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Investing in Haskovo

The Thracian Valley town of Haskovo in southern Bulgaria has seen investment flood into the town to improve its infrastructure and add value to the town’s facilities. Investment has had an extremely positive effect giving the town a face lift and adding many Western touches such as sophisticated street cafes, restaurants and boutiques. One of the reasons is its strategic location close to the borders of neighbouring Turkey and Greece and on the main highway linking Europe with Asia. Today it is a town with plenty of business opportunities supported by a reliable communications network, a skilled labour force and a bustling business environment.

The Business Environment

The Haskovo area has a strong body of small and medium sized businesses alongside some large players. Most companies here trade within the domestic Bulgarian market and the strongest areas of industry revolve around machinery particularly for food production, wine and food production and tobacco. The production of chemical fertilizers is also dominant here with a strong emphasis on ecologically friendly methods. The textile industry has been expanding rapidly over the last two years and has attracted much foreign investment.

Haskovo is famous for its production of one of the nation’s most popular beers, Kamenitza. The brewery which was formed in the 1880’s by three Swiss businessmen is now owned by Belgian brewer InBev. Beer is not the only tipple produced in this area; leading wine producer Vinprom are a leading force both domestically and internationally renowned for their production of good quality wine. The winery in Stambolovo produces some of the highest quality red wine in the country.

The municipality’s strategy in terms of encouraging a flourishing business environment is to stimulate foreign investment and increase the volume of small and medium sized businesses.

Agriculture

The agricultural sector is also significant in this area thanks to the temperate Mediterranean climate, healthy supply of water and fertile terrain. The breeding of livestock produces many jobs and brings major income into the area as does tobacco farming, vegetable crops and the production of watermelon and melon. Grape vines also thrive in this area particularly the Merlot grape. Particular attention is being given to the development of vine growing in this area.

Animal husbandry in this region is a significant industry with milk cattle dominating lowland areas and sheep and goat farming dominating the hilly terrain. Pig and poultry breeding is also popular. Financial assistance from the EU is also available and many farmers have taken advantage of this.
Traditionally, three types of tobacco plants were grown in this area, however most farmers have started to diversify in the type of crop to respond to changes in demand within the tobaccos market.

Investment

The area is flourishing from foreign and domestic investment and is soon to have its own shopping mall, which will bring valuable jobs and money to the town. The Bulgarian company, Marsa will invest 22 million Euros constructing the mall, which will be located out of town on a 4,800 sq m plot. This site has also attracted other big retail names. The mall will not only provide an attractive retail environment, but also an entertainment centre with restaurants and a cinema and is likely to encourage travelers from Greece and Turkey to use the town as a stop-over.

The Real Estate Market

Most of the available property in this area consists of houses in the villages surrounding the town. Investment from many international companies has lead to an increase in prices particularly within the commercial sector. However you can still buy land and property in the surrounding villages that are close to dams, lakes and wildlife, for as little as 9,000 Euros with average property prices being around 17,500 Euros. Prices do depend on the condition of the property, the size of the plot and the proximity to Haskovo town.

Haskovo has some of the cheapest land available in the country at around 1,900 lv. a hectare and prices are set to rise as more investors move into this area. Haskovo is an area, which offers lots of development potential in terms of tourist based or agricultural businesses.  Haskovo Municipality have an investor orientation program and plenty of incentives for small businesses including rent discounts and industrial zone planning. If a new start is what you are looking for – this could be the place for you!

Pictures courtesy of  Nenko Lazarov, www.imagesfrombulgaria.com