Hidden champions go global
Austrian vehicle manufacturer EMPL experienced growing global demand during the pandemic. The family-owned company based in Tyrol invested EUR 20 million to expand its cutting-edge assembly plant in Zahna-Elster in Saxony-Anhalt. The facility is designed for flexible, environmentally friendly production and is set to be completed by the end of 2021.
About 70 percent of the company’s output is exported, which is why EMPL initially decided to establish capacity in Germany shortly after German reunification. The expansion of the site, not far from the eastern town of Wittenberg, will create about 60 new jobs. Many family-owned manufacturers in the region supply EMPL with vital components.
“It was fundamentally a success story,” says former CEO Herbert Empl, whose son now runs the company. “We recruit from the whole region and train apprentices to help fill our team of skilled professionals. We’re very happy, because the people are highly motivated and work hard.”
But there’s another reason why Germany is attractive to international investors: “There is a very high number of German family-owned businesses looking at succession plans right now,” Glunz says. “Germany offers unrivaled access to all other 26 EU countries because of its central geographical position within Europe, and the tightly knit network of scientific institutions, universities, government and business creates a reliable and sustainable investment ecosystem.”
Glunz also points out that Brexit has weakened one of Germany’s biggest competitors, as UK manufacturing is no longer part of the EU. “Germany remains a highly sophisticated location for manufacturing companies,” says Thomas Bozoyan, a senior manager at GTAI. “In the future, Germany will continue to offer a wide range of possibilities for domestic and foreign business in different sectors.”