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Investments in SEZ up by over 50% in 2010 but legal changes needed to maintain the momentum


Between 1 January and 23 December 2010, the country’s 14 Special Economic Zones (SEZ) secured new investments worth PLN 4.7bn (approx. €1.2bn), an increase of 57% compared with 2009, according to a survey by Rzeczpospolita. The number of new investment projects, at 176, was up by a third, and the number of jobs to be created doubled to 12,200.

In terms of investment values, the Katowice Special Economic Zone was the clear leader with almost PLN 1bn (€0.25bn) worth of new projects in 2010, a five-fold increase from a very weak 2009, thanks mainly to a strong first half of the year. It finalised 23 projects in 2010 (one of just four zones with over 20 investments in 2010), expected to create 900 jobs. The Walbrzych Special Economic Zone topped the list in terms of the number of new projects (28) and especially on new jobs pledged (4,122), and came third on project values (PLN 650m or €163m). The Lodz zone came second on project values (PLN 800m or €201m) and number of projects (26), and third on jobs (1,600). A particularly spectacular improvement occurred at the Kostrzyn-Slubice Special Economic Zone, where the total value of new investments surged four-fold to PLN 540m (€136m), and the number of jobs pledged, at 2,694, was lower only than in the Walbrzych zone. This was thanks to the finalisation of several large projects, as the total number of investments was a modest 12. Rounding out the top five is the Euro-Park Mielec zone, with 22 projects worth PLN 390m (€98m) and expected to produce 892 jobs, a slight overall deterioration compared with 2009.

Several other zones had a poor year. In the Kamienna Gora zone investments plunged by two thirds, while the Suwalki zone managed to attract only PLN 56m (€14m) worth of new investments.

According to zone officials and experts quoted by the newspaper, a continuation of the upturn in investments in 2011 is far from assured, and legal changes are urgently needed to maintain their attractiveness for investors.

Meanwhile, a separate survey by Puls Biznesu found that a record proportion of new investments in the SEZ in 2010 were reinvestments by investors already present in the zones. This was true e.g. of five of the 12 projects closed by the Kostrzyn-Slubice zone.

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