Companies from Belišće Cooperate with Global Giants

Total Croatia News

Surprisingly positive business stories from a small Slavonian town.

From a total of 2,600 employed citizens of Belišće in Slavonia, as many as 1,100 of them are employed by just two companies – HF Belišće and DS Smith Belišće Croatia, reports Večernji List on February 3, 2017.

HF Belišće operates in a small Slavonian town, but they are the best in the world when it comes to producing machinery for manufacturing tires. Their presses for vulcanizing rubber are mostly bought by global giants – Michelin, Pirelli, Goodyear and Continental. They produce two of these large machines each workday.

“We export our products to every continent and many countries, but we do not sell them in Croatia, since no one in this country produces tires. We have invested 30 million euros in the last six years, and this year we plan to invest additional seven million euros in production halls and latest technology”, said Zoran Uranjek, a member of the board of directors of Harburg-Freudenberger Belišće. Their main competitor is Mitsubishi from Japan.

Their factory in Belišće “feeds” 650 workers, and by the end of this year that number will increase to more than 700. The average salary is over 5,000 kuna. In addition, they have developed a large network of sub-contractors in the surrounding region and further away, so there is another 800 people who work directly for them.

“We are currently hiring new employees, but we cannot find enough qualified workers, which seems paradoxical given the number of unemployed people in Croatia. For example, we are looking for 20 operators, but there are none in the labour market. The closest trade high school, the one in Valpovo, enrols just six or seven future operators per year”, said Uranjek.

Bad entrepreneurial atmosphere in Croatia does not affect them much, since they export all their products to the world market. “It is important to keep the level of quality, costs and have good quality people”, he said.

The other major company in Belišće, DS Smith Belišće Croatia, produces paper and cardboard packaging. “Last year, we invested almost 15 million euros. We have to continue investing in order to keep up with the competition. We employ about 400 workers”, said Toni Bilić, a member of the board of directors.

So, these two companies employ about 1,100 of the total of 2,600 employed persons in Belišće. They also bring in 61 percent of the total annual net profits in the whole of Osijek-Baranja County. “Importantly, the profits are reinvested and used to further improve production processes”, said Bilić.

Former Croatian President Stjepan Mesić visited recently Belišće and met with entrepreneurs. The local authorities say he is someone who can use his connections and influence to help attract new investors. “In any case, I cannot help anyone sign any specific contract. But, I can open the doors to leaders in other countries, to various professional associations, banks… I can still help in this regard”, said Mesić.

Town Mayor Dinko Burić is very optimistic. “I expect very soon, by the end of the year, new investments in Belišće from Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan, and the area around the Caspian Sea”, said Burić somewhat mysteriously. The town attracts new businesses by making them exempt from paying municipal contributions and by giving financial subsidies for each new job.


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