further increase the added value and competitiveness of the Slovenian economy. The Ministry is also preparing an Action Plan to increase the competitiveness of the Slovenian economy, which will position Slovenia as a leading European centre for research and development in advanced technologies.”
Tanja Fajon, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign and European Affairs: “Since 2006, the value of investments has increased by more than 200%. The number of foreign companies and their employees has also increased significantly over the years. This is also the result of Slovenia’s stepped-up foreign policy activities and strengthened economic diplomacy. Even though Slovenian companies do most of their business in the country’s vicinity, the global situation is forcing them to penetrate foreign markets. This is one of the reasons why, in the last year, during our candidacy for non-permanent membership of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), we visited countries where we have not been present for many years, if not ever. We have also presented the Slovenian economy and opened doors for our companies during visits to Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Qatar, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Guatemala, Vietnam, Indonesia, South Korea, etc. We have also been accompanied by strong business delegations on many of our trips, and during our visit to Vietnam, the Port of Koper and the Vietnamese electric vehicle manufacturer VinFast signed a cooperation agreement on the transhipment of VinFast vehicles through the Port of Koper. This makes the Port of Koper the entry point for Vietnamese electric vehicles. Slovenia will continue to focus on such activities during its membership in the UN Security Council, where we will sit at the same table as the most influential and economically powerful countries in the world from 1 January 2024.”
Rok Capl, Acting Director of SPIRIT Slovenia: “The country's goal is not just to attract foreign investors, but also to create strong long-term partnerships with them, so that we can build a solid foundation for sustainable development and prosperity, both locally and globally. At SPIRIT Slovenia, we actively attract foreign investors and, a few years ago, we developed a programme to provide tailored support to existing foreign investors. This program assists in their growth, further development, and in strengthening their position within the system of foreign owners. More than 80 companies are already part of the programme, which helps them to make new investments, solve specific problems in the business environment and connect with government institutions. We are particularly pleased that its effectiveness has been praised by the companies involved, as this means that the programme is actually helping them to solve their challenges.”
This year, the expert jury, which, for the eighteenth consecutive year, has selected the FDI Award Slovenia recipients, shortlisted only those companies that met the following criteria: at least 10% foreign ownership in the previous year, value added per employee above the Slovenian average, profitable operations in the previous year, at least ten employees, and settled liabilities to the Financial Administration.
The keynote speaker was Dr Mojmir Mrak, Professor of International Finance and EU Economic Policies at the Faculty of Economics at the University of Ljubljana, who spoke about foreign direct investment in light of the new geopolitical reality. He was joined by the Minister of Foreign and European Affairs, Tanja Fajon, and the Minister of the Economy, Tourism and Sport, Matjaž Han, who presented their views on foreign investment in Slovenia in light of the new situation. The FDI Awards Slovenia supplement the broader Slovenian strategy for attracting foreign direct investments, which are one of the priorities of the Ministry of the Economy, Tourism and Sport as well as the entire Government of the Republic of Slovenia.
Recipients of the 2023 Awards
Winner of the award in the LARGE COMPANY category: CARTHAGO, d. o. o.
Founded in 2008, the company is a leading manufacturer of premium recreational vehicles in Slovenia and is a subsidiary of Carthago Reisemobilbau GmbH, a German company with more than 40 years of experience in the industry. With a production plant in Odranci, they are a valuable asset for the Slovenian economy, especially for eastern Slovenia, with revenues of EUR 228 million, a profit of EUR 10.2 million and more than 895 employees. In April this year, a new investment of more than EUR 50 million was launched – a high-tech plant in Ormož. They are an excellent manufacturing company, with a commitment to employees and social responsibility. They place a strong emphasis on teamwork, group events for employees and solidarity campaigns, which are also important ways of connecting with the local community. They ensure the high quality of their vehicles by using the highest quality materials and components, and by implementing a rigorous quality control process to ensure that their products meet the highest standards. They have won numerous awards for their motorhomes, including being named European Motorhome of the Year four times, most recently in 2023 for the stylish chic c-line series. The company is also sustainable and highly innovative, and its recreational vehicles are synonymous with quality and comfort. Carthago makes an important contribution to the growth of the economy and employment in the region.
Sandra Županec and Stefan Weiss, Directors of Carthago, d. o. o: “We would like to thank SPIRIT Slovenia for the FDI Award in the Large Company category. This award is a great recognition for us. Thank you for recognising us in the crowd of successful companies. The award gives us extra drive and confirms that we are on the right track.”
Winner of the award in the SMALL AND MEDIUM-SIZED COMPANY category: BOXLINE UCL, d. o. o.
