A survey among the members of the Franco-Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry showed that 46% of the French companies in Bulgaria are planning to invest in buildings, machinery, equipment and facilities in 2019. Regarding new hires, about 70% said they have plans for employing more people, but also that human capital is the biggest challenge for the French business in Bulgaria. In view of the difficulties in finding skilled personnel, 65% of the companies stated plans to invest in staff training.
According to the survey, 61% of French entrepreneurs expect the economic situation to remain unchanged next year, 28% expect improvement, and 9% expect a deterioration.
More than 75% of the participants in the survey find our country a very attractive or a rather attractive destination for investment, and half rate the economic situation as good or very good.
According to French entrepreneurs, access to skilled workers can be improved by reducing regional disparities – for example, by increasing labour mobility between smaller cities with a high unemployment rate and larger cities, where the rate is around 2-3%.
According to the data of the Bulgarian National Bank (BNB), French investments in Bulgaria amounted to EUR 1.16 billion at the end of 2018 and France is ranked 13th in terms of capital investment in Bulgaria.
The Chamber added that two French companies have submitted bid papers for Sofia Airport, stating they are ready to invest nearly EUR 1 billion. This would double the total amount of French investment in the country since 1990.
Other French investments in Bulgaria include the establishment and expansion of the plant of the aircraft company Latécoère; the expansion of the Soufflet malt plant; the acquisition of Unify by Atos, which tripled the number of employees in Sofia, and the Sofia office was named the best workplace among all Atos offices worldwide. The automotive sector is represented by Monea and Montupet; the aircraft industry by Latécoère, Technofy, Dassault Systèmes; energy and renewable energy sources – by Akuo energie.
For more details on the study, check out the interview with Stéphane Delahaye, president of the Franco-Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and Vesela Todorova-Mosettig, director of the Franco-Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, on Bloomberg TV Bulgaria.