The Centre of International Relations (CIR), University of Ljubljana, and the Vale Columbia Center on Sustainable International Investment (VCC), a joint initiative of the Columbia Law School and The Earth Institute at Columbia University in New York, are releasing today the results of their second annual survey of multinational enterprises (MNEs) from Slovenia. The survey is part of a long-term study of the rapid global expansion of MNEs from emerging markets. This year’s report will be presented and discussed in a special session at the OECD’s Eighth Global Forum on International Investment, to be held in Paris, France, on 8 December 2009.
The results of the survey reveal increased internationalization of the largest Slovenian multinational enterprises. MNEs on the CIR-VCC list (table 1 below) were among the first to face the consequences of the global financial crisis, but also the front-runners in strategic response. Their reaction has been mostly proactive, enhancing and consolidating internationalization, even though aggregate figures on foreign direct investment (FDI) reveal a decrease in FDI outflows from Slovenia from € 1,316 in 2007 to € 932 in 2008 and then a further decline in the first eight months of 2009 to € 398 (annex table 3) compared to € 713.5 in the first eight months of 2008.
The first reaction to the global economic crisis among top Slovenian MNEs was cost-cutting and increasing sales activity. Sales promotion includes, in particular, focusing on key customers, maintaining good relations with main business partners and rationalizing the product portfolio. Internationalization, however, remained the strategic priority.
Besides more emphasis given to sales promotion by the ever broader network of affiliates, the other response to the crisis has been keeping and/or increasing the diversification of markets. Entry into new and more distant markets is increasing not only among large but also among medium-sized and small outward investors. Expansion into the BRICs is demonstrated by the number of affiliates and representative offices established in BRIC countries in 2007/2008.
As noted earlier, this is the second ranking of the top 23 MNEs in Slovenia. One-third of the enterprises on this year's list were not on the list last year but the majority of those that were have retained their positions. There were no big changes among the top five Slovenian MNEs.