Rise in foreign investment to Bosnia in Q1

In the first four months of this year, despite the worldwide economic crisis, Bosnia noted the increase in inflow of direct foreign investments, which amounted to 126,419,578€.

Foreign Investment Promotion Agency of Bosnia and Herzegovina (FIPA) conveyed today that the largest recorded investors for the first four months of this year were from Austria with 35,675,114€ and Slovenia with 16,064,116€.

"Taking into account the world economic trends and the overall situation, foreign investments for the first four months are promising. Efforts to present Bosnia to world public as a country with a favorable environment for investment has given the results", says the press release.

According to data from FIPA, total foreign investment in Bosnia, since May 1994. until May 2009. amounts the total of 5.6 billion €.


General Electric eyes investment opportunities in Bosnia

The representatives of the US „General Electric“ and „KazTransGas AG“, which already signed a Memorandum of understanding with Zenica Municipality on construction of natural gas based Power plant, visited Zenica, where „General Electric“ expressed the strong interest to joint and participate in this project, proposing to introduce the latest technology which „Genrel Electric“ posses and apply in the similar plants all over the world.

On other previous occasions representatives of GE have had discussions with decision and law makers on different levels in Bosnia, regarding investment in other projects in energy sector.

More info here.


Bosnia aiming to become the center of European halal business

"Food manufacturers in the Halal segment are large European companies that export their products to Indonesia, Malaysia and other Muslim countries. We intend to recruit larger European manufacturers to move their production, warehousing and logistics to our planned Halal hubs in Bosnia. On the other hand we are also working with companies from Muslim world that ship their goods to Europe to use the same hubs for that. Our goal is to become the center of halal business in Europe" - explains Salkić.

The project for halal hub in the town of Gračanica is already finished, and there are several other possible sites for the rest of the planned hubs. The organization "Halal Europe", that
Salkić is leading, is going to work on the halal awareness in all of Europe in the coming period.

Arrangements in Malaysia next week
Delegation consisting of several Bosnian businessmen, representatives of foreign chambers and the Agency for halal certification from Tuzla will stay at the World Halal Forum, which will be held in Kuala Lumpur
at 4th and 5th May.

"The agency will, most probably, sign a protocol on the construction of laboratories for testing of halal products, and probably an additional one about establishing of halal Academy. The business community of Malaysia will sign the protocol regarding the possibility of building halal hubs in Bosnia" - Salkić says.


Big opportunities for Bosnia in Halal tourism

At the time of global economic crisis one of the few areas that does not decline, is the world's halal market. The BiH Agency for Halal Quality certification emphasize that this is one of the most important and fastest growing markets in the world, with turnover of more than 270 billion euros. The Agency states that Bosnia has a large potential in the area of halal industry since the country currently supplies only food and pharmaceutical products.

Bosnia's contribution to the halal markets of the EU and Arab countries consists mainly of meat and meat products, confectionery, water and natural juices, teas and creams. However, the great potential not only for Bosnia lies in halal tourism.

"We have information that many people from Islamic countries wish to visit Bosnia" - says Valdet Peštalić, Head of the Department for Education of the Halal Certification Agency. He reiterates that halal certification of hotels, restaurants and resorts is a prerequisite for success in this business, and in this case, rooms and apartments should be adjusted to the requirements of halal consumers. He emphasized that the Agency has already received the first requirements for certification of tourist facilities.

The global demand for halal products and services is growing
year after year. It may be noted even at professional trade fairs, especially those in Malaysia.

"We usually talk about halal food, but it includes various other products and services. That is a big demand for halal cosmetics, medicines, clothing, footwear, furniture, and this principle is present in the tourism, catering, shipping, banking and other branches" - says Peštalić.


Bosnian MIMS acquires leading Croatian business daily from Swedish Bonnier

Contract of ownership has been signed today in Zagreb with the Swedish Bonnier media house, which has thus ended its operations in Croatia, as announced in the beginning of the year.

"We are pleased to take the leadership of Business.hr, the newspaper established as a serious brand at the market. We are convinced that there is a lot more potential in it. Despite the crisis in the publishing world, we believe that with reorganized operations Business.hr can become successful and profitable media project, "said new Chairman of the Board of Business.hr Damir Čičak.


Biodiesel refinery opens today in Tuzla, Bosnia

The production of biodiesel will start in Tuzla (north-eastern Bosnia) today. The Center for Development and Support, owner of the plant, will sell it's biodiesel to Tuzla city transport enterprises (GIPS) for use in it's buses. In production, used edible oil, supplied by cake-production factory "Gusto e Sapori" will be used.

