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Emerging Europe: Friends reunited - getting back together

Rising intra-regional trade and investment are helping to underpin the economic fortunes of the states that formerly constituted Yugoslavia. Guy Norton takes a look at three examples of a stock exchange, a fund manager and private equity.

Private Equity: Funds take small steps

Fund Management: AC-Nalozbe blazes a trail

Stock Exchanges: Zagreb puts its best foot forward

LIFE IN THE Balkan region is full of ironies – some sweet, some bitter. Having spent much of the 1990s falling out with each other, in the present decade the former Yugoslav republics have realized that a resumption of intra-regional trade and investment benefits all parties involved.

“There’s no doubt we’re seeing an economic trickledown effect from Slovenia to the rest of the ex-Yugoslavia region,” says Michael Glazer, director of Croatian investment banking boutique Auctor.

Although Slovenia was the first to break away from Yugoslavia in 1991 and spent most of the 1990s disassociating itself from its southern neighbours, it now unashamedly brands itself as the gateway to the Balkans, and Slovenians were among the very first foreigners to invest in Serbia after former Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic was ousted.

As the richest of the former Yugoslav states and the only net exporter of capital in the region, Slovenia has been quick to recognize the advantage of moving production from relatively expensive domestic bases to cheaper sites in neighbouring states.

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