Croatian Entrepreneurs Returning from Germany to Open Businesses at Home

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Croatian entrepreneurs are returning home.

The business zone in Sveti Martin na Muri is a location where many foreign investors have opened their businesses, and among them there are a lot of returnees who have spent a lifetime in Germany and Austria, but have then decided to return to Croatia with their savings and business networks, reports Poslovni List on November 3, 2015.

One of them is Michael Vnuk, who was born in Germany where he worked for Salamander, a company which produces plastic and aluminium doors and windows. After a while, he decided to come to Croatia and start producing doors and windows himself, which he mainly sells to the German market. Therefore, the accession of Croatia to the European Union represented a major boost for his business.

“We buy all our materials from Salamander, which is for every customer, both in Germany and in Croatia, a guarantee of quality. Currently, 50 percent of total production is sold abroad, mainly to Germany, Austria and Slovenia. We plan to even increase it in the coming period. That is the reason why we have established a company in Munich, through which we cover the local market”, Vnuk said. He added that the average price of doors and windows for a family house is about a thousand euros cheaper if ordered from him than from the German manufacturer.

Of course, both companies use the same top quality materials, and the lower price is a result of lower labour costs in Croatia. Vnuk opened the company in Croatia in 1998. He decided to locate it in Sveti Martin na Muri because his parents are originally from that area. Although he was satisfied with the business conditions he had at the beginning, he is now complaining about the lack of additional space where he could expand because all the surrounding land has already been purchased by other enterprises operating in the business zone.

“Every day, we produce about 250 doors and windows, but the market demand is for at least 500. I am thinking about various options for increasing the production. If everything else fails, I may have to move the entire production somewhere else”, Vnuk says. His company, like many others, was started from a garage, with just three workers. Now he employs over 60 people and is constantly in need of new workers.

“The company has for years been growing by about 25 percent, and I expect that to continue in the coming period. Last year, our income was around 28 million kuna, and this year we should increase it by 25-30 percent”, Vnuk adds. The company’s product range includes numerous models of doors and windows of various shapes and prices, but the most popular products are premium doors. “They can reach a price of 10,000 to 15,000 euros, but people, especially in Germany and Austria, are ready to spend money for a premium product”, Michael Vnuk says.


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