Posted: February 25, 2008

Italian Investment in Slovak Electronics

(Nanowerk News) The Italian company, Magneti Marelli, chose an unconventional strategy when it decided to locate its factory in Slovakia. Normal business practice is for companies to mention at least two or three countries in relation to any planned investment first. Governments of these countries then try to outbid each other in offering subsidies which the investor can benefit from.
Eric Le Bayon, the future director of the Magneti Marelli plant in Kechnec, in Eastern Slovakia said that his company selected Slovakia based on an analysis. The starting point was the high concentration of automotive industry and universities in this and neighbouring countries. Low wages and state aid also played an important role in the decision making process.
And then the Italians only had to decide where in Slovakia to locate their new factory. The Mayor of Kechnec, Jozef Konkoly, said that he realised how special the project was after the first meeting. 400 new jobs are not so special any more in Slovakia. But what was really interesting was another aspect of this 1.2-billion investment.
About 25% of all employees will require a university degree, claimed the general director of the electronic division of Magneti Marelli, Giuseppe Rossa. The company has greater ambitions in Kechnec than merely producing dashboards and navigation devices. According to Jean Lopez, the industrial operation director of electronic systems division at Magneti Marelli Milan the company plans to add to its Slovak factory a research and development centre. So far it has started cooperation in employee training with the Kosice Technical University.
According to G. Rossa the company is focusing on cooperation with research and education facilities in all 16 countries where it is present. And Slovakia will not be an exception. And it also plans to involve the planned innovation centre financed from Euro-funds.
This project is a part of the government strategy for the development of robotics, electronics and nanotechnologies. 8 bil. Sk (242.64 mil. EUR) have been assigned to establishing eight such centres in Slovakia, said the director of strategies section at the Ministry of Economy, Vojtech Ferenc. In this way, the Ministry wishes to offer investors added value to a cheap labour force. According to V. Ferenc wages in Magneti Marelli Slovakia will be above Slovakia’s industrial average.
Source: eTREND (Dominik Orfánus; translated by Tosca Cicuttova)
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