Business

14 Jun 2019, 01:07 AM

12 June 2019 - In the four months of this year, banks have granted loans in the amount of 2,95 billion EUR in total. It represents a 2,7% decline at a monthly level, indicates the data of the Central Bank of Montenegro, as reported by Cafe del Montenegro.

The amount of the granted loans is 4,3% higher in comparison to the first four months of last year. As far as the deposits are concerned, they declined by 3,2% in April in comparison to March and amounted to 3,32 billion EUR. At an annual level, deposits increased by 1%.

“There has been a decline in deposits at the monthly level since Atlas bank has been excluded from the records,” explained the representatives of the Central Bank of Montenegro.

If deposits of Atlas Bank are left out from the total deposits in April, the savings increase at banking system level amounts 7,6% annually.

“Time deposits make up 32,3% of the total, whereas demand deposits made up 67,6%,” stated the Report generated by the Central Bank of Montenegro.

In mid-May, the Central Bank of Montenegro reported that thirteen banks that operate in Montenegro (apart from Atlas and IBM that went bankrupt) were in the plus 14,3 million EUR at the end of the first quarter. Every bank has made a profit except for Nova and Zirat. Universal Capital Bank had the biggest increase in profit. In comparison to the same period last year, its profit has increased by 13 times.

Banks have earned a total of 33,4 million EUR based on interests and 8,3 million EUR based on fees and commissions. Erste Bank has made the highest profit in three months – 2,4 million EUR. It has earned 5,5 million EUR based on interests and 579.000 EUR based on fees and commissions.

Read more about Business in Montenegro at TMN's dedicated page.

13 Jun 2019, 15:55 PM

The custody department of the NLB bank from Podgorica, which controls the hidden owners of shares from the portfolio companies ZIF Eurofond, should in the next few days, on the demand of public notaries, block the remaining shares of this fund in favor of disagreeable shareholders to be offered for sale at the Stock Exchange in the process of execution of the several court judgments. NLB Bank is, in other words, the depository bank of ZIF Eurofond, which since December 2015 did not fulfill its legal obligation and paid disagreeable shareholders. 

Among the most valuable shares that will be the subject of the sale, in the process of compulsory billing, there are majority shares of the funds of Solana "Bajo Sekulic" from Ulcinj and Izbor from Bar.

These are the shares from the portfolio of funds that have been pledged to the bank Alpinum AG - Vaduz from Liechtenstein a few years ago, as means for securing loans withdrawn, as confirmed by the Capital Market Commission.

Public executives Aleksandar Boskovic and Aleksandra Tomkovic Vukoslavcevic have made three decisions on the execution of two court verdicts to settle 28 disagreeable shareholders of ZIF Eurofond, which, according to final verdicts, amount to a total of about EUR 1.15 million.

In an earlier communication with the custody department of NLB and representatives of the Central Clearing and Depository Company (CKDD), the notary Boskovic was unable to immediately sell the remaining Eurofund shares because he received an answer that the fund is not their owner.

Last week, NLB representatives finally admitted that the remainder of the fund's shares is in the hidden aggregate account number 8 right in that bank and that they will respond in writing to this notary’s request "in two or three days" which has not happened to this day.

Ulcinj’s Solana is the beneficiary of over 13 million square meters of land in the hinterland of Velika plaza in Ulcinj.  Izbor is a company from Bar which owns real estate in Bar, Podgorica and Cetinje. Out of the 161 disagreeable shareholders of ZIF Eurofond, about 70 of them had sued the fund a couple of years ago. The disagreeable shareholders initially demanded about €5.8 million. 

Boskovic: Interest rate is still being calculated 

The notary Boskovic told “Vijesti” that the procedures are in the process of obtaining accurate data on the quantity and type of actions owned by the executive debtor - ZIF Eurofond, which are registered with the CKDD. "In the course of the proceedings, the notary has taken all actions within his jurisdiction in order to enforce the collection of claims, recording the execution for all shares owned by the executive debtor. Execution decisions that, among other funds, were also executed on the shares of the executive debtor, were made in January and February this year. At this point, it is not possible to provide accurate information on the value of claims of executive creditors, since the solutions are determined by execution and to charge the interest rates calculated from the due date until the final payment, which remains uncertain. The sale of the shares that are the subject of the execution is carried out through an authorized shareholder on the stock exchange, after obtaining the amount and value of the shares. Also, I appreciate that by providing information on the identity of executive creditors and the number of their claims, the personal and economic interest of the participants in the proceedings could be jeopardized, protected by the Personal Data Protection Act," Boskovic stated.

