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The Warsaw Voice » Business » May 14, 2008
Spanish Forum
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With Bluebloods
May 14, 2008 By Michal Jeziorski   
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A Polish-Spanish business forum was held at Warsaw's Sheraton Hotel May 7-8 to accompany a visit by Spain's Prince Felipe to Poland. During the forum, Spanish companies with a presence in Poland said they had decided to invest here because Poland is the most economically and politically stable country in Central and Eastern Europe.

"Since Poland entered the European Union in May 2004, Polish-Spanish trade has increased by half; last year, it exceeded 5 million euros," said Poland's Deputy Prime Minister Waldemar Pawlak while opening the forum.

Spanish Crown Prince Felipe said the forum was "part of the Spanish government's attempts to tighten cooperation with Poland." He added that Poland was Spain's most important trading partner in Central and Eastern Europe.

Spain's share in Poland's foreign trade increased to 3.5 percent in 2007, while Spanish investments here put that country in 11th place among the biggest foreign investors in Poland.

A whole armada of Spanish construction companies and developers has landed in Poland in recent years. They have come enticed by record margins, ever-wealthier clients and the fact that Poland still needs another 1.5 million new apartments and homes. Spanish developers see in Poland significant opportunities for development and profits, mainly on account of the Polish market's huge potential. Warsaw as the largest city in the region is becoming the regional center of Spanish activity. Spanish firm Level set up its Central and Eastern European headquarters in Warsaw, and Cogilco is following suit. The latter firm's first project is likely to be a housing estate near the historic palace-and-park complex in the Wilanów district.

Spanish firms' interest in Poland should come as no surprise. Poland's real estate market is currently in a similar position to that of Spain's 30 or 40 years ago. That was the founding time of many Spanish real estate firms, which are now storming into Eastern Europe. Over the last 14 years, Spain has been a veritable El Dorado for construction companies. Some 600,000 new housing units were built in Spain annually, almost six times the number being built in Poland today.

Other major Spanish developers on the Polish market include Acciona, Fadesa, Lubasa, Ferrovial, Grupo Harmonia, Realia, Sando Immobiliaria, and Alstan Group.

Spanish companies have also invested in the Polish banking and automotive sectors, including the production of car parts and components. Currently, several big Spanish companies want to invest in the production of wind power and biomass in Poland. Leading Spanish companies such as Gamesa, Endesa, Iberdrola and Acciona Energy are beginning to invest in Poland. Consulting firm VialEste wants to open an office in Poland to help raise funds for Spanish-Polish investment projects. Spain's Secretary of State for Trade Silvia Iranzo noted that the development of Polish-Spanish relations was helped by good economic trends in Poland.
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