News roundup - Wednesday, 26 April

Ljubljana, 26 April - Below is a roundup of major events on Wednesday, 26 April:

Report: Slovenia sent 20 armoured personnel carriers to Ukraine

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia has sent 20 six-wheeled light armoured personnel carriers to Ukraine, POP TV reported. Completed in secrecy, this is the latest shipment of arms after Slovenia has already donated tanks, howitzers, infantry vehicles and other gear. The vehicles were shipped to Ukraine with transport aircraft via either Poland or Slovakia. The operation was completed this week. The Defence Ministry neither confirmed nor denied the report for the STA, invoking a government decision which stipulates that data on Slovenian military aid to Ukraine are confidential.

Foreign Ministry cyberattack lasted over a year, reports say

LJUBLJANA - The parliamentary Foreign Policy Committee met behind closed doors to discuss the recently uncovered cyberattack on the Foreign Ministry. The news portals and N1 report that the attack had been in progress at least since March 2022. The meeting was called on the proposal of Anže Logar, a Democrat (SDS) MP who was foreign minister between March 2020 and May 2022. The start of what is believed to be a Chinese cyberattack can be traced back to January 2022, when Janez Janša, the prime minister at the time, gave statements implying Slovenia was planning to forge closer ties with Taiwan, said.

Slovenia and China mark 30 years of diplomatic relations

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia and China are marking 30 years since the launch of diplomatic relations this year. To mark the occasion, President Nataša Pirc Musar opened in Ljubljana an exhibition dedicated to Ferdinand Augustin Hallerstein (1703-1774), a Ljubljana-born Jesuit missionary to China. "He left a great mark with his work in China, where he spent half of his life, and with his innovations and scientific achievements he wowed the world," Pirc Musar said of the missionary who lived in China for 35 years.

Govt adopts stability programme, plans to decrease deficit

LJUBLJANA - The government adopted the 2023 stability programme, a document that must be submitted to the European Commission by the end of the month alongside the national reform programme. The related budgeting framework that was adopted last week by the National Assembly plans a gradual reduction of the general government deficit. The government adopted the national reform programme on 13 April. It included reforms in healthcare, education, digitalisation, taxes, public sector wages, housing and pensions.

Klakočar Zupančič notes need for unity at WWII resistance ceremony

ŠOŠTANJ - Addressing the national ceremony on the eve of Day of Uprising Against Occupation, National Assembly President Urška Klakočar Zupančič stressed the importance of cooperation between politically divergent factions. She feels the building of a rule by the people had been a distinctive feature of the resistance struggle in Slovenia. The ceremony was also attended by President Nataša Pirc Musar as well as the president of the upper chamber of parliament Marko Lotrič.

Han discusses sustainability in sports tourism in Zadar

ZAGREB, Croatia - Matjaž Han, the minister of the economy, tourism and sport, took part in the World Sports Tourism Congress in Croatia's Zadar, arguing that sustainable development of the industry should be enhanced. He presented Slovenia's tourism strategy, where outdoor activities rank high. On the sidelines of the congress, Han met Croatian Minister of Tourism and Sports Nikolina Brnjac to discuss ways to boost bilateral cooperation in tourism.

Sole bid for Koper-Divača track tunnel systems rejected again

LJUBLJANA - In a repeated tender for the construction of rail and tunnel systems on the new track between the port city of Koper and the Divača inland junction, the state-run company managing the track project, 2TDK, has again rejected the sole bidder because the bid exceeded the funds available. The decision is still subject to a potential appeal. The bid by a consortium that was once again led by Železniško Gradbeno Podjetje Ljubljana stood at EUR 207.7 million. This compares to EUR 198.5 million in the bid that was rejected in April 2022 with the explanation that the value of the contract subject to the tender was capped at EUR 142.2 million.

SID Bank reports substantially lower profit for 2022

LJUBLJANA - SID Bank, the state-owned export and development bank, saw its net profit reduced by two-thirds last year to EUR 8.25 million, which the management says is still above targets. The total of loans to companies and other non-bank customers rose by 15% to EUR 1.38 billion. "SID Bank's indicators reflect the challenges faced by the Slovenian and wider European economy," Damijan Dolinar, until recently chairman of the SID Bank management board, wrote in the annual report.

