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Lithuanian, Estonian SMEs more keen to invest in development than Latvian companies - SEB survey

RIGA - Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Lithuania and Estonia are more keen to invest in development than Latvian companies, according to the Baltic Business Outlook published by SEB Banka.

In Latvia, 36 percent of SMEs plan to make investments in business development this year as opposed to 42 percent of SMEs in Estonia and 46 percent in Lithuania.

Investments up to EUR 30,000 are planned by 22 percent of Latvian SMEs and 14 percent of companies plan to invest more than EUR 30,000. Investments larger than EUR 30,000 are planned by 14 percent of SMEs in Estonia and by 20 percent of SMEs in Lithuania.

Arnis Skapars, a board member of SEB Banka, noted that Estonian and Lithuanian companies had higher investment ambitions than Latvian SMEs which might be due to the fact that 83 percent of SMEs in Latvia were focusing on the domestic market where competition was relatively limited. The neighboring countries have fewer SMEs with the focus on the domestic market - 75 percent in Estonia and 66 percent in Lithuania, and exporting companies are more likely to realize the need for investments in business development, Skapars explained.

Baltic Business Outlook is an annual survey by SEB, establishing expectations of Baltic small and medium-sized companies in five areas: changes in turnover, number of employees, exports, innovations and investment. Baltic Business Outlook 2018 encompasses answers by 4,270 small and medium-sized businesses across the Baltic states, including almost 2,000 Latvian companies. The survey was done in December 2017 and January 2018.

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