Warsaw (Puls Biznesu) – Hemlock Semiconductor has
already given up a project while Umoe is not satisfied with the offer. Poland is
losing two big investment projects worth over PLN 6bn (EUR 1.7bn). The reason
are energy prices which turn out to be higher than in Western Europe.
Poland has recently had numerous successes
connected with foreign direct investment. The inflow in 2006 was record high and
amounted to EUR 15.1bn. According to Ernst & Young, these investments
created 31,000 jobs in Poland for the highest level in Europe. But there is a
powerful element which may deteriorate statistics.
Umoe, a Norwegian group, is looking for a site to
build a solar panel plant. In Europe, it considers Norway, Poland or Hungary for
the giant investment worth EUR 360m and creating 520 new jobs.
“In Poland, Lower Silesia is being considered. The
access to engineers is not a problem. But the representatives of the company
demand to have access to 100MW and they complain that energy prices are too
high”, PB source revealed.
This project is uncertain. Another big project has
already been lost.
According to PB unofficial sources, expensive
energy made Hemlock Semiconductor Corp (HSC), one of world’s biggest silicon
producers, resign from a project in Poland. The company wanted to spend up to
USD 2bn to build a plant producing silicon used, among others, in solar
batteries, and employing 600 people.
“At the end of 2007, the company has withdrawn from
Poland”, a person who took part in the negotiations said.
Wojciech Szelagowski, deputy CEO of Polish
investment agency PAIIZ, does not want to comment on any of these projects. He
admits, however, that there is a problem of expensive energy in Poland.
“This is not a trend yet but we have had investors
who would say that they had an offer of cheaper energy in France for example.
Twice we tried to help them but Polish companies said there are tariffs and
refused to negotiate. So far, the energy sector believed that everybody must
come to them, apply and wait for decision. I hope that the attitude towards big
clients will change”, Wojciech Szelagowski said.
Some experts advise not to take investors’
complaints too seriously as this may be a way of negotiating lower prices.
“Energy prices have never been our weakness. I’m
surprised that somebody should make investment in Poland dependent on them. The
prices are regulated by authorities and energy is delivered by private
companies. This may be a way to force lower prices”, Sebastian Mikosz, ex-deputy
CEO at PAIIZ, today Deloitte expert said.
(PLN 1 = EUR 0.279)