Text by Milorad Milosevic, on June 12th, 2019, read more at Vijesti

13 Jun 2019, 15:52 PM

Former Director of Invest Bank Montenegro Enes Kurpejovic is the chief candidate for the future executive director of Montenegroberza, as "Vijesti" unofficially finds out from several sources at the top management of the Atlas Group.

Kurpejovic has been working for Montenegroberza for a month as a deputy director, and the mandate of the current acting director Mirko Markovic is due to expire on July 15th this year.

The Board of Directors of Montenegroberza decided in the first half of January this year, after the implemented but not realized tender, to decide on the further selection of directors and secretaries of this joint share company, and for the acting director of the company appointed Markovic, a graduated computer engineer who is permanently employed at the stock since 2011.

Kurpejovic did not even take part in this tender for the election of the new executive director and secretary of Montenegroberza, where as many as 15 potential candidates applied.

Sources of "Vijesti" claim that the new deputy director of stock exchange enjoys great confidence in the President of Atlas Group Dusko Knezevic, whose several affiliated companies together with MNE stockbroker agent Aco Aleksic, mostly control stock market management.

The Board of Directors of the Stock Exchange subsequently took the position not to publish publicly the names of the candidates who applied for the last year's ad.

Potential candidates interested in submitting, as stated in the advertisement, "apart from their personal reputation and professional ability, were required to have higher education (with a minimum of 240 CSPK credits) and that under the provisions of the Capital Market Act (Articles 153 and 154) do not have any restrictions on their appointments".

This tender preceded the resignation of Gojko Maksimovic, former director of Montenegroberza, at the beginning of December, who has been employed at this position since 2011.

Text by Milorad Milosevic, on June 12th, 2019, read more at Vijesti

13 Jun 2019, 00:19 AM

12 June 2019 - The Montenegrin Employers Federation will send an initiative to examine the Law on Internal Trade, which envisages the introduction of a non-working Sunday for retail and wholesale, to the Constitutional Court, reports Dnevne novine daily. The Advocate for Legal Affairs and Social Dialogue in MEF, Filip Lazović, stated that the amendments to the Law, about which two days ago the ministers finished the debate, violated the body of economic rights.

"We believe that the Law will soon be the subject of constitutional review, that is, a constitutional initiative will soon be sent. In Croatia, the Constitutional Court abolished this law three times, for similar reasons, which is likely to happen in Montenegro. We really anticipate this as a real possibility," said Lazović.

He added that the official stance of the Union is that the process of adoption is not good because the economy is not consulted, and the law is very much connected with the economy within the country.

"We consider the changes to be problematic both from the aspect of large trading systems and from the aspect of the small ones. The Montenegrin economy consists of 95 per cent of small and medium enterprises. We can observe the negative effects that the adoption of the Law will bring in the future, especially since we have strategically decided that tourism is our main industry. The question arises as to whether we can afford the luxury to deny huge traffic that takes place on Sundays, which is affected by numerous tourists on the coast and in the north," Lazović pointed out.

According to the Ministry of Economy, the provision relating to the introduction of the non-working Sunday will begin to apply three months after the entry into force of the Law, in particular in autumn. The reason for the postponement of the application, as they explained, is to leave the space for employers to organize and harmonize their business in relation to the changes that should be adopted by the Assembly soon.

Judging by the comments of the ruling coalition and part of the opposition parties, it is expected that amendments to the law will be adopted. The draft defines that apart from the established exceptions, all stores will have Sunday as a day off. Economy Minister Dragica Sekulić pointed out in the Assembly that the Government clearly defined the exceptions without the possibility of expanding them. This means that shopping malls, including Delta City (Podgorica) and Kamelija (Kotor), to which the Ministry has refused an exemption request, will be obligated to introduce non-working Sundays.

