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40 (135) 2019
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Real Estate & Construction

The Łódź Special Economic Zone. This is where you invest

By Marek Michalik, president of the Łódź SEZ
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New regulations controlling the activity of economic zones in Poland have opened them up even more to foreign investment.

Simplified regulations have resulted in an increasing number of companies knocking on the door to the zones. After a year of the new regulations being in force, the Łódź Special Economic Zone can boast 27 investments.

The amendments to the act turned the whole of Poland into one huge investment zone. This means that procedures are much simpler. Currently, an investor who would like to invest in the Łódź zone and take advantage of the tax relief can do so on any real estate located in three voivodships: Łódzkie, western Mazowsze and eastern part Wielkopolska, because that is the area we manage. In the past, investors would have had to choose a plot of land located in one of several dozen sub-zones. Previously, for comparison, the investment areas in the zone covered an area of less than 2,000 hectares; today, we manage an area of over 3 million hectares.

Łódź Special Economic Zone is a good place to locate for many reasons; excellent location in the centre of Poland at the intersection of two motorways. The Central Transport Hub will soon be built between Łódź and Warsaw, which will enable easy distribution of goods all over the world. Highly qualified personnel and large human potential. Investors in the Łódź Special Economic Zone attract university graduates from Łódź, Warsaw and Wroclaw and from other Polish cities. Therefore, they have no problem when, for example, establishing R&D centres. We also have many additional services for business, but the biggest incentive is still the exemption from income tax. Here, the rules are simple. In exchange for the investment outlays incurred, according to the Act, we grant governmental public aid in the form of exemptions from personal and corporate income tax (PIT or CIT). The amount of aid depends on the size of the company. For large enterprises, the maximum aid is 35% of the investment value. So an investor building a factory for 100m złotys will not have to pay 35m złotys of income tax. In the case of medium-sized companies, the amount of aid increases to 45% of the investment value; for small- and micro-entrepreneurs even up to 55%. This is a very advantageous solution, which in the 22-year history of the Łódź Special Economic Zone has benefited over 300 companies; total outlays over that period have exceeded 15 billion złotys.

Don’t worry about red tape and lots of complicated documents. Just contact us. We have opened a special investment hotline (00 48 800 800 280). Our specialists will select the right location for a specific investment plan, type of production, infrastructure requirements and demand for employees. This may be in an area owned by the Łódź Special Economic Zone, because as a zone we’re preparing areas for potential investors. We build the necessary roads and we provide all utilities – power, water, gas, telecoms. Investors often choose plots of land that are owned by a municipality or the State Treasury. Then we help in finalising such a transaction and provide substantive support in the fit-out procedure. The decision about support – in particular granting tax relief – may be made within a few weeks from the submission of the application. Our specialists, step by step, guide the investor through the procedures related to the decision. It’s not a complicated process. Our experience shows that one or two meetings are enough for the investor to properly submit an application.

We’re not just angling for large corporate investors. Indeed, current regulations promote investments from small- and medium-sized enterprises. The rates of minimum expenditure required to get tax relief have changed – to the benefit of SMEs. There are districts where it is enough to invest 200,000 złotys to receive exemption from tax. Additionally, the zone – having foreign companies in mind – has built the Stokowska Park production and storage hall, situated in a very convenient location in Łódź, less than eight kilometres from the A1 motorway. It is an ideal solution for companies that want to try investing in Poland, but do not want to buy land and build a plant. Renting space in the hall and conducting business there allows investors to obtain tax relief. The hall consists of eight modules each of 1,200m2. It is equipped with an automatic ramp for trucks, as well as warehouse, production and office space. We already have the first tenants, who are successfully running their businesses there, including companies from Japan.

We have several important projects in the plans. We are looking for a business partner to build an office and conference complex in the historic Księży Młyn district in the very centre of Łódź. This post-industrial area is developing very dynamically. Residential estates are being built nearby in revitalised factories. Investors are asking us for office space here, hence, we have decided to implement the project. We have announced an investment memorandum in which we clearly present the concept of the investment. You can find it on our website. We also focus on programmes aimed at investors. We are the only zone to implement solutions based on 5G technology in Polish factories in cooperation with our investors. We provide startups with financial support under the Startup Spark programme so that they can create innovations for companies operating in the zone. This is what you call a win-win situation. Young companies learn from companies operating in the zone how to run a business. They design innovations for them, which accelerates their development. The fDi Magazine (Financial Times Group) has given us the Innovation Award for this programme. Among economic zones, we have been ranked fourth in the world and first in Europe as the most investment-friendly place in the SME sector.

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