Deputy Economy Minister: 20 Big Firms Studying Investment Conditions in Bulgaria
Over the last few months, Deputy Economy and Energy Minister Krasin Dimitrov has met with representatives of 20 big companies interested in investing in Bulgaria.
In an interview for 24 Hours daily, Dimitrov explains that although they have expressed interest in investing millions and even billions in Bulgaria, there is no certainty that they will set foot on the local market.
He says that Bulgaria has to win them over because they are also eyeing other European countries.
Dimitrov informs that Bulgaria is currently working on seven investment projects which are in an advanced stage of implementation.
He explains that one of the projects is in the sphere of hi-tech, it is worth BGN 40 M, and envisages the opportunity to create 170 jobs.
Bulgaria's Deputy Economy and Energy Minister notes that another project envisages creating around 600 hobs in the sphere of electrical engineering, adding that the largest amount of investments of BGN 1.4 B is expected to go to the chemical and processing industries.
He says that Bulgaria expects the total amount of investments to reach around BGN 1.55 B and over 1400 new jobs to be created.
Meanwhile, the InvestBulgaria Agency reports that four big companies have also expressed interest in building a car parts plant and are conducting feasibility studies.
"These 20 companies which are inquiring about the business conditions in Bulgaria are interested in car mechatronics, the chemical industry, and even infrastructure investments. Some companies are also interested in public-private partnership in the sphere of highway construction," Bulgaria's Deputy Economy Minister explains, adding that at this stage it is too complicated to achieve this.
"Only in July, foreign investments in Bulgaria amounted to over EUR 114.6 M. In the same month of 2012, foreign investments stood at EUR 80.6 M. Companies interested in investing in the EU seek to identify the most stable macroeconomic and fiscal policy, where the workers are most qualified. And they come to Bulgaria first. We meet these conditions," he adds.
"The companies also evaluate the opportunities for entering neighboring Balkan countries. At present, due to the proximity of our language to Serbian, almost all big companies which have opened offices in Serbia have started from Bulgaria and their senior managers are Bulgarian. But apart from macro stability, low taxes, and reducing the administrative burden, other options are also being considered for attracting money into our economy. The ministries of economy and finance are in an early stage of negotiating tax incentives in free economic zones. The idea is to grant exemption from certain taxes for a certain period for an economic zone when a certain minimum threshold of investment is reached," he explains.
According to investment activity statistics of the Bulgarian National Bank, foreign direct investment in 2011 amounted to EUR 1.314 B (3.4% of GDP), in 2012 FDI stood at EUR 1.478 B (3.7% of GDP), and in the period January-July 2013 FDI came in at EUR 802.5 M.
In the first halves of 2011, 2012, and 2013, a total of 2, 4 and 11 investment projects, respectively, were certified. Of the total number of certified projects in 2013, 3 are foreign and 8 Bulgarian.
In H1, 2013, the InvestBulgaria Agency provided informational services to 98 new potential projects in the following sectors: machine building and electrical engineering – 34, outsourcing of business processes – 20, IT – 13, chemical industry – 12, transport and logistics – 11, etc. By countries, the projects were distributed as follows: Bulgaria – 25, US – 19, Germany – 10, UK – 9, Turkey – 8, Russia – 5, etc.
The implementation of some of these projects is expected to start in 2014.
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