On Sundays and holidays, as specified, wholesale and retail trade can be performed in pharmacies, specialized stores or stores that sell bread, bakery products and cakes, flowers, souvenirs, prints, plant protection products or funeral equipment, gas stations or retail stores within the gas stations, as well as in markets, stands, stalls, showcases and machines outside the market and mobile shops. The amendments to the Law stipulate that employers who violate the provision and open their stores on Sundays may be fined between 1,000 and 10,000 EUR, and the Law also foresees the closing of these stores.

Read more about Business in Montenegro at TMN's dedicated page.

11 Jun 2019, 00:23 AM

10 June 2019 - Prime Minister Duško Marković recently hosted representatives of EasyJet, EasyJet Holidays and Karisma Hotels & Resorts. During the meeting, it was noted that Montenegro is an attractive tourist destination which has enormous potential for further development and growth, which is a great opportunity for airline companies such as EasyJet.

"The Government is strongly committed to the development of tourism, but also to improving the overall infrastructure as a key precondition for further progress of this branch of economy," said Prime Minister Marković.

He recalled the plans for valorisation of airports in Podgorica and Tivat, which is crucial for further development of tourism, given that Montenegro is mainly a flight destination.

Prime Minister Marković pointed out that the Government is open to a strategic partnership with EasyJet, which, according to Chief Executive Officer of EasyJet Johan Lundgren, is interested in long-term investments. This company, through EasyJet Holidays, is interested in offering its customers a unique holiday offer in Montenegro, and it is partnering with Karisma Hotels & Resorts, which has a hotel complex in Ulcinj.

EasyJet is considered one of the best low-cost companies. In Europe, it is the second largest airline with over 1,000 routes and, according to company management, exceptional operation and low operating costs.

So far, EasyJet has carried about 60,000 tourists on flights from London and Manchester to Tivat and flights from Geneva. They believe that the potentials of Montenegro, and especially its position in the region, give the conditions for further long-term development and increase in the number of tourists.

“Tivat, the seaside home of the country’s international airport, now benefits from multi-million-dollar marina Porto Montenegro, often nicknamed the Monte Carlo of the Adriatic: an extravagant spot of super yachts, luxury apartments, nightclubs, helipads and the country’s first five-star hotel. Whether it’s to go off the beaten track or to mix with the masses in Montenegro’s rapidly developing beach resorts, the country is embracing its new-found tourist industry and vastly developing as a result. Hinted by experts to be the next hit destination, there’s really no better time to go and see for yourself,” says the info report on Cheap Flights to Montenegro by EasyJet representatives.

Read more about business in Montenegro at TMN's dedicated page.

10 Jun 2019, 02:06 AM

08 June 2019 - President of Montenegro Milo Đukanović, according to his Cabinet, met with Philip Reeker Acting Assistant US Secretary of State for Europe and Eurasia.

An excellent level of bilateral relations was noted and the common interest was to pay special attention to the upgrading of economic relations in the next phase of cooperation, with the primary goal of improving the investment climate and creating an environment that will attract more and more US investments.

Reeker expressed high remarks on the results Montenegro achieved in its integration and reform efforts.

"What you did, and what the US strongly supported, is obvious. Today, Montenegro is a NATO member that contributes to security and a worthy ally, which is a legacy for the future and a guarantor of stability both in Montenegro and in the region" Reeker said.

Special attention was paid to the situation in the region and its European and Euro-Atlantic perspective.

President Đukanović reiterated his belief that integration of the region is the cornerstone of its stability, with the assessment that the Western Balkans, outside the context of the European and Euro-Atlantic perspective, remains an abandoned and risky region. Montenegro remains determined to continue its democratic and economic development, but is primarily strongly interested in the stability of the region and resolving remaining open issues.

"The Europeanization of the region is of great importance and we must return it to the European House," the President of Montenegro said.

The interlocutors agreed that for the future of the region and resolving the remaining issues, a strong presence of the United States, together with the European Union, is necessary.

Foreign Affairs Minister Srđan Darmanović also recently met with Acting Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Philip Reeker, on his working visit to the United States.

