On Thursday morning, Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevičius has met with Bengt-Ake Fagerman, Chief Executive Officer of Skandia, one of the largest Sweden’s banking and insurance groups. CEO Fagerman has presented to the Prime Minister Thule Customer Service Centre, to be opened up in Lithuania, and the Prime Minister has emphasized the benefit of Sweden’s investment to Lithuania, as well as discussed future prospects.
“I am pleased that Skandia has chosen Lithuania out of 10 countries, and is opening Thule Customer Service Centre, which will provide accounting and insurance administration services. The company will start with 70 employees, and, if its performance is successful, plans to create up to 250 jobs”, said Prime Minister Butkevičius following the meeting with the CEO and other representatives of Skandia.
The CEO of Skandia said that Skandia is a life insurance company, which was founded in 1855 in Sweden. At present, the company has 2.5 million clients in Sweden, Norway, and Denmark. Skandia has 2,500 employees, and the group’s assets are worth 60 billion EUR. The company also owns Skandiabanken bank. In Sweden, Skandia has 16 per cent of the life insurance market.
“The current geopolitical context requires that the European Union member states are unified as never before. We highly appreciate strategic partnership with the Nordic countries; Sweden’s investment to Lithuania gather momentum, and Sweden is at the top of the list of investors to Lithuania”, said the Prime Minister in the meeting, and stressed that the potential has not yet been fully realised: we aim at matching business with science and technologies as well as educational activities.
The Prime Minister said that despite external factors, which had a brief effect on export disruptions, Lithuania’s economy has proved its resilience: Lithuania is among the fastest growing economies in the EU. The Prime Minister said that Lithuania’s GDP remains growing: approximately 2.5 percent growth is estimated for 2015, and more than 3 percent in 2016.
“Foreign capital feels secure in Lithuania: last year Lithuania attracted twice and a half as many investment projects, as compared to other Central and Eastern European countries. This fact demonstrates investor confidence, which is also reflected in the World Bank’s Doing business 2015 annual report, which ranks Lithuania 11th in terms of the most favourable conditions for business starting”, pointed out the Prime Minister.
The CEO of Skandia said to the Prime Minister that Sweden carried out a survey of the Baltic investment climate in April. It shows Lithuania as a business-friendly country, yet Lithuania significantly lags behind Latvia and Estonia in terms of labour relations flexibility, which reduces the country’s competitiveness in the neighbourhood, despite being famous for its highly-skilled labour force. According to Fagerman, once the new social model is adopted, more prospects are going to be created to found Swedish-capital companies in Lithuania, which will create more jobs and ensure the construction of necessary infrastructure.