Boxline was founded in Milan in 1985 by brothers Carlo and Sandro Milani, who are still members of the Board of Directors. The company, which started as a shipping agency, has evolved into a groupage operator and a regular carrier in the maritime transport sector, providing liner services for full containers to various destinations. In 2008, the company started expanding abroad and opened an office in Koper, which has become an important entry and exit point for cargo between Asia and Central and South-Eastern Europe. Transport services include both import and export freight forwarding in Europe, North and Central and South America, Africa, the Middle East and the Mediterranean, Asia and China. Already as a maritime agent and later as a joint operator, the company has always upheld the principle of neutral and reliable maritime services in the freight forwarding business. In the last four years, the company has achieved remarkable results in Slovenia, quadrupling its revenues, and with only 46 employees, they have managed to generate revenues of EUR 82 million, profits of EUR 2 million, and more than EUR 100,000 of added value per employee. Boxline ucl d. o. o. has also opened six branches in Europe in 12 years, increasing its presence in other markets.
Winner of the award in the category GREEN, CREATIVE, SMART: ELAN, d. o. o.
The Begunje-based company is a member of the KJK SPORTS Group. The Elan Group consists of four divisions: winter sports, nautical, composites and sports facilities. Skis, leisure equipment and sailing boats are the most famous pillars of the Elan brand. They make skis and components for wind farms, motorhomes and aircraft for other brands. In 2021, their revenues amounted to EUR 93 million, and in 2022 they increased by 39.6% to EUR 130 million, making it Elan’s most successful year to date. They employ more than 900 people. Under the Elan brand there is a wide range of sports product ranges for all days of the year, with a common denominator being the care for the environment, community and people. With innovation as their guiding principle, they strive for continuous improvement to provide an unparalleled experience for their users at all levels. In addition to superior design, technological perfection is also important, while sustainability is a key focus. The company is 100% powered by renewable electricity and is committed to continuously improving its environmental footprint. They are Green Star certified for their achievements in supply chain sustainability, reduction of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and local production. In the future, they want to become the brand of choice for everyone who wants to spend their leisure time actively in the Alpine world, with care for the environment and the people who live there at the forefront of their minds. They are the recipient of numerous international awards, most recently the Red Dot Award for Elan Primetime skis and the Elan E6 sailing boat. The company is also an ambassador of the Slovenian economy as part of the national I Feel Slovenia campaign. Green. Creative. Smart., led by SPIRIT Slovenia.
Jeffery Tirman, Chief Executive Director of Elan d. o. o.: “Eight years ago, we set out on a path to re-establish ourselves as a world-class company on the world stage. In 2022, we achieved historic business results, which represent a remarkable milestone in our nearly 80-year history. We attribute our success to our balanced approach, which includes a clear development strategy, special attention to financial performance and a commitment to the environmental aspects of our business. We believe that our clear focus on healthy balanced growth has provided a solid base from which we have now profitably grown and succeeded, with 2023 on par with 2022.”
Recipient of the award in the category SIGNIFICANT IMPACT ON THE SLOVENIAN ECONOMY: SPAR Slovenija, d. o. o.
SPAR Slovenia is part of the SPAR Austria Group, which is owned by ASPIAG MANAGEMENT AG, the Austrian group that also operates SPAR stores in the markets of north-eastern Italy, Hungary and Croatia. With more than 110 stores, eight restaurants, its own bakery, and a modern distribution centre, SPAR Slovenia is Slovenia’s leading retailer. It has more than 5000 employees, making it one of Slovenia’s largest employers. Since 1991, the company has had a significant impact on the Slovenian economy, introducing a completely new approach to customers. Net sales have been growing steadily, increasing from EUR 751 million in 2019 to EUR 964 million in 2022, and profits from EUR 9.6 million in 2019 to EUR 16.9 million in 2022. The company also plays an important role in supporting the Slovenian community, sponsoring numerous charities and events, supporting local farmers and suppliers and helping to boost the Slovenian economy. Their shelves are stocked with 70% of food from Slovenian producers, and they are one of the leading retailers in offering locally produced food. They have also opened doors for Slovenian suppliers to their stores in other countries, and the Štartaj, Slovenija (Start Slovenia) project has given visibility and a breakthrough to young, small, and innovative entrepreneurs. They are a socially responsible company and spend a significant amount each year on various socially responsible projects. They are also fully certified as a Family Friendly Company and as a Socially Responsible Employer in the area of occupational health and safety, and have a strong sustainability orientation.
David Kovačič, Chief Executive Officer of SPAR Slovenia: “Receiving the FDI Award Slovenia is a great recognition and a confirmation of our continuous efforts to offer quality, innovation and sustainable operations. 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.”