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KPMG: picture brightens for special economic zones


The number of new investment projects secured by the country’s 14 special economic zones (SEZ) in the course of 2010, and total employment levels at SEZs at year-end, are set to be higher compared with last year, although the value of new investments will fall, according to an annual survey of zone executives and investors by KPMG, the audit and consultancy firm. The results point to a rebound in investment activity in the zones and paint a more optimistic outlook, after a poor 2009, KPMG reckons.

The study shows that the number of new permits is expected rise by 27% this year, to 166. The highest number of permits is likely to be issued by the Lodz and Walbrzych zones (22 each). Meanwhile, about 17,000 new jobs are to be created in the zones during 2010, lifting the aggregate figure by 8% and marking a return to pre-crisis levels. According to KPMG, assuming that each new SEZ job produces two non-SEZ ones, the total number of new jobs could be closer to 50,000.

At the same time, the value of actual investment outlays is forecast to fall by 30% in 2010, to approximately PLN 6.8bn (€1.7bn). This partly reflects a new approach on the part of SEZ authorities, which are increasingly luring medium-sized firms. Furthermore, a growing proportion of permits are new projects by existing investors, which are by definition smaller in value.

The survey also shows a high level of satisfaction and optimism among SEZ investors. More than 90% of the respondents believe they were right to invest in their zone and would recommend it to a business partner; and 86% expect 2011 to be better for business than 2010.

The survey was based on interviews with 214 SEZ investors and senior executives at all 14 zones.

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