Thuringia: This is where your success starts!

December 2019

One state – excellent possibilities. This is the short but sweet statement with which the investment location of Thuringia has been attracting countless companies from all over the world who want to seize the opportunities offered in the heart of Europe and successfully turn their business ideas into reality. It is the fantastic mixture of hard and soft location factors, its tradition and its future, that convinces companies and investors: Thuringia’s central location coupled with its cutting-edge infrastructure and large, modern industrial spaces, its efficient medium-sized companies, an innovation-oriented research and development culture, good funding opportunities and highly motivated skilled employees who are able to achieve great things make Thuringia a popular location for investors.

CATL already has a presence at the Erfurter Kreuz Industrial Park © LEG Thüringen/Thomas Abé

With the massive expansion of its investment plans in the Free State and an increase in the originally planned investment volume of €240 million to the present level of €1.8 billion, the project of the Chinese battery manufacturer Contemporary Amperex Technology Ltd. (CATL) at the “Erfurter Kreuz” industrial park is set to become the largest investment project by foreign investors in the history of the region, making it one of Europe’s leading production sites for lithium ion batteries. It impressively shows that the state is still in the premier league in the tough competition to attract international corporations. The start of building work was marked by the formal ground-breaking ceremony on 18 October 2019. CATL is one of the largest suppliers of lithium-ion batteries  for the automotive industry and has already secured orders worth several billion euros from German and international automobile manufacturers. Alongside the production of batteries, research and development will also be based in Thuringia.

The appeal of Thuringia has been underlined still further by the ICSI Group – a subsidiary of the Japanese IHI-Corporation – when it moved its company headquarters from Heidelberg to Thuringia. IHI Charging Systems International GmbH (ICSI Group) has already been based at the “Erfurter Kreuz” LEG industrial location for ten years with its turbocharger plant. According to Dr Daniel Bader, ICSI CEO in Ichtershausen, the reasons for the company’s complete relocation to Thuringia are its proximity to OEMs and research institutes, the outstanding transport infrastructure at the central motorway intersection, the positive support from the Ministry of Economic Affairs and the LEG [State Development Corporation] and the short distances to the Universities of Ilmenau (TU) and Schmalkalden (FH).

Grand opening in presence of Gary Bell, son of the founder and Chairman of the Supervisory Board (2nd from right), Minister for Economic Affairs Wolfgang Tiefensee (center) and others © ka68 presse+pr / Thorsten Block

The South African dumper truck manufacturer Bell Equipment is continuing to rely on Thuringia as a location: With an assembly plant near Eisenach since 2003, the global player recently invested €13 million in new buildings and production facilities here. On the site, which covers nearly 10 ha, the new 12,000 m² building adjoins the existing factory halls, which cover 6,000 m². This means that Thuringia will become the corporation’s central production location and its company base in the Northern hemisphere. With the expansion, Bell is further expanding its position as one of the world’s market leaders in this production segment – the company is now represented in more than 80 countries in every continent across the globe.

A distribution centre for the online retail giant Amazon is currently being constructed on a site covering 23,000 m² in the “International Logistics Centre” (ILZ) in Erfurt. Packages delivered by lorry are sorted, delivered and returned on six days a week in shifts. Courier services are used for the “last mile”, as it is called, distributing the packages in small vans. Ingenious route planning will be implemented in order to eliminate the need for multiple journeys. Around 100 full-time employees will be needed, plus around 400 at the delivery partners.

Thuringia is demonstrating just how attractive it is yet again: In future, the Baden-Württemberg automotive supplier Marquardt will be manufacturing innovative mechatronic products for the interiors of premium vehicles and battery-operated cars in Thuringia in a factory covering over 10,000 m². Up to 180 jobs will be created in the years to come; the first 50 positions are to be filled in the next few months. As a strong automotive supplier location with more than 600 supplier companies already today, the Free State offers the company the ideal conditions for its commercial activities and for a successful economic future.

Alupress AG from Switzerland is carrying out a massive expansion of its Thuringian site. With an investment volume of around €20 million for a new production hall with a floor area of around
6000 m² and a cutting-edge machine pool, production capacity is to be more than doubled, with up to 50 new jobs created. At the laying of the foundation stone, the company’s owner emphasised the positive cooperation with the local authorities as regards the planning approval process.

At the end of October, EMC European Modular Construction GmbH laid the foundation stone for its new factory near Arnstadt. In the “Erfurter Kreuz”, Thuringia’s largest industrial zone, the company will be creating one of the world’s most modern production centres for precast concrete parts. Together with its partners, the company is investing around €48 million in the new factory. By July 2020, an area of some 75,000 m² will thus hold a production hall of around 16,000 m², amongst other things, where 45 employees will produce prefabricated parts for up to 2,000 living units a year.

Leuchtenburg Castle in Jena is popular among tourists © Stiftung Leuchtenburg

2019, Thuringia was also able to move forward in the field of tourism investment once again. The Austrian Family Hotel Lermoos is investing around €50 million in Oberhof –  the traditional winter sports centre in the Thuringian Forest. It will be building over 110 family suites and 15 exclusive chalets in the upper price range. The hotel is aimed at families with children and will be opening for business at the end of 2021.

Investors and companies can get off the ground very quickly in Thuringia. The high-speed trains operated by Deutsche Bahn have been heading for Thuringia at 300 km/hour since 2017. As a central ICE intersection, where the lines from East to West and from North to South cross, Thuringia’s state capital of Erfurt is becoming one of Germany’s main meeting points. With the ICE-City urban development project around the Main Station, a modern urban space is being created which is attractive for living and working but which will also offer attractive opportunities for events and conferences.

Technology and tradition, commercial dynamism, cultural diversity and all sorts of soft locational factors – Thuringia offers forward-looking, innovative companies a wide range of opportunities for development and expansion. With the regional development corporation Landesentwicklungsgesellschaft Thuringia mbH (LEG), you have a strong partner by your side who will provide comprehensive support as you move into the Free State.