Article about GreenEvo in special supplement – Jornal de Negócios (edition of 14.10.2010)

A special supplement dedicated to Poland, broadly outlining the conference “Możliwości inwestycyjne – Business Roundtable: Polska” (“Investment opportunities – Business Roundtable: Poland”), organized by the journal on 8th October this year in Lisbon within the cycle “Infrastruktura i Internacjonalizacja” (“Infrastructure and Internationalization”), was published within the edition of the economic journal Jornal de Negócios on 14th October.
The published supplement presents extensive articles describing the current economic condition of Poland and investment opportunities existing in it. The publication emphasizes that in January this year, Poland climbed the first place in the ranking of states where Portuguese companies most frequently invest in. The supplement contains materials on current data of Polish-Portuguese bilateral cooperation, as well as investment offers of Gdańsk and an innovative project of the Ministry of the Environment, aiming at promoting modern environmental technologies.
1. “Opportunities in Poland are written in Polish” (“Oportunidade na Polónia escreve-se em polaco“)
“In Poland, we have 29,000 employees. Nine of them are Portuguese, but six of them are almost Polish because they married Polish women (…)”, said during the conference Pedro Soares dos Santos, who for 15 years managed the activities of Jerónimo Martins in Poland and now manages the group in Portugal. His company adopted the philosophy “In Poland, be Polish”, the legitimacy of which is confirmed by other investors.
During the conference “Investment opportunities – Business Roundtable: Poland”, Pedro Soares dos Santos stressed that at the moment of entry of JM on the Polish market – four time bigger than the Portuguese – it was necessary to understand the history of the country, consumer expectations and to master the language.
Today, Poland is a country full of opportunities, not only because of the size of the market, but also owing to the planned modernization. João Brás Jorge, Vice-President of Millennium Bank, warns Portuguese entrepreneurs that nevertheless the scope of public works represents an enormous potential, entrance into the tender without knowledge of the Polish market and its participants is only a half of the battle.
Iwona Chojnowska-Haponik, head of the Foreign Investment Department in the Polish Agency for Foreign Investment PAIIZ, ensures that the Polish-Portuguese communication is possible, as the new generation of Polish entrepreneurs speaks English. Dorota Ostrowska-Cobas, Chargé d’Affaires at the Embassy of the Republic of Poland in Lisbon, indicates that, according to the data of the Portuguese Central Bank, so far companies from Portugal invested EUR 2 billion and notes that there are progressively more ambassadors of Poland among the Portuguese entrepreneurs.
Although Portugal is ranked outside the group of ten most important investors in Poland (the Netherlands is at the top of the rank), there are many Portuguese companies investing in Poland.
Secretary of State for Trade, Services and Consumer Protection, Fernando Serrasqueiro reminded that over the past 5 years, the number of Polish companies with Portuguese capital increased from 24 to over 90. He also expressed a belief that in our country, there are opportunities and they comply with the Portuguese know-how.
Pedro Soares dos Santos is sure that it is worth continuing activities in Poland, especially, as he emphasizes, that Poland has a stable and predictable tax system and is a country with an effectively operating legal system.
2. Gdańsk has millions of euro from the European funds and a Millennium at every corner (“Gdansk tem milhões de euros de fundos comunitários e um Millennium em cada esquina“)
In the years 2010-2014, Gdańsk wants to invest PLN 5.1 billion (EUR 1.2 billion). City authorities want to create the so-called entrepreneurship incubator and intend to allocate EUR 12 million for this purpose. Moreover, construction of the new stadium will cost EUR 150 million and the project of drainage system and flood protection – EUR 55 million. Gdańsk is also a candidate for the title of European Capital of Culture in 2016. The funds come in majority from the European Union and will be allocated for, among others, renovation of the City Hall, construction of swimming public pools and reconstruction of coal market. João Brás Jorge, Vice-President of BCP in Poland, emphasizes that Gdańsk is a city where you can find a branch of Millennium Bank at every corner. He also notes that the EU funds obtained by the city create great opportunities for companies in terms of infrastructure projects. Of EUR 67 billion, which Poland gained from the EU funds for 2010-2014, almost 28 billion will be earmarked for infrastructure development and environmental protection. Further opportunities for foreign investors in Poland exist in the field of privatization and projects implemented in the public-private partnership formula. The renewable energy sector is an important area, which is not only significant at business level, but also at governmental level, resulting from the obligation for Poland to meet the EU requirements in this respect.
