JLL: International business potential of Central and Eastern Europe to increase

Central and Eastern Europe remains attractive to an international business community, according to a joint business seminar in London, hosted by UK Trade and Investment, the UK government's trade and investment promotion organisation and Jones Lang LaSalle, the global real estate services firm.

The seminar was designed to share information and knowledge on doing business in the Central and Eastern European countries. Over 120 international business delegates attended, representing SMEs, through to companies with £1 billion per annum turnover.

Keynote speakers included nine British Ambassadors to the region, along with John Duckworth, Managing Director – CEE and George Lewis, Head of Capital Markets, Czech Republic, both from Jones Lang LaSalle.

Attendees listened to how the economic strength, improving transparency, sustained infrastructure development and political stability of the region were continuing to attract new overseas investors and companies. They also heard first hand case studies and testimonials from other companies who have moved or expanded into the region. A networking session after the event also allowed people to build valuable new contacts.

Paul Taylor, Regional Director-CEE, UK Trade & Investment, and co-host of the event said: "The current strength and stability of the region means business opportunities exist across all sectors, from tourism through to technology, energy and manufacturing.

"UKTI is committed to helping British companies grow their businesses in the CEE region and can offer a range of tailored services: from expert advice on key markets and sectors, to programme arranging, trade missions and trade fair support.

"I would urge all companies who are considering entering the region to use UKTI's network and learn from others in order to maximise their chance of sustained success."

John Duckworth, Managing Director- CEE, Jones Lang LaSalle who has been based in Warsaw since 2008 commented: "I have witnessed first-hand the dynamic culture and rapidly growing success in Central and Eastern Europe. As a company we currently have 370 people in 10 offices and seven countries across the region, and continue to reap the benefits of stability, innovation and success brought to us by a highly skilled, international workforce.

"I would urge those considering opening operations or establishing links in the region to do so. In our experience, the benefits have strongly outweighed the risks."

According to Jones Lang LaSalle research, €6.4 billion of real estate investment came into Central and Eastern Europe (excluding Russia) in 2011, with similar volumes expected in 2012.

"Investors are lured to the region by a blend of factors including a fast growing economy, strong retail sales in countries such as Poland, and a significant pipeline of new investment products which are of institutional quality.

"Increasingly more newly built properties are being given Green certification which enhances the asset quality and makes the region one of the European leaders in sustainability.

"Other factors making Central and Eastern Europe an attractive destination for international capital is reduced investor competition due to a relative lack of domestic buyers and a discount in pricing between the region and core Western European markets," added George Lewis, Head of Capital Markets - Czech Republic, Jones Lang LaSalle.

Central and Eastern Europe is also a strategic marketplace for nearshoring and offshoring activities. In Poland alone, Shared Service Centres and Business Process Outsourcing Centres will have given employment to approx. 100,000 people by the end of 2012.

Key processes executed by the Central and Eastern European centres are finance, HR, IT and procurement and the region is typically selected as a shoring destination for its high quality, multi-lingual talent, geographic and cultural proximity to Western Europe, relatively low attrition and European Union compliance.

"I am more than convinced that this region will continue to attract new intern

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