Austria named top Q1 investor in Croatia

Austrian firms have invested more in Croatia than companies from other countries in the first quarter of this year, it has been announced.The Croatian National Bank (HNB) said today (Tues) Austrian businesses spent 195.8 million Euros during the first three months of this year. Germany is in second with business activities worth 90.4 million Euros, while the Netherlands take third place with investments of 70.2 million Euros.Overall foreign investments in Croatia made 434 million Euros between January and March of this year, according to HNB research, which is around as much as foreign investors spent in the country in the first quarter of 2009.With 246.9 million Euros, most money was invested in the financial sector, followed by 81 million Euros spent on retail business activities.Overall foreign investments in Croatia reached 2.1 billion Euros in 2009, down around 50 per cent year on year.Austrian firms and the government have invested around 6.2 billion Euros in Croatia since 1993.Austrian Social Democratic (SPÖ) Chancellor Werner Faymann said he is convinced Croatia will get through the credit crunch after meeting the country’s Prime Minister Jadranka Kosor in Zagreb yesterday.The chancellor praised the country as a “role model for the whole region”, claiming its business relationship with Austria was strong enough to ensure both countries will handle the blows they had been forced to deal with after the global economic downturn kicked in around one and a half years ago.Klaus Mangold, the president of the German-Croatian Chamber of Industry and Commerce, said at a recent economic summit he hoped his country would soon become the biggest investor in Croatia.Germany has invested 2.6 billion Euros in Croatia over the last 16 years. The Croatian Times reports Mangold praised Croatia as a “leading country in the region in many ways”.