Looking at official statistical data and skim reading press releases is not enough to have, even al general, an idea about a country – especially if it is a dynamically emerging one such as Bulgaria. The immediate general perception of the Bulgarian property market is “a generously developing holiday home offer on the beautiful Black Sea coast and then the city of Sofia, the capital city of Bulgaria”.
Obviously there is far more than that in a country with a steady GDP increase over last 6 years: from 4.1% in 2001 to. 6.3% in 2007, with predictions showing a similar level for next years. The growing number of companies operating in Bulgaria clearly indicates a favourable atmosphere for international business as the country has an encouraging 10% corporate income tax rate. Good economy indicators and a positive attitude of the government and the Bulgarian citizens towards entrepreneurship only add to the picture.
Last years’ overall economic growth in Bulgaria is visible and dynamic; as it is characteristic to such ‘emerging’ CE states. However, given the equally fast growing prices of construction materials, professional services, and the observable outflow of labour force to the West, the potential margin of profit is getting narrowed – making the country an arena to serious businessmen rather than short-term speculative buyers. Foreign direct investment itself shows a 100% growth in 2004 and 2005, and a 50% in 2006, with similarly healthy predictions for following years.
A question that will most surely be asked by the business audience at this session is: why invest, why do businesses in Bulgaria rather than in Romania or any other country in the CE region? Which are Bulgaria’s advantages? Just its lowest corporate tax rate? What other hidden appeals are there? Each of the speakers invited to this panel will be addressing this issue in their presentations.