French investment record

29-04-2008, 16:20

Warsaw (Puls Biznesu) – PSA Peugeot Citroen may spend PLN 2bn (EUR 600m) in Poland and employ 5,000 people. Poland has had no such spectacular automotive investment for nine years when General Motors appeared in Gliwice.

In theory, Poland’s chances to win the project amount to 20 percent because four other countries fight for the approval from Christian Streiff, PSA Peugeot Citroen CEO. Poland lost competition to win plant from this company two times in the past. Will the third time be lucky? The French automaker has recently said that it would spend EUR 600m for two plants producing small low-emission engines. It looks like the company did not say the whole truth.

“Last week, PSA representatives visited Poland. They are looking for a project worth EUR 600m and creating 5,000 new jobs. They are interested in 400ha of land and want to have a car assembly plant here”, a person who took part in negotiations said.

The amount is higher than five recent automotive investments supported by the Polish government altogether. MAN, Volvo, Toyota, Johnson Controls and Bridgestone want to invest or re-invest jointly PLN 1.8bn and create 3,400 jobs. The government supports them with PLN 78m. Only General Motors invested more than PSA is going to, or EUR 650m, but since 1996.

That’s why PSA Peugeot Citroen may mean the project of its own plant plus facilities of its subcontractors. According to “PB” sources, the Frenchmen saw sites in Sroda Slaska and Ujazd. The Polish party waits for questions from the company. The following parties work at the project in Poland: PAIIZ investment agency, the ministry of economy, special economic zones from Walbrzych and Katowice, local authorities but all of them refuse to comment. Part of “PB” sources admit that the project is at such an early stage that the parameters may chance.

Four other countries compete for the project with Poland, including, among others, Romania, Ukraine and Turkey. Poland lost the fight to lure PSA’s project: in 2001 (joint project with Toyota, they chose Czech town of Kolin) and in 2003 (Trnava, Slovakia was chosen). Experts believe Poland has bigger chances today.

“We don’t compete with costs, and we shouldn’t. We compete with better infrastructure and subcontractors. There have been numerous investments from automotive companies in Lower Silesia so the network of contractors got thicker, which is good. Logistics are improving as well. What’s important is the output of Polish workers which is approved by companies which have already invested here and want to do invest more. Poland’s advantage is the perspective of becoming member of the European Monetary Union”, Sebastian Mikosz, director at Deloitte enumerated.

Let’s not forget recent strikes in Romania in Renault plants or with problems with employees in Slovakia.

“In Lower Silesia you may easily find workers to several big investments”, Ryszard Wawryniewicz from Swidnica authorities commented.

(PLN 1 = EUR 0.291)

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