Read more about business in Montenegro at TMN's dedicated page.

07 Jun 2019, 21:14 PM

07 June 2019 - Montenegrin ICT sector is becoming one of the key economic branches in the context of economic recovery, besides traditional industries such as tourism, energy sector and agriculture.

Innovative Montenegrin ICT companies and start-ups are gradually getting into the international markets with a promising forecast regarding income generation and job creation.

International recognition of this sector is becoming stronger. Five leading ICT companies, Amplitudo, The Badger, Uhura solutions, Marleq and Super Hub are going to take part at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit 2019. The USA and the Netherlands are official organizers of the event which annually attracts over 2.000 representatives of business communities from more than 120 states. The event is taking place in the Hague, from 3 June to 5 June.

Montenegrin ICT companies are going to be presented at a special media conference, organized by the State Department. The companies will have the opportunity to present their innovation programs to the key players in the ICT industry, entrepreneurs, specialized media and potential partners.

This event is part of the regular support US Embassy in Podgorica provides to national economic reforms and endeavors to assist innovative companies with overcoming economic barriers.

The cluster-creation process is going to start soon. Clusters will consist of key innovative start-ups working on the promotion of digital services, software and hardware components and ICT solutions which are going to be competitive on the market.

Two big regional events, EDITA and PRODIGY, dedicated to digital transformation, are going to take place in September. They will bring top regional business experts, digital innovators and associations, in order to discuss cooperation in the area of digital innovation. This will be a great opportunity for Montenegrin start-ups as well.

Source: Cafe del Montenegro

07 Jun 2019, 21:07 PM

07 June 2019 - President of Montenegro Milo Đukanović traveled to Bratislava recently, where he participated in prestigious security forum at the invitation of the GLOBSEC team.

At the end of the first day of the GLOBSEC Security Forum in Bratislava, President of Montenegro Milo Đukanović talked with the deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Miroslav Lajčak, the OSCE Chairman, at a working dinner hosted in his honor, as reported official website of President of Montenegro.

Lajčak thanked Đukanović for participating in this prestigious gathering, with the pleasure that Bratislava will be the hosting panel on the Western Balkans.

Among other things, Đukanović noted that this is another confirmation of the commitment of friendly Slovakia to the European perspective of Montenegro and the region as a whole, which is further expressed through its role as OSCE chairmanship in the year of the recent elections for the European Parliament and the changes that will follow at the top of the institutions in Brussels .

Interlocutors jointly expressed satisfaction with the results of the pro-European forces and emphasized that it would be extremely important both for the EU and for the region to extend the policy of enlargement to the Western Balkans on the agenda of the new European administration.

In a long conversation and friendly atmosphere, Đukanović and Lajčak exchanged views on developments in the region, with an emphasis on remaining open issues, as well as on processes in Europe and globally, with expressed willingness to promote otherwise excellent bilateral relations and cooperation.

GLOBSEC Bratislava Forum, organized in cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs of the Slovak Republic, traditionally gathers a large number of participants, political leaders and prominent thinkers, and with the World Economic Forum and the Munich Security Conference is one of the most important conferences on strategic issues in Europe.

Read more about business in Montenegro at TMN's dedicated page.

07 Jun 2019, 14:12 PM

The Delta City's shopping mall management publicly protested yesterday because the Ministry of Economy has refused to exempt the shopping malls from the Law on non-working Sundays, which is contained in the draft law on domestic trade. This company did not directly answer whether they would submit an initiative to the Constitutional Court following the example of the trade centers in Croatia if such a proposal is to be finally adopted.

"The proposed amendments to the law already cause justified disapproval and dissatisfaction with many entities. Shopping Mall Delta City is a member of the Employers' Union of Montenegro and we believe that it is the right way to justifiably seek to exercise our rights through this organization," said the company.

Commercial centers in Croatia have been able to overcome laws that limit their work on Sundays with the decision from their Constitutional Court, in two cases in 2003 and 2009. In both cases, the prohibition of work lasted only a few months. The Constitutional Court of Croatia has explained the termination of the law by granting a guaranteed right to the equal position of entrepreneurs and freedom of business.

