Bulgaria - Working to Host German Automaker's Assembly Plant

Lesedauer: min

Bulgaria is negotiating the opening of an automotive assembly plant on its soil, the investment promotion agency's head has said.

"We are in talks with a major German company [to convince it] to begin assembling cars in Bulgaria," Stamen Yanev, chair of InvestBulgaria Agency, has told daily 24 Chasa in an interview.

Yanev has refused to name the company due to a confidentiality agreement Bulgaria has signed.

InvestBulgaria is carrying out the talks jointly with Automotive Cluster Bulgaria.

"If we fail to attract such investors over the next two to three years, we may lose this opportunity," Yanev has said, adding that relations with the German manufacturer are still at the stage of "courting".

As of the moment there is no major automotive manufacturer operating in Bulgaria. China's Great Wall Motors used to have several models assembled in the country, but production was suspended in January, with the plant saying it was halting activity on a temporary basis.

In his words, talks are also underway with a US company to create a research and development center for the automotive industry that could draw in some BGN 30 M in investment and 200 to 250 engineers.

In addition, InvestBulgaria is negotiating with a Chinese company, trying to secure production of high-speed trains in Bulgaria as a gateway into Europe, he has announced.

Yanev has also blamed some local administrations for posing obstacles to potential investors by failing to implement investment promotion regulations.

"Looks like the typical Bulgarian hospitality has not had an impact on the municipal administration, as if they approached [the issue] with mistrust or with the thought that a foreign investor is a money box that has to be emptied.

He has hailed Dimitrovgrad, a municipality in Southern Bulgaria, as a positive example, having attracted to major projects in less than two years.

Bulgaria has registered an upward trend in its automotive industry over the past years, with a number of auto parts suppliers setting up production bases in the country.

InvestBulgaria data suggests twenty-four new projects, worth BGN 420 M and with the potential to open 6500 new jobs, are in the process of certification.