At the end of this year or at the beginning of next, construction machines are expected to start rumbling in Gomilsko, only an hour’s drive from the Slovenian capital. BSW Timber, a Scottish family company with an almost 170-year tradition, chose Slovenia for its large new investment and if everything goes according to plan, the Scottish saw will be heard in Gomilsko in two years.
The arrival of BSW Timber in Slovenia is a positive example that the third most forested country in Europe is open to the internationalisation of its economy even when it comes to the management of such crucial strategic assets as wood or strategic industries such as the forestry and wood industry. Ten years ago, Slovenia with its two million residents was deemed a country that was rather closed to foreign investments. This, however, has been changing and today, Slovenia attracts companies from countries for which it initially was not the first and obvious choice. Magna Steyr, Yaskawa and Sumitomo Rubber Industries are only a few of the important global players that have recognised the advantages of Slovenia in recent years for their greenfield investments. In addition to the country’s geostrategic position between Western Europe and South-Eastern Europe and its well-developed infrastructure, respectable economists include among such advantages the fact that Slovenia is no longer as expensive for foreign investors as it was perhaps a decade ago. Therefore, Slovenia has become a more attractive destination for foreign investments than it was a few years ago, particularly in comparison with its traditional competitors, namely the states of the Visegrad Group, asserts the respectable Slovenian economist Mojmir Mrak.
Although the trade in goods between Slovenia and the United Kingdom may not (yet) be described as highly substantial, the realisation that, in the modern world, distance is no longer a strategic category is far more important than actual numbers. Slovenian companies are known for their innovativeness and a well-educated workforce, and the best markets for innovative companies are those that are the most competitive, of which the companies described in our magazine are well aware. Stronger cooperation with Britain is an opportunity not only for a better global recognition of Slovenian companies but also for Slovenia to make a global breakthrough in business and technology. The more Slovenian and British companies nurture their relationships and get to know each other the more opportunities there will be to take advantage of numerous undiscovered economic and commercial opportunities between the two countries.