ABA – Invest in Austria, the national investment promotion consultancy operating under the auspices of the Federal Ministry for Digital and Economic Affairs, recorded the most successful year in the company’s 35-year history in 2017. The number of foreign companies setting up business operations in Austria rose 7.8 percent from the prior-year level of 319 to a new all-time high level of 344 companies in 2017. They were provided with professional assistance by ABA in cooperation with the regional investment promotion agencies. "The Austrian business location scores top marks with foreign companies, especially due to its stability and security, high level of CEE competence, the quality and motivation of employees as well as a prosperous market," says Margarete Schramböck, Federal Minister of Digital and Economic Affairs, underlining the good results in 2017.
German companies remain the number one investors in Austria
Germany was once again the top investor nation in Austria in 2017 with 118 companies, accounting for about one-third of all business location projects handled by ABA. “There are already close to 9,000 German firms which actively operate in Austria, demonstrating the country’s attractiveness as a business location to foreign investors. To ensure that this remains the case in the future, it is important to strengthen our innovativeness and guarantee a sufficient number of skilled employees in the long term”, says René Siegl, Managing Director of ABA – Invest in Austria. Italy, the traditionally second most important investor nation, was responsible for 26 business location projects, but had to share the second place ranking with two other countries. Austria was even more attractive in 2017 for Switzerland, which also accounted for 26 projects (2016: 17). The same applied to the 26 companies from Slovenia (2016: 16).
At the same time, total investment volume from the new business location projects increased by 2.6 percent to EUR 723.85 million (2016: EUR 705.22 million). The number of newly created jobs in 2017 rose 1.9 percent to 2,672 (2016: 2,622).
Increase in business location projects from CEE/SEE countries
There was particularly strong interest on the part of companies from Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) and from South East Europe (SEE). There has already been a traditionally large number of CEE/SEE firms investing in Austria over the last ten years. However, 99 investment projects were from companies in the region in 2017, comprising close to one third of all new ABA business location projects. Slovenia was ranked first (26 companies) followed by Hungary (18), Slovakia (14) and Russia (11). Interest on the part of Chinese companies remained consistently high. Eleven Chinese firms located in Austria in 2017 with the support of ABA, the same as in the previous year.
34 of the located companies carry out research and development in Austria. 22 of the investors are production companies, eleven coordinate business activities in other markets from their Austrian base, including Eurocoin, the very first Brexit refugee among the ABA business location projects. Industry-related services (51) and IT/telecom/software (49) are the most strongly represented sectors among the new investment projects.
Austria was particularly in demand as a startup location. The number of young companies which were founded with ABA’s assistance climbed by 33 percent, from 18 to 24 in the year 2017.
Vienna and Salzburg are the hotspots for foreign investors
In 2017, a majority or a total of 157 international companies decided to locate their business operations in the capital city of Vienna (2016: 155). The most popular federal province after Vienna was Salzburg for the second straight year, accounting for 42 business location projects (2016: 31). Lower Austria was third with 29 companies (2016: 20). Carinthia attracted 27 new firms, the same as in 2016, followed by Tyrol with 26 projects (2016: 22) and Styria with 26 business location projects as well (2016: 21). 23 companies selected Upper Austria (2016 23), seven established business operations in both Vorarlberg (2016: 11) and in Burgenland (2016: 5). Two of the companies decided to locate in several federal provinces.