PLOVDIV HAS OPENED FOUR NEW BUSINESS ZONES
January 25, 2006;
24 Hours Newspaper, Bulgaria
500 million Euro have been invested green field in that region for 10 years
For 15 years in Bulgaria – outside of the privatization and the restructure of the economy and the old state enterprises – a lot of new factories have been built.
Their owners are Bulgarian and foreign investors which chose to invest their money in modern buildings and production halls with modern technologies.
24 Hours starts series about this new industry which gradually changes the faces of entire villages, towns and regions. Our purpose is to find them, to tell about them and how they change the industrial map of the country.
For 10 years West European and Bulgarian companies have built factories for almost 500 million Euros in the region of Plovdiv.
“Agri Bulgaria”, “Shell Gas”, “Liebherr”, “Bulsafil” and “Socotab” have become the face of the European investments in Bulgaria. These five companies hired 1600 people at the years when the unemployment in Plovdiv was about 20 %.
Last year the Bulgarian company “Chaika Pharm” has also ranged with the big ones. The Varna’s pharmaceutical company invested over 15 million Euro in a “vacant meadow” in the center of Plovdiv – between Metro and McDonald’s, thereby it lead off the Bulgarian investments it the region.
The economists calculate that for the last 10 years the green field industrial construction that has been realized here amount to at least 500 million Levs.
It was clear from the beginning that Europeans like Radinovo village the most. It is 3 km. away from the city of Plovdiv in the municipality of Maritza.
First enterprise who brought excavators in 1996 was “Agri Bulgaria”
The construction finished for less than a year. On 5th May 1997, 300 people started working there. The investment of the German company Ferrero Nahrungs-und Genußmittelindstrie OHG was for 35 million on that time German Marks invested in a cherry processing factory.
“Shell Gas” has become the second investor at the Radinovo’s land. After the construction of the Factory for bottling of propane-butane, the terrain assumed the feature of an industrial zone. At the end of 1999 “Shell Gas” got a diploma for First investor of the year as they have been invested 50 million German Marks.
The third big investment on the land of Radinovo was German again. The factory for refrigerators and coolers “Liebherr Hausgeräte Maritza” has become a neighbour of “Agri Bulgaria” as they bought 95 000 square meters of land. On 19th October 2000 the then vice premier and social minister Ivan Neikov, the president of the investor-company Robert Baush and the German ambassadress Ursula Zailer cut the band. That works cost 50 million US Dollars to Liebherr. In the beginning Mr. Baush hired 300 workers but he promised to double them. Two months later “Liebherr” was declared for №1 investor of the 2000.
“Socotab” also liked Radinovo. The word company for oriental tobacco processing with head office in Geneva have bought 130 000 square meters and on the area of 55 000 square meters built production facilities, stores and drying-rooms. The factory was opened on 23rd May 2004 by the prime-minister Simeon Sax Coburg Gotha, the minister of agriculture Mehmed Dikme and the president of “Socotab Group” - J. Wertheimer. The tobacco concern reported that the factory costs over 30 million Euros. 170 workers started permanent work at the factory. At the season of processing they hire 1000.
The spinning factory “Bulsafil” has been working since 2001 in Skutare village which is located again in the municipality of Maritza. The building and the equipment cost 25 million Euro to an Italian company. The owner – the Italian Cesare Savio has also invested a lot in the training of the workers.
At the end of the 90 Plovdiv was “attacked” also from the European retailers. Metro has shown to the city a new model of trade. After Metro the city has become occupied by other foreign and Bulgarian retailers.
The fund “BenchMark Properties” hit the top with building of huge stores just in front on the other side of Metro. For 1-2 years the fund rented out the build-up area to “Zora”, “Usk” and other tenants, generally 8 in number. The director Veselin Genchev recently announced that the fund gets annual rent at about 1.8 million Levs.
The local factory-owners and the showrooms settled at the exit points of the city and mostly at “Karlovsko shosse” because of the natural gas and the developed infrastructure. The owners of the new enterprises there even have registered their own association - “West Industrial Zone”.
Another one has differentiated close to Iagodovo village.
At the beginning of the 90 the first one that fixed a stake into the ground there was Dimitar Georgiev – an owner of cosmetic company Rosaimpex. Every year I invest in the factory 1.5 million Lev for extensions and new lines – says Georgiev.
Another 25 companies have settled around Rosaimpex during the next years.
On 15th July 2004 started the development of Rakovski Industrial Zone. Entrepreneurs maintain that it has all premises to become №1 in the country.
Rakovski Industrial Zone is very close to the highway and it is located in a municipality where investors do not pay corporative tax because of the high rate of unemployment (over 30 per cent). Besides it is built with all infrastructure conveniences – roads, gas, electricity, water, sewage. The first enterprise witch started work there at the end of 2004 was the UK company William Hughes manufacturing of implemental equipment. Kaufland Bulgaria has built a logistic center in the zone. Owners of the zone which is spread on 815 000 square meters are Sienit and the Factory for concrete elements.
Businessmen say that the builder Sienit is becoming into the most enterprising developer of industrial zones. The company together with the Non-ferrous Metal Smelter (KCM SA) will develop Commercial-Industrial Zone Kuklen on the Assenovgradsko shosse and another one on the Goliamokonarsko shosse – with Israel partners.
In 2002 the most powerful bread-producer and miller’s company in South Bulgaria – the “Simid” group built a bread-making plant on a meadow close to Cargo Railway Station Plovdiv. Thereby the number of their bakeries becomes 6. The building turn key costs about 3 million Levs, calculated Boris Inchev- a member of the Administrative council of the group.
Again in 2002 the factory for soft drinks “Party Club”, a property of “Asen Dolev Invest” cut the band close to Joakim Gruevo village and during the next 3 years it has doubled the turnover. Until now the company has invested approximately 1.8 million Levs.
A year later Dil Tour - a company of the food industry holding “Bella” opened a factory for production of the famous “Sachi” frankfurters. The owners – George Veselinov and Ventsislav Georgiev have built the pork butcher’s with the help of SAPARD. The total amount of the investment was 1.7 million Euro.
A dairy farm Filipopolis with a Plovdiv’s origin took the first license for export of milk products to Europe.
Village Voivodinovo located again at the municipality of Maritza has become an address of several enterprises. The first breaking the ground in the area for 2006 was made by the company for making of bicycles Maxcom”. The owner Maksim Mitkov said that the investment will be 20 million Levs and the capacity – 500 000 bicycles per year