LITHUANIA: ABB plans to double engineering capacities15.08.2012, 12:56
Swedish-Swiss ABB power engineering giant plans to establish an engineering centre in Vilnius this year that will complement the company's existing subsidiary's activity.
"ABB has been active in the Baltic states for 20 years and it is quite natural, that we invest to continue doing and developing our business in the region. In Lithuania, we are expanding our local business and building new premises to better serve local customers as well as improve own employees' working conditions. The concept of engineering centre has been used to describe our expansion plans. Engineers for different units will be employed step by step. We have expectations for 2015 to double our business in Lithuania, but it depends on the economical situation and overall development," says Bo Henriksson, head of ABB's Baltic operation, to news2biz.
ABB's Baltic head Bo Henriksson: "Labour market
regulations in Lithuania look quite well on paper but the
practice shows from time to time something else.
However, I would say that the situation is becoming
better." Photo: Äripäev, Erik Prozes
Today ABB in Vilnius employs 83 staff. When Bo Henriksson presented the engineering centre project to the government in July, the company planned creating around 30 new engineering jobs annually during the next few years.
ABB will investigate the possibility of securing EU aid for this development. According to Henriksson, the budget is around USD 4-5m that will be spent on a new building where all the business units will be concentrated together with a central warehouse.
In an email interview to news2biz, Bo Henriksson also commented on a few other operational issues.
- Engineering professions are still lagging social sciences in popularity among students – how ABB plans to address this challenge?
We have co-operation with universities through what we are promoting engineering professions. We have established scholarships attempting to raise the achievement levels and reward the best, we accept trainees to give them a chance to belong to a group of experienced engineers to see how to overcome interesting challenges in real life.
- What about labour market regulations – do these fully satisfy ABB in Lithuania?
Can you mention any specific points that ABB would like to have liberalized?
The market regulation in Lithuania looks quite well on paper but the practice shows from time to time something else. However, I would say that the situation is becoming better. What Lithuania needs to change is the labour law similarly to what was done in Estonia.
- In Estonia, ABB keeps investing in production – why is Estonia the preferred country for manufacturing for ABB? Could you explain briefly the difference in ABB's business profile in the Baltic countries and the reasons behind it?
The business profile differs only in manufacturing activities. The sales activities are almost the same in all Baltic countries, differing only due to local peculiarity. As we have a Baltic structure and Baltic responsibilities, we often share human resources according to the projects or competences needed in place.
Estonia has its advantages due to the closeness to Nordic countries as well as good transportation connections. The co-operation, especially with Finnish ABB, has a long tradition, we have won trust in quality and deadlines. We cannot comment on the decisions of locations of different businesses, as this is group investor relations related question and not limited to a country.
This summer ABB launched a EUR 14m extension to its existing manufacturing and office facility near Tallinn (see news2biz ESTONIA no 340 page 3). This will see ABB grow by 14,000 sq.m to 45,000 sq.m in production and office area in Estonia.