Digital Transformation

Slovenia Honors Top Foreign Investors at FDI Award Ceremony 2023

November 2023 Business

By Maja Dragovic

In a prestigious ceremony at the Ljubljana Exhibition and Convention Centre, SPIRIT Slovenia, in collaboration with the Ministry of Economic Development, Tourism, and Sport, bestowed accolades upon the foremost foreign investors of 2023. Recognizing outstanding contributions to the Slovenian economy, the FDI Award Slovenia 2023 celebrated the achievements of Carthago, Boxline UCL, Elan, and SPAR Slovenia.

In a tradition dating back to 2006, SPIRIT Slovenia has been lauding the accomplishments of foreign enterprises expanding their operations and workforce in Slovenia. These awards underscore the pivotal role played by foreign investors in fostering economic growth, job creation, and technology transfer. Against the backdrop of a globalised business landscape, the FDI Award Slovenia acknowledges the symbiotic relationships formed between foreign owners, Slovenian employees, suppliers, and customers.

Matjaž Han, Minister of Economic Development, Tourism, and Sport, expressed Slovenia’s appreciation for foreign investments, stating, “In Slovenia, we are well aware of the significance of investors for our country, as their investments have multiple effects on our economic growth.” He highlighted Slovenia’s recent success in increasing foreign direct investments, which reached EUR 20.2 billion in 2022, an 8% rise from the previous year. The influx of investments has been increasing for the sixth consecutive year, with most coming from Austria, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Croatia, and Germany. Han underscored Slovenia’s position as an encouraging, stable, and secure business environment and outlined the nation’s vision to become a leading European hub for research and development.

Tanja Fajon, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign and European Affairs, highlighted Slovenia’s economic growth since 2006, with investments surging by over 200%. She noted this is also the result of Slovenia’s recent diplomatic efforts, especially during its bid for non-permanent membership in the United Nations Security Council. “On many of these journeys, strong economic delegations accompanied us,” she noted, referring to official visits to countries like Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Qatar, and Vietnam. »During the visit to Vietnam, Luka Koper and the Vietnamese electric vehicle manufacturer VinFast signed a cooperation agreement on the transport of vehicles of this brand through the port of Koper. With this, Luka Koper became the entry point for Vietnamese electric vehicles.« As Slovenia gears up for UN Security Council membership in 2024, Fajon anticipates continued diplomatic and economic initiatives on the global stage.

Rok Capl, Acting Director of SPIRIT Slovenia, expressed Slovenia’s objective to establish lasting partnerships with foreign investors. “The goal of our country is not only to attract foreign investors but also to create long-term strong partnerships with them.” Capl highlighted the success of SPIRIT Slovenia’s program, involving over 80 companies, designed to support existing foreign investors in overcoming challenges and fostering growth. He emphasized the program’s effectiveness in helping companies navigate various business environments.

The winners

The FDI Award recipients in various categories were:

Large Enterprise category: CARTHAGO, d. o. o. Carthago, established in 2008, emerged as a leading manufacturer of high-end recreational vehicles in Slovenia. With a recent investment of over 50 million euros in a state-of-the-art facility in Ormož, Carthago continues to be a beacon of excellence, contributing significantly to economic growth and employment in the region.

Small and Medium-sized Enterprise category: BOXLINE UCL, d. o. o. Founded in Milan in 1985, Boxline has evolved into a major player in maritime transport. In Slovenia, it has demonstrated exceptional growth over the past four years, quadrupling their revenue with just 46 employees, resulting in EUR 82m in revenue, EUR 2min profit, and over EUR 100,000 in added value per employee. With a commitment to neutrality and reliability in their shipping services, Boxline has expanded its presence to six European subsidiaries within just 12 years.

Green, Creative, and Smart Category: ELAN, d. o. o. Elan, headquartered in Begunje, is a part of the KJK SPORTS group, excelling in winter sports, nautical endeavors, composites, and sports facilities. Boasting a revenue increase of 39.6% to EUR 130m in 2022, Elan is a trailblazer in innovation, sustainability, and corporate responsibility, epitomizing excellence in the Slovenian business landscape.

Significant Impact on the Slovenian Economy Category: SPAR Slovenia, d. o. o. As part of the SPAR Austria conglomerate, SPAR Slovenia has been a key player in the Slovenian retail sector since 1991. With over 110 stores, 8 restaurants, and more than 5,000 employees, SPAR Slovenia has consistently recorded growth in revenue, profitability, and community support, standing out as a socially responsible retail giant.