Companies looking to set up in central or eastern Europe are attracted to Slovakia for a combination of obvious reasons: its in the EU, part of the Eurozone, politically and socially stable – and there is a wide pool of well educated employees to draw from. But critical too is location. Bratislava and western Slovakia is very well connected to the European motorway network, providing easy access to western European markets.
Bratislava and its surroundings are the obvious destination for many newcomers to Slovakia. Good infrastructure and proximity to Bratislava and Vienna airports are regularly cited as important factors. And of course the presence of other international firms provides reassurance that business can thrive here. Very few office based companies look outside of the greater Bratislava area, although manufacturers will search the whole of Slovakia for their new base.
Further east, companies can benefit from lower employment costs – and increased Government incentives – however the major gaps in the motorway network provide a challenge for logistics and distribution. And Bratislava attracts many of the brightest and best, making it harder to fill certain positions in the regions.
The eventual completion of the D1 motorway will greatly increase the attractiveness of central and eastern Slovakia, but until then many manufacturers are reluctant to take advantage of the benefits of being located away from Bratislava. Notable exceptions include Kechnec Industrial Park, south of Kosice, the most successful industrial area in the east, together with a slowly growing production and distribution zone south of Presov.
Current market conditions, and the lack of finance available to developers, mean that newcomers are likely to have to have to approach a DIY approach, often buying land and organising the construction themselves. Alternatively well performing firms who will commit to a ten year plus lease term may be able to have ‘build to suit’ bespoke premises built by a developer who then sells the building, with the company as a tenant, to an investor. Much depends upon the individual circumstances and, of course, the location.