"This facility is a pilot project and during the first year 72 tons of biodiesel will be produced. To do this we need 72,000 liters of used edible oil. The technology is such that one liter of oil turns into one liter of biodiesel with the addition of certain additives" - says Zahirović.

The vehicles using biodiesel will have to spend five per cent more biodiesel but given its lower price - five to 10% lower compared to ordinary diesel - it will not constitute a problem, Zahirović says.


Volkswagen producing electric vehicles in Bosnia

EcoCarrier is the name of the new electric car model that soon enter production at Volkswagen plant in Vogosca, near Sarajevo, Bosnia. The car is for commercial purposes and will be sold to European markets.

which stirred the interest of Volkswagen was developed by the German company EcoCraft Automotive.

Jan Masak from Volkswagen in Bosnia said that this innovative vehicle is primarily intended for commercial use or use at airports, in public enterprises and similar.

"I still do not want to go out with details" - he said, "but what I can say is that we will soon have a great presentation which will, among others, be attended by the leaders from Volkswagen's headquarters in Volfsburg, Germany. This is a big and important project".

Maximum speed of vehicles will be electronically limited to 75 km per hour and it will be available with different types of batteries allowing driving distance of up to 80 kilometers on single charge.


Credit Rating of Bosnia and Herzegovina Remains Stable

Standard & Poor's, the International Credit Rating Agency, published the first annual report on credit rating of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

In the context of global financial and economic crisis and downgrading rating trends of many governments, sustainability and stability of BH credit rating remaining at the same level, ‘B+' with stable outlook, assigned to BH on 22 December 2008, represents an encouraging and positive sign.

Clearly slowed down, but still on medium-term potentially strong economic growth, as well as European integrations perspective, with the priority relating to foreign debt servicing and monetary stability based on the currency board arrangement, constitute rating stability factors of BH, which, combined together, mitigate risks of global crisis market effects and impact on financial stability and public finances of BH. Risk in the financial sector of BH, although present, is of small intensity compared with the region.

At the same time, in the context of significantly prudential analytical approach by rating agencies, the report provides prudent projections of economic growth and analysis relating to the serious political and economic challenges that BH is facing.

Acceleration of structural reforms would increase economic growth and export potential, and would also lead to the credit capability improvement. Considering that complex political and institutional system leads to frequent political blockades and makes decision-making process more difficult, further institutional capacity building and dialogue improvement in relation to the constitution are key issues.

Monetary policy with the currency board arrangement has been assessed as powerful security and stabilizing mechanism in the financial crisis, and strict prudential measures, such as maturity match roles and adequate reserves, contribute to the banking system stability.

Upgrade of BH rating will directly correspond with the reforms dynamics and progress in the institutional capacity building and EU accession process and sound macroeconomic policies.


International tourism and travel fair in May

First International tourism and travel trade fair is going to be held In Ilidza near Sarajevo between 21st and 25th May. The trade fair will be on organized by the Bosnian Association of Hoteliers and Restaurateurs.

During the fair, symposiums "The continental tourism, and development programs" and "Bosnian tourist product, branding and market verification" will be held.

Trade show premises will be in the Cultural and sports center Ilidza, Hollywood Hotel, and the Thermal Riviera Hotel Terme. Exhibitors will have 20,000 square meters of exhibition space at their disposal.

Design, construction and equipping of hotels, restaurants, manufacturing and distribution of consumer goods, camping and sports equipment, hunting, fishing and horticulture will be presented at the fair.

The fair will offer an opportunity to take part in several specialized events such as: International competition of catering workers "HOREC Gastro-Fest", the Festival of knowledge and skills of catering school students, first meeting of catering workers of Bosnia, HOREC Wine Fest and HOREC Beer Fest.

For more info please click here.

Production down in Q1 with March witnessing rise

Some new stats on industrial production in BiH where published today by Bosnia and Hercegovina's Federal Office of Statistics.

Industrial production in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina in March 2009 less for 14,6% in relation to average monthly production of 2008, and less for 5,9% in relation to March 2008 and rose by 7,2% in relation to February 2009.

Total industrial production in period January – March 2009 in relation to same period 2008 less for 10,9%, industrial production in field of Mining rose by 6,1%, Manufacturing industry less for 20,0%, Electricity, gas and water supply rose by 1,9%.

Viewed according to main industrial grouping in period January - March 2009 in relation to same period 2008, increase in production was posted at energy for 4,8%, decline was posted at intermediate goods except energy for 28,6%, capital goods for 32,0%, durable consumer
goods for 34,4%, non-durable consumer goods for 3,9%.

For more info please click here.


Raiffeisen bank opens new Bosnian headquarters today

Raiffeisen bank BH opened it's new headquarters today in Sarajevo. The bank invested around 50 million KM in a new building that encompasses the first "Drive-in" zone with access to and use of counters and ATMs from the car.

