The Institute for Market, Consumption and Business Cycles Research (IBRKK), Poland, and the Vale Columbia Center on Sustainable International Investment (VCC), a joint undertaking of the Columbia Law School and the Earth Institute at Columbia University in New York, are releasing the results of a survey on outward investors today. The survey is part of a broader research project2 focused on the rapid global expansion of multinational enterprises from emerging markets. The present survey, conducted in 2010, covers the period 2007-2009.

The 19 leading Polish multinationals ranked by their foreign assets (see table 1 below) show slightly above USD 10 billion in foreign assets, USD 17 billion in foreign sales4 and more than 14,000 employees abroad. Nearly two-thirds of the foreign assets in table 1 belong to the top-ranked Polish multinational, PKN Orlen, which is also number one in foreign sales and foreign employment. The level of internationalization varies among the firms listed, but the Transnationality Index (see column ‘TNI’ in annex table 1) does not surpass 50% for any of them.

The top 19 include some state-controlled firms as well as many more private ones. All but one are also listed on the stock market. Judged by the value of assets held abroad, their overseas investments have gone primarily into mining, exploring and refining natural resources, and then into chemicals, into software and IT services, and into pharmaceuticals. Among other industries strongly represented in the ranking are metals and metal products as well as building materials.

Most Polish investment abroad has gone into Europe. The most preferred locations have been neighboring countries, mainly Germany, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Lithuania and Ukraine. Out of the total of 275 foreign affiliates, 242 have been established in Europe (annex figure 2) − more precisely, in the EU, EFTA and CIS countries, and in the Western Balkans. East Asia comes next (with 13 affiliates), followed by the Middle East (9 affiliates). Although an increasing number of Polish investors have recently become interested in exploring new, more distant, regions, most Polish multinationals remain regional rather than global players.

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