"On the weekend, the first Montenegrin shopping mall is visited by 18,000 to 24,000 people. The industry's estimate is that Sunday as a non-working day, in this case, causes loss of a minimum of EUR one million in the monthly turnover of our tenants. The financial loss of the leaseholder entails the reduction of salary and the release of labor. It is estimated that around 20% of the workforce in the center will be left without a job," they added, stating that the state would, therefore, have lower incomes.

They say that in all the countries of the region and in most European countries, shopping malls are working on Sundays. They pointed out the examples of Hungary, for example, where a similar prohibition was abolished only after a few months due to the drastic drop in the turnover.

Text by Goran Kapor, on June 6th 2019, read more at Vijesti

06 Jun 2019, 10:56 AM

Kolasin will soon get the first public charging station for electric cars, as announced from the Manager's Office of this Municipality. This will enable the city to "support electric mobility and the expansion of electric vehicles in the region". As explained, the charging station is enabled through the project "Low carbon tourism development in Montenegro" implemented by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in co-operation with the Ministry of Sustainable Development and Tourism and with the financial support of the Global Environment Facility (GEF).

Kolasin Municipality Manager Veljo Jovanovic said that investing in the development of a charging station network would enable energy efficient transport as a whole.

"Due to the great dissatisfaction of foreign tourists due to the lack of public e-stations in the state, the Kolasin Municipality has taken certain measures to assist users of such vehicles through the provision of funds for necessary permits and preparatory works. The planned location for the station is in the very center of the city, on an already existing one-way street parking, stretching from the Sheraton hotel to the hotel “Bianca”, said Jovanovic.

He announced that during the first year the power supply will be free of charge because the Municipality of Kolasin will take care of the payment, according to the postpaid principle, on a monthly basis.

"This power station will be primarily to charge the electric vehicles of tourists, which will improve the tourist offer of the city. On the websites of the Kolasin Municipality and local tourist organizations, information on the e-station will be published, while the owners of accommodation facilities will put the info on their Booking accounts," explains Jovanovic.

He announced that the Management Department plans to apply for several smaller e-engine vehicles in the following period, by looking at the example of Tivat. These vehicles, he says, would serve for the tourist tours of the city.

Text by Dragana Scepanovic, on June 5th, 2019, read more at Vijesti

06 Jun 2019, 10:54 AM

Sunday as a non-working day in Delta City, Podgorica, causes a loss of a minimum of EUR 1 million in turnover at the end of the month, the shopping center said.

They reacted to refusing their request to work on Sundays.

"The financial loss of the lessees entails a reduction in the salaries of the workers and the dismissal of the workforce. The estimation that about 20% of the workforce at the center level will be left without a job. For the outcome, this decision is reflected also on the obligations that all our partners but also we as the shopping, have towards the state - a lower tax on income, and lower VAT revenues," said Delta.

They point out that shopping is a destination but also a venue for event organization, and is the most attractive and accessible to citizens during the weekend when they do not have to go to their jobs.

It is noteworthy that numerous guests and buyers from other Montenegrin cities, as well as neighboring countries, come to Podgorica on the weekends.

"The Domino effect of the non-working Sundays could be reflected in the removal of major international fashion brands from Montenegro, and we had a similar experience with the renowned British retailer “Marks & Spencer” when this company withdrew from the Montenegrin market, precisely because of the failure to meet its financial plans. The shopping mall is not just a shopping center, but a tourist service facility, considering it is a destination that also offers entertainment content, such as children's playrooms and the cinema, and most of the events are organized on the weekends, many of which have a tourist character and offer the possibility of promotion for small businesses, such as antiques fair, handicrafts, and many others," it was stated.

No doubt, the shopping mall Delta City will, as it has been so far, respect all the laws of Montenegro. However, we believe that the Montenegrin society will suffer the most significant damage to the proposed law change, and there are examples from the region and the world to prove it.

In all the countries of the region and most European countries, malls work on Sundays

In Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, even Slovenia (shortened working time on Sundays), malls work on Sundays. The same applies to Turkey, Romania, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Denmark, Hungary, Great Britain, Finland, Denmark, Sweden.

Text by Vijesti online on June 5th, 2019, read more at Vijesti

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