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The mass withdrawal of Greek companies to Bulgaria continues

31 August 2015 / 18:08:47  GRReporter
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Anastasia Balezdrova

There have recently been frequent reports of Greek companies moving en masse to Bulgaria in order to survive. The reason is the high taxation in Greece, which is making their existence extremely difficult. The capital controls that were introduced in late June have enhanced the tendency of companies to move to other European Union member states, Bulgaria holding the lead because of the common border with Greece.

GRReporter has contacted the accounting firm Infotax in Thessaloniki that offers the specific service to those Greek companies that want to move their business to Bulgaria and talked with its director Michalis Karayiannidis.

Mr. Karayiannidis, when did the interest in establishing business in Bulgaria occur?

It started in the period 2009-2010. Personally I founded my company in the town of Petrich in November 2011.

Allegedly, this interest has grown in recent months. Is that so? At what point did this phenomenon start?

Yes, that is so. I would say that the interest started to grow immediately after Greece announced the imposition of a preliminary tax of 100% on companies. For several months, the outflow of Greek companies to Bulgaria increased by about 60%.

In which sectors are the companies, which are moving to Bulgaria, operating?

They are mainly commercial companies that import goods from other countries like China and so on. All these companies receive their goods through the Bulgarian, not Greek, customs.

We are not talking about formal registration but about moving the overall activity of the companies. Owners are closing their companies in Greece, which are bankrupt anyway, opening new firms in Bulgaria.
"Bulgaria treats very well the Greek companies that want to move their activity there. The issue is that the more the economic conditions in Greece worsen the more companies will want to move. It is not possible for the state to require obtaining a tax amounting to 15,000 euro in the event of a net turnover of, say, 20,000 euro. How is it possible for the specific businessman and his family to live with 5,000 euro a year? This is utopian, unreal. As a result of this madness, the state is losing even the little it could receive. If the Greek government does not decide to cut the taxation for companies to 10-15%, not a single company will remain in the country."

What is the total number of Greek companies that have moved their activities to Bulgaria?

I think that since 2010 about 4,000 companies have moved to the regions of Sandanski and Petrich alone, 70% of them being from northern Greece.

Recently, the Bulgarian Minister of Economy said that there was no mass exodus of Greek companies to Bulgaria yet. How would you comment on this?

The fact is that it is happening. Our company  alone has assisted nearly 10 companies a month to move to Bulgaria.

Are the companies that are moving taking the Greek staff with them?

No, this is only true for the residents of those villages that are located near the border. Some of them certainly continue to work in those companies.

Is there interest in the opposite direction? I.e. are there Bulgarian companies that are interested in moving to Greece and from which sectors?

Yes, but they are currently "exploring the opportunities."

There is interest from commercial companies that manufacture their own products, such as rose oil cosmetics and wheelchairs. Construction companies are also interested in developing in Greece. It is known that Bulgarian companies building roads (tunnels, etc.) are among the best in Europe.

Tags: EconomyCompanies moving to BulgariaHigh taxes
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