Investors Seek Stability, Better Infrastructure

  • Written by FDI
  • October 23, 2014 at 7:51 am
  • Foreign investors in Slovenia believe a stable economic environment and better infrastructure are essential to providing conditions for development and attracting foreign investment, an investment conference in Ljubljana heard on Wednesday. Slovenia has many appealing features, including a skilled workforce, geostrategic location and environment, but to boost its development potential and to attract foreign investors it needs to make progress in vital areas such as infrastructure and the administrative framework, the panellists at the FDI Summit agreed.

    “There is a clear need to make decisions quickly, speeding up administrative procedures, so as to increase certainty for business,” general manager of Lafarge Cement in Slovenia Haimo Primas told the panel debating the role of foreign capital. Ensuring that rules do not change too often means greater certainty, said Primas, who raised the need for bolstering the operational part of government, which should not be reliant on the ruling coalition but rather on a broad development strategy.

    Primas also believes that Slovenia needs to develop a brand like other countries in Europe to target investors. Thinking big was also raised by Anton Chernykh, the chairman of the SIJ steel group, who believes that Slovenia has the potential to establish an highly-appealing economic zone. Achieving this requires greater investment in infrastructure along with a greater administrative efficiency. While some areas of the country are highly developed, there are also those – such as the Koroško region in the north where SIJ has a plant – which lack good connections, the SIJ boss said.

    Although foreign investors have contributed to many business success stories in Slovenia, there are also examples of successful domestic ownership, such as the Kolektor industrial conglomerate, its chairman Radovan Bolko told the panel. Foreign ownership is not necessarily a receipt for success and domestic ownership is not necessarily a guarantee of failure, said Bolko, who highlighted that the main criterion for success was focus on development. This is also why many domestically-owned companies have struggled in recent years, since their managers were too preoccupied with securing ownership control of the company rather than focusing on ways to develop the business, Bolko said. He said the priority for Slovenia in attracting investors – be it domestic or foreign – should be to ensure that vital operations of companies are located in Slovenia.