Also, the 24-hours-area customers will be available to use two ATMs, a day-night Treasury, boxing and running for info terminal with printer. This ten-floor building is located in the street of "the Dragon of Bosnia bb".

The director of the Bank - Michael Mueller said that the construction of second building is under way and should be completed in about a year making the total investment of around 80 million KM.

At a news conference held before the opening ceremony, a member of the Management Board Dino Osmanbegović pointed out that during the past year, capital of Raiffeisen Bank increased by 28 percent.

For more info please click here.


VIDEO - Bosnia poised for oil find

Here you can watch a video broadcasted on Al-Jazeera that show potential major oil fields in Bosnia. It lasts for three minutes and shows several places where oil is bobbling to the surface.

More info about potential oil findings in Bosnia can be found in our two previous articles, namely Opportunities in oil business in Bosnia and Five companies apply for oil prospecting in Bosnia.

To watch video please click here


Sirbegovic (Širbegović) group revenues up 10% in 2008

In 2008 Širbegović group generated revenues of 87 million KM, which is approximately 10% more than the previous year. Particular growth was achieved in the production and placement of steel structures, about 40% compared to 2007. Realized profit on the level of the Group amounts to approximately 7 million KM.

Despite the current financial crisis, the group was able to retain its employees. The current seasonal workforce will get a chance for permanent employment in the coming expansion to Libyan market.

In the business year of 2009 the group is planning to achieve the same revenue as in 2008 at it's current markets. In addition to that Širbegović group expects additional revenues of 25 million on the Libyan market.

More info can be found here.

Seminar on interest-free Islamic banking held in Sarajevo, Bosnia

Two-day seminar on Islamic banking in the organization of the Islamic Bank for Development and Bosnia Bank International was held in Sarajevo on 8th and 9th April.

Foreword was provided by the Governor of the Central Bank of Bosnia and Herzegovina Kemal Kozaric. "We are aware that Islamic banking is unknown in Bosnia although BBI, a bank that operates according to Islamic principles, operates here since 2000. Recently the Faculty of Economics has also started graduate studies on Islamic banking. We are witnesses to the global economic crisis that puts Islamic banking in the foreground, because the banks that are operated by Islamic principles have not accrued losses.

This seminar will help us better acquainted with the methods of Islamic banking. Islamic banking is the new source of wealth for Bosnia and BBI has shown that, although domestic legislation is not adjusted for that type of business."

First day of the seminar speakers were Dr. Salman Syed Ali, economist with IRTI (Islamic Research and Training Institute of the Islamic Development Bank) and Dr. Muhamed Obaidullah, a professor of Islamic finance in the Islamic Research Center King Abdulaziz University in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

Seminar was, in addition to employees of BBI, attended by representatives from the Banking Agency of FBiH, FBiH Ministry of Finance, the Bank Association of BiH, the Agency for Supervision of Insurance Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Commission for Securities, the Banking Agency of Republika Srpska, the Registry of Securities, the Ministry of Finance and Treasury, and several faculty for the economy of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Presidency, and the press.

More info can be found on the website of Bosna Bank International.

Bosnalijek's (Bosnia's biggest pharma company) sales up 22% in 2008

KPMG B_H has completed audit of Bosnalijek d.d. financial statements for 2008. Total revenues were 108,3 million KM of which sales of products amounted to 107,1 million KM and net profit of 8,2 million KM.

In addition to selling its products in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bosnalijek d.d. sold its products on 19 international markets, with the rate of growth of 22%. Earning per share was 1,26 KM.

Total assets at the year end were valued at 157 million KM and have increased by 2% in relation to the previous year. Current assets amounted to 71,2 million KM while fixed assets amounted to 85,7 million KM.

Total liabilities of Bosnalijek d.d. at the end of 2008 were 49,5 million KM, of which long term liabilities amounted to 7,7 million KM and short term liabilities amounted to 41,8 million KM.

Equity value was 107,5 million KM, with an increase of 8% in relation to the previous year.

Audited annual financial statements can be dowloaded here.


Bosnian construction companies form join venture

Joint company founded by the construction companies, present on the German market should begin its work 1st July this year. This was confirmed by the secretary of construction sector in the Economic Chamber FBiH, Dzenana Avdic, for the biggest Bosnian newspaper "Dnevni Avaz".

Potential founders of the joint venture have a deadline for confirmation of entry to 25 April, when the Constituent Assembly to be held in mid-May.

Establishment of the company is a project of BAG group, which operates at PKFBiH, and so far have received 22 signed statements on the accession of the co-ownership relationship in the new company.

