Nationwide improvements in the hospital service in Denmark are well underway. Currently, 44 separate construction projects are in progress at an overall cost of almost €7bn to build completely new super hospitals and renovate existing ones. The British governmental agency for international trade is making a special effort to stimulate the interest of UK companies in these Danish construction projects.
Mark Chapman, Senior Advisor at the Department for International Trade, has up-to-the-minute knowledge, putting him in a position to pinpoint projects that ought to interest UK companies. With expertise on the infrastructure of the Nordic and Baltic countries, he advises British companies looking to get a foothold on the continent.
Chapman organises, for example, trade missions for UK companies to participate in construction conferences and to meet with potential Danish partners. On a visit to Fehmarnbelt Fixed Link in Lolland, Denmark, he guided 14-15 UK companies keen to act as suppliers or subcontractors on the construction of the world’s longest immersed tunnel, connecting Denmark and Germany.
“Denmark may not be at the top of everybody’s list when it comes to the overall size of the market but what many UK companies don’t know is that there is an incredibly high level of activity in Denmark currently, which is implementing multiple exciting projects, such as Fehmarnbelt Fixed Link and high-speed connections, not to mention improvement of the entire Danish hospital service.”
Business as usual
Chapman emphasises that, despite Brexit, Great Britain and Denmark will continue to experience mutual close collaboration and lively trade in the future. Which has been the case ever since the Viking Age. He explains that “ongoing negotiations surrounding Brexit should not prevent British companies from seeking the multitude of exciting new projects in Denmark.
“I also find that there’s a good deal of interest from companies in the UK. That’s why ‘Business as usual – nothing has changed’ hits the mark. We’re also getting used to the new situation. The British government, and especially the Department of International Trade, harbour a strong desire for companies to do business in Denmark,” clarifies Chapman.
He also talks about his initial preparations for organising a trade mission trip for UK companies interested in attending in Building Network’s Construction Conference 2017, which will take place in early October. He expects more than ten companies to participate.
Showing up counts
Even though participating in Building Network’s Construction Conference 2017 at the start of October is an important step for UK companies, Chapman stresses that there is much to gain by committing to the Danish market and establishing permanent representation there.
“Regardless of the outcome of Brexit negotiations, having a foothold in the EU can play a decisive role.
“Setting up an office in Denmark alone is an important signal for British companies to send the market with regard to stability and seriousness.”
He underlines that the Department of International Trade in Denmark and their partners can also provide advice on the terms and conditions UK companies encounter when they do business in Denmark. He highlights, for instance, that Denmark is one of the easiest places in Europe to establish a business, that the corporate tax rate is relatively low and that collaboration and stability are hallmarks of the Danish labour market.
“When things become very concrete and it’s time to hire foreign workers and understand the workplace culture and safety rules, well, we’ve got a close collaboration with organizations such as Copenhagen Capacity which is a local publically funded company that helps foreign companies become established in Greater Copenhagen. Not only that, they can assist with finding staff, local partners and navigating various rules and regulations.
Use local services to bid from home
In addition, organizations like Building Network can supplement the work of the Department for International Trade by providing offices for foreign companies interested in establishing themselves in Denmark, permitting them to avoid the high cost of employing a large amount of staff or paying for expensive administrative facilities.
“Many companies take advantage of the opportunity to establish permanent partnerships in Denmark to ensure sufficient knowledge and insight into the Danish market on everything from monitoring upcoming projects to professional assistance with procuring local sourcing partners and subcontractors,” explains Chapman.
Finally, he also encourages UK companies wishing to establish themselves in Denmark to consider professional organisations as a possible collaborator, stating:
“For both employers and employees, the Danish labour market is extremely well organised. Nine out of ten disputes are settled via negotiation, a crucial factor in creating what is perhaps the most stable, peaceful labour market in Europe. What’s more, strikes are a rarity – and many companies operate using shop stewards and safety representatives, more as consultants than as professional or political opponents.”
10% conference fee discount
Chapman recommends that UK builders and construction contractors and suppliers of technical equipment for the hospital sector attend the Building Network Construction Conference on 4 October 2017 in Copenhagen.
“We have the privilege of offering UK companies a special 10% discount on the Building Network Construction Conference fee. To obtain the discount, companies must register via the Department of International Trade at the British Embassy in Copenhagen, preferably via email to: Mark.Chapman@mobile.trade.gov.uk,” concludes Chapman.