2014 proved to be a record year for Invest Lithuania, the nation’s foreign investment development agency, with 29 foreign companies deciding to establish or develop their businesses in Lithuania. Altogether almost 2,000 new jobs are planned over the next three years.
In comparison to 2013, 2014 saw an increase of one third in the number of new projects created, while the number of planned jobs rose by one fifth. Add to this the fact that the amount of capital investments (CAPEX) more than doubled; making 2014 the agency’s strongest year yet.
According to the Lithuanian Economy Minister Evaldas Gustas, Invest Lithuania is a sterling example of a public sector company: ‘Foreign companies attracted by Invest Lithuania in the last five years have already created more than 7,000 jobs. The outstanding results of the agency only prove its goal oriented approach, and increase it the effectiveness of its performance.’
Total agency operation expenditures decreased by 11 % in 2014. According to calculations, each of the 1,860 jobs provided by the attracted companies will bring, on average, EUR 6,000 a year in social insurance and income taxes. This means that within a company’s first year of operation, the costs of the agency will be paid off more than six times through the provision of one job.
And it is not only favourable working conditions that these companies are providing to the domestic workforce, they are also offering higher than average wages: data of the Department of Statistics and Invest Lithuania show that the average wage in a foreign company operating in Lithuania is more than 34 % higher than the general wage in Lithuania.
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In 2014 the highest number of investments came from US companies. Over the next few years US businesses intend to provide more than 600 jobs. Among these companies rank Intermedix, the developer of IT solutions in the field of health protection, established in Kaunas, and Thermo Fisher Scientific, the life sciences company which has invested EUR 9.7 million in the development of its business. Norway and Sweden take the second place in terms of the number of investment projects in 2014. The year 2014 saw 4 Norwegian and 4 Swedish companies establishing and developing operations in Lithuania, which will create around 550 jobs in total.
The manufacturing industry accounted for the highest number of investment projects in 2014. They constituted 41 % of all investment projects. Lithuania was chosen by such companies as Advantec – the Norwegian oil and gas extraction technology company, PKC Group – the Finnish producer of electro-mechanics, and Pelly – the Swedish metal processing company and many others.
Almost one fourth of the investment projects attracted in 2014 consist of business service centres. Notable examples are Lindorff – the Norwegian credit administration company, and Ahlstrom – the Finnish fiber-based materials company, service centres which provide services to clients throughout the world.
Almost half (48 %) of the companies which came to Lithuania to establish or develop their business in 2014 chose territories beyond the borders of Vilnius region. In terms of foreign investment, after Vilnius region Kaunas, Klaipėda and Panevėžys take the leading positions.
According to Justinas Pagirys, Director of the Investment Development Department of Invest Lithuania, the 2014 performance results demonstrate not only the achievements of the Invest Lithuania team, but also the improvement of the investment environment in Lithuania: ‘The decision to invest in Lithuania is not made in a day – negotiations with some companies which announced their start in Lithuania in 2014 took several years.
In comparison with 2014, our proactive approach was more important in promoting FDI in Lithuania – more leads came from aftercare services and targeted marketing campaigns. This shows that raising awareness about Lithuania as a business location is very important and provides great results.
However, we could not have done this without our dedicated partners – the Ministry of Economy, embassies, other public institutions, Lithuanians living abroad and foreign companies which have been operating in Lithuania for some time. They have all made significant contributions to achieve these results. Their help and effort made it possible to improve the investment environment Lithuania and increase the awareness of Lithuania worldwide.’
According to Mr. Pagirys, Invest Lithuania has set no less ambitious goals for 2015. ‘Presently we are engaged in talks with 122 companies, 10 of them are very likely to invest in Lithuania. Of course, external circumstances, the global economic situation and the economic situation in Europe are among the determining factors; however, 2014 has shown that complicated situations may bring not only threats, but also new opportunities; therefore, we are optimistic about the future.’
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