Plovdiv as an investment destination

Industrial zone Rakovski

Plovdiv as an investment destination

The business climate and the investment opportunities in Bulgaria report an important growth. Plovdiv marks a significant success in the expansion of its six industrial zones, established around the city. Trakia economic zone is pleased to be part of this great development. For the past 20 years, large world companies have been investing and launching their new production plants here in Plovdiv – the industrial heart of Southeast Europe.

Bulgaria on the world map

Since 1997, Bulgaria’s economy has been growing rapidly which allows the government to support the investment projects. Over the years, the country has gained macroeconomic and fiscal stability and predictability.

Strategic location

Bulgaria is situated on a unique geographical location – on the Balkan Peninsula, part of the Southeast Europe. The country has always been on the world crossroad map. It is strategically located along key land routes. In addition, Bulgaria also has a border line with Black Sea and Danube River, which enables direct maritime links. Also, a well-developed network of international highways and railway lines connects Bulgaria to Western Europe, Russia and Asia Minor.

Tax system and currency

Bulgaria joined NATO in 2004 and European Union in 2007. Laws and regulations in almost all spheres are harmonized with European legislation. Apart from the perfect location, the country offers a business-friendly environment for its investments. Here are some official statistics on a district level:

Statistics for Bulgaria

Source: Industry Watch

Bulgaria offers the lowest operational cost in the European Union. It holds the 1st place for the lowest personal and corporate income flat tax rates in the European Union (10%) and has only 25% government debt (% of GDP) which makes it the 3rd lowest in the European Union (according to Eurostat, 2017). By the Global Competitiveness Index, a comprehensive tool that measures the microeconomic and macroeconomic foundations of national competitiveness, Bulgaria is 49th out of 137 countries.

The official currency in the country is the Bulgarian lev (BGN). Bulgaria has a fixed exchange rate regime since 1997 and it will maintain it until the adoption of the single European currency. Thanks to the support of the currency board, Bulgaria has a stable currency, pegging the Bulgarian lev to the euro at the level of 1.96.

Why Plovdiv?

Plovdiv is the second-largest city in Bulgaria and currently, it proudly hosts the European Capital of Culture 2019. An award, designated by the EU and which has opened a number of opportunities for the city and the country. Plovdiv is situated in the Upper Thracian Plain. The region consists mostly fertile planes. The climate is accommodating for both industrial and construction activities. Plovdiv is only 30 minutes to the mountains and 2 hours to the sea side.

Connections

Plovdiv is a major link in the transport chain connecting Europe with the Middle East and Anatolia (Asia Minor). It is a road intersection point of three Pan-European corridors IV (Dresden–Bucharest–Plovdiv–Istanbul), VIII (Durrës–Plovdiv–Burgas), and X (Salzburg–Belgrade–Plovdiv–Istanbul). Plovdiv station has a strategic location in the national railway system with the capacity of handling 32 trains daily and unloading 2 000 wagons per day.

Connections of Bulgaria and Plovdiv

The city has well-developed and modern infrastructure – electricity, natural gas, water and sewerage, telecommunication and fast internet. There is access to electricity in all towns and villages in the region provided by modern power distribution system. About 75% of the urban territories have available central sewage and waste water treatment. Some of the major international and national gas transit pipelines are crossing the Plovdiv district.

Labor force and education

Most of the population of the Plovdiv region is working in the manufacturing sector. Furthermore, the area has a well-developed business service sector. According to a National Statistical Institute, the numbers of industry compatible employees on a district level are:

• 34 317 machine operators
• 26 734 skilled industrial workers
• 18 035 technicians

Bulgaria is known to possess one of the most competitive costs of labor in Europe with significantly lower wage levels than those in other European countries. Despite that fact, Plovdiv has a skilled workforce which provides all the high-quality services a manufacturing company might need.
The well-developed educational system, supported by the educational institutes and training projects, helps the city to produce trained and qualified students in the technical and applied disciplines.

Statistics of labor costs in Plovdiv district

Source: Trakia Tech survey

History and culture

Plovdiv is one of the oldest European cities. Thanks to its ancient heritage and colorful history, the city was chosen for one of CNN travel’s best places to visit in 2019. Being older than Rome and Athens, the city of the seven hills offers its visitors astonishing monuments, charming landscapes and rich cultural program. European Capital of Culture 2019 marks a significant year with various interesting initiatives for the city. Since its selection, Plovdiv is gaining valuable opportunities for boosting its tourism and local economy.

 

The Zones

Trakia economic zone was established officially in 2013, as a collaboration between SIENIT HOLDING AD, KCM 2000 AD and their partners from Italy and Israel. It is a public-private partnership that combines 6 major industrial zones – Maritsa, Rakovski, Kuklen, Plovdiv Industrial Park, Innovation Park and Agrocenter Kaloyanovo. TEZ offers its investors from build-to-suit to full-service development plans to foreign and domestic investors.

Map of the six industrial zones

In 1996, the first company to invest was Ferrero and it was situated in industrial zone Maritza. Since then, over 180 companies located their plains in the Plovdiv region, with more than 2 billion euros of investment and opening over 30 000 new jobs. In the near future, the project aims to develop industrial areas in other Bulgarian cities such as Burgas, Haskovo, and Yambol.

The CEO of Trakia economic zone, Plamen Panchev shares:

“Trakia Economic Zone is the fruit of a huge professional effort of hundreds of people and the mutual understanding and cooperation between business, state and local authorities. I want to thank everyone who still believes in our mission and helps the common cause, namely to turn Plovdiv into highly attractive investment destination for high-tech manufacturing in Southeastern Europe. The opportunity to create good conditions for international and local companies to partner with each other and to raise the standard of living in the city is the biggest reward I could dream of. I hope that one day we will develop the concept of a circular economy to a position where local and international business can successfully exchange added value, while the environment and the people are protected and cared for.”

Trakia economic zone pursues sustainable growth through various employment, educational and environmental projects. These aim to develop a stable bridge between business and community while caring for the environment. TEZ program for sustainable development becomes a part of the Innovation plan of Plovdiv Region 2017-2020. Thanks to Trakia economic zone, Plovdiv has ranked amongst the top three in the category “FDI strategy” in the ranking “European cities of the future 2018/2019” of the renowned British edition of “Financial Times”.