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merous and suitable for manufacturing companies,

while infrastructure development is a particular pri-

ority for the Bulgarian government. The zones offer

attractive conditions for establishing production,

warehousing, logistics and other activities at a very

competitive prices. Investment projects are sup-

ported by the Government, the Municipal Authori-

ties and by the various domestic and foreign Cham-

bers of Industry and Commerce in Bulgaria.

Bulgaria is among the main producers of uni-

versal lathes in the world, while the production

of forklift trucks in the country is a leading sec-

tor, ever since it has become specialized in that

area as a member of the former economic union,

COMECON. Three decades ago, the Bulgarian

producers were generating 20% of the world pro-

duction with an annual production of more than

80 000 forklift trucks.

Invest Bulgaria's market outlook is that the ma-

chine building sector is expected to significantly

grow in the next several years. Currently, the in-

dustry employs more than 50 000 people and gen-

erates revenues of EUR 1,03 billion, with around

1500 companies operating. It is closely related to

other industries, including electronics and electri-

cal engineering. One important trend is the relo-

cation of some manufacturing activities (assem-

bly and equipment alike) from developed coun-

tries to low-cost countries.

The main subsectors within the machine building

sector in Bulgaria are the following: Heavy machine

building; Metal-cutting and metal-processing ma-

chines; Hydraulic elements and systems; Material

handling machinery; Agriculture machinery; Vehi-

cle production and spare parts; Ship building and

repair; Military equipment.

Bulgaria is characterized by a qualified and experi-

enced workforce, with 50 000 enrolled university stu-

dents potentially suitable for the industry, states the

Invest Bulgaria Agency report. The educational sys-

tem of the country is particularly well-suited for the

needs of the machine building sector. For the period

between 2006 and 2011, the number of students in

bachelor and masters degrees increased from 215

000 to 285 000, and 17%of the total number of grad-

uates are stated to be potentially suitable for the in-

dustry. The vocational schools generally offer a rich

diversity of production specialties which are appro-

priate for the sector. The distribution of students in

professional schools inmanufacturing specialties are

as follows: 24% in economics, 18% in electrical and

mechanical engineering, 14% in construction, 14%

in transport equipment, 9% in light manufacturing,

8% in machine building, 6% in food and beverage,

4% in wood, and 3% in chemicals. The biggest tech-

nical institute for higher education in Bulgaria is the

Technical University of Sofia with 8 000 students.

They have the opportunity to graduate in specialties

taught in three languages - French, German, and

English. The total number of engineers who have

graduated the university is 90 000. According to the

agency's report, there is no enterprise or plant in Bul-

garia which doesn't employ graduates of the Techni-

cal University of Sofia.

Source: Dreamstime