From high-tech to first-class tourism: Thuringia once again attracted many forward-looking investments in 2022

In 2022, Thuringia again proved its attractiveness as a business, investment and tourism location that attracts investors and also offers good conditions for expansion for those companies that are already operating in the Free State and want to expand here. LEG successfully accompanied numerous projects in its anniversary year: founded in 1992, the Erfurt-based economic development agency celebrated its 30th year. The most important investment projects are presented briefly below.

February 2023

In 2022, Thuringia’s largest industrial area, the “Erfurter Kreuz” south of the state capital Erfurt, once again proved to be a top location for investments and entrepreneurial growth. N3 Overhaul Services was one of the companies to report good news: The joint venture between Rolls-Royce and Lufthansa Technik, which has already been operating at the site since 2007, will be significantly expanding its capacities in the future. N3 specializes in the maintenance and repair of aircraft engines; the basis for the current expansion program was the new authorization to service the engines of the Boeing 787 “Dreamliner”. Work on the expansion of the factory building and the construction of the logistics center is scheduled to begin before the end of 2023. While the company was able to hire more than 100 new employees last year, bringing its workforce to 800, the announced expansion is expected to push this number past the thousand mark in the future.

Testing of a Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 TEN engine. © N3eos

The major investment of the Chinese battery cell manufacturer Contemporary Amperex Technology (CATL) also continued to gain momentum at the “Erfurter Kreuz”: In April, the global market leader received the operating license for the first expansion stage of its plant. 1.8 billion euros will be invested in the company’s first battery production outside China and 2,000 jobs are to be created. The project had well advanced by the end of the year and series production started shortly before Christmas. This official start of production was celebrated at the beginning of the year 2023 in the presence of Thuringia’s Prime Minister Bodo Ramelow, Economics Minister Wolfgang Tiefensee, Environment Minister Anja Siegesmund and LEG Managing Director Andreas Krey.

The battery production site of CATL in Arnstadt, Thuringia. © CATL/Paul-Philipp Braun

A strong commitment to Thuringia as a business location was also made just a few hundred meters away by Marquardt, an automotive supplier from Baden-Württemberg that is also active in the future field of e-mobility: The producer of battery management systems announced its third investment in four years at the “Erfurter Kreuz”. It is constructing a new company building on a 15-hectare site with a three-digit million euros sum; associated with this is the creation of 300 new jobs. Marquardt has been based at the site since 2019 and started by acquiring a vacant 30,000-square-foot building complex. As the company announced, Thuringia plays a central role in the e-mobility business field. Among other things, Marquardt is building on the high level of industry expertise in the region.

In addition, the battery specialist LION Smart will strengthen the Thuringian e-mobility cluster in the future, namely in Hildburghausen in southern Thuringia: The subsidiary of the Swiss holding company Lion E-Mobility AG is relocating its production line for the series production of battery packs from Dingolfing to Thuringia and plans to assemble four million battery cells a year from February 2023, equivalent to 156 battery packs a day. One of the major customers is the Canadian manufacturer Vicinity Motor.

As one of Europe’s leading e-mobility locations, Thuringia is focusing not only on investment management but also on research and technology: After the Battery Innovation and Technology Center (BITC) began its work at the “Erfurter Kreuz” in 2020, the cornerstone was laid in 2022 for two extensions to the Center for Energy and Environmental Chemistry (CEEC) on the campus of Friedrich Schiller University in Jena. The battery of the future is to come from Jena: On a total area of 4,000 m², which includes laboratories and offices, researchers will work here on new materials for energy storage, among other things, starting in 2023/24. After completion, it should be possible to transfer the research results to subsequent production and manufacture larger quantities of the desired products on site. The total cost of the construction project is a good 54 million euros. In addition to storage technologies, CEEC Jena is also developing solutions for photovoltaics and hydrogen technology, among other things.

Forward-looking investments were also made in the fields of IT and semiconductor technology in the past year. The Chinese group Desay Automotive Europe GmbH opened its new production and logistics center in Weimar. In the future, radios, displays and other infotainment solutions for vehicle models of the future will be manufactured here. Desay has already been operating a development center and prototype laboratory at a neighboring site since 2021, where vehicle manufacturers have their pre-series vehicles equipped and tested. A state-of-the-art 3D antenna measurement chamber and a laboratory and office building are also being built there.

Successful microchip companies are also relying on Thuringia as a location: For example, the Belgian microchip manufacturer Melexis is investing five million euros in its company site in Erfurt. In 2022, seven new high-volume test systems and two fully automated packaging machines were put into operation. In the past five years, the number of employees in Erfurt has increased to 250. The company develops, tests and supplies integrated circuits, but does not produce them itself. Chip production takes place at neighboring X-Fab Semiconductor Foundries, which invested more than one million euros in expanding its cleanroom capacity in 2021.

Erfurt was also the location of an IBM subsidiary’s investment: The internationally active digital agency IBM iX supports companies in their digital transformation and will do this from Thuringia’s state capital in the future. It set up a new studio here, initially creating around 20 new jobs; according to IBM iX, this number is set to rise to a total of 100 by the end of 2024.

Thuringia is not only an innovative business and technology location, but also a state with a high quality of life and tourist appeal. A good example of this is the winter sports resort of Oberhof on the “Rennsteig” hiking trail. The year 2022 was dominated by preparations for a double World Championships: at the beginning of 2023, the world’s biathlon and luge elite will meet here. Oberhof is also a top location for tourism, as demonstrated by the successful completion of a mega project: in the last quarter of 2022, the Familux Resort “The Grand Green Oberhof,” a first-class hotel, opened its doors. 110 suites, 15 luxury chalets and attractive areas for wellness, sports and children’s fun will offer plenty of space for vacationers with children. The Austrian Hoteliers family Mayer brought this luxury house to the start, which receives exclusively families with children as guests. The investment volume amounted to around 70 million euros, and the state of Thuringia participated with a grant of around 20 percent in subsidies. At present, 140 employees work for the guests, and recruitment went smoothly due to many skilled workers returning home to their native Thuringia.

LEG – the State Development Corporation of Thuringia – supported the Mayer Group in every way possible in all their steps up to the realization of their project, as we have done with all other

The new Familux Resort „The Grand Green“ in Oberhof, Thuringian Forest. © The Grand Green Oberhof