Slovenian Mercator and Austrian Supernova today signed a contract for the sale of 10 Mercator shopping centers in Slovenia, worth EUR 116.6m. Mercator will continue to operate in rented facilities. It is anticipated that Mercator will rent parts of the centers where it’s main business already operates, and the contract reflects the company’s strategy to continue with the monetisation project aimed at reducing the group’s debt and enabling long-term development. The project of monetisation began with the sale of a shopping center in Belgrade at the end of last year, and earlier this year Mercator has issued an international tender, inviting international investors and funds whose main activity is real estate management. The project encompassed 17 centers in Slovenia, Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. After the sale of facilities in Slovenia and with it the completion of the second phase of monetisation, Mercator will continue with the third phase, which will include the sale of shopping centers in Croatia and BiH.
Serbia ranked 27th out of 157 countries on the World Bank’s Human Capital Index (HCI) list. Siniša Mali, the finance minister, said that Serbia was best positioned not just amongst the countries in the region, but also amongst more developed countries, being just one place behind Belgium and ahead of China and Russia. The HCI Index consists of five indicators: the probability of surviving beoynd a fifth year of life, the expected number of years of schooling, harmonized test results as a measure of quality of learning, the percentage of 15-year-olds who will experience the age of 60 and the proportion of children who are not lagging behind. According to the human capital index, 99 out of 100 children born in Serbia will experience 5th birthday and it is expected that a child that goes to preschool at the age of four will complete 13.4 years of schooling by 18th birthday.
The current president of the Republika Srpska and the new Serb member of the Bosnia and Herzegovina presidency, Milorad Dodik, said he would not support the possible BiH lawsuit against Croatia to the International Court of Justice. The lawsuit was announced by Dodik’s counterparts in the state presidency, Željko Komšić and Šefik Džaferović, over Croatia’s plans to construct the Pelješac bridge. “I do not think it is productive for BiH, and I will not support it, even though I would have some reasons (to support it) due to Croatia’s obstruction of bridge construction on Sava near Gradiška,” Dodik said in an interview with Sarajevo’s commercial TV1 television. Dodik reiterated that Komšić, who was elected as a Croat member of the presidency, “is taking it too far” in quarreling with both Croatia and Serbia, which could hinder the ability of the new BiH presidency to work as a partner to the countries in the region.
Croatian holiday houses have won three categories in the Best European Holiday Home (BEHH) category, organised for the fourth year by the European Holiday Home Association. Villa Palma from Naplovec on the island of Korčula took the best beach holiday home title, Villa Milica from Šajina near Pula was selected as the best eco house for vacation, and the best vacation home award went to Green Frame from Klarić near Vodnjan. The competition was expanded to 14 categories this year, and out of 112 finalists from 21 countries there were as many as 15 Croatian houses. The selection was attended by representatives of the largest European and American family-friendly companies, such as AirBnB, HomeAway, Expedia, Novasol, Wyndham, Interhome, Belvilla, Kigo as well as representatives of national associations of home providers.