News roundup - Wednesday, 15 May, until 3pm

Ljubljana, 15 May - Below is a roundup of major events on Wednesday, 15 May, until 3pm local time:

Slovenia's GDP up 2.1% in Q1

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's GDP grew by 2.1% in real terms in the first quarter of 2024 compared to the same period last year. Seasonably adjusted data show an increase of 1.8% year-on-year, while compared to the previous quarter, the GDP remained level, the Statistics Office said. Domestic consumption increased by 1.7% in the first three months of the year, the most significant growth over the past year and a half.

EU Commission upgrades Slovenia growth forecast for this year

BRUSSELS, Belgium - The European Commission upgraded Slovenia's growth forecast for this year by 0.4 percentage points to 2.3%, but downgraded it by 0.1 point to 2.6% for next year. Inflation is now projected to slow to 2.8% by the end of this year, and to 2.4% in 2025, the latter being an upgrade from 2% forecast in February. Slovenia's general government deficit is projected to increase from 2.5% of GDP last year to 2.8% of GDP this year.

EBRD keeps GDP forecast for Slovenia at 2.3%

YEREVAN, Armenia - The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) kept its projection of Slovenia's GDP growth for 2024 at 2.3% as it released its latest outlook for the vast region where it is present. Next year, the country's growth is forecast to accelerate to 2.6%. In 2025, Slovenia's growth is forecast to benefit from recovery in its most important foreign trade partners.

Žbogar stresses rule of law as Security Council discusses Libya

NEW YORK, US - Slovenian Ambassador Samuel Žbogar stressed the role of the respect for the rule of law as the UN Security Council discussed the situation in Libya on Tuesday and was briefed on a report by International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor Karim Khan. He also welcomed the progress made in the investigations in Libya, in particular in relation to crimes in detention facilities and crimes during the civil war 2014-2020, and in the prosecutor's engagement with civil society through a victim-centred approach.

Arčon wraps up visit in Serbia

BELGRADE, Serbia - Ending his three-day visit to the Slovenian community in Serbia, Minister for Slovenians Abroad Matej Arčon held a couple of meetings there on Tuesday. He met Saša Verbič, the chair of the National Council of the Slovenian Ethnic Minority, the highest representative body of the community in Serbia, and Slovenia's honorary consul in Novi Sad, Rajko Marić. He also attended a meeting of Slovenian business executives active in Serbia.

President calls for action against violence

LJUBLJANA - President Nataša Pirc Musar is hosting her third forum, this time focusing on violence prevention. In addition to wars and natural disasters, society is most marked by tragic instances of violence, she said, adding "it is high time that we act". It is essential to find the right responses, listen to experts and implement the right measures to prevent violence and protect the victims, she said. The event focusses on three forms of violence: domestic violence, peer violence and elder abuse.

Russian owners deny selling SIJ steel group

LJUBLJANA - A news portal reported on Tuesday that Russian oligarch Andrey Zubitskiy is selling SIJ, one of the biggest Slovenian groups, which employs over 3,800 workers and in which the Slovenian state holds 25%. Dilon, the company through which the Russian owners control SIJ, meanwhile denied the news of planning to sell the group. It said the activities were being carried out by SIJ for the purpose of possible financing of the group's expansion, which was in line with the company's plans.

Bulgarian fund announces EUR 30 million investments in Slovenia

LJUBLJANA - The Bulgarian private equity fund Black Peak Capital announced on Tuesday additional investment in Slovenian SMEs, worth in total EUR 30 million, after it helmed a group of international investors that provided a EUR 20 million financial injection to the Ljubljana-based biotech company Geneplanet last year. "We have had very positive experiences when it comes to investments in Slovenia and relations with stakeholders in the local ecosystem," said Niklas Pichler, managing partner at Black Peak Capital.

Salus's net profit up by a third in Q1

LJUBLJANA - The group Salus, a Ljubljana-based pharmaceutical wholesaler, generated EUR 164.9 million in net sales revenue in the first quarter of the year, which is 17% more than in the same quarter last year, while its net profit increased by 34.5% to EUR 3.9 million. The growth is largely a result of the group's expansion in 2023, the company said. The group's plan for entire 2024 is around EUR 672 million in net sales revenue and EUR 9 million in net profit.

Austria Trend Hotel in Ljubljana changes hands

LJUBLJANA - The Austria Trend Hotel, one of the largest hotels in Ljubljana, has been sold to the Serbian group Agromarket, the news portal Property Forum reported. It is unclear how much the group, which also owns Semenarna Ljubljana, a company specialising in seed production, paid for the hotel. The business news portal Finance said that Agromarket reported the takeover of the vehicle company AVF Hotel to the competition regulator at the end of last year.

New national museum strategy unveiled

LJUBLJANA - Ahead of International Museum Day, which is observed on 18 May, the Culture Ministry published and presented a national strategy for museums and galleries for 2024-2028, the first such document for museums, which aims to adjust them to contemporary realities and trends. Minister Asta Vrečko said it aimed to encourage museums in their mission of being a centre in local communities, key state institutions and public infrastructure.

Eritrean gets four years in prison and expulsion for attempted murder

LJUBLJANA - The Ljubljana District Court sentenced on Tuesday an Eritrean citizen living in Slovenia since 2010 on asylum legislation to four years in prison for an attempted murder of a homeless woman whom he stabbed in the centre of Ljubljana in November 2022. The man was also sentenced to expulsion from Slovenia after having served the time. However, the expulsion may not take place; when the man was to be expelled before, the Foreign Ministry advised against it due to human rights violations in his home country.

© STA, 2024