The Italian energy company AB Energy, a company specializing in district heat and exploiting renewable energy sources, has founded the company AB Energy International in Tyrol. The gas engine producer GE Jenbacher, which belongs to the American conglomerate General Electric (GE), also has a stake in the newly established firm. AB Energy aims to manage its business activities in Europe from its base in Tyrol, and in addition coordinate the operations of eight European subsidiaries of the Group, amongst other activities.
The American car rental company Rent-A-Car has selected Megadrive Autovermietung GmbH in Vienna to serve as its franchise partner for Austria, Hungary and Slovakia. Suitable locations will be opened at important airports and metropolitan areas in the course of the year. Enterprise Rent-A-Car, which is part of Enterprise Holdings in St. Louis, USA, is pressing ahead with its expansion plans in Europe. The company is considered to be a traditional business-to-business provider in the industry, and claims it is the world’s largest car rental company.
The number of patent applications in Austria in 2012 climbed by five percent compared to 2011 to a total of 2,552. Most of the inventions were reported by the engine developer AVL List, with 75 patents and samples. Fitting system producer Blum was second with 57 inventions.
The R&D Global Estimate 2013 compiled by Statistics Austria reported a R&D ratio of 2.81 percent of GDP in Austria. Thus Austria’s R&D ratio continues to be significantly higher than the EU average of 2.03 percent, and is the fifth highest within the EU-27, exceeded only by Finland, Sweden, Denmark and Germany. About EUR 8.96 billion will be invested in research and development in Austria in 2013, an estimated rise of 2.9 percent from the prior-year level.
The German Merck Group announced that it has made Vienna its headquarters for the pharmaceutical division Merck Serono Western Europe. The facility in Vienna will also be responsible for coordinating its drug safety efforts in Central and Eastern Europe. The Region Western Europe encompasses Portugal, Netherlands, Belgium, Greece, Israel, all of Scandinavia, Switzerland and Austria. Up until now the regional headquarters were located in Geneva. Merck employs a staff of more than 350 people in Austria at its sites in Vienna and Carinthia.
Eurostat carried out a study to identify the most prosperous regions in Europe on the basis of gross domestic product (GDP) and purchasing power parity (PPS). The study concluded that Vienna is the tenth richest region in Europe behind Prague and Stockholm. With a regional gross domestic product of 165 percent of the EU average per capita, Vienna was ranked 10th in Europe in 2010 according to a recently published analysis by Eurostat. The most prosperous area is the inner city of London (328 percent of the EU average). Salzburg also ranks among Europe’s most prosperous areas (146 percent), and is 20th in the study. Vorarlberg, Tyrol and Upper Austria are all above the 125 percent threshold.
In the current “KOF Index of Globalization 2013” compiled by the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich, Austria is ranked fourth among the 187 countries which were evaluated. The index measures the economic, social and political dimensions of globalization and serves to observe changes in the globalization of a series of countries over a longer period of time. The most globalized nations are Belgium, Ireland and the Netherlands followed by Austria.
The pharmaceutical company Sandoz has massively invested in its Austrian production facility located in Kundl (Tyrol). Due to the strong demand, the production area for penicillin was expanded by one thousand square meters and two floors, and an additional 30 jobs were created. Each year 190 million packages of pharmaceutical products are manufactured by the Kundl plant, which exports to about 100 countries. Accordingly, Kundl is the largest development and production site in the globally operating Sandoz Group. Moreover, Sandoz Austria is the largest pharmaceutical producer and exporter in Austria, with three sites in Kundl, Schaffenau and Vienna and a work force of approximately 3,500 employees.
Small and medium-sized enterprises increasingly profited from the increase in the research premium in 2011 from eight to ten percent. The indirect, tax-related research promotion amounted to EUR 572 million in 2012, thus surpassing for the first time direct research funding, which totaled EUR 483 million.
The German Commission of Experts on Research and Development concluded in its recent study that Austria is the second most important target destination of German R&D investments after the USA. The top foreign research and development location for German companies continues to be the USA, especially due to the high R&D investments of the pharmaceutical industry and electrical engineering industry. One third of foreign R&D investments in 2009 (EUR 3.8 billion) were destined for the USA. Other important research locations preferred by German firms are Austria (EUR 1.3 billion), France (EUR 0.8 billion), Great Britain (EUR 0.4 billion) and Switzerland (EUR 0.4 billion. German companies account for more than 50 percent of foreign R&D investments in Austria. Moreover, Austria is considered to be an example of an EUR member state with an advanced evaluation culture, in addition to Denmark and Great Britain.