Retailers suffer major drop in revenue in March y/y

LJUBLJANA - Retail turnover in real terms was down nearly 13% in March compared to the same month last year, which was marked by the first weeks of the war in Ukraine, the Statistics Office said. In motor fuels trade, revenue declined by almost 17%, in non-food trade by some 11% and in food trade by 8%, shows fresh data. In the first quarter of this year, retailers' turnover was 0.5% lower than in the same period last year. It fell by 6% in the food category, by 4% in non-food trade, while motor fuels trade rose by 7%.

State to convert EUR 32m in claims against tourism holding Sava to equity

LJUBLJANA - The shareholders of the tourism holding Sava, which is in 90% state-ownership since last year, will decide in 29 May on a share capital increase to the tune of EUR 32 million. It will be brought about by a debt to equity swap on the part of the two main owners, the Slovenian Sovereign Holding (SSH), the state asset custodian, and KAD, a state-owned fund managed by SSH. They will convert EUR 16 million in claims each, shows the assembly call published by Sava.

Revenue for tool maker Unior up profit down last year

ZREČE - The group around the tool maker Unior generated EUR 287.7 million in net sales revenue in 2022, 20% more than the year before. Net profit was down 7.7% to EUR 10.2 million on the back of higher costs for energy, materials, services and labour. The financial liabilities of the group, which has 2,801 employees, decreased by EUR 10.3 million last year and the ratio of net financial liabilities to EBITDA stood at 2.89 at the end of the year.

Cetis more than doubles profit in 2022

CELJE - Cetis, a printing group specialised in secure documents, commercial printing and packaging, posted EUR 119.2 million in revenue in 2022, which is 52.2% more than the year before. The net profit rose by 165% to EUR 19 million, according to the company's annual report. Despite the many global challenges, the Cetis group ended the year 2022 very successfully, reads the report.

Charges pressed against textile company over labour infringements

MURSKA SOBOTA - The Labour Inspectorate announced it had filed criminal complaints against the textile company Moda Mi&Lan for repeated violations of workers' rights after it exhausted all possibilities of preventive action. Headquartered in Gornji Petrovci in northeastern Slovenia, the company employs many seamstresses from the defunct textile factory Mura, which used to be the country's flagship brand in the textile industry. Moda Mi&Lan owner and director Milan Mörec had been one of Mura's directors.

RTV management accused of irregularities in sale of shares

LJUBLJANA - The Culture Ministry, responsible for the country's media policy, alleges that in the latest sale of Eutelsat shares the management and supervisory boards of the public broadcaster RTV Slovenija violated the broadcaster's bylaws. The supervisory board approved in July last year the sale of EUR 1.8 million worth of Eutelsat Communications shares to cover severance payments for terminated workers, but the sale did not take place in 2022 because the share price did not reach the EUR 9.95 set by the supervisors as the minimum sale price, the ministry said on Tuesday. The RTV management dismissed all the accusations as false and misleading, and called on the ministry to withdraw them.

Slovenia's population up last year despite fewer births

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's population increased by almost 9,800 last year to 2,116,972, of which 9% were foreigners. Figures for births and deaths were both lower compared to the year before, shows fresh data from the Statistics Office. After more than two years of a downward trend, the number of female foreigners increased. The number of Slovenian citizens dropped by almost 7,600 and the figure for foreign residents in the country was up 17,400. The number of Ukrainian citizens increased by 250%.

Bear attacks man in woods south of Ljubljana

ŠKOFLJICA - A man walking his dog was attacked by a bear this morning, in a village some 20 kilometres south of Ljubljana. The man got away with a minor injury, and the bear retreated after the attack, said Škofljica municipality, where the incident took place. Local hunters and the relevant ministry have been informed of the attack. Since 2000, Slovenia recorded 16 bear attacks on a human. On average, there are up to two bear attacks per year, but in 2019 there were three. Mostly the victims suffer only minor injuries.

© STA, 2023