Chairman of the Management Board of AS Expobank Rolands Legzdiņš
The competitiveness of Latvian companies and the possibility of its development is a widely discussed issue, which became particularly topical due to restrictions caused by the pandemic – while some companies were able to continue their operation and even get one step ahead of other representatives of their sector in other countries, some companies were forced to suspend their operation partially or completely. In the long-term perspective, the plan of the European Union Recovery and Resilience Facility is of huge importance; however, there is a range of other support instruments, also at the national level.
Competition is a basis and the main driving force of market economy, which makes companies to develop their operation in order to retain their market position and even increase their market share. In the management of a company, the market, and constant changes on it have to be taken into consideration, because there is only one constant thing in the world – changes. And Covid-19 crisis proved this statement. Competitiveness is affected both by the external environment, i.e., legislation, demography, economic indicators, social and cultural environment, as well as technology and science. A significant role is also played by the internal environment – product, consumers, intermediaries, competitors, etc.
It is a great pleasure to see that despite the situation caused by the pandemic several local companies not only continue their operation, but also find ways and solutions for expanding their factories and conquering new export markets, thus promoting not only their own competitiveness, but also the overall competitiveness of the state – one of the Latvian leading electric mobility companies “Blue Shock Race” continue to conquer the European market with their electric karts, UPB group company “Transportbetons MB” invested in a mobile transport concrete factory this spring, also AS “Dobeles dzirnavnieks” opened two new factories in early July, the fuel retailer AS “Virši-A” is listed on “Nasdaq Riga” alternative market “First North” exchange and attracts financing for implementation of long-term plans. These are only some examples. Over the course of the last year, Expobank has concluded agreements and granted loans both to regional manufacturing companies, for example, the trader of agricultural products (animal, pet, fish feed and organic fertiliser) SIA “L.J. Linen”, which cooperates with the largest manufacturers in Europe, Russia, Asia, Africa and South America, and for ambitious construction projects in Riga, for example, for the project implemented by KSIA “Unico” in Riga, which shows that business development in Latvia continues and there are active and experienced merchants in our country, who will not stop in any crisis. Carefully examining projects submitted by these companies and crediting their development plans, also banks can make their contribution to development of the national economy.
Definitely worth mentioning are local companies, which managed to operatively adapt their products or services not only to keep their clients, but even increase their number during the restrictions. Clothing manufacturers, which replenished their range of products with face masks, for example, SIA “New Rosme”, manufacturers of household chemicals, which supplemented their assortment with disinfectants, etc. There are a lot of examples, and also now, carefully assessing the opportunities and risks, and finding a safe and professional partner for expanding the financial capabilities, local companies have an opportunity to strengthen their market position.
Small and medium enterprises, as well as small banks, have certain advantages – fast decision-making, mobility, flexibility, and significant impact of development of technology. While spread of the virus has, possibly, closed certain markets, it has weakened competitors on other markets, opening opportunities for new export directions. Also, small banks are more flexible and faster in their decision-making, which is proved by the projects credited so far. The projects and export plans successfully implemented by local enterprises can serve as an example and motivation also for other companies, whereas a decision of banks – to invest in projects of local companies and promote their own future growth.
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