Avdic said that builders establish a company to help provide new jobs and protect the economic crisis.


Qatar expressing interest to invest in Bosnia

During the visit to BH, Qatari delegation which has been profoundly informed on BiH potentials and opportunities particularly in the field of agriculture, food, pharmaceuticals and wood industry and energy, expressed a great interest to invest in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Following bilateral meetings between institutions and companies of two countries, will be organized the meeting of the Qatari and BiH Joint Commission with intention to summarize and analyze identified potentials, received information, and overall impressions, in order to consider and harmonize viewpoints of two sides and to define most appropriate forms of future cooperation and approaches to potential investments.

More info here.


The first condominium in Balkans opens soon in the Bosnian capital of Sarajevo

Bosmal City Center, the first condominium in this part of the world, is being constructed in the Hrasno district of Sarajevo. By condominium we mean a modern, private residential building with monitored entrances, reception, luxurious apartments and common areas serving the residents. Access to the residential and common areas of the object shall be restricted to the residents only, where their privacy is absolutely guaranteed. Common areas encompass lobbies, saunas, pool for adults and children, and a nursery.

The Center offers 306 residential units, with 8 penthouses and 298 apartments, organized in 14 types, with areas ranging from 80 to 220 sq. m. Nine high-speed elevators connect to the garage-commercial area of the center. The residents will be absolutely secure, with special security service responsible for constant monitoring of the whole object, with 200 surveillance cameras on duty, sensors and other modern equipment.

The communication areas in the center, commercial areas and the underground garage with 400 parking lots are monitored from the reception point.

Reaching a height of 118 meters, Bosmal City Center is the tallest residential building in the Balkans. Tallest business building in Balkans is Avaz Twist Tower also situated in Sarajevo.

A restaurant will be located at the highest point of the building, giving a panoramic view of the town, including the historical districts as well as the new part of town and its surroundings.
The commercial area will be open to the public, with two restaurants and a meeting bar, supermarket, hair and beauty saloons, dental practice, ambulance service, ophthalmologist’s and optician’s, leather goods boutique, art sales, jewelry shop and other exclusive boutiques. All the facilities within the center are inter-linked with a hundred-meter long promenade.

For more info and pictures please click here.


Software engineers wanted - several positions

Currently there are several Nordic IT-companies planning to either open their branches in Bosnia or partner with local IT-companies in different ways. I do not know exactly when it is going to happen but it is in the works.

Job description - software testing, application design, software development. Both experienced and newly graduated are welcome.

Those interested in potential position with those companies should send their CV's and Cover Letters to me (haris.alisic@gmail.com), including their target income. Please mark your mails with "IT POSITION IN BOSNIA".

Please bear in mind that there are no promises and that companies might change their mind and scrap their plans.


Tallest building in Balkans opens soon in Sarajevo, Bosnia

The Avaz Twist Tower will be the new headquarters for Avaz, the popular Bosnian newspaper company.

The new tower went under construction in 2006 and it is expected to be completed some time in 2009. The Avaz Twist Tower will hold the record for being the Balkan's tallest tower and one of the most interesting towers in Europe. It is made up of a twisting glass facade and will be 142 meters tall with a 30 meter antenna reaching a total height of 172 meters.

Before the Avaz Twist Tower, the Bosmal City Center twin towers held the record for being the tallest towers in the Balkans, standing at a height of 128 meters. Avaz's current headquarters have been turned into a hotel and offices. 

To see pictures of the building please click


BBI Center opens in Bosnia's capital Sarajevo

BBI Center opened it's gates to public yesterday on 6th April 2009. It encompasses offices, shops, restaurants, different beauty saloons, clinics, huge parking space and lots of other things.

Investor in BBI Center is a BBI Leasing & Real Estate Ltd. Sarajevo, whose founders are the Islamic Development Bank, Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank, Dubai Islamic Bank and Bosna Bank International dd Sarajevo. The total charter capital amounted to nearly 40 million KM (ca 20 million €).

Bosnia Bank International was established on 19 September 2000 as the first bank in the region that operates on the principles of Islamic banking.

To see some pics of the centre, from construction to grand opening, please click here.


BASF opens regional headquarters in Bosnia

Company BASF Construction Chemicals BH opened the regional headquarters for the Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro, Albania and Kosovo in Sarajevo yesterday. 

The headquarters' new building encompasses a laboratory for testing the quality of concrete. This will enable the continued support of implementation and monitoring of the development of innovative products and technologies, work on the optimal results and spending during the application of existing products and technologies. 

Director of the Department of Central Europe Herbert Frankenstain pointed out that BASF recognizes Bosnia as the leading market in the region with great potential in the construction sector, and that is why the company decided to open this laboratory.