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The Warsaw Voice » National Voice » January 30, 2014
Norway in Poland
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Norwegian Know-How
January 30, 2014   
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Kjell Arne Nielsen, Director of Innovation Norway and Commercial Counselor at the Norwegian embassy in Warsaw, talks to Ewa Hancock.

How big is Norwegian investment in Poland?
Norway has invested the most in the maritime and building sectors. New hotels, shopping centers and resorts have also seen significant investment, as has the processing industry, for example the seafood branch. From 2002 to 2010, direct investment has averaged around 40 million euros a year, based on figures from the Scandinavian-Polish Chamber of Commerce (SPCC).

However, Norwegian investment in people may not show up prominently in the statistics. A growing number of Norwegian companies are establishing businesses that create jobs for highly skilled workers. Typically we find such investment in ICT, ship design and engineering for the offshore sector.

In the near future, we may expect more investment in the processing of seafood, renewable energy, waste handling and manufacturing for the offshore and subsea sector.

We should also expect to see investment in the Polish defense industry in order to provide Polish content in contracts and facilitate technology transfer.

One example illustrates these possible new developments. In December 2012, Norwegian salmon farming company Marine Harvest acquired a 48.5-percent stake in salmon processor Morpol from Poland’s Jerzy Malek, who founded Morpol.

That transaction alone had a nominal value of more than 110 million euros. Last year Marine Harvest continued investing in the company and by September 2013 they held 87 percent of its shares.

What are the most important sectors in which Poland does business with Norway, and which are the most attractive for Norwegians?
Bilateral business between Poland and Norway is first and foremost linked to the sea, where the keywords are seafood and the maritime sector.

Poland is building a number of vessels for Norwegian owners including LNG-powered ferries and offshore vessels. Polish shipyards have now reached the stage that they are contracted to build and fit out complex offshore vessels.

For Norwegian seafood exporters, Poland is very important, and Norwegian seafood have provided numerous jobs in Poland. By the end 2013, Poland was Norway’s third biggest market for seafood measured in value and second measured in terms of volume. In terms of salmon, Poland is our second biggest market.

Poland is attractive for Norwegian companies that need highly skilled engineers working on projects involving ICT and for the oil and gas and maritime offshore sector.

New markets have opened up in Poland. One arises from the requirement to build more energy-efficient houses. Coming from a harsh and cold climate, Norwegian building technology and architecture should be an attractive alternative in Poland. Some calculations show that using wood frames instead of bricks or concrete should reduce building costs for private houses and the carbon footprint will be significantly lower. Hence, Norwegian architects and suppliers of building materials regard Poland as a new and attractive market.

Another driving force is new legislation in Poland on waste handling. This has drawn the attention of Norwegian companies interested in new opportunities in recycling, waste collection, and the treatment of hazardous waste. Norwegians are well positioned and eager to invest, together with local partners.

Investing in and providing technology and know-how for renewable energy projects is attractive for Norwegian companies. With close to 100 percent of electricity in Norway coming from renewable sources, Norwegian companies will be ideal partners-for example for farmers producing bio-energy locally and for Polish hydropower plant owners.

Modernizing the many small hydropower stations in Poland could also be regarded as a contribution to upgrading water management and improving biodiversity next to waterways and dams.

Wastewater treatment is also a sector where Norwegian companies, together with Norwegian financial institutions, could make a positive difference, for example in projects for many Polish municipal authorities.

In the future, when the conditions are right, Poland may be attractive as a market for offshore-wind and drilling technology.

Can you give an example of a major Norwegian success story in Poland?
There are two examples that are a bit different from the usual perception of Norwegian business in Poland. Geno is a farmers’ cooperative and breeding organization for Norwegian Red cows. Norwegian dairy farmers own the company. Norwegian Red is the main dairy breed in Norway, with a population of 240,000 animals. Subsidiary company Geno Global handles all exports of Norwegian Red genetic material and has for some years exported semen from Norwegian Red bulls to Poland. Its experience in breeding Norwegian Red continuously since 1935 is useful to Polish framers in order to increase profit by improving characteristics like animal health and fertility.

Geno Global works with another Norwegian company called SpermVital, providing technology that increases the pregnancy rates on repeat breeders.

This is a success story since the two companies, working together, are breaking new ground within a sector for which Norway may not be well known. However, here it’s clear that Norwegian research- based products are having a positive impact in transforming the Polish agricultural sector.

The second example is Kongsberg. In December 2008, the company signed a contract to deliver the Naval Strike Missile (NSM) coastal artillery system to the Polish Navy.

Kongsberg Defence Systems is Norway’s premier supplier of defense and aerospace-related systems. Its portfolio comprises products and systems for command and control, weapons guidance and surveillance, communications solutions and missiles. Kongsberg Defence Systems also makes advanced composites and engineering products for the aircraft and helicopter market.

In 2010, the contract was augmented and it is now worth about 180 million euros. Polish industry is involved in roughly 45 percent of the contracted work. The delivery of the system on time and on budget is a significant achievement for all involved and shows Kongsberg’s commitment to involve Polish industry and provide technology transfer.
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