The 2007 ranking of Slovenian multinational enterprises (MNEs), released today by the Centre of International Relations (CIR), Ljubljana, and the Columbia Program on International Investment (CPII), New York, reveals dynamic outward foreign direct investment (FDI) activity by Slovenian firms. FDI outflows from Slovenia have surpassed FDI inflows in three of the past four years, as Slovenian firms look to expand in foreign markets.

The principal findings of the survey are that, in 2006, Slovenia’s Top 25 MNEs, ranked by foreign assets, had nearly US$4bn in assets abroad (table 1); had nearly US$4bn in foreign sales (including exports); and employed 23,616 persons abroad. Their foreign assets and employment each more than doubled since 2004, while foreign sales increased 60%. Foreign assets are concentrated in Europe. The top three firms – Mercator, Gorenje, Krka – account for more than half of the total assets of the Top 25, and the top five firms account for 68% of the Top 25’s total foreign assets.

Slovenian MNEs are not large when compared to their counterparts in Brazil and Russia (the foreign assets of the Top 25 are roughly 5% of the Top 25 in Russia and the Top 20 in Brazil), but they play a vital role in Slovenia’s economy. “Slovenian MNEs are mostly regionally focused market seekers, with trade and production affiliates, mostly in Western Balkan countries, dominating. But some of them are also global actors, like Kolektor,” notes Marjan Svetlicic, Director of the Centre of International Relations. “In a country of two million people, foreign growth through FDI means survival. It is a vital engine of growth for Slovenian firms,” adds Karl P. Sauvant, Executive Director of the Columbia Program on International Investment.

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