British foreign direct investment (FDI) into Lithuania has doubled ahead of the country’s entry into the Eurozone, which is set to be completed in just over four months.
According to the latest figures from Statistics Lithuania, the official agency responsible for compiling investment data, British FDI in Lithuania has gone from £95 million in 2010 to £175 million in 2013. This makes the UK the second-largest investor in the country with heavyweights such as Barclays, which established its Technology Centre in Vilnius in 2010, and GlaxoSmithKline investing along with Intersurgical, a medical devices manufacturer, Callcredit, a consumer marketing business, and International Personal Finance, a home credit company.
With Eurozone entry just over four months away there is growing interest from British companies in the country. Lithuania is expected to be the last new member of the Eurozone for a decade or even longer and boasts some of the most liberal economic policies in the EU. It is also forecast to be one of the three fastest-growing European countries until 2017.
Businesses that invest in the country can benefit from a six-year break from corporation tax in one of the Special Economic Zones in the country and a well-educated, English speaking population: an ideal location to trade with the CIS, Baltic States and Western Europe.
“One of the main reasons why Lithuania presents such an attractive destination for UK investment is that it is an advantageous environment for businesses, and one that is easy to adapt to,” says Arvydas Arnasius, Managing Director of Invest Lithuania, a government agency which offers guidance to investors.
“Lithuania has a highly educated workforce, with 93% of the population with a secondary or higher degree – the best in the EU. It is easy for businesses not only to find skilled workers but also to set up operations, thanks to Lithuania’s high-quality infrastructure as well some of the lowest tax rates in the EU, as well as appealing economic incentives. ”
The Economist Intelligence Unit predicts that Lithuania’s economy will strengthen by 3.5 per cent in 2014 and will expand at a similar rate each year until 2018.