The number of investments concluded by CzechInvest dropped significantly last year. The government agency for attracting investments helped to secure over 80 investment projects worth 36.7 billion crowns, company representatives announced on Monday. That is a drop by two fifths on the previous year, when investments, both foreign and local, amounted to 63 billion crowns.
The downward trend is likely to continue this year, with CzechInvest so far negotiating projects worth 11 billion crowns. CzechInvest spokeswoman Petra Sivková says the main reason behind the development is the current situation on the Czech labour market. “Due to the lack of employees on the Czech labour market, some investors prefer other Central and Eastern European countries,” head of CzechInvest Patrik Reichl told the daily Hospodářské noviny.
Mr Reichl said the agency started to focus on different types of investments in order to bring new technologies and know-how to the Czech Republic.
“We want to focus on investments in aviation, software development and advanced automobile technologies, such as driverless cars,” Mr Reichl told the daily. That should be promoted by a new system of government incentives, which comes into effect in September. The largest share of projects negotiated by CzechInvest in 2018 was in metal-working, plastics and automobile industries. The regions with the highest investments were South Moravia, South Bohemia and Ústí nad Labem.
Most of the deals negotiated in 2018 concerned companies which have already been operating in the Czech Republic and wanted to expand their production.
The biggest investment project of 2018 was the construction of a new development centre for Varroc Lighting System in the towns of Bohumín and Nový Jičín, amounting to 2.5 billion crowns. The company is currently the biggest producer of external lighting for the automotive industry in Europe.
Another significant project, amounting to some 205 million crowns, was the enlargement of JOBAIR Technic, a maintenance centre for LET aircraft, based in Kopřivnice.
Local companies had the largest share in value term, with 47 projects worth over 23 billion crowns. Most of the foreign investments came from Germany, Japan and Great Britain. China was the fourth biggest investor with investments reaching 3.8 billion crowns.
Since the mid-1990s, the CzechInvest agency negotiated investments worth 919 billion crowns. More than a third of them went into the automobile industry, creating over 80,000 new jobs.