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According to a survey carried out by SEB bank, 63 percent of the 150 largest Baltic companies' CEOs are expecting higher turnover this year, and 21 percent of them believe that turnover growth will be over 10 percent.
About half or 51 percent of CEOs of major Latvian, Lithuanian and Estonian companies believe that their companies' growth will be associated with the European Union markets. The CIS markets, by contrast, have lost their appeal - only 6 percent of major Baltic companies' CEOs consider there to be opportunities in exporting there.
Many companies are planning to increase their exports to EU and Nordic countries - 77 percent of respondents said they considered these markets to have strategic importance, taking into account reduced access to the Russian market. Some companies are considering further-flung markets: according to the poll, 10 percent of the largest Baltic companies are considering exporting to Asia, and 5 percent are considering Africa.
The SEB board member Ints Krasts notes that large companies in the Baltic countries are as focused as ever. "We work with our corporate clients on a daily basis, and we see that large companies cannot rely on domestic consumption alone, they also have to exist on export markets and seek solutions to challenges brought about by geopolitical developments. We can see that businesses currently choose the more efficient solutions – increasing exports to those countries where they have many contacts, where there are developed market regulations and a reliable legal environment," said Krasts.
The bank has emphasised that companies' export strategies should not be limited to neighbouring countries. Even though exporting to destinations further away requires greater amounts of investment and takes more time, it can expand companies' horizons. Several leading Latvian companies in their market segments have already stepped out of their comfort zone by, for instance, launching cooperation with China.
The survey was carried out on March 26 during the Baltic Business Summit organised by SEB, which the bank hosts every year for its corporate clients. This year the event took place in Vilnius and was attended by CEOs, leading management members and owners of the 150 largest companies in the Baltic countries.
SEB bank posted 122.6 million euros in turnover and 23.7 million euros in profit last year.