Iwona Chojnowska-Haponik, director in PAIiIZ, enumerated the most important factors confirming the attractiveness of Poland: young, well-educated society, increasing productivity and effectiveness of labor, decreasing unemployment rate and existence of 14 special economic zones, offering investment incentives to foreign companies. Economic recession, which affected many European countries, spared Poland and according to director Chojnowska-Haponik, it could have been supported by the reluctance of Poles towards complex financial instruments.
Poland attracts investors with low labor costs. The data concerning the remuneration level in Poland in recent years were presented during the conference by Mr. Krzysztof Klincewicz, Coordinator of the team of experts in the GreenEvo project, emphasizing that due to the remuneration level in our country, we are able to develop innovative projects at a lower cost.
The article refers to the latest edition of the report “European Cities Monitor”, prepared by Cushman & Wakefield, according to which Warsaw is the most attractive city among the analyzed thirty in terms of labor costs. Bratislava was ranked at the second place, and Lisbon – at the third. This study indicates Warsaw as one of the most preferred investment sites for the foreign investors in the coming years.
3. Renewable energy sources and environmental projects are becoming increasingly popular in the country dominated by coal (“Renováveis e projectos ambientais ganham espaço num país movido a carvão“)
Mr. Krzysztof Klincewicz, Coordinator of the team of experts in the GreenEvo project, presented examples of involvement of Polish entrepreneurs in environmental projects at the conference “Investment opportunities – Business Roundtable: Poland”. During his speech, he expressed a belief that Portugal can benefit from technologies used in Poland. The presented examples included: Biogradex, technology enabling sewage treatment, Ecotech, technology designed for hazardous waste processing, equipment for manufacturing briquettes by the Asket company and solar collectors by the companies Watt and Sunex.
Currently, the initiative of the Ministry of the Environment comprises 13 companies operating in, among others, the following fields: renewable energy sources, recycling or water purification. The GreenEvo project shows that Poland is more and more involved in environmental issues, although its economy is in majority based on coal. The objectives set forth for 2010 assume that the renewable energy sources will be responsible for producing 7.5% of electricity, while the average for the EU amounts to 21% and in Portugal – 39%. Currently, 90% of electricity in Poland is produced by coal-burning power plants. Poland is an attractive place for companies from the branch because of low penetration of the market in terms of renewable energy. In 2009, of 1993MW of installed renewable capacity, 945 MW came from dams, 725 MW from wind farms and the rest – from biomass and biogas.
EDP Renováveis is already present on the Polish market, the President of which – Ana Maria Fernandes thinks that Poland has a clear policy on renewable energy, owing to which the company drew its attention on this country, taking into consideration possibilities of short-term and long-term growth. Currently, EDP is one of the main producers of wind energy in the country and has several projects under development, which will enable the company to increase its influence in Poland.
4. Presence of Portuguese companies increased over the last decade (“Presença portuguesa multiplicou-se na última década“)
In the past five years, the number of Polish companies with Portuguese capital nearly quadrupled.
The companies with strongest roots in Poland include JM and BCP, which initiated the presence of Portuguese capital in this country. Recovery in terms of Portuguese capital flow to Poland could be observed after 2000 year, when the following companies entered the market: MSF, Colep, Martifer, Simoldes, Mota-Engil and BES Investimento.
BCP began operating in Poland in 1998 as a joint venture with Millennium Bank, as a result of which the Portuguese bank took over the majority of shares in Millennium Bank. João Brás Jorge, Vice-President of BCP bank, notes that in an economy so rapidly growing as in the case of Poland and driver by domestic consumption, each company, from each branch can be effective if it is good at what it does, has adequate capital and the best staff.
According to the Polish-Portuguese Chamber of Commerce, key possibilities for Portuguese capital are located in, among others, sectors of renewable energy, machines, financial services, furniture manufacturing, retail and information technologies. Portuguese companies set up their business on the Polish market included Martifer, which won the tender for supply of steel construction for the stadium in Gdańsk, EDP Renováveis, which built a wind farm in Margolin or Mota-Engil, which bought a Polish company PRDM Lublin in June this year.
Fernando Serrasqueiro, Secretary of State for Trade, said during the conference that Portuguese companies which want to enter the Polish market, should not think that this will solve their financial problems in Portugal because it is a demanding and increasingly internationalized market. He also notes investment opportunities in the transport sector in Poland, especially as in his opinion, the concept of electric mobility can be interesting for Poland. He also indicates the possibilities existing within the privatization plan implemented by the Polish government and those resulting from construction of infrastructure for EURO 2012. He also believes that Portuguese companies can try engaging in projects related to waste recycling, construction of parking lots, software, roads, railways and modernization of airports.
Prepared by:
Trade and Investment Promotion Department of the Embassy of the Republic of Poland in Lisbon,
18 October 2010

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