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15 May 2003.

DANISH COMPANIES MOVE EAST

With the EU enlargement, The Investment Fund for Central and Eastern Europe (IØ) moves its activities further east.

2002 was the last year of IØ assistance to Danish companies wishing to invest in the future EU member countries – with Poland as the leading country of co-operation. As a consequence of the agreement entered into by the Central and Eastern European countries and the EU in Copenhagen in December 2002, IØ could no longer participate in the financing of new projects in those countries as of April 2003. During 2002, IØ therefore prepared for a new situation, where the focus is moved further east, and as a result IØ established an office in Moscow. This step fully complies with the tendency among Danish companies of showing an increased interest in the investment opportunities in the countries further to the east.

“IØ will continue to be an important partner for Danish companies that can see the advantage of turning international and benefiting from low production costs by investing in the EU’s new “neighbouring countries” further to the east and south. They can hereby contribute to creating the foundation for economic and political reforms in those countries, which is of great importance from an EU point of view. It is our experience that this outsourcing of production activities is relevant for small as well as large Danish companies. They will gain increased competitiveness and access to big markets all at the same time. IØ can be of assistance, not only financially, but also with advice in connection with this globalisation process”, says Sven Riskær, Managing Director of IØ.

“During the first months of 2003 we have experienced a growing and somewhat surprising Danish interest in investing in the countries which IØ continues to cover. 33 project proposals are presently being considered by IØ, and this is a higher number than ever before and much higher than we would have expected just a year ago. Right now it looks as if the growth in investments in the EU’s new “neighbouring countries” will increase rapidly and compensate for the loss of the countries which will now join the EU and which used to be IØ’s main areas of investment”, says Sven Riskær.

In 2002, IØ invested in 28 new projects and made additional financing to 12 projects, in which IØ was already involved. In total IØ invested DKK 412m, of which DKK 358m was invested in new projects. Together with the Danish partners, a total of DKK 1.9bn was invested in the new projects. These investments are expected to create/preserve about 4,700 jobs in the host countries.

IØ’s accounts for 2002 showed a profit of DKK 77.4m against a profit of 10.4m the year before.

For further information, please contact Managing Director Sven Riskær, tel. +45 33 63 75 00