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Best Foreign Direct Investment Awards 2016

This year's best foreign direct investors in Slovenia are German company Novem Car Interior Design, Austrian printing company Leykam, Austrian firefighting equipment manufacturer Rosenbauer, and South Korean logistics specialist Glovis Europe. The FDI Awards project is traditionally organised in November by SPIRIT Slovenia, the Public Agency for Entrepreneurship, Internationalisation, Foreign Investments and Technology.

Novem Car Interior Design won the award for best employer. The German company started its operations back in 1947 and since then has focused on the production of high quality wood trim elements for the premium segment of the automobile industry. Novem has been present in Slovenia since 1990, yet its 2015 investment in the expansion of production facilities at Žalec near Celje has set its Slovenian subsidiary on a new course. The new facilities allow the company to produce a whole set of interior design elements, rather than just selected components. Its first scheduled run, last year, was for a complete set for the latest model of BMW’s 7 Series. The total value of the investment in the new facilities is 5.5 million euros, 1 million provided by the Slovenian government as a non-refundable subsidy.

The investment led to fast revenue growth. In 2014, company revenue reached 42 million euros. Last year, it rocketed to more than 73 million. The company employed 430 people at the beginning of 2015; now, the number of employees has reached 770. The Žalec plant also gets to produce the interior elements for Porsche’s new luxury Panamera car. Novem Car Interior Design joined forces with Slovenian technological firm Hidria to develop a unique welding device which enables the ultrasonic welding of decorative, chrome side panels, especially for the Panamera program. The solution was presented at September’s Innovation Fair, along with a selection of the year’s best Slovenian innovation.

This year, the German owners decided to further increase production at Žalec. The 10 million investment in its new 7,000 square metre plant will allow the company to produce elements for Mercedes, Audi and Range Rover cars, employing between 100 and 150 people. In November, the Ministry of Economic Development and Technology announced that the government would support the investment with half a million euros.

Rosenbauer (see article on economic relations with Austria in this issue) won the FDI award for long-term presence in the region. The firefighting equipment manufacturer has been operating in Pomurje for 19 years. The Slovenian company achieved 8.6 million euros in sales last year. Another Austrian company, Leykam, a web offset printer specialist, is one of the largest of its kind in Europe. Leykam won the FDI award for best business results: its Hoče-based, Slovenian subsidiary’s value added per capita reached 90,000 euros last year. Once again, in a similar fashion to Novem Car Interior Design and Rosenbauer, the vast majority of its revenue is earned internationally.

Glovis Europe is a Germany based logistics specialist controlled by South Korean giant Hyundai. The Koper branch of Glovis earned the special FDI award for its contribution “to positioning Slovenia as a logistics hub”. Koreans have chosen the port of Koper as their strategic logistics hub for Central and Eastern Europe and have developed a multimodal scheme using Koper as their transshipment port. The company’s business results are impeccable, with top credit rating, high profit and high value added per capita figures. But, then this is the way it goes for all four of the awarded companies, and many other foreign companies wise enough to choose Slovenia for their operations.