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The Warsaw Voice » Business » August 29, 2014
Business & Economy
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Polish Businesses Go Global
August 29, 2014   
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Poland has been regarded as one of the most attractive investment destinations in Europe for years. As a result, American, German, French, Japanese and multinational corporations are opening new factories in Poland and the country continues to attract growing foreign direct investment. But recently Polish companies have been increasingly active on the global investment market. For the time being, this is not yet a massive expansion drive by Polish companies abroad, but some projects command respect internationally.

One example is a project by Polish copper giant KGHM in the Sierra Gorda copper mine in Chile. According to the company’s executives, the mine cost more than $4.1 billion to launch. This marks the biggest investment project abroad by a Polish company ever.

Other Polish companies are also increasingly bolder in investing abroad. Fuel giant PKN Orlen, the largest company in Poland, has invested in Lithuania, Germany, the Czech Republic and recently also in Canada. Unfortunately, not all its investments have been successful. The purchase of the Mazeikiu refinery in Lithuania has brought the corporation substantial losses. Another major investor is the Lotos group, which is extracting oil and natural gas on the Norwegian Continental Shelf. Also investing abroad is Polish gas giant PGNiG. Kulczyk Investments, in turn, has licenses to drill for oil in Nigeria. Also worthy of note are projects by pharmaceutical companies such as Bioton, PZ Cormay and Polpharma. Other major Polish investors abroad are telecommunications and IT market players Asseco and Comarch.

According to the Warsaw-based Institute for Market, Consumption and Business Cycles Research, Polish companies investing abroad are active in nearly 70 countries, selling over $21 billion worth of goods and services and employing more than 30,000 workers. Interestingly, some companies have bigger business abroad than in Poland. In terms of the number of foreign subsidiaries and branches, Polish companies are the most active in Western and Central Europe, the Middle East and Eastern Europe. According to the Polish central bank, the total value of Polish investment abroad is over $50 billion. However, almost 40 percent of this is cash flows designed to optimize taxes rather than create new value. Meanwhile, the number of companies interested in opening production facilities abroad is growing as well. And companies may find it easier to carry out their international expansion plans thanks to measures such as the Economy Ministry’s Go China and Go Africa programs.
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