RAV is already planning to appear at several events next year, where it will promote domestic products intended for export and Vojvodina as an investment location.
The Vojvodina Development Agency (RAV) had its last ‘big show’ at one of the largest international fairs of fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables, FRUIT LOGISTICA, which was held in Berlin in February 2020. We helped eight companies from Vojvodina to present themselves at the Fair. As a result, they established many new contacts and concluded several business deals. At that time, the COVID-19 contagion was already gaining momentum, but no one could predict where it was heading. The Vojvodina Development Agency was already preparing to participate in the following major international appearances at that time –the wine and spirits exhibition, Vinitaly, in Verona, which was cancelled two weeks before it was due to start, and the Munich trade fair, EXPO REAL, the largest real estate and investment fair in Europe. Although it seemed that EXPO REAL was holding up against the pressures of the pandemic, it was subsequently cancelled on October 12, two days before its start, after Munich was declared a risky area.
COVID-19 dictates different work conditions and everyone has to face them, including our Agency which activities are mostly related to having a direct contact with people and promotions at major trade fairs, such as the aforementioned EXPO REAL, which gathered about 47,000 people last year. This fair, as well as many other big business events, have abandoned the idea of taking place online, which says a lot about the fact that some businesses still cannot, and the question is whether they could ever, follow the original events with the same strength and with the same results, i.e. those events that involve exchanging business cards, handshakes, live presentations and table conversations. New business laws are being shaped and different tools are being used, and we are all trying to do as much as we can while this vacuum lasts because it’s not exactly a complete vacuum.
RAV is already planning to appear at several events next year, where it will promote domestic products intended for export and Vojvodina as an investment location. The preparation for the next fair – Vinitaly (April 2021) – is ongoing. Five wineries and three distilleries from Vojvodina will present themselves at the Fair. There is also the fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables fair, FRUIT LOGISTICA, in Berlin which was moved from February to May, the aforementioned EXPO REAL, as well as a special presentation of Vojvodina under the auspices of the Republic of Serbia’s national exhibition at the EXPO 2020 world exhibition, which should be held in Dubai, from October 1, 2021, to March 31, 2022.
We have stepped up some of our activities these days such as after-care, directing domestic companies to our Supplier Database, providing information to companies on how to use the available incentives or financial government measures and other means to overcome financial problems and surveying companies about the impact of the pandemic on their business and expectations of future business developments. These surveys have shown that most respondents think that online events cannot completely replace traditional forms of business networking (43.78%), but 84% of them are interested in participating in such events. Domestic companies are struggling to survive in different ways, and we are finding new ways to provide our services, both to companies and decision-makers to create adequate support measures.
“Despite ‘the storm’ from the first half of the year, ten new companies and several significant reinvestments have been added the list of foreign investors and investments in Vojvodina”
INVESTMENTS despite everything
Despite ‘the storm’ from the first half of the year, ten new companies and several significant reinvestments have been added the list of foreign investors and investments in Vojvodina. The Japanese tire manufacturer, Toyo Tires has officially become the owner of 63 hectares of land in the northeastern industrial zone in Indjija where it plans to invest 364 million euro in equipment and a production plant by the end of 2023. The plant will span 300,000 square metres. This is an important investment for entire Serbia, and as important as the investment of another Japanese company, Nidec Corporation. This manufacturer of small electric motors, which arrival the Vojvodina Development Agency has been working on, is due to make a decision on whether to build a factory and research centre in Novi Sad. German companies BMTS (automotive industry), Naval Box (container production), SD Hirsch (automotive industry), the Czech company, SPEL Manufacture (metal processing), Italy’s Parilab (footwear production) and others have also set up business in Vojvodina. The French company, Mecafor made a substantial re-investment here and has built a factory in Kikinda that produces aviation parts. There is also the Hungarian company, Knott Autoflex, which opened a plant for hot-dip galvanization of iron and steel products in Bečej.
“Large companies are continuing to invest and expand according to their plans while the previously announced arrival of several companies has not been questioned for now”
In terms of the sectors on which RAV is focusing on the most, it is evident that the ICT sector is not experiencing any problems and that there are foreign investors who are continuing to invest, both in acquisitions and startups. For now, there are no tectonic disturbances in the automotive parts industry here, although this sector has experienced a lot of trouble worldwide. Large companies are continuing to invest and expand according to their plans, the previously announced arrival of several companies has not been questioned for now, but assistance to some companies in this sector will have to be directed towards finding new customers and markets or changing production, namely, switching to producing for growing sectors. Finally, when it comes to the agribusiness sector, the previous months have shown a large shortage of food worldwide, so the development of this sector is a priority for RAV in the coming period. Activities that support the processing and food industry will be especially intensified and we will provide support to our agri-food companies, as well as work on the arrival of foreign investors in this sector.
The show must go on!
RAV Statistics: FDI in Vojvodina
- A total of 480 foreign companies from 46 countries have invested 10 billion euro in the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina. Of the 480 companies, 386 are still active and they employ 96,688 workers.
- Top 5 investor countries by investment value: Germany (€ 1.49 billion; 52 companies), the USA (€ 1.02 billion; 18 companies), Italy (€ 915 million; 75 companies), France (€ 848 million; 22 companies), Slovenia (€ 817 million; 34 companies).
- Most investments were made in agribusiness (€ 1.2 billion), in which most foreign companies operate – 80.
- The highest number of people works in the automotive industry (28,000), followed by agribusiness (11,500), and the textile industry (11,000)