Lura D D

Established in 1999 as a result of a merger, Lura is a regional dairy concern with revenues of 305 million euros and over 2,300 employees. The company also has the rights to market Pepsi products in Croatia. Though listed on the Zagreb Stock Exchange, it's owned by CEO Luka Rajic, thanks to his 93% shareholding.

During my travels through Switzerland in 2003 I visited the head office/factory of Chocolats Favarger near Geneva. This manufacturer of delectable chocolates had been owned by the Favarger family since 1826. However, Favarger was news in much of the Swiss media as Favarger was being sold to a foreigner. At the time I thought it was a smart move by this foreigner. Why? Favarger didn't even have a outlet store at its factory, the company's website was boring and "out of order" for months and, its factory was rundown. Who was this guy buying the company that the media variously referred to as the "unknown Croatian businessman", "man from Eastern European" and "Balkans businessman"? None other than Lura CEO Luka Rajic.

It's prestigious having an office on Ulica Grada Vukovara, one of Zagreb's main thoroughfares. Office buildings as well as government edifices line the wide boulevard. Lura occupies offices in a 15-story, blah-looking building from the 1970's on this street. A variety of tenants have offices here and I have to check in with a security guard manning the lobby. Before answering any questions he demands to see some identification so, I hand over my passport and watches as he writes down information. I explain what I do and my mailing a letter of introduction a month earlier to CEO Luka Rajic. The guard calls up someone at Lura and I'm handed the phone. I explain again and ask if I can talk to Rajic's secretary to find out where or with whom my letter ended up. The woman says neither Rajic nor his secretary is in today and that Helena Purgaric from communications is "probably" my contact person but, she isn't in today either. My pleas to this woman to find someone to spend a few minutes with me fall on deaf ears.

Hmm, I don't even make it up to the Lura reception area. I don't get a chance to return the next day but doubt I'm missing much as Lura just rents space in a lackluster building. It sure would have been nice to have received an e-mail letting me know my letter of introduction had been received. Then again, I'm finding out Croatia isn't a very friendly place to visit.

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