Live text: BR organizes the first Polish Investors Forum

Newsroom 03/10/2016 | 17:29

The Polish Investors Forum is part of the Country Focus series organized by Business Review magazine. The forum is centered on captivating discussions about Polish investments, trends and new business opportunities as well as inspiring success stories and personal experiences of Polish top executives. 

HE Marcin Wilczek, the Ambassador of the Republic of Poland to Romania:

“Poland for last 10 years had an economy that grew at a rapid pace. Our main focus was to attract FDI and use EU external funds to grow at an average on 4-5 percent yearly,” said the diplomat.

Polish companies’ expansion to Romania is quite unprecedented, said the official. There are some 800 companies with Polish capital in Romania with over EUR 500 million investments, added the ambassador.

He said that Poland’s development was based for a lot of years on FDI. Wilczek said that Poland offered the investors good investments, cheap labor and infrastructure.

“There is already a critical mass of Polish companies on the Romanian market,” said the ambassador.

“In 2005 it was so hard to convince Polish companies to move in the EU, outside its own borders,” said the ambassador, adding that the firms ventured abroad after the local market was saturated.

Tomasz Ignaczak, general director, KRUK Romania: The financial sector is very attractive, said the executive, citing the players that are present in the debt receivables market.  “Romania was the first foreign market for KRUK in 2007,” said Ignaczak, adding that it’s easier for Polish companies to start operations locally due to the cultural ties.

The head of KRUK Romania said that 600 people are employed by the company, and all the employees speak English.

We have more than 25 people working in IT in Kruk in Romania, said the executive.

Romania is exporting managers to Italy, Spain, but also in Poland, in destinations where KRUK has operations.

Cristian Cornea, executive general manager, Can Pack Romania: Polish companies looked for core markets in Romania.

“We have a very good IT infrastructure, we have the geographical position, very suitable for various business scenarios. The work force in Romania is going to become a drama,” said Cornea.

He cited the need to train new workforce and improve the infrastructure as the main driving lines for attracting new investments.

“With whom to have production?,” said the executive, adding that there is a dramatic lack of skilled people in this sector.

“At least 25 percent to 30 percent of blue collar workers are resigning after one month,” said Cristian Cornea of Can Pack Romania.

Young Romanians are continuing to leave and we are left with teenagers and old people, said Cornea.

“Romania does not need anymore shops, but it needs to attract FDI in production,” said the Romanian executive.

Jakub Lerner, associated partner, Noerr Warsaw: “We have 3 projects for investments in Romania from Poland”. He added that Polish companies are interested in the manufacturing and financial services sectors as well as B2C businesses being of a particular interest to private equity investors.

Lerner explained that Germany is a gateway to Western Europe for Polish companies. Then there is the CEE – Romania is the second largest economy in the region after Poland and thus a natural expansion target for Polish businesses, according to the representative Noerr Warsaw.

The associated partner said that the infrastructure of Poland was improved dramatically with the help of EU funds.

Poland, Hungary, some of the most active in attracting greenfield investments, mainly in the automotive sector, he explained.

“Romanian agency for FDI is not as politically and economically empowered as those in Poland and Hungary, and many of the foreign investors expect a one stop shop on the government’s side,” said Lerner.

Pretty low competition thresholds, the lack of sufficient case law following the roll out of the New Civil Code 5 years ago and the current legal regime for the acquisition of limited liability companies are some of the challenges for a foreign lawyer in Romania.

“For political reasons, Poland and Hungary did not have a good coverage in the international press in the recent period, compared to Romania,” said Lerner.

“Leading international private equity houses are interested in buying Profi,”  said the lawyer.

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