Impressive Croatian Company Altpro Now Working with Mitsubishi

Lauren Simmonds

As Bernard Ivezic/Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 21st of June, 2019, one of the first ”tenants” of the Zagreb Technological Park is a very successful Croatian startup called Altpro, which, in its 25 years of operation, has grown into a more than impressive organisation of 147 employees and exporters who sell their products in fifty countries across all continents except for Antarctica. In addition, this company has just become the first Croatian IoT solution maker for megalopolises.

The Croatian company Altpro has now released its monorail tracking device, which is not only the first such device in Croatia, but the first on the international level. This Croatian company based in Zagreb is now entering into the world of extremely valuable international partnerships. One of these partnerships is with no less than Mitsubishi, the largest Japanese company to be listed on the stock market. The European Commission (EC) has also included Croatia’s Altpro on the list of 22 key technology companies that dictate railroad development on global level.

Altpro is currently developing a device that will enable railway companies to quickly and cheaply switch to the new EU security standard called ”ETCS”, which is expected to become a global standard and expand much further than Europe, because it is slowly being taken over by Japan, China, Indonesia, India and the United States.

It is now being claimed that the Croatian company Altpro is at the beginning of experiencing exponential growth and that it has transformed into a new Croatian industrial giant. Poslovni Dnevnik sat down and talked to the tireless founder and director of this impressive Croatian company, Zvonimir Viduk.

What’s your plan?

After 25 years of growth in the terms of the size of a medium-sized company within the Croatian framework, I want Altpro to become a medium-sized company within the global framework over the next 25 years.

There’s talk about you preparing for growth, for 1,000 employees over the next two to three years?

I think we’ve grown slowly. Large growth can only be permitted with large product orders, and on large markets. For the past fifteen years, we’ve been working on the market(s) and potential business in China and India. In the last five years, we’ve been exhibiting intensively over in Shanghai and Beijing. In the meantime, we’ve found quality partners not only in China but also in Japan, the USA, Indonesia, India, and even in large European countries.

If everything goes according to plan, according to the existing market needs in the next two or three years, we’d potentially have the capacity to look at further employment. And here we’re talking about the growth of just one of our products.

Does this mean that everything depends on just that one product?

In our offer, we’ve got more products with which we’re completing many years of development, homologation, and for which we know the global market with all its significant diversity and specificity. Being customisable and universal is of utmost importance today.

What can you say about this product for megalopolises?

This regards our infrastructure product for detecting monorail trains.

It’s a globally unique product that detects the speed, direction and position of monorail trains and exchanges this data with other infrastructure subsystems. We developed it from our existing detection system. Monorails are a piece of technology in megalopolises, meaning cities with over ten million inhabitants, and which are busy and congested with traffic. In 2010, there were 25, and 2017, 47, with a tendency of further growth. Now, we can see that towns and cities with less than ten million inhabitants are also moving towards this system. Only China has 100 such strategic projects, and this technology is spreading around the world.

Who are your partners?

Several major companies from different countries from France to China, the United States, Japan, and all the way to Indonesia mean those who have noticed our specifically innovative solution.

In collaboration with them for the past three years, we’ve made joint installations and development tests and adaptation to their traffic control systems. For example, in India, after fourteen years, all of the testing is done, we’ve got all the permits, and now we’re entering a joint venture with a local player.

It’s the only way of entering with technological equipment in such large countries. We will have some production in India and there we’ll work on the modernisation of their railways. We applied the same model in China and the partial localisation of production is already being prepared. Furthermore, Altpro has been the largest Croatian exporter in Indonesia for some time now. We’ve modernised more than 80 stations in four years. And there, we conduct our work through joint ventures with our largest technology company – Končar.

Last year, based on the results, that part of the business was raised to an even higher level. We signed a strategic partnership with the Indonesian partner, together with the Czech Škoda and the American Progress Rail, a member of the Caterpillar group, at Innotrans, the largest international fair in Berlin. Our plan is to develop even more business in Asia on classic two-track railways.

How long have you been building these business relations?

The high technology for infrastructure, such as railways, has been being developed for years. You have to prove not only things in a technological sense, but also in a business sense, you have to make huge investments before you even get a chance at getting your first job. We first tested our monorail sensory technology back in 2010 with a French partner, then with an Indonesian partner, then a Japanese one, then Chinese and American ones.

Do you have support from the Croatian Ministry of Economy?

The Economy Minister, Darko Horvat, is also an engineer and a businessman himself, and he’s made it clear that he wants to help and emphasised the fact that such an industry is in the focus of interest. But more importantly, that ministry is actively working on incentive measures, such as removing obstacles, and communicating openly. An example of this are TIVs, an advisory team of the minister composed of manufacturing exporters themselves.

Make sure to follow our dedicated business and Made in Croatia pages for much more on Croatian startups, Croatian companies, Croatian products and services, as well as all of the measures the Croatian Government and the competent ministries have put in place to aid entrepreneirship and innovation in Croatia.


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