Top Investments 2020 in Baden-Württemberg

January 2021

300 million euros in funding for VARTA

In 2020, the Baden-Württemberg-based company VARTA AG received a funding of up to 300 million euros within the framework of an Important Project of Common European Interest (IPCEI). With this funding, the Federal Ministry of Economics (BMWi) and the states of Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg are supporting the battery industry in Germany and Europe, stressing the importance of the sector for the future. VARTA will add the same amount by itself on top. The funding programme, which lasts up until the end of 2024, will help to further expand VARTA’s lithium-ion technology, accelerate the development of the latest generations, and bring new products to market. It is a milestone also for the German Southwest on its way to a centre for research, development and production of batteries in Europe. The main focus will be on the transfer of VARTA’s lithium-ion technology to larger battery formats, which can be used in a variety of products, such as energy storage systems or autonomous transport systems, to name but a few. The technology company headquartered in Ellwangen (Baden-Württemberg) has already started to build a pilot line for the new battery format. Production of the first samples is planned to start by the end of 2021. In addition, VARTA will continue to invest in research and development activities for battery cells in special formats, which are increasingly in demand. VARTA is a leader in technology and innovation in the field of lithium-ion cells. The company, which employs 4,500 staff around the world, is expanding its facilities at the Ellwangen and Nördlingen (Bavaria) plants to house even more cutting-edge production capacity.

VARTA plant Ellwangen © VARTA

Essity: 40 million euros for paper tissues based on straw

The global hygiene and health company Essity is investing 40 million euros in an innovative production unit at its Mannheim site, which allows the production of sustainable tissue from wheat straw. The pulp is to be used in the manufacture of high-quality tissue paper products such as handkerchiefs and kitchen paper towels and will improve the eco-balance of these products. Essity is thus setting completely new standards in the tissue paper industry. In total, the plant covers an area of 8,000 square meters across several buildings. A new straw storage facility, covering an area of 10,000 square meters behind the plant, completes the 40-million-euro investment. The hygiene products made with straw pulp will be launched in the second half of 2021. Mannheim is home to Essity’s largest European plant with many years of experience in the production of pulp and hygiene products. Founded in 1884 as “Zellstofffabrik Waldhof”, 220,000 tons of pulp are already produced there from certified wood fibers. Starting in the middle of next year, an additional 35,000 tons of straw pulp will be added to replace externally purchased pulp. A special feature of the Mannheim mill is its integrated production: the entire manufacturing and converting process through to the finished tissue paper takes place at this site. The Mannheim mill employs around 2,000 people. This makes it one of the largest employers in the region. The new pulp production facility will create additional jobs and secure existing ones.

© Essity

Fanuc builds new development centre near Stuttgart

Robotics and automation specialist Fanuc is further expanding its site in Neuhausen close to Stuttgart. The robotics leader is investing more than 20 million euros in a fourth building at the site as well as in a parking garage to accommodate the increased number of employees, customers and business partners. Fanuc has been located in the German Southwest for almost 30 years and is growing steadily. In the past three years, the number of employees at the site has increased by around 100 to about 400. The expansion in Neuhausen near Stuttgart, where the German headquarters and some Europe-wide functions are located, will take place over three years. In the first construction phase, a multi-story parking garage with 270 parking spaces is being built. It will be equipped with a photovoltaic system and e-charging stations for electric cars. Completion is scheduled for spring 2021. In a second step, the previous parking site will be used for the construction of a European development centre. After its completion in 2023, the development centre will provide space for 120 employees. Headquartered in Japan, Fanuc employs more than 7,000 people worldwide with global sales of equivalent to 4.2 billion euros in the past fiscal year.

Roche Diagnostics Automation Solutions GmbH relocates its headquarters in the Stuttgart region

Roche Diagnostics Automation Solutions GmbH is relocating its headquarters to Ludwigsburg close to Stuttgart to create a new basis for future growth, ideas and innovations. At the same time, the first 80 employees have been moving into the new campus in June 2020. This was the starting point for the gradual consolidation of the company’s current three sites in the Stuttgart metropolitan region, which is considered Roche Diagnostics’ centre of excellence for the development and production of laboratory automation systems. The consolidation of the three sites is expected to be completed by 2022. Roche employs around 16,700 people in Germany in the fields of pharmaceuticals and diagnostics. In Baden-Württemberg, the company is represented at three sites: in Grenzach-Wyhlen (Roche Pharma AG), in Mannheim (Roche Diagnostics GmbH, Roche Diagnostics Deutschland GmbH, Roche Diabetes Care GmbH and Roche Diabetes Care Deutschland GmbH) and in the Stuttgart metropolitan region (Roche Diagnostics Automation Solutions GmbH). Roche is clearly committed to its German sites and has invested more than 2.7 billion euros in these locations over the past five years.

© Roche