Invest Lithuania achieved its best ever annual results by attracting 39 foreign direct investment (FDI) projects in 2017, which together will create over 5,000 new jobs. This represents an 18% increase on 2016 in terms of projects attracted by the investment promotion agency. Even more impressive, the number of jobs that will be created thanks to these new projects is up 40% from the previous year. Total investment in long term assets (CAPEX) by these investors exceeded €200 million in 2017, a 53% increase on 2016 figures.
Lithuania’s Prime Minister, Saulius Skvernelis, believes that Invest Lithuania’s continued success is helping to further strengthen the countries reputation as a location for international investment. “The companies Invest Lithuania attracted last year are drawing the international business community’s attention to Lithuania as a potential investment location,” says Mr Skvernelis. “Yet the competition for attracting investment in the CEE region remains particularly fierce. That’s why the Government will continue to implement important changes that substantially improve the country‘s business environment so that it is a favourable option – and in some sectors the most favourable option – for both local and international businesses,” states the Prime Minister.
Of the 39 FDI projects attracted last year, 28 of them were by companies which didn’t previously have operations in Lithuania. For example, the German automotive giant Continental is investing €95 million in a manufacturing unit for electronic components which will create 1,000 new jobs, the largest investment project in the production sector in 2017.
The service sector also saw large scale investment projects attracted, with the most eye catching being the 900-strong services centre Booking.com is establishing. In the IT sector a large number of high-end projects were confirmed with companies including Trackforce, Sentiance and Harbortouch.
2017 was also the first year that a majority of the jobs created by FDI projects were outside the country’s capital Vilnius. As Virginijus Sinkevičius, Lithuania’s Economy Minister, points out, international investors are playing a key role diversifying the country’s economy.
“Foreign investors coming to Lithuania are enabling the diversification of Lithuania’s economy both in terms of sectors and in geographical spread,” explains the Minister. “Thanks to these new investors Lithuania will now have strong automotive component manufacturing, Fintech and AI industries. Furthermore, last year we saw a breakthrough in investment in the Kaunas region, when international requiring high competency levels entrusted local specialists with highly skilled engineering functions,” concludes Mr. Sinkevičius.
While the largest number of jobs from these new projects will be created in Vilnius (2,195), new investment locations are hot on the capital’s heels. 1,800 new jobs are coming to Kaunas Free Economic Zone in Kaunas region, with a further 710 in Kaunas city itself.
For Mantas Katinas, Director General of Invest Lithuania, 2017 was a breakthrough year for a number of reasons. “Last year there were at least three major breakthroughs: the attraction of major manufacturers, the dramatic growth of the Fintech cluster and the development of the services sector in Kaunas. The arrival of major manufacturers such as Continental, Hella and Hollister is a fantastic opportunity to remind German and American companies that Lithuania is an ideal location for manufacturing investments. And with over 60 service centres now flourishing in Lithuania, we have proof that the likes of Barclays and Western Union who set up in Lithuania some years ago were indeed just the first swallows of summer,” comments Mr Katinas.
And while pleased with Invest Lithuania’s record breaking year, he remains focused on continually improving Lithuania as an investment location. “In order to ensure we continue growing investment in manufacturing we have to ensure educational institutions in the regions of Lithuania provide strong courses in engineering studies. We will continue to work hard to develop industrial infrastructure and to boost the sales resources of the Invest Lithuania team,” promises Mr Katinas.
It is estimated that the projects attracted in 2017 will add approximately €104 million to the economy through taxation and additional impacts on the economy, and that the total added value created will exceed €270 million every year.
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