New investments, Manufacturing

Largest Norwegian furniture manufacturer chooses Panevėžys FEZ

February 18, 2018

Norwegian furniture manufacturer IMG Group AS (part of Ekornes Group, the largest furniture manufacturer in Norway) has chosen Panevėžys Free Economic Zone (FEZ) for its first combined production and distribution facility in Europe. Investments are planned to take place in several stages. Initial investments will reach €10 million and create 125 jobs. The construction of the new factory is planned finish by the beginning of 2019.

A local subsidiary company IMG Lithuania has already been established. IMG Group is confident that this development will be key in the company‘s ambitions to double the size of the business within the next five years.

“IMG Lithuania will strengthen our competitive position in Europe whilst building on our core strength in vertically integrated production. This is key in allowing IMG to deliver our range of comfort-focused products with industry-leading quality. Creating the best possible value for consumers is core to IMG. I look forward to the possibilities that Lithuania brings to our European business,” says IMG Group President James Tate.

This is an important development for IMG as it looks to further its competitive position in Europe. Currently, the company‘s European business is built around container supply from Asia. James Tate, the President of IMG commented that “this new facility will enable IMG to reduce product delivery times as well as providing development possibilities for European specific product ranges. The increased flexibility will mean IMG can better serve our current customers as well as enabling expansion into new, untapped markets.”

IMG Group is hopeful that the new facility in Panevėžys FEZ will help build flexible supply and production possibilities as Panevėžys region is known for its strong supply chain for most industries, especially furniture. A full local supply chain needed for furniture manufacturing is available within 50 kilometres – wooden frames and components, standard and moulded foam, textile, metal frames, and other components of highest standards and quality.

Lars Inge Solnørdal Jakobsen, the COO of IMG confirms that “Panevėžys in Lithuania was selected due to the strategically advantageous location, a strong and skilled labour force who are furniture specialists as well as the ease of doing business in Lithuania.”

Panevėžys FEZ CEO Rokas Krivonis notes that IMG Group’s decision to invest in Panevėžys confirms that the region is a strong modern manufacturing hub both on the Lithuanian and the European level. There are more than 20 foreign investors present in the region of which 16 are from Norway.

“Investors value Panevėžys FEZ not only for its qualified workforce and strong supply chain but also for the speed that it takes to complete investment projects. We are able to offer temporary production facilities nearby to investors, right after signing the agreements that we suggested to IMG Group as well. And also, on a separate agreement, our local construction management team can make sure that turn-key projects are completed in 8-10 months,” says Mr. Krivonis.

The provisional plan for IMG is to begin site construction in mid-2018, with the aim of commencing limited production and distribution in the first half of 2019.

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Aistė Žebrauskienė
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    Aistė Žebrauskienė Press Officer
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