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invest in slovakia

Friday 25 March, 2011

Baker McKenzie invited us all over to consider investing in Slovakia.  Peter Burian, Ambassador of the Slovak Republik to the U.S. provided the welcoming greetings.  Martin Chren, Deputy Minister of Economy, offered more specific business background on the Slovak Republik.  The Slovak Republik lies in the heart of Europe, & is no longer the little brother of the Czech Republik.  The country implemented strong reforms in 2002 & has benefited from them since.  The transition from communism is over.  The Slovak Republik is a full member of NATO & the EU & the only country in the region which qualified to implement the Euro.  There are no limits on repatriation of profits from the Slovak Republik.  They seek to become the Singapore of Central/Eastern Europe.  The government is centrally focused, & perhaps leans a bit to the right.  It’s easy to hire & fire there.  All public contracts are published on the public internet, which deters corruption.

Ken Ryan of KPMG offered these tidbits:   The Slovak Republik is the #3 per capita producer of cars in the world.  The country has 4% GDP growth, (vs. 2% for Western Europe),  provides a bridge to the rest of the European Union, & has received $800B of foreign direct investment in the last 20 years, from 140 companies in the US, as well as elsewhere.  Labor costs are 1/3 of what they are in Western Europe, but will rise to 50% by 2020.  The Slovak Republik offers a secure & stable economic environment with attractive fiscal & tax incentives.

Robert Simoncic of Slovak Investment & Trade Development Agency made the following presentation which provided more detail on investing in the Slovak Republik: Sario- US Road show presentation .  You can reach markets of 600M people from the Slovak Republik.  The country’s credit ratings are positive.  A World Bank study ranked the Slovak Republik #1 in terms of ease of doing business in Central/Eastern Europe.  Low labor costs combined with high productivity leads to high profitability.  A 19% flat corporate income tax helps too.  The country is home to 33 ICT centers which employ 20k-this industry provided the greatest contribution to the state treasury.

George Babcoke took US Steel to the east of the country in Kosice 10 years ago.  They started with joint venture in 1998, which they bought out later.

Mike Wysong opened a sales office for  Johnson Controls in 1993 which ended up serving VW there in 1998.  They opened a Business Center there in 2007 with 800 employees, which will be rising to 1100 soon.

Jake Slegers, Executive Director of the AmCham in Bratislava, gave this presentation  AmCham presentation for Invest in Slovakia seminar .

The other presentations are available here:  http://www.tradeinvest.sk/ppt108/

Q&A

  • Slovakia is off the intellectual property watchlist & now protects IP well
  • Slovak Republik has a small stock exchange, but not the size of those in Vienna or Prag
  • Business plan competitions is 1 example of entrepreneurship programs developing there
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