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Small Furniture Companies Set Up Development Centre

Ljubljana, 07 December (STA) - Eight small Slovenian companies and three institutes in the furniture industry have established a joint development centre for creative furniture industry in a bid to promote themselves on foreign markets, in particular in southeastern Europe.

The development centre, called RC 31, aims at reviving Slovenia's furniture industry, the boss of furniture producer Alples, Franc Zupanc, explained for the STA on Tuesday.

The project has won state and EU funding in a public call. According to Zupanc, 52% of the funds for the project worth EUR 9.4m will be subsidised, and the companies will chip in the rest themselves.

Besides Alples, the centre comprises furniture companies Lip Radomlje, Gonzaga, Klun Ambienti, Mizarstvo Bolcic, Helios Tblus, Triis and Ib-Caddy as well as the Ljubljana Academy of Design, the wood technology department at the Biotechnical Faculty and the Wood Industry Cluster.

The companies have been forced to join in the centre also because of the situation in the furniture industry. "We are investing in development, but there is a lack of funds. This is a chronic problem," said Zupanc.

The centre is expected to help the companies to invest more in product development, with an emphasis on new design, new construction and upgraded technology.

"The main thing is the market. We are thinking mainly about southeastern Europe, where we can sell brands of Slovenian furniture companies. We cannot sell our brands in the west," Zupanc added.

The primary targets include the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary, which have a decent GDP and have adopted the euro, and where consumers are willing to spend some money on furniture.

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