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GERMAN CONSTRUCTION COMPANY LOCATES MAIN BUSINESS ACTIVITIES IN COPENHAGENA favourable construction market and good labour market conditions have persuaded German company MHT to concentrate its forces in Denmark.
It started with a team of 12. And by the turn of the year the number of staff is expected to be up around 80 to 100. Things are moving fast at German company MHT Nord, which in the beginning of 2007 first began to pay serious attention to the Danish construction market.
MHT Nord’s director Thomas Rathke explains: “My partner Mathias Wolff has always been enthusiastic about Scandinavia. He had read that the Nordic construction sector was in a different situation to that in Germany, where the market was going through a lull at the time. By coincidence, we heard from one of our associates about a meeting for construction companies with Copenhagen Capacity’s German representative and we decided to attend.”
The meeting proved decisive for the two partners, who as far back as 1996 had started the MHT Baugesellschaft company together in Güstow by Rostock. “At the meeting it was explained to us how easy it is to establish a company in Denmark when you come from another EU country,” says Thomas Rathke. “That meeting was very important for us because Copenhagen Capacity’s representative could answer all our questions, and when we were invited soon afterwards to visit Copenhagen to take a look for ourselves and hear more about the opportunities there, it resolved any last doubts we might have had about establishing ourselves in Denmark.”
From that point on, things moved fast. In March 2007, MHT met with five potential Danish partners - all arranged by Copenhagen Capacity - three of which are still customers of MHT Nord. “Just before Easter 2007 we landed an assignment that we had to start on the day after Easter. We managed to get hold of the staff we needed for the job and before we knew it, we were in business.”
IMPRESSIVE BUSINESS CARDS A BIG HELP
Thereafter things moved rapidly for MHT Nord, which employs only German construction workers who travel to Denmark from northern Germany and work from Monday to Thursday before returning home for a long weekend with their families.
“It takes only 4-6 hours to get here from north-eastern Germany, which is less time than it takes to reach Hamburg, where many also have to go to find work,” points out Thomas Rathke. “In addition, our employees earn a bit more here in Denmark and they also have a long weekend free, so we have no problems finding
At the outset, Thomas Rathke established an office in an office hotel right in the centre of Copenhagen, but has since relocated the rapidly expanding company to Bagsværd, just outside Copenhagen. “Although it was an expensive address to start at, it actually worked out well because it looked impressive on the business
GREAT HELP TO HAVE BEHIND YOU
The office was found with the help of Copenhagen Capacity, which also assisted in getting the Danish company established, securing the services of a lawyer and arranging a bank connection. “Having Copenhagen Capacity behind us gave us a feeling of not being alone. A feeling that here is an institution genuinely interested in helping out with any problems you may encounter. And the fact that Copenhagen Capacity is a Danish public sector organisation instilled further confidence. It was also a tremendous advantage that we could speak German from the outset,” says Thomas Rathke, who has since learned Danish.
“I would advise learning Danish if you intend to stay here, and another piece of good advice is to become a member of a Danish employers’ association. That is something everyone asks about here in Denmark.”
MAJOR CUSTOMERS AND EXPANSION OPPORTUNITIES
Today MHT Nord has a number of major customers including MT Højgaard, Anker Hansen and KPC, and the company finds itself very much in demand as the Danish construction sector has a liking for German construction workers, who have a reputation for being thorough and well organised.
Adds Thomas Rathke: “In the longer term our ambition is to expand into Norway and Sweden, although that would be a bit too much to take on right now. We are still dealing with the Danish system; for instance, every time we hire a new worker we have to obtain a Danish tax card and Danish personal identification number,
which is something we have to devote resources to, and it can be a challenge to understand all the Danish statutory accounting requirements.”
But Thomas Rathke is not a moment in doubt: “Now our main business activities are in Denmark and I feel almost like a Dane. I could never dream of leaving here, so there is no chance of you getting rid of me now!”
Read more at: www.mht.de