Higson International Ltd., a Hong Kong-based clothing maker, will invest 4 million euros ($5.1 million) in southern Serbia, moving at least 10 percent of its current production capacities in Asia.
The producer of the Iguana brand “was the first company that moved to Asia and we want to be the first to move our facilities to southeast Europe,” Chief Executive Officer Franz Koller told reporters in Belgrade.
Serbia is trying to avoid a second recession in three years after the economy contracted 1.3 percent in the first quarter of 2012 and the government wants to attract investment in manufacturing industries to stop a further increase in unemployment that already reached 24 percent at the end of 2011.
Higson, founded in Germany in 1978, will shift 10 to 15 percent of its production capacity from Asia to Serbia and will export its sportswear “to the European Union, Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan,” the Belgrade-based Economy Ministry said in an e-mail.
Higson will initially pay 1 million euros to buy machines and add 750,000 euros to open 500 jobs in Zitoradja, a town of 3,365 people in Serbia’s south. Eventually, the factory will employ 1,500 people, Economy Minister Nebojsa Ciric said.