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Conference to debate lengthening odds on Estonia's economic future

  • 2007-08-22
  • By Joel Alas
TALLINN- It seems each month brings newsof factory closure or company relocationas the Estonian economychanges gears.At the same time, statistics havebegun to indicate a slowdown in thereal estate market.The worrying indicators will bethe topic of discussion at a businessseminar hosted by the British-Estonian Chamber of Commerce onAug. 24.The conference will bring togethergovernment ministers, bankersand business operators to discuss thetopic "Is Estonia still a good bet."

One of the conferences keyspeakers is Ardi Roosimaa, managingdirector of ColliersInternational in Estonia."We need this event becausequite a lot of people are thinkingthat the good times are over inEstonia," Roosimaa said."In my opinion, this is definitelynot the case. We have gonethrough huge development inrecent years, and the market isstabilizing."It's certainly not an easy betanymore. If you are just a regularspeculative investor who doesn'tadd much to the market andexpect high returns, then that'sobviously not the situation anymore."

Roosimaa said recent factoryclosures and company relocationswere to be expected as the economymatured."That might be the case ofcompanies trying to find cheaperlabor. We are not a country of callcenters anymore. We are developinga normal European-level economy.Relocations are also theresult of global changes, not necessarilyrelated to Estonia."Roosimaa will address theseminar on his field of expertise,commercial real estate. Despitegloomy reports of a real estateslowdown Roosimaa said therewas still an unmet demand forgood quality office, retail, andindustrial space in Tallinn."As some of the developers getcautious about the market andpostpone projects, that onlyincreases the demand. If you lookat office space, the vacancy ratefor A-class office space in Tallinnis zero, and B-class is about 5 percent.This is non-existent in normalmarkets, where the vacancyrate is normally 10 to 15 percent.Look at these figures and you startto get a picture about take-up anddemand."

The conference will be held from 8:30a.m. at the Euroopa Hotelat the Tallinn port.For information, visit www.becc.ee.