Greece ranked fourth in the list of foreign investors in Bulgaria at the end of 2015

Greece ranked fourth in the list of foreign investors in Bulgaria at the end of 2015, after Holland, Austria and Germany with total investments of 2.39 billion euros, falling one place from 2014 (third), the Greek embassy’s economic and trade affairs bureau said in a report.

Greek investments totaled 2.49 billion euros in 2014, 2.58 billion in 2013 and 2.75 billion in 2012. Greek investments show a wide sectoral and geographical distribution led by the financial sector (three banks), while large investments have been made in manufacturing, energy, constructions, food and services. In the 2014-2015 period, Greece was the second most popular travel destination for Bulgarian travelers after Turkey.

Bulgaria is an attractive investment destination for Greeks because of its geographical position, low taxation, cheaper -in some cases- labor cost and lower operating costs. According to official Bulgarian data, registered companies with a Greek participation totaled around 15,000 in the first four months of 2016, up from 13,500 at the end of 2015 and around 9,000 in 2013, employing 53,000 workers. Based on the nationality of participants, companies with a Greek participation ranked second in Bulgaria, after UK (around 15,500) and ahead of Russian (11,900).

The report noted, however, that several of these companies have been set up with the unique purpose to buy a real estate property or a car, while the majority of enterprises with commercial or productive activity are small- and medium-sized enterprises. The embassy report said that despite the rising number of new companies with Greek participation in Bulgaria, the value of Greek investments in the country remained unchanged.

Accumulated revenue by Greek enterprises in Bulgaria totaled 5.0 billion euros annually, while profits amounted around 100 million euros at the end of 2014. Most of these companies (around 5,900) were located in the capital of Bulgaria, Sofia.

Bilateral trade between Greece and Bulgaria showed a small deficit for our country as Greek exports fell in 2015 for the third successive year, while Bulgaria exports grew in the 2012-2014 period to ease slightly in 2015. This development mainly reflected a large fall in international oil prices, the economic crisis in Greece, competitive prices of Bulgarian products and the production of products by Greek-owned enterprises in Bulgaria exported to Greece.