Austrian investors share views on market conditions

Newsroom 12/10/2009 | 16:03

“In Austria, the tourism and travel market is losing 10-15 percent. In Romania the market is not so strong. A lot of companies were planning to invest but they have decided that now is not a good time to do so,” said Robert Jobstl, general manager of Starlight Suiten Bucharest. “Eighteen months ago, we decided to come to Bucharest for a project. It was not a good time to open a hotel. But we believe in the future of this country,” he added.”A great disadvantage for us as an insurance company is that this country does not have a solid middle class,” said Werner Bolek, director of direct sales at Asirom. In Romania, the average annual expenditure on insurance is EUR 100-EUR 150 per capita. In Western Europe, the average is EUR 2,000 on insurance premiums alone. “This means the Romanian market could grow by 1,500 percent. The only thing we are not sure of is whether it will take 15-20 years until there is similar spending on these two markets,” added Bolek. There is a growing interest in EU funds. Johannes Becker, managing partner at Becker Consult, advised big firms who were thinking of submitting projects for EU funds over the coming years to do it now, because “there is still money available for investments in large companies, but next year there will not be as much,” he warned. As far as training programs are concerned, EU funds are available mostly to SMEs, which have a good chance of receiving funds that represent up to 60 percent of training costs. The majority of current projects are in the public sector, in canalization, drinking water supplies and road construction. “In the first half of this year, Austrian companies invested EUR 1 billion in Romania. Of course, it is not as much as before, but it shows that they are continuing to invest,” said Rudolf Lukavsky, commercial counsellor at the Embassy of Austria. “I think the industrial sector will be the first to recover. Real estate and services will also follow, but more slowly,” predicted Lukavsky
Otilia Haraga

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