Foreign companies move their backoffices to Estonia

13.03.2012, 14:10

More and more foreign companies are discovering Estonia as a provider of share services functions, writes Äripäev.

So far foreign companies have transferred to Estonia mainly production jobs because of cheaper prices, but now also whitecollar jobs are moving to Estonia, with one IT company going to to move its backoffice operations to Estonia later this year.

When choosing a location for its financial centre for shared services, Estonia was on top of the list for the Finnish manufacturer of lifting equipment Konecranes.

„We found that Konecranes as a Finnish company and Estonians were culturally a match,” explained Peter Klingebiel, head of the company’s financial support service centre.

„Estonians are well qualified and there is potential for cost-saving,” he added.

Klingebiel admitted that the company was also considering Poland and Hungary for the location of its support centre.

According to Klingebiel, they are looking for people with language skills because they are serving large European markets.

„I am not ruling out that we will be transferring to Estonia other activities later such as the IT and personnel department. It depends on how the financial centre will be doing,” he said. According to Klingebiel, the company plans to hire 30 people in Estonia at first who would start work in July and August.

Other prominent companies that have set up shared servies units in Estonia include Eesti AGA, subsidiary of Linde Group that specialises in gas systems engineering.

Andrus Laur, CEO of Eesti AGA said that the company’s Scandinavian customer service was located to Estonia in 2006.

At that time the company was also considering Riga. „Tallinn’s advantage was the availability of people with language skills in communicating with Scandinavian countries. Availability of suitable real estate for rent and Internet access was the third reason,” listed Laur.

He added that the determining factor was qualified workforce. „Most our employees have higher education. We have 38 employees in Estonia today and this number has multiplied in recent years. In 2006 we started with five people,” he noted.

Last year oil company and fuel retailer Statoil set up its shared services unit in Tallinn that now manages 300 million euros. The company hired 10 people and emphasised that it chose Estonia because of well developed financial and IT infrastructure, presence of large Scandinavian banks, a favourable business climate and tax system. Also Estonia’s transition to euro at the beginning of 2011 was an important factor.