Compared with 2020, the percentage of companies that are investing has remained at a similar level.
The percentage of Polish companies expecting to increase their investments has increased and currently stands at 80%, which is close to the EU average.
COVID-19 has dented sales performance, with 42% of companies experiencing a decline in sales, double the number that recorded an increase (22%).
Half of all companies (53%) implemented at least one advanced digital technology in 2020.
Companies confirm that access to finance has improved, with only 8% experiencing constraints in this regard.
Almost half (48%) of all companies plan to invest in climate-friendly measures or technologies over the next three years.
The percentage of Polish companies that are investing has not changed since the last year’s survey — the EIB Investment Survey 2020 (EIBIS 2020). However, in 2021 entrepreneurs were more optimistic about planning and implementing their activities, with more companies (80%) expecting an increase in investment, which is in line with the EU average.
Fixed capital formation increased compared to the EIBIS 2020 results — 49% in 2021 vs. 45% in 2020. This result is close to the EU average (50%). Nevertheless, Poland is still among the EU Member States with the lowest levels of investment in intangible assets.
COVID-19 has dented sales performance, with 42% of companies experiencing a decline in sales. This is double the number of companies that recorded an increase (22%). COVID-19 has also had an impact on investment plans, with a third of companies (32%) cutting back on their plans and only 3% increasing their investment during the most difficult period. When asked about short-term measures related to COVID-19, entrepreneurs stressed the importance of digitalisation, with one-third of companies (35%) confirming that they have invested in digital solutions.
Almost four in ten Polish firms (38%) have invested in the development or launch of new products, processes or services. The percentage of companies (53%) that implemented at least one advanced digital technology in 2021 also rose compared to the EIBIS 2020 (50%).
Despite the challenging circumstances, three-quarters of entrepreneurs say that they maintained investment at an appropriate level over the past three years (76%). On the other hand, the percentage of companies that claim that they are fully using their capacity (47%) decreased compared to the EIBIS 2020 (51%). This is close to the EU average (49%).
Access to finance in Poland is improving. Only 8% of companies are experiencing constraints in accessing finance, which compares favourably with the EIBIS 2020 (12%). This figure has dropped below 10% for the first time since the launch of the survey. Most companies that use external financing are satisfied with the terms offered. Their main complaint is the collateral requirements (9%).
As a result of the pandemic, 14% of Polish companies have taken on more debt. Public support has been substantial: in total, six out of ten companies (61%) in Poland received some form of financial support in response to COVID-19, which is slightly higher than the EU average (56%).
A total of 39% of Polish companies have already invested in climate change measures, while almost half (48%) plan to do so in the next three years. Additionally, more than one-third (36%) of Polish companies have invested in energy efficiency measures. Moreover, companies in Poland have been more likely to set and monitor internal targets for carbon emissions and energy consumption than the EU average (52% vs. 46%)
Vice-President of the European Investment Bank Teresa Czerwińska said: “It is worth noting the growing awareness of entrepreneurs in Poland in two areas: digitalisation and tackling climate change. More than a third of companies are looking to become more digital, and nearly half plan to invest in climate-friendly measures. These attitudes testify to the growing responsibility of business.”
The European Investment Bank (EIB) finances projects in four priority areas — infrastructure, innovation, climate and environment, and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). In 2020, the EIB Group provided €5.2 billion in financing for projects in Poland.
About the EIB Investment Survey
The annual EIB Group Survey on Investment and Investment Finance (EIBIS) is an EU-wide survey that gathers qualitative and quantitative information on investment activities by small businesses (with between five and 250 employees) and larger corporates (with more than 250 employees), their financing requirements and the difficulties they face.
The survey collects data from approximately 13 300 businesses in total across the EU27, the United Kingdom and, since 2019, the United States. Using a stratified sampling methodology, it is designed to be representative at:
sector group level (manufacturing, services, construction and infrastructure) and firm size class level (micro, small, medium and large) for most countries.
All survey respondents are sampled from the Bureau van Dijk ORBIS database. Survey answers can be matched to reported firm balance sheets and profit and loss data.
The EIBIS is carried out annually, with the first wave of interviews having taken place in 2016. It is designed to build a panel of enterprise data. To this end, all firms that participated in the first wave of the survey are re-interviewed in the following survey waves. To compensate for panel attrition and to ensure cross-sectional representativeness, panel firms are complemented in each wave with a top-up sample of new survey firms.
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Close to half of the firms in the European Union report that they invested in digitalisation as a response to COVID-19. Digital firms fared better than non-digital firms through the pandemic. They were less likely to experience a strong decrease in sales from the beginning of 2020, and used the crisis more often as an opportunity to accelerate digitalisation. On average they were more productive, innovative, grew faster and paid higher wages.